Questions from an inquisitive nine year old

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by Freeborn, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. Freeborn

    Freeborn Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Okay so i have a friend in the US who has already seen a few episodes Of Red Dwarf, but is now working her way through them all from the start (or rather "The End" :-) ). She just watched episode four last night with her nine year old son, who seemed to enjoy it, but he's a smart kid and has already has some questions as to the science behind certain aspects.

    I have my own throughts as to the answers, but i can't rightly remember if there were official explianations via the books or indeed later in the series, so any thoughts from you guys would be appreciated muchly. Whether official explanations or personal theories.

    So although i'm sure these questions have come up many times in the past, his initial question are as follows;

    Why does Rimmer need sleep if he's a hologram?

    And where does all the fresh food on the ship come from if they're 3 million years in space?

    The latter question came up when Lister gets milk for the cat. Seems a reasonable question to me. As i said i feel i can answer these questions, but want to make sure i'm not missing anything official and am also intersted as to any individual theories.

    There will likely be more questions added here in the near future too..:-)
     
  2. Daniel

    Daniel Console Officer

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    Because the mind is still human. Although the body no longer has a need for a physical recharge, the brain still needs rest to process things. Combine this with the fact that perhaps the brain cannot handle the change to a physical form that doesn't strain as it should and still thinks that it does. Much like how mental fatigue can leave us feeling physically shattered. Either that or perhaps the holograms do still allow for a form of physical fatigue to allow the hologram to still feel that bit more "human"

    HUGE storage areas with bloody good refrigeration? To be honest this has often left me wondering, as over the years of the cat evolution surely they would have taken a lot of stuff, but of course it wouldn't necessarily be a huge stretch to assume the rest of the Cat people may have traded with others out in the depths of deep space (simply avoiding the irradiated parts of the ship, as they clearly have access to some form of hangar as they built the arcs and left). But then they would still have needed something to trade with...

    EDIT: somehow forgot that without the crew the ship would still be crawling with items the Cat's could pilfer for trade purposes, including the crew's personal effects. Considering the radiation did not all disappear at once in other parts of the ship (as shown by the Officer's Quarters), they could have easily accessed the safe areas (if they had some form of access to Holly this would help here). How they survived prior to that evolution is anybody's guess though.
     
  3. ori-STUDFARM

    ori-STUDFARM Supply Officer

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    The novels do report about disease and starvation in the Cat's history which was resolved the day one Cat held aloft a religious artifact, attached the "V" shaped object to a silver rock, turned the handle and produced...... Alphabeti-Spagetti.

    Also, Lister and Rimmer descend into the Dwarf's storage floors and discover hundreds and hundreds of decks that should have been full of food empty. Why Red Dwarf happened to be carrying so much food is anybodies guess. We can only specualte that the floors which would have been used to carry away valuable ores and minerals were also used to transport food and commodities to human outposts on route...
     
  4. Daniel

    Daniel Console Officer

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    Probably because they have to feed over a thousand people for the duration of a voyage, which can last years. Even allowing for resupply during that time, I would guess most of it is spent dealing with the mining and not resupplying itself, so a hefty storage capacity is needed.
     
  5. codename_47

    codename_47 First Technician

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    Also the point when Lister gives Frankenstien milk is BEFORE the accident so they probably just picked some up on Titan or wherever they were then.

    I'm not sure if the Cat Race built the arcs or just discovered a Starbug or Blue Midget and commandeered that.
    (this could also be the first reference to a famous Starbug crash 2 series before the craft was introduced! :-p )

    As others had said, the crew was over a thousand and had the capacity to go interstellar (Todhunter mentions this when telling Lister about the stasis pods) so I guess shedloads of food that don't go off was the order of the day.
    (Maybe just exposing the food cargo part of the ship to the vaccum of space would do enough to preserve it?)

    Even if the Cat race salvaged some of it, there would be more than enough to keep one human and one kitty going for the rest of their lives, in all likelyhood.
     
  6. ori-STUDFARM

    ori-STUDFARM Supply Officer

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    But these food supplies managed to keep a cat race of millions alive for 3 million years. I still think it was for supplying colonised planets along the way.
     
