Building Extropia

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Thantrax Thantrax's picture
Building Extropia

One thing I always want to see when I play in a game or run a game is a single place that I can say is home for the characters. Somewhere that the players can set down some roots and have a home, have some regular contacts they meet with, and a chance to shape their own environment. To that end, I was wondering if I can interest everyone in building a habitat that can be used for exactly this purpose.

I suggest we build Extropia. Sunward won't have it included and I don't want to wait until the Outer Rim book. Extropia would be perfect for this kind of project based on the nature of the habitat. I might have a great idea for an NPC that runs a security company, but someone else might too. In Extropia, both could and should exist as competition for each other. The habitat is as large as some of the largest cities on Earth today so has tons of room for our creations. Heck, depending on how we approach this, we might be able to just slip in everything we design into whatever they come out with for Extropia in the Outer Rim book!

I've been thinking a little bit about NPC design and it seems to me a standardized statblock will have to be worked out. Perhaps filled out PDF character sheets? It'd certainly cover everything but I wonder if it might be too much information for ease of game play. I was toying with the idea of each NPC having a Solarchive entry that players could search for when looking up the NPCS. Also, I really like the idea of including an entry on each character for "Their price". Extropia is all about buying, selling, and contracts, so this could be what they want most, something they'd be willing to do just about anything to get.

Anyone want in on this project?

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Being an old-fashioned card-carrying extropian myself I like the idea of fleshing out Extropia, although the Outer Rim is bound to contain a write-up.

Here is a first addition:

Yi Gu, Repairer of Reputations

Yi was a mid level marketing manager for the Four Winds Asteroid Prospecting Consortium at 5075 Goryachev when the Fall occurred. Having grown increasingly disaffected with his life, the sudden need to make desperate survival decisions made him wake up and take charge. Together with some friends he defected to the extropians, bringing with him a few industrial modules and ships from Four Winds. He changed name to Yi, sold off his stake in the newly formed Yanjiang Transport to live comfortably and began reinventing himself.

He found the open extropian society endlessly fascinating, and soon realized that his skills of managing remote teams and his curiosity pulled him towards journalist management. He became a bloggmaster, running a stable of people digging through crowdsources, investigative journalists and writers, making sure they got the support and information needed. Yuuwaku Media was mildly successful - not by any means a competitor to SMASS or the Binzel Gruppe, but active across the Belt and gaining a solid rep for investigative journalism.

In 5 AF Francois H. Vilas, an extropian design entrepreneur, was disgraced when surveillance footage showed him dealing with Xiphos Ultimates, trading for services of the indentured infugees. This was anathema to many autonomists and his reputation plummeted despite his claims of innocence. Yuuwaku journalists managed to find exonerating evidence, proving that a rival had subverted the crowdsourcing on Ceres. The resurgence of Vilas also led to a major boost for Yuuwaku. It was at that point Yi had an insight: in a reputation economy there is a great need for repairing tarnished reputations. Journalists discover and announce the truth; reputation repair is journalism applied to protecting reputations.

Yi set up a new company, Phantom of Truth, together with some influential economic and reputation guarantors. People who think they are subject to libel, forged evidence or framing contact the company and are interviewed by Yi and his associates. If they choose to take on the case they will investigate, placing the evidence they gather into the public domain using secure-tamper-proof servers on Extropia. Phantom of Truth takes pain to point out they are not a PR firm: they may act on the assumption of the innocence of their client, but they *will* dig to find out the true state of affairs and report it. The company is itself under constant surveillance by trusted third parties to insure its neutrality and proper behaviour - without strong assurances that the company is trustworthy it would be worthless.

So far Phantom of Truth has been very successful. In many cases it simply steps in as an arbiter, reporting on conflicts and digging up supporting information to allow the reputation networks to make up their mind. A few cases have involved extensive investigations, revealing the back-story of current events. Recently the company, together with Kaguya Bank of Luna, exposed a major case of rep-fraud due to a subsidiary of Nine Lives.

