citrakayah: (Default)
I have a problem--I am currently one of maybe two or three people trying to keep an entire wiki from sliding into the ground, and I can't do this job alone.

Q: What wiki is it?
A: The wikis are a ShoutWiki called Saecula Novae and a Wikia site called Speculative Evolution Wiki. We are in the process of moving the wiki to ShoutWiki manually, cleaning up pages as they go, and leaving behind pages and projects that aren't any good.

Q: What is the wiki about?
A: It's about speculative evolution. Basically, speculative evolution is the practice of looking at possible paths evolution could take, either in the future (future evolution), an alternate timeline (alternative evolution), or on another planet (extraterrestrial evolution). It is similar to worldbuilding, but it is a highly scientific exercise as well as an artistic one. For instance, flying cats were once on the wiki and quickly gained infamy, but were deleted because they were implausible.

For a more in-depth look, check out article. For an example of alternative evolution, see the Specworld Project.

Q: Why are you asking us rather than other people who are already active members of the speculative evolution community?
A: Currently, our members are several people around 13 with overly active imaginations (some of whom I'm going to have to ban because they didn't read Wikia's TOS requiring them to be over 13), one individual who writes tutorial articles, and another administrator who hasn't actually done much in several months and just wants to torch the place because he finally got fed up. I have tried advertising on forums dedicated to speculative evolution, but there has been no one actually willing to put in the time and effort... and I'm unable to both keep the Wikia site from degrading and move to the ShoutWiki site at the same time. Especially when I have to deal with college.

So, again, I need help.

Q: What skills would be necessary to be helpful?
A: Well, some layman's understanding of biology would be helpful. But you don't have to be a professional; I'm not and the project I'm working on, Rix, was generally received well. If you're conservative with what you postulate, and stay away from the really exotic stuff (plasma-based life, radically different blood oxygen transporters like Vaska's Complex, et cetera), you shouldn't have too much trouble.

There are also several community projects, all of which are future evolution. These are what I would recommend to work on for beginners, since most of the details about the planet are already known, and the scenario for each time period states what the general environment is.

Artists who could draw some of the life forms would be invaluable, and anyone who can wikicode would be of great help.
citrakayah: (Default)
Recently, I’d been part of a party of adventurers in a Dungeons and Dragons game that met every Saturday (though we were moving to Wednesdays and Fridays). Note the past tense.

Last night, I was taken aside and informed that group dynamics were “not working out.” Given that my character was straight-laced chaotic good and over half the part was chaotic/neutral/lawful evil (though I really think the chaotic evil character wasn’t that evil, since he was merely a sociopath who killed evil people), I can buy that. Or maybe I somehow managed to piss everyone else off and not notice it, and no one explicitly told me. And the GM is open to, perhaps later in the year, doing another campaign that I can participate in.

I’ll acknowledge that I was a bit upset due to the fact that I hadn’t noticed any such undercurrents, but I guess that’s the price one pays for being autistic and having few social skills. I’m a lot less elegant offline than online. Would have been nice for them to tell me what it was, though. On the other hand maybe it wasn’t anything specific.

In any event. This does give me more time to participate in things like the Wildlife Society (whose last meeting I missed), eskrima (last few meetings missed in part due to being unable to find the location), and various other things. But still, kind of unfortunate.

Would be nice to join another campaign, whether face-to-face, play-by-post, or IRC.

In other news:
  1. My echocardiogram was rather bizarre, at least in terms of my experience, though my heart was apparently normal. Also they won’t send me images of my echocardiogram, which is unfortunate because the video was kind of cool.
  2. I started a speculative evolution forum called Saecula Novae because the mod on Speculative Evolution did several things I disagreed with, including but not limited to: closing and deleting threads without formal notice, unevenly enforcing rules, and not creating forums for community projects like promised.
  3. Fuck anarchocapitalists. (Trigger warning: Sheer, mindblowing insensitivity to rape, which is used to score political points for a stupid ideology.)
citrakayah: (Default)
My plant-etoids concept now has an image to go along with it!
citrakayah: (Default)
I have discovered that I adore neopagan folk music, ever since someone was kind enough to post a link to ”I Don’t Speak Human” on the Werelist. Omnia is very, very good. So I bought some of their music off Amazon, while listening to my mother point out that if I plan on being an architect, I should probably not publicly identify as neopagan, at which point I reminded her that I am:

1. an atheist who is literally incapable of worship (which is, I suppose, not completely true)
2. am in possession of some degree of subtlety, so that if I did suddenly become neopagan, I would not feel the necessity to tell half the planet, nor (to address her other point) would I ever join any religious group without thinking about it heavily

After which she informed me that if I did join a neopagan group, she wanted me to know that my family wasn’t the sort to freak out about that. Which I already knew.


Debate.org is turning out to be rather fun. I won the debate on privatization of science, tied another on gun control (because no one voted), and am currently arguing that developed countries have a moral obligation to mitigate climate change. Also discussing the election on the Werelist, where many people are apparently not voting, and we all got into an argument as to the merits of voting, and then someone raised the issue of the whole ‘Fair Tax’ nonsense, which basically suggests that the solution to all tax problems is a tax on consumption rather than income, and that this will somehow close the loopholes rich people use to evade taxes (by lowering them drastically while allowing them to spend vast amounts of money on foreign goods and thus avoid paying the tax).

