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About CroMagnon

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  • Interests
    Sparring, climbing, bushcraft, herbalism, gardening, cooking, sewing, pottery, drawing, writing, reading, history, anthropology, psychology, zoology, botany, ecology, geology, astronomy, physics.
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Astronomy, geology, ecology, biology, psychology
  • Biography
    I'm a bit old-fashioned for my time; a young stereotypical housewife, albeit gladly childfree, with a strong love of family, nature, and history. Neither science nor religion are truth, merely different windows to the truth.
  • Occupation
    Artist, scholar, healer, warrior, aunt.
  1. So I have some little clay beads and small statues I'd like to fire, and while I know I could just pit fire them into bisque, I'm not sure I'd be able to glaze them that way. With just a small iron or steel container (like a gallon metal can or bucket) and some wood to burn, could I make a mini-kilt hot enough to glaze some beads? About 2250 degrees Fahrenheit at tops? What could I do to make it more efficient?
  2. Very occasionally. I mostly just write, but every now and then I get a bug up my ass to make a dumb little cartoon or something. All I need is the programs, a screen, and working speakers. That's a reason I'm going with Linux Lite, it comes with Gimp. And is that in pounds? So....about $250 or something?
  3. I'm probably putting my neck on the guillotine right now, my beliefs aren't usually well-received, but both science and religions are windows through which I view life. What is science? People will define it many ways, but my preferred summary is "a system of studying the natural world through gathering evidence, performing experiments, and investigating patterns and anomalies". I'm sure others will disagree. The scientific method is a means of understanding the inner workings of the universe, of how we got here, how we function, how we fit into the great scheme of things. Science is the study of what God is: atoms, cells, light, crystals, gravity, etc. What is religion? I'll define it separate from spirituality, which I find mostly synonymous with philosophy. Religion starts with the same intention as science: to understand the world we live in. We notice something in nature, ponder why it happens, gather evidence, and come up with some kind of explanation that makes sense to us. Unfortunately, we lacked the tools and cumulative knowledge we have now back when most religions began to sprout. That leads to stupid theories like buttsex causing fire to fall from the sky and turn people to salt. As we didn't know such things as the underlying biology behind plagues 4000 years ago, we had to blame someone or something for or woes, usually someone that the tribe or priest didn't like. This led to inaccurate perceptions of natural processes being a basis for law and order. Eating pork made people sick, so it was a crime for bringing God's wrath upon the tribe. It might rain if you do kill the right animal though, and if it doesn't, that must be because you messed up the ritual in one of fifty possible ways. Religion is science when the scientists eat too many shrooms. A lot is also lost in translation, though I'm sure the original versions still didn't make much sense. I was brought up Christian, nondenominational on my mom's side and Catholic on my dad's; never really went to church because I hated it. Ever since preschool though, I've been a lifelong learner and bookworm, my passions being astronomy, geology, biology, and history. Of course when I was younger, I didn't fully grasp those things. I just thought space, volcanoes, dinosaurs, guts, castles, and Ancient Egypt were neat shit. Hell, my interest in Egypt just sprung up from my kindergarten-to-current love of classic Yu-Gi-Oh. But as I got older, around 8 or so, I started to understand the larger areas of science my childhood interests fit into. That's when I began to question the Christian fables I've been taught to believe. Humans were not made of earth, women were not made of ribs, snakes do not speak. Religious texts give no evidence of such things, but scientific studies and piles of evidence show humans are apes; I'm going with the piles of evidence. For a few of my tween years, I considered myself atheist or at least agnostic because I could find no proof of God. Until I realized God was still all around me. Now in all my love of ancient cultures, I've never much cared for the study of their myths or religions. I've always been much more interested in their daily lives, what foods they ate, how they interacted with their environment. There's always been a lingering interest in the occult and supernatural from my love of fantasy media, but it was just that: fantasy. I'm more concerned with understanding stars, stone, flesh-and-bone. I failed to realize how much of that could be gleaned from religious texts. Around the time I started high school, I came to the conclusion that you can't find God in a book. God is nature, physics, the binding forces that hold our universe together, the force that set time in motion, the ruthless but remarkable mind behind natural selection, whatever mechanisms that may be. Who am I as a tiny primate to define what counts as God? There is no one up in the sky dictating what happens on earth, no one said let there be light; God is the light itself. The unlikely miracles of nerves, thought, vision, the complex processes behind it all, are more spiritual to me than any organized system of rituals. Spirit is just life, your spirituality or philosophy are how you perceive and live your life. The Bible says God can't be understood, there's no way our little human brains will ever fully understand the complexity of the universe, thus God is the universe. So if my "religion" is "science", ie the evidence-based belief in and deep appreciation of the miracles of physics and nature, what is the role of religious texts? The same as any other literature: to give insight into the minds of the author and the world as they perceive it. While the Bible, Vedas, Book Of The Dead, etc are no scientific textbook, they're a treasure trove of cultural and psychological information. What people feared, what traits were admired, what foods were eaten, what animals known, all can be learned through studying prayers, rituals, myths, and monsters. I look to science for understanding of the cosmos, religion guides me in how to interact with the cosmos; all art and literature is a resource in that respect. Any insight into culture and psychology will allow us to better understand our own. Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt that things such as ghosts, demons, or angels may exist. Like I said, I'm sure there's a lot even our collective brains couldn't physically process about the universe. But I refuse to accept a faith-base belief when evidence clearly proves otherwise, such as with creationism vs natural selection, and I must always delve deeper into the truth. God is that knowledge, the beauty of it, the force behind it. Far out in space, deep within our DNA, within our subconscious, whatever is true or false about any one belief, God is what is and what we perceive. History, cosmology, physics, chemistry, geology, biology, botany, zoology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, theology, those are all my religion. It's hard for me to understand why people can't just worship life itself. Just my two cents.
  4. I'm not good with computers. At all. I hope what I'm looking for is actually quite simple, but it doesn't sound that way to my own ears. All I'll really use it for is writing and research, listening to music, and occasional photo/video editing, but I want something durable and secure. About 100GB SSD hard drive sounds good, I read those kind don't mess up as easily because they have less moving parts, but I don't need much memory. I'm not really sure if 100GB is "much" or not. At least 2 USB ports, an SD card slot, and a disk drive are a must. So no notebooks. I don't want anything used, it could have the last owner's child porn germs or something, but I don't want something brand new either. No touchscreen, voice-activated whatnot, customer service, or warranty needed. Definitely no touchscreen. Something compatible with Linux Lite 2.6, since I hate Windows but I'm used to it. Actually a blank laptop would be great if they sell those, just install Linux without struggling to delete all the default crap. All under $500 if so possible. Any suggestions?
  5. My story's world, Axis Earth (just called earth by the inhabitants), has been built from scratch from tectonic plates up. I'm sure I made some mistakes because I can only do so much math, but I at least tried to make my topography follow the plate boundaries. AE's genesis paralleled our own- exact same size, distance from the sun, axial tilt, etc- until the crust began cooling, breaking up, and moving. Most of the differences between our earth and this alternate one are thus only surface deep. I imagine that's still quite a bit of a difference. So these particular questions are concerning the placement of such things as deserts, swamps, faults, mountains, forests, etc. I've studied these things a lot, otherwise I wouldn't care where I put my damn mountains, but I'm not about to rely on my outdated 80s-textbook hoosier high school education. Thanks in advance for any help! 1: Are my plate tectonics even viable? I know that on its own is a vague question no one can answer without seeing my map, so I'll try to elaborate what I mean without rambling: plate tectonics started billions of year ago, yes? Not today? Well my tectonics map for AE only reflects the state of the plates today. I can't map out the movements of the plates over the course of billions of years, the math just to grid the map was hard enough, so I don't have any old mountains or faults where seismic activity has long since ceased. So how would I retroactively place older orogenies, cratons, basins, etc in relation to my current plate boundaries without mapping out the movements of my plates from the beginning? Or phrased differently, how far back can geologists clearly retrace the movements of tectonic plates based on the current location of geological landforms? 2: How tall can a mountain grow? A measly 10,000 feet more than Everest? Any higher? How deep can air-filled caverns (I never said breathable descend into the crust or mantle? Yes I'm talking like that underground magma cave in The Core, somewhere a person could walk if they wouldn't be vaporized. 3: What are the different types of mountains, plateaux, and valleys by how they are formed? What is the difference between a valley and canyon? Would mid-oceanic ridges on any earthlike planet be connected like ours, or is it an otherwise unlikely occurrence? If most rift valleys are formed in the ocean, what determines whether the continent cracks open instead, like in East Africa? 4: How much is climate affected by topography? If a planet had the exact same size, axial tilt, distance from the sun, etc as earth, but had mountain ranges and landmasses in different places, how different would our weather be? How would the Ice Ages be affected? What all factors determine where such environments as deserts, forests, and swamps are distributed across the globe? I've noticed a theme on our planet of mountains and deserts being on the west of continents. Is there any particular reason for this? What determines whether the coast is rocky with cliffs or a smooth sandy beach? I hope these aren't too many questions, I just find I think better if I discuss a topic as a whole rather than trying to break up a concept into individual threads. The concept of this thread being general worldbuilding. I often find I wonder either more or less than I thought, so setting out to ask one or two pertinent questions is essentially pointless. Everything connects to another in my writing. I appreciate any help with these questions, as well as any other often-overlooked geological/meteorological rules of thumb I may find interesting. Thanks all for not being jerks like at the other science forum!
