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Old Jan 28 2009, 07:45 AM   #41
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Default Re: Re : Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragongirl View Post
Moreta, with Leri's comment on K'lon.

ED's already basically stated what I was trying to get at. Sure, we don't see it all the time in the books - seeing as most of them are about the high-up powers anyway - but logically, they're a big group of people living in close contact; yeah, they'd present a united front to outsiders, but like any unit, there's going to be taunting and rivalries among the ranks within that group.

I mean, it happens just about everywhere. In the defence force units, like ED said, in school, with the "houses" kids are sorted into and the individual year groups. Even in families - I know mine will band together and present a united front against outsiders, but once it's just us, in close quarters, we bicker and squabble and torment and yes, even pull "age rank" to annoy one another.
Oh, I'm not disputing that at all. There's going to be a certain amount of taunting and such...heck, even between the ranks of the same colors.

Refresh my memory though - what was Leri's comment on K'lon?
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Old Jan 29 2009, 10:00 AM   #42
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Default Re: Re : Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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I have a question about this, because frankly, I can't remember.

Is the - disdain is the wrong word but I can't think of a better one - for the 'lesser' colors seen in every Pass in the books? Or only in the Ninth Pass?

I guess I only remember it in the Ninth Pass because the books I've read the most are the first three - DF/DQ/TWD. I've read Moreta several times, too, but don't recall the "higher" colors saying things against the "lower", only the fact that the blue and green riders are portrayed as flamers.

In DF I recall Lessa with her "silly green" comment. In SoP, I recall F'lessan with the condescending "my dear green" line. So...where else are they condescended to?

I am going somewhere with this, but not until I have a reality check!
I really didn't get the Impression that F'lessan was being condescending. I thought that he said it in a fond loving way, the way other characters will call their life mates, or dragons, "dear heart".
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Old Feb 2 2009, 01:41 AM   #43
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

I didn't think that F'lessan was being condescending either. Sometimes I think Lessa stereotypes green dragons as "silly", but she's human and remember where she's coming from- she's ONLY seen things from the top down (as far as Weyr life goes)

I'm pretty sure some Weyrleader, somewhere, has reffered to his goldrider weyrmate (if he has one), as "my very dear gold"
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Old Feb 2 2009, 08:38 AM   #44
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Default Re : Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

All these expression sound like normal comments in a hierarchical structure, don't they? I mean, take any army and there are such rivalries or such teasing among different groups or grades. But that does not make them condescending.

What make us think there is condescension may come from the dragonnet's choice. As they select their lifemate based on what they "hear" from their mind, dragon color may be a good personnality indicator. And as dragonriders, like anybody else, tend to make friends with people similarly minded, we obviously would see rider group behaviours associated to dragon colors, right?
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Old Jun 19 2009, 10:37 PM   #45
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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Originally Posted by ElectricDragon View Post
I just don't buy the whole "dragon riders are long-lived" business.

So F'lar in his mid-thirties would have been in his prime as a Weyrleader and T'ron at 45 would have been getting a bit long in the tooth.
Sorry to resurrect a dead thread, but this one comment of E.D.'s has bugged me for quite some time...T'ron is old at 45 whereas F'lar is in his prime.

When F'lar fights T'ron - he's 40 Turns old. So he's really not that much younger than T'ron.

So it still makes no sense to me.

But...eh. It's not the first inconsistency.
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Old Jun 20 2009, 04:28 AM   #46
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

I thought old here might be also meant in a more figurative sense. The name oldtimers isn't something coincidental. T'ron was old because he already had fought Thread most of his life. Imagine having to fight a war since you we're 14 Turns of age, it would make you old before your time. Then the oldtimers came forward with the prospect of another 50 Turns of Thread...

Yeah, T'ron was definitely more than 5 Turns older than F'lar, who was indeed in his prime.

That is, if T'ron's age is correct. Where is the source for that?
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Old Jun 20 2009, 05:21 AM   #47
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

Source is F'lar's quote during the fight in DQ (p189):

Quote:
Or is it age, T'ron? Age creeping up on you. You're four hundred and forty-five Turns old, you know. You can't move fast enough anymore, with the times, or against me.
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Old Jun 20 2009, 01:29 PM   #48
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

That strengthens my belief that it was meant figuratisarcasticallt rather than calling T'ron a old guy.
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Old Jun 20 2009, 01:51 PM   #49
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

T'ron, presumably, is around 50 when he comes forward from 8th to 9th pass. Add on the approx 440 turns of the long interval, plus a few turns fighting in the 9th, and F'lar should have said five hundred not 455. But, in the heat of the moment F'lar was 'sledging' T'ron, not indulging in abstruse statistics.
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Old Jun 20 2009, 03:21 PM   #50
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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T'ron, presumably, is around 50 when he comes forward from 8th to 9th pass. Add on the approx 440 turns of the long interval, plus a few turns fighting in the 9th, and F'lar should have said five hundred not 455. But, in the heat of the moment F'lar was 'sledging' T'ron, not indulging in abstruse statistics.
Mmmm...no, not the "45" portion of it. He was taunting T'ron, but with the "four hundred" portion. I would think the 45 would be the correct age.

There's no reason for T'ton to be fifty or older. Just because he's the Eighth Pass Weyrleader doesn't mean he was Weyrleader through the whole Pass. Just like Mardra was most likely not Weyrwoman through the whole Pass.

And yes, Hans, I agree that the reason they are called "Oldtimers" is because of their hieing from the past, and their Eighth Pass attitudes.

My whole point was that there is no reason, even seven or eight years later during the events of TWD that they are dying off like flies.

...or, actually, there is a good reason. OK, never mind.
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Old Jun 21 2009, 04:03 AM   #51
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

If many of them die you might want to take the old soldier look again; they are tired, getting sloppy and less concentrated. Some of them might have been fighting the majority of the Eight Pass. And fighting a war not for a handful of years but for twenty-five years and having the prospect of another few dozen...

