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Everything posted by Accelerando

  1. if this is how you feel about your wife, why did you get married :^J straight people are amazing
  2. i too am ready for a new film. everything on tv is boring me
  3. And so... how did they get to this point? By bootstrapping off of a dying Earth? I'll be happy to take back my reservations about the setting if there's some detail about how they actually develop their spaceborne infrastructure before Earth is all gone and ruined. At any rate, the "Earth is destroyed but humanity is safe because we went to space instead" trope is pretty played out, but whatever.
  4. If you can get any large amount of infrastructure in space, then it can be used to develop weapons, if not used as weaponry itself, so while I would personally predict a future of space warfare revolving mostly around ASAT weapons and related tech for the next (few) centur(ies), I wouldn't rule out large-scale space warfare altogether if we assume that there is ever going to be any sort of large-scale space development. I'm somewhat optimistic myself, for reasons that I've elaborated on before, although I'm not holding my breath for it. However, any future history calling itself "accurate" to some degree needs to at least take into account material considerations, and how does one propose to build large-scale space infrastructure up enough to create heavy-duty space warships if Earth itself, likely the site of your entire starting industrial base and supporting population for a long time to come, is in jeopardy? This premise, which judging from its name CoaDE presumably shares with many other SF stories, always mystifies me in its cognitive dissonance: "Earth is f****d and everyone is dying; let's harness the ruined global industrial base to crank out rockets to build giant spaceships with lots of guns so we can shoot them at each other." "Sir, all the factories are burning and the entire population is rioting, starving, or evacuating their homes in the face of warfare and disaster--" "GIANT SPACESHIPS WITH LOTS OF GUNS" I guess we'll see how that works out, anyway. To follow along with tater's neat conclusion to this mess of a discussion, CoaDE is a "simulation" in the sense that SimCity or Dwarf Fortress is a simulation -- it takes a set of extremely abstracted assumptions and interacts them with one another to produce interesting results that may square with reality to some degree, but that doesn't make it a military-grade simulation. This is why I always chuckle when hard SF creators purport to be objective in some way when in reality they're writing down a list of (perhaps reasonable, but hardly objective) assumptions and dressing it up with pretty polygons to look like a spaceship.
  5. The problem with your post has nothing to do with being "girly" and everything to do with the fact that you're asking us to comment seriously on the connection between Kerbin and MLP that you established yourself in your fanfic AU
  6. You can't see it because you need to decalcify your pineal gland to access the infinite Wi-fi connection of the ancients, which will project streaming video of the Earth's other side onto the glass ceiling of the sky mounted at the 100km Karman line. Easy installments of $29.99/mo for 12 months, address checks directly to Zordon the Wise
  7. I think my new favorite conspiracy thing is when proponents of different conspiracy theories duke it out on the invisible battlegrounds of youtube and dingy websites filled with web 1.0 artifacts that haven't gotten new forum software since 1999 and then there are the reconcilers
  8. I don't really have a "favorite" period but I'm extremely interested in early multicellular life, both post- and pre-Cambrian. Ediacaran biota are really curious.
  9. illegal wrestling moves. you have to ask dark google for those
  10. Interplanetary is pretty cool and modestly realistic!
  11. 3/10 frustrating but easily solvable. Wet a sponge and ball it up until you can't squeeze it any tighter, then tie a string around it to hold it together and let it sit until it dries hard. Remove the string and flush it down the enemy toilet. It will expand as it absorbs water and reliably clog up the pipe.
  12. Honestly, the bananas-OP reaction wheels strike me as somewhat redundant ever since part modules were implemented and especially ever since all command modules were fitted with RCS tanks. It feels weird being able to turn my ship around all the time with nearly zero electrical power whatsoever and no fuel at all. Probe cores and CMs could have some basic RCS thrust capability implemented by default, too, so beginning players don't need to worry about it as much. Maybe reaction wheel strength could then be adjusted as a difficulty setting.
  13. I mean, maybe. What's the charity? Who runs it? How much of their money goes to their specified cause and how much goes to "administrative overhead"? And then there's the question of who would watch it if you're trying to raise a significant amount of money for something. I don't usually join livestreams to talk to people. ヽ༼ຈل͜ຈ༽ノ I'd suggest at least having some cool structures built/something to do/show off at various points along the hike, if nothing else.
