Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Condottiere
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:10 am

Why we need all-new space suits to survive Mars

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6yyjmcfp_U

Not all space suits are created equal! Verge space reporter Loren Grush tries on a prototype suit that’s custom-made for survival on the Moon, and a totally different model for Mars. It isn’t easy.
legozhodani
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby legozhodani » Sat Sep 15, 2018 8:47 am

Cool vid, thanks.
Condottiere
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:54 am

Atomic Radio will be with us soon: Nick Farrell

Image

Will still only play Taylor Swift and other junk

Boffins are close to shaking up wi-fi and broadcasting with the development of atomic radio thanks to the development of a new type of antenna capable of receiving signals across a much wider range of frequencies (more than four octaves) that is highly resistant to electromagnetic interference.

Antennas are typically a collection of metal rods that pick up passing radio waves and convert their energy into an electrical current, which is then amplified. According to David Anderson of Rydberg Technologies, those antennae are wavelength-dependent, so their size depends on whatever wavelength of signal they are trying to measure - they need to be about half the size of whatever wavelength they are designed to receive. That means you need antennae of several different sizes to measure different radio frequencies.

According to Technology Review Anderson has penned a new paper which suggests a novel alternative to conventional antennae, based on vapourcells filled with a gas of so-called "Rydberg atoms." That just means the atoms are in an especially excited state, well above their ground (lowest-energy) state.

This makes them especially sensitive to passing electric fields, like the alternating fields of radio waves. All you need is a means of detecting those interactions to turn them into quantum sensors.

"You can design the receiver to operate at whatever frequencies you want and avoid intentional electromagnetic interference much more easily."

His team worked out that it could zap vapor cells filled with excited cesium atoms with laser light tuned to just the right critical frequency. This saturates the atoms so they can't absorb any more light, such that a second laser beam can pass right through them, effectively making the gas transparent. The critical frequency at which this transition happens will change in response to a passing radio wave, so the light from that second laser beam will flicker in response. The vapor cell becomes a purely optical radio wave detector, with no need for any wires or circuitry.

The team has already tested the concept with AM and FM microwaves to transmit recordings of various team members singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb"—a nod to Thomas Edison, who sang the same song when he invented the phonograph in 1877.

The all-optical nature of the vapor cells means that even if they are hit with a massive burst of electromagnetic radiation, like that from a solar flare, they won't be permanently damaged because there is no circuitry.

The detector cells are quite small, merely millimeters in size, with the potential to scale them down even more. However, they require a significant backup system to operate, which has not been miniaturized. "You're not going to have a radio receiver that fits into a car dashboard today", said Anderson.

Within the next couple of years, he is confident they will have a suitcase-sized system that would fit neatly into an airplane or a ship, for example—vessels that would welcome the added protection from interference and electromagnetic pulses conferred by these detector cells.

https://www.fudzilla.com/news/47231-ato ... th-us-soon


Radios probably can be improved by three technological levels.
Condottiere
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:50 am

How to Succeed with Brunettes 1967 US Navy Dating Etiquette Training Film MN-10283C

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAuwpUfObcI


How to interact with those groupies that your navy uniform attracts, and your chain of command when you're off the clock.
Condottiere
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:51 pm

World War II bombings weakened upper atmosphere at edge of space


The Earth's electrified upper atmosphere (the ionosphere) experiences a lot of natural variation, changing with the days and from season to season. The ionosphere can also be affected by certain big events, including solar flares, volcanic eruptions, lightning—and the massive bombs dropped on Germany during World War II. Those bombings produced shockwaves strong enough to weaken the ionosphere right near the edge of space.

That's the conclusion of a new study by University of Reading researchers, just published in the journal Annales Geophysicae. More than a historic curiosity, the finding matters because ionospheric disturbances can disrupt key communications technology, including GPS systems, radio telescopes, and radio communications...

“Aircrew involved in the raids reported having their aircraft damaged by the bomb shockwaves, despite being above the recommended height," says co-author and historian Patrick Major. "Residents under the bombs would routinely recall being thrown through the air by the pressure waves of air mines exploding, and window casements and doors would be blown off their hinges. There were even rumours that wrapping wet towels around the face might save those in shelters from having their lungs collapsed by blast waves, which would leave victims otherwise externally untouched.”

