FIREFLY EPISODE DISCUSSIONS

Sex (and Sexuality) in the Future

POSTED BY: BLUEBOMBER
UPDATED: Friday, November 30, 2007 05:36
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 5750
PAGE 1 of 1

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 8:58 AM

BLUEBOMBER


I was watching "Heart of Gold" last week with some buddies when this came up.

In the scene where Mal is looking at Nandi's guns she asks if he's "sly," to which he responds "Sly? No, I lean towards womenfolk." The script refers to Mal as being "totally comfortable with the question." Also, in "War Stories" we see that although Inara's clientel is mostly male, she is known to service female clients.

So the ensuing discussion was about sexuality in the future. In these particular cases it seems almost a non-issue, but you gotta wonder how tolerant a society that would still go medieval and burn a girl at the stake really is.

Going a step further, I recall an episode of ST:TNG where Riker falls in love with a member of an androgynous species who decides to be female, but she is told that her newfound sexuality is against their culture and forcibly "cured" of it.

Outside of these episodes, I'm not sure how much sci-fi deals with homosexuality 500 years or so from now. Can y'all think of any other examples? And what are your thoughts?

"Mwah ha ha ha...mine is an evil laugh. Now die."

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 9:30 AM

DAVESHAYNE


Quote:

Originally posted by BlueBomber:
I was watching "Heart of Gold" last week with some buddies when this came up.

In the scene where Mal is looking at Nandi's guns she asks if he's "sly," to which he responds "Sly? No, I lean towards womenfolk." The script refers to Mal as being "totally comfortable with the question." Also, in "War Stories" we see that although Inara's clientel is mostly male, she is known to service female clients.

So the ensuing discussion was about sexuality in the future. In these particular cases it seems almost a non-issue, but you gotta wonder how tolerant a society that would still go medieval and burn a girl at the stake really is.



Well that's just a small group of outlaws hiding in the hills that like frying psychics. Other societies have other rules. The tolerance for what we would think of as alternative lifestyles is quite possible more of a core planet notion. I see it as one of the areas in which the Alliance isn't a cut and dried evil empire.

Quote:

Outside of these episodes, I'm not sure how much sci-fi deals with homosexuality 500 years or so from now. Can y'all think of any other examples? And what are your thoughts?


Written SF is more likely to deal with sexuality (of the types we would call alternative or otherwise) than the screen variety. Mostly because of the lack of a rating's board I suspect.



David

'Geeks can't admit that anything worthwhile was invented before 1981. Soon, "making cocoa" will be called "milk hacking."' - Lore Sjoberg

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 9:50 AM

BROWNCOATSANDINISTA


Well, in War Stories, as you mentioned, we see that Inara's clientèle isn't entirely male. But I think what's more revealing about that situation is the reactions of the crew members. Mal does his "Huh." thing, as if he'd never considered that Inara might service the womenfolk.

Kaylee, if I remember correctly, has a sort of "Oh wow" reaction. I'm not sure what her feelings are based upon - e.g. it may be a "My older sister just brought home a girl" or a "Oh wow, they look so beautiful together, what a great couple" or it could be a "Oh wow, I'm not sure what to make of this, just, Oh wow" any of which give insight into the culture she was brought up in, and therefore explain "Sex (and Sexuality) in the Future"

I think the most telling though, is Book's reaction. He doesn't immediately condemn it, even though in current times most ((If not all)) preachers would be highly against this behaviour ((Sex for money, Sex outside of Marriage, and Sex between women)).

On the whole, Book's relationship with Inara was one of the most interesting throughout the series. We know that he initially has discomfort with the idea of flying with a companion, but soon he finds that she is a spiritual peer. I think that though the idea of Companionship is against that of Book's order, it would seem that the homosexual aspect is less of an issue. If that's the case for a preacher, then the general populace has probably long moved on about the whole "Ach, Gay people! Cover mine eyes!" idiocy.

And who can forget Jayne. His reaction is simple and I don't think needs explanation.

"I'll be in my bunk."

Yep, still clear I think.

"I'm not going to say Serenity is the greatest SciFi movie ever; oh wait yes I am." - Orson Scott Card

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 10:19 AM

SHINYSEVEN2


A LOT of things got lost in the shuffle because the series was over so fast, but I think one reason that Inara is in the series* is precisely to show that sexual mores are very different. And why wouldn't they be in a society where, even though Christianity still exists and some people still believe in it, Christianity is not an official religion and isn't even a majority religion?

