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Forum Name: Undocumented Features General
Topic ID: 2363
#0, A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by RenoDumont on Nov-30-17 at 08:44 AM
I have been playing Star Trek Online a lot lately and quite a few of my missions for the Federation have been taking part of the "Operation Delta Rising" storyline which has me doing quite a few missions out of the Jenolan Dyson Sphere and I had taken the time to just fly around in the area to take in the scope of it when it brought a very good question to my mind.

Is the interior of the Jenolan Dyson Sphere the same as the New Avalon's or is it different?

Up until this point I don't think that I didn't understand the true epic scale of what our dear Baron had done and now that I have, my hat is off to the Eyrie crew.

Eleventh Doctor: I never forget a face.

The Curator: I know you don't. And in years to come you might find yourself revisiting a few, but just the old favorites.


#1, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by zwol on Nov-30-17 at 11:36 AM
In response to message #0
The Dyson sphere at Zeta Cygni was first introduced in Core 4, if memory serves, and that came out in ... 1993? Also, the STO writers don't overlap with the Eyrie writers as far as I know. So, there is no reason to expect them to be the same.

They may be _similar_, but only in that both are riffing on the same basic idea which dates all the way back to 1937(!)


#2, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Peter Eng on Nov-30-17 at 11:57 AM
In response to message #0
The only reason to expect them to be the same is if the Jenolan sphere is also designed to have habitable environment on the interior. For that to be the case, the radius of the sphere has to extend into the Continuous Habitable Zone of a star similar to Zeta Cygni.

A sphere designed purely for collecting solar power could be made smaller than that.

Peter Eng
--
Insert humorous comment here.


#3, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by MoonEyes on Nov-30-17 at 12:07 PM
In response to message #0
Further on the Dyson sphere, and its arrival, can be found in the Sterling Saga.

http://www.eyrie-productions.com/UF/mo02.html

...!
Stoke Mandeville, Esq & The Victorian Ballsmiths
"Nobody Want Verdigris-Covered Balls!"


#4, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Gryphon on Nov-30-17 at 12:48 PM
In response to message #0
>Is the interior of the Jenolan Dyson Sphere the same as the New
>Avalon's

I don't think so? I mean, I've never played any of those bits of STO, but if I remember the fleeting shots we got of that sphere in "Relics" right, it was shown with a sort of "pastoral countryside" interior, like the inside of a very, very big O'Neill cylinder. The Zeta Cygni one isn't like that; most of the interior surface is covered with either shipyard facilities, energy collectors, mysterious mechanical things which we're not entirely sure what they do, or nothing much. Whatever purposes its original constructors had in mind, a garden was evidently not among them.

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


#5, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Berk on Nov-30-17 at 12:53 PM
In response to message #4
This follows logic, since if you can overcome the engineering hurdles to construct a Dyson Sphere creating a garden on the interior surface is an art project at best. There are far better uses for all that surface area.

#6, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Mercutio on Nov-30-17 at 03:01 PM
In response to message #4
LAST EDITED ON Nov-30-17 AT 03:01 PM (EST)
 
>Whatever purposes its original constructors had in
>mind, a garden was evidently not among them.

If I might say, Ben, retconning Zeta Cygni into something that was found (perhaps stolen?) from something that the WDF slapped together in a couple decades was one of the best editorial decisions you ever made.

Even in a ridiculous universe (I love UF, but it's inherently a little ridiculous and that's part of the charm) "Gryphon and Co. strip-mine most of the galaxy to scrape up the mass needed to build that thing" was a little bit too ridiculous.

Having it be a mysterious object of unknown provenance that we just happen to be living in provides a shit-ton more cool-ass story seeds and potentialities than it just being a this thing they built on time and on budget.

I personally like to imagine that there's a thriving collection of archaeologists and civilization hunters, some well-intentioned, some not, perpetually crawling all over the interior. As well as an equally thriving collection of people trying to get them to stop crawling all over that thing, or at least be a little but more careful before laying in excavation charges and/or pulling things that look like levers.

I bet the Jones boys and Liara T'Soni have had some adventures inside that thing.

-Merc
Keep Rat


#7, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Gryphon on Nov-30-17 at 05:01 PM
In response to message #6
>If I might say, Ben, retconning Zeta Cygni into something that was
>found (perhaps stolen?) from something that the WDF slapped together
>in a couple decades was one of the best editorial decisions you ever
>made.

"Stolen" is such a judgmental word. I prefer to think of it as recycling.

