Trope-a-Day: Humans Are Smelly

Humans Are Smelly: If there were any around, they would be.

But it’s hardly unique to them. All primitive species are: because it’s a consequence of advanced species (and especially those who take their cue from our friendly local aesthetes) investing in both much improved senses of smell plus excellent personal hygiene via biotechnology and nanotechnology. By the time you have skin that dirt literally won’t stick to, sweat that smells of roses and avoids supporting bacterial growth, and even shit that literally doesn’t stink… well, everyone not comparably enhanced is a stinky ape.

Or stinky lizard, stinky slime mold, stinky bunch of tentacles, whatever.

It is, however, considered polite not to point this out. It’s no sin to be primitive. Now, if it’s by choice, on the other hand…

March Question Roundup

Just realized I never did answer these:

First, are you familiar with Stars in Shadow, yet? If so, what do you think the Empire of the Star would make of the Phidi and the Phidi Combine?

Caveat: I haven’t played it myself; for various and sundry reasons, I try to keep my gaming to the Xbox, these days, so I’m going purely off the description, et. al., on the web site.

That said, based on it, I imagine you’re quite correct in saying that they’d probably get on like a house on fire, indeed. (After all, government by purchased office is hardly an unfamiliar concept to the Empire – just look at Eävalle.) A lot of cultural compatibility, of course, depends on how much governing the federation of merchant princes mentioned actually feels inclined to do, but plutocracies are hardly the government type most likely to want to be all up in everyone’s business, so unless there’s a non-obvious/unlikely cronyist nightmare hiding behind the scenes, it doesn’t look like there’s a problem there.

Second, on paragravity and using it to attain orbit, a real simple answer: you can’t. Even if you solve the obvious problems, like providing the energy, and (since it only operates between two paired units) completing the circuit between two units one of which is presumably in geosynchronous orbit over the other, there’s a more fundamental issue.

Namely: achieving orbital altitude is only half the problem. To stay up there (bearing in mind that orbit is essentially falling around and around the planet), you also need orbital velocity sufficient to ensure that you keep missing the ground. Hiking yourself up there paragravitationally gets you the former, but not the latter – and, note, everything that’s already in orbit necessarily is moving at orbital velocity.

So the first thing that’s likely to happen after you reach orbital altitude is a fatal collision with something already up there moving at umpty-thousand mph relative to you. This will knock whatever of you survives out from between the paired paragravity units, at which point in obedience to that harsh mistress, real gravity, you will plummet immediately and directly back to the planet, with another fatal collision – and a lawsuit – awaiting you at zero altitude. (If you aren’t hit by something up there, the same plummet awaits you just as soon as the paragravity units are turned off, or you voluntarily move out from between them.)

Basically: you will not stay in space today.


Trope-a-Day: House Fey

House Fey: While obviously not true in a literal sense, given the prevalence of AI house brains capable of self-development, houses tend to develop a fair bit of personality over time. And so, talking to the intelligence of a smart house with a few centuries or millennia of run-time under its belt can, on occasion, seem quite like dealing with a rather eccentric domovoi.

Trope-a-Day: Hologram Projection Imperfection

Hologram Projection Imperfection: As mentioned under the Hologram trope, their glamor failure is deliberate; trigraphic projections are splendidly perfect and accurate, and even can dynamically correct for lighting differences when used sender to receiver – so, unless otherwise called for, they’re deliberately tuned to slight transparency to clue people in that they aren’t solid objects.

Tropes-a-Day: Hobos / Romani

NOTE: These are TROPES and or Fantasy Counterpart Culture ANALOGIES. No real cultures were harmed in the making of this fiction.

Hobos: Some individually-wandering members of the Traveling Houses (for more on which see Romani); while generally better off and by no means living a wealth-free life, even back in the day, some other aspects of the lifestyle and reason why one might take it up are similar.

Romani: The Traveling Houses do have some cultural elements in common with the traditional Fantasy Counterpart Culture – a nomadic lifestyle, for one, starting with caravans – although also barges and later, starships – but also have their differences.  They’re not known/stereotyped for fortune-telling, for example, and are known for delivering the law (in the shape of wandering deemsters), education (in the shape of traveling teachers and new books), exotic speculative trade goods, and in some cases, the mail.  And some members wander individually (hence the reference from Hobos).

And, of course, the Empire’s culture is much worse at sustaining wacky prejudices against people and altcultures who/which prefer to wander than to settle.


Trope-a-Day: High Times Future

High Times Future: As long as you’re competent to do what you have to do, when you have to do it, your neurological state and how you got there is your own business. Download all the drugs you like! (Well, except those falling under the category of Coercive Substances, or those which drive you insane in ways likely to cause harm to others: magical berserker nutball powder is off the table. But apart from those it’s between you and your mind.)