D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles


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Post April 21, 2011, 09:53:47 PM

D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

Too bad I can't get past the similarities between this and "2001: A Space Odyssey." The story is well thought out, though, and well-written.

Is this the first part of a serial? It easily could work that way.
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Post April 22, 2011, 11:47:20 AM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

It wasn't (I don't think) a serial, but the author had a sort of epilogue consisting of 'clippings' from the newspaper-equivalent of the liberated (i.e., conscious) colonists which was ruthlessly excised by a certain editor (not McCamy...). Keeping in mind that D.A.V.E. had deliberately avoided reviving crew / passengers with expertise like Simon's that could pose a threat to the status quo, what remained was a lot of very smart and competent people. Faced with a unique situation, they made remarkable progress in a number of fields, and even believed that they had the beginnings of a way home.

Want to see this storyline continued? Comment, comment, comment!
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Post April 22, 2011, 07:10:50 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

Robert_Moriyama wrote:It wasn't (I don't think) a serial, but the author had a sort of epilogue consisting of 'clippings' from the newspaper-equivalent of the liberated (i.e., conscious) colonists which was ruthlessly excised by a certain editor (not McCamy...). Keeping in mind that D.A.V.E. had deliberately avoided reviving crew / passengers with expertise like Simon's that could pose a threat to the status quo, what remained was a lot of very smart and competent people. Faced with a unique situation, they made remarkable progress in a number of fields, and even believed that they had the beginnings of a way home.

Want to see this storyline continued? Comment, comment, comment!

Sounds like it could be brilliant. I'd like to see it.
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Post April 23, 2011, 05:44:25 AM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

The similarity to HAL 9000 in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ was kind of intentional, although I did wonder at times if I'd been a bit heavy handed with it! It also has similarities to the AI, V.I.K.I, in the film ‘I Robot’. I just love the idea of something with complete control over our lives losing the plot in such a bizarre way...

It wasn’t initially meant to be part of a series, but I have started writing down some ideas for a story where the crew return to Earth 200,000 years after they left. The people now inhabiting the planet have changed/evolved drastically, but perhaps inevitably, through integration with D.A.V.E. technology.

Having said that, you’ve got me thinking about a story that could come first, maybe about the struggle to actually get back to Earth. As Robert said, I sort of did this with Newspaper excerpts on the original version, but this could be expanded to include all the dangers the journey would pose. I’ve had this story knocking about in my imagination for years so I’m sure I could write a few more if I thought about it!

Thanks for reading and commenting!
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Post April 23, 2011, 12:58:06 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

iLucifer: the new damnation app for your iPhone 4, available exclusively through iTunes.

(Don't be fooled by cheap Android-based knock-offs. They will trap your soul in chains of cold, mechanical logic, but you will miss the full hellfire experience!)

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Post April 24, 2011, 02:27:18 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

Robert_Moriyama wrote:iLucifer: the new damnation app for your iPhone 4, available exclusively through iTunes.

(Don't be fooled by cheap Android-based knock-offs. They will trap your soul in chains of cold, mechanical logic, but you will miss the full hellfire experience!)

Steve (I didn't sell my soul, I just licensed it) Jobs


Yup, me too. Despite any misconceptions the name might suggest, I’m not actually the Devil. I just signed an online advertising agreement - a bit of promotion for him and eternal youth for me - Job done.

‘I Lucifer’ - also a cracking read by Glen Duncan.
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Post May 02, 2011, 03:57:43 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

I liked a lot about this story. The mix between infodump and expository is well balanced. There is a lot of worldbuilding going on in this one.

It's a rather classic tale of one person against a vastly superior opponent, and it kept me glued to the screen

Either some of the science is a little flaky, or DAVE is lying about a lot of things.

For instance:

How did Simon manage to live to be over 2191 years old? (Stasis slows you to where 50 years is six months age--or 1%--so 219,111 years is still twenty lifetimes in perfectly-functioning stasis). This shouldn't be possible under Simon's knowledge of the system, so DAVE is lying about how long since the accident.

"I am still able to pick up a residual heat signature but we visually lost contact with the Milky Way a long time ago."


What happened to the stars we know about? They're maybe 200,000 light years outside the Milky Way( or less, depending on speed), and they've lost visual with every star and galaxy? Ain't they got a rearview mirror? We can see other galaxies out the wazoo, (some with the naked eye through our atmosphere) and plenty in all directions with a telescope. The sky is full of stars at that distance from the galaxy. Not to mention the big whoppin' galaxy dead astern, named after the famous candy bar.

