Social Capital and the Transhuman Zenith

Some people didn’t pay attention in science class and therefore don’t know that humans can’t live on frozen balls of dirt that well… unless they are Caldari.

We get that going for us at least, and it is doable.

And Caldari Prime, as cold as it is, is a temperate planet. There is a reason the people living in Vale are worried about crop failure, famine, and unending cold.


I do not know if this young lady has had any formal training in planetology, but seemingly unlike others, she seems to be the only one who appears to have a good grasp of the situation at hand.

You see, planetology is a tricky thing, dependent on several factors, not just on the planet, but also the star that it orbits.
A planet and its position relative to its star affects the following things that have a significant effect on whether or not that planet is a terraforming candidate.
For simplicity, we shall assume a circular orbit. So, the radius of orbit of a planet will affect the amount of solar radiation it receives, with the three most important things being the amount of thermal radiation, the amount of visible light, and the amount of ultraviolet radiation that the planet receives. We are assuming here that the planet has an atmosphere that makes the hard radiation, cosmic particles and the like, unimportant.

So, let us now assume a typical terraforming candidate, a body around 6000km radius, orbiting at around 1AU from an orange or yellow star, that rotates on its axis in between about 20 and 30 hours. Such a body has sufficient mass that it can naturally hold down a thick atmosphere, which prevents hard radiation reaching the surface in dangerous amounts.

Now then, our hypothetical planet will be heated by geological processes from its formation, and the flexing of tectonic plates, and the decay of radioactive elements, and so on. For our model planet, I’d normally expect a figure between 40 and 60 TW of heating. And if the planet is sufficiently hospitable as to be inhabited, there will be artificial power sources, maybe 4TW per billion inhabitants. Sounds rather a lot, doesn’t it ? However, a planet of the size of our model, with a typical breathable atmosphere, would be receiving something like 150 to 170 PW of heating from its star. Say about 3,000 times as much as the model planet normally generates itself.

Which shows that the planet is vastly dependent on the star to maintain its temperature. 4TW per billion inhabitants was the figure I was using, lets say it’s a lightly populated world of 2 billion inhabitants. So there’s 8TW of installed power on the planet. Now, suppose the star drops in thermal output by 1%. That drop would be 1600TW. So, to maintain the atmosphere at the same temperature, would require our model planet’s population to construct 200x their currently installed power. Quite the investment. A system of orbital mirrors might be more practical, but even that is a significant effort.
But why would such heating be required, you ask ? Well, you see, the solar radiation drives the convective heating of the planets atmosphere, and hydrosphere, which are the mechanisms that transfer heat from the equatorial regions to the polar regions. With less solar heating, there is less of this atmospheric and hydrospheric circulation, leading to a large drop in temperatures in the polar regions, which receive less direct heating because of the geometry of solar radiation relative to the planet surface. You do know geometry, yes ?

But that is not the only factor. No, there is the biosphere to contend with. A habitable world, the biosphere is critically important, as it is the biological process of photosynthesis, that is the main producer of atmospheric oxygen. Typically, marine plankton is slightly more productive per area than terrestrial vegetation, though the exact proportions will of course vary dependent on the proportions of land and sea on the planet.

So, this is where the amounts of visible light, and of ultraviolet radiation, become important. Ultraviolet radiation is what plankton and terrestrial plants use in their photosynthetic production, and visible light affects the rhythms of these organisms biological processes. A tree for example, will take in carbon dioxide and photosynthesise it during the day, and consume sugars and give off carbon dioxide during the night.

So, if the star should suddenly dim, then the vegetations cycles will be disrupted, and they may fail to begin their photosynthesis cycle during the day, which would lead to slow death of the plant as it consumes its existing energy stores with no replenishment.

Now, I don’t have figures immediately to hand about how long plants can survive without sunlight, but it is not all that long.

So, do we have figures on just how much the stars output has been reduced ? Hmm, I don’t seem able to find any. Well, let us then consider one of the usual thought experiments of “what would happen if the star suddenly went out”. This is a standard thought experiment problem that you see in several textbooks for undergraduate students of planetology.
I shan’t bore you with the details, and will instead progress straight to the answer. For our model planet that we’ve been using, should the stars output suddenly and mysteriously drop to zero, then, the following effects would be observed: The temperature would drop quickly, with the atmosphere dropping to the freezing point of water within 50 standard days. Any oceans would retain heat longer of course, not that that would particularly be of importance, as by about 250 days, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would solidify into dry ice. And by about 500 days, the oxygen in the atmosphere would liquefy. Of course, the planets atmosphere would be unbreatheable without equipment long before that.
Obviously, that is an extreme scenario, though I do not believe it has yet been completely ruled out.

