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Old Sep 9 2015, 02:02 PM   #41
Eriflor
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Default Re: Tubberman's Big Cats

Or the makings of a Big Game Reserve? Maybe one of the charterers was keen on hunting large animals and managed to bribe someone to include his favourite trophy animals.

They seem to have taken mostly domestic animals, and food/fibre plants, all of which needed to be genetically adjusted to the high boron content of Pern's soil --- and many desirable species didn't survive. Any non-essential species would have had to wait in line for lab resources, and for all colonists to lay claim to their stake-holds and get them into production --- a few decades, and by the 10th year Thread put an end to any plans except survival.
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Old Sep 10 2015, 06:56 AM   #42
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Default Re: Tubberman's Big Cats

I like the Noah's Ark idea and Game Reserve ideas and I think there's a certain logic in assuming it was just the 'basic colony starter pack'.

It might even have been to set up some sort of zoo - give it 10-20 years to get settled and there'd be kids with no idea what Earth was like. They might have brought a handful of every animal so that they could set up a small scale 'this is where we came from' exhibit eventually.

I could see them bringing a few of everything just in case though. The original expedition weren't on planet for too long and it was probably better to bring, say, cheetah dna, and hope you wouldn't need it then to discover that there was some sort of hyper-fast nocturnal killer in the trees.

We know cats didn't take too well to Metasynth (I am remembering that right, aren't I?) but I would guess that if absolutely necessary they could have done some additional genetic tinkering to increase tractability or whatever the problem was.

I suspect that - whatever the colonists brought them over for - they probably never planned to actually breed them/release them and that if they did it wouldn't have been in particularly large numbers.
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Old Sep 10 2015, 01:27 PM   #43
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Default Re: Tubberman's Big Cats

At the level of genetic manipulation the colonists were capable of, I wouldn't be surprised if they had a method to domesticate any animal in their gene banks. (For domestication to stick, you need the animal to have certain traits hardcoded in the DNA. Just taming an individual won't produce a domesticated breed.)

There could, conceivably, be reasons you'd need a domesticated cheetah or lion or tiger. The ancient Egyptians used tamed cheetahs to hunt, though overall the thoroughly domesticated dog is much easier to work with. Better to have the capability and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Basically, Ted Tubberman didn't get domesticated big cats out of his lab because he was an idiot.
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Old Sep 10 2015, 02:04 PM   #44
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Had this idea when I was trying to get off to sleep last night.

The original plan was to start settlement in the south because it was more arable than the north and had a longer growing season. What if they thought of actually restricting agriculture to the south and using the whole northern continent as a giant game reserve for Earth wildlife? Sure, they did some exploration and prospecting for minerals in the north, but they could have spent a few years setting up mines and ore-processing plants in the most likely places (and making sure nothing could find its way in) and then moved on to Phase 2 --- The Wildlife Park.

There could be sub-arctic wildlife in the far north, large ruminants, kangaroos, and smaller animals in the central plains, small primates in the tropics --- and as the populations grew, bring in a few predators. In more affluent times, adventurous types might like to vacation there, and go rock-climbing, skiing, spelunking, and watching the wildlife in a natural setting.

Of course, the arrival of Thread would have scotched that part of the plan, so all that remained was whatever beasts Tubberman bred in the south.
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Old Sep 10 2015, 02:45 PM   #45
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Huh. That's a really cool idea.

It's plain that the Pern that humans ended up with is not the one the colonists intended. They wanted to live a less-industrial life, but they brought the infrastructure to make sure it was a relatively safe and comfortable life -- they just couldn't plan for Thread. Having an entire wild continent with a mix of Terran and native wildlife and glorious landscapes to play in sounds like a great antidote to the grimly regulated industrial worlds they came from.

IIRC, the closest thing Pern has to indigenous terrestrial megafauna is wherries, Thread having gotten the rest. So on first glance there would seem to be ecological niches that Terran animals could be slotted into without destabilizing the ecosystem, if it were done carefully and not in a hurry. And the colonists didn't think they had any reason to hurry!

