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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

Boundless is the joy of the writer who justifies a rules hack of physics in some sort of clever way. My worldbuilding demands a matter transmitter that can send goods, but not living creatures. I dodge this through quantum mechanics and a clever application of the Schrodinger's Cat Problem: the cat knows.

Thus, you can't send anything self-aware through the matter transmitter; it comes out dead the other side.

Boy, I am so bloody smart sometimes.

Yeah, I know it's a handwave. I have one word for you: psychohistory.


I kinda like that :D
And the best part is, it works on pesky AIs, too.

Oh, hey! That's very clever!! I'd buy that.
I've always objected that the cat would know. Delightful to imagine a world in which that mattered.

But how far down the scale of consciousness does the effect go? There are so many debatably conscious things the recipients might need it they were, say, colonizing an incompletely terraformed planet. Can you send a one-pound sack of composting earthworms? An incubated box of unhatched chicken eggs the day before the chicks hatch? Nitrogen-fixing bacteria?
I'm with you on the cat. In general, I find the mystical-properties-of-consciousness school rather irritating-- I don't think any sane experimental physicist actually believes that if she runs a set of experiments, her computer records the data, prints it out automatically, and she doesn't look at it for three days, there's nothing on the sheet until she glances at the printout.

In fiction, though, mystical properties of consciousness don't bother me unless the characters run around declaring that this is Really Real and they are Deep Philosophers (à la the frame story in Gentle's Ash books). My assumption for the matter-transmission system would be that it isn't so much a problem of a binary dead/ alive state (how do you tell if a virus is alive anyway?) as an increasing probability that complex systems will break down. I'd expect earthworms and eggs to break, but some of the bacteria might make it, depending on how picky you want to be . . .
What's wrong with handwaving, really? If you want to spend many hours working out technologically-possible innovations, that's fine; if you want to focus on something else and simply say Because, why shouldn't that be fine as well?


Philip Jose Farmer, but it wuz cured by trees and trances, and didn't have hardly any cats. Just the aforementioned trees, which wuz kinda like smart cats, only not so mobile, and they didn't purr either. OK, back to lurking.
Robert Silverberg, in my favorite of all his short works, "In Entropy's Jaws," says that matter transmission doesn't work with sentient matter, but doesn't say why. Now we know.
*g* I could send him a thank you note.
Hey, that works for me!
It vaguely reminds me of Stephen King's, "The Jaunt". Sentient beings could go through the transmission in his story, though, but only if put to sleep first.
The flip side is Ursula Le Guin's short story in which only sentient beings can manage FTL travel, because they can put together a story to make sense of the contradictions.


Wow! That's a really quick way to send colonies a lot of sides of beef, while making sure it's a humane kill...
:: cool ::


:: jealous ::

What about yeast?
Go write it, Jay.
Reminds me of how weregamer has things set up in his time travel game so you can’t overlap your own worldline: any time a human overlaps themselves, something disastrous immediately happens to the later one. Living beings of the complexity of a lab rat will tend to have one fall ill fairly quickly, but it’s random as to which copy. (No AIs in this game to test on.) One of the characters, on learning this, remarked: “Great. We have a destructive test for the presence of a soul.”
Oh, that's a very elegant hand-wave. My hat is off to you.

I'm fudging something a bit similar: anything alive cannot be exposed to "time warp drive" (in the cargo area; shielding for the crew) because time doesn't work properly; you never know if those cans of bacteria will arrive dead, alive and having bred so much they've burst their cans, or evolving legs.

I'm sure there's holes in that one, but I'm tuning all the fundamental physics of that universe over to the boyfriend for review before I whack on the pretty bits any more. (Best boufriend ever. Bug-checking my physics and doing linguistic-geek stuff to my alien languages. At this rate I may have to givehim co-author credit...)
I love your icon.

And yeah, that's a pretty good boyfriend. *g* Just dedicate the book to him; it's cheaper.
I would totally buy that. *buys*

(Tangentally, I've always been perturbed by the fact that a kitty cat was used for Herr Schro's theory. Why not an earthworm? Or a dung beetle?)
Hmm, would it let expert systems through? Or perhaps a human with their consciousness hypnotically excised/suppressed (but intelligence left intact)?
Go write that. *g*