Alternate histories

Music, books, movies, TV, games, hobbies, food, and potent potables. And forum games! Pour a drink, put on your smoking jacket, light a pipe (of whatever), and settle in.
User avatar
Andrew
Posts: 5862
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 21:52
Location: Vale of Eternal Fire

Re: Alternate histories

Post by Andrew » 09 Aug 2015, 14:41

Randroid 2.0 wrote:In the early 1900s? :)

Edit: lightly ribbing Mo here.

Sent from my iBone, to beat Warren to the punch.
Given Tunguska and that meteorite everyone recorded on their dashcams, there was a remarkably good run of nothing big hitting Russia to trigger nuclear armageddon.
We live in the fucked age. Get used to it. - dhex

holy shit there will never be an end until the sweet release of death (as dictated by the death panels, natch) - lunch

User avatar
Randroid 2.0
Posts: 643
Joined: 01 Jul 2015, 14:52
Location: Right. Here.

Re: Alternate histories

Post by Randroid 2.0 » 09 Aug 2015, 15:06

Truth.


Sent from my iBone, to beat Warren to the punch.

User avatar
thoreau
Posts: 25245
Joined: 06 May 2010, 12:56
Location: Back to the lab again

Re: Alternate histories

Post by thoreau » 09 Aug 2015, 15:17

Imagine a history where Rome is hit by a meteor in 1908. Or Mecca. Or Jerusalem.

(And let's not quibble about latitude. A small tweak to the trajectory could have sent it to anywhere on earth.)
"ike Wile E. Coyote salivating over a "4000 Ways To Prepare Roadrunner" cookbook without watching his surroundings, the Road Runner of Societal Inertia snuck up on them both and beepbeeped them off the mesa."
--Shem

User avatar
Jennifer
Posts: 21482
Joined: 28 Apr 2010, 14:03

Re: Alternate histories

Post by Jennifer » 09 Aug 2015, 15:25

thoreau wrote:Imagine a history where Rome is hit by a meteor in 1908. Or Mecca. Or Jerusalem.
In 1908, even though science knew enough to accurately explain what caused the problem (they wouldn't necessarily know how to tell the difference between a comet or asteroid strike, but they did know that space is full of rocks capable of hitting us), I'm pretty sure the majority of religious non-scientists who did not subscribe to the religion of the destroyed holy city would take that as proof of God's disapproval.

But I'd be curious to see how many people gave up their own religion as a result, though. "As a formerly devout Catholic, I realize the destruction of Rome proves the Protestants were right!" "As a former Muslim, I realize the destruction of Mecca proves I was wrong about Allah!"

Speculation: destroying Jerusalem wouldn't result in mass numbers of Jews deciding "let's convert," anymore than the original Roman destruction of the Temple did.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

User avatar
thoreau
Posts: 25245
Joined: 06 May 2010, 12:56
Location: Back to the lab again

Re: Alternate histories

Post by thoreau » 09 Aug 2015, 15:58

I doubt that the destruction of a holy city would cause all that many people to say "Huh. Guess I should join one of the other religions." More likely the responses would be a mix of atheism, some sort of theistic belief that they are hated and cursed by whatever god(s) might exist (so, more a practice of searching and praying to unknown gods), a redoubling of faith with an emphasis on rituals of penitence, and a redoubling of faith with the belief that End Times are approaching.

Also, I suspect that the destruction of a holy city would lead to a lot of violence against the members of that faith, because this proves that Those People are hated by the True God(s).

The destruction of Jerusalem, though, might be a bit different. Being so important to so many faiths, it would probably not single out any one faith for violence (many Christians would be too busy wondering what this means about the return of Jesus to go and feel smug about not being Jewish, though no doubt some would still make a good effort at pogroms), but instead prompt a lot of them to prepare for End Times (and schism about the best way to prepare for End Times). The entire Middle East would probably fill up with encampments of different religious groups convinced that, based on their interpretation of whichever holy text, some prophecied End Times event will happen (Any day now! Or maybe 7 years from now! Or maybe 77 times 7 years from now!) at that site, so it's important to be ready for [insert event here] to happen at that site...at some point.