So what is DAVE really doing? The sunshields are down. This part was never resolved. (Was the resolution edited out?)

The two lead ships running into each other because one got a hole in it is silly. We don't even fly airplanes that close. In space, these things would have been light minutes apart, at the closest. The explanation of what happened to the other ships is obviously a lie. DAVE probably destroyed them, somehow.

I agree that this story is part of a larger work. But I imagine that the next episode will be.

The Revenge of Crazy D.A.V.E.

Bill Wolfe
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Post May 03, 2011, 05:15:34 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

Bill_Wolfe wrote:I liked a lot about this story. The mix between infodump and expository is well balanced. There is a lot of worldbuilding going on in this one.

It's a rather classic tale of one person against a vastly superior opponent, and it kept me glued to the screen

Either some of the science is a little flaky, or DAVE is lying about a lot of things.

For instance:

How did Simon manage to live to be over 2191 years old? (Stasis slows you to where 50 years is six months age--or 1%--so 219,111 years is still twenty lifetimes in perfectly-functioning stasis). This shouldn't be possible under Simon's knowledge of the system, so DAVE is lying about how long since the accident.

"I am still able to pick up a residual heat signature but we visually lost contact with the Milky Way a long time ago."


What happened to the stars we know about? They're maybe 200,000 light years outside the Milky Way( or less, depending on speed), and they've lost visual with every star and galaxy? Ain't they got a rearview mirror? We can see other galaxies out the wazoo, (some with the naked eye through our atmosphere) and plenty in all directions with a telescope. The sky is full of stars at that distance from the galaxy. Not to mention the big whoppin' galaxy dead astern, named after the famous candy bar.

So what is DAVE really doing? The sunshields are down. This part was never resolved. (Was the resolution edited out?)

The two lead ships running into each other because one got a hole in it is silly. We don't even fly airplanes that close. In space, these things would have been light minutes apart, at the closest. The explanation of what happened to the other ships is obviously a lie. DAVE probably destroyed them, somehow.

I agree that this story is part of a larger work. But I imagine that the next episode will be.

The Revenge of Crazy D.A.V.E.

Bill Wolfe


Hi Bill,

Grrrr, I knew it was only a matter of time before someone noticed.

I suppose the first thing to mention is that the story was never intended to be ‘hard SF’ I bent the physics to fit the story in several cases. I can tell you the reasons behind my thinking, but I don’t claim that the science is necessarily correct.

Regarding Simon’s 200,000 year stint in stasis - When he awoke he was seriously damaged and had to undergo four days of surgery to repair his body. This is due to the exceptionally long time he had spent hibernating. So his body aged 1% of 200,000 years but he was still kept alive by the magic of stasis technology.

Your second point regarding the lack of stars is pretty glaring but also (in my mind) very important to the atmosphere of the story. It was supposed to add to the desolation and hopelessness he must have felt. It’s supposed to signify how faraway they are from civilisation, from home.

Your last point about the ships in formation is another area where the future technology has become so reliable that ships are able to travel this close at high speeds. Accidents are so unlikely that there is no need for additional precautions. Agreed, a bit flaky but it fits that the AI minds wouldn’t be able to react at such short distances.

Bottom line, I reckon I could iron out the fantasy areas but the story would need to be a fair bit longer.

-- And BTW, thanks for your nice comments!
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Post May 03, 2011, 10:22:40 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

In Dean's original manuscript, he described the travel mode for the three-ship fleet as follows (paraphrasing some expository text that I butchered -- er, surgically excised):

Each ship (with its "hammerhead" providing protection from interstellar debris as the ships accelerate) takes lead position in turn. The forward surface of the hammerhead sustains damage, despite electromagnetic shielding, and eventually requires repairs. At that point, the fleet stops accelerating and the lead ship drops back into trailing position so those repairs can be made by the ship's maintenance robots. Lather, rinse, repeat...

This procedure means that the ships will periodically close on each other and even pass each other, so it is NOT impossible that they might collide.