  6. So if you only ever reply to one of my threads, please make it this one! While some of these questions are more biology-oriented, the majority are about electromagnetism and thermodynamics; totally fine with this getting moved somewhere more suitable. I write fantasy, what with magic, dragon, spirits, and all, but I like at least the foundations of those things to be in the known physics of our world. Science is by no means my roof though. I'll probably fudge a lot of the math to make the story work; this isn't about whether magic or psychic abilities are real, it's just brainstorming about how they might work if they were possible. Any help would be appreciated! Energy: The power to stop projectiles or manipulate flames must come from somewhere. Neurons use electric signals, ghost shows speak of electromagnetic spirits, and a good portion of the universe seems to run on electromagnetism. A fitting underlying mechanism for a magic system based half-ass on real science. But I'm only a physics enthusiast, not an expert. I'd also need an energy source for my magic users, as I doubt the power of food alone could stop an arrow, so these first few questions will be more general physics and some biology. 1: What is the relationship between volts, watts, joules, coulombs, hertz, amperes, and teslas? In For Dummies format? And if no one minds converting their joules, it's easier for me to work with kilocalories. I study food and the struggle for such basic resources is mjor them in my writing. 2: Which of the aforementioned units are relevant to earth's electromagnetic field? If so, what are the values, ie how many watts or joules or teslas is our field? What about the sunlight that reaches the surface? 3: A biology question: what do humans waste in waste? What exactly can't we digest that perhaps other organisms can, and what enables them to digest those substances? 4: How much energy does it take to lift an an object of a given weight? If energy barriers/forcefields were real, how much energy might it possibly take to stop an arrow? Repel temperatures of about 1000 degrees Fahrenheit? Withstand 10 times atmospheric pressure? Telekinesis: The last set of questions started to touch on applied magic a bit. I have no idea how telekinesis or forcefields would work if they were possible, but I remember reading about a frog that was levitated by a magnetic field. I'm not sure if the frog was okay, but I haven't heard of any other mechanism for levitation. I know magnets can also repel each other, so I guess that's a thought for how an energy forcefield might work. These next few questions are thus about magnetism, unless anyone has any other ideas for a mechanism behind telekinesis. 1: What are the different types of magnetism? 2: How are they generated? 3: Do different types of magnetism only affect certain substances? Pyrokinesis: Something I imagine is a little more complicated than just levitating and repelling objects. First my fire mages need the energy to function, a means of remotely heating and igniting substances, and some way to manipulate the resulting flame. I feel thermokinesis is a more accurate term: the ability to redirect heat. I've touched on this topic with a couple threads, but I figure I should shed light on my thoughts and see if I can't get more detailed aid. I thought of using the principles behind a tokamak. Hot flames are a plasma, plasmas conduct electromagnetic fields, so heat a substance into a plasma with microwave radiation and manipulate it with an EM field. Unfortunately, someone on here kindly informed me that the ion in cooler plasma are too few to conduct anything. These last questions are regarding my pyrokinesis options. 1: Which frequencies of EM radiation are most efficient at heating things to ignition? Are different substances more affected by certain frequencies than others? How exactly, once again For Dummies, would I calculate the energy needed to heat certain things to the point of catching fire or melting? Iron, copper, leather, wood, flesh. cotton? 2: Since my whole tokamak-plasma-electromagnetic-flame-manipulation idea wouldn't work, then what other mechanism might be used to control fire if it were possible? 3: These last few are more biology-oriented again: what adaptations might an ape (such as humans) evolve to withstand a harsh, hot, sulfuric volcanic environment? 4: What are the most flammable substances the body produces naturally? In what quantities? How are they produced? Could a human-like species evolve to sequester any of them in the palms? Sorry for so many questions. this stuff has just been bugging me for a long time. Thanks in advance for any help!
