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Colony Universe

UNWG (”Goonies”) and the “Nanny State”

by EAB

The governmental philosophy and political changes which occurred in the United States from about the mid 1960’s onward, the type which fostered the belief that an all knowing all caring state would serve it’s citizens interests best, led directly to what is often referred to as the creation of the “Nanny State“, and indirectly to our inclusion into the UNWG. In fairness to Europe it should be said that the Europeans always seemed to be on the leading edge of the curve, a generation or more ahead of the U.S. in this important area.

The EAB takes a somewhat divergent view on the type of state brought into being and hence disagrees with the given name. It wasn’t a “Nanny State” that was being created, but a “Mommy State“. A Nanny might work eight or ten hours a day doing the bidding of her employer. The Nanny, almost always being from a lower economic stratum than her employer, would generally have had harsher and more rigid ideas concerning what was right or wrong in childhood behavior, and the appropriate penalties for transgression upon the same. “Spare the rod spoil the child.” would be typical, and unless given explicit instructions to the contrary was likely to test such theories in practice. They weren’t just theories to the Nanny, after all that was how she had been raised. The children, (citizens for short), obeyed out of self interest. When they reached a certain age, (the age of majority), the former children were on their own and the Nanny no longer had any direct control over their actions. With a little luck though, some of the lessons stuck.

The government, unlike a Nanny but instead like some kind of Super Mommy, a Soccer Mommy on steroids, had to decide that the only proper course was to institute policies which would keep the children safe 24 hours a day, safe both from external sources of harm and from those it felt the children might bring upon themselves. And there was no age of majority; an eternal childhood, we would all become as Peter Pan. A Government of the Government, by the Government, and, most especially, for the Government. Try substituting the word Mommy for the last three instances of the word Government in the previous sentence, it has a certain ring. It was done for the children and all of us were and always would be children. There were bad parents and something must be done.

Since we were children and hence incapable of independently determining right from wrong; as so many Mommies knew, it was a foregone conclusion that we could hardly be held responsible for our own actions. And as we were not responsible it was unfair to punish us for doing wrong things. Punishing us would make us feel bad and more importantly make Mommy feel bad. It was much better to control our lives in such a manner that bad things just couldn’t happen. If bad things still happened it was a very minor exercise in logic to prove that the controls were insufficient. And of course a Mommy can always tell what is right for her children. So long as she is doing something which minimizes or eliminates the worry on her part concerning the safety or well being of her children, (and we are all her children), then it must be right.

Why the profound shift in American attitude in the second half of the 20th century? A number of factors suggest themselves. Universal suffrage giving mommies the vote plus the increasing role of government on all levels, the horrendous loss of life caused by two world wars, the rise of the scientific method, or rather the pseudo-scientific method as trendy intellectual fashion replaced tradition, were just a few of those factors. And another, often neglected cause, was the decline in family size. With fewer children per Mommy each child must receive that much more care. With more per capita wealth and longer life spans there came an ever increasing feeling that there was more than enough of all things material for society to distribute the surplus for the benefit of all. Politicians, being politicians, could always tell what type of changes would lead to their increased power, some even managed to convince themselves it wasn’t power they sought but the ability to do good. And so, of the two major parties in the U.S., one was for rapid adoption of the Mammy State on principal because it would lead to more power, and the leaders of the other party could never quite make their aversion to the Mommy State overcome their greater aversion to a possible election loss. On both sides then the overpowering truth was, “In Principal we have no Principal but Power.”, and that was the only important principal . And thus we were ripe for inclusion into the UNWG.

The United Nations World Government gave over all shelter and a place to shift the blame for those things, and they were legion, for which politicians did not wish to assume responsibility. After all it was better to live with a few minor inconveniences and curtailment of liberty than risk a possible worse fate by not joining with the majority of the rest of the world. And being non judgmental regarding the policies and practices of the other governments in the UNWG was taught to be an indication of the highest form of virtue. Fraternity, Equality, Diversity. Except as Orwell knew some were more equal than others. And thus the road to serfdom, but very affluent and happy serfs we must be.