If the accident occurred while the ships were in transition (say the lead ship was maneuvering and reducing its acceleration in preparation to drop back), then the particle that struck (at a measurable percentage of lightspeed) could have knocked it off course and disrupted what should have been an orderly maneuver... The second ship would not have stopped accelerating, since it was overtaking the lead ship in order to assume lead position. The damage to the lead ship disrupts its engine and maneuvering thrusters enough to both slow it down (relatively speaking) more than expected and leave it in the path of the second ship. These ships are HUGE, and lateral thrust to shift one away from its line of travel takes time -- so much so that only the third ship has enough lateral delta v to get clear of the others.

Now, the third ship (the one with Simon Larry on board) is traveling without the benefit of occasional respite from the continuous barrage of interstellar dust and gas on its hammerhead... It was designed to take a lot of damage to the outer shell (like the Defiant's 'ablative armor'), but over time, with inadequate repairs, things would start to affect the ship's systems. Little bursts of EM and heat from every particle that makes it past the electromagnetic field (or that strikes while the shield is down -- even when not accelerating, they are still moving pretty fast relative to the ambient not-quite-vacuum) bleed through, damaging electronics...

It's enough to drive a D.A.V.E. crazy.
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Post May 03, 2011, 11:55:51 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

Robert_Moriyama wrote:In Dean's original manuscript, he described the travel mode for the three-ship fleet as follows (paraphrasing some expository text that I butchered -- er, surgically excised):

Each ship (with its "hammerhead" providing protection from interstellar debris as the ships accelerate) takes lead position in turn. The forward surface of the hammerhead sustains damage, despite electromagnetic shielding, and eventually requires repairs. At that point, the fleet stops accelerating and the lead ship drops back into trailing position so those repairs can be made by the ship's maintenance robots. Lather, rinse, repeat...


Sorry Robert,

Decent try. But we're still Newtonian here, not quantum.

The impact of the object didn't move the ship, though possibly the engines malfunctioned to the point where they accelerated at an oblique angle, of which there is a 360--1 chance that they wouldn't even head toward a passing ship. . .


I don't care if it cut the ship in half. The two sections wouldn't veer-off at any kind of angle that a trailing ship's AI couldn't handle. A miss is as good as a mile, in this case. Don't forget that the impact of this thing is gone in less than a picosecond. Plenty of energy, no duration.

Nice theory, lousy in the practical. There would be no 'wake' from this kind of interstellar dust damage, unless they were nose-to-tail. And even then a veering would still take the damaged ship out of harm's way.

So DAVE is lying to Simon. Or the simple dynamics of the science is wrong.


What's more likely?

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Post May 04, 2011, 12:46:07 AM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

iLucifer wrote:Regarding Simon’s 200,000 year stint in stasis - When he awoke he was seriously damaged and had to undergo four days of surgery to repair his body. This is due to the exceptionally long time he had spent hibernating. So his body aged 1% of 200,000 years but he was still kept alive by the magic of stasis technology.


Okay, but Simon only has DAVE's word that so much time has passed. Which is more likely? That DAVE is lying or that Simon lived to be over 2000 years old, without any kind of memory of multiple revivals, rebuilding, and then re-stasising (if that's a word.)

You did an excellent job describing what it was like to be revived. It's painful, slow, and the subject is aware through most of it. There is no evidence that DAVE can edit memories. . .

As a reader, I have to trust the narrator to be honest. So where does that leave me? I must then assume that the other character is lying.




iLucifer wrote:Your second point regarding the lack of stars is pretty glaring but also (in my mind) very important to the atmosphere of the story. It was supposed to add to the desolation and hopelessness he must have felt. It’s supposed to signify how faraway they are from civilisation, from home.


Look, at less-than-or-equal-to 200k light-years from the Milky Way, the sky IS full of stars. Lots to stern, but plenty in all directions. It's like saying someone looked at a clear night's sky and saw naught but darkness. . . .only without any explanation.

Sorry, it doesn't work. You're re-writing reality without a good reason. It makes your reader wonder what's really going on. As Doyle said. . . .

As an author, would you write that people with normal vision couldn't see anything at all when they looked out their window on a clear, sunny day? Well, that's what you just did.

If nothing else, you'd have to explain why not.

Wouldn't you?


iLucifer wrote:Bottom line, I reckon I could iron out the fantasy areas but the story would need to be a fair bit longer.

-- And BTW, thanks for your nice comments!


Dean,

I liked the story. I just had to stop for a while and figure-out what was going on.

Taking the reader 'out of the story' hurts, but doesn't kill it. I'm used to it, I'm a Geek, after all.

