Comic 189 - Unsure...

29th May 2014, 12:00 AM
Average Rating: 5 (15 votes)
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dpallee 29th May 2014, 12:08 AM edit delete reply

I dunno...I think maybe they were there for the women....
Leakingpen 29th May 2014, 10:44 AM edit delete reply
Mar Needs Cheerleaders!
Dragonrider 29th May 2014, 12:10 AM edit delete reply

Nice almost soliloquy by Gali, que Hamlet stage left.
TheD-Wrek 29th May 2014, 12:24 AM edit delete reply

I don't think I ever asked. How long does it take you to make a page? :)
Centcomm 30th May 2014, 3:54 PM edit delete reply

It can take anywhere from 2 hours to a week to set up and shoot a scene - the actual page work can take 4 to 6 hours depending on things :D
Stormwind13 31st May 2014, 5:37 PM edit delete reply

And how many 'scenes' to you toss whole panels (if not pages) out and redo? Or is that part of your week to get it set up and shot? :-)

I know you are working pretty darn hard at this. And it is something I know I couldn't do with anywhere NEAR the visual impact you achieve.

Thank you for all you hard work, CentComm. And thank you too Rose for your work in providing the words for all the great characters we've come to know and love (or loath in the case of people like Douchebag). :-)
Tokyo Rose 1st Jun 2014, 9:04 PM edit delete reply

On a couple of occasions, I've asked for re-shoots on panels, or I've cut whole pages during the scripting/typesetting phase because I couldn't make the flow of the dialogue stretch. This doesn't happen very often, fortunately, or else Cent would kill me :D
jamie59 29th May 2014, 12:37 AM edit delete reply

Yes Gali we want your women! Get here quick!
cattservant 29th May 2014, 12:51 AM edit delete reply

No, we want your chlorophyll!
Stormwind13 29th May 2014, 6:56 AM edit delete reply

They HAVE the chlorophyll, Cat. In fact they are bringing it BACK. :-D
cattservant 29th May 2014, 12:19 PM edit delete reply

Maybe theirs has gotten stale?
Sheela 29th May 2014, 4:24 PM edit delete reply

Stale Chlorophyl, how about that ?

Actually, they don't have a world upon which to plant stuff on, so they wouldn't have a lot of chlorophyl, unless they have vast gardens on their spaceships.

Actually, they might have some gardens, but they wouldn't be that big, as gardens are both large and heavy, making the ship slower.

Speed is important in interstellar travels.
Stormwind13 29th May 2014, 5:21 PM edit delete reply

Considering what they are Sheela. I would think one of the reasons their ship is so big is because it is ALL a garden. That is why they have a black hole to haul it around, so the weight isn't really an issue. :-)
Sheela 29th May 2014, 5:30 PM edit delete reply

Weight is always an issue, unless you have instant transportation.
Stormwind13 29th May 2014, 7:20 PM edit delete reply

Actually Sheela in this case you should be wrong (we are of course working purely in theory).

Since the USAT is only 150 miles long, it would have a TINY fraction of the total weight of the black hole being used to tow it around. Black holes deal in SOLAR masses, not piddly little planetary masses.

Our sun (good ole Sol) holds 99.86% of the mass of the bodies in our solar system!!! And it lacks the mass necessary to CREATE a black hole. It should die in a whimper, reduced down to a white dwarf, not going out by collapsing to a black hole.

The current theory is that a black hole would need around 2.5 TIMES a solar mass (1 Sol sized star) to achieve the conditions that would create a black hole. The smallest 'observed' black hole to date is 3.6 solar masses just for comparison.

So the weight of the artifact is in fact inconsequential to the weight of the unit. The black hole would contain so close to 100% of the mass to render it so.
Hydrargyrum 29th May 2014, 9:40 PM edit delete reply

Assuming the hole's created by stellar collapse. Following the high energy collision method or a kugelblitz with proper care and feeding could create much lighter holes.

I think an Alcubierre drive would be more fun, but Tokyo Rose didn't write that.
Stormwind13 30th May 2014, 12:06 AM edit delete reply

If the collision method created too small a black hole, it would evaporate before it could be used. The singularity has to be massive enough to be 'stable' for the journey's length.

And even an artificial black hole is massive. To tow something the size of a small moon (150 miles long), it would have to be scaled FAR beyond what is envisioned by current designers.