  14. The United States was not simply rich relative to other countries after WWII, in many respects it was prosperous compared to even now (for a select but large segment of the population). If the US had not maintained full employment conditions in the postwar period, it would have slid. This had much to do with its role in reshaping the global economy in the aftermath of the war, of course, but it was not simply prosperous by comparison. This eventually developed into the modern global economy, as the relationship between the dollar and gold was abandoned early in the 70s. After reconstruction, the US military became its primary asset, guaranteeing security to other nations in exchange for investment into US treasury bills or US private banks. Hence: The United States is not going to go bankrupt from warfare, even in the large modern economy (and yes, the wars since WWII have been - largely irregular - warfare, though at the same time I agree that it is correct to call it policing as well) so long as the dollar remains the world's reserve currency; the US retains its military aegis; and the UN and its suite of economic institutions remain in place. That's one of the things I was trying to get at with the WWII comparison, although I was too tired last night to render it into a format that I think hopefully avoids stepping over Rule 2.2. In the modern era these institutions serve the following roles: The US absolutely had something to gain from WWII in this way (and this is also how it finances the Drug War, which is beneficial to the US in that it keeps money flowing into US institutions and maintains a demand for police-military hardware, as well as justifying to voters a heavy police presence in the cities). But perhaps more importantly to expansive-scale space combat, I think it's important to note that WWII happened at all despite the foreseeably ruinous consequences for almost all powers involved, in the wake of WWI; Germany had something to gain as it was stripped of its productive capacity by the Entente after WWI and forced into extreme austerity as the Entente used the money to pay off wartime loans from the United States. Future empires that are similarly pressed may also find a reason to go to war. Maybe not. All I'm saying is that the possibility remains open, regardless of whether or not it's in space or on Earth. After all, China continues to develop its imperial capacity despite the US system. Again that isn't to say that the US and China are going to war any time soon, asteroids or not, of course; China serves a major role in the US global economy. But such a system isn't inevitable, and it won't last forever. Nuclear weapons additionally are not extremely useful as in-space weapons, and if you have the defensive capability to take out inbound missiles or Kirklin mines then you have the capability to shield yourself from most doomsday threats. The threat of lasers can be mitigated by maintaining distance between nations' habitats. And so on. I don't want to defend "grand" space warfare, per se. But I do think it's disingenuous to go along with the line of thinking that space war will not happen on large scales, because it's economically non-beneficial/useless/some other utilitarian reason. If you have large infrastructures and large profits in space, people are going to fight over them, in space, and this fighting could get big. ---- Anyway, with that said, I'm going to let the thread return to spacecraft-building discussion. All I can say about that is that I've seen working armor for KSP ships, but I have no idea how effective it is since KSP physics outside of its orbital-mechanics model have little bearing on real-world physics; and the upper limit of ∆V you can expect from a single-stage vessel with significant weapons payload probably only goes from 3km/s ∆V with chemfuel to about 7k ∆V if you use nukes? EDIT: I see my reading comprehension fails me somewhat and that you do agree that what I call large-scale war (which is global policing, yes, but still costly warfare using industrial technology and bringing ruin to other nations) is within possibility in the future, so - cool. I guess my final remaining point is that I still think empire-vs-empire open war remains feasible, given a certain range of political/economic situations.