Your craftsmanship is excellent, really. There are (almost) no typos, and you've obviously read, re-read and edited the bejeezus out of this piece, and it shows.

You crafted this work to say what you wanted it to say. It is clear, crisp and quite professionally built, from the bottom, up.

Real quality work.

If it weren't any good, I wouldn't spend this much time and effort on it.

It's a wonderful story.

The whole point of this kind of feedback is to make the next one better.

Do the arithmetic. Make it work, next time.

It won't hurt the story to get stuff right.

Bill
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Post May 04, 2011, 09:38:40 AM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

Bill

I don't think I explained Dean's concept well enough. The rotation of ships through the lead position over time requires that they periodically close the distance from whatever it normally may be to less than zero (in the sense that the trailing ships must pass the current lead ship). If the timing of an accident that could cause a city-sized ship to rotate relative to the direction of travel was bad enough, it could occur when the lead ship was actually 'beside' the second ship.

Now, one might wonder why they would allow the ships to have lateral separations not much greater than a shiplength during this kind of maneuver, but I would speculate that they would minimize the lateral movement (away from the vector of travel) to conserve resources (since they would have to reverse the lateral displacement to pull into the trailing position).

I don't recall 'wake' effects coming into the discussion. The overall concept simply allowed the trailing ships to be in the 'shadow' cast by the lead ship's hammerhead most of the time -- a zone with much lower particle density than would be striking the lead ship. (This would be the opposite of a 'wake' -- more like the partial vacuum behind a large vehicle exploited by some drivers to reduce fuel consumption ('drafting').)
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Post May 05, 2011, 03:56:34 AM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

Dean,

I liked the story. I just had to stop for a while and figure-out what was going on.

Taking the reader 'out of the story' hurts, but doesn't kill it. I'm used to it, I'm a Geek, after all.

Your craftsmanship is excellent, really. There are (almost) no typos, and you've obviously read, re-read and edited the bejeezus out of this piece, and it shows.

You crafted this work to say what you wanted it to say. It is clear, crisp and quite professionally built, from the bottom, up.

Real quality work.

If it weren't any good, I wouldn't spend this much time and effort on it.

It's a wonderful story.

The whole point of this kind of feedback is to make the next one better.

Do the arithmetic. Make it work, next time.

It won't hurt the story to get stuff right.

Bill[/quote]

Thanks for your comments Bill, they are very encouraging. This was my first published story, in fact it was just the third story I ever wrote (the first two are rubbish), so I need to understand what people liked and disliked about DAVE, regardless of my feelings.

It might be a few weeks before I get the chance to think about the next chapter, we had a baby daughter on Tuesday!! Now to endure the torture of sleepless nights again...
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Post May 05, 2011, 10:23:38 AM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

Robert_Moriyama wrote:I don't think I explained Dean's concept well enough. . . . it could occur when the lead ship was actually 'beside' the second ship.


Okay Robert, if you really want to try and outGeek me, feel free.

First of all, I didn’t say it was impossible, only silly. Space is really really big, and there is plenty of room for this kind of maneuvering, without doing something stupid. We have better sense now, and the three DAVEs would have, as well. No visible stars at <200k light years from the Milky Way, is impossible. So is someone living over 2000 years (at least without some other explanation. . .)

The accident, as described, was just so plain unlikely to the point that it was ridiculous.

My point is that the story lacked verisimilitude because too much detail was included. (Are you reading this, Dean?)

There are a hundred ways to wreck two massive space ships in such a way that it’s at least believable. This wasn’t one of them. Not from a physics perspective, but from a simple safety standpoint.


If the stasis chambers just slowed aging down to 'almost nothing', instead of just under 99%, then the timeline in the story might make sense.

The thing with the stars, well, maybe DAVE could just raise the sunshield and Simon could gasp, seeing our Milky Way galaxy spread-out behind him, tens of thousands of tiny-looking galaxies in every direction. Same effect, really.


Much of my critique is satire, by the way. DAVE is an unreliable source of information. So if the information doesn’t make sense, we can either assume that the author got it wrong, or that we are being given hints that there is more going on than seems to be the case.

Writing is simple, in many ways. Put the words on the page that say WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO. Not something else.

