GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

About the Firefly 'verse. Beyond the obvious.

POSTED BY: ASKEW
UPDATED: Sunday, August 1, 2004 13:16
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VIEWED: 4961
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Thursday, July 29, 2004 8:10 AM

ASKEW


I can't shake this show. It reminds me of when Star Trek was cancelled and you got to examine and contemplate this new universe. I guess I am getting to be that old.

The alliance condones slavery if not outright supports it, but food is strictly controlled; In Serenity they steal and try to sell food, which is so valuable it is molecularly imprinted for tracking and hard to fence.

In Shindig they are on a somewhat advanced planet that continues dueling and slavery yet you have to smuggle the cattle off the planet. In Safe they try to sell the cattle to men who are obviously crooks.

In Serenity Book pays his way onto the ship with fresh strawberry's grown in his monastery (presumably). Badger deals in fresh apples which are implied to be contraband. Even tea is so hard to get that Badger can't get the real stuff.

To make up for his transgression Jayne buys apples which gets noticed by the crew. Fresh fruit is on display in Shindig to emphasise the decadence of the party and wealth of those at the party. Is it like the '20's prohibition when only the wealthy could flaunt alcohol use? By the way, how is Book paying for his passage now?

Does Blue Sun control the food supply?

There are a whole lot of people out there. In one episode 70+ inhabitable planets are mentioned. In just one battle- Serenity Valley half a million troops are killed. The death toll for the war had to be tens of millions and yet there was obviously no draft and many people managed to remain somewhat oblivious to the whole affair. Heck even Jayne a mercenary didn't fight in the war. Where else do mercenaries come from? That means a very large population.

How does the Alliance rule and what was so oppressive about it that Mal felt morally compelled to fight against it. Each planet seems to be run by its own local leaders and has its own local mores. In many cases it seems that the government is even more local than planetary. What is the heavy hand of oppression?

And I know it has been discussed to death, but where are the Chinese? Aside from the obvious reality of shooting the show there is not even a token Asian anywhere. Do the Chinese rule and the Americans are the warrior class? Is Mal so far down the totem pole that he never gets anywhere that the Chinese might be? But what about Simon and River? Do Anglos that reach a certain level take Chinese surnames to be able to continue to climb the ladder? Is changing your last name part of social climbing?

Who are the Blue Hand guys? It is obvious they are government because they travel with credentials and were called by Feds when they thought they had captured River. And yet they killed the Feds without a second thought to the point of killing people who were unconscious when they arrived. Typically when one branch of the government starts killing off other members of the government the big guys tend to get annoyed. What are the factions in this government. who is protecting/supporting the Blue Hands because it is pretty obvious that while the feds and the spacemen are aware of them they don't know who they are. I can't see the head of the FBI being too happy if someone from the NSA started killing off his men. This seems somewhat like an act of desperation and you could foresee problems arising.

This is too long already so I'll stop now. Any other esoteric questions?

The View is Askew

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Thursday, July 29, 2004 8:39 AM

EMBERS


well the Whedonverse is obviously NOT the same universe we had always seen on Star Trek! Roddenberry had this lovely Utopian vision of the future where problems of poverty and disease have been solved (or controlled)...
and Joss sees the future as much more like the present, only even worse.

I thought that apples were like caviar of today, so expensive that only the rich can have them.

I think Blue Sun may own and control a lot of things, actually we aren't so far from that now. The Genetically engineered corn & soy beans which has become ubiquitous throughout our food supply (corn starch, corn syrup, soy that is found in beef patties, and soy oil in so many things) in the USA is all copyrighted, there are companies that do own food.

And it is true, when you get way out on the rim (where the TV episodes were set) the locals do appear to be run by local government, but I imagine the taxes and laws are all coming down from the Alliance. But you probably have to go to the Core Alliance planets to actually see the Governmental structure.

And I'm sure this has been said before, but in 500 yrs there has been a lot of intermarrying (probably as a means of social climbing) so Chinese names would become as common as Smith or Jones....

Of course I hope that the movie will bring us to some of the core planets and we'll see more Chinese actors as well as more of the struction of the Government...