The destruction of an imperial capitol would be interesting. If the meteor hit St. Petersburg the Russian Empire would disintegrate 9 years early, and probably not be replaced by a single cohesive Communist state. If the meteor hit Istanbul, the Ottoman Empire would disintegrate and the Middle East would become a chaotic mess of states with ill-chosen borders and disputes that carry on with no end in sight a century later. (So, no difference, really.) If it hit London, a whole lot of colonies would secede, and the King could wind up being some royal cousin who happened to be on vacation in Canada or wherever at the time. However, among the colonists of English descent, there might be so much horror and pity for the dead and dislocated in the Mother Country that Canada, Australia, Newfoundland, and New Zealand might actually grow closer to the remnants of England, even while the other colonies break away.
"ike Wile E. Coyote salivating over a "4000 Ways To Prepare Roadrunner" cookbook without watching his surroundings, the Road Runner of Societal Inertia snuck up on them both and beepbeeped them off the mesa."
--Shem

User avatar
Eric the .5b
Posts: 11582
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 16:29

Re: Alternate histories

Post by Eric the .5b » 09 Aug 2015, 16:29

thoreau wrote:Imagine a history where Rome is hit by a meteor in 1908. Or Mecca. Or Jerusalem.

(And let's not quibble about latitude. A small tweak to the trajectory could have sent it to anywhere on earth.)
Given axial tilt and orbital motion, you pretty much have to tweak the trajectory a lot to have it hit anywhere else. Just having it hit late means it probably misses the Earth entirely (as Ken Hite pointed out when he played with the St. Petersburg scenario in an article).
"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
"Cyberpunk never really gave the government enough credit for their ability to secure a favorable prenup during the Corporate-State wedding." - Shem

User avatar
thoreau
Posts: 25245
Joined: 06 May 2010, 12:56
Location: Back to the lab again

Re: Alternate histories

Post by thoreau » 09 Aug 2015, 17:14

Depends on how you measure "a lot". If it's relative to the scale of the solar system, then the tweak is a tiny fraction of the orbit of an inner planet. Neptune would barely notice the difference :)
"ike Wile E. Coyote salivating over a "4000 Ways To Prepare Roadrunner" cookbook without watching his surroundings, the Road Runner of Societal Inertia snuck up on them both and beepbeeped them off the mesa."
--Shem

User avatar
Jennifer
Posts: 21482
Joined: 28 Apr 2010, 14:03

Re: Alternate histories

Post by Jennifer » 09 Aug 2015, 19:04

The rivalries and jealousies that would fuel World War 1 six years later would still be there. Would a Tunguska blast over populated Europe exacerbate that, or cool it? World War 1 might've started sooner than it did, after whichever country got hit by the blast was invaded by a rival hoping to profit from the chaos. On the other hand, it might never have started at all, if one of its major players had more important things to do, such as rebuild a significant chunk of its country.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

User avatar
Jennifer
Posts: 21482
Joined: 28 Apr 2010, 14:03

Re: Alternate histories

Post by Jennifer » 16 Apr 2018, 15:53

Strictly speaking, this is not an alternate history so much as alternate geology: what would our planet's climate be like if Earth rotated in the opposite direction? Among other things, the Sahara would currently be a lush grassland -- but Brazil and the southeastern US would be deserts. Also, cyanobacteria would be far more commonplace. Overall, though, that Earth might be more hospitable than ours -- our Earth has 11 million square kilometers of desert MORE than backward-Earth would have.



https://eos.org/articles/reversing-eart ... n-currents
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b

User avatar
Eric the .5b
Posts: 11582
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 16:29

Re: Alternate histories

Post by Eric the .5b » 16 Apr 2018, 16:12

Jennifer wrote:
16 Apr 2018, 15:53
Strictly speaking, this is not an alternate history so much as alternate geology: what would our planet's climate be like if Earth rotated in the opposite direction?
I'll check my bookmarks when I get home, but I came across this site a few years back where this guy did these detailed what-if global maps, everything from swap-land-and-water scenarios to reversing the Earth's rotation to titling Earth to put both poles at sea or on land, etc.