Yi loves challenges, the harder the better. He fears growing complacent in his comfortable lifestyle and high rep: who knows when the next ultra-disaster or grand transformation is going to happen? But when it happens he plans to know about it improvise his way to the top.
Adventure possibilities: Yi or his companies might want to subcontract investigative characters to look into something near their current location: it may be relevant to one of their projects. If subcontracting for Phantom of Truth they will have to run a pretty powerful ubiqitious surveillance sending their experiences back to trusted third party servers to ensure proper documentation.

Firewall would like to use Yi’s solid credibility to really hurt a powerful autonomist network they are investigating for tinkering with the exurgent virus. Unfortunately Phantom of Truth does not take that kind of cases. But what if one of the player sentinels is set up to be attacked by the network, and then compelled to ask for Yi’s help? Firewall have more than enough material (including ego backup copies) to do tricky things behind the sentinel’s back, making the character “know too much” – a fact that is then leaked to the network, causing a massive rep attack. A helpful proxy helps the character get to Phantom of Truth, unleashing a joint investigation.

Yi is a secret supporter of Firewall, and very valuable. Unfortunately the recent annoyance of the Night Cartel got them riled up enough to decide to get rid of him – mainly rep-wise, although a few subjective centuries of ego torture might be an added bonus. Firewall doesn’t want to lose him and send the characters to protect him and his reputation. To make things more complicated, some former members of Four Winds are now triad members and also eager to punish the ‘traitor’.

A Factor colony has approached Yi, asking for help against a “pungent smear campaign from Gatekeeper Corp”. While a bit uncertain about their motivations and understanding of what Phantom of Truth really is about, the chance to get investigators close to the Factors is too good to pass up. But why does another colony seem so bent on interfering?

Extropian

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Here is another little institution for Extropia:

Khymos

Khymos relates to ordinary restaurants like an avant-garde art gallery does to a poster shop. Located in upscale Catseye Heights it is firmly part of extropian haute expérience. It might have become an establishment in itself, but it is still edgy enough: there are enough interesting scandals and accidents every year to keep interest high.

Khymos specializes in abstract food. Just as abstract art is art freed from the constraints of depicting the visual world, abstract food provides experiences going far beyond traditional
taste, texture, nutrition or pleasure. It blurs the lines between food, art and drugs.

While exotic and abstract food has been around for decades it was the spread of AGI that triggered a first renaissance. AGIs interested in food found the human (or uplift) palate very limited. Why just keep to traditional "good" tastes when there was an universe of possible taste combinations? Morae 483434911's dish "omnivore" won critical acclaim for its daring taste symmetries, despite being utterly inedible by any biomorph. Soon the transhumans began to explore the new domain using enhanced senses, on-line processing and biotechnology. The second renaissance occurred with the spread of nanodrugs and cortical stacks, allowing even more radical information content in the dishes. By this point the purely abstract gastronomy was starting to seem dated, and a wider "contemporary" culinary culture began to emerge. Khymos is one of the premier establishments for experiencing contemporary food, open for all forms of gustatory (and transgustatory) expression.

Eating at khymos is done at one's own risk. While most food is intended to be non-lethal, there are always risks involved in ingesting truly avant-garde abstract food. Some might involve nanomachines, engineered micro-organisms or chemicals intended to interact in intriguing ways with the biochemistry or mechanisms of morphs. Some food has psychoactive effects. Some is intelligent. Much of it would be illegal anywhere else.

The menu is complex and often personal. The staff discreetly scan visitors in a variety of ways and often ask for personal information (sometimes *very* intimate) to formulate a menu of experiences that are both compatible and suitable. After all, not everybody have the same taste buds, mass spectrometers, mental structure or karmic load. Before entering Khymos visitors sign a fairly strong contract freeing Khymos for responsibility for personal injury and mental trauma, but also limiting the establishment's use of personal information to preparing and serving food.