There is still more to learn, and I mean that everything we've learned so far isn't even 10% of what Joss has to tell. He was starting a series that he wanted to run for years, and he wasn't going to tell us everything in the first 13 episodes.

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Thursday, July 29, 2004 9:27 AM

CARDIE


One possibility re: the scarity of foodstuffs might be that the terraforming doesn't result in very productive soil. Perhaps even the Core Worlds subsist mostly on synthetic Blue Sun food; I'd imagine that a virtual monopoly on food would be a key to the Blue Sun ubiquity and power.

There may be small plots of soil brought from Earth that Was that a few elite keep arable, but it looks as though fresh produce is as precious as diamonds in the Firefly 'verse.

Cardie

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Thursday, July 29, 2004 12:52 PM

RATNUT12


Finding adequate soil would indeed be troublesome, in addition you'd also have trouble finding a world with a similar solar cycle(i.e. 24 hour day). Most flowering plants indigenous to Earth take their cues for growth and flowering from the amount of sunlight they are exposed to. One way to get around this would be to grow food indoors where the amount of light could be manipulated. There has been successful large scale indoor manufacturing of some foods, a good example of this is rice. But to grow something as large as an apple tree indoors is simply not efficient and could only be afforded by the wealthy.

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Thursday, July 29, 2004 10:28 PM

34CYGNI


Quote:

Originally posted by Askew:
The alliance condones slavery if not outright supports it, but food is strictly controlled; In Serenity they steal and try to sell food, which is so valuable it is molecularly imprinted for tracking and hard to fence.



Indentured servitude is legal in the Alliance. Inara claims Mal as "my indentured man" in "The Train Job", and the foreman in "Jaynestown" mentions that most of the Mudders are indentured. Outright slavery may or may not be against the law... In the pilot there is a credit for "Slave #1" and we see Badger checking the teeth of a young lady -- perhaps he's considering whether or not to buy her debt, but it looks more like he's thinking about buying her outright. My guess is that slavery is nominally illegal, but the law isn't aggressively enforced.

As for the idea that food is tightly controlled, I think that's unlikely if only because of the massive logistical problems it would create. At any rate, the "Good Dogs" vendor in the pilot certainly didn't seem to be suffering under the crushing hand of state regulation...

The crew eats "protein in all the colors of the rainbow" most of the time, which suggests that either Serenity has some sort of food-extruding machine on board or that the crew buys in bulk. Either way, it doesn't seem that food is difficult to come by. As for the food bars in the pilot, remember that they were highly concentrated ("One of those'll feed a family for a month. Longer, if they don't like their kids too well.") and included immunization supplements and who knows what-all else, as well. Not your run-of-the-mill protein paste.

The production of food by growing it in the ground (or in hydroponic vats, if you like) requires a lot of time, labor, energy, and especially land. Compared to a machine that sits in the corner and extrudes something nutritious enough to pass for food, growing plants and fattening up cattle is not an efficient use of the available resources on a highly developed world like Persephone (dogs, on the other hand, are adept scavengers...). Food As We Know It is therefore a luxury for most people, enjoyed regularly only by the wealthy -- and colonists on recently-settled worlds that have a low enough population density to allow agriculture and which don't yet have the technological infrastructure to support complex machinery.



Quote:

Originally posted by Askew:
Does Blue Sun control the food supply?



Well, some far-flung subsidiary probably makes the food machines or sells dehydrated protein powder in big plastic buckets, so -- who knows, maybe you're on to something. Holy Soylent Green, Batman!



Quote:

Originally posted by Askew:
In Shindig they are on a somewhat advanced planet that continues dueling and slavery yet you have to smuggle the cattle off the planet. In Safe they try to sell the cattle to men who are obviously crooks.

In Serenity Book pays his way onto the ship with fresh strawberry's grown in his monastery (presumably). Badger deals in fresh apples which are implied to be contraband. Even tea is so hard to get that Badger can't get the real stuff.

To make up for his transgression Jayne buys apples which gets noticed by the crew. Fresh fruit is on display in Shindig to emphasise the decadence of the party and wealth of those at the party. Is it like the '20's prohibition when only the wealthy could flaunt alcohol use?