After all, this protection from harm was something which needed doing. The United States had very severe and easily recognizable internal problems. As Michael Crichton once pointed out with 4 % of the worlds population producing 20% of the worlds output, (economic globalization was just getting underway), we needed 50% of the worlds lawyers. Those lawyers were responsible for over 95% of worldwide monetary damage suits and for an even larger percentage of monies recovered, almost all such judgments being rendered by United States courts. The need for such suits were attributable to either corporate or professional malpractice. Equality of outcome must be achieved. There should be no pain. After all what kind of a Mommy can watch unfeelingly while any of her children do poorly or suffer discomfort? It was obvious that something needed doing and the politicians, Mommies, and ruling classes, for somewhat different reasons, decided the “Mommy State” and the UNWG were the answers.

For additional commentary see: Dissidents and Opposition to the UNWG.

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UNWG (”Goonies”) Intentions — Speculations

by EAB

UNWG Prior Plans

At present it is unclear whether the UNWG will, or can, send forces after us though it is a possibility we can not dismiss.

Data in two files pulled from the captured cruiser commanded by Ashcroft William Andrews IV gives some evidence of the UNWG’s plans and interests concerning extra solar exploration prior to the discovery of the Alchibah Wormhole. One was called “On Locating Habital Systems” The seriousness of this report is suspect. There were also studies into Extra Solar Ship Design. See Starships a Proposal.

Both of these files had been written many years ago, before R.J. Hamilton’s current drive technology and Wormhole discovery would have been known, which probably explained the weak encryption. Some of the information contained within them is inconsistent.

The Cruiser’s Database contains a number of more recent entries which we have not been able to open. It is hoped that Ashcroft Andrews IV will be able to shed light on the current state of UNWG planning, and construction, and more importantly, intentions.

Synopsis Original draft July 2036. Title: On Locating Habital Systems.

In support of the UNWG Full Employment Act. And under the auspices of the UNWG International Astrophysical Union.

Extra-Solar Habital Planets. A search outline.

Preliminary Assumptions:

1. The star must have a planetary system. Estimate 80% do.

2. The star should not be a multiple star system. Estimate 65% qualify.

3. The star must have a habital zone, (the orbital region where water can remain liquid through most of the planetary year), of sufficient size that a planet is likely to be found therein. K type Stars or larger are indicated.

4. Old enough for an eco-system to develop. A consensus is at least 1.5 billion years on the main sequence. An F type star or smaller.

5. Combine 3 and 4 and stars from F1 to K1 on the main sequence are appropriate.

6. Using Earth based measurements and best methods, 75% of the K,F, G stars, do have planets in the habital zone.

7. We will only send survey ships to stars very close to Earth, 15 LY. or less, or those further away that meet the spectral class qualifier and have been found with planets by solar observation. We will survey to a maximum radius of 200 Light Years. See Starships a Proposal.


1. Multiplying 1 and 2 give a 50% chance of any star having a planetary system.

2. Applying 5 gives a 35% overall chance that the right type star has a planet worth surveying.

3. With one in 3 of K-F stars suitable, an arguably high estimate, and if we decide to survey 600 likely stars we will need to send probes to a distance which encompasses about 2,000 such stars.

4. There are about 150 stars to visit within 50 LY of Earth, though many miss our criteria for spectral type. There are 4000 stars within 200 LY. So based on spectral type frequencies we would need to send out survey ships to near 200 light years to examine the 600 most likely K-F prospects.

The cost and timing of any such program of course need to be determined but the Astrophysical Union recommends further study. An active program should be set up to improve knowledge of stellar properties and distances. We make no comment on the practicality of building ships or sensor platforms capable of carrying out such a mission, or on the likelihood of their success.

A Second Relevant Document

Synopsis Original draft May 2044. Title: Starships a Proposal. Advanced Ship Construction.

In support of the UNWG Full Employment Act. And under the auspices of the UNWG Combined Design Bureau Ship Division.

Advances in fusion reactors technology and cryogenics make it possible to begin design studies for slower than light speed interstellar flight.

Estimates and Preliminary Notes United Nations Inter Stellar Transport 1.