>Having it be a mysterious object of unknown provenance that we just
>happen to be living in provides a shit-ton more cool-ass story seeds
>and potentialities than it just being a this thing they built on time
>and on budget.

To be fair, I can't remember for certain at this vast remove, but looking at the first mention of the sphere in Crossroads, it looks like it was always meant to be at least a bit mysterious. When Zoner asks who built it, no one answers him, and as far as I can tell the matter is not taken up again.

Exactly where it came from and how weren't determined until The Sterling Saga, but at least initially, the intent was at least to be cagey about its precise origins. It's possible that in some early-FI side story or another later on, I forgot about that and included some mention of its construction, but these things were not an exact science in the 1990s. :)

>I personally like to imagine that there's a thriving collection of
>archaeologists and civilization hunters, some well-intentioned, some
>not, perpetually crawling all over the interior. As well as an equally
>thriving collection of people trying to get them to stop crawling all
>over that thing, or at least be a little but more careful before
>laying in excavation charges and/or pulling things that look like
>levers.

I expect so. New Avalon University has an entire department devoted to sphere studies, similar to the quarian research institute dedicated to trying to figure out what the hell Halo is for. (And no, before anyone asks, there does not appear to be any commonality whatever between the materials or technological idioms present in the two.) In that department, some people are trying to work out who made it and when, others what its original purpose was. Theories range from "enormous odic flux accumulator" (n.b. these people are not highly esteemed by their colleagues) to "some sort of stellar regulator for the star that was originally in it", but no one has come up with any really compelling evidence for any of them as yet.

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


#8, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Peter Eng on Nov-30-17 at 05:13 PM
In response to message #7
>"some sort of stellar regulator for the star that was originally in it"

Interesting! Am I correct in assuming that the star the Sphere was originally built for was well into the end stages of its existence, then? Presumably, if the star was currently in need of a regulator, the people involved in folding the Sphere would have noted that.

Peter Eng
--
Insert humorous comment here.


#10, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Gryphon on Nov-30-17 at 05:41 PM
In response to message #8
>>"some sort of stellar regulator for the star that was originally in it"
>
>Interesting! Am I correct in assuming that the star the Sphere was
>originally built for was well into the end stages of its existence,
>then? Presumably, if the star was currently in need of a regulator,
>the people involved in folding the Sphere would have noted that.

It's never come up on-screen, but all that was inside it when the Kridanik Fleet arrived was a white dwarf—the degenerate-matter cinder that's left after fusion has ceased in a star that was not massive enough to go supernova. Certain inferences can be drawn from the fact that the sphere does not appear large enough to contain a red giant of a size that would have produced a white dwarf remnant of the observed size, but unfortunately, detailed study of phenomena such as these are not in the Zentraedi priority stack, as such, so a lot of the data necessary to support follow-up investigations is not available.

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


#13, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by zwol on Nov-30-17 at 07:44 PM
In response to message #10
>Certain inferences can be drawn from
>the fact that the sphere does not appear large enough to contain a red
>giant of a size that would have produced a white dwarf remnant of the
>observed size, but unfortunately, detailed study of phenomena such as
>these are not in the Zentraedi priority stack, as such, so a lot of
>the data necessary to support follow-up investigations is not
>available.

I doubt any of the usual cast would be interested, but how feasible would it be to mount a follow-up scientific expedition? I suppose all it would take is one fold-capable science vessel, if the Zentraedis are willing to share the location of the star. It might be interesting to backtrace where it was in the galaxy at the estimated time of the sphere's construction and see if there's anything interesting in its old neighborhood, too (nasty astrography problem though).


#16, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Gryphon on Nov-30-17 at 08:46 PM
In response to message #13
>I doubt any of the usual cast would be interested, but how feasible
>would it be to mount a follow-up scientific expedition?

It's technically possible, but the location is classified per the Zentraedi High Command, and, well, if you wanna argue with them about it, Reflex Point is that way ->. :)

(Also, there is some question as to whether the area immediately surrounding the remnant would be safe to jump into, given what the Kridanik Fleet did to the local subspace getting the sphere out of there. Things settled down around Zeta C until it was safe for navigation again in a fairly short time, but the only way to tell for sure about the other end would be to jump in and see. Well, or send a probe, OK, sure. But you'd still need to know where to send it, and Exedore's probably not going to tell you.

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


#9, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by ebony14 on Nov-30-17 at 05:28 PM
In response to message #7
>Theories range from
>"enormous odic flux accumulator" (n.b. these people are not highly
>esteemed by their colleagues) to "some sort of stellar regulator for
>the star that was originally in it", but no one has come up with any
>really compelling evidence for any of them as yet.