Nah -- that looks like it's nothing more than just good, old-fashioned conspicuous consumption.

As for smuggling cattle, any expensive commodity will inevitably be drawn into the black market. Doesn't matter if it's legal -- there's a huge worldwide black market in cigarettes IRL, and it's not like they're exceptionally pricey or difficult to obtain... They're just heavily taxed.



Quote:

Originally posted by Askew:
By the way, how is Book paying for his passage now?



With his almost palpable aura of mystery.

I think Book pretty much became part of the crew when he helped rescue the Cap'n from Niska's clutches in "War Stories"...


Quote:

Originally posted by Askew:
How does the Alliance rule and what was so oppressive about it that Mal felt morally compelled to fight against it. Each planet seems to be run by its own local leaders and has its own local mores. In many cases it seems that the government is even more local than planetary. What is the heavy hand of oppression?



The Alliance is a surveillance state. In the flashback to Simon confronting his father at the police station in "Safe", remember that Simon's dad complained that simply entering the police station was a black mark on his "permanent profile", and being in a "blackout zone" (it's not explicitly spelled out, but presumably the blackout in question refers to surveillance and not electric power...) was apparently enough to get Simon arrested.

Obviously the surveillance system isn't perfect -- witness the extensive preparations for and ultimate success of the heist in "Ariel" -- but it's doubtless pretty darn good.



Quote:

Originally posted by Askew:
Who are the Blue Hand guys?



Well, that's the $64,000 question, innit?

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Friday, July 30, 2004 2:43 AM

EST120


Quote:

Originally posted by Askew:
By the way, how is Book paying for his passage now?



i think book has become more of a crew member now than a passenger. he is obviously a valuable person to have around given his knowledge and survival instincts.

Quote:


How does the Alliance rule and what was so oppressive about it that Mal felt morally compelled to fight against it. Each planet seems to be run by its own local leaders and has its own local mores. In many cases it seems that the government is even more local than planetary. What is the heavy hand of oppression?



just remember that mal stays closer to the "outer rim" planets which are very underdeveloped. he does not like going to the core planets. neither does zoe. people like inara and simon and river come from the core which are much more developed. i liken it to the idea of the city versus the country. male is more of a "country" person where people are scattered about more randomly. while inara is more of a "city" girl.

Quote:


And I know it has been discussed to death, but where are the Chinese?



being chinese myself, i am kind of wondering why there are not any chinese characters that the crew have run into (besides someone on the street).


"i can't comprehend the ways that i miss you, they come to light in my mistakes."
-neko case

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Friday, July 30, 2004 3:13 AM

LIZ


Quote:

Originally posted by 34CYGNI
Indentured servitude is legal in the Alliance. Inara claims Mal as "my indentured man" in "The Train Job", and the foreman in "Jaynestown" mentions that most of the Mudders are indentured. Outright slavery may or may not be against the law... In the pilot there is a credit for "Slave #1" and we see Badger checking the teeth of a young lady -- perhaps he's considering whether or not to buy her debt, but it looks more like he's thinking about buying her outright. My guess is that slavery is nominally illegal, but the law isn't aggressively enforced.

Well, i could be wrong, but the way it was mentioned off-hand in Shindig ("it must have taken a dozen slaves a dozen days..."), i assumed it was perfectly legal. Indentured servitude might be more common, but i think that slavery is actually legal in the Alliance.

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Friday, July 30, 2004 3:58 AM

CANTTAKESKY


In a society ruled by a tyrannical government, it is extremely common for food, especially fresh fruit and vegetables, to rise to the top of the commodity list. Most Americans don't understand this concept because they have never had to stand in a ration line or bread line because of food shortages. But the fact of the matter is that the more heavy-handed and controlling a government becomes, the scarcer food becomes. This is an observable fact when you look at many communist and "third world" countries. I think Joss was trying to depict this hardship to capture just how oppressive the Alliance is.

Think of Nazi Germany in Schindler's List, for example. What were they smuggling? Chocolate, wine, bread.

Can't Take My Gorram Sky

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Friday, July 30, 2004 4:38 AM

JUSTME


Inadequate soil? On terraformed planets? Unlikely.