When considering long duration independent voyages the naval experiences of the last several hundred years provide a ready analogue. The pre-amalgamation U.S. Navy provides much baseline data. Year 2020 dollars, the date of last major construction, will be used throughout. As we have made inflation illegal, price creep will be due only to increases related the necessary costs of achieving social justice.

Though not a “Transport Starship” a Nuclear Aircraft Carrier such as operated by the former United States Navy represents construction on the envisioned scale. These Carriers massing 100,000 tons supported crews of 6000 and were provisioned for 3 months. Provisions for several year long voyages could easily have been accommodated. Build price 32 billion dollars with the original fueling.

Using Cryogenic Hibernation, supplies needed on a long voyages may be greatly reduced. This could extend travel time or be used to save on consumables for an increased crew size. Current and near term propulsion designs imply large ships due to reaction mass tankage requirements.

Starship Transport the UNIST 1. First of all some assumptions have to be made concerning trip durations. The basic premise will be that FTL travel will not be possible unless a Wormhole is located.

Acceleration will be will be held to a maximum of 1.2 gravities. This will mean that to get to relativistic speeds will require about 8 months and a further 80 months of deceleration when a destination is reached. Minimum ship time to another star system would be less than 2 years. A round trip three and a half to visit the nearer stars.

The interior size of our carriers reference is approximately 8 million cubic feet. With 6000 crewpersons aboard and subtracting out structural and mechanical elements less than 1000 cu ft of living space for each. We will suppose twice that much room per person on the UNIST 1.

Carriers are full of watertight rooms and bulkheads and are lightly armored. The UNIST 1 design will incorporate similar features.

The Design Bureau suggests a ship of about 25,000 tons built with external tankage. and a crew of about 50 transporting perhaps 1200 others for a build cost of 40 billion and a charge to put the structural components into low Earth Orbit of $200,000 per ton. Thus a total ship cost of 45 billion dollars. Each round trip to take 2.5 Years ships time. Expected ships lifetime of 50 years. Build time 7 to 10 years after design approval.

Excerpt from UNWG Cruiser Database.

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Time Keeping Theories for Alchibah

by EAB

Attn All Colonists. As we have not yet set up a formal notification system for messages of general interest, especially of those with an Encyclopedia or general informational bent, and until such system is developed, all messages of this type will be sent through the EAB. They will be considered as primary docs and edited as required.

General Message 1

There has been a fair amount of speculation concerning how we will keep time at our new home. The five current members of the Encyclopedia Advisory Board, suggest considering this proposal. As a note. This did not work when tried on the Mayflower. It probably did not get a fair tryout. The Historian, who lived the life, was the odd man out. The rest of the stay awake crew continued on the 24 hour Standard Solar Time System. See Log files. It might have worked, and could be easily instituted once we land.

The basic point of this system is that by shortening the standard second by less than 1%, one standard second = .9905 Alchibah second, much of the rest of our usual numbering system will still make sense. There will be a 20 hour day. It will be an even number of hours and will be in tune with the local day.

Sunrise and sunset will correspond to the physical events. The board thinks this very important. Noon will be at 10:00 in our system, halfway through the Alchibah day. Midnight will be midnight but at 20:00.

Once all colonists are alert we will need to decide if we should institute such a system or an alternative. Try it and it just might work. Offer suggestions to the Encyclopedia Advisory Board. We need a plan. This is a starting point.

Doc published by the Encyclopedia Alchibah Advisory Board.

The length of the Alchibah day is 19.81 hours standard hours or 71,316 standard seconds. If we make the Alchibah second equal to .9905 standard seconds we could have a time system such as this.

Alchibah Minute = 60 Alchiba Seconds

Alchibah Hour = 60 Alchibah Minutes

Alchibah Day = 20 Alchibah Hours This is where the change from the standard 19.81 hours meshes the time with the Alchibah solar day.

Alchibah Week = 10 Alchibah Days. This, in Standard Time, is close to the 7 day week we are all familiar with.

Alchibah Year = 1118.223 Alchibah Days. We will add Leap Days about once every four Alchibah Years.

