Keith's Art Gallery

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keithcurtis
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Re: Keith's Art Gallery

Postby keithcurtis » Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:49 pm

Check out the wiki entry and see if you still have questions.
Note, Dan has not edited the entry, so take any info there with a grain of salt.

Quick answer, the fore shells provide a solid anchor. The main body has no bones. This gives the tentacles a bit more of a solid base to work from.

Imagine the tentacles as fingers, and the shell as growing from the "elbow". This is by far the most complicated anatomical arrangement I have come up with so far.

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Re: Keith's Art Gallery

Postby Citizen Joe » Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:04 pm

An alligator's hide is porous and has a vascular network that allows them to pump blood up to the surface and then transfer it back into their core. This lets them efficiently regulate their temperature while basking in the sun. Alligators are essentially living dinosaurs and this sort of adaptation seems like something the Tembians would have developed.

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Re: Keith's Art Gallery

Postby keithcurtis » Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:25 pm

Citizen Joe wrote:Alligators are essentially living dinosaurs

This is debatable, since they were co-existant, and modern evidence places dinosaurs closer to birds than alligators.

The rest of your post is interesting. I was deliberately vague with the nature and extent of their exothermic qualities. They likely have some methods of minor heat control, just not like mammals and birds.

Mostly, I just thought it felt right, and everything had been endothermic until now.

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Re: Keith's Art Gallery

Postby Citizen Joe » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:59 pm

I wonder how they deal with gravity. On the one hand, they are normally on the surface of the water, so up and down are critical from the stand point of heat sources and air, but they also submerge for fairly lengthy times, and that is sort of like floating gravityless.

Water also has a huge thermal mass and conduction. Without a thick blubber wall and internal heat generation, they'll be pretty limited to the surrounding water temperatures. Outside the water, it seems to me that they'll have a much harder time thermoregulating. Temperature shifts can be much more rapid.

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Re: Keith's Art Gallery

Postby keithcurtis » Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:55 am

Citizen Joe wrote:I wonder how they deal with gravity. On the one hand, they are normally on the surface of the water, so up and down are critical from the stand point of heat sources and air, but they also submerge for fairly lengthy times, and that is sort of like floating gravityless.

Water also has a huge thermal mass and conduction. Without a thick blubber wall and internal heat generation, they'll be pretty limited to the surrounding water temperatures. Outside the water, it seems to me that they'll have a much harder time thermoregulating. Temperature shifts can be much more rapid.

Frogs don't seem to have a problem. :)

There's nothing in their write-up to suggest they don't have methods of thermal regulation, endothermic only implies that they do not have the capability of excess heat production, like birds and mammals. They might have a blubber equivalent, or the ability to constrict and expand a micro-convaluted surface. Or an internal organ of heat storage. Or their world might be a uniformly warm one. Or possibly they operate efficiently within a wide variance of temperatures, and are only bothered by extremes. Or any number of a hundred solutions.

There's a limit to the amount of fine detail I am willing to describe. Invariably in science fiction, over-description leads to loss of the suspension of disbelief. Unless we are positing a flat out impossibility (under the ground-rules of the fictive universe), the assumption is that the organism by and large, works.

This is similar to discussion of the Sirini gait, for instance. We assume it works because (to the in-universe observer), it evidently does. We can rationalize it, but over-rationalizing serves little purpose. Describe to the extent necessary for believability, or for the entertainment of putting forth a novel idea.

Finally, please don't take this as an admonishment to not offer critique. I'm merely explaining my guidelines for description.

For instance, I am intrigued by your comments on gravity. What is the perceived difficulty? I understand the comments on temperature regulation, but what is the difficulty in going from a buoyant medium to a non-buoyant one? Beyond gross engineering, I mean. Do you foresee a behavioral, cultural or technological complication?

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Re: Keith's Art Gallery

Postby Citizen Joe » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:34 am

Ya, my suggestions are usually just there for story purposes. As they are the only exothermic creatures, that should call for some information as to the problems they may have. If all the problems are resolved, there isn't much point of them being different.

Anyway, the gravity thing can be resolved two ways. Either they abandon the water in micro gees, thus they're like a fish out of water but without the penalty of their own weight crushing them. Or they need centrifuges to keep the water with a 'down' orientation. It would normally be a no brainer, but how do they eat without the water? I would hazard a guess that part of the precursor to space flight was some sort of replacement for their feeding flagella, which may have been first developed to save those starving Tembians from the barnacles. Personally, I'd like to see a wide variety of symbionts for the Tembians from a feeder to an endothermic parasite. Rather than cybernetics, the Tembians could use genetically engineered symbionts.