*Lunar* soil is more than adequate if humus, water and air are added. I think there's plenty of crops being grown, but they are all in such demand by the urbanized rich central planets, that noone else can afford them and the farmers can't justify selling them at lower prices when they can get the 'big bucks'.

Except for whatever individuals grow in their own little gardens, like Book did.

What I can't understand is why Kaylee, clearly a great lover of strawberries, doesn't grow them hydroponically? Her inter-engine fermentation system could certainly sufficiently purify waste water on board to grow stawberries, tomatoes, beans, etc; all of which LOVE hydroponics. They could be grown in the common area (dining room/ kitchen) where a bit of greenery might be a welcome change from the stark mechanical look of the rest of the ship.

Of course, the real reason for this situation is the same as for all the other curious anomalies on the show (and every other fictional work too): the writers wrote it that way, so that's how it is.

All the same, if Kaylee wants them, I would be happy to forward her all the info I have on hydroponics. Maybe she can convince Captain Tightpants to let me join the crew? ;-)



Just my 2 platinum,
JustMe

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Friday, July 30, 2004 8:32 AM

WITLESSCHUM


Yeah, I remember reading one of the first things the Bolsheviks tried to do after taking over was to put the food supply under state control.

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Friday, July 30, 2004 8:36 AM

34CYGNI


Quote:

Originally posted by liz:
Well, i could be wrong, but the way it was mentioned off-hand in Shindig ("it must have taken a dozen slaves a dozen days..."), i assumed it was perfectly legal. Indentured servitude might be more common, but i think that slavery is actually legal in the Alliance.



Good catch. I'd forgotten about that line.

Slavery is difficult to reconcile with indentured servitude, as historically slaves displaced indentured servants because of lower labor costs, the lack of personnel turnover, and the fact that slaves, a valuable commodity, have a tendency to create more slaves even under the most horrific living conditions. If outright slavery is lawful in the Alliance, it must be restricted somehow to avoid creating an enormous caste of (and market for) slaves.

On the other hand, if slavery is illegal but tolerated by the authorities, then keeping slaves in one's household might be yet another way for the wealthy and powerful to flaunt their wealth and power...

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Friday, July 30, 2004 10:11 AM

34CYGNI


Quote:

Originally posted by canttakesky:
In a society ruled by a tyrannical government, it is extremely common for food, especially fresh fruit and vegetables, to rise to the top of the commodity list. Most Americans don't understand this concept because they have never had to stand in a ration line or bread line because of food shortages. But the fact of the matter is that the more heavy-handed and controlling a government becomes, the scarcer food becomes.



The key issue is state control of the economy, not how oppressive a government is. Centralized planning, though probably necessary to some extent when a market economy is shifted to a war footing, doesn't work very well and tends to create enduring shortages and weird surpluses. For all its many faults, the free market produces and distributes food and other goods much more efficiently: imagine the simple problem of trying to get bread to every bodega in New York City -- a nightmare for central planners, while market forces find solutions to problems like that all the time and nobody gives it a second thought.

One can certainly argue that highly sophisticated software and pervasive surveillance might result in an efficient, centrally planned economy, but given that there's still such a thing as cash (not to mention the ready availability of secondhand spaceships!) in the 'verse, the Alliance seems to favor the free market. It's an open question whether the Alliance operates on the American model, where business dominates government, or on the model emerging in Russia under Mr. Putin, who appears to be dedicated to preserving the power of the state at the expense of the private sector, or on the Chinese model of influence peddling, under which these days it's often hard to tell where the state ends and the private sector begins...

Not that it matters a whole lot when you're at the bottom of the ladder. Like the man said: communism is a system that allows the wholesale exploitation of man by man; under capitalism, it's exactly the reverse.

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Friday, July 30, 2004 11:51 AM

CANTTAKESKY


Quote:

Originally posted by 34cygni:
in the 'verse, the Alliance seems to favor the free market.


I cannot agree. Everything, including the companion guild, transportation, transfer of cattle, and labor seems to be highly regulated by the government. Hardly my definition of a "free" market.
Quote:

The key issue is state control of the economy, not how oppressive a government is.