Another indication of changing mores is that Kaylee is both sweet and innocent AND perfectly happy to have sex with a pick-up in a semi-public place.

It's kind of inactive now, but there was a LiveJournal community called "Rutting Town Hall: Where you Get to vote on Mal's ship". The subtitle was "it's the future! everybody's bi!" which is one reading of Nandi's question. Maybe she meant "Oh, are you one of those rare people who is exclusively homosexual, unlike everybody else who's bisexual?" (I think she was trying to get his goat, though--and, as the direction says, failed.)



*apart from everybody getting a kick out saying "space!Hooker"

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 10:24 AM

CHRISISALL


The novel The Forever War (by Joe Haldeman) has Earth in the future being mostly homosexual, with the few "queer" folk who like the opposite sex in the minority.

And it's a good book Chrisisall

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 11:32 AM

JONGSSTRAW


The distant future of sexuality is no sexuality, or asexuality. I can envision a future society where the very thought of physical contact with another person, or either gender, is totally replusive. I've been married a while now, and I'm not too far from there now. After all, sex is smelly, disgusting and degrading...and that's only when its' done right.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 11:37 AM

CHRISISALL


LOL Chrisisall



NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 11:39 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Jongsstraw:
After all, sex is smelly, disgusting and degrading...and that's only when its' done right.

I kinda like it, but that's just me.





More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 11:44 AM

CHRISISALL


I want clean sex, like in Demolition Man!

Fluids-free Chrisisall

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 11:51 AM

CITIZEN






More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 11:52 AM

CHRISISALL


Silly silly British man.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 12:35 PM

BLUEBOMBER


Quote:

Originally posted by Jongsstraw:
The distant future of sexuality is no sexuality, or asexuality. I can envision a future society where the very thought of physical contact with another person, or either gender, is totally replusive.


...but why would you want to?

"Mwah ha ha ha...mine is an evil laugh. Now die."

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 12:39 PM

REGINAROADIE


Quote:

Written SF is more likely to deal with sexuality (of the types we would call alternative or otherwise) than the screen variety. Mostly because of the lack of a rating's board I suspect.


My thoughts exactly. I imagine someone who keeps up with regularly printed sci-fi novels would be able to list a dozen stories and novels that deal with sexuality in the future. But as per sci-fi movies and tv shows, I think maybe a handful of STAR TREK episodes at best.

I think in terms of human sexuality in the future, I think eventually it'll become a non-issue. That the line between hetero and homosexuality will get so blurrry that it'll just be a blot. And that no one would raise an eyebrow if some macho guy sleeps around with both women and men. Maybe not for a few hundred years or so. But we will become an enlightened race in terms of our sexuality.

What I'm more interested in is interspecies relations. In STAR TREK you have all these, for lack of a better term, halflings. But by the time we're seeing it, the idea of interspecies couples have already been around and accepted. I'd like to see an alien version of GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER that really probes the notion of "Mom, Dad, this is my boy/girlfriend. He/she's a Martian/Klingon."

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 12:51 PM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by reginaroadie:
What I'm more interested in is interspecies relations. In STAR TREK you have all these, for lack of a better term, halflings. But by the time we're seeing it, the idea of interspecies couples have already been around and accepted. I'd like to see an alien version of GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER that really probes the notion of "Mom, Dad, this is my boy/girlfriend. He/she's a Martian/Klingon."

One of the sillier parts of Science Fiction. We can't (nor do we generally want too) successfully breed with another species on our planet, even one's like chimps that are as close to Human as you can get, without being Human. In all reality any creature that evolved on another planet, would be totally unappealing to us sexually (and vice versa), and even if they weren't the chances of our genitals being compatible is astronomically unlikely. Assuming they even reproduce sexually.

But then, the whole thing is more of an analogy for interracial relationships anyway, it's just a really poorly thought out way of doing it.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 1:06 PM

REGINAROADIE


OK, so maybe I didn't put too much thought into it.

I'm just saying that if we're imagining a future where it doesn't matter if we're gay or straight, why not imagine a future where we have to stay in our own species to fall in love and find a mate to be with.

