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Topics - Wilshire

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Literature / Hyperion by Dan Simmons
« on: August 15, 2013, 12:46:11 pm »
What a great book. Really, really enjoyed it. If you are at all a fan of sci-fi and haven't read this, you should put this near the top of your "to read" list. A great story in its own right, each one of the pilligrim's stories could be its own stand alone novella, and the book is filled with allusions to other sci-fi "classics" (Dune, Neuromancer, 1984, maybe even Speaker For the Dead but thats a stretch).

Never before has a book made me laugh at loud like this one, but there were also parts that had me tearing up. This books has such a wide range of writing styles and emotion that someone with more (or any) literary schooling should be talking about it, not some poor schmuck like me.

This book has certainly made it onto my list of best books I've ever read.

General Earwa / How many were the original Dunyain refugees?
« on: August 10, 2013, 10:43:51 pm »
How many were the original Dunyain refugees?
tl:dr version: I figure as low as 16, but safely 32 families, which is just 8-16 male/female pairs.

The long version:

I’ve ask this question several times and gotten no answer. I’ve also tried to ask a broader question: What is the minimum number of people it would take to get an increasingly diverse population? Put another way, how can you keep from inbreeding with a finite supply of families?

The issue is that in the beginning, the original Dunyain that show up at Ishual is simply described as a “group” (page 3, English small edition). It always seemed to me that any group, isolated for 2000 years, would need to be fairly large in order to sustain viable offspring for dozens of generations. A “group” that large would probably not have made it through the wild, sranc infested North. Also, the terrified boy (our POV) might have used a much grander word if he saw hundreds of people standing outside his walls. Considering that the Dunyain were not overly popular to begin with, I just had trouble rectifying the situation.

I finally sat down and thought about it for a while and here is what I came up with.
BTW for the rest of this, assume the Dunyain don’t care much for love, or have any taboos about age and sex that would prevent them from having children.

I appologize for my inadequacy, but I couldnt figure out how to add the photos so I've just attached them.

Typically, one tends to think of family trees like this:  see attachment "Ishual Family A" at bottom of post.

The idea is that each color is a different family bloodline. The circles are male, the squares are female. Every family could have multiple children (but shown as just one for simplicity), but it doesn’t really matter. Each time the children retain about half of each parents genetic code, so everything is just cut in half with each generation. At the bottom you see that after a few generations, all the children are all the same: they each are 1/8 parts of each bloodline.

The problem with this is that in just a few generations, all the children are related, and you have to start inbreeding them. With a setup like that, you need to double the original number of starting “families”, or in this case colors, every time you want to add another generation. After 10 generations you would need an original host of 512 separate bloodlines, or 1000+ parents. Way to many to be wondering around the woods running from the No-God. Even if they did, and they managed to make each generation a full 30 years apart, you’d only get 300 years before everyone was related. Maybe they would all be 1/512 parts related, I have no clue how that would affect things. I’m sure given 1700 years of breeding together fully related children you would eventually end up with a bunch of terrible genetic disorders.

I then decided to look at it a different way. My new goal was to see how many generations I could go without breeding together people that where related at all. If you could keep introducing a new line into the combined lines, you could get wide variance with a small population.

This is what happens:  see attachment "Ishual Family Spiral"

Here you can see the same kind of thing as described above, but represented differently. As you can see, the child still has 1/2 of each parent, but since one of the parents is a totally unique line, the new genes are about 1/2, and all the other lines half as well. The fractions show the total amount of genetic space that each bloodline exists within the person.
I thought this was interesting because after about 6 generations the original parent bloodline, 1+F, is down to only 1/32. If you consider that humans have 23 chromosome pairs, I thought that this might be enough to consider it a negligible amount of genetic data (that’s probably a crappy assumption but its all I got ok?).

In this scheme, each new bloodline (1-10)  must have been the offspring of the original Dunyain refugees. This causes another problem, because if all those children were born at the same time, even with only 15 years between generations, they would be way to old to breed after about 60 years, or 4 generations of breeding. That only gets you to generation 5, which has an uncomfortable amount of the parent generation’s genes still.

Then I realized that that assumes all the kids were born at the same time and were about the same age. The parents could all have multiple sets of children. The Dunyain women could probably still bare children safely from around 15 years old until they are 40, while the men could keep breeding until they died (I think the oldest human to have a sire a child is somewhere around 95 years old). This means that while there must be about 15 years between each new generation, child could vary in age by 25 years or more.