  7. No I'm not gonna poison anyone, I read all the warning stickies. Part of this thread is just personal interest, but some will be invariably used in my writing, as much of my research usually is. I could probably just Google most of these questions but I suck at internet. 1: How are toxins and hazardous substances usually categorized? Mode of action, similarities in chemical structure, etc? Do biological effects have a correlation with chemical similarities? 2: Which hazardous substances/classes thereof kill the fastest? Which kill faster than say....severe abdominal trauma? That's a bit vague....how about an arrow to the pancreas? 3: Which have the lowest median lethal dose? Can a poison have a low LD50 but kill slowly, or a high one yet kill quickly? Any help greatly appreciated!
  8. I'd say none. A system of decision-making based on consensus and reputation, respect and keeping your word, can only be maintained at a population of about 150 humans. The number mammals with brains our size can track socially. A good breeding stock that can maintain itself indefinitely would be about 500. So ideally, I'd vote for going back to the hunter-gatherer days. Just like other animals, have larger populations numbering in just the thousands each scattered throughout the globe, every group adapted and in synch with their particular habitat. Each little family band of only a hundred or so gets a nice size chunk of territory to hunt and forage in. We eat fresh meat and greens, fruit when available, not a bunch of sugar to rot our teeth and make us fat. Being nomadic hunters, exercise comes naturally. Diseases are more contained by the scattered population; likewise, food, land, and other resources are more available because we aren't monopolising the planet. Less reason for war. Bands only meet up a few times a year to trade, mate, sing, dance, tell stories around the fire, eat barbecue, take entheogens, and otherwise have a good holiday. We wouldn't want to slaughter each other as much because billions of us wouldn't be crammed together like sardines. Less annoying neighbors, sacrificing for strangers, uncaring governments, fighting over resources, and other humans for our brains to keep track of. I'm sure there'd still be conflict, but on a much smaller scale. We'd just stay out of each other's way and stick with our family for the most part. In tune with the seasons and environment. But that was a long time ago. So if I had to pick....still none. At least none of the major players. Maybe Trump if I believed a word he said, I like his audacity, opposition to Obamacare, and wall idea. But we need one for Canada too, terrorists can get in both ways. But I took that Isidewith test to see what they think, and I side with....three guys I've never heard of at about 85% each. Marc Allan Feldman, Austin Peterson, and John McAfee. I do seem to agree with Feldman on healthcare, education, foreign policy, and firearms. Don't tell me what to do with my body, teach to each child's potential, stay out of other countries' problems, and give me any means necessary to defend my family. But he seems to care little for the earth. Peterson isn't too bad either, agree on healthcare, education, and guns. I'd rather us stay out of the Middle East, but I like his mercenary idea, and he doesn't seem too fond of surveillance. Another polluter and plunderer though, and in support of eminent domain. McAfee seems like my best bet, whoever the hell he is. We agree on everything but immigration and refugees. I just think we need to keep our borders tight (yeesh I'm so afraid of offending any Hispanics) in this age of terrorism, restrict the nation's population without resorting to killing, and keep our resources for our citizens and their families. But beggars can't be choosers, the borders of governments are the least of my concerns. I just want my family, our bodies, and our land to be left to our own jurisdiction. Just my usually unpopular two cents.
  9. You know, that is a very good point....The stereotypical merfolk silhouette really doesn't seem the best for swimming. About as good as most dragons would be at flying. I already have a cephalopod species, but they're quite different, more like giant monster squids. Deposit their eggs in the anal canals of other sea creatures, tiny parasitic babies devour the host from the inside out, grow to some currently-undecided massive size. Not sure that's especially plausible either. But I could always have another cephalopod, I have taken an interest in our tentacled cousins lately. I think my story already has plenty of mammals.