And there's a difference between getting it on with a species that has pretty much the same physiology as we do but maybe has a bumpy forehead or a ridged nose, and getting it on with a green tentacled BEM (that's bug eyed monster for those unfamiliar).

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 1:36 PM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by reginaroadie:
OK, so maybe I didn't put too much thought into it.

I'm just saying that if we're imagining a future where it doesn't matter if we're gay or straight, why not imagine a future where we have to stay in our own species to fall in love and find a mate to be with.

And there's a difference between getting it on with a species that has pretty much the same physiology as we do but maybe has a bumpy forehead or a ridged nose, and getting it on with a green tentacled BEM (that's bug eyed monster for those unfamiliar).

The other really silly bit about Sci-Fi, how like us Aliens will be...

But there's loads of possibilities, Androids, Clones, Genetically engineered life forms. Anyone remember how one of the Blade Runner replicants was a 'basic pleasure model'?

Clones would be really weird "Hi mom, hi dad, this is my new boyfriend, me". Especially if you got something really Red Dwarf into the mix and had a female or male version of yourself made.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 1:42 PM

RALLEM


I actually think that in Firefly that Jayne might be bisexual because in the Doctor's quarters when River starts to tease him about his name, Jayne says he can show her that he has man parts, and after Simon says he couldn't think of a way Jayne could be cruder, Jayne pulled out a deck of cards and said he was going to show her a deck of cards. Why would Jayne have a deck of cards with man parts on it?


NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 2:51 PM

JONGSSTRAW


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
I want clean sex, like in Demolition Man!

Fluids-free Chrisisall


I also remember the Orgasmitron used frequently in Sleeper. And the "orb". Looked like paradise to me until Miles came along and started a revolution.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 2:54 PM

REGINAROADIE


You're grasping at straws there. The "deck of cards" is separate from the "man parts" bit.

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 3:01 PM

CITIZEN


Actually I'd have gone with the Jaynes constant working out and raging labido as a cover for...

Unresolved feelings.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 3:03 PM

RALLEM


Quote:

Originally posted by reginaroadie:
You're grasping at straws there. The "deck of cards" is separate from the "man parts" bit.

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack



How do you figure the deck of cards and man parts are seperate?


NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 3:12 PM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by rallem:
How do you figure the deck of cards and man parts are seperate?

Man, I thought you were joking.

He's about whack his man hood out to prove he's a guy, then when Simon admonish him he says he was going to leave them a deck of cards (to, you know pass the time) but now he's not. You're reading WAY to much into it.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 3:59 PM

FREMDFIRMA


"And there's a difference between getting it on with a species that has pretty much the same physiology as we do but maybe has a bumpy forehead or a ridged nose, and getting it on with a green tentacled BEM (that's bug eyed monster for those unfamiliar)."

Didn't seem to bother the guy in Galaxy Quest much.

I so rolled on the floor at that, hey, if it makes him happy...

-F

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 4:06 PM

RALLEM


What do you figure is more believable that we'll be all alone in the future or that we'll have to deal with various alien life forms?


NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 4:11 PM

DAVESHAYNE


Quote:

Originally posted by Jongsstraw:
I also remember the Orgasmitron used frequently in Sleeper. And the "orb". Looked like paradise to me until Miles came along and started a revolution.



Barbarella had sex in pill form.



David

'Geeks can't admit that anything worthwhile was invented before 1981. Soon, "making cocoa" will be called "milk hacking."' - Lore Sjoberg

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 4:34 PM

RALLEM


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:
Quote:

Originally posted by rallem:
How do you figure the deck of cards and man parts are seperate?

Man, I thought you were joking.

He's about whack his man hood out to prove he's a guy, then when Simon admonish him he says he was going to leave them a deck of cards (to, you know pass the time) but now he's not. You're reading WAY to much into it.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.
]

I simply saw this differently. It looked to me that Jayne began reaching in his pants and after the Doctor's condemnation he pulled the deck of cards out and said he was going to give her some cards.


NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, November 22, 2007 10:50 AM

BROWNCOATSANDINISTA


Yes, but he meant the cards to be a distraction from the long period spent locked in a room. Of course, I wouldn't put it past Jayne to have dirty cards, but I don't think he'd be passing them out ((You saw what that girl did to Book's book right? No respect for other peoples property!))

As far as Aliens in the Future - I think there's other life out there, but given the vasty expanse that is "out there" there's no guarantee that we'll be making contact any time soon.