Alchibah Month = 93.18 Alchibah Days. 12 Months per Year. An oddity in this system will be something like July 74th.

All times are proposed Alchibah Standard. The typical day’s activities might be goveren as follows:

Get up at 4:00. Sunrise 4:30. Local noon 10:00. Sunset 15:30. Bed 18:00. Local Midnight. 20:00.

Sleep time 30%. This contrasts with the typical 33% that most are used to, but not so much that individual adjustments can not be made.

We need to work out months, seasons, and especially holidays.

After we get away from the 80 hour work week expected as the colony develops, we could consider a Standard Alchibah Work Week as…. 7 days on, 3 days off. Hours worked per week would be similar to the usual Earthly conditions. EAB


General Message 2: Proposal by colonist Connor Benjamin
I would like to propose a somewhat different system still based around the Alchibah second that is described above. Under this proposal the first five categories described above would be the same (Second, Minute, Hour, Day, Week), and Year would differ only in the placement of leap years. The system would be set up as follows:

Alchibah Minute = 60 Alchiba Seconds

Alchibah Hour = 60 Alchibah Minutes

Alchibah Day = 20 Alchibah Hours This is where the change from the standard 19.81 hours meshes the time with the Alchibah solar day.

Alchibah Week = 10 Alchibah Days. This, in Standard Time, is close to the 7 day week we are all familiar with.

Alchibah Year = 1118.223 Alchibah Days. We will alternate adding leap days after four and five Alchibah Years. This would mean that over a 9 year period 2 lead days would be added. Over the same period the real time from the extra .223 days would amount to 2.007 days, a difference of 8.4 minutes. These extra minutes would add another day approximately every 142.8571 Alchibah Years, which would be dealt with by by adding and extra day roughly every 143 years.

Alchibah Season = 279.5 days, excluding the extra .223 days which would be dealt with by leap years. Every year two seasons would have 279 days and two would have 280 days (spring and fall one year, summer and winter the next). These would alternate.

Alchibah Month = 70 or 69 days, four months per season for a total of 16 months. Every non leap year would have one month at the end of the each “short” season with 69 days.

The typical day, sleep time and three day weekend proposals would remain the same. The first day of the year would be the first day of spring.

Under this system the first day of the first year would be written (day.month.season.year) and the last day would be

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Robots, GE Model 3R

by EAB

The 225 GE Model 3-R Robots purchased by R.J. Hamilton were the first of that models production run. Serial Numbers 00101 - 00325. They were a generational advance over previous production variants in terms of A.I. functionality. See Robots a History.

Due to product liability fears the number one design criteria was always safety. By the end of the twentieth century because of product liability lawsuits the popular phrase, “Let the Seller Beware”, had entered into the vernacular and was a driving factor in all business decisions. Safety of humans in the robots vicinity was the first concern, but also the possible harm to humans elsewhere, or at a future date, due to the long term effect of an action. There was an entire cascading logic tree of safety concerns. Fully 95% of the robots program and processing time were devoted to dealing with these safety factors. Training could overcome some low level constraints but the higher level proscriptions could not be over ridden. Protection of Animals, Property, and Self all reside at some node on the decision path. When a conflict resolution can not be made the robot will not act but instead stop, and where appropriate seek clarification. Robots are not intelligent, nor are they stupid, though sometimes they appear to be. They are machines carrying out programmed tasks and are able to improve performance by gradual and limited modification of the steps used to reach the programmed goal. The complexity of the task and the navigation of the safety tree determine the general speed of robotic operations.System Variables must be set on initial power up. The most important of these is that of System Operator. We often call this system operator the “Owner“. Instructions issued to a robot by the Owner are primary. Most of the rest of the system variables are used to determine the Robotic Personality. They include such things as speech levels, maximum power usage, independence level, persistence and delegation, (these factors set limits on robotic operations outside of the owners direct oversight), privacy and inter-robotic communication and learning levels. The personality variables, once set, may only be changed by the owner. Hamilton purchased three GE3 Master Program Controllers which are the only devices able to reinitialize the system variables in the event of the owners demise or in the case of an ownership change. They can also enter and modify code outside of the ROM core.A robot will attempt to carry out an owners instructions, all those explicit, and to a lesser extent those implied, but is incapable of initiating independent action beyond any implied by the owners instructions. They are very literal and a great deal of care must be given to insure the requested actions lead to the desired result. Much of robot humor and horror stories are due to the laws of unintended consequences. Most critical operations have multiple redundancy and failure recovery modes. The most severe failure modes all lead to shutdown.