I imagine that the former have some close and serious attention paid to them by the nice folks at Tesladyne Industries at the very least, for what that's worth.

Ebony the Black Dragon

"Excuse me, Doctor, but there's a Robo Tesla here to see you."

"Crap!"

"Life is like an anole. Sometimes it's green. Sometimes it's brown. But it's always a small Caribbean lizard."


#11, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Mercutio on Nov-30-17 at 07:04 PM
In response to message #7
>I expect so. New Avalon University has an entire department devoted
>to sphere studies, similar to the quarian research institute dedicated
>to trying to figure out what the hell Halo is for. (And no, before
>anyone asks, there does not appear to be any commonality whatever
>between the materials or technological idioms present in the two.)

I would humbly submit that there is likely to be one: both of them probably have frustrating amounts of carbon neutronium as part of their superstructures, making replicating the engineering principles used in their construction elsewhere a frustrating at best endeavor.

(Or maybe not.)

> Theories range from
>"enormous odic flux accumulator" (n.b. these people are not highly
>esteemed by their colleagues) to "some sort of stellar regulator for
>the star that was originally in it", but no one has come up with any
>really compelling evidence for any of them as yet.

These guys must team up with the people who are still trying to figure out what the fuck happened to Atlantis at conferences and run up some truly impressive bar tabs.

The thing about any Dyson sphere is that building it would involve the utter demolishing of literally thousands, if not tens of thousands, of solar systems in order to gather the required mass. (You could use every speck of dust available in our solar system and it wouldn't even construct a ringworld around the sun, to say nothing of a Dyson sphere.)

This means that any civilization that builds one either considered the reason for the building to be so monumentally important that it justifies doing that, control such vast amounts of territory that the materiel investment into it is actually not that large by their standards, or have attained such mastery over the physical world they can do things like convert raw energy into solid matter for whatever purpose they see fit.

-Merc
Keep Rat


#12, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by zwol on Nov-30-17 at 07:39 PM
In response to message #11
LAST EDITED ON Nov-30-17 AT 07:40 PM (EST)
 
>The thing about any Dyson sphere is that building it would involve the
>utter demolishing of literally thousands, if not tens of thousands, of
>solar systems in order to gather the required mass. (You could use
>every speck of dust available in our solar system and it wouldn't even
>construct a ringworld around the sun, to say nothing of a Dyson
>sphere.)

That sounds way too high, to me. Niven claimed order of 20 Jupiters to build his Ringworld (including the shadow squares and the kinetic energy of spinning it all up) and I have no idea if I should believe him, but he's clearly estimated it much lower. And https://www.aleph.se/Nada/dysonFAQ.html#ENOUGH estimates that if you demolish one solar system's worth of planets (not the star, just the planets) you get 600kg of "usable raw material" per square meter of 1AU-radius sphere; obviously there's no good way of knowing whether that's "enough", considering that you have to convert it into an impossibly strong substance, but all told I think there's a strong case that you could do the job with less than one solar mass of input. Good enough for soft SF, anyway.


#14, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Mercutio on Nov-30-17 at 08:00 PM
In response to message #12
Well, I was perhaps overstating it when I said "any" Dyson sphere. If you define a Dyson sphere as simply "enclose the star, by hook or by crook" than sure, you could do it with maybe a solar systems worth of mass, less even, if you only have a few very solid areas and much of the sphere is only a few inches thick and not that dense. (600 kg per square meter, assuming something of a moderate density, smears out into something very thin indeed.)

But if you want to build a giant fuckoff "this thing is relatively thick and solid EVERYWHERE all the way around" one like the one from Star Trek, then you're talking an absolute nightmarish amount of materiel.

-Merc
Keep Rat


#15, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Gryphon on Nov-30-17 at 08:43 PM
In response to message #14
>Well, I was perhaps overstating it when I said "any" Dyson sphere. If
>you define a Dyson sphere as simply "enclose the star, by hook or by
>crook" than sure, you could do it with maybe a solar systems worth of
>mass, less even, if you only have a few very solid areas and much of
>the sphere is only a few inches thick and not that dense.

Most of the serious speculative pieces I've seen on whether it's really possible seem to lean toward a kind of mesh, in some cases with gaps big enough to drive a gas giant through, rather than a literal sphere.

The Zeta Cygni sphere, though... well, the thickness varies somewhat and it's not solid clear through everywhere, but it averages around a quarter-mile and it's definitely not made of low-density materials. The outer shell is tritanium (the same material most starship hulls are made of) with a surface coating of carbon neutronium (and no, I don't care to have the "neutronium" argument again) about the thickness of the gold plating on a cheap trophy.