Robert_Moriyama wrote:I don't recall 'wake' effects coming into the discussion. . . . . -- a zone with much lower particle density than would be striking the lead ship. (This would be the opposite of a 'wake' -- more like the partial vacuum behind a large vehicle exploited by some drivers to reduce fuel consumption ('drafting').)


Drafting, slipstreaming, aerodynamic drag reduction, vortex maximization, are all based on fluid dynamics, and are all under the generic heading of ‘wake effects’. Ever been waterskiing? If the lake is choppy, the water behind the boat is smoother because of the wake effect. Same principle.

Wiki on ‘Drafting.’ : “The low-pressure wake behind a group's leading car reduces the aerodynamic resistance on the front of the trailing car, allowing the second car to pull closer. As the second car nears the first, it pushes high-pressure air forward so less fast-moving air hits the lead car's spoiler. The result is less drag for both cars, allowing faster speeds.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drafting_(aerodynamics))

I can be outGeeked, but you’ll have to try harder than that.

Bill
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Post May 05, 2011, 01:06:03 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

(Sigh)

Let me put it this way: you have a choice of riding your motorcycle with the visor on your helmet open (nothing in front of you along the direction of travel) or closed (another bike with its long axis almost perfectly aligned with yours). Obviously, you get fewer bugs in your teeth with the visor closed. Assuming that interstellar space has a very low particle density, what particles there are should NOT behave like a fluid, so the hammerhead of the first ship will sweep most of what particles there are out of the way of the ship behind, and this rectangular tunnel of decreased particle density will NOT completely collapse for some time. (Of course, there may be lateral movement of particles due to other factors, but the speed of this movement relative to the ships' speed would be very small.) In this sense, each ship would leave a 'wake' (the aforementioned 'tunnel' of reduced particle density).

And again -- the impact of a small particle at a measurable percentage of lightspeed might not knock the ship off course, but I still think it could disrupt navigation during the 'changing of the guard' enough to shift the hammerhead of the braking lead ship into the path of the following ship. Unlikely? Yes. That's precisely why the D.A.V.E.s did not have preprogrammed responses for the situation. Suppose the impact and radiation from that tiny object momentarily flummoxed the sensors that provided inputs to the braking ship's navigational routines, triggering a preprogrammed collision-avoidance protocol. As you say, that would only have a 1 in 360 (actually much less than that, since fractions of a degree are as valid for steering as whole degrees) chance of shifting the ship back into the path of the second ship. No matter how smart the D.A.V.E.s might be, it would take a tiny bit longer to determine the best action to take, extended a tiny bit more by the decision to warn the third ship, while good old inertia kept closing the distance...

It was highly unlikely that the Titanic would encounter an iceberg and not respond quickly enough to avoid a collision. It was highly unlikely that the damage would just happen to overwhelm the measures designed into the Titanic to prevent the compartment-to-compartment flooding that actually occurred. It was highly unlikely that a bit of debris would damage the external fuel tank on a space shuttle, causing it to vent combustible gases during takeoff...

But shit happens. (It was highly unlikely that Sarah Palin would be selected as a running mate by any sane politician...)

(Next Bill will be saying that he can't believe that a proton torpedo with high forward velocity would make a nice right-angle turn when it reached an exhaust port so it could follow a shaft all the way to the power core of the Death Star! Off with 'is 'ead!)
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Post May 05, 2011, 01:21:25 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

Robert_Moriyama wrote:(It was highly unlikely that Sarah Palin would be selected as a running mate by any sane politician...)

Sarah Palin and the tea party! How about a heightened reality, fantasy piece titled, "Sarah in Wonderland" with Karl Rove as the Mad Hatter and all the right wingers sit down for a tea party and get small WITHOUT taking anything!

Certainly worthy of a Saturday Night Live skit!
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Post May 05, 2011, 03:20:20 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

Robert_Moriyama wrote:Assuming that interstellar space has a very low particle density, what particles there are should NOT behave like a fluid, so the hammerhead of the first ship will sweep most of what particles there are out of the way of the ship behind, and this rectangular tunnel of decreased particle density will NOT completely collapse for some time. (Of course, there may be lateral movement of particles due to other factors, but the speed of this movement relative to the ships' speed would be very small.) In this sense, each ship would leave a 'wake' (the aforementioned 'tunnel' of reduced particle density).


You sigh, I sigh, we all sigh for QT-Pi.

http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0802/0802.3787v1.pdf

Very cool graphic depicting the relative directions of the very fast moving interstellar material (gas and dust) in our local snippet of the galaxy. Note that this stuff is ‘blowing’ in many directions at once.