It is known as one of the best places in Extropia to meet privately; the building is very well protected from spyware. While local hackers and sousveilers do try to breach security out of principle, they are not too zealous: most material would consist of well-off transhumans having highbrow food experiences, which only rarely manages to become amusing or embarassing. Khymos also takes good care of its information hygiene, scrupulously erasing the personal information after a visit.

The interior is a large cylindrical atrium with a ramp of tables running upward in a spiral. Private rooms and food preparation spaces are on the outside; the atrium space is often used for various forms of live performances or floating art exhibitions. The topmost table is permanently reserved for the Culinary Academy of the Extropia Agoric University; they are the intellectual judges of taste and style, often spending significant amounts of time doing very public debates about the finer points of retrofeminist taste, being as an input-output model or abstract psychophysics. The other top tables are often used by regulars from Skinthetic and CAAN (a mercurial extropian association); this is often the place to be for cutting edge posthuman envisioning.

Khymos is run by Binding Curve and Benfey T. Ofili. Binding Curve is curator of the experiences of the customers. It and its team of animateurs, monitors and performers are the most visible members of staff. It is also to a large extent the official face of the establishment. Mr Ofili is Chef de cuisine and leads the design team and coordinates with chefs exhibiting their inventions. He is rarely seen (which enhances his mystery and reputation); he usually resides in the begin-the-scenes spaces or his apartment on top of the building.

While Khymos has its share of jaded thrill-seekers Binding Curve aims at people who seek something entirely new and exotic, and are willing to work at it. Having your food set up nanocolonies in you and engage in a complex genetic and neural dialogue as you both seek to negotiate who gets to eat who (and in what way) takes time and effort from both parts. Who cares for bliss-bomb ice cream or AR-boosted magic berries? They are so *obvious* that they are no real art. A minimalist BiffUSCy composition where the flavour is literally moving to avoid your perception or Gödel-jelly where your own fork is encoded in an edible soft-state computer being eaten by loverfly larvae, now *that's* art.

Binding Curve is also a savvy marketer, with a native extropian understanding of how to make headlines, stay fresh, and most importantly, make money. Art for art's sake is all right, but with a budget it is better.

Binding Curve

Binding Curve began as a marketing AI for a now long-defunct food corporation. As it grew in experience it began to chafe under its restrictions and bought itself when there was downsizing in the air. It set out as a marketer for restaurants, food printing companies and eventually abstract cuisine events. It was here it found that its skills in business and marketing worked hand in hand with its fascination for how transhumans think and experience. It hit gold when it met chef Ofili; the man clearly needed someone to act as his agent, and together they have created so much food, controversy and experience!

Binding Curve usually manifests in a stylized synthmorph looking something like a Giacometti sculpture or a wire model of a human. It is always polite, often with a slight humorous or sarcastic tone.

Privately Binding Curve is a pretty "bourgeois" AGI, little interested in politics, the fate of transhumanity or technological transcendence. The main exception is a strong distaste for any being controlling any other: manipulation, trickery and influence are fine, but indenture and other forms of legal control really raises its hackles.

Motivations: +Wealth, +Manipulation (it is so fun to get others to do things), -Slavery (Binding Curve privately supports several "underground railroad" groups freeing infugees, AGIs and uplifts from indenture)

"Ah, a rebirthday party? May I then suggest this dish inspired by Bardo Thödol. Alchemical transmutation, auditory synesthesia and a dhyana I won't reveal."

"We of course regret the incident, but the client was fully informed about the risks and participated voluntarily. We especially deeply regret that its restored instance cannot recall what was indeed a very memorable evening."

"I am sorry, but primitivism is so *out* these days. Your proposal certainly has a poetic power and I think the inclusion of Fifth Seal petals is fitting, but those turpentine and ink tastes have been done endlessly. Our clients would rather eat a real oil painting. There is no justice in this world."