No, I find a higher mortality rate among the older riders/fighters very acceptable. Some may survive because of better attitude and experience, antoher large group may not.
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Old Jun 21 2009, 05:16 PM   #52
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

But hadn't the Oldtimers also become adrenaline addicts?
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Old Jun 21 2009, 11:41 PM   #53
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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If many of them die you might want to take the old soldier look again; they are tired, getting sloppy and less concentrated. Some of them might have been fighting the majority of the Eight Pass. And fighting a war not for a handful of years but for twenty-five years and having the prospect of another few dozen...

No, I find a higher mortality rate among the older riders/fighters very acceptable. Some may survive because of better attitude and experience, antoher large group may not.
Plot age on a horizontal axis, and casualty rate on a vertical axis, and you'll get a "U" shaped curve. So yes, older riders (20+ years fighting thread and/or flying a dragon) would suffer a higher rate of casualties. Add in the combat fatigue factor and yes, they might be dropping like flies.
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Old Jun 22 2009, 09:33 PM   #54
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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Plot age on a horizontal axis, and casualty rate on a vertical axis, and you'll get a "U" shaped curve. So yes, older riders (20+ years fighting thread and/or flying a dragon) would suffer a higher rate of casualties. Add in the combat fatigue factor and yes, they might be dropping like flies.
Yes, I realized this after I began my post. Thank you for verifying, because that is going to help me quite a bit in my fanfic.
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Old Jun 22 2009, 11:59 PM   #55
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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Yes, I realized this after I began my post. Thank you for verifying, because that is going to help me quite a bit in my fanfic.
Always happy to help.
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Old Jun 25 2009, 10:53 PM   #56
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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Sorry to resurrect a dead thread, but this one comment of E.D.'s has bugged me for quite some time...T'ron is old at 45 whereas F'lar is in his prime.

When F'lar fights T'ron - he's 40 Turns old. So he's really not that much younger than T'ron.

So it still makes no sense to me.

But...eh. It's not the first inconsistency.
I was speaking generally. I didn't actually look up their ages.

However, I did play around with population and reproduction figures for the Weyrs and did some calculating on how rapidly dragonriders would have to die during Intervals in order to not have the place overrun with dragons and their riders (and, in fact, keep the Weyrs running at their Interval population of about 50% of their Pass population for dragons). The numbers were not the stuff blissful long retirement.

The ages at which half the riders of a particular hatching would be dead would have to be:

Green: 14 years post-Impression
Blue: 15 years post-Impression
Brown: 22 years post-Impression
Bronze: 25 years post-Impression
Gold: 27 years post-Impression

So if you figure (just to pick a reasonable number) Impression at age 15, green riders are lucky to make it to 30, and a bronze rider would be gazing over the crest of the hill right at 40. And this is during an Interval, so obviously riding dragons is a hard life. So even if F'lar was 40 at the time of his duel with T'ron, T'ron was certainly his senior by a number years and by the standards of an Interval (much less a Pass, and a second Pass at that) T'ron would most likely be easily viewed and discerned as past his prime.

This reasoning was the source of my characterizations of their relative ages.

This is also the source of my dismissal of the characterization of dragon riders as long-lived. If Impression took place at age 15, a green rider over age 43 would be rare indeed. Similarly for blues over 45, browns over 59, bronzes over 65 and golds over 69.
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Old Jun 26 2009, 04:48 AM   #57
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

I'm curious - how did you work out those numbers exactly? There's no evidence that dragon colour demographics change between Pass and Interval, so I'm mildly surprised to see such a variation between the colours. How do you kill off the dragon colours differently?

Taking the absolute simplest approximation of the population, a stable populace requires nothing more than yearly births== yearly deaths. Dragonriding does need to be a fairly lethal occupation even without thread - if you get a clutch of twenty every two turns in an interval (say - the numbers are obviously hugely open to debate, but this is a good ballpark figure), and a stable population of 200 dragons, that's going to require a five percent attrition rate more or less constantly. If it's purely the oldest that go (approximating your inverted bell-curve to a uniform distribution with a sharp cutoff), you get twenty years of flying before it's your turn to die, so I have no quibble at all with your average figures. Realistically, there'll be a spread in the ages, and I agree with your inverted bell-curve for deaths as well - it's going to be the newbies and the older riders that are most likely to suffer a lethal accident, but a mean age of 35 at death is a good first guess.

However, it depends VERY much on how dangerous weyrlinghood is. Take out 50% of the weyrlings during training (probably an extreme case), and the average flying time doubles to forty years, and the mean age of death for an experienced rider rises to 55. Perhaps not entirely plausible, but if the bell-curve is a uniform shape, once you get out of the early years of inexperience, that's what you're looking at.

Quick question for you - roughly how skewed is the bellcurve between deaths of young/old combatants? Is it 50:50, 25:75, 66:33 or what?


A final point - there's a good reason why weyrleaders become weyrleaders - it's because they're good at their jobs. We're not looking at A'verage and Dragonth here, we're looking at riders who are by definition outliers at several sigma from the mean. That's why my vote is for Anneconsistency here - she's notoriously dreadful at keeping track of riders' ages, and most likely forgot that T'ron only had a handful of years on F'lar.
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Old Jun 26 2009, 10:58 AM   #58
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

I think those figures are pretty optimistic for Fall time. The death rate among dragonriders is (must be) much higher.

I agree with Kath that there should be virtually no distinction about the various colours where it concerns fighting dragons (all but the queens).

Years ago I exchanged data with Hartley Patterson on dragon demographics and he had great pages about that subject on his website (until the time Anne accepted a lifetime award from Writers of the Future, which has ties with the cientology church).