  10. Hey all, another strange literary research thread, this one brainstorming for several fantasy races/species. I want the biology to be as realistic as possible, more fun to write. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Elves: Just another (mostly) arboreal primate related to humans, not some magical godlike fairy folk. At least not much more magical. Main questions: What advantage do pointed ears give animals? Would retaining a more cartilaginous skeleton as an adult be beneficial in any way? Does the typical slender elf build seem suitable for an arboreal species? Firekin: Another related species, pyrokinetic and quite small, a 5'5" man being intimidating to some. Am I right that a smaller creature would be more energy-efficient? Could an ape evole to have slit pupils? And I know I had a very similar thread about acetone, but if pyrokinesis was in the realm of possibility, which flammable substances does the body produce (like acetone) that my firekin could maybe squirt out their palms? Even in tiny amounts? This magic system in this story isn't particulary extravagant. Dragons: What would be the most efficient design for a flying reptile? Something like a pterosaur? The pyrokinesis questions also apply here. Unnamed Reptile Species: A more intelligent reptile with opposable thumbs and Paleolithic technology, perhaps evolved from velociraptors or troodons. Unnamed Canid Species: Similar to above, a Stone Age species with opposable thumbs and limited bipedalism that evolved from wolves. Unnamed Cetacean Species: Essentially intended to be merpeople, cetaceans with flatter faces, more humanoid builds, hands evolved from flippers, and simple tools. Probably evolved from dolphins. Any of the above three plausible?
  11. Thanks for such a thorough answer! The story won't actually have any tokamaks per se, though a similar device could be designed eventually, this is just brainstorming for pyrokinesis. I doubt any explanation would really be plausible, but that's what I'm going for and I'm exploring my options.
  12. Well if storing the acetone would be dangerous and difficult, perhaps only pulling it from the bloodstream to the palms when needed would be possible? I'm not really sure if/how that would work, how fast the skin can secrete things, or how much acetone the body even produces....It's for a pyrokinetic hominid species in my story, so I'm trying to keep their abilities as "realistic" as I can. Any other ideas are welcome too.
  13. I know many species are able to store metabolic byproducts, poisons from food, etc in glands and secrete them at will. Could a human possibly evolve to store and secrete acetone from cellular processes in a similar manner? Particularly glands in the palms and soles? If so, how exactly could this work? How long would it take for such an ability to evolve? By the way, this is just another weird question for my weird book, any help appreciated.
  14. I write fiction purely as a hobby. Typical fantasy presentation- quests, castles, dragons, swords, sorcery, spirits, elves, etc- but like to at least try basing those things on known scientific fact. My post on the intro thread has a more thorough disclaimer, as I'd rather not start every thread by explaining it's for literary research. That said, these questions are actually brainstorming for my story's magic system; the way I understand how tokamaks work is just an inspiration. I'm no physics expert, simply an enthusiast, especially plasma physics and electromagnetism. I'll still probably fudge quite a bit to make the story work. And yes, I'm sure a lot of the info I want can be Googled, but I'm no good with the internet and I doubt Wikipedia's credibility. Any helpful facts, thought-out answers, or useful links would be appreciated. But PLEASE don't tell me to just make it up or magic it, that's a last resort for when real life can't get weird enough for the story. I wouldn't ask these questions if they didn't matter. So here goes.... 1: What is the operating temperature of the plasma in a tokamak? If I recall correctly, Wiki says about 100 million degrees Celsius. 2: What substance is heated to a plasma and why is it preferred? 3: On the Wiki page for microwave radiation, I read that the ITER tokamak uses microwaves to heat the plasma. Why is this electromagnetic frequency preferred over perhaps infrared? And in a For Dummies nutshell, how exactly does this microwave heating thing work? Same as a microwave oven? Does whatever substance is being heated to a plasma affect which frequency is best used to heat it? 4: I remember reading that plasma is contained with an electromagnetic field, as the ions in the plasma make it conductive. What is the strength of the field and how much energy is required to generate it? 5: If some flames are considered a plasma, what flames are they? At what point are the gases ionized enough to be considered a plasma? Could any strength electromagnetic field be used to contain a flame in a manner similar to a tokamak? 6: How exactly is one elecromagnetic frequency converted to another? For example, ultraviolet to ultra-low frequency, or ULF to microwave or infrared? Is it something that naturally happens, a process requiring complex equipment, particularly energy-inefficient, etc? I hope these questions are clear enough, and neither too confusing, complex, nor stupidly simple. Again, physics is just an interest; I truly understand very little of it. Thanks in advance for any help!
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