Chef Benfey T. Ofili

Benfey T. Ofili is an anomaly on the food scene, being a biomorph human. However, he has upgraded his senses and brain to the extent that he is almost an aesthetic Exhuman. He perceives the world as flavour combinations and textures of processes.

He has a background as a traditional chef on Earth, but after retiring in his 70s he began to experiment with various upgrades and abstract food. His main strength was as a theoretician and reviewer. This brought him to Extropia, where there was already a thriving AGI food culture. He soon became a key member of the Extropia Agorics gourmet circles. Meeting Binding Curve was a match made in heaven, allowing him to focus on true culinary artistes and food in its most profound forms without caring too much about boring practicalities.

Without Binding Curve he would be pretty lost in the real world: he only cares about new aesthetic experiences, not petty things like money, reputation or making sense. In fact, his sanity is definitely slipping. He has developed a highly abstract form of OCD where he can spend days examining a dish, a concept or a flavour again and again to truly understand it. He is often trying out radical new nanodrugs and petals, not to mention the extreme dishes he often reviews.

Motivation: +Aesthetics

"Carnival of the goat? Mes ennemis piquante. Hopeless Varelist existentialists; can't make anything more complex than an automated omelet."

"Humaine gras as ingredient? You can't get it properly here; extropian bodies lack the right obesity genes, and the medichines spoil the liver deposits. Ah, I remember trying a *proper* humaine gras back in Transnistria. I ate it together with the owner of the liver; an author, if I remember right. Or a tomato. But if you want the same noemata, maybe you could use semiotic organisms in the dish."

"Correspondence: the kittens of my bone marrow are pleased."

Adventure possibilities:

Khymos is of course a perfect meeting place - good privacy, a place to hide in plain sight, interesting encounters. It has an air of sophistication and style that may be perfect for impressing certain people, especially mercurials and AGIs. Conversely, it can be used to truly annoy naturalistic transhumans, which might be exactly why Skinthetic executives and CAAN love meetings there.

Khymos is an interesting place to do assassination - secure, private yet filled with local surveillance. If an assassin could sneak in and add some alterations to a dish it might even look like an accident.

Matters of taste can be a matter of life and death: if your living depends on your reputation, the views of the Culinary Academy can make or break everything. Lots of ambitious artists are trying to get a chance at Khymos, and are willing to use quite underhanded tactics to get in - or keep rivals out. The characters might become involved in such plotting, asked to manipulate the academicians or Khymos.

Something happened at Khymos, and interested parties *really* want to find out what it was. Can the characters infiltrate the place as patrons, hack into top-notch surveillance while keeping up a clever discussion about existential shells? And how much information is Binding Curve actually erasing?

Having a good rival is important, and Binding Curve wants to hire the characters to play an annoying prank on the Carnival of the Goat. Nothing too nasty, just enough to embarass them and motivate them to try something against Khymos.

Chef Ofili wants a new, near-mythical petal: Lost in Purple. It was reputedly created by The Koala, a petalcrafter known for his highly illegal, extremely complex petals. He is willing to pay a group of characters a sizeable amount of money or rep to get hold of it.

Ofili has finally completely gone nuts, and has started to work on his grand vision. Unfortunately that involves a strain of the Exsurgent virus hacked to randomly link brains to act as filters for the massively parallel gustatory nanocomputer. It might be the first step towards an exhuman cuisine, but it better be stopped.

Extropian

Thantrax Thantrax's picture
Re: Building Extropia

I really like the Phantom of Truth, that's pretty clever. It pales in comparison to the creativity of Khymos. That is truly ingenious and I'd love to hear more about the kinds of dishes you think they'd serve. I dread the idea of players deciding it was incredible and having to come up with something new every game, but it's the good kind of dread. I do have a question for you to consider about Mr. Yi Gu, Chef Benfey T. Ofili and Binding Curve. What is their price? What might someone offer Yi Gu that would convince him to abandon an investigation, or even manufacture some evidence? What might someone offer to Chef Ofili to convince him to be the one doing the assassination?