(In general, I think the colonists were overly-idealistic and had romanticized an idea of the citizen-farmer that ignores just how hardscrabble the life of the average farmer has always been, when we're talking about the people who actually plow dirt for their living rather than hiring or owning peons to do it for them. But I see where they would've gotten the notion, and how unlikely it is that any of them would have any experience to contradict it in the society they came from.)
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Old Sep 10 2015, 03:42 PM   #46
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(In general, I think the colonists were overly-idealistic and had romanticized an idea of the citizen-farmer that ignores just how hardscrabble the life of the average farmer has always been, when we're talking about the people who actually plow dirt for their living rather than hiring or owning peons to do it for them. But I see where they would've gotten the notion, and how unlikely it is that any of them would have any experience to contradict it in the society they came from.)
Yes, they started out with a certain amount of equipment like sleds (possibly adapted for ploughing) that would no longer be usable when they could no longer recharge the power-packs. By the time the Hanrahans moved to Ruatha they were mounting sleds on wheels and using teams of oxen to haul them. Stone-cutters --- worn out by the time Benden Weyr was finished. No air transport after the last 2 shuttles moved to Fort, having used the last of Kenjo's fuel. (Except for dragons, but Sean frowned on using them for anything but Thread-fighting.)

I'm surprised they didn't reinvent steam-driven tractors while they still had some technology. And for that matter, the printing press.
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Old Sep 10 2015, 04:07 PM   #47
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I'm surprised they didn't reinvent steam-driven tractors while they still had some technology. And for that matter, the printing press.
I think they lost a huge amount of knowledge and skill in the first year of Threadfall -- in the first day of Threadfall, even. Entire families were wiped out in a matter of hours, and I don't think the colony had room for deadweight. Every adult who came on the expedition would have had valuable skills and knowledge to contribute, probably even the exiles/charity cases like the travelling people. And with only 6,000 people making landfall, there were almost certainly skills that only one person had.

Basically, a lot of those fallback technologies, and the brains they were stored in, got eaten in one very bad afternoon. And then the earthquakes and lava flows did for the printed and computer backups. The colony was left with huge gaps in their knowledge and limited means of recovering them, and short on resources for rediscovery.

I assume they meant to be able to replicate things like the sleds and power packs, on a small scale, but hadn't prioritized setting up the facilities because they didn't need to. Based on how long the equipment lasted under hard emergency use, it would've been good for decades under normal use. But when they suddenly needed those facilities, it was too late.

The nail in the coffin would've been the plagues that ravaged Fort Hold. Even if they'd started to marshal what they had left and recover their tech base, they just lost too many people. They were better off with spreading out and making do rather than staying in place and trying again at the risk of their entire civilization.
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Old Sep 10 2015, 06:30 PM   #48
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Default Re: Tubberman's Big Cats

Rather than the North Continent, the Western Continent would have been a good choice. It would allow for greater human and domesticated populations to expand into Northern, while offering the same climate spread.
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Old Sep 10 2015, 06:44 PM   #49
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Default Re: Tubberman's Big Cats

The biggest problem with 're-inventing' is having the designs. Those would have been lost when Landing was buried, and no-one thought to bring books of "How Things Work" when they fled north.

Technology, even 'old' stuff, is remarkably inter-connected. It may be possible to make a printing press, but what if the pulpwood is not good for paper to print on?
What would you need a steam engine for? If you need to pump out a mine, then it is a good power source for the pumps. Transport? Runners are easier to maintain, and would not require hauling fuel and water to way stations. If you want to build a railway, how much metal is available to built the engines and trucks, not to mention the tracks.

After a short time, the ability to justify building a steam transport starts failing when confronted with easier to maintain alternatives.
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Old Sep 10 2015, 07:47 PM   #50
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Default Re: Tubberman's Big Cats

I'm not talking about trains. There were steam-powered automobiles in the streets before gasoline-powered ones --- I'm not sure how gas got the upper hand, but Big Business managed to bury a lot of useful inventions, often by buying-out the inventor and then promoting their own product instead.

Tractors can be used to pull ploughs, harrows, carts and other agricultural equipment, and I assume they used some of the sleds for that purpose until they'd bred enough horses for the task. But later, with all those people crammed into Fort, and only a small amount of land protected from Thread, they could probably find people to do the grunt work, along with whatever draft-animals they managed to transport over.

Regarding the loss of information, they had plenty stored on their computer system in the Teachers College at Fort until it got struck by lightning just before the Second Pass. Why didn't they use it?
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Old Sep 10 2015, 07:53 PM   #51
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Pern isn't short of metal, but the colonists might very well have been short of metallurgy. On our own world, many ancient civilizations had very sophisticated knowledge of mathematics and physics and could design intricate machinery -- but couldn't produce metal of the quality they needed to put those ideas into practice. There were designs for a working steam engine (the aeolipile) in Alexandria in the first century AD. But the technology just didn't take off, because they couldn't build a version big enough to be useful as anything more than a toy.

