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  1. - Top - End - #91
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    And when those societies fall behind they try to make it up via military conquest, and that's where we get our military space opera. Roger Mcbride Allen wrote one with that theme, and it was quite good.

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  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    And when those societies fall behind they try to make it up via military conquest, and that's where we get our military space opera. Roger Mcbride Allen wrote one with that theme, and it was quite good.

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    "We can def take those more advanced and numerous opponents due to our Morale Superiority!"
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  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    "We can def take those more advanced and numerous opponents due to our Morale Superiority!"
    Worked for Alexander against the Persians, and for Japan against Russia (1905) , and for 400 Conquistadores against the thousands of the Aztec Empire. But it takes more than morale superiority; the target society must have crippling issues of its own.

    ETA: For that matter, small countries throwing large superpowers out was a feature of the 20th century. Numbers and technology are meaningless if one side has the will to fight and the other does not.

    ... of course, there have been plenty of other times when smaller nations have underestimated the fighting capacity of their larger neighbors and been horribly curb stomped. But it's those few times when it actually worked that keeps these incidents recurring over and over inhistory. Same reason everyone buys lottery tickets despite the fact that big winners are extremely rare.

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    Last edited by pendell; 2020-10-27 at 01:03 PM.
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  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Worked for Alexander against the Persians, and for Japan against Russia (1905) , and for 400 Conquistadores against the thousands of the Aztec Empire. But it takes more than morale superiority; the target society must have crippling issues of its own.

    ETA: For that matter, small countries throwing large superpowers out was a feature of the 20th century. Numbers and technology are meaningless if one side has the will to fight and the other does not.

    ... of course, there have been plenty of other times when smaller nations have underestimated the fighting capacity of their larger neighbors and been horribly curb stomped. But it's those few times when it actually worked that keeps these incidents recurring over and over inhistory. Same reason everyone buys lottery tickets despite the fact that big winners are extremely rare.

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    Brian P.
    Agreed, but I think we should avoid elucidation.

    I'm going to pick up that book you mentioned, seems like a good read. Are there followups or is it a one off?
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Agreed, but I think we should avoid elucidation.

    I'm going to pick up that book you mentioned, seems like a good read. Are there followups or is it a one off?
    Torch of Honor, along with Rogue Powers, comprise a Two volume set: Allies and Aliens. This was later released As a single book .

    In the first novel, a planet descended from just the kind of "doesn't play well with others" types you mention launch an interstellar invasion of a neighboring planet, hoping to make up for economic failure with military success. Our heroes oppose this attempt.

    The second book follows directly from the first, in which an alien species makes contact with both combatants.

    There's a fair amount of interesting SF in both stories, but it's old-school space opera, no question.

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    Brian P.
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Roger Mcbride Allen
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  7. - Top - End - #97
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Planets full of isolationist monoculures would probably become common. Once those are established and fall behind more progressive societies trade to get access to things they are inefficient at making or don't have the technology for would help prop the trade system up.
    And at least some of those progressive societies would try to actually make as many planets dependent on the traders as possible. So some Spacing Guild could form or an equivalent of Hansa.
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    And when those societies fall behind they try to make it up via military conquest, and that's where we get our military space opera. Roger Mcbride Allen wrote one with that theme, and it was quite good.

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    Brian P.
    Well I got an answer for the original question and a book recommendation out of this thread. I declare this thread officially successful. Thank you pendell.
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  9. - Top - End - #99
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    Well, this is why I wanted to disentangle the replicator into two different things: creating matter out of energy (we can do that already, if ineffectively) and shaping matter in an almost arbitrary way. The second goal does not require anything aside from refinement of what we already know. Anything resembling a replicator will not happen anytime soon, but we will gradually get closer to something like that.
    I appreciate this interesting nuance. Note, there's no way he's going to address or even acknowledge that you made distinguished that second point, because there's no obvious way to tell you that you're somehow wrong about it. This is unfortunate, because it's actually a fun idea that's faded out from the conversation because nobody is arguing over it.