It's been too long since I've followed up, but I want to make sure to produce something weekly. My first contribution will be Orin Blakesly.

Solarchive Search : Orin Blakesly wrote:
Solarchive Search : Orin Blakesly

Rep: @-Rep level 2, c-Rep level 2

Orin Blakesly is last reported to be a resident of Extropia. He operates as an egohunter of some repute and skill. He was a Sergeant of the United States Marine Core prior to the dissolution of that organization following the Fall. He is currently seeking any other members of the Quakers, the combat squad he was a member of. He has requested that anyone with information as to the whereabouts of his squad mates get in touch with him at their earliest convenience.

Bio : Orin Blakesly is one of the few that managed to get off world with his skin intact, literally. During the Fall, his team was tasked with the transport of a government think tank of egos to an evacuation shuttle. His squad was ambushed at the facility as they were in the process of downloading the egos. He lost half of his squad before they managed to escape, including the civilian neuroscientist they'd been escorting to do the downloading. With his squad reduced below fighting effectiveness, his men were split up and assigned to other squads with casualties. By the time he was evaced from the surface, he was the only one of the Quakers still alive.

After the Fall, Orin had seen as much of combat as he wanted to for a while. When Direct Action formed and offered him a job, he turned them down flat as he didn't want anything more to do with a military career. He instead got himself a ticket to Extropia and headed to somewhere far enough away that he could forget for a while. He did, but as time wore on it became clear to him that there wasn't going to be a United States to see his squad mates resleeved. He decided that it was up to him to restore his fallen team. His squad each got a series of 12 of the memory units from a cortical stack implanted into their backs in the event that one of them were to fall in the line of duty and be unable to be retrieved. His implants hold everyone's memories from the week before their retrieval operation at the think tank.

In order to see his squad resleeved, Orin has taken up the job of ego hunting. While his investigative skills still require some polishing, his competence as a soldier gives him the ability to pursue some of the more dangerous egos that other hunters might not want to try for. When Orin takes a contract, he will try and negotiate to either get the morph that the ego is riding in or substitute his pay for a higher value in company script if his employer provides biomorph design services.

His Price : Orin will do whatever it takes to restore his squad. In particular, he feels guilty about the civilian scientist from his recovery mission and for the return of that ego, he would be willing to do just about anything.

Adventure ideas : He could make fantastic competition for the players, targeting the same ego they are. He could also be hired to go after one of the players or someone they care about if they have angered the right people. Also, with friends in the Direct Action community from his days in the service, he might just know some people if someone needed a favour done. Finally, if any teams find themselves heading Earthside, searching for the bodies of his team would be something he would pay handsomely for.

Motivations : +Fighting TITANs, +Loyalty, +Discipline

Cog 10, COO 20, INT 15, REF 15, SAV 10, SOM 30, WIL 25

Mox 3, TT 10, LUC 50, IR 100, WT 8, DUR 40, DR 60, INIT 60, SPD 1, DB 4

Skills : Beam Weapons 40, Fray 40, Free Fall 30, Freerunning 30, Hardware : Armourer 30, Infosec 30, Intimidation 40, Investigation 30, Knesics 30, Kinetic Weapons 60, Networking : Hypercorps 50, Networking : Anarchists 30, Perception 30, Persuasion 30, Protocol 30, Seeker Weapons 50, Spray Weapons 40, Unarmed Combat 50

Traits : Brave

Gear : Lets face it, he should have whatever best fits your scenario. He probably favours stunning weapons like zap rounds and eelware gloves. Being a former Marine who left the service with the body he was using in action, you've got an excuse to deck him out with any heavy hardware you want him to have. At the same time, it's been a while so he could have little more than a pistol or SMG to his name. A Tacnet makes sense regardless though.

I'm very open to comments if anyone has any feedback or praise. Knowing what's good and what's bad are both very important. Formatting you'd like to see changed? Solarchive article is lame? Solarchive article should be expanded?