  7. ori-STUDFARM

    ori-STUDFARM Supply Officer

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    I always took it as a totally new ship that they built as pictured in the Cat's holy book. But I suppose it could have been existing ships...and maybe two groups of ships rather than two individual arks....http://www.reddwarf.co.uk/database/index.cfm?section=ships&entry=catarks
     
  8. Daniel

    Daniel Console Officer

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    Likewise I always took them for new ships. The way they are described as two "arks" so designed for mass exodus, leaving behind just the old, the lame and the terminally stupid, suggest to me two single ships far greater in size than either Starbug or Blue Midget. Perhaps they took pieces from existing ships in the hangar (series 8 shows us there were a lot of Midgets at one point) but the arks they produced were very different in purpose and therefore design from what we've seen. After millions of years of evolution and development, there were almost certainly a lot more cats than could fit into either of the ships (and we know the exodus took place not long ago, as the Cat Priest remembers them leaving not long before Cat was born, unless it was a second exodus of those left behind the first time, proclaimed in the holy book, although it may just be the Cat Priest himself was the one who "wrote" the holy book)

    I'd love the idea they simply stole a lot of pre-existing ships though if it had been a battle between the blue hats and the green hats, as then you could imagine they'd escaped in blue and green ships respectively with the Midget and the 'Bug. Would have been a delightful coincidence.
     
  9. Freeborn

    Freeborn Flight Co-Ordinator

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    'Tis a fair and intersting explaination, although i could probably end up tying myself in knots regarding this question. I mean if Rimmer's mind exists purely on a data disk, light bea or whatever, would it really need recharging anymore than- say a solar powered cacualtor needs sleep? (assuming that the ship powers him wirelessly somehow), or maybe i'm oversimplifying a bit there. I'm not being argumentitive here, i'm actually asking myself the same question. I mean, i'm trying to distinguish a difference between science and metapysics or psuedo science, if thet're even the right terms...or am i taking this a bit too seriously?..:-)

    It's quite possible that holograms would need recharging for the reasons you mentioned though. It's pretty much what i had concidered, but it has me pondering how it would all work really.

    I suppose any wireless technology needs recharging, like an unplugged laptop, so i guess it makes sense that holograms would need the same in some form.


    All good theories and explainations by all regarding the food, i'm fairly sure there is plenty of space for food storage on the ship given the size of it. Much of the food could indeed be frozen too of course, although frozen food doesn't last all that long really.

    I was also thinking that in the future there will be highly advanced technology to what we have now. I say "will" because some of it actually exists in this day and age, albeit, well, some of in a much more primitive state than would be needed to maintain a full range of continuous food on the ship.

    But here is no reason whatsoever what can't very simply be growing their own vegetables on one of the decks in abbundance, which could save storage space too if using the virtical automated systems. I mean, NASA have been working on using advanced hydroponic and airoponic systems for years now, so they can grow their own vegetables while out on the ship. So i would assume that in the future highly advanced auomative hydroponic systems would be the norm for a ship the size of Red Dwarf, and with such a large crew initially.

    But then we come to things like chicken and fish, not to mention such things as Beer flavoured milkshakes, Chrispy bars, buscuits and milk (the milk the 9 year old was refering to was from when Lister gives Cat a bowl of Crispies in episode 4 'Waiting for God, the only ep he's seen so far) etc. How do all these keep for so long?

    For the meat, three things come to mind;

    1) It's all simply frozen in storage areas. And that they also use a lot of freeze dried food, again as astonauts do in the real world..although in the future world of Dwarf perhaps this could now exist in almost tablet format, of which changes into it's original form when added to water...and/or when a whole bunch of pre-treated ingredients is put into a futurisic microwave, as seen in series 3, and thus a complete meal is created. Which would also save a great deal of space both on storage and the food despensers. The process could even be programed into the food machines themselves.

    Although going back to the fridgeration storage thing, realistically both milk and meat will only last for so long, even when frozen (unless it's dried out beef jerky) . Bacon for example will only keep for a few months, while a full chicken may last up to a year before stating to go off.

