fayanora: pensive (pensive)
Just read that cats can't taste sugar. Makes sense, since it's not something they need. But it gave me an idea, considering that I have two carnivorous species on Traipah: alien races with different senses of taste than us humans. Because it made me wonder if Duenicallo and Shaokennah (the two sentient Traipahni carnivores) can taste sugar or not. I'll have to look through things to see if there are any references either way. But it's a cool thought.
fayanora: pensive (pensive)
A few weeks ago, I saw a Nova episode about how there's strong evidence that humanity's ancestors were forced out of the trees and onto the plains by climate change. About how we owe a climate changing over a geological timescale (thousands of years) to our evolution.

Now I look at how the climate is changing again, within a single human lifetime, and I'm not worried for humanity. We're adaptable enough to survive. Millions may die, and civilization may collapse, but we will survive. Life won't look the same, but we will survive.

Still, it makes me wonder if we'll evolve again in response to it, or if civilization's collapse will let things go back to normal.
fayanora: Fay doll icon by me, original pic by Lady Dark (Fay Doll still)
Brooke once told me that it's very possible that if a chimp raped a human woman, or if in-vitro fertilization was used, that a hybrid could develop. (She's knowledgeable about these science things, so I trust she's right.) She goes on to say that the only reason it hasn't been proven is because it would be unethical to let such a pregnancy develop. (And the mother would have to be the human.) She told me this again last night, which reminded me of it.

*Ponders* I must share a dark streak of curiosity with Lyria - my dark sorceress character - then, because I find myself hoping somebody somewhere will try it, and try raising the baby, and then report back to civilization on it. It would be a huge and controversial story, but I have this powerful need to know if it could be done. I know, though, that this curiosity will never be quenched until someone else does it, because I have neither the resources, the skills, nor the lack of ethics to do it myself. Even if I had the skills and the lack of ethics, it's too much work getting the resources. But I really really want to know, so I hope someone will. Can you imagine how the creationists would react? It'd be chaos. *Tosses golden apple.*
fayanora: pensive (pensive)
If teleportation is ever invented and perfected, it could revolutionize space travel. Why even have any kind of craft that regularly launches from the surface? Sure, you might need to launch a few things now and then, if they're too big to teleport, or to easily teleport. But for the most part, most people and supplies could just be teleported into orbit. Like, launch a space station with a teleportation receiver the normal way, then teleport people and supplies up to the station. They could come and go as easily as driving to and from work. Put a specialized teleportation receiver outside of the main station (attached to the station) and you can teleport up (or over, from inside the ship) robots and other stuff to build things in space. Maybe even build other station modules up there. Or build craft meant to travel to the moon and Mars.

Another possibility, depending on the distance limit of the teleportation devices, one could use the first space station to make other stations in orbit, then tow them with a craft built in space to the next distance limit, and so on, building a series of stations to act as a bridge. You teleport from the surface of the planet to the station, and from one station to another until you could teleport to the moon or Mars or farther.

If the teleportation distance limit was greater, one could even teleport directly to the moon or Mars from Earth's surface, or from the first space station, once receivers are in place. If the limit was great enough, send a craft out into the void, and to the nearest extra-solar star. Then once it's in place, teleport a science team out there. If the signal goes out at light-speed, it would take them years to get there, but without the need for cryogenics or elaborate long term life support (such as artificial ecosystems and the like), also it would be without boredom, and they wouldn't age in that time either. Five years would pass for Earth, but only a second would pass for them. (Okay, so 10 years while Earth waits for the first signal to get back.)

On the other hand, since it's quantum science that's giving us our first possibility for teleportation to be real, maybe teleportation is instantaneous. In which case, we could be light-years away in seconds once the teleportation receiver is in place. That, and normal radio communications would be unnecessary and slow. Even if you couldn't teleport a data signal or 2-way communication in the typical sense, you could always put reports on a thumb drive or the like and teleport the thumb drive back home.

Then of course, once an extra-solar facility is in place, information from the science team could be used to determine whether or not, and how much, humans can/should build in that system. It would also be used to build another long-distance craft to go to another system.

One thing they would be wise to build at these extra-solar sites would be space telescopes, for viewing stars and so on from another perspective. The findings would be digitally recorded, copied to external drives, and teleported back to Earth.

With a system like that, how long would it take for humans to colonize our own solar system, and others? In a century, where would we be? And what advances could we make with the kind of information we'd gather from these explorations? If, instead of teleporting physical drives, we could have some kind of teleportation-based radio communication, maybe there could be an interstellar Internet. And wouldn't it be awesome to teleport to another star system for vacation? If we find a planet with life, or figure out terraforming, we could grow food offworld and teleport it home.

