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Ask me about Science! (Theoretical, Factual, or otherwise)

Discussion in 'Research' started by Super Fun Pop, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. Super Fun Pop

    Super Fun Pop Scribe

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    Need a way to go faster than light? can't quite explain how your invented device works? ripped a whole in the space-time continuum? can't find the Elvin genome? I can probably help you out.

    There's a good chance I'll be able to answer any of your science based questions and beyond. Not sure if it's a science question? Ask anyway, Science is everywhere.
     
  2. buyjupiter

    buyjupiter Maester

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    Nuclear fission as power source for proto-robotic creatures in a steampunkish setting? Pros? Cons?

    It's funny that I understand the basic theory behind it, but the engineering questions? ugh.
     
  3. Super Fun Pop

    Super Fun Pop Scribe

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    Alright, I had just written this all out and... well there was a bear and it ate my explanation.

    _________________

    Fission in the simplest terms is a process of tearing apart radioactive elements like Plutonium to create energy. Fission is an easily controlled process as this tearing occurs naturally; it even happens in nature. The natural byproduct of Fission, due to Radioactive Decay (the decay of the nucleus of an atom that produces radioactively charged particles), is radioactive waste.

    The first and biggest con I can think of is radioactive waste. Any human or other carbon based life forms will, within 24 hours, start feeling the effects of Acute Radiation Syndrome (Radiation Poisoning) after contact with a large amount of this radiation. Radioactive Waste is pretty easy to dispose of, but takes a very long time to stop emitting a deadly amount of radiation (years, even decades); the easiest form of disposal is isolating this waste and just letting it naturally decay.

    So your creatures would have to be sealed in a way that no radiation could leak from their bowls and come up with a way of them disposing of this waste in a safe manner, or else your MC and everyone else will die painful and gruesome deaths by even gazing on these monsters. They're basically walking mini-chernobyls.

    The first and biggest pro I can think of is how physically possible it is for these creatures to harness fission, due to the fact that fission occurs naturally already.


    I was also thinking of a simple way to explain the process of decay incase you were curious.

    When the first account of fission occurs, it fragments into three smaller equal parts. One part is intermediately absorbed by part two (causing the next event of fission) while the third part becomes waste. This process happens in a constant and (theoretically) endless cycle, but due to various factors and the inefficiency of modern fission, the process eventually ends when fission is no longer possible.

    Which leads to a question, when fission is no longer possible, would these creatures simply die? or would they have enough stored energy to run longer? would they attempt to find more radioactive elements to continue to power their fission reactors?

    Possible Con number dos, Con #2, is that fission itself isn't the power that power plants are attempting to produce, that's a little more complicated process that involves water.. a lot of water. (this is the most common form of nuclear power plant, but I believe there are other forms of harnessing the power of fission)

    Fission occurs > decay occurs > (this process gives off heat) water absorbs this heat > water turns to steam > steam is harnessed for energy

    This means that energy taken is the direct result of the amount of water available to create steam. These creatures are going to need a lot of water in a constant stream. (This is possibly a con, but also possibly an interesting character point; they'll drink up rivers where ever they go, more than likely.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
    Noma Galway and buyjupiter like this.
  4. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    Big problems with fission as a power source, especially in a steampunk where nuclear theory hasn't really been uncovered. The first major one is that you've got to get your fissables from somewhere. All that mess in Iran about concentrating uranium 235. That's about masses of ultracentrifuges working night and day to process the uranium into its different isotopes, i.e. seperating out the 235 from the 238. In short you need an entire massive factory to make your fuel.

    Second problem is the radioactive decay. Basically fission gives you three types of radiation, alpha, beta and gamma. Some of that can be contained easily enough. Alpha is the least problematic because it's the heaviest least energetic particle and a good solid wall of paper will stop it fast. It doesn't travel far in the air. Beta is more problematic. These are smaller, higher energy particles that travel further through air. But gammas your sod. It's not a particale at all, it's pure energy similar to an x-ray. Herethe only protections against it are good solid walls of lead (which would make me wonder what your protobot was made of) and distance.

    Third problem is the way in which you take that energy and use it. Power plants simply take the energy convert it to heat, turn water into steam and drive turbines with it. What sort of robot could do that. So you'd have to have some completely new means of taking radioactive energy and converting it into usable power. Otherwise you protobot is going to have sides made of vast lead planks and steam coming out of his mechanical ears.