There is very little distinction between "state control of the economy" and "oppression." When the state starts controlling the economy, it inevitably starts controlling everything else. In the countries I can think of where food is scarce, the state is totalitarian. It controls eonomy, speech, behavior, religion, assembly etc. I suspect that the Alliance is similarly oppressive.

Can't Take My Gorram Sky

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Friday, July 30, 2004 12:13 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Just a little helpful thing to know,
First World = Developed Capitalist Nations
Second World = Developed “Communist” Nations
Third World = Undeveloped Nations.

So if you’re going to say, “communist and "third world" countries.” it’s easier to say “second and third world countries.”

It doesn’t matter at all, and it’s not much easier anyway, but if you’re going to say “third world” you might as well use the rest of the terminology too.

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Friday, July 30, 2004 12:56 PM

CANTTAKESKY


Thanks. I did know that, but most people don't know what "second world" means. For communication purposes, it is a lot easier to say "communist." However, most people do have a general stereotype of the "third world"--poor, underdeveloped, etc.

Can't Take My Gorram Sky

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Friday, July 30, 2004 3:49 PM

DIEGO


Quote:

Originally posted by justme:
Inadequate soil? On terraformed planets? Unlikely.

*Lunar* soil is more than adequate if humus, water and air are added.



Good point. I guess heavy machines, von neumann machines, and maybe nanotech stuff could all mechanically and chemically prepare the "soil", but where is the organic component, the humus, going to come from? It takes long periods of time to accumulate humus in the soil of terrestrial ecosystems. Is that why cattle are popular on the frontier worlds? ;)

Honestly, I don't have the answer. I'm just pointing out that making good soil might not be a "1-2-3 just add water" sort of deal.

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Friday, July 30, 2004 9:03 PM

AGREY


Well, to throw in my two bits (probably more), let me say my piece about food supplies and such first, then I will move on to the other salient points.
As for fresh food, it would rare for someone like Kaylee, for, contrary to earlier comments, her inter-engine fermentation system does not guarantee a decent hydroponics bay. Actually, a hydronponics bay (to produce any decent amounts of food and air filtration) would take a rather large amount of space in comparision to equivalent technological systems (food paste, processor, or whatever, and atmospheric filters), and, for a ship as small as Serenity, would be contra-indicated: it would eat into the cargo space. Now, as one of my fellow Browncoats pointed out, the main reason it isn't so is because the writers did not make it that way, but a viable hydroponics section in a spacecraft takes many dedicated systems and at least one or two well-trained specialists. Besides, lose power at the wrong moment, or be forced to flush your atmosphere in the 'ponics bays, and, tah-dah, you have a very expensive mess. Now, for larger ships (like Alliance Cruisers), hydroponics bays would be both easily accomodated and very valuable, since it would stretch supplies of processed foods, keep up morale by providing the means to make good food, and help with life support by providing a decently efficient, fairly self-supporting, and widely useful atmosphere/waste scrubber-all without having to worry overly much about spare parts. But for the Serenity, a small ship that makes fast runs and needs the cargo space, hydroponics would not make much sense, and would require (probably) at least decently hard-to-come-by training...since spaceborne hydroponics is more than just "'tending the garden". And yes, it would not surprise me if Blue Sun had some sort of monopoly on food processors, life support gear, rations, or even basic electronic equipment...and probably on all of them.
As for the slavery issue, I think we should remember that, indentured servitude or slavery (and probably both), judging from the conditions we have seen in the show, it is obvious that those labeled as "indentured" are snared in the near-inescapeable cycle of being worked as slaves, regardless of the law or the title. It is also obvious that the Alliance, at least on the Frontier, appoints local rulers/"advisors", sets up a rudimentary local infrastructure, dumps some colonists, and then only worries about the system if someone pays them to, it developes technologically, socially, and economically to a certain point, or there is a military threat (in the day of Firefly, for the moment, that is only the Reavers...). Outside of those bounds, the Alliance lets most people live...but it makes every effort to have some form of control on them from the moment they are born. (Now that is something to think about.)
As for the agents in blue, well, quite frankly, seeing as River is, by dint of her natural intuitiveness, the government-induced psi abilities, and whatever training they gave her (hypnotically or otherwise...and I am sure they managed to train her some, because, incredibly intuitive or no, it was indicated it took even River a few hours to learn something, let alone how to fix three mens' positions, then precisely kill them with one bullet each-and I am also sure that those three rounds were probably all headshots, and, failing that, all in either the head or the heart...)...and, anyway, with all that, River is quite simply the MOST LETHAL person in the 'verse at the moment...when she puts her mind to it. (And the Alliance, having created her, has to know it.)
So it stand to reason that those hunting her would not only be enhanced somehow (boosted strength, senses, and reflexs at the least, and probably processing implant in the brain, subdermal armor, and a broadband Communications/Electronic Warfare/Electronic Intelligence suite as well would be the standard, I would hazard to say...)...and those hunting her would also have carte blanche to do everything in their power and influence (which is probably also considerable, although probably normall effected through discrete channels) to preferably capture, or, failing that, kill River Tam...and Simon is also now an extreme priority target, since the Alliance no doubt knows what he did, and, with his sublime medical talents (which are a matter of record), they must know he has a pretty good idea of what they were doing (which he does, especially after the Early incident)...which means that the Alliance wants its biggest secret-and best weapon-preferably back-or, failing that, destroyed-at all costs, and with no witnesses and as little evidence as possible. (After all, all those Marshals they killed will autopsy out as death by massive internal hemoraghing, particularly heavy in the brain.) Which only makes since, for such a corrupt, and tolitarian, government as the Alliance.
Oh, and for nanotech...it appears that even the leading edge of the Firefly 'verse is at least a century or two-I am sure quite longer-away from that. After all, managing to vaporize, pollute, or quite bio=bomb one's home planet inhospitable is normally quite a setback to both one's culture and one's science...although humanity is famous for pulling through against all foes, even when it is fighting itself...
Just thought I would throw my thoughts (based on large amounts of reading, in all manner of things) into this discussion, as it looked quite interesting. (Oh, and if they had that good of nanite technology, barring some cultural inhibition-which would be extremely atypical-they would also have body enhancements via nanites, which would add a whole new level to things...)
Thanks for the excellent thought-provoking posts, dear Browncoats.