    IIRC, replicators (that use energy) were explicitly stated to be a new technology developed between Star Trek TOS and TNG. However, TOS did had food dispensers of some sort that could instantaneously dispense a pretty staggering array of foods. They were never clearly explained, but I had always thought of them as being automatic robochefs with access to a vast array of raw ingredients. However, something that is at its core a sufficiently advanced 3D printer could replicate the same results, albeit with longer turnaround times. The elemental building blocks of life comprise a fairly limited subset of the period tables, but you can probably achieve efficiency savings if you separately manufacture the more commonly used molecular components (i.e. saccharides and amino acids) and feed them into your device.

    The economic implications would be interesting to explore. Obviously, we're way into the weeds of speculation here, but I'm guessing that there would be a sliding scale of efficiencies. For example, growing food the natural way might be the simplest in terms of labor and inputs, and provide the best realism in results, but costs could be restrictive by longer time requirements and the scarcity of space or otherwise inputs. If the 3-d printer/food assembler is faster and less space intensive, then it might end up being the cheapest option despite being more technologically sophisticated and labor intensive. If the agricultural or chemical used to produce starches and other inputs have substantial advantages over just growing corn, then assembled "corn" could become an affordable staple food that produces all of the same nutrition but doesn't quite capture the right taste or texture. Naturally grown corn, or perhaps "corn" assembled using a much slower, more expensive version of the same process could end up occupying a more premium niche for consumers who can afford to pay for the luxury of more realistic foods.


    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Worked for Alexander against the Persians, and for Japan against Russia (1905) , and for 400 Conquistadores against the thousands of the Aztec Empire. But it takes more than morale superiority; the target society must have crippling issues of its own.
    IIRC, in all of your examples, the losing side wasn't both more advanced and more numerous. Russia had a much larger population base but only a marginally greater number of men in arms and committed to the war (1.35 million vs 1.2 million, according to wikipedia.) More importantly, I would argue that it had at best parity with Japan, if not a disadvantage in terms of "advancement." In theory, Japan should have had a substantial technological deficit, since it had only recently modernized its army using purchased Western tech, while Russia had been in closer contact with the more developed nations of Europe for a much longer time. However, czarist Russia at the end was notorious for its deficiencies in logistics, organization, and modern military organization. While both were employing modern steel warships built around the very end of the 1800s and modern artillery, I think that Russia was less effective at integrating these technologies into its stagnant military, whereas Japan had been specifically developing its organization and tactics to take advantages of the influx of new technologies. Combined with the fact that Japan was allied with other Western powers--particularly Britain with its sophisticated networks of intelligence gathering and communications--I would argue that Japan was the technologically and logistically "advanced" combatant in a war against an opponent with only a slight advantage in men and ship tonnage. They only really fit the trope you're invoking is their willingness to incur staggering casualties attacking Port Arthur and other well-fortified positions.

    Alexander and the Conquistadors were both outnumbered but clearly more advanced. The Spaniards had a substantial technological advantage. Alexander's main advantage was probably in terms of superior tactics and a larger corps of disciplined, professional soldiers; however, they certainly had an advantage in arms and technology over the majority of Persian conscript soldiers.

    I'm trying to think of a good historical example where a scrappy underdog beat a more numerous and technologically (or otherwise) more "advanced" opponent, and I can only really think of situations where the underdog was defending. This generally gives them the advantage of prepared defenses, better knowledge of terrain, and shorter supply lines--plus, as they start losing they are generally forced towards something resembling the full mobilization of their population and economy for war, whereas the larger aggressor may only employ a small fraction of its superior resources to the conflict for many reasons.

    The only exception might be the Caroleans of the glory days of the Swedish empire. Their use of large proportions of pikemen and aggressive rushes in age of musket and bayonet was considered backwardly unorthodox by contemporaries, but they were very effective in both offensive and defensive actions against neighbors with more men on the field and larger home populations and economies.
    Last edited by Xyril; 2020-10-30 at 02:52 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #100
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    The Russo-Japanese War is a bad example just because of distance. Japan was effectively fighting in their front yard, if not the doorstep. The Romanovs were sending people and supplies across a continent. Creates a severe imbalance in the ability to apply power.

    Alexander and Cortez both had the primary advantage of attacking a deeply unpopular state where a large fraction of the population will revolt just to get out from under.

