10 FEB 2018 by ideonexus

 The Volumetric Approach to History

You will be thinking that we are coming to the end of this book: we’ve dealt with eight centuries, so there are only two to go. You may be surprised to learn, therefore, that in historical terms we are not even halfway. The reason for this discrepancy is that history is not time, and time is not history. History is not the study of the past per se; it is about people in the past. Time, separated from humanity, is purely a matter for scientists and star-gazers. If a previously unknown uninha...
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10 MAR 2017 by ideonexus

 The Symbionts

As the epochs passed, the two species molded one another to form a well-integrated union. The little arachnoid, no bigger than a chimpanzee, rode in a snug hollow behind the great "fish's" skull, his back being stream-lined with the contours of the larger creature. The tentacles of the ichthyoid were specialized for large-scale manipulation, those of the arachnoid for minute work. A biochemical interdependence also evolved. Through a membrane in the ichthyoid's pouch an exchange of endocrine ...
Folksonomies: otherness alien other
Folksonomies: otherness alien other
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06 APR 2015 by ideonexus

 Scent on an Airless Planet

Scent seems to have all the disadvantages and none of the advantages, as a long-range sense. However, under special circumstances even a modified nose may fill the need. In a story of my own some years ago ("Uncommon Sense," Astounding Science Fiction, September 1945), I assumed an airless planet, so that molecules could diffuse in nearly straight lines. The local sense organs were basically pinhole cameras, with the retinal mosaic formed of olfactory cells. Since the beings in question were ...
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An species of space whale could smell over long distances, but scent would get swirled and pooled by gravity wells along the way.

01 APR 2015 by ideonexus

 We are Living in an Ancestor Simulation

Now we get to the core of the simulation argument. This does not purport to demonstrate that you are in a simulation. Instead, it shows that we should accept as true at least one of the following three propositions: (1) The chances that a species at our current level of development can avoid going extinct before becoming technologically mature is negligibly small (2) Almost no technologically mature civilisations are interested in running computer simulations of minds like ours (3) You are...
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See also Are You Living in a Computer Simulation? by the same author.

19 FEB 2015 by ideonexus

 Growing a Forest Rapidly

1. First, you start with soil. We identify what nutrition the soil lacks. 2. Then we identify what species we should be growing in this soil, depending on climate. 3. We then identify locally abundant biomass available in that region to give the soil whatever nourishment it needs. This is typically an agricultural or industrial byproduct — like chicken manure or press mud, a byproduct of sugar production — but it can be almost anything. We’ve made a rule that it must come from...
Folksonomies: forestry gardening
Folksonomies: forestry gardening
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30 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 It is No Accident that We Inhabit a Veritable Paradise

Imagine a spaceship full of sleeping explorers, deep-frozen would-be colonists of some distant world. Perhaps the ship is on a forlorn mission to save the species before an unstoppable comet, like the one that killed the dinosaurs, hits the home planet. The voyagers go into the deep-freeze soberly reckoning the odds against their spaceship's ever chancing upon a planet friendly to life. If one in a million planets is suitable at best, and it takes centuries to travel from each star to the nex...
Folksonomies: evolution chance existence
Folksonomies: evolution chance existence
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07 NOV 2014 by ideonexus

 Collective Mind from Olaf Stapledon

The designers of our species set out to produce a being that might be capable of an order of mentality higher than their own. The only possibility of doing so lay in planning a great increase in brain organisation. But they knew that the brain of an individual human being could not safely be allowed to exceed a certain weight. They therefore sought to produce the new order of mentality in a system of distinct and specialised brains held in "telepathic" unity by means of ethereal radiation. Ma...
Folksonomies: collectivism borganism
Folksonomies: collectivism borganism
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05 OCT 2014 by ideonexus

 Winning War Through Artificial Selection

"The project was cancelled," said Nessus. "We found that the Man-Kzin wars put sufficient restriction on kzinti expansion, made you less dangerous. We continued to watch. "Six times over several centuries, you attacked the worlds of men. Six times you were defeated, having lost approximately two-thirds of your male population in each war. Need I comment on the level of intelligence displayed? No? In any case, you were never in real danger of extermination. Your nonsentient females were lar...
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29 MAY 2014 by ideonexus

 The Importance of Altruism in Human Evolution

In proportion as physical characteristics become of less importance, mental and moral qualities will have an increasing importance to the well-being of the race. Capacity for acting in concert, for protection of food and shelter; sympathy, which leads all in turn to assist each other; the sense of right, which checks depredation upon our fellows ... all qualities that from earliest appearance must have been for the benefit of each community, and would therefore have become objects of natural ...
Folksonomies: evolution altruism
Folksonomies: evolution altruism
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Behaviors benefiting the community benefited the species.

13 MAR 2014 by ideonexus

 Humans are Terrifying

More seriously, humans do have a number of advantages even among Terrestrial life. Our endurance, shock resistance, and ability to recover from injury is absurdly high compared to almost any other animal. We often use the phrase “healthy as a horse” to connote heartiness - but compared to a human, a horse is as fragile as spun glass. There’s mounting evidence that our primitive ancestors would hunt large prey simply by following it at a walking pace, without sleep or rest, until it died...
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From a forum, why humans make a great monster race for other aliens to fear. Yet to find original reference yet.