First Sword of the Senior Line Sir Aerion Grey

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Friday, July 30, 2004 9:06 PM

ZOID



Diego wrote:
Quote:

I guess heavy machines, von neumann machines, and maybe nanotech stuff could all mechanically and chemically prepare the "soil", but where is the organic component, the humus, going to come from? It takes long periods of time to accumulate humus in the soil of terrestrial ecosystems. Is that why cattle are popular on the frontier worlds? ;)

Honestly, I don't have the answer. I'm just pointing out that making good soil might not be a "1-2-3 just add water" sort of deal.


And a point to you as well, Diego. In terraforming terms, the 'humus' is known as biomass. We take for granted the fertility of Earth's soil, for the purposes of agriculture and the animal husbandry that depends upon it. (The joke goes: "There's nothing wrong with animal husbandry, as long as you don't take it too literally.")

By comparison, Mars' dearth of biomass makes Death Valley look like the Garden of Eden. And there's no simple way of putting it in either. Anyone remember the failed Biosphere 2? They started with Earth soil, not Martian or Lunar soil, which have the added feature of a chemical composition resembling powered household cleanser; lots of oxides and volatiles on Mars. Plant some strawberries in that...

Most planetary ecologists figure on a 10,000 year plan for fully terraforming Mars to Earthlike conditions. Starting with arctic lichens and moss to develop biomass and release oxygen and CO2 from the rocks, we might be able to live in the open (120 mb O2 in atmo) in as short as 900 years, but advanced agriculture and fishing? Not for a looong time.

Terraforming 70 planetary bodies in less than 500 years -- and providing Earth normal gravity -- is gonna require a technology that -- to paraphrase Clarke -- would seem like magic in the present day.


Respectfully,

zoid
_________________________________________________

"Burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me." The Ballad of Serenity

Only 264 days, 22 hours, 4 minutes, and 44 seconds left until The BDM!

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Saturday, July 31, 2004 3:01 AM

NEDWARD


Quote:

Originally posted by zoid:
(The joke goes: "There's nothing wrong with animal husbandry, as long as you don't take it too literally.")