There are a lot of things the Pernese could've used a steam engine for, from transportation to farming to mining and carving out Holds. But I grew up in a town of not much more than 6,000 people, the number of people who founded Pern. People there weren't stupid and were hard workers, but there were maybe one or two engineers in town who could build a steam-powered machine from first principles. Probably there was no one who could turn raw iron ore into high-quality steel.

If a car crash had killed those one or two engineers -- well, that'd be sad, but more engineers could be hired in. We didn't lose their knowledge, not really. But if my hometown had the only people on Earth in it, and our engineers had just died? That's another story.
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Old Sep 10 2015, 07:55 PM   #52
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Regarding the loss of information, they had plenty stored on their computer system in the Teachers College at Fort until it got struck by lightning just before the Second Pass. Why didn't they use it?
We don't get a rundown of all the kinds of information stored in those computers, do we? It might not've been a comprehensive copy of their databases. It could just be whatever hard drives they could grab on their way out of Landing, and might've had some key holes in it. And they'd stripped the ships of everything useful, so I doubt there were backup copies left in orbit.
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Old Sep 11 2015, 02:04 PM   #53
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They didn't have to grab whatever hard drives they could on the way out. They'd been working on adapting Fort to hold a fairly large number of inhabitants for months before the volcano blew, so they would have had a decent computer setup running there. Why would they leave the data files behind --- especially engineering data?
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Old Sep 11 2015, 02:31 PM   #54
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I think they lost a huge amount of knowledge and skill in the first year of Threadfall -- in the first day of Threadfall, even. Entire families were wiped out in a matter of hours, and I don't think the colony had room for deadweight. Every adult who came on the expedition would have had valuable skills and knowledge to contribute, probably even the exiles/charity cases like the travelling people. And with only 6,000 people making landfall, there were almost certainly skills that only one person had.

Basically, a lot of those fallback technologies, and the brains they were stored in, got eaten in one very bad afternoon. And then the earthquakes and lava flows did for the printed and computer backups. The colony was left with huge gaps in their knowledge and limited means of recovering them, and short on resources for rediscovery.
I don't think they lost all that many experts on the first day of Threadfall. The fall was across Landing to Paradise River, and there were only about 200 residents in Landing by then (quoting Avril), the rest being dispersed across the southern continent. They lost a lot of young people who were out hunting, probably some other people who got caught outside, practically all the Touaregs, some unsheltered livestock, and a whole swath of farmland. A great personal tragedy to some families, a major shock to everyone else, and the loss of crops and livestock would have hurt too.

In the second fall they found out the hard way that pressed-fibre walls and roofs were no protection against Thread, and lost several families that way (and started using metal sheeting or stone instead). Once they started using sleds to fight Thread in the air, they lost quite a few young, inexperienced pilots and "gunners" --- some of whom may have been apprentices to various trades near the end of their training.

After that they started moving the specialists and their families back to more secure accommodation at Landing.
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Old Sep 11 2015, 02:49 PM   #55
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Rather than the North Continent, the Western Continent would have been a good choice. It would allow for greater human and domesticated populations to expand into Northern, while offering the same climate spread.
I forgot about the Western continent! (I said I was dozing off, remember?)

How big is that supposed to be? New Zealand size? It's a bit northerly --- from Tillek to north of Telgar Weyr --- but mostly low-lying. And a lot further away from the northern and southern continents than they are from one another. Dragonriders would have to be involved -- maybe a way for weyrlings to pick up a few marks transporting tourists?
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Old Sep 11 2015, 04:33 PM   #56
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They didn't have to grab whatever hard drives they could on the way out. They'd been working on adapting Fort to hold a fairly large number of inhabitants for months before the volcano blew, so they would have had a decent computer setup running there. Why would they leave the data files behind --- especially engineering data?
Yeah, you're right. At that point it becomes a game of "Because Dragonsdawn was written decades after the world had been established as falling into medieval subsistence."
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Old Sep 11 2015, 04:58 PM   #57
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I forgot about the Western continent! (I said I was dozing off, remember?)

How big is that supposed to be? New Zealand size? It's a bit northerly --- from Tillek to north of Telgar Weyr --- but mostly low-lying. And a lot further away from the northern and southern continents than they are from one another. Dragonriders would have to be involved -- maybe a way for weyrlings to pick up a few marks transporting tourists?
Sorry, strike that last bit --- if they waited till after Thread started, the Reserve would never have been created. And if Thread didn't exist, neither would the dragons have been created.