If communication signals could be teleported, it would also revolutionize telecommunications. No more wires, no more radio or TV or other airwave signals! Every possible use for communication could be done through teleported signals. The Internet even just on Earth would connect computers to one another via teleported signals. Hell, even computers themselves could operate that way, with micro-teleporters. They might even be quantum computers, making our current best computers look like difference engines by comparison.

Mining asteroids would be easy as fuck, too. Send a craft to an asteroid, have robots do all the work, teleport the mined materials back to Earth on a regular schedule. Humans would only be needed for maintenance.

There are implications for world travel too, obviously. Economic changes as people can travel around the world even more easily than before. Increases in tourism, but airlines would either go out of business or be forced to adapt. Many other means of transportation would be in economic dire straights. Jobs would be different, too, since you could teleport anywhere in the world to work. It would greatly affect the economy, because you'd have to compete for jobs from people all over the world. But trade would go up. And space travel would make a new place for the economy to expand into. Once the infrastructure is in place, resources from space would come in. Research stations of many kinds would pop up in space, flooding us with new information and technology. And we could ease the burden of overpopulation as more and more people go out into space. All these benefits would only increase as we went interstellar.

So in short, if we perfect long-distance teleportation, the only use for spaceships would be automated craft for exploration and to create stepping stones for human travelers, and everything would change. It will be just as big a leap ahead as fabber technology will.
fayanora: Hermione not amused (Hermione not amused)
I just stumbled on this link while reading this article on Cracked.com. The link I stumbled upon is about a new technology being/been developed that analyzes text for grammar, word choice, etc that is supposed to detect adults pretending to be children and prevent serial molesters from luring kids online. Great idea, right? Just one problem - I was extremely well spoken/written from a young age, years ahead of my age, and I could not stand bad grammar or bad spelling; still can't. I was able to pretend to be an adult because I sounded like an adult. In fact, there were times when I told people I was really a lot younger than they thought I was, and they didn't believe me. So if this technology had existed when I was a kid, and if I'd tried talking with people online who were my own age, this technology would have thought I was an adult.

So while I understand the reasons, I can't hear about this without wondering how many nerdy kids are going to get spanked by this technology for being too smart for their age, especially when everyone else their age is speaking in such utter gibberish that I'm not even going to attempt to mimic it.
fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
So I had an idea for a planet, and I want to run it by my friendslist in case it's completely impossible. The idea is this:

Binary star system where the planet revolves around the primary star about the same speed as Earth does around Sol, but at [distance equivalent to somewhere between Earth and Mars] from primary sun. The second sun - which is somewhat farther away from planet than planet is from primary star (distance equivalent to distance between Sol and Jupiter, or slightly less) stays where it is relative to the rest of the system so that for half of the year (roughly), there is no night on the planet. The other half of the year, the distant second sun is like a rather bright moon, but sky still dark enough to be considered night.

So, is this possible or not? If not, does it just need a little tweaking, or is it completely impossible?
fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
I think the future of farming is (semi-)closed-system vertical farming. Seal up a stack of prefabbed farming units in a vertical enclosure, all carbon and nitrogren, etc, remains in the enclosure. Each unit comes with sun-lamps and soil for growing things. Some units could be used to raise livestock. And in skyscraper-sized buildings, the sides could be made of glass to let in sunlight (except I don't think that would work well on livestock levels. Better put the livestock in the underground levels).

With vertical farms, we could reap the benefits of farming - even raising food animals - without the environmental impact. Vertical farms could replace the old style of farming by quintupling (or better) the usefulness of an area of land. Old fashioned sprawl farms could be replaced by stack farms that go several levels down in the ground, and loads of levels up in the air. Old, obsolete farmland could then be returned to nature, trees planted, etc. More trees equal less carbon in the air, which means less global warming.

Some people are already experimenting with this. If it succeeds to the levels I hope it does, a few dozen of these stack farm buildings could feed a whole city. We could then convert old farmland into national parks and watch nature flourish on the land we used to use so inefficiently.

Yes, I think this is the future. And it would be an area for businesses to expand into when the 3D printing technology becomes fabbers capable of making anything, so they can stay alive after the means of production is put into the hands of the workers. Which they'll need all the places to expand to that they can, to survive. The days of corporations are numbered unless they adapt to the future that's coming. They'll have to rely on providing services, mainly, because most products will be able to be fabbed by anyone with a fabber machine.
fayanora: Elle Fanning by LJ user bitemeee (Elle Fanning)
I've been watching a TV series on DVD called "Kyle XY." It's about an apparently 16 year old boy who wakes up in the woods naked and covered in pink goo, with the mind of an infant. But in the space of several days, he learns how to speak, read, write, and do math, among other things. Oh, and he has no belly button. His abilities are phenomenal; he gets an MRI done and his whole brain is lit up like a Christmas tree. He's the smartest human being in the world. He learns how to swim with just one lesson, can read and exactly remember binary code enough to reproduce an image he saw in raw binary, and he makes photo-quality pictures by tapping on paper with crayons. It is an awesome series, full of mystery and intrigue.