    As for a 'primitive' people combating a more numerous/more advanced invader, you might want to read up on, say, the Modoc War or the Arikara War. Both ended up being resolved eventually through the use of poisoning waterways (a couple tinajas in Cali are still toxic) and biological attacks (which would now be interdicted by the Geneva Convention). Which I guess maybe proves your point.

    Warfare is messy.

  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    The Russo-Japanese War is a bad example just because of distance. Japan was effectively fighting in their front yard, if not the doorstep. The Romanovs were sending people and supplies across a continent. Creates a severe imbalance in the ability to apply power.
    This is pretty much why I tried not to categorize either side as the "defender," beyond the very narrow scope I noted. At the micro-level, Japan was theoretically the aggressor, and suffered tactical disadvantages trying to force quick, decisive battles against fortified positions. On a larger scale, Japan was arguably the defender, with Port Arthur being effectively a long-held Russian bridgehead deep into hostile territory.

    As for a 'primitive' people combating a more numerous/more advanced invader, you might want to read up on, say, the Modoc War or the Arikara War.
    I'm familiar with both of them, but weren't they both also defensive guerilla style wars were the Native Americans were fighting off settlement in territory that was familiar to them, at a time when the U.S. federal government claimed the territory and had allowed settlers in? IIRC, it was more of an offensive war on their part, since they had limited reconnaissance of the area, and when they deployed soldiers in force they couldn't subsist on the land without bringing along their own supplies. I'm generally big believer that fighting a defensive war is a huge force multiplier (or, more accurately, that it often correlates with having numerous smaller advantages that all add up.)

  12. - Top - End - #102
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    I've never understood all the ins and outs of the Modoc War, other than that the starting position of the U.S. Government was that the Modoc should accept voluntary deportation to Mexico (specifically, to Apache lands). The Arikara War is one where the Lakota Sioux and one of the fur companies (Rocky Mountain, IMS) basically subcontracted a private war to the Army so they could get rid of a trade rival who were honest dealers. The Arikara won, for those who didn't know, and were actually U.S. allies until the fur company arranged an outbreak of...diphtheria, I think it was.

  13. - Top - End - #103
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    I appreciate this interesting nuance. Note, there's no way he's going to address or even acknowledge that you made distinguished that second point, because there's no obvious way to tell you that you're somehow wrong about it. This is unfortunate, because it's actually a fun idea that's faded out from the conversation because nobody is arguing over it.

    IIRC, replicators (that use energy) were explicitly stated to be a new technology developed between Star Trek TOS and TNG. However, TOS did had food dispensers of some sort that could instantaneously dispense a pretty staggering array of foods. They were never clearly explained, but I had always thought of them as being automatic robochefs with access to a vast array of raw ingredients. However, something that is at its core a sufficiently advanced 3D printer could replicate the same results, albeit with longer turnaround times. The elemental building blocks of life comprise a fairly limited subset of the period tables, but you can probably achieve efficiency savings if you separately manufacture the more commonly used molecular components (i.e. saccharides and amino acids) and feed them into your device.

    The economic implications would be interesting to explore. Obviously, we're way into the weeds of speculation here, but I'm guessing that there would be a sliding scale of efficiencies. For example, growing food the natural way might be the simplest in terms of labor and inputs, and provide the best realism in results, but costs could be restrictive by longer time requirements and the scarcity of space or otherwise inputs. If the 3-d printer/food assembler is faster and less space intensive, then it might end up being the cheapest option despite being more technologically sophisticated and labor intensive. If the agricultural or chemical used to produce starches and other inputs have substantial advantages over just growing corn, then assembled "corn" could become an affordable staple food that produces all of the same nutrition but doesn't quite capture the right taste or texture. Naturally grown corn, or perhaps "corn" assembled using a much slower, more expensive version of the same process could end up occupying a more premium niche for consumers who can afford to pay for the luxury of more realistic foods.
    Actually cellular agriculture is already a thing, but it will take some time until it becomes economically viable. Since animal-based products are currently the most expensive to make, most of the research focuses on effective production of meat, milk etc. It will be quite amazing once the technology really takes off. At least as long as we will not end up in the Silent Running scenario.