And I see no reason why Aliens couldn't be similar to us. If they have a similar environment to evolve in ((Or a similarly minded creation being, if you're so inclined [[what poor poor people you are]])) then they could very well end up looking very much like us. That's because our morphology has to make sense, or else we wouldn't be dominant. I also see no reason for them to be anything like us, morphologically speaking.

Interspecies copulation, I think, would probably be impossible given our definitions of species ((I think that it is a group of organisms which are of the same Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family and Genus, which can reproduce successfully and have the "f1" generation reproduce successfully as well)). So basically, if you and your alien lady can have children, and these children can have children, then you basically would effectively be the same species, regardless of the obvious not being the same species. That would certainly throw most Biologists for a bender methinks.

The other issue with the above is the fact that aliens are statistically as likely or more likely not to have a similar number of chromosomes, a similar basic genetic unit, or even a similar way of expressing these genetic units phenotypically ((Is that a word? It is now.)). There is no law in physics that says all genes in all organisms must consist of nucleic acids which code for proteins. For all we know, other species on other worlds may use radon-francium-boride molecules as their basic genetic unit, coding for lithium-hydrogen-titaniumite molecules instead of proteins. We just don't know.

Back to the purpose of the thread - I don't think that there would be any reason for all of humanity to become bisexual in the future, if the future is like Firefly. Let me explain. I believe that homosexuality is a branch of evolution effected by environmental signals, meant unlike other mutations, to curb population growth to a manageable level. If we don't have overpopulation issues ((Which, given our ability to terraform in the 'verse, seems unlikely to be an issue)) then the incidence of Homosexuality would go down. Granted, I don't think that societies view of homosexuality will remain as it does ((We do seem to be growing more tolerant)) but genetically we may not be so predisposed to it. That said, it does seem that in society, bisexuality ((At least in women)) is becoming an attractive trait to heterosexual ((And therefore propogation-inclined)) males, which could by simple genetics increase its rate of incidence.

Anyways, as to sex being degrading when done right, I disagree. Sex is a beautiful, healthy thing, and without it, we wouldn't be here ((Even if you are a child by in-vitro fertilization, your ancestors had sex at some point or another.)).

My .02 Plat.

"I'm not going to say Serenity is the greatest SciFi movie ever; oh wait yes I am." - Orson Scott Card

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, November 22, 2007 11:29 AM

DEEPGIRL187


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
I want clean sex, like in Demolition Man!



I think I'd rather see a cure to all sexually-transmitted disease before we go to that extreme. All the fun, none of the fatal consequences.

*************************************************

"This is my timey-wimey detector. It goes ding when there's stuff. Also, it can boil an egg at 30 paces, whether you want it to or not, actually, so I've learned to stay away from hens. It's not pretty when they blow."

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, November 22, 2007 11:38 AM

HUGHFF


1. The Forever War is not a good book - it's an excellent book. (Though it's also not a novel but a collection of related short stories disguised as a novel.)

2. Kaylee says she knew Inara had some female clients she just didn't expect one. Her and the others reactions tell us that homosexuality may be accepted (at least by the crew) but it is not expected. In many ways I think it's equally indicative that women are seldom high ranking officials in the Alliance. That's pretty sad too.

3. I find interspecies sex in sf dumb. Not offensive, just a mssive strain on my credulity, for many of the reasons above.

www.cpfc.org - my life
www.nbhs.school.nz - my work

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, November 22, 2007 2:44 PM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by BrowncoatSandinista:
As far as Aliens in the Future - I think there's other life out there, but given the vasty expanse that is "out there" there's no guarantee that we'll be making contact any time soon.

Don't forget separation in time. The Earth is 4.5 Billion years old, a variation of 0.000001% in the rate of rise of technological civilisation would give 9.134 thousand years of separation between technological civilisations. That's a tiny variation, producing a startlingly large deviation.

In all likelihood our contact with sentient life will be limited to creatures at an ape like level of evolution, or long lost relics of their cities.

