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Purely fictional matters

Postby Mea quidem sententia » Tue May 10, 2016 4:40 pm

Blades
Sharpened to a single atom
There are obsidian scalpels that are 3 atoms thick. This minimizes scarring. Or that's what's alleged. Either way, let's move on. Carbon seems to be a favorite element to people. Graphite, diamond, lonsdaleite, graphene . . . Humans are made up of carbon, too! So imagine having diamond claws where the tip is only an atom thick. (Perhaps this should be placed in the Nanotechnology section.) This should be capable of cutting through virtually anything. Well, in fiction anyway. What is diamond made of? And what would diamond be if it was just an atom thick? I'd suppose it'd be carbon. And we know that graphite just smears on objects. After all, to make graphene, one method was using Scotch tape on graphite, removing that tape, and then folding and peeling it a few times.

The single atom would not share the characteristic of graphene in that it's made up of a honeycomb lattice. Even if it did, it'd just make the tip of the claw strong, but not hard or tough. Quite honestly, even with something like those obsidian scalpels, it'd be rendered useless in combat, more so in cutting through things like steel. Lateral pressure will ruin it, making it a rather unstable thing to use in the first place. Although it seems like something that is very small would be effective, due to allowing more pressure, the thinner something is, the easier it is to ruin. Aluminum foil is easy to tear, but not when it's in thick layers. Anything sharpened to a single atom with the ability to cut through virtually anything, including human flesh, is purely fictional.

Nanontechnology
Nanobots, nanomachines, nanites
I'd say that every time I've seen nanontechnology brought up, it's been with regard to nanomachines, nanobots, nanites, whatever. Tony Stark's armor and Steven Armstrong's "nanomachines" are two examples I can easily think of. Nanites have the ability to repair damaged machinery, especially at an accelerated rate. It's the magic of science fiction under the pretense of science. In other words, it's more fiction, less science. Nanites would presumably be on the scale of a nanometer, or 10^-9 m. Let's imagine nanites had human intelligence and decided to construct a ruler. Where would these nanites begin? Which nanite goes where? We know a ruler is 12 inches. 1 inch is equal to 2.54 centimeters.

(12 in.)(2.54 cm./1 in.) = 30.48 cm.

Remember that a nanometer is 10^-9. A centimeter is 10^-2 m. So in nanometers, the ruler would be . . .

(30.48 cm.)(10^-2 m./1 cm.)(1 nm./10^-9 m.) = 3.048 * 10^8 nm. long.

Imagine you're one of those nanites. To you, that's going to be several kilometers long. How are you going to manage to work together? This is more than just a straight line. You need to cover x, y, and z. You're a three-dimensional object, after all. Not only that, what is your power source? How do you replicate if one of the other nanites are damaged or destroyed? How are you grabbing molecules if that's how you repair? How is it there are the necessary molecules in the first place? Things are looking bleak. So when this is applied to someone who is at least 2 meters tall with three dimensions, the work is quite honestly more difficult. Nanites functioning this way is purely fictional.
Last edited by Mea quidem sententia on Wed May 11, 2016 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Purely fictional matters

Postby Alpha or Omega » Tue May 10, 2016 7:57 pm

I can't talk for Tony Stark, but I think I can answer one or two questions for Senator Armstrong.

The nanites travel by blood since we see nanomachines come from his heart.
The power sources seem to be the local machinery. The power is finite I think since he has to do it before battle.
The nanites aren't replicated perhaps, but created by the implanted heart inside Armstrong (speculation here for this one).
Not able to answer the other questions.

I think your problem is that (you think) Tony Stark and Armstrong is suppose to be realistic.
Stark has never been realistic in the first place. He leans way in the soft sci-fi category.
Armstrong too, if you couldn't tell by the MGR:R campy and over the top performance. "Nanomachines son"
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Re: Purely fictional matters

Postby Mea quidem sententia » Wed May 11, 2016 12:24 pm

Alpha or Omega wrote:I can't talk for Tony Stark, but I think I can answer one or two questions for Senator Armstrong.

The nanites travel by blood since we see nanomachines come from his heart.
The power sources seem to be the local machinery. The power is finite I think since he has to do it before battle.
The nanites aren't replicated perhaps, but created by the implanted heart inside Armstrong (speculation here for this one).
Not able to answer the other questions.