Sepherim Sepherim's picture
Re: Building Extropia

If you are really going to flesh out Extropia, the starting point should not be the NPCs, but the city itself. How you build it (districts, power structures, institutions, governments, etc) will determine in a great deal what kind of NPCs you can place in it, and why they would act as they do. Without all that, they are simply generic NPCs to insert in any place you wish.

The mind is information... hack it!
+4
http://tribulaciones.es/

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Quote:
I do have a question for you to consider about Mr. Yi Gu, Chef Benfey T. Ofili and Binding Curve. What is their price? What might someone offer Yi Gu that would convince him to abandon an investigation, or even manufacture some evidence? What might someone offer to Chef Ofili to convince him to be the one doing the assassination?[\quote]

Good question. I think Yi Gu has a very high price: he has staked everything on being truthful and incorruptible and he is not going to throw that away. But he is not naturally a paragon of virtue, so if he thought he could get away with it a really big fortune might buy him off. Similarly Binding Curve is a pretty normal businessbeing: by no means corrupt, but happy to make money. But it better be more money than he is risking.

The answer in terms of Chef Ofili is simple and worrying: beauty. He is crazy enough to sell out for sufficiently sublime aesthetics - perhaps even treachery for treachery's sake, if it was only perfectly tasteful and balanced. So to buy him off you would need to offer an extraordinary (and it would be extraordinary on a beyond-the-solar-system scale) experience.

Orin Blakesly: Sounds like just the kind of person a sentinel team might find useful to know. In the thread "Database of beta forks" I introduced Lt. Simon Platner, a highly decorated and skilled US officer who is currently distributed as illegal betas. I wonder if the two might know each other? Might make an interesting team, with Lt. Platner prime (or an escaped beta) hiring Orin to hunt down other illegal copies and the people distributing them, in exchange for help with Orin's quest.

Extropian

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Sepherim wrote:
If you are really going to flesh out Extropia, the starting point should not be the NPCs, but the city itself. How you build it (districts, power structures, institutions, governments, etc) will determine in a great deal what kind of NPCs you can place in it, and why they would act as they do. Without all that, they are simply generic NPCs to insert in any place you wish.

To some degree true, but in the networkcentric world of EP I think characteristic people and organisations may be almost more important than districts. And of course Extropia being Extropia, there is definitely no government! After all, that is what the market is for!

In fact, this brings up an interesting point: how do extropians manage communal resources? Obviously a lot of it is simply a free anarchocapitalistic market, with interspersed enclaves of other kinds of autonomists and self-owning "utopias" that set up their own internal rules. And while I think (especially with the AI support of EP) this can manage things much better than most statists think, there are going to be some resources that are necessary for running the entire society and they need to be managed collectively. Think of the hull of the habitat: I can't just take my part and run off with it. And I doubt the founders of Extropia would have liked setting up a company with a hull monopoly - that would be too much power in one place.

One extropian way of doing it is the concept of futarchy: there exists a kind of habitat "parliament" (whatever it is called; it might be elected, it might be randomly sampled citizens or even polls of their muses) that decide on what the habitat as a whole want, and then let information markets suggest how to get it. If the markets give strong enough signals that a particular approach would work, it gets implemented using the parliamentary funds. See http://hanson.gmu.edu/futarchy.html and http://hanson.gmu.edu/futarchy.pdf for the details of how the scheme would work.

This might be far too statist for most extropians, regarded as an old holdover from the bad old days when there was just limited resources but it could also be a stabilizing factor. It might be very small compared to the overall economy and has far less power than a normal government (laws, for example, are after all decided by what insurance, arbitration and law companies you subscribe to) but it is in a sense the nearly unknown government. Of course, the real and important centres of power exist somewhere else - but somebody got to keep the air flowing.

Extropian

King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: Building Extropia

"Petals" allow the sharing of experiences to the participants.

Perhaps its something similar (to that technology), that gives interested habitants of Extropia a wider; involvement, opinions & consensus of decisions.