    Fusion is a better option since it can be achieved with lasers to provide the heat and containment can be done with magnetic fields. Of course we still haven't achieved this miracle of science, so someone blessed with steampunk technology is going to be at a disadvantage.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  5. Super Fun Pop

    Super Fun Pop Scribe

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    In a fantasy setting, if lets say these creatures are man-made, then this is true, but if they, by some form of magic or nature, just exist, the story could work around these facts. As fission is a natural occurrence; fissables, again true, but if you create a fantasy continent, then who's to say plutonium can't exist under the surface. Also about nuclear theory, it could be uncovered by a great mind in their time, or uncovered through magic or other unconventional means. You could even create your own new fissable, which reacts the same as others like uranium, but is abundant in crystal form on the surface, or something.

    Though in a fantasy setting, it is possible to arrange this. Magic could help in some of the process. After fission begins, the only real material needed is a constant stream of water.

    Fusion is 10x more complex than fission, only occurs naturally in extreme circumstances; like the surface of the sun. Just to further what psychotick mentioned.
     
  6. buyjupiter

    buyjupiter Maester

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    Thanks for the help super fun pop. Would you mind if I pm you to ask more questions/give you a better frame of reference so you can answer the question better.
     
  7. Super Fun Pop

    Super Fun Pop Scribe

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    Of course! No problem.
     
  8. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    Yes fissables do occur in low concentrations in nature. But even then you have problems. Especially with health. Probably the first fissable discovered was radium. Marie Curie and then her daughter both died of leukemia because of their work with it. Radium became a cult thing almost and companieswere putting the glowing substance into everything from condoms to toothpaste. But again the costs were immense. The radium watch company employed four people to paint radium on to dials of watches etc. All four died of horrible radiation related diseases. And radium is only a very lowly reactive fissible. It couldn't power a protobot.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  9. Hainted

    Hainted Sage

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    If gods and mortals interbred creating Demigods would it be possible to reverse engineer a god from the divine DNA the parent contributes? Take Hercules, who went from demigod to full god.In order for him to have been a fully functioning human and father children, Zeus had to have given some form of genetic material that was compatible/identical to DNA but still granted access to divine abilities. Also how long would these traits and abilities pass through the Demigod's family tree? Would they be recessive, dominant? If two Demigods from different pantheons had children what are the odds they would take after one divine grandparent or the other?
     
  10. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Reverse engineering a god -- that's brilliant, Hainted. It doesn't fit into my world, but I sure wish it did. That premise has all the makings of a cracking good novel.
     
  11. Hainted

    Hainted Sage

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    It's one of several ideas I'm entertaining. Just can't figure out which one I'm going to pursue.
     
  12. Super Fun Pop

    Super Fun Pop Scribe

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    Recessive and dominant genes are the focus of this question. The creation of a demigod is due to the fact that ALL of a gods genes do not carry over and are therefor some are recessive when combined with a human's dominant genes. (which is a conundrum as should a 'god' have all dominant genes?)

    But, as demigods exist in myth, then it must be possible.. in myth.

    You have to figure out what traits you want to be recessive and dominant in both man and god, before really being able to do what you're saying. Now I'm guessing you know how a dominant recessive table works.

    What you are saying is plausible in a very specific setting.

    If all (or a large portion) of humans or a large verity of demigods can trace their heritage from various gods (implying that multiple gods would be needed, one wouldn't work), each god having a different set of dominant and recessive genes that interact differently with human's dominant and recessive genes. This way, you could take sample genes from many different sources and put together a close to 100% god gene network to, like you said, reverse engineer a god.

    But the key points are:
    - multiple gods would be needed
    - each god must be genetically similar (like chimps to gorillas), but not the same exact species.
    - each god's genes must interact differently with human's genes to produce a set of very different dominant and recessive traits.

    That way you can piece together a hybrid god, built from these variations. Technically this opens the possibility to multiple variations of these hybrid gods, where you can (if there is enough variation of god genes out there) mismatch parts to create very different types of gods.

    But there would have to be a large pool of gods to work with. (~20-30+)

    Btw, this is a really great idea.
     
  13. Hainted

    Hainted Sage

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    Quick Question about Binary Planet systems. If we had a Counter-Earth would it ever be visible to us? Would there ever be a danger of the planets colliding? Could (intelligent) life have existed or continue to exist there?

    One more quick question on space travel. If travel to Mars or the other inner planets became a reality would there be best times and worst times to travel between them? For example would we ever have a time when travel would be restricted due to the orbits of the planets? i.e. No one goes to Mars in June or Venus in December because they're on the other side of the sun.
     