I seem to remember a Dr. Samuel Gall, who majored in animal husbandry, until they caught him at it one day...

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Saturday, July 31, 2004 5:11 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by nedward:
Quote:

Originally posted by zoid:
(The joke goes: "There's nothing wrong with animal husbandry, as long as you don't take it too literally.")

I seem to remember a Dr. Samuel Gall, who majored in animal husbandry, until they caught him at it one day...


Ah yes, that guy. Went to Mexico right?

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Saturday, July 31, 2004 7:45 AM

DESANGRO


Quote:

Originally posted by 34cygni:
As for the food bars in the pilot, remember that they were highly concentrated ("One of those'll feed a family for a month. Longer, if they don't like their kids too well.") and included immunization supplements and who knows what-all else, as well. Not your run-of-the-mill protein paste.



I think of those government-issue bars as being standard ship-board fare for the Alliance soldiers and Navy crew. After all, who would need that sort of stuff more than a soldier?

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Saturday, July 31, 2004 7:48 AM

EMBASSY


It's common in industrial agriculture even today to use seed from the big companies that has to be purchased each season. The plants grown from this seed aren't fertile. They merely produce a season's worth of grain or whatever. This is done to protect the biotech patents. It wouldn't do to create some high-tech genetically modified corn, for example, and have anyone with a plow and a dirt-patch growing it two seasons later.

Imagine that when Earth-that-was was abandoned, the only crops that were available were the ones Blue Sun controlled. The incredible biodiversity of our earth would be a thing of the past, and helps explain why most planets in the 'verse look like deserts, and why things like strawberries are luxury items.

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Sunday, August 1, 2004 7:10 AM

ASKEW


I see BlueSun as a combination of The East India Company/ Archer Daniels Midland/ Tyson Fresh Meats/California Agricultural Board with probably a government conssesion on at least some of the control. I think all the protien foodstuffs are Blue Sun. And my guess is that if you want to sell your crops or cattle you have to sell to Blue Sun Granaries or Blue Sun Packing. The easiest way to control the food and the reason Kaylee doesn't have at least a tomato plant growing on the ship is that all food is quarunteened to its own planet. Probably under the guise of protecting from a pandemic. Imagine picking up a corn blight on one planet and then hopping around spreading it to other planets without knowing until after the blight has broken out. Under this program Blue Sun can control the prices they pay the growers and control the prices they pay the buyers. A perfect system that doesn't require a huge bureaucracy to maintain it. The strengths of capitalism with Blue Sun getting a huge cut of everyone's efforts.

The View is Askew

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Sunday, August 1, 2004 1:16 PM

MER


I'm not going to say much since after all I think everybody pretty much answered my possible viewpoints (which even I don't even know if they seem right to me).

Firstly, there are Asian people in the show. You're just not looking for them close enough. The only one scene I can remember by memory is "Safe". One (or few) of the villagers shown at River's (almost) burning was Asian.
All the asians I've seen are extras right now. There hasn't been written parts for them yet as I percieve.

Secondly, I just got another thought about Book recently. Everybody's always saying he could possibly be a general or a cop, but what if he was a son of a duke, a king, or someone who's REALLY important? I mean, Kings and Queens can't just disappear like that. Usually the eldest ends up taking the throne or leadership while the other siblings are free to do as they wish with inheiritants. That sibling could be Book who chose his life to be in the monastaries as many princes or duke's son (whoever in power) did in the elder days. Also, I do believe Princes are taught how to fight. It would be just plain wrong if they were a bunch of Simons (not to sound negative, but I'm sure he's better with a sword than fist or gun). Book doesn't have to be a prince. He could be just a son of a very important person who chose his life since he's second inline to inherit their wealth and etc. My brain is telling me "Blue Sun" but what are the odds of that happening?

And thirdly, I believe the Blue Hands are part of Blue Sun who are trying their best to overhand Alliance for overall controll. They're let to have control over food, but I'm sure they want more. So with this, they put up a good image to wield the Alliance into thinking they're just one of those big companies out to make a living when in reality all they want is to be in total control of people's lives.

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