Here's some (scientific) data on casualties:

On casualties

Is the casualty rate higher than the stories would indicate? A hint that this might be the case is in the parallels made (by Todd more than AMC) with fighter pilots in World War One. Why isn't this reflected in the stories?
To be cynical, the Weyrs and those in the know would have a strong motive for keeping quiet - they won't get volunteers from outside the Weyrs as candidates otherwise.
It is also likely that the casualty rate drops off steeply with experience. We don't read of any leaders being killed in Threadfall because Thread unlike human opponents is uniform, whereas an ace fighter pilot is always at risk - from other aces.


DLG (p40) says a queen rises two to three times a Turn with a clutch producing between 10 to 16 eggs. This is unfortunately one of those DLG facts that don't make sense!
2.5 * 13 = 32 eggs per Turn. It doesn't match the evidence, which suggests that queens rise less often but have bigger clutches. Nemorth had bigger clutches than this, and as noted above Ramoth doesn't rise as often.
Dragons that hatch also die. At this rate with 20 queens there would be 1.7 deaths per day. Since all dragons are aware of and are upset by the passing of one of their number, even their short term memories are going to have trouble coping with that.


If in Eighth Pass there were 20 queens and 2160 dragons, then to counteract the natural death rate each queen needed to produce (2160/20)*(1.3/100) = 1.4 eggs per Turn. 2.5 clutches each losing 1-2 from training accidents is 3.75 per Turn. Total 5 eggs per Turn.
The rest of the eggs are replacements for dragons/riders killed or maimed by Thread. That's (32-5)*20 = 540 per Turn. So the number per Pass is 540*50 = 27000.
The number per Fall is therefore 27000/14040 = 1.92.
That seems way too high. The First Fall of Ninth Pass had one fatality. Other narrated falls have serious injuries but none permanent. Ramoth's frequency, 48 eggs/Turn, would be worse.
If Passes started with 500 dragons per Weyr but the normal population was 360, does this give us an indication of the novice casualty rate? (500-360)/500 is 28%?
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Old Jun 26 2009, 01:36 PM   #59
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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If Passes started with 500 dragons per Weyr but the normal population was 360, does this give us an indication of the novice casualty rate? (500-360)/500 is 28%?
Not really- if queens slow down their clutching over the last years of the pass (when threadfall is becoming less intense) and really drop to one lower flight every couple of turns or so, you could gradually go back to the interval population within a generation quite easily. Personally, I reckon between is as big a killer of weyrlings as Thread is...
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Old Jun 26 2009, 03:05 PM   #60
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

Any which way, casualty rates are A LOT higher than readers usually think (because we don't see so many deaths in the books).
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Old Jun 27 2009, 08:56 AM   #61
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

I am currently re reading ATWOP and D'Ram is referred to as the oldest dragonrider (not sure if meant within context of the scene....He says he has an "ancient dragon" (I think it just in the sense of being from 400 years past. Another reference to the fewer OT left but that may be in context of actively fighting thread...some OT retired south but may still be alive (IIRC)
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Old Jun 27 2009, 10:45 PM   #62
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I'm curious - how did you work out those numbers exactly? There's no evidence that dragon colour demographics change between Pass and Interval, so I'm mildly surprised to see such a variation between the colours. How do you kill off the dragon colours differently?
Look through back posts on similar topics. I'm sure I detailed this somewhere, but I just really don't have the time to either reconstruct it or find it right now. Part of the methodology involved a gradual freefall of the population post-Pass to get down to half strength, yet maintain the proportions between the colors.

I also believe there's something about dragon population decreasing between Passes that goes hand in hand with the reduced number of mating flights. I don't make these things up off the top of my head. Just because you don't recall something doesn't mean you're assumed to be correct.

Colors die off at different rates because you have to maintain the distribution in the population. This is generally (do note the caveat, I've gotten quite fed up with arguments arising out of ignoring them or indulging in semantic debates) accepted as being approximately 49% green, 35% blue, 10% brown, 5% bronze and 1% gold. If you're not going to have everyone dying off at a young age, there has to be a bias toward the senior colors, and we see this in the age and longevity of Weyrleaders and Weyrwomen. If the senior colors don't die off as quickly, then the junior colors must die off more rapidly. The differences in rate are, in absolute terms, quite tiny, being a spread of less than 4 hundredths between the gold end of the spectrum and the green, and less than 2 hundredths between bronze and green.

All of this is a WAG based on the available information, like all other speculative discussions on this board. The authors could write something tomorrow that invalidates the basic assumptions, which are as follows:

1) Mating flights reduce in frequency between Passes (if they increase before Passes, they must of necessity reduce after them);
2) Weyr population reduces between Passes (fewer clutches, with fewer eggs, equals fewer dragons);
3) Clutch size reduces between Passes (if they increase before Passes, they must of necessity reduce after them);
4) Distribution of colors does not change (no indication has been given that the distribution changes in population or clutches).
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Old Jun 27 2009, 11:25 PM   #63
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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The number per Fall is therefore 27000/14040 = 1.92.
That seems way too high. The First Fall of Ninth Pass had one fatality. Other narrated falls have serious injuries but none permanent. Ramoth's frequency, 48 eggs/Turn, would be worse.
If Passes started with 500 dragons per Weyr but the normal population was 360, does this give us an indication of the novice casualty rate? (500-360)/500 is 28%?
Losses per Fall of 1.92 would be entirely reasonable. Study things like the Battle of Britain and the strategic bombing campaigns and you'll get an appreciation for casualty rates and the effects of experience. Initial casualty rates could easily be as high as 28%. If you look at the casualty rates of Japanese pilots and aircrews at battles like Coral Sea, Midway, Eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz, they're shockingly high--and these pilots were supposedly the best in the world at the time (a "fact" that is a drastic overstatement, but they were very good). Heck, if you take a close look at the casualty rate of the Pearl Harbor raid (which was about as permissible of a situation as you could encounter, being a surprise attack) the Japanese still lost 8% KIA.