I think your problem is that (you think) Tony Stark and Armstrong is suppose to be realistic.
Stark has never been realistic in the first place. He leans way in the soft sci-fi category.
Armstrong too, if you couldn't tell by the MGR:R campy and over the top performance. "Nanomachines son"


I know Stark and Armstrong aren't realistic. This thread isn't about that. It's about telling people, "Hey, this may sound scientific or plausible, but it's actually not, so you'd benefit from knowing fact from fiction." Nanites in bloodstreams makes sense and I know medicinal use for it is being looked into, such as to cure cancer. Coming out of one's bloodstream and over the epidermis, however, is fiction. It allows for suspension of disbelief, though. I've always taken Stark to be hard science. Soft science from my understanding refers to things like psychology and sociology.
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Re: Purely fictional matters

Postby Kitten Lord » Wed May 11, 2016 2:21 pm

Thing is your not necessarily determining fact either Mea. You cannot say that if the human civilization lasted another trillion to the power of every molecule in the universe millenia that we could never develop or harness energy or technology to the level where we can built small machines that work like those fictional ones or harness materials or alloys that can survive cutting at the molecular level. A better approach is to say fictions are bringing up things we have no concept of today.
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Re: Purely fictional matters

Postby Mea quidem sententia » Fri May 13, 2016 12:31 pm

Kitten Lord wrote:Thing is your not necessarily determining fact either Mea. You cannot say that if the human civilization lasted another trillion to the power of every molecule in the universe millenia that we could never develop or harness energy or technology to the level where we can built small machines that work like those fictional ones or harness materials or alloys that can survive cutting at the molecular level. A better approach is to say fictions are bringing up things we have no concept of today.


We do have concepts of those things, however. A concept doesn't mean it's real, or even possible. Even if wireless energy transfer was applied to nanites, it doesn't mean that they'd travel at an accelerated rate to build constructs so easily like a ruler. Things are bound by physical law. Nanites, being as small as they are, could easily be blown away by wind, thus affecting any kind of construction. Water would also be a problem. They'd have to find ways for atoms and molecules to connect and remain connected for a stable construct.

Obsidian is preferable to steel because it can be sharpened to a smaller size. Do you know what happened when it was thought that something like graphene could not be made, due to it being a two-dimensional object, and thus unstable? Two men took graphite and Scotch tape and made it happen. They proved what others thought wasn't possible. So if you feel that what I'm saying isn't necessarily fact, just because a trillion years from now you believe things like these could happen, then make it happen. Otherwise, I'll just take what we know now and use it against the science fiction of today.
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Re: Purely fictional matters

Postby Friendlysociopath » Tue May 17, 2016 11:05 am

Just out of curiosity, where in this realm of "Hard vs soft" sci-fi would altering DNA to create new types of humans fall into?
Like say, a human with 100% control over their body- like being able to control cell division to regenerate faster and forcing the muscles to work even while being electrocuted?
Cause I originally was intending a story I was writing to be "real-ish" sci-fi but I'm pretty sure I went beyond that fairly quickly. (I'm actually sure of that now that I started with artificial limbs that turn into cannons- shame really- I'm using one of the most realistic versions of a laser I can think of)

Nanites, being as small as they are, could easily be blown away by wind, thus affecting any kind of construction. Water would also be a problem.
In theory- are either of these actually problems?
Nanites would presumably work from the inside- just like our own cells. Wind won't mess with them if they build from the inside-out.
And why would water be a problem? We're made of the stuff- surely if we had the technology to make communicating nanites to repair something- they could also communicate with the body to get some water.

In general though I don't know anyone who looks at comics and video games and says "OH yeah- this is totally legit science."
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Re: Purely fictional matters

Postby Mea quidem sententia » Tue May 17, 2016 12:23 pm

Friendlysociopath wrote:Just out of curiosity, where in this realm of "Hard vs soft" sci-fi would altering DNA to create new types of humans fall into?


I would understand "altering DNA" to refer to genetic engineering. It's a real thing. It's been done. It'd be a hard science.

Friendlysociopath wrote:Like say, a human with 100% control over their body- like being able to control cell division to regenerate faster and forcing the muscles to work even while being electrocuted?
Cause I originally was intending a story I was writing to be "real-ish" sci-fi but I'm pretty sure I went beyond that fairly quickly. (I'm actually sure of that now that I started with artificial limbs that turn into cannons- shame really- I'm using one of the most realistic versions of a laser I can think of)


Controlling cell division with one's mind doesn't sound scientific at all, but that's why telekinesis seems to be used in SF, rather than magic. What version of a laser are you using?