  15. Oh wow, haha. Well, it remains relevant!
  16. That is a ridiculously strawmanned hypothetical. Why would the US and China go head to head in an all-out conflict over some mining pits? That has absolutely nothing essential to do with what I'm trying to say, and your assumption of a "90% unobtanium asteroid" goes to show that you either hardly read what I wrote or barely comprehended it. What I want to say is that there is room for open conflict in space. That does not just mean "gigantic battles between Earth-based empires, but in space". Open warfare is carried out on Earth on a daily basis without the world's superpowers escalating immediately to DEFCON 1. That doesn't necessarily mean that the first asteroid miners in space are going to go beating each other up with mining lasers or whatever. But if you have an in-space economy large enough to support large-scale asteroid mining, you have an in-space economy large enough to support open conflict in space. That doesn't mean that people are going to instantly invade one another on Earth over some mining pits in space. It may be cheaper to recycle precious materials but that isn't a sure bet, and doesn't guarantee that it will be done. Rare metals such as gallium are useful in developing advanced electronics, and manufactured scarcity can be just as useful as physical scarcity in controlling prices and thus profits from the supply side. I'd wager there's a reasonable chance it'll go either way, but there's also another motive: Rare metals on Earth are limited, as you acknowledge. They're intensely useful, again, in electronics: metals like gallium, indium, tantalum. Once the supply on Earth is exhausted, recovery via recycling will only be able to provide so much material. If technology manufacturers want to produce more gadgets incorporating rare metals, then there is a potential motive for asteroid development. That's not to say that it will happen quickly if it does, but that it can eventually happen. In either event, there is another route to space development: satellite repair and refurbishment. An orbital servicing platform that can refuel, repair, and manufacture satellites on-orbit could certainly be cost-effective. In the long run this demands access to in-space mined material, thus asteroid mining, and so on from there, starting at a small scale and working up, potentially setting the stage for larger-scale asteroid mining. Even on this scale conflicts can be significant - conflicts between countries' space infrastructures using ASAT weaponry may not exactly be as glamorous as space battleships, but it is an interesting battlefield in its own right nevertheless, and probably the most relevant to KSP since it covers ∆V regimes within the low 1000s of m/s. Another straw man. My claim was nearly the exact opposite of the words you're putting in my mouth: I'm hardly presuming that the entire solar system will be easily converted into habitat material. I think that asteroids will be difficult to develop - just not difficult enough to entirely preclude asteroid mining and space habitation in general. This does not necessarily mean that space nations will be entirely divorced from the influence of Earth, or that they will grow exponentially until the whole solar system is filled. The latter in particular is a ridiculous prospect. And again, large imperial powers in the modern day regularly carry out large-scale wars without immediately escalating to absolute world-scale devastation or nuclear warfare. How about the Middle East wars? The Vietnam war and Korean war, proxy conflicts against the Soviet Union? And so on. Even then there is room for nuance. The global geopolitical situation will evolve in the future, and the same will be true of any nations that arise in space. The United States did not go "bankrupt" in the wake of World War II despite it being the largest conflict between imperial powers in history. That's not to say that space war will be "just like" WWII, obviously, but there can be similarities. Space nations will not be "the US versus China, both go bankrupt" any more than they will be an exact repeat of WWII. Modern warfare is a long-term investment, and the political and economic maneuvering carried out by an imperial power against a subjugated state is both equally important to and enabling of large-scale open warfare.
  17. I agree that we'll likely not be fighting aliens any time soon, but for space wars between human combatants, it's entirely doable. Earth had "near unlimited resources available" relative to what pre-industrial societies were able to harness yet we've obviously had wars aplenty since the 18th century. The mere existence of plentfiul metals and volatiles in space does not mean that they will all be readily extractable. You need to design a full infrastructure of equipment that works in hard vacuum (a non-trivial task), it needs to work at high energies in large volumes for a long time in order to enable mass-processing, and in general you have to strike a balance between "long lasting" and "easily replaceable when it does break down", which requires more resource extraction, and so the cycle continues. This means that there is a limit to resource extraction and processing based on the availability of space industrial machinery, and how survivable it is. If one spacefaring nation-state wants more of something but doesn't want to build new infrastructure, it can attack other spacefaring states to subordinate their economic output to its own. This is true on Earth today as well, even if war hasn't "profitable" for the last few centuries, in the strictest sense of wartime looting. On top of this there are other dimensions: pure prejudice, economic benefits to the contractors who build the warmachines and so on. The hubbub over the F-35 is probably the most obvious example of the latter, but I won't say more since this probably strays into Forbidden Forum Territory. So generally, there will be a lot of political maneuvering for sure, but there is still room for open conflict. Armor isn't the be-all-end-all of space combat for sure, but it can be useful. It depends largely on the economics of your space meta-society - are large armored vessels more cost effective to manufacture or not - and what technologies you have available. The impact of high-velocity kinetics can be mitigated by Whipple armor, which consists of multiple layers of material spaced at intervals - hypervelocity projectiles fragment and scatter when they hit the first layer of armor, and this process repeats for any pieces that penetrate the next layer, and so on. Nukes are very short-range weapons in space. Lasers have the disadvantage that they do not penetrate through armor but must burn through it, and the burning releases vapor which interferes with the beam's effectiveness. Charged particle beams are short-range and can be shielded against using water-ice. And so on.