Heck, let's look at the Pearl Harbor raid and put it in dragon terms:

The Japanese launched 350 planes (not that far off a Weyr's full fighting strength) of approximately 411 carried (not that far off a Weyr's total population). Of these 29 aircraft were shot down (8%) and 111 were damaged to varying degrees (32%) including aircraft that were written off as unsalvageable even though they landed successfully aboard their carriers. This would be like a Weyr suffering 29 pairs killed, and 111 wounded, including some permanently unable to rise for Fall again in spite of making it back to their Weyrs.

Against this we do have some advantages for the Pernese. Thread is mindless, and largely predictable. Dragons can teleport out of danger and they heal well and rapidly. So a low casualty rate like 1.92 per fall--and yes, that's low--would be reasonable.

It's unlikely that you'd lose exactly 1.92 per Fall, obviously. You'd lose three one Fall, none for a few, eight on a really bad one, one or two for several in a row, then go for maybe a week to two with no losses, etc... Also, part of that heavy initial casualty rate could well be entire units falling victim to bad tactics (a good analog being VT-8, VT-6 and VT-3 which lost 37 of 41 planes at Midway).

Yes, there would be a LOT of death in the Weyrs. Why doesn't it show up in the books? Well, how gloomy would the stories be if it was addressed? And how much time would it take away from the rest of the plot. It's also something the riders would become very fatalistic and blase about. You don't want to know just how seemingly cold-hearted we aviators can be about losses; we can't afford to let them affect us. If we did, such ruminations could distract us at the wrong moment and we could become casualties ourselves. So we compartmentalize. However, when off the line, we have been known to blow off steam in some fairly wild fashions, in wild places with wild women and we tend to drink heavily. The Dragonriders of Pern are no strangers to Gathers, wenching and wine skins and probably for the same reasons.

Also, any dragons killed-in-action, versus those that die post-action, are unlikely to provoke keening and grieving. The other dragons are too engaged in the fight to mourn, and with their short-term memory cut-out, they're unlikely to indulge upon returning to the Weyr--unless one of the wounded then goes between. If LT Kelly doesn't return from the battle, everyone is a little bit down; if LT Kelly dies agonizingly of burns three days after the battle in sick-bay, it's worse...and the flight surgeon might issue "medicinal" alcohol.
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Old Jun 27 2009, 11:35 PM   #64
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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Quick question for you - roughly how skewed is the bellcurve between deaths of young/old combatants? Is it 50:50, 25:75, 66:33 or what?
My NPGS-NASC publications are in the bottom of a box on the bottom of a stack of boxes in the garage...if I still have them. That was well over 15 years ago.

But drawing on statistics from the middle years of Naval Aviation, if you flew for 20 years, you had a 1 in 4 chance of getting killed doing it. Your odds of getting killed were highest in your first three years and your last three years. So picture a big, wide "U" with steep sides. In the early years, inexperience, lack of judgment and undeveloped reflexes tend to get you--this, unsurprisingly, peaked post-training when pilots were allowed more independence. It's said the words that send ice up any squadron commander's spine are a newly assigned pilot fresh from a training command saying "Watch this!" In the later years, complacency, atrophying skills and slowing reflexes tend to get you.
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Old Jun 28 2009, 01:35 AM   #65
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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Look through back posts on similar topics. I'm sure I detailed this somewhere, but I just really don't have the time to either reconstruct it or find it right now.
Sorry, but it's your argument being called into question, and the onus is on *you* to defend it adequately. This is a text based discussion, remember. Either check your emotions and prejudices in at the door and bring all your facts to the table, or don't expect to be taken credibly.


Quote:
Part of the methodology involved a gradual freefall of the population post-Pass to get down to half strength, yet maintain the proportions between the colors.
This I have no problem with at all.

Quote:
I also believe there's something about dragon population decreasing between Passes that goes hand in hand with the reduced number of mating flights.
Yeah, that one's a given. I didn't and wouldn't suggest otherwise.

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I don't make these things up off the top of my head. Just because you don't recall something doesn't mean you're assumed to be correct.
Can we leave the uneccessary petulance out of the discussion, please?

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This is generally (do note the caveat, I've gotten quite fed up with arguments arising out of ignoring them or indulging in semantic debates) accepted as being approximately 49% green, 35% blue, 10% brown, 5% bronze and 1% gold.
I've been using this same colour distribution for years - I have no probs with that at all.

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Colors die off at different rates because you have to maintain the distribution in the population. If you're not going to have everyone dying off at a young age, there has to be a bias toward the senior colors, and we see this in the age and longevity of Weyrleaders and Weyrwomen. If the senior colors don't die off as quickly, then the junior colors must die off more rapidly.
The slight reordering of sentences is mine...

Wow. That's rather flaky stats you appear to be using, using the small-number statistics off a handful of extra-special characters to add a huge dose of lethality to the day-to-day lives of the chromatic riders. There's no reason at all why bronzes and greens should, a priori, have different casualty rates in order to maintain the population distribution. There are many arguments one could come up with to explain such a hypothetical difference - different duties during threadfall and within the weyr, naturally more talented riders Impressing bronzes, gold riders being more careful with their dragons - but there is no evidence, either in canon, or out of it (i.e. based on pure maths), that requires such a difference to exist. Yes, there are more green dragons. Yes, more of them will need to die than bronzes on a purely numerical level. But for the PROPORTIONS of each colour to remain roughly constant, as you quite correctly state needs to be the case, all you need is for the average casualty rate to be fixed across all colours.

I know the tweaks you suggested were small, but all I'm saying is that they are, plainly and simply, not necessary. Weyrleaders/weyrwomen, too, can die at an untimely age. Look at F'lon's dad, or D'ram's Weyrwoman dying of cancer, or Alianne Zulueta in childbirth. The others we see in the 9th pass aren't special, or different to the other riders of different colours - they've just been luckier than average, mostly likely due to being in the eye of an author not known for sticking to the logical rules of the world she created. If you're going to use the longevity of the 9th Pass weyrleaders in any way at all, I can see that it makes sense to say that gold riders are especially cautious with their dragons, or that it takes a special bronzerider to become a weyrleader. But there's a big gap between doing this alone, and taking the lifespans of this very specialised, biased population of riders and drawing conclusions from it that affect the lifespans of the other 98% of the Weyr [1% gold, 1% their bronze mates, in case you were wondering about the number...]