Friendlysociopath wrote:In theory- are either of these actually problems?
Nanites would presumably work from the inside- just like our own cells. Wind won't mess with them if they build from the inside-out.
And why would water be a problem? We're made of the stuff- surely if we had the technology to make communicating nanites to repair something- they could also communicate with the body to get some water.

In general though I don't know anyone who looks at comics and video games and says "OH yeah- this is totally legit science."


If you inject nanites on the inside, that's fine. It's not expected of them to construct together, simply to remove something like cancer cells. Our cells don't connect to all of our other cells. Our cells use glycoprotein to stay together, and removing calcium from them will allow the cells to fall apart.
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Re: Purely fictional matters

Postby Friendlysociopath » Tue May 17, 2016 1:43 pm

Mea quidem sententia wrote:Controlling cell division with one's mind doesn't sound scientific at all, but that's why telekinesis seems to be used in SF, rather than magic.


I mean, your brain DOES tell your cells what to do- it's just unconscious mental commands normally. The only difference is the character can consciously issue the same commands and the body will respond- and it responds faster and better. Still takes a lot of energy and resources of the body to regenerate- the work of hours or maybe days is condensed into seconds and the work of months is done in minutes.

Mea quidem sententia wrote:What version of a laser are you using?


Big bulky gun (cause needs a big power source) that fires an invisible beam that is intended to function exactly like a real-life laser. I haven't yet fully decided on how powerful said laser will be.
I'm researching the idea but it's not going to be introduced for a while so I'm taking my time.
http://www.zmescience.com/research/tech ... vy-053434/

For example:
It doesn't just fire a glob of energy- it fires a beam.
It doesn't explode on target- it just cuts into it. (This is one of those questionable bits)
It doesn't bank off of mirrors because it's too powerful- it would melt the mirror.
It can't be used for too long because it will overheat and run out of power. In fact, the owner has to wear heavy gloves due to how hot the weapon can get. And I don't mean oven mitts- I mean up to your elbow, heavy-duty, wear-protection-or-be-severely-burned sort of gauntlets.
It has a varying intensity via a wheel located on the side of the gun.

It's meant to be a realistic(er) story. For example there is no moving so fast someone disappears- they just blur and the characters can't respond in time.
Likewise the one character who can stop time can push someone a little bit and because they're moving such a distance over a short time- they fly backwards.
There's telekinesis and other powers too- I've accepted having to go more fantasy over science than science over fantasy. The arm that turns into a cannon was really the turning point.
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Re: Purely fictional matters

Postby Mea quidem sententia » Wed May 18, 2016 1:17 pm

Friendlysociopath wrote:I mean, your brain DOES tell your cells what to do- it's just unconscious mental commands normally. The only difference is the character can consciously issue the same commands and the body will respond- and it responds faster and better. Still takes a lot of energy and resources of the body to regenerate- the work of hours or maybe days is condensed into seconds and the work of months is done in minutes.


But that right there is fiction. Perhaps some neural cybernetic device could increase the flow of blood platelets at a faster rate to form a scab sooner than normal, and then for skin cells to connect on the outer part of the wound and work its way to the center to close off the cut. But that's really about it. Nothing like regenerating a finger or a limb would be possible. I wouldn't expect it be done in minutes, either, or at least not any skin healing. All that depends on how realistic you want to go.

Friendlysociopath wrote:Big bulky gun (cause needs a big power source) that fires an invisible beam that is intended to function exactly like a real-life laser. I haven't yet fully decided on how powerful said laser will be.


DEWs would probably be in the kilowatt range, though it could reach megawatts.

Friendlysociopath wrote:It doesn't just fire a glob of energy- it fires a beam.
It doesn't explode on target- it just cuts into it. (This is one of those questionable bits)
It doesn't bank off of mirrors because it's too powerful- it would melt the mirror.
It can't be used for too long because it will overheat and run out of power. In fact, the owner has to wear heavy gloves due to how hot the weapon can get. And I don't mean oven mitts- I mean up to your elbow, heavy-duty, wear-protection-or-be-severely-burned sort of gauntlets.
It has a varying intensity via a wheel located on the side of the gun.