Design and Capabilities:

Type Classification - Humanoid. Height 6.5 ft.. Weight 163 lbs. Composite materials used in construction to hold weight down while the overall size was selected to maximize mechanical leverages and interact with objects designed on a human scale.

Operating System - Proprietary in Quantum ROM.

Control Buss - Optical.

Power Buss - Superconducting. Motion controlled by 67 various servomotors from sub-fractional to .75 KW. Communications by audio output and electronic means.

Sensor Suite - Ratings (Adult Human Ave = 1), Vision 4.0, Hearing, 1.2, Touch 0.35, Taste and Smell considered as chemical sensing. 0.85. These numbers are maximal values and until or unless preprogrammed routines exist or post program training takes place actual performance will vary greatly and be task dependant.

Power Source - Nano-Capacitors standard. Eight units modified to run also on Atomic Batteries. These units were intended for off planet use and only available for purchase by governmental contract or to a half dozen corporations with substantial out system mining/manufacturing operations.

Charge life at 50% Duty Cycle - Capacitor type, 36 to 48 Hours. A.B. type, 1+ years.

Max Sustained Output - 1.75 KW. Burst Mode - 3.1 KW.

Charge Rate - 1.2 KWH/Min. Typical time 45 min.

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Population Dynamics

by EAB

Population Demographics: Primary edit. H.Parker

An inspection of the “Forming a Civilization” simulation shows the key parameter leading to colony survival was always the reproductive rate. With the result of all disaster scenarios, independent of this variable, leading to higher death rates, fractional percentage changes, over time of the reproductive rate lead to large differences in survivability.

By the end of the 20th century, virtually all economically advanced countries were in a state of population decline. Some 50 years later, at mid century, it appears that the total population of Earth may have peaked at 17 billion . Due as much to UNWG policy as economic status and resource depletion, a gradual decline is expected.

On Alchibah with a small initial population base it seems imperative that a high reproductive rate be maintained in order to enhance the colonies survivability. A contrarian position would be: “Population growth, who cares? Won’t matter a bit after I’m gone.” This is a fine philosophical point but seems emotionally unsatisfying. With the aforementioned in mind, what factors in our new society might lead to high population growth?

With the state of medical care in an advanced Western nation on Earth the rule of thumb number was that each woman must bear 2.1 children in order to maintain population stability. Knowing this number was not being maintained a few plausible reasons might have been.

1. We no longer need large families in order to maintain us in old age.

2. The availability of birth control made accidental or unwanted pregnancies avoidable.

3. The world population was already too large and we should bring it down.

4. Cultural changes such as, divorce rate increase, woman’s financial independence, longer time spent in education and hence later marriage age leading to a delayed age of first born, and others.

5. The somewhat heretical notion that when given a choice we really don’t like children as much as the popular norms would suggest.

6. The religious commandment to be fruitful and multiply is no longer an important factor in procreation decisions.

Whatever the reasons, if we are to make a lasting civilization on Alchibah, population growth must exceed the mortality rate.

The rapid population growth evidenced by the Polynesian Islanders as they expanded throughout the Pacific indicate that in a relatively favorable environment a growth rate of 3% per year was the norm. See Easter Island a Retrospective. Starting with 100 people you end up with 2000 after 100 years. It seems likely that if deaths due to new disease forms, accidents, new life forms, and especially should inter colony strife become the norm, an even higher reproductive rate would be desirable. This does not even take into account the chance of war with forces of the UNWG sent to subdue us. What rate of growth is best? If we wish to form a society which survives the higher the better. Starting from such a small number there seems to be no alternative.

Factors which might lead to rapid population growth include.

