History Main / ScifiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale

20th Aug '16 7:42:39 PM Orbiting
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-> Space is ''big''. '''''Really''''' big. I mean, you might think it's a long way down to the street to the chemist, but that's ''peanuts'' compared to space, ''listen!''...

to:

-> Space ->''"Space is ''big''. '''''Really''''' big. I mean, you might think it's a long way down to the street to the chemist, but that's ''peanuts'' compared to space, ''listen!''..."''
13th Aug '16 4:13:36 PM Koopacooper
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For example, consider that a light year is on the order of 10 ''quadrillion'' kilometers (10 petameters) or nearly ''six trillion'' miles. Let's assume your family car uses about 2 and a half gallons (11.37 litres) of fuel per 100km - about 25 mpg - and a gallon (2.55 litres) costs about $4 USD (i.e. 1.6 USD/1 Euro per litre) to traverse it. This means that one light year is roughly where you'd end up if you spent the entire national debt of the US on petroleum fuel [[note]]and at 60 miles per hour, it would take 11 million years to drive there[[/note]]. At the opposite end, an atomic nucleus is on the order of a ''quadrillionth'' of a meter. That's ten-to-the-power-of-negative-fifteen of a meter, or a femtometer. Such outrageous [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SI_prefix SI prefixes]] rarely appear in fiction, and that's before we get anywhere near the scales of galaxies and subatomic particles. [[WritersCannotDoMath This is because most writers aren't that good at or are too lazy to implement mathematics, let alone the branch of calculus]]. If it sounds like [[EleventyZillion a number made up by a child]] ([[VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou Attention all yoctograms!]], septillion seconds), the writer might have actually taken it seriously.

to:

For example, consider that a light year is on the order of 10 ''quadrillion'' kilometers metres (10 petameters) petametres) or nearly ''six trillion'' miles. Let's assume your family car uses about 2 and a half gallons (11.37 litres) of fuel per 100km - about 25 mpg - and a gallon (2.55 litres) costs about $4 USD (i.e. 1.6 USD/1 Euro per litre) to traverse it. This means that one light year is roughly where you'd end up if you spent the entire national debt of the US on petroleum fuel [[note]]and at 60 miles per hour, it would take 11 million years to drive there[[/note]]. At the opposite end, an atomic nucleus is on the order of a ''quadrillionth'' of a meter. That's ten-to-the-power-of-negative-fifteen of a meter, or a femtometer. Such outrageous [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SI_prefix SI prefixes]] rarely appear in fiction, and that's before we get anywhere near the scales of galaxies and subatomic particles. [[WritersCannotDoMath This is because most writers aren't that good at or are too lazy to implement mathematics, let alone the branch of calculus]]. If it sounds like [[EleventyZillion a number made up by a child]] ([[VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou Attention all yoctograms!]], septillion seconds), the writer might have actually taken it seriously.
2nd Jun '16 2:23:02 AM jormis29
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When adding examples, it may be wise to consider the capabilities of the faction in question. What is "unrealistic" for a low-tech harder-SF group may not be so for a [[JustForFun/AbusingTheKardashevScaleForFunAndProfit high-Kardashev]] HigherTechSpecies; after all, what we can do now would be outlandish to our medieval ancestors, so who's to say a society centuries if not millennia more advanced than us can't invent a "unrealistically" light yet superstrong material? On the other hand, some things are ''laws of physics'', not limits of technology, and the difference is an important one (any ship that expels an exhaust to propel itself, for example, functions by the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation, which is basically a special case of the Second Law of Motionóregardless of what the exhaust is or how it imparts the energy to expel it [[note]]Except for [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_sail solar sails]], which use light pressure to accelerate.[[/note]]).

to:

