Nov 23, 2017 7:55 AM
Miscellaneous world facts
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I've been alluding to what happened on Earth a lot, so I should really just say it. The short version is that a supermajority of the deities got upset about how transhumanity was making Earth ~*~unaesthetic~*~ and also making it hard to track humans via souls and some other stuff. So they made technology (for a rather weird at the edges and sometimes incoherent definition of the term) stop working on Earth's surface. More and more things become functional as you approach low earth orbit.

I managed to give people a week's notice on this. It was necessary but not sufficient.

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At least you had a week, without that I'd expect that any uploads on the surface would have died. It sounds like your transition to transhumanism went better than ours, did biotech just not turn as readily to engineering bioweapons in your world?

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I know (an) Earth, but last I checked in on it it didn't have any deities and I don't think there was much in the way of transhumanity. When did that happen?

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The first bioweapon plagues started being released in 2030 for us.

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Things which may have made a difference in my timeline:

  • The prevalence of cortical stacks (constantly-running built-in backup systems) made plagues more of an inconvenience to many, similar to destroying cars or something.
  • Popularity of a wide variety of morphs increased biodiversity and made it harder to get everyone with the same disease.
  • Everything about the selkies just screamed "probably going to commit bioterror", making people more likely to prepare for it.
  • There are some immune system improvements and anti-contagion measures that can be given to people in baseline bodies via retrovirus.

I don't have the best records of things prior to my waking up easily at hand, but I could do more research if you'd like.

The big trend in terrorism around then was cruder versions of what we'd now call a "basilisk hack". They appealed both to the people interested in deaths, since such attacks could sometimes damage cortical stack data too, and to the people interested in avoiding deaths, because it was possible to (rather crudely, at the time) affect behavior with them.

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Interesting, so you developed uploading and/or brain computer interfaces before the biotech revolution came through. Also, it sounds like people applied your bio-engineering to macroscopic life first.

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What is "transhumanity"?

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transhumanity is a term used by some human cultures to refer to a point in technological development when we can move beyond the limits of our biological bodies by either discarding or heavily customizing them. This tends to be most relevant in universes without a soul or similar magical record of your mind.

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What about Dwarves or Elves?

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I assume from your posts that your world has multiple sentient species. This is not the case on my world, or at least not multiple species that developed before the onset of transhumanism and some degree of diversification in humanity to the point that some claim to be different species.

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You have humans but not Elves or Dwarves. That's...weird. Humans are the youngest of the three races.

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Interesting, did species evolve on your planet or were they created? Evolution if you're unfamiliar with the term is a process by which entities are competing for scarce resources and only those most successful at obtaining resources are able to survive to give birth to young who themselves will survive. After successive generations this tends to result in steadily increasing changes to the nature of the entities which are competing.

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We were created. If the gods hadn't made us they might be less pissy about us wanting to live somewhere else. So evolution is like breeding domestic animals, but with survival instead of someone liking a trait better?

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Yes, that is a fair summary, it also takes place over much longer timescales. I am uncertain how to establish a shared understanding of time to communicate the length more precisely. Do you have an understanding of radioactivity? We could assume that the halflives of specific isotopes are similar in our respective worlds and work from that.

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Uhhhh I don't know if we do but I don't, I am, like, the exact opposite of a science person. I can ask some people and get back to you?

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According to humans one second is the duration of 9192631770 cycles of radiation corresponding to the transition between two energy levels of the caesium-133 atom. Does that match the definition used by the others with contact with humans on this forum?

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I don't know what radiation, cycles of radiation, energy levels, caesium, caesium-133, or an atom are, and neither do any of the dozen or so humans I asked.

I do understand the numbers 9,192,631,770 and 133; and I am aware of the concept of cycles generally, such as the cycle of day and night, or the cycle of the seasons; but without appropriate context this is probably not very helpful. However, nine billion of even the shortest period of time that could plausibly be measured and counted would be a fairly long unit of time, probably only useful for measuring historical or geological events.

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Alright, Sapphire seems to be using a definition of seconds used by humans on my world starting in 1967 there have been subsequent attempts to refine it but those are only relevant for really precise scientific purposes.

Matter in at least mine and Sapphire's world is mostly made of three particles, protons, neutrons and electrons. These three particles in various portions make up different types of atoms which are called elements. Each atom has a number of protons and a weight. Cesium-133 is a type of atom with 55 protons and electrons and 78 neutrons.

In an atom the protons and neutrons are clumped together in an structure called the nucleus with the electrons being positioned around the nucleus in very specific ways that are determined by very deep and complicated laws of reality. When atoms are excited by being hit by light their electrons can move to a different set of positions for a very very tiny amount of time before they emit light and go back to where they were. The time period between being hit by light and emitting it back is called a radiation cycle.

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One of the humans with whom I have been conferring tells me that some ancient philosophers believed the universe must be made of discrete particles, but that their reasoning relied on fallacious reasoning about what we would now call the mathematics of limits.

I am not aware of anyone having measured any delays in any optical phenomena.

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Yeah... so the speed of light is really really fast. Light travels [299 792 458 meters] in [one second].

Our reasoning for believing that atoms, protons, electrons, and neutrons exist rests on centuries of experiments and tests. These theories allow us to travel to the stars and cure diseases and create explosions that destroy everything within [35 000 meters]. We aren't just making armchair guesses.

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It is not clear to me how one might go about measuring such an extraordinary speed, but I will pass this on to the natural philosophers of my acquaintance.

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In the days before modern scientific equipment the speed of light was measured with some accuracy by examining the timing of events in the relative motion of other bodies within our solar system, specifically the orbit of the moons around a gas giant planet called Jupiter.

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How would I know if my world contained planets?

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If your world has a horizon, and you live near an ocean or a large body of water on which boats travel, you can watch those boat moving towards and away from you. If the top parts of the ship are visible further away than the bottom part of the ship that indicates that you live on a planet. More generally, if the sun sets at different times in different places that also indicates you might be living on a planet.

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This knowledge isn't personally applicable, but I appreciate your response.

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My world is made of squares. I have come to believe this is unusual through mentions of 'planets'.

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