This is especially important when the data points you're using to skew the distribution of risk, the Weyrleaders, are a tiny subset of the Weyr who clearly didn't die young and are actively selected on the basis of skill, seniority and experience (with a bit of luck on the side).

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Old Jun 28 2009, 01:37 AM   #66
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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Originally Posted by ElectricDragon View Post
My NPGS-NASC publications are in the bottom of a box on the bottom of a stack of boxes in the garage...if I still have them. That was well over 15 years ago.

But drawing on statistics from the middle years of Naval Aviation, if you flew for 20 years, you had a 1 in 4 chance of getting killed doing it. Your odds of getting killed were highest in your first three years and your last three years. So picture a big, wide "U" with steep sides. In the early years, inexperience, lack of judgment and undeveloped reflexes tend to get you--this, unsurprisingly, peaked post-training when pilots were allowed more independence. It's said the words that send ice up any squadron commander's spine are a newly assigned pilot fresh from a training command saying "Watch this!" In the later years, complacency, atrophying skills and slowing reflexes tend to get you.
Thanks very much. That does indeed suggest a very symmetrical pattern of risk...

BUT... here's another question for you, with something we seem to have overlooked. Pilots will get grounded gradually as they develop seniority, right, or move into other fields? [For a non-military example, British Airways pilots retire at age 50, and if they want to carry on flying have to move into other commerical airlines.] Dragonriders can't. How do you see a persistent population of older flyers skewing the distribution? Once we get to the ages at which Earth-based military systems start pulling their personnel out of the air, the data are no longer directly comparable.

Thoughts? Or were your earlier statistics corrected to account for longevity in service not equalling longevity in life?
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Old Jun 28 2009, 03:28 AM   #67
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

I have no numbers to back this feeling, however I had a thought of how the longevity of a single dragon by color could be attained. First is the percentages. Since there are a lot of green and blue dragons, the possibility of one being hit in threadfall is pretty high up there. no pair in specific just the possibility of one of several hundred getting hit is better than one of several dozen, or just a dozen. Queens are put into the least likely to be hit areas, and guarded so the chance of taking a hit is nearly negligible.

Again, target rich environment means if a percentage of a Weyr suffers hits during threadfall, the likelihood of it being in the "target rich" blue and green dragons is pretty good.

The number of years of dragon half life I'm not sure I agree with, mainly it feels like statistics, to keep this percentage given this number of births, these dragons would have to die within this amount of time. Doesn't fit real world. Also the founding of new Weyrs in the 9th pass destabilizes the maths as well. Again I have no numbers to back up the feelings, just that death of pairs during intervals were measurably between problems, games errors, old age, and plague/fevers. agrarian societies made the last one a significant factor again.

Once a pass started, then there was threadfall as a measurable factor of possible death. I think Todd has the only Weyrleader death by thread scene, as well as Weyrleader making a between mishap. Same book even. but again, if a straight line of weyr population were to die each turn, the possibility of it being a blue or green rider would be higher since there were more of them.

Luckily the "watch this" moments on Pern frequently have the rider's dragon slow things down a moment with a "watch what?" to their rider.

Side note, C'gan, and Dulenth (not sure but thought that was the blue's name) were lost in first fall. the dragons in the weyr keened. There was no mention of if the dragons actively fighting thread joined in, but then again I don't think there was any consistent mention of if dragons would keen for a lost dragon halfway around the world, belonging to another weyr. Ruth keened for Salth, but at other times there were vague notions of if a dragon-pair had died.
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Old Jun 28 2009, 03:45 AM   #68
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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Originally Posted by ghost8772 View Post
I have no numbers to back this feeling, however I had a thought of how the longevity of a single dragon by color could be attained. First is the percentages. Since there are a lot of green and blue dragons, the possibility of one being hit in threadfall is pretty high up there. no pair in specific just the possibility of one of several hundred getting hit is better than one of several dozen, or just a dozen.
Yes, but there are more of them. More blues and greens will die by virtue of weight of numbers, but as a percentage of their respective populations you ought to get similar percentages within each colour group as casualties.

If anything, the cross-sectional area of the larger dragons should put them at higher risk, not less...

Quote:
Queens are put into the least likely to be hit areas, and guarded so the chance of taking a hit is nearly negligible.
Agreed. Queens are special cases.

Quote:
Once a pass started, then there was threadfall as a measurable factor of possible death. I think Todd has the only Weyrleader death by thread scene, as well as Weyrleader making a between mishap. Same book even. but again, if a straight line of weyr population were to die each turn, the possibility of it being a blue or green rider would be higher since there were more of them.
Yes - if you're dealing with a fixed number of deaths - say, ten in a given fall - then they're most likely to be greens or blues as those colours are more numerous. But the risk to any individual pair doesn't need to depend on colour.

Quote:
Side note, C'gan, and Dulenth (not sure but thought that was the blue's name) were lost in first fall. the dragons in the weyr keened. There was no mention of if the dragons actively fighting thread joined in, but then again I don't think there was any consistent mention of if dragons would keen for a lost dragon halfway around the world, belonging to another weyr. Ruth keened for Salth, but at other times there were vague notions of if a dragon-pair had died.
C'gan and Tagath.

I've always wondered about dragons dying in Threadfall not getting keened... my feeling is that fighting fall takes precedence, but that the dragons would keen en masse for the lost after the fighting was over.
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Old Jun 28 2009, 08:49 AM   #69
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

I'll give you one chance to rephrase/edit your answer to a more polite one Electric Dragon, before I will delete your post.