So, as the young lady said, there is a reason those unfortunate souls are worried.

I hope this has been educational.


Thank you for illustrating that so well.

Stellar temperature, and thus, emission of heat and light, can be calculated based on mass and color (as representative of the most common part of the spectrum emitted), no? If stellar mass is changed, then every planet in the system is pretty well screwed as their orbits will change radically both from the reduction of the central gravity well and the interactions with one another’s aggregate gravity.

So, by knowing the color shift of the stars, from yellow or blue to a dark, reddish black, we should at least get some idea of the reduction in emission, shouldn’t we?

1 Like

We should indeed, young lady, however our estimates may be grossly inaccurate, as these stars may not conform to the normal black body radiation model.
I rather think that the services of an astrophysicist are required at this point, as I am unaware of any process that would account for what we are observing.
Certainly, if these stars do conform to the normal model, I would say the change in emission would be catastrophic, for any world with a biosphere.
Those worlds with enclosed habitats, domes, underground settlements and the like, may fare better, though they would require a great increase in energy infrastructure, for heating and lighting, which while significant, is at least a relatively easily analysed technological challenge with known parameters.

1 Like

While the surface of the planets would most likely suffer huge transformation, perhaps even making it unhospitable to the life as we know it, would it be possible to provide underground homes, farms with artificial light and closed-loop systems like aquaponics to sustain human life even with significant changes from the system star? (Assuming there were no major geochemical or geophysical impacts that would make such underground facilites unviable)

Of course it would be possible. We already create habitats in the harshest environment there is; space. I don’t see how an ice planet or barren world would be any colder or more inhospitable than the void. We have a variety of reactors, take your pick, that can power these habitats almost indefinitely. With enough time and raw material, the habitats are easily expandable.

My home planet itself has truly ancient cities, and some of them have survived impressive feats of destruction and intent to kill. We humans are very good at making things that last, and defending the land we take.

Now ask the right question:

Would it be possible to provide underground, fully-enclosed, heated and lit infrastructure for even 10% of the population before ecological collapse on the surface renders the planet unable to sustain its population without receiving the outside aid that is currently cut off?

And would it be possible to manage an earthwerks project on that scale using only the resources already present on the planet? On each and every one of those planets?

If not… again, we’re back to ’ [t]here is a reason the people living in Vale are worried about crop failure, famine, and unending cold.’


Now now, upon reflecting what you said, we were talking about different approaches of similar but not the same things.

  • The biosphere will change. (Yes, we agreed on that, it would be dishonest to afirm something different, glad no one did)
  • It is possible to survive underground with current technology (Yes, it is not only possible but happening right now. I do not think you refuted that)

The variable that appear to be the reason of the divergence appears to be time.

  • It is easy to to this within a short timeframe with our current technology? Not within our current parameters

Looking at the problem of saving human lives (let us say that most of other life forms will perish), within our current operational timeframe, it is indeed a grim situation.

However, and i think this is where our parameters of “acceptable” differ in a significant way, what i consider a scenario of “doom” is not the same of what Arsia may consider (or you).

Doom is usually a strong word. (condemn to certain destruction or death. / death, destruction, or some other terrible fate)

There is a lot of ambiguity on what everyone consider a terrible fate, so i will present my perspective and i hope this will clarify my arguments.

  • Have the Triglavians caused mass death at the planets of non combatants? No reports so far.
  • Is it possible to save the non-human life at the planets? Do not know, would move them to “less tragic cost” compared to humans.
  • Is it possible to have human life at the planets with such drastic modifications? Yes. Period.
  • Before those conditions are met, will a lot of people die? Within current parameters, yes.

And that is my line of reasoning. While I consider that "if people manage to live, same ammount of the original or not, then it is not doom for existance is possible. (if it is desirable is another matter). Changes in ecosystems are something to adapt to, not the final fate of the people.

I am coming to comprehend that those are parameters not shared by a lot of people.

So, returning to the facts at hand.