1. A deliberate decision by women, and men, to have more children due to concerns about maintaining our society.

2. Medical interventions increasing fertility and providing for more multiple births.

3. Medical intervention increasing the proportion of female births.

4. Rewards for having children.

5. Artificial means such as using the incubators we intend for raising our farm animals to grow instead humans.

6. Additional immigration from Earth.

7. A religious revival.

Without using immigration, or artificial incubation as means for increase, what would a 3% growth rate for the next 20 years mean in terms of our current colony group? Until complete medical profiles are constructed an inspection of the colonist lists shows 80 women on board, 20 of whom are either beyond child bearing age or within several years of that point. There are 33 children aboard 18 of them females below the age of reproduction. This leaves 42 women some of whom can not or will not chose to have children. Medical technology should rule out most of the can’t factor and so to simplify let us set the initial number of fertile women at 40. Using a fertility age lifetime of 25 years and with the age spread in our sample group the average number of women of child bearing age for the next 20 years should remain relatively constant if mortality rates remain low in this group.

In order to improve ease of calculation the basic assumption for mean life expectancy will be 80 years. As a population we are shifted about 7 years towards the younger end of the spectrum. Over time this will balance out. If 2 people die every year for the next 20 years each woman in the fertile group must have I child so that our population remains stable. This is only in the short term however because of the 40 children conceived only half, 20, will be female and that number will be insufficient to maintain population during the next generational cycle. Thus we arrive at the 2 children per woman figure plus a bit just to maintain stability.

In order to reach a 3% growth rate, which would give the colony a population just over 300 in 20 years time, the number of births must be about 4 per woman of child bearing age and this assumes no deaths in that. population. This seems so unlikely that another solution to the population problem must be found..

Birth by Tube Raised by Robot:

Onboard the Mayflower are a dozen incubation chambers large enough to bring a human fetus to gestation. Using nine of them for that purpose would insure another 12 children added to the colony every year. Caring for the newborns would be time well spent in terms of insuring survivability. 120 children in addition to the 20 or so we would expect naturally in the first ten years of the colony’s existence would probably require robots to be dedicated to the task of assisting the nominal parents. More than just help the mothers or families involved to raise them the use of robots would free up time to devote to other areas those involved were expert in. After that first group reached adulthood though, the benefits to the colony would far outweigh the trouble involved due to time spent on their care. If mortality rates are high, as they are likely to be, these children could be the only hope for the colony to survive.

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Liberty — Forming a Civilization, Jobs Needed

by EAB

This is the front end of the game program written by L. Monroe and played by all of the Mayflower’s stay awake crew. They would change the numbers and job titles and a simulated disaster would strike. The disasters were changed repeatedly. The goal was to survive the disaster with little or no loss of life. A 90% survival rate was considered a win. That happened rarely. Survival rates of 0% were all too common. A surprising result was that with out at least one person in the Tavern class survival numbers were always bad. Monroe called this the “Morale Factor”. Clarke called it the “More-Ale” factor.

What will we do on Alchibah. A Pre Landing Simulation. The numbers may change but the problems remain. There are only 168 of us and 33 are children. What occupations do we need? A First Estimate. Every job ought to have backups in training.

Input Factor No. V1.7

Number of Game Cycles Years


Basic Reproductive Rate %/Year


Level 1-4








Mechanical/Electrical Repair




Power Systems


Building & Construction


Clearing & Forestry


Metals Production


Tavern /Hotel/Bakery


Refinery & Drilling


Ships Crew










Pipe Fitter/Turbine Repair


Plastics Processing


Glass & Ceramics




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Encyclopedia Alchibah, Purpose and Practice

by EAB

The Enclyclopedia Alchibah was the precurser to Colony Universe.

Project E/A From the Log Files of William Bartlett

The Encyclopedia Alchibah project was dear to the Historians heart. And as near as I can tell he started it all on his own, though Captain Travis must have been involved in some way or another. Surprisingly, to those of us who worked with him on the Mayflower, it might even have beat farming in his hierarchy of values. I was cudgeled into the writing at the Historian’s request and Captain Travis‘s command. I can see how it tied into what the Hist must have done in his past life and could also recognize its potential usefulness, but the time it took out of my present was considerable.