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Old Jun 28 2009, 09:11 AM   #70
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

If you're going to continue to choose to belch out wacky statistics, and then refuse to back them up with anything factual, I'm afraid 'flaky' is about as accurate as it gets, and I'll continue to label them that way.

Anyway. I'm perfectly willing to change my mind regarding your numbers, providing you can produce a mathematically convincing argument, but I've yet to see it.

Can you?


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Old Jun 28 2009, 09:17 AM   #71
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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I have no numbers to back this feeling, however I had a thought of how the longevity of a single dragon by color could be attained. First is the percentages. Since there are a lot of green and blue dragons, the possibility of one being hit in threadfall is pretty high up there. no pair in specific just the possibility of one of several hundred getting hit is better than one of several dozen, or just a dozen. Queens are put into the least likely to be hit areas, and guarded so the chance of taking a hit is nearly negligible.

Again, target rich environment means if a percentage of a Weyr suffers hits during threadfall, the likelihood of it being in the "target rich" blue and green dragons is pretty good.

The number of years of dragon half life I'm not sure I agree with, mainly it feels like statistics, to keep this percentage given this number of births, these dragons would have to die within this amount of time. Doesn't fit real world. Also the founding of new Weyrs in the 9th pass destabilizes the maths as well. Again I have no numbers to back up the feelings, just that death of pairs during intervals were measurably between problems, games errors, old age, and plague/fevers. agrarian societies made the last one a significant factor again.

Once a pass started, then there was threadfall as a measurable factor of possible death. I think Todd has the only Weyrleader death by thread scene, as well as Weyrleader making a between mishap. Same book even. but again, if a straight line of weyr population were to die each turn, the possibility of it being a blue or green rider would be higher since there were more of them.

Luckily the "watch this" moments on Pern frequently have the rider's dragon slow things down a moment with a "watch what?" to their rider.

Side note, C'gan, and Dulenth (not sure but thought that was the blue's name) were lost in first fall. the dragons in the weyr keened. There was no mention of if the dragons actively fighting thread joined in, but then again I don't think there was any consistent mention of if dragons would keen for a lost dragon halfway around the world, belonging to another weyr. Ruth keened for Salth, but at other times there were vague notions of if a dragon-pair had died.
You're correct, on a statistical basis, those that represent a larger proportion of the population have a higher probability of being a casualty if you assume the same degree of risk across the board. Are there things that modify this risk for each specific sub-sector of the population? Sure. Both positively and negatively. Are those modifiers enough to make a statistical difference between the sub-sectors of the population? That's a question for detailed analysis.

In Threadfall, the risk modifiers positive and negative pretty much negate themselves for the various colors, except the gold as you properly noted.

--

Any prediction of mortality in a population is going to be a statistical model. It's never going to go exactly according to the model in a particular population, but normed out over time and across populations the odds are a model will hold true. Who knows? In one Weyr, they may have a run of bad luck or bad genetics and they have an unusually high rate of mortality with their brown riders in a particular decade. Maybe one Weyr catches a plague that knocks out a swath of weyrlings from a clutch that was unusually strong in blues. Something will always ensure that a population does not follow a model exactly. It's not like you'll actually see 1 bronze, 2 browns, 7 blues and 10 greens die each turn like clockwork. Heck, you could have a good turn where no one dies. Just expect you'll also have a turn where a lot of folks pass on at a higher than expected rate.

--

Regarding 9th Pass we're seeing some factors that did not exist on Pern after the First Interval, or in some cases after the first Pass. Pern's population expanded massively between 8th Pass and 9th Pass. Depending on what absolute population you start with, you're going to get a seven-fold increase in population with any model using realistic rates. That hasn't happened on Pern since the First Pass. There is also room to found more Weyrs. That hasn't happened since the First Interval.

There appears to be some effect on the queens as a result of population density. The old Weyrs accommodate no more than about five queens each and often no more than three are resident. If you take excess queens and more then into new Weyrs, they are free to breed more readily, and the queens in the old Weyrs aren't suffering as much population pressure. So the odds are you're going to expand your dragon population and we see that in the 9th Pass.

This may effectively "trick" the queens' biology by removing a large portion of the Weyr's population, resulting in prolonged heavy clutching. Absent dragons equal casaulties equal need to breed more (regardless that the absent dragons have simply colonized another Weyr). Instinct and biology aren't rocket scientists.

We also have to beware of Ramoth's clutches as a particular example. Ramoth is a freak of nature, by definition. She is the largest queen, bar none, even amongst the queens she throws. That her mate is also the largest male dragon on record makes the fact that they haven't thrown a larger queen significant (yet--Amaranth might have the potential), given that the pair is known for throwing large offspring. Something about Ramoth is not normal. Her clutches are also noted for their prodigious size, so even in this regard she is not normal--queens throw big during Passes, but Ramoth throws bigger. Ramoth's circumstances are also unusual in that she was initially the sole queen of a depleted Weyr and probably prone to throw larger clutches as a result. The second queen was also removed almost immediately to colonize Southern in back-time.

--

Do the dragons moderate the "watch this" moments? Not always. We have evidence of reckless stunts (the green/blue pair involved in the rescue stunt), and evidence of dragons going along with things that amount to high-risk (Ruth and Ramoth time-jumping), hazardous to the rider (Mnementh after F'lar was wounded) or even potential suicide missions (Canth to the Red Star). And heck, those are example from the senior colors.

There are also numerous references to the junior colors being less intelligent and lacking judgment. So where a bronze might act to moderate an impulse a green might not. There is also variation within the individual colors. Each population is likely to have a bell-curve, but one population's bell curve may be to the right or left of another.

--

I don't recall any reference to dragons engaged in fighting Thread ever keening. Dragons back at the Weyr, on the ground (the old, the injured, the young), but never in-flight, in battle.

