Two words about two letters etc.

Wed Jan 8 16:48:37 PST 2003

On Wed, 8 Jan 2003, Alexx S Kay wrote:

> >  - 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)

This is an excellent point - shall we say anything capable of creating
an artifact that can warp causality on a detailed society-wide scale is a
Brust-level entity?  I can see an Uebergodly pencil descending from beyond
and scratching out Gods like Tri'nagore who won't get with the program...
But if there is such an entity why doesn't it quash the Jenoine?

> 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?".

The Gods have decided they need help combatting the Jenoine, who are
restive lately?  Maybe the J are the (physical) Cycle's way of forcing
the Gods to allow the Dragaerans to develop after a Great Cycle?

> > 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.

My point (or assertion since we know squat about magic) was that humans
function, therefore technology does - I can much more easily imagine
changes in physics that would allow cars and computers but not cats than
vice versa.  A protein or a synapse is a lot more sensitive to such
changes than a piston or a semiconductor.

Also note that higher-order physics is (in our experience anyway) often
simpler (esp. if one is mathematically sophisticated) - for example
relativity turns out to be a simpler way of looking at things than
Newton's, and particle physics in our days is a lot messier than back at
the beginning of the universe when everything was hot - and anyway having
a place where the laws break down makes it easier to note those laws (Why
don't apples fall near the Sea?  Hmm, why do apples fall at all?).

Vernor Vinge fans will ask, Is the Empire heading for a sorcerous
Singularity?  (I.e., will there be general Orb-building then Orb-building
Orbs or Orb-assisted Elder Sorcery learning and boom everyone's godlike?)

- Philip