So are the aliens artificially creating a black hole or is it a natural black hole that they are using for their own purposes? I can't tell for sure. In either case, their engine has to be 'outweigh' their ship to move it.
anonymous coward 30th May 2014, 3:58 AM edit delete reply
Dunno, if their power source and main navigational shield is rotational energy stored in the black hole and the black hole itself they don't necessarily need anything more complicated than a basic plasma engine to get up to an appreciable fraction of the speed of light. What to use for secondary shielding, and what they use to drive a black hole through a solar system without crashing into things, tearing the whole system apart or sucking in other craft and astronomical bodies (and the rest of the ship) are interesting questions though.
Hydrargyrum 30th May 2014, 11:52 AM edit delete reply

@Stormwind: Hence the remark about proper care and feeding. Using a hole as a gravitational tug seems impractical; it swaps the problem of accelerating the ship's mass for that of accelerating an even bigger mass. Since the script declines to state the physics it may be best to treat this as one of those because plot things. But one doesn't usually refer to using a tug as an engine. So I would tend to take the text as indicating the hole is a power source. And the simplest way of extracting power from a hole is letting it evaporate. See, for example.

To provide some perspective, a moon 250 km in diameter would typically be around 10^20 kg. A hole which evaporates in a year has an initial mass around 10^8 kg. A 250km long (150 miles) by 1km square "rod" of rock that would have low drag in interstellar travel due to its "small" frontal area is ~10^15 kg.

The practical difficulties of building something 250km long with sufficient compressive strength not to collapse under its own weight under any significant acceleration would indicate a tensile structure. So the "short" travel time design point is kind of a self powered solar sail arrangement with probably a couple cargo/crew/habitat pods swinging round an engine pod on cables to get 1/r shielding. This is basically like a 250km long strand of spider silk; pretty light and hence performant since the total mass is dominated by the hole mass.

The other main reason to lug around a hole that I can see is more of a self powered Bussard ramjet. That would tend to imply lower thrust, more of a generation style vessel, and masses perhaps on the order of 10^14kg. As anonymous coward points out, putting the hole up front to feed it would be handy in this sort of configuration.

Also, if we're being data driven about it, the hole has to be low enough mass for the plot to be about headaches and singers rather than perturbation of the Earth's orbit or Saturn being consumed. If someone showed up and started eating a major planet---or just ripping it apart with tidal forces---I imagine the discussion about hostile intent would be rather different.
Stormwind13 30th May 2014, 3:33 PM edit delete reply

@Hydrargyrum: I haven't torn into (and don't really PLAN on doing so) the math for it; however, I wonder if they were envisioning something akin to the Fasset drives (see In Fury Born) or the Kurita Kinoshita (KK) Drive from Alan Dean Foster's Commonwealth universe for the alien drive.

That is what I was envisioning when I heard about the alien's having a black hole. It is a perpetual balancing act. The singularity forms, the gravity 'attracts' the ship which 'falls' toward the singularity. The singularity is then re-positioned and the dance continues.

As I said, I don't know if the math works or not; however, I think that may have been the engine that got the aliens into the Sol system. :-)
Centcomm 30th May 2014, 3:59 PM edit delete reply

At Hydrargyrum

um wow.. Mister Black came up with the idea -- im just the plot girl :D hes the space travel nut that keeps me from looking totally stupid :D
Hydrargyrum 30th May 2014, 10:22 PM edit delete reply

@Centcomm: Oh c'mon, awesome plot girl is AWESOME. Crimson Dark is the only comic I know with renders comparable Datachasers and Luna Star. I seriously have no idea how you manage five pages a week and it's not like I'm a slouch at keeping computers busy myself. I'd be delighted to have a fraction of your skill in DAZ (or whatever else it might be these days).

@Stormwind: I've read some of Alan Dean Foster's books but not those ones. Searching around a bit I think the math doesn't really work within our current understanding of physics. The mass of the hole in a Fasset drive has to come from somewhere and then be disappeared, recreated, disappeared, recreated... Doing this directly would be substantially less effective than just using the power to accelerate the ship. We don't, so far as I'm aware, know enough about gravity to guess how a Kurita Kinoshita drive would be implemented. Both drives operate on the same basic principle, though; spacetime is bent with gravity and the ship falls down the resulting potential well.

However, over in Maxwell equation land power is a complex number and the reactive (imaginary) part is routinely used to efficiently deliver real power by tapping off some of the imaginary power as it's exchanged between storage elements (check out class D amplifiers and switchmode power supplies for specifics). All four forces are similar to some extent, so the notion a sufficiently advanced understanding of gravity could allow one to build a switchmode gravity supply isn't entirely implausible.