The effects also apparently spread throughout the atmosphere. The ionosphere is composed of three different ionized regions within the Earth's various atmospheric layers (the upper mesosphere and the lower and upper thermosphere, specifically). This means they have a significantly higher density of electrically charged atoms and molecules than the surrounding regions. This happens because the Sun's high-energy X-rays and ultraviolet rays collide with atoms and molecules in the atmosphere with sufficient energy to knock off electrons, thereby creating ions (atoms and molecules with missing electrons) and free electrons.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... OVz5x6RqR4

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/09 ... -of-space/
Linwood
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Linwood » Sat Sep 29, 2018 10:52 pm

Talk about unintended consequences....
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:42 pm

Economic studies in which university students in the US played simulated versions of the Stag Hunt indicated that at some point, pairs would realize that it was in both of their best interests to commit to hunting the stag and they would fall into “an efficient and cooperative equilibrium.” But it turns out that American university students are not a particularly representative subset of humanity and cannot necessarily grant deep insights into human nature. They are too WEIRD: Western, Educated, Industrial, Rich, and Developed.
Linwood
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Linwood » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:12 am

Briefcase guns! https://www.popularmechanics.com/milita ... briefcase/

The perfect stylish accessory for your next “energetic” trade negotiations. Now available in snub ammo, fletchette and gauss needles!!!!
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:38 am

McNamara's Folly: The Use of Low-IQ Troops in the Vietnam War

A presentation and reading by Hamilton Gregory, author of "McNamara's Folly: The Use of Low-IQ Troops in the Vietnam." Because so many college students were avoiding military service during the Vietnam War, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara lowered mental standards to induct 354,000 low-IQ men. Their death toll in combat was appalling.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J2VwFDV4-g


Seven is the acknowledged average in Traveller, six is acceptable, and I'll say that five would be the minimum intelligence factor that would allow a recruit to be generally functional in a military organization, specifically in a frontline combat role.

For an interstellar military organization that tends to have an embarrassment of riches in terms of a recruiting pool, this shouldn't be an issue.

However, one aspect of McNamara's premise seems relevant to Traveller, you can improve your characteristics.
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Linwood » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:10 am

It’s hard to picture a high-tech military deliberately recruiting low-IQ soldiers. As weapon systems get more sophisticated the troops that use them usually require more intelligence and training to use them.

Low-tech peasant conscripts, maybe not so much.
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:16 pm

Forty Kay sort of deals with it, especially the Imperial Guard, and if you think about it, Orks.

You make equipment robust and idiot proof, and in the case of lasguns, cuts logistics in half.

If it turns out you're more dangerous to your squadmates than the enemy, natural selection will take care of that.
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Linwood » Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:34 pm

Another model is the Posleen from John Ringo’s Legact of the Aldenata (A Hymn Before Battle). Hordes of low-IQ infantry with advanced weaponry in massive sophont-wave attacks.

Which probably isn’t a good fit for normal Traveller. Even though the mental image of orbital-defense supertanks built on the linked hulls of multiple M1 tanks is a great mental image....
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:30 am

Ideal would remain orks, with a gretchin service corps and auxiliary.
locarno24
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby locarno24 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:50 am

Linwood wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:10 am
It’s hard to picture a high-tech military deliberately recruiting low-IQ soldiers. As weapon systems get more sophisticated the troops that use them usually require more intelligence and training to use them.

Low-tech peasant conscripts, maybe not so much.
This. It depends on who we're talking about, but pretty much any 'imperial' military needs to be a high-skilled trade.

The most important item in a combat-ready imperial marine is sapiens, homo, one off and costs about the same to bring across interstellar battlefield whether they're a mouth-breathing cretin or a highly educated professional.

Carrying 20,000 generic grunts with assault rifles and ill-fitting BDUs is not therefore massively easier (if at all) than carrying half that number of troopers in TL15 battle dress with plasma weaponry, and I know which of those two is going to be more of a credible threat to a recalcitrant planetary government at the other end.

By comparison, a planetary army, not needing to worry about logistics so much, can afford to employ a large-scale militia.

It's the same logic as NATO vs Warsaw Pact armies in the cold war - The Soviet Union had enormous reserves of manpower - as, on a war footing, did the US (even if not quite to the same extent). But the Soviet Union shared a land border with the place where any fighting would be happening whilst the US army would have to be shipped across a potentially hostile ocean to get anywhere useful. Hence a massive, heavily conscript Red Army could actually be brought into a fight in a timeframe that mattered and (in theory) win a heavy-attrition land battle.




One other thing to note in the Warhammer 40k setting is that slug weapons are common - gangers, cultists and PDF (planetary defence forces) use them a lot, because they require lower tech levels than equivalent las weaponry to make.