I think there may have been instances where dragons in other geographical locations keened losses half-way around the globe. I seem to recall that it may not have been an instant thing so much as the queen at the affected Weyr passing the word to other Weyrs. I don't recall for certain.
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Old Jun 28 2009, 08:28 PM   #72
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2cent Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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Originally Posted by ElectricDragon View Post
You're correct, on a statistical basis, those that represent a larger proportion of the population have a higher probability of being a casualty if you assume the same degree of risk across the board. Are there things that modify this risk for each specific sub-sector of the population? Sure. Both positively and negatively. Are those modifiers enough to make a statistical difference between the sub-sectors of the population? That's a question for detailed analysis.

In Threadfall, the risk modifiers positive and negative pretty much negate themselves for the various colors, except the gold as you properly noted.

--

Any prediction of mortality in a population is going to be a statistical model. It's never going to go exactly according to the model in a particular population, but normed out over time and across populations the odds are a model will hold true. Who knows? In one Weyr, they may have a run of bad luck or bad genetics and they have an unusually high rate of mortality with their brown riders in a particular decade. Maybe one Weyr catches a plague that knocks out a swath of weyrlings from a clutch that was unusually strong in blues. Something will always ensure that a population does not follow a model exactly. It's not like you'll actually see 1 bronze, 2 browns, 7 blues and 10 greens die each turn like clockwork. Heck, you could have a good turn where no one dies. Just expect you'll also have a turn where a lot of folks pass on at a higher than expected rate.

--

Regarding 9th Pass we're seeing some factors that did not exist on Pern after the First Interval, or in some cases after the first Pass. Pern's population expanded massively between 8th Pass and 9th Pass. Depending on what absolute population you start with, you're going to get a seven-fold increase in population with any model using realistic rates. That hasn't happened on Pern since the First Pass. There is also room to found more Weyrs. That hasn't happened since the First Interval.

There appears to be some effect on the queens as a result of population density. The old Weyrs accommodate no more than about five queens each and often no more than three are resident. If you take excess queens and more then into new Weyrs, they are free to breed more readily, and the queens in the old Weyrs aren't suffering as much population pressure. So the odds are you're going to expand your dragon population and we see that in the 9th Pass.

This may effectively "trick" the queens' biology by removing a large portion of the Weyr's population, resulting in prolonged heavy clutching. Absent dragons equal casaulties equal need to breed more (regardless that the absent dragons have simply colonized another Weyr). Instinct and biology aren't rocket scientists.

We also have to beware of Ramoth's clutches as a particular example. Ramoth is a freak of nature, by definition. She is the largest queen, bar none, even amongst the queens she throws. That her mate is also the largest male dragon on record makes the fact that they haven't thrown a larger queen significant (yet--Amaranth might have the potential), given that the pair is known for throwing large offspring. Something about Ramoth is not normal. Her clutches are also noted for their prodigious size, so even in this regard she is not normal--queens throw big during Passes, but Ramoth throws bigger. Ramoth's circumstances are also unusual in that she was initially the sole queen of a depleted Weyr and probably prone to throw larger clutches as a result. The second queen was also removed almost immediately to colonize Southern in back-time.

--

Do the dragons moderate the "watch this" moments? Not always. We have evidence of reckless stunts (the green/blue pair involved in the rescue stunt), and evidence of dragons going along with things that amount to high-risk (Ruth and Ramoth time-jumping), hazardous to the rider (Mnementh after F'lar was wounded) or even potential suicide missions (Canth to the Red Star). And heck, those are example from the senior colors.

There are also numerous references to the junior colors being less intelligent and lacking judgment. So where a bronze might act to moderate an impulse a green might not. There is also variation within the individual colors. Each population is likely to have a bell-curve, but one population's bell curve may be to the right or left of another.

--

I don't recall any reference to dragons engaged in fighting Thread ever keening. Dragons back at the Weyr, on the ground (the old, the injured, the young), but never in-flight, in battle.

I think there may have been instances where dragons in other geographical locations keened losses half-way around the globe. I seem to recall that it may not have been an instant thing so much as the queen at the affected Weyr passing the word to other Weyrs. I don't recall for certain.
Perhaps, the Weyrs who were fighting in a Threadfall, "keep their minds on the current event, the dragons would be 'feel the passing', butt wait till back to their home Weyr then the dragon's could give their Keen and the riders, could give voice to the lost, for that would have effected the moral of the 'fighting wings', for they dragon/rider would have known that controling both pain and emotions during Threadfall.

Moreta recall how the blue and green riders would react to a bad Threadfall or the death of dragon/riders pairs, afterwords, when the wine would be flowing and they could "dull the pain".

Also when the queen's battle the aftereffect, the Weyrs that were fight Threadfall could not make it, D'ram Ista Weyrleader said that did happen in his time and to assign some bronzes to High Reaches to help with the problems in DQ

Perhaps that how they did it t00. Also here is another recall Weyrleader K'van could not "bespeak" Bender Wyerleaders' for they are fighting thread at the time, of the attack at Paradise River Hold.
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Old May 7 2010, 01:19 AM   #73
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

One thing I wanted to say was that although life expectancy does indeed mean an average time of death it does not mean most people die at that time. The reason the life expectancy in the medieval era was so low was because infant mortality was very high. This brings the average age of death down quite a bit. But, if you managed to make it to age 10 or so, your chances of living to age sixty were decent. So using a medieval era life expectancy in reference to numbers of living dragons doesn't compute really since infant mortality has no effect on the Impression of dragons.