Meanwhile, I’ve been mentally beating myself on the head ever since I heard Romney has a five point lead. Good grief; I thought this wasn’t going to be a close race, but Romney seems to be convincing people that he isn’t actually an absurd Tea Party extremist. Which he is. And which he will probably govern as, given that on average political candidates try to fulfill a fair number of their promises. Don’t know exactly how Romney will act, but currently he’s basically the equivalent of an existential threat if he governs at all like he’s said he will, despite being (on the Political Compass) literally a unit to the economic right to Obama. Of course, the Political Compass ranks people according to actions, not promises. And I’m not really sure Romney’s past actions will be a very good predictor of his future actions.

I hate politics here. What passes for the left around here is really quite far to the right. I mean, can you even imagine someone saying, “Yes, I favor socialism and redistribution of wealth, federal funding of arts and sciences, regulations, and single-payer health care” and getting elected in this country? The right’s gone so far right in the past few years… Obama’s individual mandate was originally proposed by the freaking Heritage Foundation, after all.

Wonder what people in Europe are thinking of us right now. Probably that we’re all insane.


Found out that I was looking along the wrong lines if I wanted life in the Sun, and am now looking into plasma-based life, since the kilometer-long solar dragons I originally was planning at the request of [personal profile] siliconshaman  spent most of their life outside the Sun, moving into it as part of their orbit of it. And had to somehow evolve silica aerogel and a biological thermocouple. Which would be fine if these were genetically engineered lifeforms, but they aren’t.

Also, the corona is apparently too hot even for silica aerogels. I’ve heard of substances capable of withstanding the heat there, but they are metals, which are unacceptably conductive to heat.


Currently looking into technoshamanism, mostly to determine what it is, because so far I don’t think I’ve found any really good resources on the subject. Anyone know of good resources?
citrakayah: (Default)
Reposted from here.

With the plants detailed here (I’ve decided to call them ‘plant-etoids’ in what I hope will induce groans) I worked backwards. Such an exercise, while not speculative evolution in the purest sense, is nonetheless a useful tool, for it allows us to consider how things we would normally consider impossible seem to be, at the very least, possible. Even if I am correct in all my speculation, plant-etoids are still very, very unlikely to exist.


The first problem space plants would face is adapting to conditions. As T.Neo pointed out, such a plant would quite possibly go into stasis, at which point while it would, indeed, be a PLANT! IN! SPACE!, it would hardly be anything particularly significant. No, to have space plants—and, therefore, plant-etoids—the plants would have to be able to cope with near vacuum, cold, and radiation. Zerraspace suggested the use of a planet slowly losing its atmosphere.

We have a planet like that in our solar system—Mars. According to some scientists, Mars may at one point have had a magnetic field. When it lost its magnetic field, the solar wind from the Sun stripped away the Martian atmosphere. Such a process would be slow, allowing gradual evolution, and would also result in an increasing amount of radiation reaching the surface. Mars, of course, did not go this route. If life ever existed on the Red Planet, it is either underground, in the ice, or simply extinct.

Escaping from the planet, I feel, would be best provided by volcanic activity or a meteor strike. While volcanic activity might seem like something that would result in huge amounts of heat, given the lack of air there would be no real opportunity for convection, and a reduced opportunity for condution via the air. Instead, the soil and rock on top of the volcano would be conducting the heat.

Water collection initially appeared to be an insurmountable problem. However, I believe I developed a plausible solution. The bladderwort has orb-like structures that it uses to catch prey. I propose that a plant on a planet with a gradually thinning atmosphere would be forced to develop something along the lines of an analogous structure. Ice would be surrounded by plant matter, after which the plant would develop an air-tight coating and generate metabolic heat to melt the ice. The limited space available would force the water to remain in a liquid state. Roots could then be extended to absorb the water. Dessication could, of course, be solved by a waxy covering, but plants without them are apparently already capable of surviving vacuum for a day or so.

Nutrition could also be assured in such a way. If the plant could survive in very poor soil (on a Mars-like planet, I would say this is quite possibly a given), then by capturing the ‘dirty snowballs’ they could also absorb amino acids and various other elements necessary for survival. These comets could be caught by having the plant-etoid extend structures made of spongy plant matter. When a small comet impacted it, it would then surround it in air-tight plant matter and absorb water and nutrients. In otherwords, it would use a similar method as aerogel. This spongy plant matter could evolve by natural selection; if the plant-etoid’s ancestors grew around bits of ice to absorb them, then a comet embedded itself in the plant would probably be absorbed, too. Sunlight, in turn, could be absorbed by the spongy plant matter.

Reproduction would be asexual and happen via budding, I would expect, though I suppose that if the plant-etoid’s existed in large concentrations sexual reproduction would also be a possibility—as they would be if the sperm and eggs were suitably protected from the elements. Certainly the plant-etoid’s would have a slow metabolism, so I would expect zygotes to last a rather long time.

The plant-etoid would not need inhale or exhale carbon dioxide or oxygen. Instead, it would operate by consuming all the oxygen produced for cellular respiration, and consuming all the carbon dioxide it produced for photosynthesis. Since the plant-etoid would have to have very, very slow metabolism, gradually it could accumulate more and more carbon dioxide (or oxygen), allowing gradual growth and reproduction.

The ideal shape, I think, for the plant-etoid would be a sphere. Such a shape would allow large amounts of area to be exposed to sunlight without risking decreased exposure if the plant-etoid turns sideways after getting hit hard enough. The aforementiond spongy tissue would cover the outside of the plant and be photosynthetic. It would also be only the outer layer that was alive; as the plant-etoid grew larger and larger, it would accumulate heartwood, or something similar, in the center, like a tree. Even after a plant-etoid died, it would still float on, potentially food for other organisms. Over a long period of time, the plant-etoid’s could act like clearers, as small micrometeorites would get stuck in their spongy tissue, but not digested.

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Citrakāyaḥ

November 2016

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