How much drafting can you do in a 50 m.p.h. cross wind?

Answer, none.

Your theory works fine if the dust is just sitting there, stock-still in space, or if you’re heading directly into the direction of the local eddy or ‘current.’ But interstellar dust and gas are in constant movement, measured to up to 26 km/s, theoretically much more. What the lead ship ‘clears’ is replaced almost immediately for the ship behind it.

These ships, because they were heading toward a relatively fixed goal, probably got as much damage from the rear as they did any other direction, with only slightly more on the ‘hammerhead.’

Don’t forget how this started:
Bill_Wolfe wrote: There would be no 'wake' from this kind of interstellar dust damage, unless they were nose-to-tail.


"Slipstreaming" would do little good, and sure would be no reason to place to ships less than a light minute or two, apart as they 'passed.'

Robert_Moriyama wrote:It was highly unlikely that Sarah Palin would be selected as a running mate by any sane politician...

McCain didn’t ‘choose’ her, the RNC did. I know plenty of repubmorns who thought McCain was way too liberal. They wanted to ‘balance’ the ticket with somebody a lot further to the Right. I bet they wish they hadn’t. . .

Again, the physics of the collision is possible, but that they would ever put these ships so close that one could veer into the other is just silly. And AI’s react much faster than people.

Robert_Moriyama wrote: (Next Bill will be saying that he can't believe that a proton torpedo with high forward velocity would make a nice right-angle turn when it reached an exhaust port so it could follow a shaft all the way to the power core of the Death Star! Off with 'is 'ead!)


Naw, that’s easy. Proton Torpedoes are made of Looksgoodicus Onascreenium.

That stuff can do anything.

Bill Wolfe
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Post May 05, 2011, 04:22:30 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

Gee, I dunno -- 26 km/s versus (say) 1% of light speed = 3000 km/s is a 1:115 ratio. (I am assuming that the ships accelerate VERY SLOWLY and only stop accelerating or reduce their acceleration (the lead ship) when they are doing their positional swap.) The ships don't stop relative to any 'fixed' reference point, even when they are performing the lead-swapping maneuver -- they just vary their relative velocities. Hence the effective density of particles 'in front' of the lead ship would be MUCH higher than to the rear or to the sides.

Sure, if you drive through a sandstorm (with a much higher particle density than almost anywhere in space), you will get sand in your shorts no matter which way you go. But it will feel like more is hitting you in the face (and front windshield) if your speed is high relative to the wind speed. Arguing that damage to the rear of the ship would be the same as to the front is just silly.

Here's an analogy: if snow is falling on a day with little wind, driving in ANY direction will tend to make snow accumulate on the front of the car faster than on the sides or rear. And the front of a trailer will accumulate a lot less snow than the tractor pulling it. Since you note that things should still be behaving in a Newtonian way (no mention of time dilation effects, etc.), this should apply even with the speeds multiplied by umpty-jillion.
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Post May 05, 2011, 06:25:08 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

Robert_Moriyama wrote:Gee, I dunno -- 26 km/s versus (say) 1% of light speed = 3000 km/s is a 1:115 ratio.

Robert,

You made my point, perfectly, thank you.

If the second ship is only 1 second behind the first, then 26 km (width) of the 'wake' is just as densely populated with dust and gas (if the major flow is perpendicular) from the direction of the major current after one second.

The 'shadow' closes from all directions at 26 km/sec, it's just heavier in the direction of the local 'current.'

If the ship's 'hammerhead' was 13 km in diameter (shaped more like an umbrella, than a hammer), the gap would be mostly populated in a quarter of a second, and completely populated in half a second and it would be as if the first ship had never gone through.

These ships would still have to be 'nose to tail' to make it work. Hope they don't use reaction mass. . .

How big do you think these things are? Think in the number of seconds behind, each ship must be. Drafting doesn't work in space, which was simply a minor ancillary point I was making that has turned into a discussion most people got bored with, long ago.

Wanna' continue this by PM?

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Post May 05, 2011, 07:06:47 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

Bill_Wolfe wrote:Wanna' continue this by PM?

Bill


No!


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Post May 05, 2011, 07:56:21 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

Bill_Wolfe wrote:
Robert_Moriyama wrote:Gee, I dunno -- 26 km/s versus (say) 1% of light speed = 3000 km/s is a 1:115 ratio.