Here it gets spoilery. )
fayanora: Elle reading (Elle reading)
My friend [livejournal.com profile] kengr made a post on her LJ about the social effects of certain kinds of tech (in this case, audio and video recording tech) being cheap, being everywhere, and how that is changing society. So I made this comment:

There's a story by Cory Doctorow, I forget the title, that deals with what will happen when 3D printing technology (which already exists) gets good enough to print anything, and cheap enough to be everywhere. In that story, the government - in as last-ditch effort to save capitalism - tries to outlaw these cheap 3D printers, and does, but fails to enforce it well enough.

If I knew an appropriate to do it, I'd be sorely tempted to protest or counter-protest with a sign that says "CAPITALISM IS ALREADY DEAD, LIKE COMMUNISM. 3D PRINTING WILL SOON BE OLD ENOUGH TO DIG THE GRAVE."


~ ~ ~

My Mindeodean story universe features a society with an economy that was basically built on the fabber, AKA "fabrication machine," AKA a really sophisticated 3D printer. Mindeodean's economy wasn't always post-scarcity; when the colony was first set up, they had an economy that combined capitalism and communism (I *am* fond of that model). But then the fabbers came, and got cheap. A new economic model was needed. They finally settled on one where the businesses wouldn't worry so much about products as they did about raw materials and ideas. The economics of their system focus on getting the raw materials for fabbers, whether by digging for ores or via recycling services. (Though recycling services don't do as well in poor areas, where people do their own recycling through an addition to fabbers called reclaimators.) Mindeodean economy focuses on raw materials, designing product templates, and on services. The richest people either mine for rare materials, are especially good at designing new product templates, or offer services. Hospitals do pretty well, as certain safety standards are needed for medical fabbers, since medifabbers don't work the same way as regular fabbers (they grow what they need inside the machine instead of putting it together from element tubes). And there are still many health-related things that medifabbers simply cannot do.

Also, when fabbers and reclaimators became so common that the poorest of the poor had them, the rich were already starting to consider fabbed goods to be cheap crap for poor people. Some worked on smaller, more compact, and higher-class fabbers, while others started to demand hand-made goods. A whole industry erupted over the boom for hand-made goods, especially in the art of determining whether something was truly hand-made or if someone cheated by fabbing it in whole or in part. It takes a lot of work to make everything by hand without using fabbed materials, so the rich pay high prices for the genuine article. Which again, is similar to the economic system of another of my storyverses, the planet Traipah. Traipah doesn't have anything like the fabbers, but they *do* prize the arts and the crafts.
fayanora: Cyborg velociraptor by Djinni (Cyborg velociraptor by Djinni)
A Facebook friend of mine posted this link and the text, "you see? because it is eternal, there is no beginning. no beginning means no creation. no creation means no creator. no creator means no god. BOOYA."

My response:
This confirms my own hypothesis of multiple big bangs. In fact, who's to say it's limited to one big bang per universe at a time? Maybe somewhere infinitely far away there are other big bangs, making universes inside our own multiverse, and they're so far away we'll never live to see the radiation emanating from them. And add to this, multiple alternate multiverses each doing the same things.

This does kind of disprove Xian creationism, but then, what doesn't? As to there being no being at all that can be called God, I am not sure. True, there is no beginning and no end. Time as such is an illusion and so-called linear reality is also an illusion, there are so many dimensions to existence we can't begin to really hold in our minds the Big Picture. I happen to think Existence is alive and sentient. I call this God, but maybe I should find another term for it. So many people, whether they are believers or not, have bizarre preconceived notions connected to the word "God." Like that it is a giant magical human. But in truth, "God" would be millions of times more alien to us than we humans are to ants.

Perhaps I will abandon the term God for my name for the sentient living Existence, and use the name Kohraindehr instead.