I've heard some figures for Gamma Ray burster's, that make the existence of life in our local stellar neighbourhood unlikely until recently. It's an interesting solution to the Fermi Paradox, what if the reason we can't hear any transmissions from other Alien life forms is because we were the first to evolve intelligence in our local stellar neighbourhood?
Quote:

And I see no reason why Aliens couldn't be similar to us. If they have a similar environment to evolve in ((Or a similarly minded creation being, if you're so inclined [[what poor poor people you are]])) then they could very well end up looking very much like us. That's because our morphology has to make sense, or else we wouldn't be dominant.
There isn't a reason for them not to be like us, beyond probability. It's perfectly possible that a species identical to us evolved elsewhere, just so improbable as to be virtually discountable. The further back in time you go, the greater a minor deviation will become. Think about an asteroid headed for Earth, a 1% deviation in course far enough away will make it miss the Earth by millions of miles, but a 1% deviation just before it hits the atmosphere will mean it hits Paris instead of London (still worth doing IMHO, bloody French).

Likewise, the further back in time in a planets history you go, the more like Earth it'll have to be to produce even a superficially similar result. Even a tiny change in atmospheric gas percentages during the first stages of life could produce a startlingly large deviation later on. What if a meteor played an important role in Earth life early evolution? What if this meteor on our sister planet hit on the land instead of the ocean in our sister planet? There's countless variables, and there's no knowing how big a change they could influence.
Quote:

The other issue with the above is the fact that aliens are statistically as likely or more likely not to have a similar number of chromosomes, a similar basic genetic unit, or even a similar way of expressing these genetic units phenotypically ((Is that a word? It is now.)). There is no law in physics that says all genes in all organisms must consist of nucleic acids which code for proteins.
In other terms, an Alien species doesn't have to use DNA, or for that matter use a compound even roughly analogous with DNA? I agree. They might not even be made of meat: http://www.terrybisson.com/meat.html
Quote:

For all we know, other species on other worlds may use radon-francium-boride molecules as their basic genetic unit, coding for lithium-hydrogen-titaniumite molecules instead of proteins. We just don't know.
We can make educated guess though. Earth life is based around Carbon based proteins in water solution, the closest being proteins in Ammonia solution. Ammonia is a lot like water (for life's purposes) when in liquid form, with some few differences. Ammonia based life would need less stable proteins, since Earth like proteins are too stable at liquid Ammonia temperatures. Also, water is a liquid between 0 and 100 degrees centigrade in 1 atmosphere of pressure, while Ammonia is liquid between -77.7 and -33.4 degrees centigrade. In other words the Arctic circle would be uncomfortably warm to an ammonia life form. When thirsty, they'll also reach for a nice frigid glass of liquid Ammonia.

There's all sorts of possibilities, though they require wildly different temperature ranges, for instance Fluorocarbons in Molten Sulfur would operate at temperatures between 113 to 445 degrees centigrade, polylipids in Hydrogen would work between -253 to -240 degrees centigrade.

Carbon could even be replaced as the building blocks, by Boron or Silicon, though neither are as ideal as Carbon for various reasons. Having said that life doesn't always tend to the ideal, for instance no one knows of a compound better than haemoglobin for carrying oxygen, but not all life on Earth uses Haemoglobin for that task, including Horseshoe crabs.
Quote:

Back to the purpose of the thread - I don't think that there would be any reason for all of humanity to become bisexual in the future, if the future is like Firefly. Let me explain. I believe that homosexuality is a branch of evolution effected by environmental signals, meant unlike other mutations, to curb population growth to a manageable level. If we don't have overpopulation issues ((Which, given our ability to terraform in the 'verse, seems unlikely to be an issue)) then the incidence of Homosexuality would go down. Granted, I don't think that societies view of homosexuality will remain as it does ((We do seem to be growing more tolerant)) but genetically we may not be so predisposed to it. That said, it does seem that in society, bisexuality ((At least in women)) is becoming an attractive trait to heterosexual ((And therefore propogation-inclined)) males, which could by simple genetics increase its rate of incidence.
I don't think homosexuality is natures way of easing population growth, it could be just a genetic quirk, but there is some evidence that homosexuals act like surrogate parents. There is an advantage to social species for a non-breeding pairs to be available to look after the breeding pairs Children on occasion. This has been somewhat explored in science fiction, introducing third sexes in races for instance (I think that was explored in ST:Voyager in an early episode).

Nor do I think that homosexuality will decline with living space, there seems to be a stronger incidence with population growth, than with over crowding.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Thursday, November 22, 2007 10:01 PM

BROWNCOATSANDINISTA


Wow. I got a Citizen Post.