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Re: Keith's Art Gallery

Postby keithcurtis » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:50 am

Citizen Joe wrote:Ya, my suggestions are usually just there for story purposes. As they are the only exothermic creatures, that should call for some information as to the problems they may have. If all the problems are resolved, there isn't much point of them being different.

Anyway, the gravity thing can be resolved two ways. Either they abandon the water in micro gees, thus they're like a fish out of water but without the penalty of their own weight crushing them. Or they need centrifuges to keep the water with a 'down' orientation. It would normally be a no brainer, but how do they eat without the water? I would hazard a guess that part of the precursor to space flight was some sort of replacement for their feeding flagella, which may have been first developed to save those starving Tembians from the barnacles. Personally, I'd like to see a wide variety of symbionts for the Tembians from a feeder to an endothermic parasite. Rather than cybernetics, the Tembians could use genetically engineered symbionts.

Ah, I see your point on the gravity now. I had assumed you meant in their natural environment. Yes, they would have to account for the fact that they exist primarily on the interface. This is probably not an issue in the current campaign, which features artificial gravity (at least this is my understanding), but in a pre-ultratech phase, they must have found some solution. This is a problem I'll leave to Dan, since the base concept is pre-existant.

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Re: Keith's Art Gallery

Postby Dan » Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:45 pm

Their technology is one of the areas I'm still muddling out. For example, I picture their spaceships as being less segregated than a human's. We have rooms dedicated to a purpose, with some containing equipment. I sleep here and the engine is over there. We'll only use a hallway to segregate rooms or get past a choke point in the ship's components.

Tembians, on the other hand, might simply build a ship absolutely packed with components. Then whatever room is left they fill with tubes that contain some amount of water (or are even completely flooded) which is where they move about the ship. Water has the downside of adding weight to a vessel, so they'd have to minimize its presence, but it has the upside of making acceleration gentler on its residents. See the Venus Prime series of books for a really long, boring explanation of why that's true.

I don't see them cleansing their environment the way we do. The natural water from Tembus contains organisms which form a stable ecosystem. Some lifeforms clog their feeding surfaces, but the Ipp take care of that. There is no problem, and therefore from their rather obtuse standpoint, nothing worth bothering with.

I think the more interesting question is what their early information technology looked like. You can't build electrical systems in dirty water. Did they keep their tech on land? Build "dry rooms" the same way we build "clean rooms" for certain kinds of tech work? Or did they skip electricity as much as possible, focusing on technology that does work in water like optics?

As Keith said, I only want to answer these questions far enough to create internal consistency. Beyond that, I'll inevitably make a mistake and embarrass myself. Lucas and Roddenberry had a lot more people on their payroll than I do, and as soon as they started adding fine detail to their respective universes, the science became a mess.

I also don't have to worry about it too much, because Tembians aren't major players in the galaxy. While they get about and trade -- and have an on-and-off war with the Mordeth -- they're not really interested in politics or cultural exchange. They generally keep to themselves.
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Re: Keith's Art Gallery

Postby Graytigeress » Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:46 am

keithcurtis wrote:
Citizen Joe wrote:Alligators are essentially living dinosaurs

This is debatable, since they were co-existant, and modern evidence places dinosaurs closer to birds than alligators.

The rest of your post is interesting. I was deliberately vague with the nature and extent of their exothermic qualities. They likely have some methods of minor heat control, just not like mammals and birds.

Mostly, I just thought it felt right, and everything had been endothermic until now.


http://dinosaurs.about.com/od/dinosaurc ... looded.htm

There is no positive evidence either way.
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Re: Keith's Art Gallery

Postby keithcurtis » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:25 am

Graytigeress wrote:
keithcurtis wrote:
Citizen Joe wrote:Alligators are essentially living dinosaurs

This is debatable, since they were co-existant, and modern evidence places dinosaurs closer to birds than alligators.

The rest of your post is interesting. I was deliberately vague with the nature and extent of their exothermic qualities. They likely have some methods of minor heat control, just not like mammals and birds.

Mostly, I just thought it felt right, and everything had been endothermic until now.


http://dinosaurs.about.com/od/dinosaurc ... looded.htm

There is no positive evidence either way.

That article is about heat control in dinosaurs, not their position in the fossil record. Two issues are being conflated here. My contention was with alligators being living dinosaurs. Alligators are living alligators. There were alligators in dinosaur times. The bone structure and in some cases, skin coverings) of dinosaurs were far closer to birds. Velociraptors had feathers, for instance.

The heat control was an entirely different conversation, unrelated to dinosaurs. Thanks for the link, though. I'll do some more investigation into the further classifications of heat control. Interesting.


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