I did like the idea of an Encyclopedia Advisory Board EAB. I just wanted the sleepers to get out of cryo so that one of them could get on and I could get off. The Hist seemed to think the stay awake crew would be stuck on the Board forever. “Another benefit of service”, is how he phrased it.

The Encyclopedia was set up like this. It had two sections, Entries and Log Files. Any Colonist could make an entry under his own name. Entries were to be factual discoveries or historical descriptions of happenings during the voyage and colonization. When first posted they were tagged as provisional. One of the duties of an E/A Board member was to read the provisional entries and give an up or down vote on inclusion. The Hist said that he expected to add about 5 more people to the board when we reached Alchibah. These people he said would be chosen from colonists with expertise in areas the current board members lacked. Once 40% of the Board voted to include an entry the provisional tag was removed. Those provisional entries that didn’t receive the 40% vote for inclusion into the main data base were retained in the provisional section of the E/A. No censorship!

Arte Clark, after a few weeks worth of debate, convinced even the Historian that at times censorship could be both necessary and proper. An 80% vote of the Board could remove a post from the visible sections of the E/A but those entries would still be retained and viewable by the Advisory Board.

Log Files were like personal diaries and could contain anything a person wanted to release for public consumption. A Log file, or section of one, would get posted into the E/A proper if a board member, read it, proposed it, and 40% of the board voted to do so. If not it was still retained in the Log Files.

All entries, but not log files, could be added to or edited by any colonist. Edits would be marked as provisional and the original text retained until 40% of the Board agreed to the change. Even at this point the edit history would be retained.

The main thing, as the Historian explained it, was to create a history unique to the Alchibah experience. He said “We will not duplicate but we will innovate. This will be a kind of Wiki done right.“ A problem with the first Wikipedia many felt was the lack of editorial oversight. Entries were said to be changed for partisan purposes and truth determined by vote of the majority. The problem with the present version permitted by the UNWG was that only governmentally approved ideas were allowed.

The Hist said that getting an entry into the Encyclopedia Alchibah should become a rite of passage for future generations. “Write enough and someday you will all be famous.” Famous or dead, I thought, and not looking for famous just now I would have gladly settled for a bit more sleep.

After a 2 years on the Mayflower and 2 years of making entries, some of them I considered pretty lame, I said “What’s the point of all this work right now Hist? If this colony works the E/A will grow so much that everything we do or say will be published and be found with ease. What the heck most of it‘s in the log files anyway.” I added, “Look Hist I got a million ideas for Encyclopedia entries and once all the colonists are up anyone of them could fill in the details. Why don‘t I just make a list?“

The Hist smiled and said. “Bart, Ideas are a dime a dozen. Words are a penny apiece.”

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Wormhole — Between Alchibah and Earth

by EAB

Observations by William Bartlett

Composite photo of original images SSI-1154132-7

The Discovery

In the early 2040’s the UNWG funded a project to look for nearby Wormholes or other massive near system objects. They were to be found using a method called gravitational micro lensing, the bending of light caused by the gravity of an object passing in front of, or very near to, the sight line to a more distant light source. By the late 20th century several extra-solar planets had already been discovered using this method. If the distance to the light source were known accurately enough several measurements could give an estimation of the intervening objects mass, size and distance.

Earth based instruments, by taking photos on opposite sides of the planet’s orbit, had given accurate stellar distances out to about 400 Light Years. There just weren’t enough stars that close to Earth to expect an object as small as an outer system Wormhole to be seen near enough to one of these stars for the bending to be noticed or the measurements made. The UNWG proposed to build an observatory on Saturn so as to have a longer base line. They expected good numbers out to perhaps 5000 Light Years. The project was to take about 30 years as Saturn went around in its orbit.