Interestingly, the damage the sphere sustained during the Second Battle of Zeta Cygni (despite having been hilariously exaggerated in the best-known motion picture depicting those events—an explosion capable of propelling an Alaska-class battleship half an astronomical unit in a few seconds, forsooth) provided one of the earliest and best opportunities to examine its internal structure in a relatively anonymous zone, far from any of the gates or other obvious access points. From examination of the AT&T breach and subsequent expeditions to other points within, we know that the sphere's internal structures are made of a wide range of metallic and semi-metallic materials, some of which have not yet been classified by 2410 science, but while some of them are fairly lightweight (carbon-carbon lattice structures, etc.), none is what you would call insubstantial.

Even taking into account the negative mass of the charged obscurium-290 components in the stellar energy collection zones, a core sample of an "average" square meter would be very, very heavy. As Don Griffin put it once, near the end of an IPO office New Year's party that involved a substantial quantity of apple cider, "There is a fuckload of atoms flying in formation here."

(In the course of that same semi-shithammered discussion with the Chief, Don opined that the sphere must be some kind of engineering demonstration, because, he argued, any civilization technically advanced enough to construct one would long since have progressed past the point of having any practical use for it, to wit: the Time Lords don't even have one, and the Time Lords have one of feckin' everything.)

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


#18, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by zwol on Nov-30-17 at 09:14 PM
In response to message #15
LAST EDITED ON Nov-30-17 AT 09:14 PM (EST)
 
>(In the course of that same semi-shithammered discussion with the
>Chief, Don opined that the sphere must be some kind of engineering
>demonstration, because, he argued, any civilization technically
>advanced enough to construct one would long since have progressed past
>the point of having any practical use for it, to wit: the Time Lords
>don't even have one, and the Time Lords have one of feckin'
>everything.)

I like this explanation, not least because it reminds me of an incident from elsewhere: I lurk on a "panfandom" crossover RPG site over on Dreamwidth. Some years ago, there was a plot arc involving Ray Stantz (yes, that one) needing to repair some piece of ancient technology from Steven King's Dark Tower setting. Not being born yesterday, he asked the Doctor (yes, that one) for advice.

"I can't help you with that," the Doctor said, "I've heard of the Beam generators but they're legendary even to the Time Lords."

"That may be the most terrifying thing you could possibly have said," Ray replied.


#33, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Mephron on Dec-02-17 at 09:17 AM
In response to message #18
Not only do I know which one that is, but 1) that person is a friend of mine who 2) got me to play Egon Spengler there when it was on LJ.

--
Geoff Depew - Darth Mephron
Haberdasher to Androids, Dark Lord of Sith Tech Support.
"And Remember! Google is your Friend!!"


#20, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Mercutio on Nov-30-17 at 09:24 PM
In response to message #15
LAST EDITED ON Nov-30-17 AT 09:26 PM (EST)
 
Bookmarking this as one of my "not actually a Galactipedia entry, but is basically a Galactipedia entry" marks. One of the better ones, too. Informative, but also tantalizing.

Also, aww, Don drinks cider. I knew I liked him for a reason. He's clearly a man of discerning taste.

His theory also has a lot of plausibility, but not in a reassuring way.

-Merc
Keep Rat


#28, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by jhosmer1 on Dec-01-17 at 07:34 AM
In response to message #15
>(In the course of that same semi-shithammered discussion with the
>Chief, Don opined that the sphere must be some kind of engineering
>demonstration, because, he argued, any civilization technically
>advanced enough to construct one would long since have progressed past
>the point of having any practical use for it, to wit: the Time Lords
>don't even have one, and the Time Lords have one of feckin'
>everything.)

Well, if The Deadly Assassin is anything to go on, the Time Lords encased a Black Hole with their planet, and draw power from it, so they would say they did the same thing, only better (smaller, more powerful, takes more know-how).

(Then Rassilon would name the Dyson Sphere "the Sphere of Rassilon" because he was like that.)

Also, it depends on the alien race's manner of thinking and technological development. If they were some sort of Hive Mind that didn't work over interstellar distances, they may have "put all their eggs into one basket." Or thought they were shielding their solar system from Dark Matter Planetvores. Or they set Von Neumann machines going to make the Sphere, then died off before it finished and never sent a stop order.

("GIR! WHAT DID YOU DO?"
"I MADE A BOUNCY BALL!")