But yeah, Kohraindehr is not creator. Kohraindehr is All. It is the Omniverse, everything infinitely tiny and infinitely huge. So yes, the idea of God as Creator is based on limited human perceptions. If we take the human perception of linear reality and try to apply it to the "god" scale, we find ourselves a logical paradox with no solution, in that: who created the Creator? If it always existed, why call it creator? Why differentiate it from its creation at all? After all, if Creator always existed, it could not logically create something out of nothing, and would have to use itself as material for the universe. So one way or another we are left with Kohraindehr.
Adding: "Kohraindehr" is one of my Deities, the Deity of The All. Her story in the "creation story" of the Yahgahn faith is interesting... the last to appear in the story, She was actually there from the beginning.

The logic of "no beginning, no end, time is an illusion and humans are severely limited" may induce headaches if you think too hard about it, but it makes sense to me in a way that a lot of atheist's models of existence don't. I realize many atheists tend to like to base their cosmological models on existing data, but personally I think that is so limiting.

I admit, I believe in multiple big bangs, I believe in alternate universes, and myriad more dimensions than humans can even imagine. Considering that my own experience of reality is strange and barely linear, it's no wonder. And I've been perceiving life all around me from a very young age, even getting "vibes" from inanimate objects (I still do), so I reject both Creationism's view that inanimate objects are things with no life, and I also reject any similar supposition from science. After all, if you look down at the atomic, subatomic, and quantum scales, even rocks are teeming with dancing waves of energy. Inanimate objects are alive, and are energy beings! Our organic life-as-we-know-it is just another layer of complexity to life. Quantum particles and waves dance together to make protons, neutrons, and electrons; these bits *also* dance together to make atoms. Atoms dance together as molecules, molecules work together to form cells, cells into multicellular objects. And all of this life together forms the great Kohraindehr.

Sahn-kia, Kohraindehr! Koh Soh La Kohrain!
fayanora: Elle Fanning by LJ user bitemeee (Elle Fanning)
I just read this article about conjoined twins joined at the head who apparently share brain tissue, and can share sensory data and thoughts. This reminds me of a short story I started once wherein an unusual set of Ah'Koi Bahnis twins are in two completely separate bodies, but a quirk of their telepathic Gift makes them technically of one mind, like mid-continuum multiples. In fact, I think I had it where not only did they share thoughts and sensory data, if one died, so would the other.
fayanora: Little Girl in rain By lj user never_end (Little Girl in rain By lj user never_end)
On a previous post about cloaks, [livejournal.com profile] tbuitenh said: "The best color for a cloak is invisibility."

And I said: "Indeed, but those haven't been perfected yet.

Gods, there was a time when that would have been a joke."

Because they ARE working on invisibility cloaks, and are making progress! You can actually see through these things already, though you can also tell there's something doing it because it's all green-tinted. Give it 10 years and they'll be selling fully functional invisibility suits to the military.
fayanora: Elle Fanning by LJ user bitemeee (Elle Fanning)
Primitive bacteria are eating the oil in the gulf.

It makes sense. Oil is bound to have accidentally spilled out in the past, even before human interference (how else would we have discovered it to begin with?) so it makes sense that nature has a solution to the problem of spilled oil.
fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
Today started out with [livejournal.com profile] kengr and I getting up early so we could go to this thing. I don't know what it was called, but it was like a dealer's room for kinky people, without the rest of a convention. Just $4 a head to get in, and well worth it. All kinds of stuff there. Kinky stuff under the cut )

After seeing everything there, we each had a slice of pizza for lunch and, because we were in the area, we went to OMSI because I'd never been there before. Went to OMSI's "science store" first, where I got a book called "Alien Hand Syndrome And Other Too-Weird-Not-To-Be-True Stories" by Alan Bellows, an agate slice (green), a VERY rough and low-quality emerald, a bag of magnetic stones (hemetite, I believe), and a gravity-tube noise-maker. One thing that would have been funny to have but was WAAAAAY too overpriced for me was a 2 gig flash drive that looks like someone plugged in a USB cord and cut the cord.

OMSI is a neat museum, a science museum for both adults and kids. My inner child was amused by a lot of it. Brooke ([livejournal.com profile] kengr) got tired and wanted to go; I told her she could go, but I wanted to stay, so I did. I saw almost all the stuff on the ground floor (I skipped a couple things so I could get upstairs faster), then went upstairs. I think the best stuff upstairs was the stuff about nanotechnology, and the animals. The displays about human reproduction were interesting, too; they had a display showing realistic models of human embryos and fetuses at various stages. There was also stuff about aging. Apparently, the reason people get stiffer and less flexible in their old age is because globs of sugar stick to the collagen proteins and restrict the flexibility of the collagens. I also found out what free radicals are; something to do with oxygen byproducts of metabolism made by the mitochondria. I also found out that there exists a nanopaste which can stop bleeding from major wounds, sealing up said wounds; that use of the material (made for another purpose) was discovered by accident. And there are shirts where wine will just slide off without staining. Oh, and I don't remember if it had been done yet or not, but there was one nano-scale thing that could let nerves heal where they couldn't before.