    Granted, for complete production out of basic elements, there would still be need for assembling basic organic chemicals, but in practice a lot can be simply recycled. It is also of note that we already know how to produce I think all the necessary ingredients from inorganic material and again it is only a matter of efficiency.
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    Actually cellular agriculture is already a thing, but it will take some time until it becomes economically viable.
    I'm pretty eager to try that lab-meat when it comes to market--plus, it raises really fascinating ethical issues (for those folks who see ethical issues with how we exploit/kill animals for agriculture.)

    I didn't want to make my post longer than it was, but I was thinking of lab-grown foods as potentially occupying an interesting place on the spectrum between grown/raised foods and assembled foods. (Plus, as you suggested, an off-axis role where they may be used to supply some of the raw materials for food assembly.) Mother nature is still pretty efficient, and while traditional farms might be much bulkier in terms of space and large amounts of media/inputs, we've already done a great job shrinking some of these requirements here on Earth. In great climates with lots of land, it doesn't make lots of sense to use compact, low media systems (like hydroponics) and close-proximity LED lighting, but as I understand it, these techniques are actually economically viable in many places--for example, optimizing greenhouse usage for growing fresh out-of-season or non-local foods in very cold climates.

    I don't know how much more efficiency we can squeeze out of raising meat (so maybe lab-grown beef will always have an advantage in terms of space), but I can definitely envision an economy where compact "ranching" of crickets or guinea pigs (or some genetically engineered creature) becomes a widespread, inexpensive source of animal protein for direct consumption, while lab-meats that mimic terrestrial animals command a premium.

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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    I don't know how much more efficiency we can squeeze out of raising meat (so maybe lab-grown beef will always have an advantage in terms of space), but I can definitely envision an economy where compact "ranching" of crickets or guinea pigs (or some genetically engineered creature) becomes a widespread, inexpensive source of animal protein for direct consumption, while lab-meats that mimic terrestrial animals command a premium.
    Regular method of obtaining animal protein is inherently inefficient as you have to use disproportionate amount of food to raise the animal. This means that there is a big room for improvement and the direct cultivation of meat does have potential for higher efficiency. It is obviously still a very long road and there might be some serious setbacks preventing this technology from being widespread. At the same time, this is pretty cool.
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    I'm pretty eager to try that lab-meat when it comes to market--plus, it raises really fascinating ethical issues (for those folks who see ethical issues with how we exploit/kill animals for agriculture.)
    I'm very excited for lab meat to be commercially viable, in no small part because it removes a lot of ethical issues.
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Radar View Post
    Regular method of obtaining animal protein is inherently inefficient as you have to use disproportionate amount of food to raise the animal. This means that there is a big room for improvement and the direct cultivation of meat does have potential for higher efficiency. It is obviously still a very long road and there might be some serious setbacks preventing this technology from being widespread. At the same time, this is pretty cool.
    You might have misunderstood my comment. I didn't mean how much efficiency you can gain from raising lab meat versus livestock. I meant how much more efficiency we can gain in terms of future, commercially developed lab-meats as compared to the current state of the technology, which has been practically demonstrated, but is not yet commercially developed. We can expect monetary costs--one of the main issues--to go down as the technology matures, and that will go a long way towards economic viability. However, in terms of miniaturizing the process (including that of necessary inputs), we might still have tremendous gains to be made... or we might be very close to the wall already.

    Depending on the answer, this could drastically impact the viability of the technology in space. There is no doubt in my mind that even with the current state of technology, lab-meats are already preferable to real meats on a space station or distant, resource-limited colony. The interesting question is whether we can hit a point where we can even produce meats for mass consumption at all in these scenarios, or if we are never able to make it efficient enough to justify eating meats, rather than primarily consuming vegetable matter (relying on some combination of genetically engineered strains, supplements, and small amounts of imported meats.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    I'm very excited for lab meat to be commercially viable, in no small part because it removes a lot of ethical issues.
    Cynical observation: If lab meat becomes commercially viable to the point that organic meat is superfluous, there will be no reason to keep thousands upon thousands of farm animals alive....

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    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Cynical observation: If lab meat becomes commercially viable to the point that organic meat is superfluous, there will be no reason to keep thousands upon thousands of farm animals alive....

