History Headscratchers / TheMoonIsAHarshMistress

29th Apr '17 5:09:21 PM gothelittle
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** No, this actually makes sense. When Mike gives the initial estimate, he asks if he should solve it optimistically, pessimistically, along a curve, etc. Mannie tells him just to give an answer, explaining that he doesn't go through fancy wishing or rolling practices before throwing a die and getting an answer. When Mike was asked to figure out how long it would take Luna to run into trouble in its current economic state, he said "Seven years", when the real answer was a range of numbers that started with twenty. In another estimate of "fifty years", since he did not say "on the close order", he meant between five and five hundred. So when Mike says "One in seven", he's picking a possibility out of a number of possible answers, and so the actual number keeps getting refined as time goes on and fewer factors are variable.
29th Apr '17 5:04:12 PM gothelittle
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* What exactly is the difference between line marriages and clan marriages? Line marriages are well explained, every man is married to every woman and the marriage never ends because new spouses are periodically brought in. But all we know about clan marriages is that they have even stronger safeguards against incest, typically that no two relatives of any degree can join the same clan as spouses, while in a line marriage or a regular polyandrous marriage relatives can sometimes join as long as they are not genetically related to any spouse they could be expected to have sexual relations with. But none of this explains what the basic dynamic of a clan marriage is. Who is married to who in a clan? Who can join and how? Are spouses held in common (shared) or is it done some other way?

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* What exactly is the difference between line marriages and clan marriages? Line marriages are well explained, every man is married to every woman and the marriage never ends because new spouses are periodically brought in. But all we know about clan marriages is that they have even stronger safeguards against incest, typically that no two relatives of any degree can join the same clan as spouses, while in a line marriage or a regular polyandrous marriage relatives can sometimes join as long as they are not genetically related to any spouse they could be expected to have sexual relations with. But none of this explains what the basic dynamic of a clan marriage is. Who is married to who in a clan? Who can join and how? Are spouses held in common (shared) or is it done some other way?way?
** Judging from what little I could gather from Heinlein's other books and similar situations in reality, I believe the difference is that a clan marriage is a polygamous arrangement among a group of people roughly the same age, while a line marriage keeps bringing in young folk as the older spouses age. So a 6-person clan marriage may have a 25-year-old woman, a 28-year-old woman, a 30-year-old man, a 35-year-old man, and a 27-year-old man, while a 6-person line marriage may have a 60-year-old woman, a 72-year-old man, a 42-year-old man, a 30-year-old woman, and a 19-year-old man. The spouses in a clan marriage would age and then die, ending the marriage (probably passing the property on to their children), while the line marriage never technically ends.
4th Apr '17 4:17:14 PM Antigone3
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** The Himalayas are still seismically active. Moonquakes are real, but nowhere near as severe as earthquakes, so it would take much less work to stabilize a farming tunnel on (technically in) Luna than one drilled on Earth.
19th Dec '16 4:06:04 PM Narsil
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** Another possibility--not supported by anything in the story, I'm pulling it out of my butt--is that Mike is falsely giving worse probability estimates to produce a desired emotional effect (perhaps so that he can drastically improve morale later on by giving better estimates). If so, he'd almost certainly be doing it on de la Paz's instructions, since it doesn't seem likely he'd understand human psychology well enough to be sure of the outcome.
27th Nov '16 10:37:53 PM evanator66
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*** The moon actually has reserves of Helium-3, which is (in theory) a really good resource for fusion because it has less waste. It's one of the main reasons for mining/colonizing the moon, and given the other technologies in the book (the electromagnetic launcher in particular), it is probably developed well enough to use as a power source.
4th May '16 6:31:41 PM beatpole
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*** I never saw that explanation in the story. The only explanation I saw Mike give for decreasing the odds was that their current step was a bigger long-shot then their previous step, which is not how you calculate the odds as a whole.

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*** I never saw that explanation in the story. The only explanation I saw Mike give for decreasing the odds was that their current step was a bigger long-shot then their previous step, which is not how you calculate the odds as a whole.whole.
!! Loonie marriages
*What exactly is the difference between line marriages and clan marriages? Line marriages are well explained, every man is married to every woman and the marriage never ends because new spouses are periodically brought in. But all we know about clan marriages is that they have even stronger safeguards against incest, typically that no two relatives of any degree can join the same clan as spouses, while in a line marriage or a regular polyandrous marriage relatives can sometimes join as long as they are not genetically related to any spouse they could be expected to have sexual relations with. But none of this explains what the basic dynamic of a clan marriage is. Who is married to who in a clan? Who can join and how? Are spouses held in common (shared) or is it done some other way?
16th Sep '15 3:51:54 PM CaptainCrawdad
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**** Again, Mike knew that the later stages of the plan were bigger long-shots than the early phases right from the beginning. He was calculating the plan's success correctly, those odds would already be factoring in the odds he gave at the beginning.
16th Sep '15 3:45:39 PM CaptainCrawdad
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** Mike's original odds were based on his own admittedly insufficient knowledge. As the story progresses, and Mike collects more data, he's able to calculate a more accurate probability.

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** Mike's original odds were based on his own admittedly insufficient knowledge. As the story progresses, and Mike collects more data, he's able to calculate a more accurate probability.probability.
*** I never saw that explanation in the story. The only explanation I saw Mike give for decreasing the odds was that their current step was a bigger long-shot then their previous step, which is not how you calculate the odds as a whole.
26th Feb '15 9:34:53 PM desmondwhite
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**** Mike's original odds were based on his own admittedly insufficient knowledge. As the story progresses, and Mike collects more data, he's able to calculate a more accurate probability.

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**** ** Mike's original odds were based on his own admittedly insufficient knowledge. As the story progresses, and Mike collects more data, he's able to calculate a more accurate probability.
26th Feb '15 9:34:19 PM desmondwhite
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*** It makes sense to me; every success meant a larger, more powerful organization - which means more things that can go wrong - which means a higher chance of the authorities getting nervous enough to employ overkill. Secrecy was their primary (initially their ''only'') advantage, and every success reduced their level of secrecy: the odds started improving again the moment they had Earth-wide news coverage and could start using public opinion, rather than secrecy, as their principal weapon. Actuary tables sometimes have similar counter-intuitive phenomena.

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*** It makes sense to me; every success meant a larger, more powerful organization - which means more things that can go wrong - which means a higher chance of the authorities getting nervous enough to employ overkill. Secrecy was their primary (initially their ''only'') advantage, and every success reduced their level of secrecy: the odds started improving again the moment they had Earth-wide news coverage and could start using public opinion, rather than secrecy, as their principal weapon. Actuary tables sometimes have similar counter-intuitive phenomena.phenomena.
**** Mike's original odds were based on his own admittedly insufficient knowledge. As the story progresses, and Mike collects more data, he's able to calculate a more accurate probability.
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