Robert,

You made my point, perfectly, thank you.

If the second ship is only 1 second behind the first, then 26 km (width) of the 'wake' is just as densely populated with dust and gas (if the major flow is perpendicular) from the direction of the major current after one second.

The 'shadow' closes from all directions at 26 km/sec, it's just heavier in the direction of the local 'current.'

If the ship's 'hammerhead' was 13 km in diameter (shaped more like an umbrella, than a hammer), the gap would be mostly populated in a quarter of a second, and completely populated in half a second and it would be as if the first ship had never gone through.

These ships would still have to be 'nose to tail' to make it work. Hope they don't use reaction mass. . .

How big do you think these things are? Think in the number of seconds behind, each ship must be. Drafting doesn't work in space, which was simply a minor ancillary point I was making that has turned into a discussion most people got bored with, long ago.

Wanna' continue this by PM?

Bill


Okay, I'm curious -- by what mechanism would dust converge from all directions at the same speed? If the ships were in atmosphere rather than in a vacuum better than anything we can produce on Earth, Brownian motion of the gas molecules would jitter them into the mostly-vacant space. But the particles can't all be moving toward the axis of travel of the three ships -- presumably they have some directional bias. For the particles to CONVERGE, some of them would actually have to reverse direction. If the ships were travelling directly into the local flow of particles, which must be at least possible, what would drive them inward in the absence of surrounding pressure? If you are assuming that simple Brownian motion would cause them to converge, surely there would be (again) a directional bias based on the prevailing local direction of motion...

'c' = 300,000 km /second. 1% of 'c' = 3 km / second (and we don't know if the ships are travelling faster than 1% 'c', after a very long time under acceleration). Either the particles are moving in one direction, in which case they would not converge on the ship uniformly from all directions as you seem to be saying, or they were moving from all directions toward the axis of travel BEFORE a ship punched through -- which would be a very interesting phenomenon, likely leading to spontaneous formation of planets and star from all that STUFF rushing in from all directions. Or are you assuming that the ship is made of some incredibly dense material that attracts local matter gravitationally regardless of its previous motion, or that its speed is so high that its relativistic mass makes it behave like a long, skinny black hole? :?:

I repeat that it would be impossible for the ships to sustain as much damage FROM THE REAR as from the front. If the local currents in the extremely low-density (relative to one atmosphere of pressure) are traveling at 26 km / s, or even 'theoretically much faster', they are still a lot slower than a ship moving at 1% c or faster. If they are converging from the sides, driven by gravity or Brownian motion or electromagnetic pressure, they won't hit in nearly the same numbers or with the same relative velocity as those striking the front of the ship. If this is not the case, prove it! Saying that particles are blowing in all directions is fine on a large scale, but what would make them do so locally?
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Post May 05, 2011, 08:32:53 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

I have to read this story, just because of the debate its spawned :lol:
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Post May 06, 2011, 08:15:59 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

Shall we try 3,000 km/sec for 1%c?
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Post May 07, 2011, 02:02:38 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

Great story. It was really creepy, reminded me of that film "Pandorum" at times (I've never seen "2001: A Space Odyssey", so any similarities are largely lost on me, other then knowing the villain was an evil computer named HAL). The only thing I thought cheesy was the evil laughter; I don't mean to offend, but it seemed out of place in a rather serious story. I can also see what people mean by lack of stars, wouldn't you still see the lights of all the galaxies? Hope there's sequels :D
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Post May 07, 2011, 08:02:45 PM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

gordhaddow wrote:Shall we try 3,000 km/sec for 1%c?


See, this is what happens when you rely on EXCEL to do most of your arithmetic. I miscalculated by a factor of 1000! (Damn sliderule always did tend to stick...)

So the interstellar gas may be traveling to fill the void swept out by the hammerhead at (let's be generous) 300 km / s, assuming a full order of magnitude higher speed than what Bill has cited. But the ship might be traveling at least 10 times as fast (and maybe 1000 times as fast). If the ship is 10 km long, the tail would pass through the spot occupied by the bow 1/300th of a second later. Depending on the difference in cross-section between the hammerhead and the long 'handle' that forms the rest of the hull, some portion of the hull behind the hammerhead should NEVER suffer much damage from particle impacts. The density of particles filling the void behind the lead ship would be at least slightly less than the density in front of the lead ship, unless Bill is assuming an infinite supply of particles with what amounts to atmospheric pressure pushing them inward...