*Really, I could see the Irkens liking the idea.*

The Culture (mentioned elsewhere in this post) never bothered with much with Dyson Spheres, considering Orbitals (small Ringworlds) and GSVs (GINORMOUS space ships) to be sufficient.


#38, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by mdg1 on Dec-03-17 at 10:01 AM
In response to message #28
Amusingly (to me, anyway, but I'm nutty that way) there exists a thinly-veiled analogue to the Culture in the Doctor Who novel range called The People (who are advanced enough to have a non-aggression treaty with Gallifrey)

That's not the amusing part, however... the amusing part is that they live in a Dyson Sphere:

http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/The_People


#29, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by NHO on Dec-01-17 at 05:07 PM
In response to message #15
>(In the course of that same semi-shithammered discussion with the
>Chief, Don opined that the sphere must be some kind of engineering
>demonstration, because, he argued, any civilization technically
>advanced enough to construct one would long since have progressed past
>the point of having any practical use for it, to wit: the Time Lords
>don't even have one, and the Time Lords have one of feckin'
>everything.)
>
>--G.
>-><-

Someone build Generic Dyson Sphere Constructor, that builds such spheres when unobstructed, slowly, surely, forever, then moves randomly and starts anew? Then died off and Generic Dyson Sphere Constructor left to wander Universe, leaving Stellar Enclosures littering random galaxies for utter confusion of random sapients who found them?


#30, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Gryphon on Dec-01-17 at 05:28 PM
In response to message #29
>Someone build Generic Dyson Sphere Constructor, that builds such
>spheres when unobstructed, slowly, surely, forever, then moves
>randomly and starts anew? Then died off and Generic Dyson Sphere
>Constructor left to wander Universe, leaving Stellar Enclosures
>littering random galaxies for utter confusion of random sapients who
>found them?

I would have to admire the psychology of any sufficiently advanced species that did something like that as a prank.

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


#31, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by McFortner on Dec-02-17 at 02:25 AM
In response to message #30
LAST EDITED ON Dec-02-17 AT 02:27 AM (EST)
 
>I would have to admire the psychology of any sufficiently advanced
>species that did something like that as a prank.

Well, you see, what happened was me and Grelant Werth were sitting around bored smoking some Altares Ultraviolet and waiting for Q to show up so we could go get some munchies and some more Ultraviolet. Of course, Q was getting his kicks off of tormenting some poor pre-starflight society schlemiel who got unstuck in time from some harebrained experiment. You know how he gets when he's on one of those kicks. We figured it would be a decade or two before we saw him again and there was nothing on the TV worth watching.

So, anyway, we're pretty stoned out of our minds when Grelant looks at me and starts giggling. I mean, he was going to town with it. I asked him what was so funny, and when he was finally able to catch his breath and speak again, he said "I just though of the most twisted thing we can do to mess with those primitive 'Scientists' and 'Historian' types. They'll spend eons trying to figure it all out, and they never will."

OK, that got my curiosity piqued. I mean, when Grelant gets those kind of thoughts, shit gets WEIRD. I still can't figure out why he made the platypus. He must have been dropping some of that good shit he hides from me and refuses to share.

So I turn to him and said, "I'll bite. What's so damn funny?"

"Let's make a giant sphere around some remote, useless star."

Well, the state we were in, once it got through the haze in my mind I started laughing, too. "Holy zgwortz, that's totally insane!"

So, after spending a couple of hours looking for a good star in the boonies, we got to work on building it. About 3 days later we were done. I mean, c'mon, it's not like we were building a transwarp conduit or anything. Just basic 3 dimensional construction. Hell, we got the materials cheap because my uncle cut us a deal and sold it to us wholesale. No big deal, right?

So, we're finished and you know how that Ultraviolet is. We're gonna be buzzed for a couple of years so we're still laughing our asses off just looking at the finished job. Well, guess who decides to show up? Yup, Q. He looks at it, looks at us, then looks at it again and says, "Oh, I know just who to have come upon this."

"Oh, God, not that Picard dude again?" I reply. "He's so fucking BORING. I'm pretty sure he had his sense of humor surgically removed at birth. That man is so uptight you'd think he had a flag pole shoved up his ass."

"No, that Picard is from a different universe. He would just spoil it." Then he gets that evil grin and goes on, "Although, the flag pole thing is giving me ideas...."

"Dude, focus! Who do we spring this on then?"

"Well, I know of this race in a universe that Edison hangs out in. They think they are hot stuff because they are physically larger than most of the other species in their galaxy. Huge superiority complex, the whole nine yards. Lets spring it on them and watch their heads explode trying to decide what to do with it. Hell, they'll probably freak out and go all paranoid trying to find the race that could build something that makes them look like cavemen in comparison!"