When adding examples, it may be wise to consider the capabilities of the faction in question. What is "unrealistic" for a low-tech harder-SF group may not be so for a [[JustForFun/AbusingTheKardashevScaleForFunAndProfit high-Kardashev]] HigherTechSpecies; after all, what we can do now would be outlandish to our medieval ancestors, so who's to say a society centuries if not millennia more advanced than us can't invent a "unrealistically" light yet superstrong material? On the other hand, some things are ''laws of physics'', not limits of technology, and the difference is an important one (any ship that expels an exhaust to propel itself, for example, functions by the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation, which is basically a special case of the Second Law of Motionóregardless of what the exhaust is or how it imparts the energy to expel it [[note]]Except for [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_sail solar sails]], {{Solar Sail}}s, which use light pressure to accelerate.[[/note]]).
17th May '16 12:45:51 PM SantosLHalper
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->''"Seriously, one of the things that is very, very difficult to portray when writing anything involving Space is the truly ridiculous distances involved in anything." ''
-->-- '''Dalek Ix''', author of ''FanFic/FriendsOfASolarEmpire'', in a blog entry.

to:

->''"Seriously, one of the things that is very, very difficult to portray when writing anything involving -> Space is ''big''. '''''Really''''' big. I mean, you might think it's a long way down to the truly ridiculous distances involved in anything." ''
street to the chemist, but that's ''peanuts'' compared to space, ''listen!''...
-->-- '''Dalek Ix''', author '''Reported opening lines of ''FanFic/FriendsOfASolarEmpire'', in a blog entry.
the eponymous ''Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy''.'''
6th May '16 10:42:15 PM Hylarn
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When adding examples, it may be wise to consider the capabilities of the faction in question. What is "unrealistic" for a low-tech harder-SF group may not be so for a [[JustForFun/AbusingTheKardashevScaleForFunAndProfit high-Kardashev]] HigherTechSpecies; after all, what we can do now would be outlandish to our medieval ancestors, so who's to say a society centuries if not millennia more advanced than us can't invent a "unrealistically" light yet superstrong material? On the other hand, some things are ''laws of physics'', not limits of technology, and the difference is an important one (any ship that expels an exhaust to propel itself, for example, functions by the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation, which is basically a special case of the Second Law of Motionóregardless of what the exhaust is or how it imparts the energy to expel it [[note:Except for [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_sail solar sails]], which use light pressure to accelerate.]]).

to:

When adding examples, it may be wise to consider the capabilities of the faction in question. What is "unrealistic" for a low-tech harder-SF group may not be so for a [[JustForFun/AbusingTheKardashevScaleForFunAndProfit high-Kardashev]] HigherTechSpecies; after all, what we can do now would be outlandish to our medieval ancestors, so who's to say a society centuries if not millennia more advanced than us can't invent a "unrealistically" light yet superstrong material? On the other hand, some things are ''laws of physics'', not limits of technology, and the difference is an important one (any ship that expels an exhaust to propel itself, for example, functions by the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation, which is basically a special case of the Second Law of Motionóregardless of what the exhaust is or how it imparts the energy to expel it [[note:Except [[note]]Except for [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_sail solar sails]], which use light pressure to accelerate.]]).
[[/note]]).
16th Apr '16 9:51:25 AM JakobColes
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When adding examples, it may be wise to consider the capabilities of the faction in question. What is "unrealistic" for a low-tech harder-SF group may not be so for a [[JustForFun/AbusingTheKardashevScaleForFunAndProfit high-Kardashev]] HigherTechSpecies; after all, what we can do now would be outlandish to our medieval ancestors, so who's to say a society centuries if not millennia more advanced than us can't invent a "unrealistically" light yet superstrong material? On the other hand, some things are ''laws of physics'', not limits of technology, and the difference is an important one (any ship that expels an exhaust to propel itself, for example, functions by the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation, which is basically a special case of the Second Law of Motionóregardless of what the exhaust is or how it imparts the energy to expel it).

to:

When adding examples, it may be wise to consider the capabilities of the faction in question. What is "unrealistic" for a low-tech harder-SF group may not be so for a [[JustForFun/AbusingTheKardashevScaleForFunAndProfit high-Kardashev]] HigherTechSpecies; after all, what we can do now would be outlandish to our medieval ancestors, so who's to say a society centuries if not millennia more advanced than us can't invent a "unrealistically" light yet superstrong material? On the other hand, some things are ''laws of physics'', not limits of technology, and the difference is an important one (any ship that expels an exhaust to propel itself, for example, functions by the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation, which is basically a special case of the Second Law of Motionóregardless of what the exhaust is or how it imparts the energy to expel it).
it [[note:Except for [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_sail solar sails]], which use light pressure to accelerate.]]).
15th Apr '16 8:13:51 PM AtticusOmundson
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-->--'''Dalek Ix''', author of ''FanFic/FriendsOfASolarEmpire'', in a blog entry.