Another way of looking at it is the spacetime deformations produced by Fasset and Kurita Kinoshita drives are essentially the same as that of an Alcubierre drive. The Alcubierre moves space in front of the ship to behind the ship. The Fasset and Kurita Kinoshita shrink space in front the ship and then expand it behind the ship.
Tokyo Rose 1st Jun 2014, 9:20 PM edit delete reply

Re: black holes

I suggested to Mister Black that he contribute to this thread, to which he replied "And if I give spoilers, you'll kill me."

Since this is pretty much true, I instead quizzed him a little. If I post it and it's a spoiler, I'll have to kill myself instead.

Sticking a bit "HYPOTHETICAL" label on this ought to cover my ass, though.

So, to Speak Hypothetically, if the "black hole" is actually an artificially-generated gravity well, it has no mass of its own.
Hydrargyrum 4th Jun 2014, 11:47 PM edit delete reply

Hmm. Considers the possibility of offing one of the creators. Imagines an angry mob of Luna Star fans. Bad things happen with pitchforks. Thinks very carefully about the reply.

I'd say you're pretty safe hyptheticalling about that. As we understand it deflection of spacetime, gravity, and mass are the same thing. Generating a gravity well without mass isn't something we know how to do. There are things which suggest our understanding of gravity is incorrect, the existence of Alcubierre's solution among them.
Centcomm 30th May 2014, 3:56 PM edit delete reply

cant really answer that one yet :D
Sheela 30th May 2014, 11:34 PM edit delete reply

One of the main issues with the "ship falling into the gravitational well of the black hole" is that not only do you need to move the ship, you also need to move the black hole ... and those buggers are HEAVY !

Even if you do come out with a positive energy delta, it would still be only a fraction of what the overall energy of the black hole is.

Not to mention that the fragile humans on the ship can only take a limited amount of g-forces.

So even if the weight of the spaceship isn't important, the need to survive will slow you right down, no matter what.
anonymous coward 31st May 2014, 5:21 AM edit delete reply
The Alcubierre drive relies upon negative energy/mass to perform spatial distortion and is a theoretical solution for FTL travel. The only serious source of negative mass/energy we have at the moment is the Casimir effect, although perhaps pair production in the region of a black hole's event horizon may be another. The distortion would move space through the ship instead of the ship through space; I wouldn't know if/how that differs as far as acceleration effects would go.
I know why I suggested a simple plasma drive: Throwing thin streams of high energy particles behind your ship doesn't involve any of this FTL foolishness that isn't supposed to be possible anyway. The hard part is figuring why you would want to take a black hole with you then, but it would be useful as both a navigational shield when traveling at speed (stray hydrogen collisions would be nasty) and the rotational energy of a Kerr-Newman (charged, rotating) black hole makes an interesting battery. (The ergosphere of such a black hole is particularly interesting.)
Stormwind13 31st May 2014, 1:31 PM edit delete reply

What was once scientific 'fact' has since been proved to be anything but! Just because we don't know how to do it today doesn't mean it can't be done at all. :-) Look at all the naysayers that didn't get it right - Predictions - Quotes.

One of my favorite sayings, "Those that say it can't be done should get out of the way of the people DOING it." :-)
anonymous coward 31st May 2014, 11:38 PM edit delete reply
I'll make you the same offer I make to people who try to tell me that Ieovah is real: Show me working FTL that I can test and use, and I'll believe in it. Until then I'll believe my physics teacher that said it would take infinite energy in order to accelerate conventional matter all the way up to light speed.
Sheela 1st Jun 2014, 5:38 PM edit delete reply

Technically, we are already moving at lightspeed, as our universe is expanding at redicilous speed.

Offcourse, what you're referring to here is local speed, and indeed, it is not without complications. Though the current theories don't run into any problem with matter at lightspeed as such things are fairly relative, heck, we can slow down light to about 65 km/h, which is a trivial speed for any car.

And it wouldn't take infinite energy either. A lot of energy, yes, but not infinite.

Oddly enough, the big issue is ... a variation of aerodynamics ... ie,. the faster we go, the more the air push back.
Well, the close we get to lightspeed, the more the atoms in space push back at us, and the more damage they do to our mass.

And lets not forget that there's also a chance of hitting something .. a lot bigger.
Mayyday 29th May 2014, 1:20 AM edit delete reply

Ah the old "what if" game. NEVER fun to play...
Centcomm 30th May 2014, 4:02 PM edit delete reply

oh yes .. and lack of info not a good combo
JacobJSebastian 29th May 2014, 2:48 AM edit delete reply

Knowing what I know about the DC universe... I would trade some of our women for theirs... :D
xpacetrue 29th May 2014, 5:30 AM edit delete reply

Umm... Aren't you assuming they have women? I mean, being aliens and all, couldn't they be sexless robots or clones? Or hermaphrodites? Or have three unique genders? (And, yes, I ask that question, even knowing what I know about the DC universe. And knowing that you claim as much.)
Mister Black 29th May 2014, 6:24 AM edit delete reply

Assuming that they're here for our women isn't any more off the wall than assuming that they're here for our resources or our water, is it?