I finally left because my feet were killing me, but I didn't get to see everything. I will definetely be going back, possibly Monday or Tuesday, since if I went back tomorrow, my feet would be very angry with me.

Getting back was interesting. I had only a vague notion how I'd gotten there to begin with, since I'd just been following [livejournal.com profile] kengr, but I had enough of a notion to be wandering in the right direction; it helped that I'm somewhat familiar with the area. It took maybe 10 or 15 minutes to find a bus stop for the line 14, and I was stimming the whole way there by making noises with that gravity tube thing, which doubtless would have driven kengr insane if I'd done it around hir. :-)
But silly me, I got so tired of waiting for the 14 that when the 4 pulled up, I asked the driver if the 4 intersected the 71's route. It did, so I got on. I'd thought it would follow the 14's path, but no, it went... um... I don't know what direction it was, except that it was going away from Portland city center and turned right, going a few blocks that way til turning left and resuming its anti-citycenterward direction. It eventually intersected the 71's route at a familiar spot. I got off and waited.

I got really hungry waiting there, so I got out this thing I was carrying in case of such an emergency; a small can of chicken salad and a small package of crackers. The crackers were crumbs, and the can was dented. But I gave it several sniff tests, and it smelled fine, so I ate it. I inspected the can after finishing, and though it was dented, there were no holes. After that was when I discovered what running that paddle's texture across my palm could do.

I was about to give up on the 71, I'd been waiting so long, when it finally came and I was able to get back.

And that's all, I guess. Though I will add that I am very glad I took my walking stick with me, as it helped me take some of the load off my feet.
fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
Apparently, there are two kinds of male dung beetles, the ones with big horns, and ones with no horns. How is this? Because while the horned males are fighting, the hornless males sneak into the burrows and sex up the females. And the hornless males have giant bug testicles. Bigger than the bug testicles of the males with giant horns.

This has interesting implications for worldbuilding. I talked some weeks ago about species with vast differences between the genders, but this brings to mind a neat thought: what if there were an alien species where males and females look very dissimilar, AND there are two different kinds of males.

(I wish I could remember the phrase that means "when there are extreme physical differences between the genders.")
fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
Study claims pesticides to blame for ADHD. I'm highly suspicious of this, since there are pesticides on every conventionally grown vegetable and fruit, I don't trust food companies to wash off veggies and fruits before processing and/or canning them, and I think it smells a bit too similar to the whole "vaccines cause autism" BS. It's looking like another case where so many people are exposed to so much of this stuff that it's being used as a convenient scapegoat.

Personally, I think the rise of ADHD and ADD is entirely artificial; part of the rise is better diagnosis than they had in the past, and the rest of it is people who are crappy parents over-medicating their children because they can't admit to themselves that they don't have the personality for raising children, aided and abetted by greedy doctors who are way too quick to diagnose people with things so they can prescribe expensive medications.

Congratulations: we're turning into Ferengi.
fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
It occurs to me that we're on the cusp of a new industrial revolution. Right now, 3D printers are expensive and only print plastics. But medical 3D printers are being developed as well, and the eventual outcome of the regular 3D printers will be something akin to Star Trek's replicators, and the physical object version of what's happening now with music, movies, and e-books. Either the economy will collapse while we all try to figure out how to reorganize things under this new technology, or companies will hoard the 3D printers for themselves and sell the products, or companies will start pushing to copyright their products. Now matter how things go down, this is gonna be HUGE. Like, "whole chapter or more in your history textbooks" huge. There will be tests on it in future history classes.

In fact, I think Cory Doctorow wrote a short story about this subject.
fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
Asperger's officially placed in autism spectrum: http://is.gd/8sDm4
fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
Okay, I just had a brainwave and I wanted to run it by y'all. Well first of all, I should note that what gave me the idea was that I had Mindeodean adopt Michio Kaku's idea of superconductors under the streets to allow for a sort of maglev kind of thing (these are high-temp superconductors; they operate at the temperature of liquid nitrogen)1, since superconductors have a repulsive magnetic force. Mindeodean uses metamaterials to enhance this repulsive effect. I got to thinking about other possibilities of ways to use superconductors that way, and one possibility that came up was that I wondered if it might be possible to create a magnetic "laser". I was going to go with "maser," but that term is already taken. But yeah, the idea is a focused, directed beam of magnetism. It could have many interesting applications if possible.

1 = They double as the power grid.

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