R. J. Hamilton heard about the program and had an idea for an improvement. Instead of one observatory he built 25 spacing them roughly 15 deg. apart just outside of Saturn‘s orbit, and thus was able to accomplish in a little over a year what would take the UNWG 30. The Orbiting Observatories were similar to the familiar Earth based Space Telescope, and were in an orbit around the sun with a slightly larger diameter than Saturn’s thus Hamilton would have an even longer base line to measure distances from.

He could have used 5 platforms spaced equally and still beat the UNWG but it would have taken longer. He had the resources for more and was in a hurry.

With so many cameras he had many more photographs for his comps to examine, hence more accurate measurements of distance, mass, and indications of light being lensed or bent. Even with all the photos he took it was an unlikely statistical occurrence to capture an object as small as the Alchibah Wormhole passing very near the sightline of a nearby star in so short a time.

An additional benefit of Hamilton’s procedure was that his accuracy let him rule out investigating quite a number of previously undiscovered objects in the outer solar system that though large in size were not massive enough to be Wormholes. By 2042 Hamilton was ready to launch his first exploratory ship.

There is a certain amount of confusion concerning the popular myth that Brandon Carter had just stumbled across the Wormhole. It appears much more likely that Hamilton had sent him out to investigate at the proper spot and was happy enough to let Carter get the credit. See Historian’s interview with R. Williams/L. Monroe/et al.

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Alchibah, Local Vicinity of Stars

by EAB

Chart View

Photo from Mayflower Archives

As seen from Earth the Alchibah star system is dim and quite difficult to see with the unaided eye. Being a Southern Hemispheric object, in the northern latitudes, it never gets much above the horizon. Any city glow or bright moonlight will wash it out completely. With binoculars it may readily be seen, though only for a few hours at a time, before it dips below the horizon. The above chart is a standard reference. The photo was taken on route to the Wormhole and may be used to locate Alchibah’s position and those stars in the same general viewing area.

The Sun as seen from Alchibah will be even dimmer by at least a full magnitude and probably not visible to the naked eye. Atmospheric conditions on the planet will have much to do with this along with the latitude of our selected landing site. Alchibah’s two moons and system dust scattering will also make for a bright sky glow. As soon as the landing site is selected, and atmospheric data analyzed, a view from Alchibah to Earth, will be prepared.

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Alchibah Solar System — Asteroid Belt

by EAB

Into the Belt

Painting by Travis

The Alchibah system asteroid belt has a mean radius of 470 million miles. It is roughly 300 million miles wide and extends about 6 degrees above and below the plane of the ecliptic. Its density is at least 20 times greater than that of the Solar Systems’ though even this makes it, pretty much, mostly empty space. It is estimated that the Solar System has an amount of material in its’ asteroid belt equal to about that of the Earths’ moon. The Alchibah system belt has a total mass greater than that of the Earth itself. Perhaps the absence of any Mars type planet between Alchibah and the first Gas Giant explains this fact.

We have detected to date, in the belt, at least seven asteroids larger than the 485 mile diameter of Ceres, the largest asteroid in the Solar System. Two are known to be in excess of 1100 miles. Still the average rock, of any size, is separated from its nearest neighbor by 50,000 miles. Though unexplored as yet it is expected the belt will hold a higher percentage of metals and radioactives than what we have been familiar with. We have to date catalogued over 3500 belt objects with many more to find and only the orbital elements of the largest 100 or so have been determined with any precision.

What the Alchibah belt has, that makes it so very spectacular, is a large component of small dust particles and ionized gasses. These debris, are the residue from cometary collisions with the asteroids as the comets plow into the inner system. Some is due to collisions between the asteroids themselves. Out gassing from the Alc4 and Alc5 Gas Giant moons are likely responsible for another large contribution. You can think of it as a system sized florescent bulb. Even as a florescent tube is mostly vacuum with an ionized gas; so is the Alchibah asteroid belt.

A clear night on Alchibah should reveal a glowing band across the heavens, a dozen times brighter than the Milky Way and twice as wide. Not nearly bright enough to read by but impressive none the less.

Ships collision avoidance systems will easily cope with travel through the belt but the amount of small dust and gas particles will limit speeds to perhaps a few thousand miles per second. If faster speeds are necessary a path up and over the belt will have to be plotted.

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