ETA: Aha, here is that page from the guy's site. He did it as a north-south flip, but that's fundamentally identical to just reversing rotation. He came up with a green Sahara, too, (which really isn't all that surprising, considering how deserts form), but also lower sea levels.
"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
"Cyberpunk never really gave the government enough credit for their ability to secure a favorable prenup during the Corporate-State wedding." - Shem

User avatar
Kolohe
Posts: 13027
Joined: 06 May 2010, 10:51

Re: Alternate histories

Post by Kolohe » 16 Apr 2018, 20:39

I gotta think continental drift goes completely different (but not necessarily just 'the opposite') if the earth's spin is reversed.
when you wake up as the queen of the n=1 kingdom and mount your steed non sequiturius, do you look out upon all you survey and think “damn, it feels good to be a green idea sleeping furiously?" - dhex

User avatar
lunchstealer
Posts: 15237
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:25
Location: The Local Fluff in the Local Bubble

Alternate histories

Post by lunchstealer » 17 Apr 2018, 04:46

Kolohe wrote:I gotta think continental drift goes completely different (but not necessarily just 'the opposite') if the earth's spin is reversed.
I doubt it. Coriolis effects are pretty tiny compared to the forces at work in tectonics, especially at the very low relative velocities. It makes a difference in fluids, but it’s just not an issue in geology.

Edit; I’m kinda taking out of my ass about it, but I’m confident that I’m not far from the mark.
"The constitution is more of a BDSM agreement with a safe word." - Sandy

"Neoliberalism. Austerity. Booga booga!!!!" - JasonL

"We can't confirm rumors that Lynndie England is in the running to be Gina Haspel's personal aide." - DAR

User avatar
Kolohe
Posts: 13027
Joined: 06 May 2010, 10:51

Re: Alternate histories

Post by Kolohe » 17 Apr 2018, 14:33

lunchstealer wrote:
17 Apr 2018, 04:46
Kolohe wrote:I gotta think continental drift goes completely different (but not necessarily just 'the opposite') if the earth's spin is reversed.
I doubt it. Coriolis effects are pretty tiny compared to the forces at work in tectonics, especially at the very low relative velocities. It makes a difference in fluids, but it’s just not an issue in geology.

Edit; I’m kinda taking out of my ass about it, but I’m confident that I’m not far from the mark.
Though would you also say their model has a significant flaw if it holds that mountain ranges are identical between their version and the real world, despite the radically different rainfall patterns?
when you wake up as the queen of the n=1 kingdom and mount your steed non sequiturius, do you look out upon all you survey and think “damn, it feels good to be a green idea sleeping furiously?" - dhex

User avatar
thoreau
Posts: 25245
Joined: 06 May 2010, 12:56
Location: Back to the lab again

Re: Alternate histories

Post by thoreau » 17 Apr 2018, 14:43

lunchstealer wrote:
17 Apr 2018, 04:46
Kolohe wrote:I gotta think continental drift goes completely different (but not necessarily just 'the opposite') if the earth's spin is reversed.
I doubt it. Coriolis effects are pretty tiny compared to the forces at work in tectonics, especially at the very low relative velocities. It makes a difference in fluids, but it’s just not an issue in geology.

Edit; I’m kinda taking out of my ass about it, but I’m confident that I’m not far from the mark.
Your analysis seems likely enough to me. I wouldn't be surprised if there were small differences in continental drift, due to some effect we're overlooking, but unless one of those small differences led to a hell of a coincidence (something big gets wedged between two plates that it originally wasn't wedged between, changing everything subsequent) I doubt it would be a huge effect.
"ike Wile E. Coyote salivating over a "4000 Ways To Prepare Roadrunner" cookbook without watching his surroundings, the Road Runner of Societal Inertia snuck up on them both and beepbeeped them off the mesa."
--Shem

User avatar
lunchstealer
Posts: 15237
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:25
Location: The Local Fluff in the Local Bubble

Re: Alternate histories

Post by lunchstealer » 17 Apr 2018, 16:58

Changes in weather patterns are likely to have more of an effect, especially if it changes where glaciation happens, which it should. Caveat that we're getting WAY into hypotheticals now, but I suspect it would marginal differences here and there rather than wholesale. Where it could make a difference is drainage patterns and sedimentation rates, and that in turn would affect isostatic rebound as well as coastline and continental shelf formation. Even that might not be super big, however. There's a lot that would go into it and weathering/erosion rates might not be as climate-dependent as I might imagine. Curious question. Now I want to nab a geomorphologist and maybe a hydrologist (and I supPOSE a sedimentologist but zomg are those guys boring) and have them fight it out until they come up with an answer on that.

I wonder if the planetoid impact that formed the moon could've caused a back-rotation if it'd hit slightly differently? That math is definitely beyond my current, atrophied abilities.
"The constitution is more of a BDSM agreement with a safe word." - Sandy

"Neoliberalism. Austerity. Booga booga!!!!" - JasonL

"We can't confirm rumors that Lynndie England is in the running to be Gina Haspel's personal aide." - DAR

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: dead_elvis and 6 guests