With all that I came up with this family tree: see attachment "Ishual Family B"

I got to 7 generations with these 8 families before any child was realted to all of the others. Keep in mind that his is only a sample, each could be done in a different order with different parents each time. This makes it possible to have every possible permutation of that final circle: every combinations of colors would be possible to get.
One thing to note is that at generation 6 I stopped breeding the “pure” lines. This is because, at 12-15 years between each generation, those original children would be unlikely to still be alive, but their offspring could still be viable breeding partners.
Once here, it got too complicated for me to draw and harder to visualize. As you can see, the original dark-red/light-red family occupies only 1/64 parts of the whole. I’d say that’s a negligible amount, and you could then breed in a partner who is primarily those two colors (essentially the generation 7’s great great great uncle/aunt). I think that’s viable, since if you say that there are 15 years between generations, it takes 75 years to get to 7, and there are at least 20 years within each generation. This makes a 3xgreat uncle about 60 (still viable partner if it’s a male… maybe).
This setup takes 8 bloodlines, or 16 parents.

If you don’t like that, or still think that 1/64 is too similar to breed with someone who is 50/50 that genetic material, you can double the whole thing with another 8 bloodlines. This doubles your total parents to 32, and gets you 1 additional generation if you combine the two multi color bloodlines, and it makes the children 1/128 parts of the original 4 parent’s bloodlines.

I think this at least shows that you can get some extreme variation with just a small starting pool of genetic data of sufficiently different parents. None of this accounts for dominant/recessive traits, or cross-linking of chromosomes, or mutation, which would increase diversity and (probably) decrease the amount of time you would need to start breeding with an ancestor. Note that any debilitating genetic disorder would have been removed via the Dunyain’s Thousand Thousand halls (their version of accelerated natural selections and/or eugenics). Even diseases that are dominant should be able to be weeded out that way if the affected children die in the Halls before they breed. Again, I think that would further decrease the real number of generations required.

Anyway, that was long winded and I probably forgot some things that I assumed, or left out a certain bit of reasoning that makes none of it make sense. Oh well. What do you think? Possible? Stupid? Huge waste of time? Yeah probably, but it was fun.

General Earwa / At this rate, I'll be 40 and he'll be dead
« on: August 09, 2013, 08:53:58 pm »
So there are supposed to be 2 or 3 books left in TSA series after TUC, which is awesome. But I've discovered a problem. At this rate, Bakker is going to take 15-20 years to finish up the series. I'll be 40+ by that time, which means baker will be well into his 60's.

The current average lifespan is around 75 for males (i think). 60-something is cutting it a bit closer than I'd like. Bakker, if you die before you finish this series, I'm going to freak out. Depression, for starters, is probably the first of many side affects.

I propose that if he does die before he finishes it up, the 4 of us that are still waiting should collaborate to write an ending to the series. However poorly, it would need to be done for the sake of our own sanity.

That is all.

Literature / A Game of Thrones
« on: August 01, 2013, 02:57:39 pm »
Could someone be so kind as to explain to me why this is such a popular book? I just finished reading it, and would have to say I was marvelously  unimpressed. It was by no means a bad book, I enjoyed parts of it, but for all the hype surrounding the whole thing, I was really expecting something really impressive. Or at least something unique. There where a lot of characters but none of them seemed all the interesting,
(click to show/hide)
. Aside from that, most of them where irritating. The story itself was kind of interesting, but there where no real plot twists or big surprises to keep things interesting. Everyone went from point A to point B and stayed on the tried and true paths of standard fantasy genre roads.

Not to be offensive, though I am certain that someone will be offended, here is why I think its so popular.

First of all, its there is a screen adaption of it. Books seem to be exceedingly more popular when there is something to watch. This might because people like to see the stories come to life, or it might be that people are too lazy to use their imagination, though probably a healthy combination of both.

Second, and equally important, it is a book in the fantasy genre that isn't written for 12 year olds. I think that the generation of kids that grew up reading Harry Potter, Eragon, and other such fantasy books, have all outgrown those books and were looking for something closer to their age. The book is well written and interesting, and I think it happend to fill a niche market that wasn't there for a long time.