    2) They're using advanced nano technology to grow meat in labs from mussle stem cells and/or test tube meat, "in vitro meat" (which is by no means the same as genetically modified food). Via various real life approaches such as enticing embryonic stem cells- the most versatile and potent of all stem cells, harvested from embryos - to differentiate into muscle cells. Or in the case of the very non biased and down to earth Proffesor Post, who suggests using cells called myosatellites - a form of muscle stem cell that is normally used by the body to repair damaged muscle. In principle they could initially use any animal as a source for their meat, possibly even space weevil ;-). They could use pig meat, FISH!, chicken, game, any animal that has myosatellite cells in its muscles.

    Such interesting experiments of which have recently or are taking place right now by such folk as Dr van Eelen or proffessor Mark Post (as seen on bbc tecgnology news very recently) who is attempting to create a burger, not a veggie burger, an actual meat burger that hasn't come from an animal. Again all this exists today in a more primitive and experimental form, but there have certainly been some very promising advancments in recent times. And i'm fairly sure the technology on the Red Dwarf ship would leave these early experiments in the dust.

    There were also some very interesting and similar ideas proposed by Dr Benjaminson, before his funding was cut by NASA for understandale but sad and unfortunate reasons of initial cost efficiency.


    And of course then there is the fact that the nanobots from series 8 would've likely re-established and restored the food in the fridgeration and storage units too :-)

    Or, 3) They're actually breeding chickens, cows, etc somewhere on the ship. The whole process is automated (with a little additional help from the skutters), thus explaining how they manage to get by without any experience in farming..or without Rimmer smegging things up and blowing them all to smithereens.

    ...but yeah, that one seems quite unlikely..i've got images of all those cows on the Serenity ship in that episode of Firefly now :-)

    I was just about to mention the milk again, but then remembered Holly's line about the dogs milk ;-) ..But then as geeks, oops i mean fans, where do we draw the line between what may simply be a gag and actual facts?

    As for all the food items such as chocolate bars, etc, this is what initially stumped me a little. Although, i mean, in the Red Dwarf world, corporations obviously still exist, and it is they who supply said items, yet unless the ship has a seemingly infinate supply then i'm not sure how they keep restocking...or is it somehow delivered via mail pods? (which do have trackers as we know from BTL) or much as Diva-Droid International sent a replacement for Kryten? ...but if they're lost in space, how do they find them...hmm, maybe i'm over thinking this..:-)

    But yeah, maybe it just comes down mostly to the storage thing, together with advanced technology that enable's a higher level of food preservititve... Then again, with explainations like the one Ori-STUDFARM mentioned in the novels about the Alphabeti-Spagetti, who needs logic ;-)

    Daniel wrote
    Interesting. I'm liking that train of throught :-)
     
  10. mophead241

    mophead241 Catering Officer

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    [quote="Freeborn Leveller - aka The Veggie Vamp] They're actually breeding chickens, cows, etc somewhere on the ship. The whole process is automated (with a little additional help from the skutters), thus explaining how they manage to get by without any experience in farming..or without Rimmer smegging things up and blowing them all to smithereens.[/quote]

    That one makes sense, and it also explains where they got the cow from in Pete 2.
     
  11. Mardroid

    Mardroid Console Officer

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    I'd imagine the light bee may need periodic recharging, (or maybe not. Maybe even recharging can be done wirelessly in the future/). However, I think Rimmer needs to sleep simply because the original human Rimmer needed to sleep. Or more accurately: Holograms are made to emulate their human template. If he eats periodcically (and it seems that's the case) then he probably sleeps too simply because he is programmed to think he needs to. That's not to say that programming couldn't be changed mind you...

    Maybe rather than freezing,they use stasis fields too? I know it's stated that they only have the three stasis booths on the ship*, but maybe they have other less powerful fields (and thus less consumptive) in the storage area. I.e. fields that slow time to a very, very slow crawl without cancelling it out entirely. Maybe the shuttle craft had them too, and the stasis field generator added to Starbugs' bunks in series VI was adapted from those by Kryten when they realised they wouldn't catch up with the mother ship any time that century.

    There is in fact a basis for this in the show itself. Lister mentions walking in the botanical gardens thinking about Kochanski, hence the squirrel gag. Maybe Holly and the Skutters kept them maintained over the millennia or at least replanted them when the radiation levels went down to safe levels. He might not have let Lister out of stasisi the moment that happened, but did a bit of preparatory work first to ensure Lister's survival.