I guess I don't understand quite why it would be difficult to maintain a constant weyr population during an interval. If a weyr during an interval contained 2 queens who laid 15 eggs (that hatched) every ten turns (which from sources i have read, that would be fairly normal for interval clutching) they would only produce 300 dragons every 100 turns. Which is actually below replacement levels for a weyr with 360 dragons, especially considering accidental death is not accounted for. The weyrling casualty rate is fairly high, with an average of 10% not making it through to graduation. Plus accidents befall older riders too, even during Intervals, due to improper betweening, or the Spring games. So if we said that 5% of dragonriders do not survive to old age due to accident, that would be 15% of 300 dragons born per hundred Turns, 45 dragons. Meaning that only 255 dragons born every hundred Turns would survive. That's 510 dragons living to old age during an interval and then you have to calculate how many woud be dying during the Interval.. If a dragonrider on average lives to age 70 and Impresses at age 15 that gives dragons an average age of 55. So if there are 360 dragons in the weyr, by Turn 55 of the Interval, they would all be dead (on average). If all those dragons were to be replaced before their deaths, that would mean that the weyr would have to have at minimum three queens each bearing 120 dragons in 55 years. Only a little over two eggs per year, but if you space that out, that's 10-12 eggs every five turns, per queen. This math also shows that with and average number of 360 dragons with a life expectancy of 55 years, approximately 1300 dragons would die of natural causes during the 200 year interval. Besides all that, the need for replacement of dragons during an interval depends highly on the age structure of the dragon population at the end of the Pass. If the Queens stop clutching very often in the last decade of the Pass, it would skew the population towards older dragons which are more likely to die in the early years of the interval.

But the thing that matters most with the dragon population is the replacement rate of the Queen, since only they produce the offspring. We've already seen that Queens regulate their fertility by the nearness of the Pass, and by the presence of other Queens. Who's to say that Queens don't regulate their dropping of Gold Eggs as well? More than once on Pern has a Queen laid her only Queen Egg in her last clutch, perhaps that is an adaptation to prevent overpopulation and also ensure continued species survival.

The point of this is, I think both previously mentioned theories are too extreme. I agree that Pernese medicine is too primitive to have everyone commonly living to their 100's. But I also think that ascribing greenriders an average life expectancy of around thirty is silly too. There's no reason for greenriders to have to die earlier than bronzeriders because the greens do not reproduce. Only golds do, so even though the population is fifty percent green, it will remain 50% green in perpetuity because golds lay 50% green eggs, and dragons die at a relatively constant rate. If the weyr is 50% green, it means statistically that 50% of all dragon deaths will be green in any given year, but since there are always more older greens than any other color, they would die at the same average age that other colors do.

One other thing I would like to mention is that AVIAS mentions that the Pernese of the 9th Pass were taller than the original colonists. This implies, biologically, that their nutrition is good. Height is genetically determined, but you can only reach your 'genetic' height if you have a proper diet. Thus, in less-industrialized countries, where the poor often starve, height is actually based on your socio-economic status rather than your genetics. But in countries where most everyone gets at least enough to eat, you can't tell a person's poverty level based on their height. So, for Pernese to have grown on average, taller, it would mean that either they ate better than the colonists, or they ate at least as well or only slightly less well and other changes in height were genetic. If their diets were truly as poor as some earlier posts have suggested, they would have been on average shorter than their predecessors.
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Old May 7 2010, 09:57 PM   #74
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

I may be remembering a different book, but didn't Pern have slightly less gravity? That would encourage greater height, wouldn't it?
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Old May 8 2010, 05:28 PM   #75
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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I may be remembering a different book, but didn't Pern have slightly less gravity? That would encourage greater height, wouldn't it?
The P.E.R.N Survey gives its gravity as 0.9 of Earth.
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Old May 8 2010, 07:55 PM   #76
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A tenth less! I would think that would be enough to encourage taller growth, but that's just my leap to a conclusion - I don't really know the science behind it.
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Old May 9 2010, 12:17 AM   #77
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I'm not sure actually. Astronauts in low gravity experience bone loss, not height gain, but im not sure how much .1 G would make.
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Old May 9 2010, 05:42 AM   #78
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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I'm not sure actually. Astronauts in low gravity experience bone loss, not height gain, but im not sure how much .1 G would make.
Other authors have suggested that people would grow taller on Mars - the caveats there are (1) Mars is an even more extreme case than Pern, and (2) Bone growth occurs on the bone ends, which are (relatively) stress-free zones, and experiments on mice in microgravity have shown that while their bones are thinner and weaker due to the presence of less calcium, they're not any longer. It's primarily a nutrition/genetics effect.

Overall, I think Anne probably had gravitational effects in mind when she came up with the 9th pass Pernese=taller idea - but she's wrong. Chances are, they'd be shorter...
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Old May 17 2010, 10:15 PM   #79
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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In late 9th Pass, it would certainly be possible to start reversing the trend courtesy of knowledge regained from AIVAS, but that's not when dragon riders are reputed to be long-lived.

I don't recall the centenarian dragon rider in MHoP, but showing one does not necessarily mean they all attain such ages. And I've previous allowed that an exceptional individual might do just that. What I disagree with is the notion that dragon riders live long lives as a rule.
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Old Aug 10 2022, 12:18 AM   #80
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Default Re: Oldtimer queens lack of rising in White Dragon

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Yes, blues and greens work Fall in shifts.

--

No, you don't want leaders to be there for the entire Fall; the KISS principle says you want leaders to be with their units to maintain unit cohesion. You'd rather detach a "unit" of blues and greens and substitute in another unit of them than do so in a random and piecemeal fashion requiring constant attention. If you're to do that, you must have leader with that unit, which then requires you to remove a brown from the line-up to shepherd them. It would be preferable to have a blue rider as the leader of such a unit, because then it would not be necessary to pull a brown out of the line-up and the brown could fly the entire fall.
Not to necromance a thread, but it's relevant to the above.

-A wing is about 30 riders +/-
-About half or more are greens and smaller blues who cannot last a full Fall


Does a wing of 30, say, start off Thread fighting with some greens and blues of theirs on reserve, i.e. the wing is now only 23 pairs, with half of its greens and blue waiting to tag in halfway through Fall?
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