So pretty much you have a bunch of 20-somethings looking for something to read thats not entirely a coming-of-age story, and since its a TV series its also "cool" to be reading it.

Feel free to convince me I'm wrong :)

General Earwa / TSA in different Languages
« on: July 05, 2013, 05:07:53 pm »
I was looking to find some of the translations of TSA and I found a couple, but it seems the titles have been altered slightly, though I don't speak anything but English at all. I figure this kind of thing will come up again so I made a new topic.

If anyone speaks the language of the books in question, a direct translation of the title would be sweet, since you never know if google translations are any good. Maybe I'll just post all the ones I find here and make a collection of the different cover arts and languages.

They are posted as Titles in an order that makes sense, next to that are the different covers for the books, and under that the google translations of the phrases used in the titles.


Autrefois les ténèbres, Tome 1 : Le Prince du Néant (Cover Art 1, Cover Art 2)
Le Guerrier Prophète, Tome 2: le prince du néant (Cover Art 1)
Le chant des sorciers,Tome 3:Le prince du néant (Cover Art 1)

Le Prince du Néant -> The Prince of Nothing
Autrefois les ténèbres -> Once Darkness
Le Guerrier Prophète -> Warrior Prophet
Le chant des sorciers -> The Singing of Sorcery (my own interpretaion of the failed google attempt)

The second cover art for the first book seems to be a depiction of Mekeritig (sorry spelling) I think. Now THATS an Erratic. (I hear that Bakker gives this the title for most ridiculous cover art)


Schattenfall 1: Der Krieg der Propheten (Cover Art 1, Cover Art 2)
Der Krieg der Propheten 2: Der Prinz aus Atrithau (Cover Art 1, Cover Art 2)
Der Krieg der Propheten 03: Der Tausendfältige Gedanke (Cover Art 1, Cover Art 2)

Der Krieg der Propheten -> The War of the Prophet
Schattenfall ->Shadow Falling
Der Prinz aus Atrithau -> The Prince of Atrithau
Der Tausendfältige Gedanke -> The Thousandfold Thought


Ratnik - Prorok: Princ nicega (Cover Art 1)
Ratnik - Prorok: Princ nicega -> RATNIK - Prophet Prince Nicega


Uhh the Russian book1, Sorry I could not begin to translate that. Cover Art Sorry link no longer has picture.


En el principio fue oscuridad ( Cover Art)
El profeta guerrero ( Cover Art)
El Pensamiento de las Mil Caras (Cover Art)

En el principio fue oscuridad -> In the beginning was darkness
El profeta guerrero -> The Prophet Warrior
El Pensamiento de las Mil Caras -> The Thought of a Thousand Faces


Polish. Thanks Alia
Here are links to Polish cover arts (which are really a copy of the above ones, with Polish titles) - since the ones in the thread have expired:,11318,ksiazka-p,373405,ksiazka-p,2645401,ksiazka-p

And here are Neuropath and Disciple of the Dog [which is in Polish "Perfect Memory"],prod59953483,ksiazka-p,p1058272342,ksiazka-p

Also, there is a Polish re-edition planned for 2015, along with the first edition of "The Judging Eye", which may possibly have new covers.

Thousandfold thought ^

Link to pinterest page with various covers:

Philosophy & Science / Brain training
« on: July 04, 2013, 03:38:11 pm »
Don't know if anyone here watches "Through the Wormhole", its a dorky show on the science channel that tries to show scifi meeting reality.

Anyways, yesterday it was about brains. One of the things that was brought up was that a woman is developing a fancy headband that allegedly helps take a novice of a certain activity and train something like 300% faster than those without.

 The technology takes the brain activity of an 'expert' records it, and tries to 'train' the novice by getting them to come into the same mental state as the expert. This apparently does a spectacular job at helping people learn things.

I was curious as to what anyone thought about how that might affect humanity. If something like this could be used to drastically reduce the amount of time it took someone to become an 'expert' at any skill, say any athletic event, how would it affect everything? Would it cause an explosion of greatness? Reducing the time it takes to become equal to the current level of expertiese, allowing significantly more time in ones life to read new heights. Or, would it cause a great stagnation of talent, a completely level playing field, where no one bothered to work harder than the next guy, knowing that eventually they will be able to 'cheat' their way up after a few years.