First of all, the Meat story is hilarious, and I am in the process of disseminating it to many of my friends ((Not to the ones who wouldn't get it mind.)).

Secondly, I believe that on most points, we are agreed. Considering separation in time, it is likely that we are not the first or the last sapient species, but also [Grand Moff Voice] it is possible, however unlikely that[/Grand Moff Voice] they developed concurrently. The same goes for the variability of species evolving on different worlds. We don't really know what the affect of a slight change in environment on the development of a species ((We've not been around long enough)), so we don't know how unlikely another species similar enough to be considered the same would be ((Though we can and do agree that the likelihood is astronomical)). Also, we don't know the 'half life', if you will, for sapient species capable of contact with us, so 9.134 thousand years may not be that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.

Your knowledge of different possible molecular basses for life at various temperatures easily surpasses mine ((What biology I've had has not included Xenobiology in any form.)), though the Fluorocarbons in Molten Sulfur's ideal temperature range certainly intrigues me. ((Aside: I like to dream up alien life forms in my spare time. One of my current roster of species uses hydrogen in water and oxygen instead of Adenosine Triphosphate, and fuses excess hydrogen into helium for warmth and energy with a sort of 'lukewarm fusion reactor', and it also has a Cermet Skeleton. The temperature range therein described could make for some hardy beings, as far as what temperature their environment can attain.))

As to homosexuality's increased rate of incidence with the growth of population - I think that the population growth is the cause of the increase in Homosexuality, so I do believe that your final statement is valid. Essentially -
Increase in Population Density --> Increase in rate of incidence for Homosexuality.

You are correct about the benefit of having a non-breeding pair acting as parents in lieu of only breeding pairs parenting. This is well documented in Black Swans.

Finally, I'd like to ask what you do Citizen? You seem to be well educated and well read on a number of topics, and I'd like to know what kind of person has all of this knowledge ((And then, by extension, how do I gain it myself and take over the world?))

Please don't answer if it would make you uncomfortable, but you are a singularly interesting person, and one of the posters on this board who I make special care to look out for, even if I don't always agree with you.

Thanks!

"I'm not going to say Serenity is the greatest SciFi movie ever; oh wait yes I am." - Orson Scott Card

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Friday, November 23, 2007 5:59 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by BrowncoatSandinista:
First of all, the Meat story is hilarious, and I am in the process of disseminating it to many of my friends ((Not to the ones who wouldn't get it mind.)).

It's an interesting counterpoint to the ussual Sci-Fi "all Aliens will be a lot like us", as well as a few other things .
Quote:

The same goes for the variability of species evolving on different worlds. We don't really know what the affect of a slight change in environment on the development of a species ((We've not been around long enough)), so we don't know how unlikely another species similar enough to be considered the same would be ((Though we can and do agree that the likelihood is astronomical)).
No, but we can make some educated guesses. I've heard of the use of computer models that have given wildly different results with slight tweaks to the input variables, including predominantly Earth-like planets producing 'trees' constructed of meat. Mathematics Chaos theory also indicates that a small change to initial variables in a solar system wide system, can produce massive variation. I'm including the whole solar system because variations in solar output, perturbations in neighbouring orbital bodies, meteors, asteroids, even objects outside the solar system can effect life on one planetary body. I guess what I'm saying is that the Earth isn't a closed system.
Quote:

Also, we don't know the 'half life', if you will, for sapient species capable of contact with us, so 9.134 thousand years may not be that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.
No, but again we can make a guess based on our own development. 9000 years is the difference between the bronze age and a technological civilisation sometime in the year 6000. Looking at our own history, any contact between two civilisations of even a much lower variation in technological mastery without exception devolves down to one becoming the slave to the other. That's assuming we, or any other civilisation survives the trials of Nuclear/Biological/Nano technological war, and don't get smitten out of existence by some rogue asteroid before the comparative year 6000. Another problem is the window for technological contact, consider that in 10,000 years we've been capable of receiving and transmitting radio waves for the last century, and we've only really been looking for the last 50 or so years. Perhaps we aren't picking up the sound of other civilisations because they haven't developed radio technology yet, or based on more advanced knowledge of physics than ours, perhaps they use some other physical property for communication that we haven't even theorised about, let alone know how to use. The implication is that those super advanced races may not even consider radio communication worth looking for, or even possible/practical to see, the same way we don't scan other planets for the use of camp fires. If we're talking a technological window of, say 200 years on average while radio technology is the de facto standard for a civilisations communications, a 9000 year variation in development is a huge, possibly insurmountable gulf between the two. Further, a civilisation advanced beyond us by a few thousand years could have retreated entirely in to cyberspace, living their lives in virtual constructs, or even used technology to 'evolve' themselves into a form we are simply incapable of perceiving.
Quote:

