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Thread: Agri Bot

  1. #11
    thinBasic MVPs danbaron's Avatar
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    Maybe one good thing in my life, is that I can still read the computer screen without any help.

    Considering programs generally, I re-started playing pool at the beginning of this year, and haven't looked at one line of code since.

    But, I'm pretty sure that won't last forever.

    Considering trying to fathom other people's code, what is more unpleasant?

    After a short time, I can't even understand my own code.

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    Here are some other things I noticed about the story.

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    It says in the story that the Invincible traveled to Regis III at near light speed from the home space station.

    It says that after the expedition, the Invincible would return to the space station to make its report.

    If, in fact the Invincible accelerated relative to the space station, almost to the speed of light, and also did so on the return trip, I think most likely thousands of years would have passed at the space station when the Invincible returned.

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    It says the crew hibernated during the trip through space.

    But, it mentions nothing about them intaking food or water during the hibernation.

    I think, without food and water, they would die.

    Even during hibernation, they still breathe, and their hearts still beat, so, they must intake energy (food).

    Also, certainly evaporation would turn them into mummies if they did not intake water.

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    Here, I think is an error which was never corrected, do you think it is too late?

    First Rohan indicates that he has 75 feet of rope.

    "For that he would have needed not seventy-five feet of rope but at least one hundred feet, as well as a few hooks and a hammer; but he had nothing of the sort. He was not equipped for a climbing expedition."

    A little further he uses the rope to lower himself 120 feet.

    "Some 120 feet below he saw a broad shelf from which, clearly visible, a barren hummock led downwards, rising above the stiff dead tufts of the black bushes. Unfortunately, there was nothing but air between him and the promising shelf. He looked up. He had traversed some 600 feet, perhaps even more than that. The violent thumping of his heart seemed to shake the air. Several times he blinked his eyes. Slowly, cautiously, he unrolled the rope."

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    It seems, and I agree with this assessment, that, what constitutes life, "is in the eye of the beholder".

    The characters in the story, and, I assume also the author, Lem, indicate that the land surface of Regis III has no life.

    They do not consider the "flies" and "bushes" to be living.

    I would disagree with that opinion.

    I think Lem is implying that life is carbon based.

    The flies and bushes are metal based.

    To me, that difference doesn't matter with respect to what is living.

    Who can define life?

    To me, humans are just as much machines as, for instance, printers are.

    The only difference being that of complexity.

    Who knows? - maybe the carbon basis is the only one which machines beyond some threshold complexity, can be constructed from.

    So, I guess, my question is, what, if there is any, is the dividing line between machines and life?

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    One more thing.

    Trips through space are like living in a biosphere.

    Imagine trying to live in a big sealed glass jar, say, for a year.

    Nothing, literally nothing, can pass into or out of the jar - no gas, no water, no food, no people, nothing.

    Such experiments have been attempted on Earth, and, if I remember correctly, the results have not been great.

    Of course, the people in the biospheres were not in hibernation, but, what do you think would be the result if a nuclear submarine remained submerged for a year? Would the crew be able to resist the impulse to murder? (I mean this only semi-facetiously.)

    Actually, if again I remember correctly, the idea has been raised, that in long space trips, it would only require one suicidal/homicidal person to destroy the ship.

    That would be a good story, wouldn't it?

    Instead of a group of wealthy people and servants being trapped in a mansion with an unknown one of them killing the others one by one, someone unknown on a spaceship in deep space, would be trying to destroy it.

    I guess the person could instead be murdering the others one by one, like in the mansion - maybe that would be better, more interesting.

    I remember going to a movie, alone, one afternoon when I had nothing to do, now I see that it was in the summer of 1976, Murder by Death.

    Maybe, it was the dopiest movie ever.

    On the other hand, I still remember it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_by_Death

    Last edited by danbaron; 26-06-2012 at 07:52.
    "You can't cheat an honest man. Never give a sucker an even break, or smarten up a chump." - W.C.Fields

  2. #12
    thinBasic MVPs danbaron's Avatar
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    I thought of something else concerning the hibernation of the Invincible's crew during its trips through space.

    As I said above, even while hibernating (sleeping?), they still must ingest food and water.

    Therefore, they must also defecate and urinate.

    And, I think without a constant flow of water through them, a person's kidneys will fail.

    I guess the details of reality are not so romantic or easy to write about, especially in a fictional story, but, they still exist.

    I think the same would apply to Lem skipping over how, the very simple, as I think he described them, flies, reproduce.

    Last edited by danbaron; 27-06-2012 at 06:59.
    "You can't cheat an honest man. Never give a sucker an even break, or smarten up a chump." - W.C.Fields

  3. #13
    Super Moderator Petr Schreiber's Avatar
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    Hi Dan and Charles,

    I am really sorry I react so late, I was for 5 days in the mountains, without electricity/internet/PC.

    Dan - I really appreciate you read the text. It is indeed long, it is a book in the end I think Lem simplified some aspects of the technology to tell the story without going into much tech detail. I think he generally focuses a lot more on human mind and behavior in interesting situations - he is not known for technology based sci-fi stories. This is evident in his other books, such as "Solaris". He also doesn't usually explain all things which happen, which stimulates your imagination and makes you think about what you read for some time.

    The "Invincible" is quite light reading comparing to the other books, but I still think it is quite enjoyable. I can see it realised as movie clearly.

    The "errors" with feet distance could be lost in translation, I think Lem used metric units in his Polish original text, but it might be error indeed. I will try to find it in my Czech version.

    Charles - thanks a lot for the proggie, sadly there is only one (1) "usable" speech synthesis for Czech language and that is commercial (the voice is called Eliška) and my free licence to IVONA voices timed out. Will try once I get new SAPI voices, but I think it should work okay.


    Petr
    Last edited by Petr Schreiber; 28-06-2012 at 16:40.
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  4. #14
    thinBasic MVPs danbaron's Avatar
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    So, I guess, here we go with electronically hijacked robots and drones.

    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/07/drone-hijacking/all/


    Last edited by danbaron; 09-07-2012 at 20:45.
    "You can't cheat an honest man. Never give a sucker an even break, or smarten up a chump." - W.C.Fields

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