So we try to figure out who he's talking about when it hits me. Man, I thought I was going to explode from laughing so hard. And poor Grelant had no idea who we were talking about, and you know how he gets when he's stoned and angry. I think he only blew up 50 stars as supernovas this time. We were pretty impressed later on the progress he was making in his anger management classes. So Q has pity on him and whips out some videos of these losers. It takes a few minutes for it to work it's way in, but when it does he gets that shit eating grin again and says, "Lets do it!"

Now we're just waiting for those Zentradi guys to show up. We can't wait to see the stupid(er) look on their faces!

---

Michael

Michael C. Fortner
"Maxim 37: There is no such thing as "overkill".
There is only "open fire" and "I need to reload".


#43, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by juniper on Dec-11-17 at 04:27 PM
In response to message #31
I have been having a really terrible day.

You have just partially redeemed it with this. Thank you.


#44, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by McFortner on Dec-11-17 at 08:31 PM
In response to message #43
Pleasure to be of service, milady.

Michael C. Fortner
"Maxim 37: There is no such thing as "overkill".
There is only "open fire" and "I need to reload".


#32, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by drakensis on Dec-02-17 at 03:32 AM
In response to message #29
>Someone build Generic Dyson Sphere Constructor, that builds such
>spheres when unobstructed, slowly, surely, forever, then moves
>randomly and starts anew? Then died off and Generic Dyson Sphere
>Constructor left to wander Universe, leaving Stellar Enclosures
>littering random galaxies for utter confusion of random sapients who
>found them?

I've some vague recollection that there's been discussion in higher level physics that theorises that there should be much more matter in the universe than we're observing and that there must be a lot of 'dark matter' that we're not seeing with telescopes (presumably called that because it lurks in corners, wearing black and muttering edgy commentaries on hipsters).

A few dyson spheres might reasonably explain the lack.


(I did have a notion a few years ago of a Dyson Sphere made up of a million-plus hexagonal tiles, each with a surface area roughly that of the Earth. Debris layered across the interior left a geography 'crammed' between the mountains that had heaped up along the seams. Access was via a 'hyper-gate' that had malfunctioned due to neglect and scoured the galaxy to transport interstellar slowboats into the inside of the sphere regardless of the crews' wishes, leaving a population of unintended colonies from many distinct races. The mechanics of providing a day-night cycle seemed difficult though - what was there, a rotating series of shutters around the sun that left sections of the interior in the shade for 40-50% of the time? Building the thing would be bad enough without requiring moving parts.)


#34, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by NHO on Dec-02-17 at 09:47 AM
In response to message #32
>The mechanics of providing a day-night cycle seemed difficult though -
>what was there, a rotating series of shutters around the sun that left
>sections of the interior in the shade for 40-50% of the time? Building
>the thing would be bad enough without requiring moving parts.)

Eh, you just run the star at half the power and store night emissions to supplement day emissions. Shutters would be inefficient, they heat themselves and radiate outwards like any normal matter.


#35, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Berk on Dec-02-17 at 01:25 PM
In response to message #32
My favorite futurist on youtube has a fair bit to say about Dark Matter.

#17, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by zwol on Nov-30-17 at 08:49 PM
In response to message #14
>But if you want to build a giant fuckoff "this thing is relatively
>thick and solid EVERYWHERE all the way around" one like the one from
>Star Trek, then you're talking an absolute nightmarish amount of
>materiel.

Fine, let's actually math this out. I'm going to take Niven's word for it that the required strength is on the order of the strong force, because that conveniently means the required density is that of nuclear matter, which is 4e+11 kilograms per cubic centimeter. Multiply that by the surface area of a sphere with radius 1AU and you get 1e+41 kilograms of material per meter of solid thickness. Or, in more useful units, 6e+10 solar masses per meter.

That's on the order of one-eighth of the entire galaxy's mass for a 1m-thick shell, which is basically what you were saying, but which should also raise a gigantic red flag, because the Schwarzchild radius of that much mass is on the order of 1100 AU—in other words, if you attempt to build it that heavy it will immediately collapse into a black hole.

(Flipping that around, to avoid building a black hole by mistake, the mass of the sphere plus everything within it needs to be less than about 50 million solar masses, and if we use all of that for the shell of nuclear matter we get ... 0.8 mm.)