to:

-->--'''Dalek -->-- '''Dalek Ix''', author of ''FanFic/FriendsOfASolarEmpire'', in a blog entry.
24th Mar '16 2:45:14 PM JamesAustin
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-> "Seriously, one of the things that is very, very difficult to portray when writing anything involving Space is the truly ridiculous distances involved in anything."
-->ó '''Dalek Ix''', author of ''FanFic/FriendsOfASolarEmpire'', in a blog entry.

to:

-> "Seriously, ->''"Seriously, one of the things that is very, very difficult to portray when writing anything involving Space is the truly ridiculous distances involved in anything."
-->ó '''Dalek
" ''
-->--'''Dalek
Ix''', author of ''FanFic/FriendsOfASolarEmpire'', in a blog entry.
24th Mar '16 7:39:44 AM ShireNomad
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For example, consider that a light year is about ten ''quadrillion'' meters or nearly ''six trillion'' miles. That's 10 petameters. Let's assume your family car uses about 2 and a half gallons (11.37 litres) of fuel per 100km - about 25 mpg - and a gallon (2.55 litres) costs about $4 USD (i.e. 1.6 USD/1 Euro per litre) to traverse it. This means that one light year is roughly where you'd end up if you spent the entire national debt of the US on petroleum fuel [[note]]and at 60 miles per hour, it would take 11 million years to drive there[[/note]]. At the opposite end, an atomic nucleus is on the order of a ''quadrillionth'' of a meter. That's ten-to-the-power-of-negative-fifteen of a meter, or a femtometer. Such outrageous [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SI_prefix SI prefixes]] rarely appear in fiction, and that's before we get anywhere near the scales of galaxies and subatomic particles. [[WritersCannotDoMath This is because most writers aren't that good at or are too lazy to implement mathematics, let alone the branch of calculus]]. If it sounds like [[EleventyZillion a number made up by a child]] ([[VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou Attention all yoctograms!]], septillion seconds), the writer might have actually taken it seriously.

to:

For example, consider that a light year is about ten on the order of 10 ''quadrillion'' meters kilometers (10 petameters) or nearly ''six trillion'' miles. That's 10 petameters.miles. Let's assume your family car uses about 2 and a half gallons (11.37 litres) of fuel per 100km - about 25 mpg - and a gallon (2.55 litres) costs about $4 USD (i.e. 1.6 USD/1 Euro per litre) to traverse it. This means that one light year is roughly where you'd end up if you spent the entire national debt of the US on petroleum fuel [[note]]and at 60 miles per hour, it would take 11 million years to drive there[[/note]]. At the opposite end, an atomic nucleus is on the order of a ''quadrillionth'' of a meter. That's ten-to-the-power-of-negative-fifteen of a meter, or a femtometer. Such outrageous [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SI_prefix SI prefixes]] rarely appear in fiction, and that's before we get anywhere near the scales of galaxies and subatomic particles. [[WritersCannotDoMath This is because most writers aren't that good at or are too lazy to implement mathematics, let alone the branch of calculus]]. If it sounds like [[EleventyZillion a number made up by a child]] ([[VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou Attention all yoctograms!]], septillion seconds), the writer might have actually taken it seriously.
19th Jan '15 8:59:44 PM klknoles
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Added DiffLines:

A way of explaining the scale of the universe is to use [[http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_estimation fermi style estimation]] to the nearest powers of ten. The solar system is about a million times the width of the Earth while the Milky Way galaxy is a 100 million times the width of the solar system, and the observable universe is a million times the width of the Milky Way. The size of the universe beyond that is speculation, though the observable universe may be but a speck in the larger universe, assuming it's not infinite.
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