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Old Mar 15 2016, 12:58 PM   #41
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I've been reading through All the Weyrs of Pern again, and it says they found a weed growing on the Southern Continent that works as a wood pulp substitute for paper, so they switch to using that and old rags since everybody wants paper now and trees take so long to grow.
I'm glad to hear that, but sorry to say I missed it. Time for a reread!
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Old Mar 15 2016, 01:00 PM   #42
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That makes sense. They could have used hemp, cane, bamboo or some plant native only to Pern. New Zealand flax has been used to make paper and rope - that would look like 8 foot or two metre high grass to the Pernese. The possibilites are only limited by the imagination, especially since we know that the early settlers still had the science to do genetic manipulation.
New Zealand flax sounds ideal! I can imagine plantations of it in the Southern continent.
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Old Mar 15 2016, 05:42 PM   #43
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Did I read that Pernese grasses contain boron?
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Old Mar 15 2016, 08:46 PM   #44
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I didn't think of vellum. I don't think I've ever actual seen any. The books always talk about record-hides, which sound thick and heavy.
My university diploma is a real sheepskin--it's parchment made from lamb skin. Vellum is just a type of hide parchment. We covered it in conservation in grad school and I actually wrote my final paper for the class on conservatorially correct ways of handling my undergrad diploma (which has lead to it staying in the cardboard tube it's been in since graduation as I'm now horribly paranoid about normal methods of mounting--piercing and suspending it in the frame would actually be better for it.) It doesn't FEEL that much different than heavy, rather stiff paper, but (especially if it's not well made) it's really touchy about humidity, as much or more so than rag paper (which can mold, but if it gets too warm and damp parchment can turn to a very nasty slop. That would be extreme, but it can happen.) You also have to get the ink right or it fades or worse. One graduating class had to get replacement diplomas because something went wrong in the printing process and the lettering flaked off. I suspect "hide" is parchment (actual unprocessed ordinary tanned hides would rot even faster and almost nothing would stick) and that especially as both the actual processing of the hides and the ability to produce quality ink were lost in the Long Interval it would explain why Benden's records deteriorated so badly.

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Miniatures aren't usually on paper anyway. I have one that's on fabric and one that's on ivory, but I can't think of anything on Pern that might substitute for ivory. The ivory one - of an ancestor - was once dated as being done around 1860 in Italy.
Well, to substitute for ivory, the glaringly obvious answer is "bone." Teeth would work too if they had an animal big enough to slice across the base (whale teeth would do nicely, actually, but I think the big ocean dwellers on Pern are sentient.) Porcelain/ceramic would work, and enamel turns up as well. (I look, I can't afford to buy, though if I had about 10000 UKP to blow I'd buy the miniature of Manfred von Richthofen Philip Mould Galleries has for sale. It was done on enamel for his mother.)

http://philipmould.com/browse-art/portrait-miniatures A lot of ivory and enamel and even a couple on paper. Wood, as well, a lot of very small icons are done on wood blocks. And you could make a teeny canvas or canvas board. That's even a thing right now--I have some very wee canvas boards I still need to do something with (as in 2" x 3").

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Did I read that Pernese grasses contain boron?
I think you're right. Don't have the DLG here but IIRC they had to modify the Earth livestock in utero to be able to eat boron-based plant life. Which suggests any Earth plants probably had to be modified, too, since the native fauna suggests the soil chemistry is different. They could have modified an industrial hemp species to thrive. It's not ideal for a lot of things, actually (despite what the 'pot will save humanity' crowd, who mostly just want to smoke it, tell you) other than high-quality rope, but it could be used to make paper. So could reeds (you don't HAVE to do the time-consuming artisan-papyrus-for-tourists look if you have the technical knowledge the settlers would.)
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Old Mar 15 2016, 10:36 PM   #45
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papyrus I think that what was used in The MasterHaper of Pern, down by Southern Boll When he was traveling, Petiron, Merelan, and Robinton it would soak up a lot of ink, and some his notes were blotchy, but Petiron, counted on his memory to re transcribe them when he got back to the Harper Hall.
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Old Mar 16 2016, 06:26 AM   #46
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As for hemp, one of my sons had a hemp shirt, which looked like unbleached linen, but he said would wear for ever. I don't know if it was mixed with other fibre though. One advantage is that it can get very big, very fast. And industrial hemp is not supposed to be worth smoking. At least, the niece that tried it thought so.
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Old Mar 16 2016, 07:30 AM   #47
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There was as time when hemp was a cash crop for farmers in Suffolk (at least).

