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<Help> Certain terms in Orion's Arm I don't understand.
#1
Hey, my name is Maelum. I've been checking this website out for the past few days now and i am very impressed by the stuff I have read so far and I can't wait to read more things added to the website Smile There have been some terms that I've seen that I don't understand the first term so far that i don't understand is "ircspeak" which is one of the languages responsible for making Anglish.

The other is a more scientific term I guess but it's in reference to the Ultimate Chip: stuff like processing 5.09911 "E21 bits" per second, storing about 4.88 "E20 bits" and transmitting information at bandwidth rates of 8.77 "E23 bits" per second. Could someone please help explain these terms to me?

-Maelum
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#2
Hi Maelum, Welcome to OA!

(12-06-2016, 08:40 AM)Maelum Wrote: Hey, my name is Maelum. I've been checking this website out for the past few days now and i am very impressed by the stuff I have read so far and I can't wait to read more things added to the website Smile There have been some terms that I've seen that I don't understand the first term so far that i don't understand is "ircspeak" which is one of the languages responsible for making Anglish.


I'll admit I'm not familiar with this term either, but a bit of googling leads me to thing it relates to the term Internet Relay Chat, specifically to the idea that this has rules that might eventually evolve into a sort of language.

This might have seemed more plausible at the time this article was written (2001) than today, when smartphones give you the option of qwerty keyboards and voice to text as a matter of course. If we were writing the article now, it might make reference to some fictional language based on emoticons or the likeSmile

Hopefully, if I'm offbase here, some other member will jump in and correct me.

(12-06-2016, 08:40 AM)Maelum Wrote: The other is a more scientific term I guess but it's in reference to the Ultimate Chip: stuff like processing 5.09911 "E21 bits" per second, storing about 4.88 "E20 bits" and transmitting information at bandwidth rates of 8.77 "E23 bits" per second. Could someone please help explain these terms to me?

-Maelum

This relates to the use of scientific notation for dealing with really large numbers and the limitations of representing it online. We tend to use a lot of scientific notation in OA because we are often talking about very big or very small values and its much easier to present them this way then writing out tons of zeros.

The problem with this is that neither the OA forum, nor the Content Management System we use to load material to the webiste, nor most word processors and so on easily let you generate scientific notation, specifically the little superscripts after the 10 (although current systems are probably better at it).

A way of dealing with this that was developed in various online communities many years ago was to have the letter 'E' (or sometimes 'e') represent the 'x10' bit and to have a regular textual number replace the superscript.

So, the number 5.09911E21 that you mention above could be written out as:

5,099,110,000,000,000,000,000

or

5.09911x10(21) (with 21 as a superscript - which I don't know how to generate in the forum:p)

or

5.09911E21

or

5.09911e21

In a nutshell, its a way of writing out large numbers faster and more easily and on a computer.

Hope this helps, and if you have any additional questions, please feel free to post em here or in whatever sub-forum or thread seems appropriate.

And once again: Welcome to OA Big Grin

Todd
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#3
In some forums (especially those based on phpbb) one can use expressions like 5.5[sup]3[/sup] and 5.5[sub]3[/sub] to display superscripts and subscripts. Others allow inline TeX expressions. A workaround is to include a gif or jpeg image generated by another site.
Selden
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#4
Thank you Drashner and Selden for your replies, i'll post here when i find another comment if i find another term i don't recognize to keep things neat Smile
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#5
Alright, a new term I don't recognize: what are "Heroms"?
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#6
(12-07-2016, 12:16 PM)Maelum Wrote: Alright, a new term I don't recognize: what are "Heroms"?

Hm. Interesting. I've done a search of the site and there doesn't appear to be an actual article or definition for this term. Looking at the dates of the articles, they seem to mostly come from very early in the history of the project and are mostly written by the same people (two founding members of the OA project, actually).

If I had to guess, I'd say that they started putting OA together, had an idea for this term, and what it meant, and incorporated it into the articles. But never got around to creating an actual article for it.

Alternatively, perhaps the term itself changed, but they never went back and updated the articles. Specifically, OA has long had hermaphrodites as one of the standard near-baseline human genders. A nickname for hermaphrodites in the setting is 'herm'. Part of me wonders if it might have originally been 'herom' and then got changed for some reason. Although, given that herms are considered a gender, rather than a distinct clade or species that wouldn't really fit with our standard practice - although 'standard practice' could have been a lot fuzzier back then than it is now.

Anyway, we could either remove the term (it only shows up about half a dozen times in the EG and never in a big way.), replace it with 'herm' - or someone could invent a new race or clade to go with it.

Todd
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#7
(12-07-2016, 12:16 PM)Maelum Wrote: Alright, a new term I don't recognize: what are "Heroms"?

As I recall the term was meant to be a shortened version of 'heteromorph' but this is a usage that has not been developed. I think it could be added to the existing article on heteromorphs.
Stephen
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#8
That's probably right. Herom was originally a slang word for heteromorph, but when I rewrote the article about heteromorphs I forgot to include it. So any confusion is my fault. I'll put it right as soon as I have some time.
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#9
alright, thanks for the clarification Smile
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