The Orion's Arm Universe Project Forums

Hello, I'm new
Hello, I'm new.
I'm Transhumanist, I like science fiction and am a amateur of science.
I'm fascinated with the technology of orion's arm.
I signed in this site little time ago for answer me doubts.

My first question:
- Why there isn't femtotechnology in orion's arm?
Or magmatter fulfills that function?
Hi! Welcome to OA!

The femtotech question is an interesting one. Magmatter (which is currently likely to undergo a mild revision in the relatively near future) does operate on the femtoscale, so can fulfil some of the properties predicetd by Hugo de Garis for femtotech. However magmatter has many physical limitations, not least its tendency to collapse into a black hole. So we tend to avoid the term femtotechnology, and use magmatter tech instead.
Hi, Welcome to OA!

Orion's Arm has been around since the year 2000 or so and has gone through various incarnations in that time as the group has evolved.

Femtotechnology (and it's cousins picotechnology and plancktechnology) existed in the earliest version of OA, and for quite some time thereafter, but after much discussion we decided to retcon it out of the setting. The reasons for this being:

a) OA aims to be a 'hard science fiction' setting that is compatible with our current understanding of physics and how the universe works (while still thinking bigSmile ). At present there is nothing in modern physics to indicate that fine tuned control of matter/energy/whatever at the femtometer scale is even remotely possible. If that ever changes (because science is constantly marching on) then we'll take another look at things.

b) During the period we had these techs in the setting we found that either:

1) No one knew quite what to do with them since it wasn't at all clear what they could or could not do or even what you would need/want to do with them.

2) People ended up using them as a magic wand (a Wizard did it). Want to do some cool thing or have some cool gadget that otherwise seems totally unworkable within our current understanding of physics? Say it works using femtotechnology and leave it at that. This was both intellectually lazy and again somewhat violated the projects goal of working within the bounds of physics as it's presently understood (some times right up to the bleeding edge of that understanding, but inside it just the same).

c) It caused no end of headaches as people would either join the project and then challenge us on our hard science 'street cred' while pointing at femtotech etc. or do much the same thing on other forums in the geeksphere. While we aren't overly concerned with what other think of us as long as our members are having a good time it frankly got to be something of a pain to be fighting the same battle over and over, particularly since there was nothingwe could point to in real world physics in support of these technologies.

d) The primary conception of femtotech et al, seems to be 'just like Drexlerian nanotech but smaller'. This seems highly unlikely due to the VERY strange environment that any sort of femtotech would need to work in (for that matter our conception of nanotech has evolved quite a bit over the years and continues to do so - you may have seen some of this on the site already and will definitely see it in any nanotech discussions here). This, combined with the lack of any clear explanation of what the tech could do, couldn't co, and why you'd want it to do anything in the first place just sort of left it hanging out there as a big chunk of handwavium supported mainly by 'Rule of Cool' (which we consider a luxury, NEVER a necessity) and the group's reluctance to get rid of anything once added.

Anyway, that's why we eventually got rid of femtotech and company.

Regarding magmatter - magmatter seems to allow for the possibility of extremely tiny (picoscale) devices and robots and so might fit the bill as the basis for 'picotechnology'. However, we are taking the development of that VERY slowly because we don't want to fall into the same hole we were in before (need a cool gadget that otherwise can't work - call it picotech!), because we want to have a clear application (and limits) for any such devices we 'invent', and because we want to avoid having to fight the 'how can you call yourselves hard SF when you have picotech? What proof do you have this will work? battles again.

That all said, we do have some mention of magmatter based picoscale devices and there is a magmatter based artificial ecosystem in the setting (the Magvivisystem Hyperpolity).

Hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions you may have as they occur to you, and once again - Welcome to OASmile

(04-06-2014, 03:22 AM)AngelXYZW Wrote: My first question:
- Why there isn't femtotechnology in orion's arm?
Or magmatter fulfills that function?

Hi, welcome to the group! Most of the points around this have already been covered, but as it happens we're just finishing up with a couple of articles that address this from the 'in-setting' point of view of the Encyclopaedia Galactica. Current draft presently sits here:

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