  • Yes there are changes to the ecosystem
  • If no new elements present themselves, it will change the lives of those who remain a lot until/if they adapt to the new situation
  • So far, no mass death of non-combatants have been reported

Moving away from the facts, here are some conjectures and personal preferences

  • The Triglavians have studied how our biological matter behaves. (Fact) I expect them to have the tools to provide some degree of safety for all forms of life at the planets (Conjecture). I would prefer that for those non-combatants that did not sign for the job of assimilation, would be provided ways to either leave, or have their lives with as few impacts as possible, much like the conquer of systems by Militias of the Factional Warfare (personal preference)
  • Should the Triglavians prove themselves mass murderers of non-combatants (elimination of life, i give some room for transformation of it for those interested), i would, most likely, favour ENDECOM efforts, for at least CONCORD’s cage kinda help keep people alive, and as low as their Social Capital is right now, i prefer that there is something instead of nothing. (I will not digress by pointing out how their actions/inactions provide space for the sistemic elimination/suffering of certain elements within our cluster)

So, with this i hope that my points will be more clear (i would not dare to imply they are agreeable) and that my conception of Doom is not the same from Arsia, and why i argued what i argued, with intellectual honesty.


Just for the record I put even odds on the Triglavians dropping a large-scale bioadaptive to modify everybody (and maybe the biosphere as well) before supplies run out. If it works anything like a mutaplasmid as much as a third of the population might get some significant benefit out of it, even if the other two thirds either “adapt” into nonsurvivable forms (death by mutation) or receive minimal benefits and therefore succumb to changing conditions (death by lack of mutation).

But, what becomes of the remaining 30% or so could be really interesting and might even turn into something viable in the long term. And hey, more supplies to go around. So that’d be okay, right?


Well, you don’t seem to consider widespread cloning one (I personally see it as a major one, but fine.), so…liberties, rights, decease control, universal basic income, scientific research.

For all we know, they have done exactly that in Raravoss. More importantly, for all the population knows. That’s one of the problems with the whole ‘No reports so far’ when they’ve already cut off communication with one system.

That’s lovely in the abstract. It does nothing for baseliner masses.

And that right there does mean ‘eventual doom for the stranded inhabitants’. Maybe you don’t give a crap about anyone. That’s entirely possible. But those baseliners on high-population temperate planets? The vast majority of them aren’t sociopaths. That’s their home. Everyone they know lives there, too. They’re not going to consider it ‘less doom-y’ if you tell them ‘hey, listen, we’re pretty sure 0.005% of the population can be saved! YAY! No need to panic!’.

‘There’s a 99.995% chance you and everyone you know will die, but that’s not doom for you because of the technical feasibilty of saving the people who always get saved: the rich and powerful.’

And that’s just in the analysis of the impact from external factors. 5,000,000,000 panicked human beings? They’ll cause even more death and disruption, and probably seriously impede any attempts to do those mitigating projects that will save that one-half of one-hundredth of 1%.

As a result, I don’t think your judgment can be at all trusted on what counts as ‘doom’. Because your conception of doom basically throws away billions of lives and says ‘look! FIVE DUDES SURVIVED! IT’S ALL GOOD!’

‘Hey, listen, we’re going to horribly mutate you guys into something that is, on a very real level, not human. Oh, and most of you may well die from it, totally random, who knows. You’re all cool with that, right? That’s not a reason to worry or anything, right?’

Yeaaaaaaah no.

1 Like

You left my little unimpressed/deadpan face out of your quote and it sounds like you maybe think I was talking unironically? Was I too subtle with my sarcasm?

No no, I knew you were being sarcastic. But you rather concisely summed up the idiots’ position. :wink:

1 Like

Mha hart mah Sole

Comrade Priano,

Putting aside the issue of trans-humanity, I must wholeheartedly agree that the Empires and CONCORD can do far more to incentivize capsuleers to make the correct choice… though it pains me to admit the necessity of it, the fact of the matter is that fighting a war takes ISK, and reports indicate that the triangles are paying more of it.

Dr. Riordan,

You seem to misinterpret that for which CONCORD was created. It was never an organization to police the Empires, but to uphold inter-imperial law for the sake of trade and stabilizing relations. The DED involves itself with individual criminals.

Besides that, “Killing us for a hundred years” is a logical fallacy, as well as patently false. Each empire offers better life now than it did a hundred years ago. In fact, the past roughly hundred years have been relatively peaceful, all things considered.

You talk of them quashing capsuleers but I must in fact agree with comrade Elkin’s assessment of CONCORD leniency towards capsuleers. Stricter control is necessary in addition to incentivizing the right path.

It is a shame I came in here after the political degeneracy has started to run rampant, so I’ll forgo replying to any messages made after these I am replying to above.

I’m not even sure how that’s reasonably possible. ISK is, after all, a fiat currency. It only works because CONCORD says it works. It only exists because CONCORD says it exists. How are the Trigs giving it to anyone? How is there not an immediate system-wide audit going on to find those receiving these fraudulent payments from the Triglavians so they can be dealt with?


People have asked the SCC and received no answer. Bureaucracy… Uhg.

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.