    *That always struck me as strange. Why just the three, or any at all considering Red Dwarf didn't seem to be used interstellar as a rule? Purely for punnishment?
     
  12. Freeborn

    Freeborn Flight Co-Ordinator

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    mophead241 wrote:
    [quote="Freeborn Leveller - aka The Veggie Vamp] They're actually breeding chickens, cows, etc somewhere on the ship. The whole process is automated (with a little additional help from the skutters), thus explaining how they manage to get by without any experience in farming..or without Rimmer smegging things up and blowing them all to smithereens.[/quote]

    That one makes sense, and it also explains whee they got the cow from in Pete 2.[/quote]

    Ah, it's a good point. I'd temporarily forgotten about the cow in Pete part 2.

    M'Aiden Ty-One wrote:


    I guess it does make sense that he's been programed to feel the need for sleep, and that said programing could be changed. As was the case when Lister pasted in eight months of his memory.

    Although regarding the wireless recharging, in fact wireless charging technology has existed for some time now, although the tech i'm thinking of is not wireless in that there is no physical contact with the object needing charging yet). Many new and quite wonderful technologies are being worked on for electric cars right now too. Then we have such things as the 'Powermat' for iphones, and similar wireless chargers for numurous other phones. And the Murata wireless transmission system for laptops looks quite interesting too.

    So going by that kind of wireless rechargers, maybe Rimmer's bed could even work as a transmitter for the recharging, and some of the seats around the ship could have transmitters built in also, since in the early days they're the only things he seems able to touch (or maybe not the only things, we all know the kind of things Rimmer likes to touch ;-)).

    Perhaps the recharging works more efficiently when he's using less energy, thus the main recharging takes place while he's off line or on stand by so to speak (asleep) on the main transmitter (his bed). ...or maybe not..:-)




    Interesting theory. It would certainly make good usage of the stasis fields.



    Ah yes, of course, the botanical gardens (i hope we get to see that in the show one day, i now have an image of beutiful flower gardens, along with vegetable and fruit patches, along with virtical farms built into some lovely futuristic looking structures :-) ). It would certainly make sense that food production would be incorporated in such a sense.

    I like the idea of the skutters maintaining the gardens. And i would imagine Kryten would now quite enjoy doing a spot of gardening on the ship too, given his longing for his own garden and all.


    Although having watched 'thanks for the memory' earlier, i was reminded of Holly's intro line "we have enough food to last thirty thousand years...although we have run out of shake and vac". So i guess they do have a heck of a lot of storage too.
     
  13. gem5ie

    gem5ie Catering Officer

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    Of course, Rimmer could sleep purely because *Lister* needs to. Rimmer's is brought back in order to keep Lister sane, and certainly in the early days he was wholly responsible for providing a social framework in which Lister could function- a central part of which is a regular sleep pattern, and the presence of another person adhering to a routine (especially as strictly as Rimmer does) is an excellent way to reinforce this. Even when Lister rejects Rimmer's routine, its mere existence forces him to confront and deal with it, and to function more normally than he would otherwise. A good example is in IWCD where Lister is initially left alone after coming out of stasis, and promptly has a nervous breakdown (only at which point Rimmer is brought back).
     
  14. Daniel

    Daniel Console Officer

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    Good answer. In fact Lister's rejection Rimmer's routine can be seen as simply a normal act of rebellion after a fashion, with Lister seeming to operate somewhat outside of the normal conventions of society, the by giving him an orderly and routine person to bounce off, he can continue to resist these orders and routines as he did before, and his slobbing around is seen as slacking off and slobbing around, rather than just the status quo of life aboard the Dwarf.
     
  15. ChangeOfPlan

    ChangeOfPlan Third Technician

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    Hmmm interesting questions.

    I think the most interesting of the two though is Rimmer sleeping.

    As Rimmer has been recreated simply using mathmatical algorithms it makes sense that in order to duplicate his personallity it would be necessary to duplicate all of his behavioral patters. If you think about it he is simply a step by step computer program that reacts to situations based on a mixture of probability and previous decisions.