The particle density and "atmospheric pressure" in interstellar space is presumably much, much, much lower than even a fraction of one Earth atmosphere. By definition,beyond the heliopause of the nearest star, the density of the solar (pardon the Earth-centric terms) wind would be below our current ability to detect. I would not, therefore, expect fluid dynamics to be applicable. At most one side of the 'handle' would experience impacts from particles traveling across the direction of travel, and some part of the 'handle' would experience almost no impacts.
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Post May 10, 2011, 10:22:37 AM

Re: D.A.V.E. by Dean Giles

Robert_Moriyama wrote:Okay, I'm curious -- by what mechanism would dust converge from all directions at the same speed? . . . . . .what would drive them inward in the absence of surrounding pressure? (snip) . . . . . Saying that particles are blowing in all directions is fine on a large scale, but what would make them do so locally?


Sorry Robert, been out-of-town till today. No internet where I was.

The true answer to your question is that the dust (1%) and gas (99%) is already in motion. It’s a wind, not a static atmosphere. This stuff is travelling at all kinds of speeds from dang near standing still to a measured 1000 km/s for gas, and 26 km/s for dust. It has an average density of about one atom per cubic centimeter and though there are eddies, currents, thick and thin spots, etc., it comes from everywhere, all the time.

Some of these things are leftover ‘solar winds’ from every star that has ever existed anywhere in the universe who’s ejecta could get to the spot in question. Even stars that burnt-out before ours was born.

Just from our sun: “This (solar) radiation would turn the neutral gas atoms into ions and electrons that would then be swept out of the solar system by the gale-force solar wind, with speeds of 300 - 1000 km/sec.” (http://espg.sr.unh.edu/ism/what1.html)

And there are stars and black holes and stuff out there that make our sun look like a pansy. So think higher velocities for this stuff flying through space in all directions, all the time.

Once again, everything in space is in motion compared to any one point. Everything. Nothing stands still, ever. There is no such thing as standing still.

And since we’re on the subject of the speed of the ships. . .

We know that the ship’s speed is dang-near C, because in the story the lead ship hit a “tiny metallic asteroid travelling at the combined speed of ninety percent c. . .”

In the real universe, nothing massive enough to be of account travels at more than a few percent of light speed, by itself. Even an encounter with a black hole back a billion years ago can’t do that. If nothing else, the collisions of the dust and gas in interstellar space would have slowed this little asteroid down, over time. So the ship was doing a clip of 87% (or more) of C.

At those speeds, time dilation is taking effect and the mass of the ship is approaching infinity.

When the ship at 87% C strikes interstellar gas, the atoms are bounced away so fast they produce characteristic x-rays to the tune of a massive dose rate that would sterilize any planet within about half a light year, assuming a biology anything like ours, and the thing would be BRIGHT in the night sky of any planet within a thousand light years from the miniscule amount of energy given-off as visible light.

The ‘front’ shielding on these ships would have to be massive, dense and thick. Without it, the photon (x-rays, mostly) radiation would kill anyone on them because it radiates in all directions, including ‘backwards’ into the ship.


Now can you see why two ships ‘passing’ close together is outrageously, insanely silly? Stasis, or not, the radiation would destroy any living tissue if one ship were ever ‘beside’ the other for any reason. Either that or the side shielding is as good as the front.

Again, I’m not saying that this is impossible, from a physics standpoint. Only silly.

Hull degradation is the least of their worries. Besides, all they have to do is push a big ice cube in front of them to ‘take the hits’, and replenish it, from time to time. You don’t really have to take it on the hull. And you don’t change direction, easily, either. Not at this speed.

It would take all the energy of our sun to change direction by just a few degrees for an object this massive going at this speed. It’s not like a boat on water hanging a left turn, you know.

Again, my whole point was that there are a hundred ways to wreck the other two ships. The one chosen made me take myself ‘out of the story’ and think about how unlikely it was that they met their end in this particular way. And that’s never a good thing. To me, it was more likely that DAVE was lying, than that this actually happened.

Which is the only point that is important. It is far better to be vague and possible, than to be too precise with your narrative (i.e. 90% of light speed for the asteroid) and open up cans of worms you don’t even know about.

‘Nuff said?

Bill
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