Come to think of it, if Thread had even held off long enough for the Reserve to be set up and stocked, there wouldn't have been enough resources to protect it from Thread. --- unless it was one of these odd areas that don't get Threadfall.

Sorry for wittering on. Shutting up now.
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Old Sep 11 2015, 06:13 PM   #58
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If Thread had held off long enough for them to set up a continent-wide game park/adventure resort, they probably would've also set up facilities to let them manufacture new power packs and repair or replace sleds, and the whole thing would be different.

I generally like AUs, but I really want dragons!
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Old Sep 12 2015, 03:15 PM   #59
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Default Re: Tubberman's Big Cats

I only mentioned trains because a rail system is a BIG undertaking requiring a lot of resources. Steam tractors are definitely possible, but they would also require a substantial support system to stockpile fuel along any routes they might use.

I suspect that Pern would be at the tech level of Earth after the Green Revolution (metal plows, seed drills, swathers, etc) with some early Industrial revolution stuff (spinning machines and powered looms at Weaver Crafthalls, powered lifts, pumping and ventilation at mines, and so on).

Anne, like almost every author, paints a general picture of the society and we fill in the details in our own minds.
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Old Sep 12 2015, 03:29 PM   #60
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What I am trying to say (and not doing a very good job of it) is that the Pernese would be faced with the problem of knowing what to build, but not having the prerequisites to build it. For example: it is fairly easy to build a radio from parts, but each part requires its own production system. Then each component needs to be manufactured: wires of specific gauges, semi-conductive material for resistors, etc. Farandel(?) briefly remarked on this problem when he was showing off the 'distance writer' (telegraph) when he detailed some of the issues they had to deal with: making the wire, stringing the wire between stations, how to power the writer, what to write on, etc.

Last edited by Kennet; Sep 12 2015 at 03:30 PM. Reason: grammar and clarity
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Old Sep 12 2015, 06:57 PM   #61
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That's a good point, Kennet, and definitely a barrier for later Pernese. But as Eriflor pointed out, the colonists had their databanks more or less intact when they moved to Fort, and would have that knowledge.
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Old Sep 15 2015, 03:16 AM   #62
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Default Re: Tubberman's Big Cats

Farandel did have the idea of adding wheels to the ore carts/barge, that F'nor spotted on his way the MasterSmithCraftHall, to make the portage easier. In Dragonquest.
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Old Sep 15 2015, 04:37 PM   #63
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What I am trying to say (and not doing a very good job of it) is that the Pernese would be faced with the problem of knowing what to build, but not having the prerequisites to build it. For example: it is fairly easy to build a radio from parts, but each part requires its own production system. Then each component needs to be manufactured: wires of specific gauges, semi-conductive material for resistors, etc. Farandel(?) briefly remarked on this problem when he was showing off the 'distance writer' (telegraph) when he detailed some of the issues they had to deal with: making the wire, stringing the wire between stations, how to power the writer, what to write on, etc.
There was a discussion-thread a few years back suggesting that the computer files would have included a "kit" of instructions for making numerous useful articles based on what was available on Pern. But until Thread came there would be no sense of urgency for such projects, and once the Pass started, getting out to gather the essentials would have been too hazardous, and the available resources would have been reserved for needs rather than wants.

BTW they didn't always need to go for electronic solutions. The Victorians had some novel ideas using mechanical devices and simple electricity (if the Murdoch Mysteries TV series is anything to go by).

It still bugs me that, sometime during the First Interval (a 200-year period, after all!), they didn't build a printing press and provide copies of the most essential information to each major and minor Hold. It's not rocket science, they were printing the Bible in quantity in the 16th Century, and the Chinese invented printing centuries before that.
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Old Nov 7 2015, 01:17 PM   #64
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It still bugs me that, sometime during the First Interval (a 200-year period, after all!), they didn't build a printing press and provide copies of the most essential information to each major and minor Hold. It's not rocket science, they were printing the Bible in quantity in the 16th Century, and the Chinese invented printing centuries before that.
YANA. This is one of my big sticking points about Pern. They reinvent paper on more than one occasion but no one on the entire planet can do screenprinting with some lumber, cheese cloth and an aluminum/potassium mix? No one ever decides to make woodblock carvings or etching plates? Come the **** on. Half the colony was of Asian descent!
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Old Nov 12 2015, 11:14 PM   #65
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Default Re: Tubberman's Big Cats

Clisser was thinking of a printing press, but the need was paper. Red Star Rising/Dragonseye.

He did have hand written copies of many of things. done one before him.
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