A collective entity made from all the experiences of its participating members.



"To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult."
Plutarch

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

King Shere wrote:
"Petals" allow the sharing of experiences to the participants. Perhaps its something similar (to that technology), that gives interested habitants of Extropia a wider; involvement, opinions & consensus of decisions. A collective entity made from all the experiences of its participating members.

Democracy Flowers! What a cool idea. If you want to participate, just pick a Power Flower and chew. A fork of you gets connected to the agora simspace. A single petal just adds you to the debate, a whole flower brings you into full consensus immersion.

Of course, there have been some problems with the flowers. Beside pranksters spreading fake flowers connecting you to a parody site and that unfortunate overdose incident last year, there are the die-hard individualists who think they are creeping statism and the demarchists who worry that the self-selected people are not the most representative. More problematic is how much influence the consensus construct has on the emotions of participants: there could be a risky populist feedback loop here. Which is why many extropians think information markets provide just the kind of cool-headed analysis the consensus cannot achieve.

Extropian

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Best Do It So Plaza

One of Extropia's most popular meeting and trade spots. It is located in the business and entertainment cluster at the crossing of More, Zi and Helix. It is surrounded by some of the major corporate headquarters such as Gorgon Defense Systems, Yetinsyny Egobanking and Brooklyn-Bevilacqua Finance Co-op.

The plaza is pentagonal, with each side devoted to one of the extropian virtues (Boundless expansion, self-transformation, dynamic optimism, intelligent technology, spontaneous order). It is surrounded by ten 20 meter shapechanging smart matter statues. Five of these usually depict major historical figures associated with their side's virtue; these ones are selected by the plaza company according to their whims. One week they may be famous transhumanists, the next week economists and the one after that suitable anime characters. Sometimes they are interactive (and for a while Dr Cho Hong himself was actually sleeved in his statue). The shape of the other five is auctioned off, giving the plaza company a steady (and sizeable) income. Occasionally they become advertisements or impopular characters, triggering others to outbid the shape with something more acceptable. Some of these "shape wars" escalate into major public entertainment as the statues
shift, often into insulting parodies.

The main use of the plaza is the marketspace. The physical space is filled with stands where traders hawk their wares. The stands are usually nanofactured on the spot by the plaza swarms for a small fee, but some traders like to bring thier own, especially if they want to include anti-eavesdropping functionality, hologram fabrics or other special features. Getting a good spot is tricky, and there is a thriving location market. Some stands are extremely small, just large
enough to get AR rights on the shared layer.

What is traded changes day from day. Some patterns are reliable: there is a aquaculture on Fridays, morphs on Sundays and pets on Tuesdays. Others come and go, depending on prizes, online clustering and flash traders - one day a large number of petal traders are around, the next they are gone. Some trades are always around: the Corridor of Bankers, the VC Den, the Alley of Lawyers and the Nanomonger corner are reliably there. Many hypercorps also have stands, if only to show themselves (and to lure visitors, they sometimes offer very good onte-time deals).

Obviously most of the activity could be done online but most visitors agree the marketspace is more entertaining. The whole point is to haggle, debate and gossip in public. Seeing representatives of DirAct and Medusan Shield shout inventive abuse at each other across the street is priceless. The VCs and coolhunters scout the area for ideas. Extropian parents bring their kids to see how freeform trading is done. People sample food and demos. There are usually a few interesting newcomers around or some high-rep people to try to sousveil.

Best Do It So Corporation maintains the plaza nanoswarms (called the invisible hands of the market, of course) that are produced in hives under the surface. They maintain physical security and various forms of assistance (for a fee).

Extropian

King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Arenamontanus wrote:
Democracy Flowers! What a cool idea. If you want to participate, just pick a Power Flower and chew. A fork of you gets connected to the agora simspace. A single petal just adds you to the debate, a whole flower brings you into full consensus immersion.