  14. Super Fun Pop

    Super Fun Pop Scribe

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    Well... technically the science community has been on the fence about our Moon actually being a planet as well (at least in mass); we could be a pretty good example of a Binary system, but there are multiple definitions of a binary planet system.

    See: Double planet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I'm going to assume you're specifically talking about two planets rotating around their common center of gravity, interlocked. (which is not alike the Moon and Earth). This is probable, but to my knowledge, there is no example of this happening with Planets, though there are Binary Suns.

    Soo, like this:

    [​IMG]


    Now for your questions:
    1) Most certainly, it would be the same as looking at the moon during the day or night. The view would vary on the size and distance, but it would be visible.

    2) Danger could only come from an outside source, if these planets currently rotate perfectly it means that they have done so for millions, billions, trillions of years, and will do so for the foreseeable future. A large enough asteroid, another planet passing, or any large gravitational force COULD off-balance the orbit enough that they would collide, BUT it is entirely more possible, if not thousands of times more possible that one or both of the planets would be launched in a separate direction.

    3) Yes and Yes, under certain conditions. The Goldilocks Zone is the largest condition.

    See here: Circumstellar habitable zone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Another condition is that the binary planets would (most likely) need a orbiting moon to catch the incoming asteroids and comets during and after development. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for our Moon; hence the giant amount of craters on the moon, it actively catches most debris that would hit Earth, naturally.

    Or else you'd have one planet just cratered to all hell in one hemisphere, area, or all over.

    4) Yes thats entirely possible, depending on the type of space travel. Right now, we only have certain launch windows each year for Mars, as we launch our missions when Mars is at its least distance, a measured distance, where we know to the exact decimal every single aspect of the mission, what fuel is needed, and its trajectory.
    - If you have FTL, there's no issue.
    - If you have near FTL and near-limitless fuel, there's no issue.
    - If you have half light speed with near limitless fuel or near light speed with restricted fuel, there would indeed be times that travel is restricted (though it might be uncommon or seasonally)
    - If you have half light speed with restricted fuel, or any speed above whats currently possible, there would indeed be heavily restricted travel times, but there would be a firmly placed season of travel. (when its at its closest)
    - If you have our current technology, there would need to be exact date and times on a small window every year.
    - If you have less than our current technology... it's not possible/improbable.
     
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  15. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I fire an arrow straight up and then use magic to increase its mass. What happens to the velocity of the arrow?
     
  16. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    A = F/M

    Since A (acceleration) is already decreasing because of the gravitational pull and (air) drag (force), increased mass (M) will only make it slower. This will affect the height it reaches, and the force applied if it hits something in the air.
     
  17. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    The increased mass will cause the arrow as it rises to decelerate faster. I.E. it will slow it down faster and limit the height it can reach. But interestingly if you add the increased mass to the arrow when it has reached its zenith and is on its way down, and don't increase its size, than theoretically it will accelerate to a higher top speed / terminal velocity. And even if you did increase its size to match its increased mass there would still be a bigger impact when it landed.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  18. Hainted

    Hainted Sage

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    I was actually asking about a planet on the opposite side of the sun, but this answer is much better. It does lead to more questions about the nature of the worlds, and how they function though.

    1. Would the planets orbit each other on a horizontal plane or vertical?
    2.Would they be "locked" so that with a similar mass, rotation,size,etc the same hemispheres face each other always?
    3. Would their orbit be longer than their rotation, and what would the difference be?
    4. HOW would a moon orbit these two worlds? elliptically or a figure 8 motion...?
    5. If they orbit each other on a horizontal axis(and the Goldilocks zone is big enough) wouldn't this have a huge impact on the seasons?
    6.The idea of an object, earth sized, as a twin has huge implications in society, but wouldn't it lead to more eclipses, or a funny day/night cycle as each world passed into the other's shadow, or would light reflected from each other's atmosphere make up for it?

    I know it's a lot, but you've set my wheels to spinning, and my strength lies in more social aspects of society. I'm not interested in how the tides work(though they would be crazy it seems) just enough to make it plausible that these places exist, so someone doesn't pull the whole thing down by pointing out a fatal flaw.
     
  19. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    The "counter-Earth" I've heard about most often is a second Earth at the opposite side of the sun from us, so it's always behind the sun from us.

    Which, come to think of it, wouldn't work so smoothly because orbits are eliptical, not perfect circles. There'd be too many moments the planets weren't in cover.
     
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