General Earwa / How many languages has TSA been published in?
« on: June 22, 2013, 03:14:44 pm »
Does anyone know how many languages TSA have been published in?

I thought it would be entertaining to try and collect first edition copies of the books in other languages. Though since I can only speak or read english, it might be a challenge. But thats the fun part right? If it was easy, what would be the point?

That way, whenever Bakker shows up somewhere where I can go see him again, I'll have some interesting books to have him sign. Though AE is still pretty new and finding first editions should be easy, it should be more difficult to find PoN (or at least thats the hope).

Also, is TPB the only place where he mentions that he might show up somewhere or is there someplace else that would be good to look?

The White-Luck Warrior / Moenghus the Elder's (Other) Children
« on: May 29, 2013, 02:58:31 am »
Because I'm vain and this post stagnated, hows about I revive a piece of my speculation that wasn't argued over
Quote from: Wilshire
On kids:
This was something of a curiosity. Reading carefully (or with bias i guess) it can be seen that much more is going on than what was actually said. What was said and what was read :P

"How many children did grandfather sire?"
"Six," ...
"Were any of them like me?"
A fraction of a heartbeat.
"I have no way of knowing. He drowned them at the first sign of peculiarities."
"And you were the only one that expressed ... balance?"
"I was the only one."

At first glance, not much here. Six kids, drowned all of them cuz they where crazy. Right? Wrong! (mostly crackpot):
The six children of Moenghus. First son was Kellhus which I think most people over looked, and another was Maithanet. That leaves us with 4. I think the remaining children that he "sired" are the 4 that lived. The ones that remained un-drowned.
Look: "where any of them like me?" ... "He drowned them at the first sign of peculiarities."
If Maithanet and the other 4 never expressed signs of peculiarities, then they wouldn't have been drowned. The statement remains truth. Daddy Moe did drown all the crazies. But are those considered true sons? Or just something ... other ... something not quite human. Something not to be counted as among your tribe. A scylivendi woman who gives birth to a white child has not born a true son. Not a true kinsmen. Just something other to be discarded. So the 6 children of Moenghus are the those that remain alive.

Ah, but you say, the last two lines disprove this. He was the only one that expressed balance.
Nay I tell you. Look closer!
"And you were the only one that expressed ... balance?"
"I was the only one."
First of all, balance is not what condemned the children, it was peculiarities. Balance has been substituted here, and this may have allowed Maithanet to lie with truth. None of the remaining children where peculiar, thus left alive, but maybe none of them were balanced. Maybe they excelled in certain fields more than others. A schoolman is not balanced in the ways of combat. The sons or daughters of Moenghus may have been specialized in certain fields, while Maitha could see sorcery, could wield a sword, could speak with a silver tongue. Maybe the most balanced, but not the only one that lived.
The remaining 5 sons of Moenghus walk.

Anyone have any thoughts? Probably reading with extreme bias here but I think it sounded like a cool idea.

Literature / Ender's Game
« on: May 11, 2013, 01:14:43 pm »
What a great book. Don't know what anyone here thinks of Orson Scott Card, but from only ready Ender's Game I'd say he's quite the writer. I couldn't stop reading until I had finished the book cover to cover, and I'd recommend it as a classic in the sci-fi genre.

Literature / Neuromancer
« on: May 09, 2013, 03:22:22 pm »
Just read Neuromancer on a whim, didn't realize it was one of sci-fi's most acclaimed novels. Though it was pretty good, laughed at some of the 80's version of the future, but still a good read.

Was muddling around on the interwebz and found this quote, which was added into a re-release in 2000 as an afterword by Jack Womack:
suggest[ed] that Gibson's vision of cyberspace may have inspired the way in which the Internet developed, (particularly the World Wide Web) after the publication of Neuromancer in 1984. He asks "[w]hat if the act of writing it down, in fact, brought it about?" (269).

Don't know if that is true or not, but what a powerful statement... and probably every sci-fi writer's dream, to directly influence the path of future technology. (Of course then I thought... what if cataloging the Dreams, and their differences, fundamentally changed the world around our old Wizard's obsession)

Anyway, good book, a quick read, I'd recommend.

Edit. (so as to not double post):

Anyone here a fan or a critic of Gibson and his writings? I know hes got several other books and I'm wondering if they are worth the read.

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