I don't see that it makes sense to build the entire Dyson shell out of solid nuclear matter, though. If the goal is meteor shielding, why not have an outer layer of ordinary steel, or ice, or anything else that can absorb orbital-velocity impacts and is cheap to replace? The impossibly strong part just needs to be the structural skeleton, thick enough to support itself plus everything you hang off of it, and I'm prepared to handwave that this is thin enough that you only need one or two solar masses' worth.

But you've definitely convinced me that this is not Baby's First Kardashev II Construction Project. :-)


#19, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Mercutio on Nov-30-17 at 09:23 PM
In response to message #17
> The
>impossibly strong part just needs to be the structural skeleton, thick
>enough to support itself plus everything you hang off of it, and I'm
>prepared to handwave that this is thin enough that you only need one
>or two solar masses' worth.

If we were really gaming this out soft sci-fi style, where you're allowed to use magic (heisenberg compensators!) and the science only has to be good enough for "viewer has a laymans enthusiasm for the subject matter" and not "viewer has a degree in the relevant disciplines," then for narrative purposes I'd actually flip it around; the structural skeleton would be the "magic" part of the sphere, emanating some sort of technobabble fuckery that meddles with the four fundamental forces in such a way as to prevent the structure from imploding space and time around itself.

Then you can do whatever you want with the rest of the sphere, and you've set for yourself a few excellent plot hooks if you ever want to use your sphere in that way.

-Merc
Keep Rat


#21, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Vorticity on Nov-30-17 at 10:24 PM
In response to message #19
Yeah, magic. I just assumed the material came from the elemental plane of earth, which presumably has enough matter to manage a sphere without even really noticing the difference. Or perhaps the makers of the sphere used Ymir's left clavicle, which Vili misplaced back in the day.

Or more exotically, I've always wondered what the hell RZC was doing with all of that shitload of energy collected from ZC. Maybe some of those doohickeys on the sphere are sending the energy back in time, so that it can be converted into matter so the sphere can be built. I mean, if I want to build a house, I take out a loan. This would just be on a bigger scale.


#22, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Gryphon on Nov-30-17 at 10:28 PM
In response to message #21
>Or more exotically, I've always wondered what the hell RZC was doing
>with all of that shitload of energy collected from ZC.

What, you've never been bored? Never had a long night? Never had a lot of cabinets to put up?

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


#24, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by jonathanlennox on Nov-30-17 at 11:40 PM
In response to message #21
>Or more exotically, I've always wondered what the hell RZC was doing
>with all of that shitload of energy collected from ZC.

One thing I've figured they were doing is manufacturing antimatter in boatloads.

This is why warp drive is so much more common in the FI era than previously. And why Earth Alliance warships use metaspace drives instead.


#27, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Proginoskes on Dec-01-17 at 01:50 AM
In response to message #24
Warp is more popular than spacefold and hyperdrive because it's safer and (in comparison with spacefold) cheaper. It's hideously energy-intensive in comparison to hyperdrive, but a Warp drive failure leaves you careening toward your destination at a large fraction of c, whereas a hyperdrive failure has great odds of leaving you scattered across three solar systems.
I imagine that most spacefold-capable ships we see in UF have warp drives as well; spacefold is great for getting to a known destination in a hurry, but it's useless for exploring.

#26, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Wiregeek on Dec-01-17 at 00:46 AM
In response to message #21
> Maybe some of
>those doohickeys on the sphere are sending the energy back in time, so
>that it can be converted into matter so the sphere can be built. I
>mean, if I want to build a house, I take out a loan. This would just
>be on a bigger scale.


I like the five-dimensional cut of your jib, sir!

Someone run that by Gallifrey and see how many Time Lords you can make faint. Bonus points for actual cerebral hemorrhage


#23, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by zwol on Nov-30-17 at 10:34 PM
In response to message #19
LAST EDITED ON Nov-30-17 AT 10:34 PM (EST)
 
> the structural skeleton would be the "magic" part of the sphere,
> emanating some sort of technobabble fuckery that meddles with the
> four fundamental forces in such a way as to prevent the structure
> from imploding space and time around itself.

That possibility did occur to me as well: you've got the full power output of a star to work with, why not use some of it to keep the structure, er, inflated? Kind of like a space fountain, only more so. If done right it might actually reduce the technobabble coefficient of the design. If the control systems go down you're screwed, but that was true with the impossibly strong material anyway, because the sphere isn't dynamically stable.


#25, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by jonathanlennox on Nov-30-17 at 11:46 PM
In response to message #7
>"Stolen" is such a judgmental word. I prefer to think of it as
>recycling.

I remember thinking, when Iain M. Banks died, what a shame it was that there was no real way to insert the Culture into the UF universe.