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    Brian P.
    Since this is a gradual process, their population will drop naturally as they will simply stop being bred en masse. Besides, we currently keep them alive only until we kill them for food, skin and whatever goes into sausages, so I do not see the point against lab-made meat from this side. Some number of farm animals will also always be kept in zoos as we did with any other animal we have almost driven to extinction. Maybe a farmland preserve as crazy as it sounds?

    There is obviously also another ethical solution: breed cows that want to be eaten.
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Cynical observation: If lab meat becomes commercially viable to the point that organic meat is superfluous, there will be no reason to keep thousands upon thousands of farm animals alive....

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Cynical rebuttal: Since all of those farm animals currently alive is going to be killed regardless (and since they are an immense source of methane emissions), I fail to see the problem.
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    More practical addendum: several of those species are only alive because we breed them. Dairy cattle in particular have been bioformed through selective breeding to the point they can't do it themselves any more.

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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar Demonblud View Post
    More practical addendum: several of those species are only alive because we breed them. Dairy cattle in particular have been bioformed through selective breeding to the point they can't do it themselves any more.
    Same for turkeys, though maybe "biodeformed" would be more accurate.
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Are domestic turkeys reckoned as a distinct species from (North American) wild turkeys? I saw a few of the wild ones in my neighborhood about a month ago, so they seem to be doing just fine.

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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Same for turkeys, though maybe "biodeformed" would be more accurate.
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidSh View Post
    Are domestic turkeys reckoned as a distinct species from (North American) wild turkeys? I saw a few of the wild ones in my neighborhood about a month ago, so they seem to be doing just fine.
    They're the same species, but arguably different breeds. Not much different from how there are 100+ breeds of dog, but they're all still dogs. There's the wild Turkey which is leaner, can flap into low branches and generally survive in the wild. Then there are the super fat ones we've bred for Thanksgiving.

    But yeah, it would probably take a few decades after vat-grown meat became cheaper than from animals, but eventually real meat would probably just be for weirdos and/or as a curiosity that people want to try once. That would make cows/pigs very rare and likely mostly at zoos etc. If you've ever read the Vorkosigan Saga, they touch on that aspect in it, though it's hardly a focus.
    Last edited by CharonsHelper; 2020-11-03 at 08:18 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Cynical observation: If lab meat becomes commercially viable to the point that organic meat is superfluous, there will be no reason to keep thousands upon thousands of farm animals alive....

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Would the moral quandary come from the idea of an abstract, individual right to exist (that we are somehow wronging the millions of cows who are never bred, for example), or from the more practical aspect of ecological health and the right for a species to exist (or at least meet its fate naturally, absent human intervention)?

    For the latter point, most domesticated species would probably still be kept around in a much smaller numbers. Dogs used to be primarily a working animal. While some still are, and you could argue that companionship is a form of work, they still demonstrate that even as their primary roles get phased out, their symbiotic existence with humans can continue. Plus, there's the fact that maintaining vast numbers of domesticated animals comes at the absolute, realized loss of acreage of wild spaces and population numbers of wild species. In many cases, it has come at the cost of the extinction of wild species, and as it continues on its present course, it brings a substantial risk of further extinctions.

    The transition period might be rough for that last, massive generation of domesticated animals (particularly if lab-meats immediately become desirable enough to crash the demand for the real thing before we run through existing stock.) However, from an ecological and ethical standpoint it seems like a good thing.

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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    They're the same species, but arguably different breeds. Not much different from how there are 100+ breeds of dog, but they're all still dogs. There's the wild Turkey which is leaner, can flap into low branches and generally survive in the wild. Then there are the super fat ones we've bred for Thanksgiving.

    But yeah, it would probably take a few decades after vat-grown meat became cheaper than from animals, but eventually real meat would probably just be for weirdos and/or as a curiosity that people want to try once. That would make cows/pigs very rare and likely mostly at zoos etc. If you've ever read the Vorkosigan Saga, they touch on that aspect in it, though it's hardly a focus.
    And pets! Some cows/pigs make great pets.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    Would the moral quandary come from the idea of an abstract, individual right to exist (that we are somehow wronging the millions of cows who are never bred, for example), or from the more practical aspect of ecological health and the right for a species to exist (or at least meet its fate naturally, absent human intervention)?

