Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Monday, January 03, 2011


What can we deduce from this image? (It's from concept ships, seen via TJIC.)

First, although the scene gives the impression of being similar to an airport, we see no evidence of air travel, not even contrails in the distance. Since they have the ability to travel at high speeds, judging by the ground-based rocket-powered transport seen, this is not because of a fuel shortage. We're on a planet with either thinner air, higher gravity, or both. The lack of redness near the setting/rising sun also indicates thin air.

Second, they're using rockets instead of either locomotives or electric power. My guess is that rockets might call for less steel for a given power output than locomotives and less copper than electric power. It looks like we’re on a world with a heavy-metal shortage.

Third, they apparently use domes for routine buildings. The towers in the distance are for a display of conspicuous consumption on the part of the upper classes. There are a handful of towers nearby for middle management, but not that many of them. This might indicate frequent use of materials that are stronger in compression than tension, i.e., ceramics. This is another indication of a heavy-metal shortage.

Fourth, there is no fuel shortage. They're able to use a rockets for ground transport which probably requires lots of energy. Since it's doubtful if a world with thin air would have an abundance of fossil fuels and it's doubtful if a world lacking heavy metals would have much uranium, they're probably using nuclear fusion. They might have an abundance of deuterium and lithium.

It's amazing how much one can deduce from just one picture.


Blogger Jeff the Baptist said...

Actually there is an aircraft flying in the midground between the girl and the prominent spaceship.

And if it is a starport or an airport-like facility, then you expect air traffic to be heavily controlled to prevent accidents from incoming and outgoing traffic. It's also possible that the propulsion technology they're using doesn't leave contrails as it doesn't disperse particulates to act as condensation nuclei.

Also if it was a starport, you'd expect their to be large hanger-like buildings. These would be most efficiently constructed by using shapes that can contain a large volume unobstructed by columns using the least material possible. Shapes like domes. The same basic geometry is also useful for some times of fuel storage (like Liquid Hydrogen or LNG storage) as it limits heat transfer.

Compare that to office buildings which need to be subdivided easily into equitable office spaces. This is done most efficiently with square shapes like the office towers in far background.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Cybrludite said...

Judging from where the chick is standing, there's not much in the way of OSHA type regulation. Also, she doesn't have a problem with heights.

5:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've looked at this at least three times and on different days, and I knew something bothered me about the girl's relationship with the environment. The scale is wrong. I suck at math but the size of the people in front of the ship is incorrect with respect to the perspective.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Joseph said...

That was an aircraft? I thought that was the sun partly obscured by a cloud.

12:14 AM  
Anonymous Vader said...

Hot chick == good.

Hot chick standing on an elevated structure clinging to some kind of stout antenna == just within the ream of plausibility.

Hot chick doing this while wearing a dress and high heels == the artist hasn't been on a date in way too long.

10:08 AM  

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