They also have their own advantages (better automatic fire, cheaper, able to use specialist ammo like AP, Tracer/Incendiary or Dum-Dum rounds), but none of those advantages come close to the awkwardness of carting a fully loaded magazine across interstellar space for every 30 rounds you plan to have your army fire off at the other end, which is why the Imperial Guard rarely use them.
Seven is the acknowledged average in Traveller, six is acceptable, and I'll say that five would be the minimum intelligence factor that would allow a recruit to be generally functional in a military organization, specifically in a frontline combat role.
I'd probably have said six, just because that's the point below which a negative DM kicks in on technical tasks. It's a bit of a meta-game observation, but then so are INT characteristics in the first place.
However, one aspect of McNamara's premise seems relevant to Traveller, you can improve your characteristics.
True. But the effectiveness of that premise is very dependent on how much time, effort and resource you're prepared to put into training people before you ever put them in the front line. When you're in a situation involving draftees, that's almost invariably "not as much as you would like".


Linwood wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:34 pm
Another model is the Posleen from John Ringo’s Legact of the Aldenata (A Hymn Before Battle). Hordes of low-IQ infantry with advanced weaponry in massive sophont-wave attacks.

Which probably isn’t a good fit for normal Traveller. Even though the mental image of orbital-defense supertanks built on the linked hulls of multiple M1 tanks is a great mental image....
The Posleen are extremely dangerous but a big part of the difference there is that they have some specific tactical blind spots. The amount of armed shipping represented by a formation of B-DECs could basically make the landing a mopping-up operation if they were used sensibly, but as noted the Posleen don't use orbital support and mobility effectively for [Reasons discussed in series].

Also, whilst the Posleen normals are low-IQ, note that they have similarities to 40k orks - they breed incredibly quickly and require very little training; they are fantastic shots (given that they're firing sightless weapons from the hip at a run, their accuracy is in the same range as assault rifle-armed humans shooting "properly"), they have genetically encoded loyalty and discipline which is a big part of what basic military training is supposed to instil 'built in' to a level equivalent to elite human units (they will stand and fight horrific odds and happily play 'secret service' and physically interpose themselves as a shield against fire for their respective god-kings).


Quick estimate:
Given the number of posleen carried - "about four million" dumped from one ship cluster in Gust Front - you'd need 8,000 kDtons of barracks decks alone to deploy that many soldiers in the traveller universe.

Using capital ship design rules, even the most basic interstellar transport needs a manoeuvre-1 drive, jump-1 drive, and fusion-1 p-plant, fuel for a single jump-1 and for a few weeks of plant operation. That adds up to 17.5% of its volume, plus about another 0.5-3% on command modules depending on the size of the ship, another 5% of volume for a layer of armour (of whatever type), and another 1-2% on staterooms for compulsory command, engineering and service crew. So even if unarmed, carrying nothing but the soldiers in barracks decks, you need about 25% again as "ship structure". Meaning that's more like 10,000 kDtons - or to put it another way, if you tried to 'traveller-ise' the posleen, they'd need to turn up in the equivalent of twenty Tigress-class dreadnoughts converted to do nothing but carry soldiers across a jump-1 round without a single weapon to protect themselves.

A better example of that sort of tactic is Warhammer 40,000's Tyranids - yes, they still turn up mob-handed, but the point is that over any meaningful conflict length (as in, a few weeks plus) they can 'force grow' almost any quantity of troops required; the big advantage of biological technology is its ease of self-replication; "bomb" a prospective battlezone with spores holding immature hormagaunt broods and you'll have battalion-sized forces of the things swarming over the enemy in no time for a relatively limited expenditure of (your) resources.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Linwood » Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:13 am

That sounds like the Traveller equivalents would use sublight vessels. Unless cramming the grunts in enormous low-berth freezers would save some space?

Or they could build truly huge starships...

A fleet like that would be an interesting challenge for a Traveller fleet adventure.
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby locarno24 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:40 am

Troopsicles are a possibility - someone picked as a grunt presumably has an above-average END - but there are issues with readiness delays if you've got to thaw out your ground forces, because you'll need medics to do it and presumably you're only packing so many (well, I guess you could have built-in high TL autodocs, but then you're throwing a lot of money at your 'disposable' soldiers).

Low passage berths take the space required down to 0.5 dTon per person - 1/4 even of a barracks deck or half-occupancy stateroom - but that's still a lot of tonnage to move a force.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby steve98052 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:41 pm

In some military situations, such as adding massed reinforcements to the military of one nation of a balkanized world, or delivering a massive army to a world where space superiority is absolutely established, commercial transportation would be an option.
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Re: Ship's Locker: Out of the Closet

Postby Condottiere » Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:07 pm

1. Requires planning, which sort would preclude claiming spontaneous support.

2. I'm pretty sure the Confederation Navy could do it, since their ships are designed to accommodate oversized complements (or should), and then they can implement Terra Expresses.

3. You could predeploy troopsicle transports, much like the Americans predeploy heavy equipment on board freighters in regions of strategic interest.

4. As I recall, Falkenberg smuggled in his Legion's cadre under the guise of involuntary colonists.

5. It's not so much distance, as time spent in transition while awake.

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