Your knowledge of different possible molecular basses for life at various temperatures easily surpasses mine ((What biology I've had has not included Xenobiology in any form.)), though the Fluorocarbons in Molten Sulfur's ideal temperature range certainly intrigues me.
Don't be so sure, I had to look up Adenosine Triphosphate, I've done some reading up on Xenobiology, or Astrobiology, but some of those examples are merely lifted from websites and textbooks I've read. I've read up on the various basis for life, but I had to check up on the temperature ranges . Though having said that it's sort of obvious that certain basis will give wildly different living temperature requirements.

One website that has a great deal of these alternatives, and suggestions for further reading is the “internet encyclopaedia of science”. Specifically the categories of “alternative forms of life” and “Astrobiology”:
http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/A/alternative_forms_of_life.
html

http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/A/astrobiology_entries.html
Quote:

((Aside: I like to dream up alien life forms in my spare time. One of my current roster of species uses hydrogen in water and oxygen instead of Adenosine Triphosphate, and fuses excess hydrogen into helium for warmth and energy with a sort of 'lukewarm fusion reactor', and it also has a Cermet Skeleton. The temperature range therein described could make for some hardy beings, as far as what temperature their environment can attain.))
Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
Quote:

You are correct about the benefit of having a non-breeding pair acting as parents in lieu of only breeding pairs parenting. This is well documented in Black Swans.
I hadn't heard about black swans, I believe the study I heard of was in reference to chimpanzees, have you an on-line link?
Quote:

Finally, I'd like to ask what you do Citizen? You seem to be well educated and well read on a number of topics, and I'd like to know what kind of person has all of this knowledge ((And then, by extension, how do I gain it myself and take over the world?))
I work for the British MOD. I don't do anything special, I mainly read up on subjects that interest me. A particular anecdote from this site was when Rue was surprised that I knew about mirror Neurons. I'd actually heard about them in a BBC documentary series about the Human body, specifically the program related to the brain and learning. I found the subject interesting, and looked for information on the net, including published scientific/medical literature (which is one thing I find annoying, so many of these are exorbitantly expensive to get at unless you're a university or similar institution). I really don't see the surprise there, I mean, all I did is watch a TV program and read up on something I found interesting. That's pretty much how it goes, I keep my ears open for something interesting (like the operation of particular nucleotides ) and when I do I look for more information on the subject. Nothing more or less mysterious than that really.

EDIT:
NASA also has a site on Astrobiology that has some interesting information on it:
http://astrobiology.arc.nasa.gov/about/index.cfm

Further Edit:
Intelligent Alien life may never invent technology, of course. One admittedly sketchy way of working out intelligence across species is by the ratio of brain mass to body mass. Obviously the Brain of a Blue Whale is larger than that of a Human, but it's much smaller in comparative size to the body. The idea is that there's a certain amount of brain mass required to keep the autonomic body functions going, and anything over that is what can be put toward higher intelligence. This comparison (lets call it CQ for Comparative Quotient, since I can't remember the actual name) starts at 1, the minimum amount of brain mass to run the body. The 'CQ' for a Chimpanzee, an animal that can use tools, and shows a good degree of intelligent problem solving, has a CQ of 1.7. Using the same scale Humans weigh in at a little over 7. The interesting thing is that Dolphins vary around the 5.4 mark, making them the second highest species on the CQ scale, yet unlike Chimps show no technological use at all. They have, however shown themselves to be quite intelligent in both problem solving and their ability to communicate, not just with each other but us as well.

I think it's possible that Dolphins are the second most intelligent animal on the planet, but are incapable of using tools, due to their physiology. Our opposable thumbs make our limbs very versatile, but when all you have are flippers, they can't be used for much more than, erm, flipping.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Friday, November 23, 2007 11:55 PM

WYTCHCROFT


some stunning posts on this thread. i've recently been reading some intersting speculative work on sex and technology by Dr Richard Clements - and i enjoyed these posts very much.

