Two words about two letters etc.

Wed Jan 8 15:57:49 PST 2003

>  - and maybe the Gods help out.

I'd always rather assumed that the gods (or whatever entities created
and maintain the Cycle -- which I think is something rather "higher"
on the scale) were exerting a great deal of influence to keep the
political status of the world at quo.  From the time of the founding
of the Empire, there weren't *any* significant cultural shifts (that we've
been made privy to, at least) until the Interregnum.  The recent degree
of change is literally without precedent for hundreds of thousands of
years.  Indeed, the relevant question might not be, "why haven't the
Easterners developed at all?", but rather, "Why has the Empire suddenly 
been allowed hasty development?".

> Re the "physics is different here", I just want to point out that Vlad
> is human and functions like a human here which implies the same physics.
> We know Aliera knows what a nerve is - presumably she's interested in
> how they work, and would find it hard not to know about basic E&M; surely
> some Dragon was interested in projectiles and found out about gravity,
> coriolis forces, etc.; Morrolan knows plenty about air pressure.  I don't
> see how engineering/physics/chemistry aren't more advanced.

Given what we've seen of amorphia, psionics, etcetera, we can take it that
our understanding of physics is, at best, an incomplete description of the
physical laws that work in the vicinity of Dragaera.  The presence of the
Great Sea of Chaos may introduce enough variation into what we consider
physical law that it becomes very hard to experimentally discover such laws --
or to use them effectively once discovered.  For example, suppose that it's
possible to build an electrical battery, but that it has a significant
probability of dissolving into raw chaos.  Heck, even if it releases its
charge in an uneven and unpredictable fashion, that's already enough to put
a major dent into electronics research and industry.  

There's an SF book (I forget the author, I think the title was _Newton & the
Quasi-Apple_) about some advanced aliens covertly infiltrating a society
of approximately 17-th century tech development, I think in order to oppose
an oppressive government or some such.  But the high-tech tricks that they
used had the unwitting side-effect of torpedoing that society's equivalent
of Newton, who was busily trying to understand basic physics.  He couldn't
get anyone to listen to him, because the aliens had easy-to-demonstrate
counterexamples to all his "laws".


Alexx Kay
Opinions expressed are my own and not necessarily those of my employers
alexx at world.std.com
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