And Shakespeare describes some yokels as 'hempen homespuns'.
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Old Mar 16 2016, 04:23 PM   #48
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It works, but it's not as versatile as cotton or linen and it's not actually any easier to grow. Not as strong as silk, either (but IIRC the silkworms didn't survive so the Pernese don't have it.) It wouldn't be more ecologically sound, but it will grow where cotton won't (you have the toss-up of devoting crop space to that versus flax, which grows far north, too, or pasture for sheep--down side, well, they're SHEEP, living animals, up side unlike flax and hemp you get way more nutritional bang for your buck out of an animal and with sheep you get fiber that's very easy to work with, too. Llama and alpaca would be good as well--they'd like the mountainous parts of the northern continent, their fiber's super-easy to spin, and they're also pack and eating animals. Maybe the one cover of Nerilka's not THAT silly...)

And no, industrial hemp apparently isn't smokeable, but scratch the surface of any OMG HEMP IS TOTALLY THE SAVIOR PLANT and you find people who just want to be able to grow the kind you CAN. (Large-scale hemp farming makes it easy to conceal other varieties from aerial surveillance which is why the US DEA is not big on the notion. If you could trust people, that would be one thing, but you can't.)

Why you'd think, though, that they almost HAVE to have it is natural hemp rope is one of the best kind for maritime use. We know they were planning major shipbuilding and for sailing vessels they would need rope. They must get it somewhere and it would seem easier to transition that to paper making than to wait for trees (even pines take at least five years to mature.)
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Old Mar 18 2016, 11:26 PM   #49
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I just remembered that a degree certificate (formerly, at least, written out on vellum) was often referred to colloquially as a 'sheepskin'.

Mine was printed on card-stock. No fair!
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Old Mar 19 2016, 01:48 PM   #50
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There have been some trials using hemp as a cavity insulation material.

Actually, the hot dry climate of, say, Igen, would preserve papyrus for ages. We have papyri older than 4,000 years.
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Old Mar 20 2016, 06:40 AM   #51
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I just remembered that a degree certificate (formerly, at least, written out on vellum) was often referred to colloquially as a 'sheepskin'.
There's also the other thing that used to be called a sheepskin, which the Pernese would almost certainly have figured out how to make in a hurry (though IIRC it wasn't the skin but the gut that you used for condoms).

To be honest, I don't see why they wouldn't've brought both kinds of hemp: the kind you make rope out of that isn't good to smoke, and the kind you smoke that isn't good to make rope out of. In a group of 6,000 people, there's going to be at least one pothead who cares enough to bring a stash of seeds in his or her personal allowance.

One of the first things the colonists did on Pern was make hooch, so they don't seem to have had anything against intoxicants.

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Old Mar 20 2016, 09:59 AM   #52
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But no tobacco!
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Old Mar 21 2016, 03:02 AM   #53
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But no tobacco!
Probably not. It's not completely useless - makes a good insect repellent in a pinch, and on industrial scales a lot of modern pesticides are nicotine derivatives - but there's not a whole lot else to recommend it, and anyway there's no guarantee that would work on Pernese pests anyhow.

It's more addictive than alcohol, right up there with caffeine, and the carcinogenic properties aren't something you could get rid of since inhaling large quantities of any sort of smoke on a daily basis is just fundamentally a bad idea. I don't think any of the traditionalists who came with the colony were preserving cultures that used tobacco for ceremonial use, either.

Again, someone who was really dedicated to the habit could've brought seeds with them, but overall the Pernese seem happier drinking their bad ideas rather than inhaling them.
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Old Mar 21 2016, 04:11 AM   #54
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That sounds like Annie.

I wonder what the carcinogen load is in bonfire smoke?
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Old Mar 21 2016, 01:00 PM   #55
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Probably not. It's not completely useless - makes a good insect repellent in a pinch, and on industrial scales a lot of modern pesticides are nicotine derivatives - but there's not a whole lot else to recommend it, and anyway there's no guarantee that would work on Pernese pests anyhow.

It's more addictive than alcohol, right up there with caffeine, and the carcinogenic properties aren't something you could get rid of since inhaling large quantities of any sort of smoke on a daily basis is just fundamentally a bad idea. I don't think any of the traditionalists who came with the colony were preserving cultures that used tobacco for ceremonial use, either.
Nicotine's also a deadly poison when ingested. Just pour your leftover insect-repellent into an unlabelled bottle and hide it in the back of the potting shed . . . . (I read a lot of mysteries.)

But I should think that by the time the settlers left Earth, they would have stopped using nicotine for killing insects. I believe there's some kind of downside to using it anyway --- some bad side-effect on plants unaffected by the pests?
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Old Mar 21 2016, 01:16 PM   #56
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A quick Search reveals that a disease called Tobacco Mosaic Virus can easily spread to a range of other plants (105 different types of plants, including tomatoes and peppers). Not a good candidate for taking to a new planet, and even if somebody took some seeds in his own stash, once Thread started they'd only be growing food, fibre and medicinal plants.
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