  18. Sloped armor is still an assumption as you admit, and that is important, since the structure of a spacecraft's armor (or lack thereof) is certainly one of the defining features of a warship. Yes, this means that they have a vision of how things should be. Just because you agree or don't agree with it, or that it makes/doesn't make sense to you, does not mean it is not an assumption. And CoaDE makes many other assumptions, such as: Available technology (no, you cannot use photon torpedoes or shields) Specific impulse - MPD thrusters and NTRs are the upper limit, limiting your Isp to some tens of thousands of m/s at most, and the game assumes a situation where it is economical to manufacture these en masse. The theater of space combat. CoaDE's space combat model assumes that space combat occurs entirely between contesting fleets meeting around specific intercept points. No mention has been made of ground-based installations such as laser batteries, for instance (at least, not yet). Weapons loadout. CoaDE's developer(s) have stated that lasers, kinetics, and missiles will all be useful to ships in different situations, and all combat focuses on large capital ships with a fairly even distribution of armaments of each type of weapon, plus drones. This certainly makes for a balanced and interesting game mechanic, but I'm not convinced that it is the model of space combat. Situational assumptions. As mentioned before CoaDE assumes that it makes economic sense to build NTR thrusters en masse, and it also assumes that large heavily armed and armored capital ships make economic sense to build over any other type. It assumes that laser power generation and point-defense targeting software will not outclass kinetics and missiles. And so on. The developers recently outlined another assumption, which is that space battles will use nuclear-thermal rockets exclusively over MPDs. This hinges on the assumption that slow burn times will be absolutely undesirable in a space war, which goes back to the economic assumption that NTRs are mass-manufacturable in CoaDE's universe, and that they are cheaper, lower-maintenance, and safer than slow-burning engines. I'm not saying that these assumptions are wrong, but I think the developers may be overlooking other viable possibilities in their zeal to say "Our model is objective". Broadly speaking, any experiment requires a design, which requires subjective decisions. An experiment must be pruned down to a certain chosen range of test data, which will be analyzed via specific methods chosen by the researchers. The researchers must ask a question, which defines a certain range of possible answers that can be derived from the experiment. This is not objective either; it is specifically chosen according to what the researchers consider important. Say we want to evaluate the viability of some space warship design; that is to say, can we build it? There are multiple ways to tackle that question, such as: Is it viable in a purely physical sense - is it possible to build structures like these that function, and do so without instantly breaking down? Is it viable economically, given a certain scarcity of resources and manufacturing infrastructure, a certain economic context to the space war? Is it viable in an engineering sense - would this design be dangerous because it puts sensitive hardware right next to critical failure points, for instance, or would it be prone to failure for some other reason? And so on. And then you have to decide what you're going to simulate and how granular the simulation will be for each thing. Will you need complex models, or will spherical cows suffice? None of these decisions are "objective", they are motivated by what the testers think is important. This isn't to say that nobody can ever come closer to describing reality, of course. Obviously, no technology would work if nobody could model reality to any degree of reliability. But the relative "objectivity" of science comes from repeated experiment and independent peer review, which is to say that "objectivity" derives from the synthesis of many different subjective analyses. Car crash simulators are somewhat of a strawman here because car crash simulators build upon a vast library of existing knowledge that is built up off of both decades of (subjective) theoretical work and review in physics and engineering, as well as previous experience with the operation and crashing of actual working cars and related machines. We know how fast cars generally will travel when they impact each other, and what range of speeds it's possible for cars to achieve, and we know how massive they are, for instance - because we have built millions of cars and we have an infrastructure built around cars. Space battles have none of that. Again, this isn't to say that CoaDE is necessarily wrong in its vision - it just may be stepping over some interesting and viable possibilities. I'd like to see actual simulations of large monolithic lasers, or kinetics platforms, and other alternative designs entirely, even if the ship/fleet design model put forth by CoaDE seems more viable from the developer's own analysis. And I'd like to see space combat models that evolve from our present situation, where space access is expensive and very little infrastructure exists to support the kind of interplanetary economy you'd need to build the kind of warships CoaDE proposes (which is another subjective assumption).
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