Then it occured to me that Special Circumstances might well think that the best way to help a somewhat troubled corner of the galaxy might be to give one of its more enlightened factions a free Dyson sphere, and see what happened.

(Or insert your favorite mysterious benevolent aliens here. There's certainly no shortage of them in UF's various source materials.)


#36, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Astynax on Dec-02-17 at 05:39 PM
In response to message #6
>I personally like to imagine that there's a thriving collection of
>archaeologists and civilization hunters, some well-intentioned, some
>not, perpetually crawling all over the interior. As well as an equally
>thriving collection of people trying to get them to stop crawling all
>over that thing, or at least be a little but more careful before
>laying in excavation charges and/or pulling things that look like
>levers.
>
>I bet the Jones boys and Liara T'Soni have had some adventures
>inside that thing.
>
>-Merc
>Keep Rat

So, that's where Dr. Aphra and the Killbots fit into UF...


-={(Astynax)}=-
"Hopefully someone scrapped or reprogrammed Triple Zero before he depopulated a system or two."


#37, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Matrix Dragon on Dec-03-17 at 08:24 AM
In response to message #36
>So, that's where Dr. Aphra and the Killbots fit into UF...

I like to imagine that Miss Aphra's falsely earned Doctorates failed to survive an encounter with Doctors Jones and T'Soni. She's probably off somewhere trying to get her credentials back, scam people out of their money and getting shot at for her trouble.

Her Killbot lackeys got blown the hell up, then melted down for scrap.

Matrix Dragon, J. Random Nutter


#39, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Mercutio on Dec-03-17 at 06:19 PM
In response to message #37
>>So, that's where Dr. Aphra and the Killbots fit into UF...
>
>I like to imagine that Miss Aphra's falsely earned Doctorates failed
>to survive an encounter with Doctors Jones and T'Soni.

In the context of UF, Aphra could just BUY a doctorate from some outfit in the Corporate Sector. Or just operate in the private sector where they care more about results that credentials.

In the context of Star Wars, while Aphra's actual doctorate was earned under false pretenses, you can't say she didn't actually put in the work to earn one. Sure, her thesis didn't pan out, but she did in fact spend years during the research and legwork in the field; she's a demonstrably competent archaeologist.

And frankly, if my faculty advisor told me "you will never earn a doctorate, and the specific reason I chose you was to make sure you'd never earn one, and it's not because you're not academically qualified, it's just because I hate you" during the same conversation where he revealed he got his predecessor purged from academia for the pettiest of reasons... I, like Aphra, would consider myself entirely justified in getting that credential via crook rather than via hook.

>Her Killbot lackeys got blown the hell up, then melted down for scrap.

Well that would be super boring.

-Merc
Keep Rat


#40, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Matrix Dragon on Dec-03-17 at 10:12 PM
In response to message #39
>>>So, that's where Dr. Aphra and the Killbots fit into UF...
>>
>>I like to imagine that Miss Aphra's falsely earned Doctorates failed
>>to survive an encounter with Doctors Jones and T'Soni.
>
>In the context of UF, Aphra could just BUY a doctorate from some
>outfit in the Corporate Sector. Or just operate in the private sector
>where they care more about results that credentials.
>

True, but I was thinking more in regards to Aphra's track record of incredibly bad judgement, poor decisions, and the way she always gets surprised by the consequences catching up to her. I imagine that the likes of Indiana and Liara would have a long and exciting history with her, maybe even like her, but there's no way they'd trust her.

>>Her Killbot lackeys got blown the hell up, then melted down for scrap.
>
>Well that would be super boring.

Which matches my opinion of those two perfectly. They're the reason I stopped getting that comic.

Matrix Dragon, J. Random Nutter


#41, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Gryphon on Dec-03-17 at 10:20 PM
In response to message #40
<strong_sad> I rarely know what you're talkin' about.

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


#42, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Matrix Dragon on Dec-04-17 at 00:40 AM
In response to message #41
><strong_sad> I rarely know what you're talkin' about.

Random characters from the newer Marvel Star Wars comics. Con Woman with a doctorate and her two murderous droids. Mildly interesting, but yeah, I'm wandering way off topic now.

Matrix Dragon, J. Random Nutter


#45, RE: A question on Dyson Spheres & UF
Posted by Peter Eng on Dec-12-17 at 11:47 AM
In response to message #36
>
>So, that's where Dr. Aphra and the Killbots fit into UF...
>

No, Dr. Aphra and the Killbots is a pretty good Johnny Silverhand cover band that works the Coreward Frontier. :P

Peter Eng
--
Insert humorous comment here.