    Which is kind of what we ALL are when you think carefully about it.... :shock:
     
  16. Freeborn

    Freeborn Flight Co-Ordinator

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    All great answers guys. Thanks for the replies :-)

    No further questions as of yet, i don't think he's been watching since seeing that ep, but he may catch a few more as his 'mom' is watching them, and hopefully may become indoctrinated into the allmighty world of Red Dwarf fandom... ;-)
     
  17. Freeborn

    Freeborn Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Okay so my friend took a 'little' break from watching the all mighty Dwarf, for various reasons, one being the lack of Dwarf on US Netflix now) but she now has the dvd's and is starting from the beginning/The end again...again.

    So, next question:

    How is it that the Red Dwarf crew don't float when on the ship?

    Now, I'd say that a large majority of sci-fi writers and fans alike tend to follow the assumtion that artificial gravity aboard a ship is somehow created quite easily and completely safely in the future. And indeed there are of course many ongoing real life studies constantly going on regarding this issue. Certain astronauuts have been exposed to artificial gravity levels for a few minutes during several spaceflight missions, using linear sleds or rotating chairs. But at this time it's concidered to be potentially quite dangerous to do so for much longer than that, as it currently brings about certain additional system issues such as kinetic energy and other issues discovered after various laboratory tests. There are also some rather...mindbending theories stemming from Einstein's theory of relativity too...but I wont go off on that one just now :-)

    But I'm trying to remember whether or not this issue is ever tackled directly in Red Dwarf. I think I'm correct in stating that the "artificial gravity sytem" has been mentioned on the show?...or am I misremembering that?

    Either way, any takers? Why don't they all float about like balloons on the ship? :-)

    As a side note, her 5 year old seems to be enjoying the show now too (to a certain extent untill he gets distracted or bored and wonders off ) Apparantly he found the part where Cat breaks his tooth and runs off down the corridor quite hilarious :-)
     
  18. SixthDwarfer

    SixthDwarfer Supply Officer

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    Seeing as Red Dwarf appears to have been built around a large asteroid, I presume that has something to do with the gravity on board.
     
  19. 1234564

    1234564 Third Technician

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    Rimmer needs sleep because the hologram programme tries to simulate being a real living human as closely as possible. You'd probably find it disturbing to be unable to ever get tired and sleep ever again, OK perhaps it would have it's advantages, but logically the hologram designers would want the person to have as 'normal' a life as possible as close to it was as they were alive as possible.

    The ship has massive stores, kept in vacuum storage to stop it from perishing. At the time of the accident Red Dwarf was inhabited by 1169 people (I know in series 1 and 2 is supposed to be 169 but that's been retconned), and could possibly sometimes contain more than that depending on new recruitments/crew member departures and if they picked up more criminals along the way to put in the brig, there civilians could possibly come aboard Red Dwarf. Single journeys would take years. They'd need huge food supplies to feed so many people over such a big period of time. They would probably stock enough food to feed the ship population for over a century, just stocking a huge amount on it which would last decades would probably be cheaper and easier than continuously picking up supplies from inhabited moons/planets.

    Gravity - good answer above.
     
  20. Mardroid

    Mardroid Console Officer

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    The ship wasn't built around the asteroid. Depending on what view you take of that asteroid it either:

    a) Is in fact a moon that impacted on the ship long ago, and was left there as removing it would cause damage. (The novels explanation.)

    b) It's an asteroid that was purposefully attached to the ship for mining purposes. (The remastered series 'behind the scenes' explanation. Accounts for the fact there are two asteroids located symmetrically on the ship.)

    I think I prefer the second explanation as it goes with the concept that Red Dwarf is a mining ship. And the idea it takes it's material along with it to mine as they go is an interesting one. (I assumed the ship stayed in orbit and relied on crew and transport ships to collect ore, etc. Although it probably does that too.)

    It shouldn't affect the gravity either as I believe a body needs to rotate for that to happen, although I'm not sure.

    I just go with artificial reality being generated via future science. That seems to be the main explanation in sci-fi programmes. Babylon 5 was interesting in that it was probably the only sci-fi show I've seen which employed artificial gravity the old-fashioned way on certain craft. Alien ships mainly had artificial gravity, but Human ships had crew sections that constantly rotated around a central shaft.
     

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