Given the resources involved in interstellar travel (whether it's faster than light or not), any race capable of the engineering would be better off mining its asteroids, gas giants, and Oort clouds than they would going to other star systems.
Stormwind13 29th May 2014, 7:00 AM edit delete reply

Yeah, logic and science fiction movies do NOT always fit together, Mr. Black.

At least the aliens don't seem to be here to destroy all competing lifeforms. :-D Nor do they seem intent on taking over the Earth by dropping their foot on the Earth. :-D
Dragonrider 29th May 2014, 4:13 PM edit delete reply

That foot was placed by the winner of individual one on one combat on the chest of the looser the looser was showing total capitulation to the Alpha. At least in the example you cited, about the last Sci Fi published as Sci Fi by Pournell before he "got religion".
Stormwind13 29th May 2014, 9:12 PM edit delete reply

I think you are right, Dragonrider; however, I was thinking of the big rock the Fithp threw at the Earth. Somewhere in the Indian Ocean, I think it was. That was a big boot to kick the 'humans' with. :-)
velvetsanity 29th May 2014, 8:27 PM edit delete reply

I think Jacob meant trading RL women for DC women
Stormwind13 29th May 2014, 9:14 PM edit delete reply

SECONDED, velvet! :-D

And I KNOW Rash will vote for it, if that would bring CeCi into this world. :-D
mjkj 29th May 2014, 8:09 AM edit delete reply

*hugs Gali*

You will do fine, Gali, it is great to see how much you care :)

*hugs again*

Hornet 29th May 2014, 9:54 AM edit delete reply
The Alien carrier wave is much better than Digital broadcast TV. :P
highlander55 29th May 2014, 10:01 PM edit delete reply

Sounds like telepathic impression.
Tokyo Rose 1st Jun 2014, 9:07 PM edit delete reply

But they don't offer HBO, unfortunately.
Stormwind13 1st Jun 2014, 9:24 PM edit delete reply

The cruelty... No Game Of Thrones! :-D
MikeLinPA 29th May 2014, 11:05 AM edit delete reply
Resources such as water, metals, and minerals are vastly available in space. Why would they come to our little rock and bother bringing those resources up our gravity well to space when it is all floating around already? Even if they had picked their own solar system clean, and we were the next closest, they could harvest the asteroid belt and comets without bothering themselves with us.
cattservant 29th May 2014, 12:22 PM edit delete reply

This Alien visitation has much deeper motivations than resources.
Stormwind13 29th May 2014, 5:23 PM edit delete reply

Maybe they want someone else to do the grubbing for resources and like to collect them... refined, MikeLinPA. :-) Not that they COULDN'T do it, but that they are 'superior' enough that they don't feel they NEED to do it. :-)
anonymous coward 31st May 2014, 4:06 PM edit delete reply
"It's not like they couldn't play the piano themselves but maybe they want someone else to do it. That's why they decided to move some African termite mounds into the conservatory and tried to make them play the piano instead of eating it."

Humans are not at all adapted for long-term work in space, and it's far easier to build robots to do it for you than to make humans capable of doing it. It would be a pretty extreme equivalent of 'stupid pet tricks' to make humans mine comets instead of robots.
XRzer04 30th May 2014, 11:57 AM edit delete reply
Men, women, Who cares? Mmm... Protein. crunchy, screaming little Protein creatures
Centcomm 30th May 2014, 4:02 PM edit delete reply

Talantus 31st May 2014, 4:52 AM edit delete reply
On a side note. Is it me or did edict get a makeover? He seems more skeletal than before. Unfinished upgrades maybe?
Centcomm 31st May 2014, 2:12 PM edit delete reply

Edict did get a upgrade - its actually designed for ship board dutys rather than general janitorial like his previous one. better optics - armor and built in weapons - as in actual ones. :D
highlander55 1st Jun 2014, 12:29 AM edit delete reply

Good thing TeeDee is 900 years in the future or she would be pissed.
Stormwind13 1st Jun 2014, 11:32 AM edit delete reply

What do you mean, highlander? Tee Dee isn't going to let a mere 900 years deter her! Tee Dee will get pissed ANYHOW.

"You mean the JANITOR got put into a combat body for his mission but they stuck me in this little girl's body for mine?!?!" RAGE!!! :-p
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