    For the latter point, most domesticated species would probably still be kept around in a much smaller numbers. Dogs used to be primarily a working animal. While some still are, and you could argue that companionship is a form of work, they still demonstrate that even as their primary roles get phased out, their symbiotic existence with humans can continue. Plus, there's the fact that maintaining vast numbers of domesticated animals comes at the absolute, realized loss of acreage of wild spaces and population numbers of wild species. In many cases, it has come at the cost of the extinction of wild species, and as it continues on its present course, it brings a substantial risk of further extinctions.

    The transition period might be rough for that last, massive generation of domesticated animals (particularly if lab-meats immediately become desirable enough to crash the demand for the real thing before we run through existing stock.) However, from an ecological and ethical standpoint it seems like a good thing.
    I think it's the atrocious conditions we keep animals in to minimize costs.
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Random NPC View Post
    And pets! Some cows/pigs make great pets.
    I'd love a pig, but I don't know if I could afford one. They're super cute.
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  28. - Top - End - #118
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    I'd love a pig, but I don't know if I could afford one. They're super cute.
    I don't understand pet pigs. I've smelled pigs. Don't get me wrong, I like pigs. Having a pig out in the pen rooting through the compost is great fun, and boy do they ever love some table scraps. But the out in the barnyard is key.

    (Other things pigs love, cottonwood leaves, cottonwood roots, pigweed stems, rats. Truly committed omnivores, pigs.)
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  29. - Top - End - #119
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Random NPC View Post
    I think it's the atrocious conditions we keep animals in to minimize costs.
    You seem to have missed some important context to my comment: I was responding to pendell raising the issue of no longer needing to keep all those farm animals alive if lab-meats supplant them.

    As I mentioned, my only concern is that last generation of animals--like you say, the fact that we value economics over humane conditions even during the best of economic times would imply that if those millions of animals become commercially worthless overnight, a lot of folks won't be retiring them particularly humanely. I disagree with it, but I can see why people would raise moral objections to effectively creating/domestication entire populations of species and breeds of animals largely dependent on us, and then deciding to just let them die out (as a breed/species) when we decide we don't need them anymore.

  30. - Top - End - #120
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    Default Re: What loss rate of starships would prevent interstellar shipping?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xyril View Post
    You seem to have missed some important context to my comment: I was responding to pendell raising the issue of no longer needing to keep all those farm animals alive if lab-meats supplant them.

    As I mentioned, my only concern is that last generation of animals--like you say, the fact that we value economics over humane conditions even during the best of economic times would imply that if those millions of animals become commercially worthless overnight, a lot of folks won't be retiring them particularly humanely. I disagree with it, but I can see why people would raise moral objections to effectively creating/domestication entire populations of species and breeds of animals largely dependent on us, and then deciding to just let them die out (as a breed/species) when we decide we don't need them anymore.
    A transition to lab-grown meat would almost certainly be very gradual - even if you achieve an economic breakthrough that allows for massive and rapid increases in production scale, you still need to convince the public to eat the stuff - with the number of domestic meat animals reducing by as little as a fraction of a percent per generation (note that generations of many domestic animals can be very rapid, the average lifespan of a broiler chicken is measured in weeks and even cattle raised for beef at usually slaughtered before twenty-four months). In particular there would be economic shifts as life meat moved from the common market to the luxury market and resources used to raise such animals were gradually reduced as a percentage of agricultural land. In particular, the devotion of natural rangeland to animal agriculture would almost certainly remain in place for a long time because it is difficult to convert that land to another form of agricultural use. Contrast that with the conversation of, say, feed corn production to feed beef cattle versus using the same feed corn calories as feedstock for vat grown beef (or, in the more near term scenario, faux meat vegetable proteins).

    It's actually quite possible that, in this scenario, that by the time animals raised for meat disappeared from the market they would probably be outnumbered by members of the same animal species (and probably many specific breeds) either being raised for some other economic purpose - almost all major agricultural animals have valuable by-products with secondary uses, for example various bits and pieces of pigs are a major component of a huge number of pharmaceuticals - or simply for hobbyist purposes. The experience of the Horse in the United States from roughly 1900 to present is probably a guiding example of the sort of thing that might occur.
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