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 24, 2007 10:40 AM

BROWNCOATSANDINISTA


I'd have to dig through my library's back issues of Science to find the research on Black Swans.

You're right of course, Citizen, that given what evidence we have and the computer models based upon said evidence the prospects for finding a similarly evolved species as ourselves are slim.

Not to totally change the subject, but what do you think of the Anthropic Principle? I think that its looking entirely in the wrong direction, kind of like earth-centric views of the universe. That is to say, the Universe is not fine tuned to us, we are fine tuned to the Universe.

"I'm not going to say Serenity is the greatest SciFi movie ever; oh wait yes I am." - Orson Scott Card

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Saturday, November 24, 2007 1:19 PM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by BrowncoatSandinista:
Not to totally change the subject, but what do you think of the Anthropic Principle? I think that its looking entirely in the wrong direction, kind of like earth-centric views of the universe. That is to say, the Universe is not fine tuned to us, we are fine tuned to the Universe.

The weak and strong versions of the Anthropic Principle? If the Universes physical laws were even a little different, Humans couldn't survive, so either the universe is designed for humans, or humans are designed for the universe.

Personally I think we evolved in these physical laws, if the laws were different, we'd have to be different to have evolved in them. If you fill a glass with water, the water fits the glass perfectly, someone coming along later *could* say the glass was created in a shape to perfectly fit the water...



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, November 25, 2007 9:12 AM

BROWNCOATSANDINISTA


I'm not so familiar with the differences between the weak and strong versions, would you be so kind to educate me? I ran into it recently when talking to a group of students from a Christian college who were attempting to get me to agree that, correct or not, Intelligent Design is a valid Scientific Theory.

I personally agree, we are a product of the laws of physics, and not the other way around, but they wouldn't hear me when I told them this.

"I'm not going to say Serenity is the greatest SciFi movie ever; oh wait yes I am." - Orson Scott Card

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Sunday, November 25, 2007 9:49 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by BrowncoatSandinista:
I'm not so familiar with the differences between the weak and strong versions, would you be so kind to educate me? I ran into it recently when talking to a group of students from a Christian college who were attempting to get me to agree that, correct or not, Intelligent Design is a valid Scientific Theory.

Wiki does a pretty good job:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle

It sounds like the students were talking about the strong principle, that the universe MUST be the way it is to allow life to exist.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

NOTIFY: Y   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

Friday, November 30, 2007 5:36 AM

KACEK


Quote:



I think in terms of human sexuality in the future, I think eventually it'll become a non-issue. That the line between hetero and homosexuality will get so blurry that it'll just be a blot. And that no one would raise an eyebrow if some macho guy sleeps around with both women and men. Maybe not for a few hundred years or so. But we will become an enlightened race in terms of our sexuality.



Obviously you have not caught Torchwood.
Captain Jack Harkness is not exclusive.
It may not be a hundred years, we may be closer than you think.

NOTIFY: N   |  REPLY  |  REPLY WITH QUOTE  |  TOP  |  HOME  

YOUR OPTIONS

NEW POSTS TODAY

USERPOST DATE

OTHER TOPICS

DISCUSSIONS
Questions about Sound in Space
Mon, November 29, 2021 20:47 - 41 posts
I have lost all faith in the Oscars!
Mon, April 26, 2021 21:44 - 35 posts
Firefly Honest Trailer
Sat, October 3, 2020 16:39 - 7 posts
Itinerary for Serenity during the 9 months of Firefly/Serenity.
Thu, June 20, 2019 20:39 - 21 posts
Map of the Verse discussion
Tue, June 4, 2019 20:51 - 170 posts
The Savant Crew
Wed, May 15, 2019 13:47 - 32 posts
Who Was Your Favorite Friend of Our BDH?
Wed, April 24, 2019 00:26 - 3 posts
Everything Wrong with “The Train Job”
Wed, February 6, 2019 18:20 - 4 posts
Where is the location for the scene at the end of "Trash"
Mon, December 24, 2018 23:42 - 4 posts
Christmastime
Mon, December 24, 2018 13:48 - 1 posts
"Mal, bad... in the Latin" what does it mean?
Sun, August 5, 2018 23:02 - 31 posts
Who Was Your Favorite Character That Died In The Verse?
Thu, July 26, 2018 06:15 - 6 posts

FFF.NET SOCIAL