Just keep in mind that lasers can be pulsed or continuous waves (CW), and the former is more powerful. If powerful enough, lasers can ionize air as well. It just depends on their wavelength (and probably some other factor). Reaching ultraviolet photons means ionizing radiation, which is dangerous to living organisms. Also, be sure your character is wearing some protective eyewear. If your character hit his target, he could end up blinding himself. Missiles will blow up if a laser hits it. You might end up working with intensity, which is power over area, or W/m^2. Not being used for too long is realistic. Unfortunately, if something jars the laser device, that could affect is as well. I'd say you should have your character wear something like titanium, or possibly titanium carbide. Titanium, ceramic, and reinforced carbon-carbon are excellent heat insulators. However, carbon's other allotrope, graphene, is an excellent heat conductor, so avoid that material.

Friendlysociopath wrote:It's meant to be a realistic(er) story. For example there is no moving so fast someone disappears- they just blur and the characters can't respond in time.
Likewise the one character who can stop time can push someone a little bit and because they're moving such a distance over a short time- they fly backwards.
There's telekinesis and other powers too- I've accepted having to go more fantasy over science than science over fantasy. The arm that turns into a cannon was really the turning point.


I'm working on a story myself, but so far, the only kind of psychic ability I have for her is radio-enhanced telepathy, which allows her to communicate with others through radio waves.
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Re: Purely fictional matters

Postby Friendlysociopath » Wed May 18, 2016 3:11 pm

Mea quidem sententia wrote:But that right there is fiction. Perhaps some neural cybernetic device could increase the flow of blood platelets at a faster rate to form a scab sooner than normal, and then for skin cells to connect on the outer part of the wound and work its way to the center to close off the cut. But that's really about it. Nothing like regenerating a finger or a limb would be possible. I wouldn't expect it be done in minutes, either, or at least not any skin healing. All that depends on how realistic you want to go.


Oh I'm aware, I started off intending to try and be realistic but the allure of fantasy is just too strong for me. I've got all manner of things with "science babble because altered DNA" used for an explanation. To be fair- the main character with regen is limited mostly to flesh wounds- the only thing he's done for bone thus far is smoothing out a dent in his head.
I've got a guy who reads minds and steals memories, and he's 8 years old- he can even do it through video feeds.
I've got a girl whose power is spontaneously generating information.
And a guy whose mass can become equal to a star and a whole bunch of other wackiness that is most definitely too far into fiction to have truly credible science explanations.
But I at least try- that has to count for something- right?


Mea quidem sententia wrote:Just keep in mind that lasers can be pulsed or continuous waves (CW), and the former is more powerful. If powerful enough, lasers can ionize air as well. It just depends on their wavelength (and probably some other factor). Reaching ultraviolet photons means ionizing radiation, which is dangerous to living organisms. Also, be sure your character is wearing some protective eyewear. If your character hit his target, he could end up blinding himself. Missiles will blow up if a laser hits it. You might end up working with intensity, which is power over area, or W/m^2. Not being used for too long is realistic. Unfortunately, if something jars the laser device, that could affect is as well. I'd say you should have your character wear something like titanium, or possibly titanium carbide. Titanium, ceramic, and reinforced carbon-carbon are excellent heat insulators. However, carbon's other allotrope, graphene, is an excellent heat conductor, so avoid that material.


Noted all around, could you explain more on this "pulse vs waves" thing? I did intend for the gun to have a fairly large dial on the side that changes how it can be fired and I was hoping for 3 options. Eyewear may or may not be an issue depending on how far I want to stretch that regeneration factor. But it's still a good point to raise.
Originally the weapon was also supposed to have a sort of bayonet but I decided that was just too far for my wanting of a "realistic" laser since the jarring thing would be an issue. A few questions for you then:
Would the gloves be inflexible if they were made out of titanium or ceramic?
Would the laser cut through materials or just make them explode via heat?
Does visibility play a role in how much power the laser has? (red lasers stronger than green and so forth)
and what would be a reasonable power for it to be able to deal with tanks?
Also, since you brought it up, what would be the best way to have a sharp- durable- sword? At least without resorting to fictional metals?
Oh- since you're helping so much with the laser- would you like to name the weapon? I haven't done it yet and it certainly does need a name.

Purely for context- a lot of his equipment is "overkill" for dealing with humans because the threats he deals with are superhumans like himself (Although not quite the same obviously).
For example- normal stun grenades are 170-180 decibels- the ones he uses are instead over 200- it'd be fatal for him to use them on a human.
The first real opponent he faces is a Subject I named 'Ripper'. It's essentially a D&D troll strong enough to pick up an Abrams tank and rip it in half.
The guy can't possibly fight that thing toe-toe-toe physically- and he has no special powers like the other Subjects- so he needs to use his wits and equipment to even the field.
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