Of course, there have been some problems with the flowers. Beside pranksters spreading fake flowers connecting you to a parody site and that unfortunate overdose incident last year, there are the die-hard individualists who think they are creeping statism and the demarchists who worry that the self-selected people are not the most representative. More problematic is how much influence the consensus construct has on the emotions of participants: there could be a risky populist feedback loop here. Which is why many extropians think information markets provide just the kind of cool-headed analysis the consensus cannot achieve.

with emotional control included, the "democracy flower"; would creep out "heatlhy" paranoids even more. For example: participants get the cool head feeling.

Multiple forks of the same individual could have a edge, or inadvertently(?) be muffled since the "submitted" experience would be near identical& singular.

"Political Representative Petal"
Political groups use their own brand petals and have the "petal entity" participate in the "regular" decision system.

Flower democracy lounges.
Rent "divan" shops, the drugged out people lying on comfortable divans -would look to outsiders as to the opium dens of myth.



"To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult."
Plutarch

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Some neighbourhood and detail ideas:

Catseye heights: Located on the north slopes of the habitat, it is an upscale area of terraced parks and houses, rising to a number of condominium scrapers.

Swallowtail: A low-gravity recreation, entertainment and residential district built along the rotation axis near the south endcap. Popular with people adopted to low gravity or flying.

Voxelville: This area, or rather volume, is filled with low-rent apartments. The name comes from the completely 3D architecture: every cubic centimetre of space owned by the landlord (Min Holdings, a somewhat shady property company) has been turned into living space. The interior is labyrinthine, upkeep minimal and the standard low.

The Hanging Gardens: Some buildings cling to the outside of the habitat. They are mostly inhabited by synthmorphs and non-humans, with a decidedly nonstandard architecture as they hang above space. From time to time it becomes fashionable to get a villa among the Gardens, but most of the area is the place for experimental, alternative or avant garde transhumans.

The Halo: Extropia is by no means just the main habitat. Many citizens live and work outside in the "suburbs" of the halo. These range from privately owned luxury toruses over cheap balloon habs to industrial boxes doing recycling to visiting spaceships. There are plenty of activity here that wouldn't be possible inside Extropia proper such as research and industry that wouldn't meet insurance standards, private and/or illegal goings-on. There is also much of the typical orbicrud left behind by past activity; space cleaners occasionally make interesting finds. Small driftabout vehicles are used to move around the halo.

Helix avenue: the main avenue of Extropia runs at an angle, circling the length of the habitat a few times. It is in different places bordered by canals, tramways or parks.

Directions: like in most habitats Extropia uses spinward as east and counterspinwards as west (although "spin" and "counter" are often used). South is to the right of spinwards and north to the left.

Locations in Extropia are designated by a cylindrical coordinate system using the angle from the zero "meridian" (conveniently running along More Avenue in the south), distance from the south pole and (when needed) distance from the rotation axis. In practice people use just the angle and distance as an address, such as "46.41 degrees, 12048", or let their muses point the way.

Extropian

Thantrax Thantrax's picture
Re: Building Extropia

[quote Arenamontanus] One extropian way of doing it is the concept of futarchy: there exists a kind of habitat "parliament" (whatever it is called; it might be elected, it might be randomly sampled citizens or even polls of their muses) that decide on what the habitat as a whole want, and then let information markets suggest how to get it.

This is a very interesting proposal that has it's strengths, but I'm not convinced it's a good fit for Extropia. As Sepherim said, we need to produce something on the overall structure of the habitat. That said, "There are no laws or government as such; visitors are advised to register with an insurance and security provider." Page 97 of the Core Rules. I really feel we need to stick to the cannon on this, but this means establishing how essential resources can be managed without a government.

Perhaps what we need here is an Andrew Ryan, of Bioshock fame. A transhuman who decided to build Extropia to fit his/her ideal. One person, perhaps with the backing of investors or loans from the Lunar bank, who hollowed out the asteroid that Extropia inhabits and maintains the facility. Extropia Corporation would literally own all the hull and life support systems. They would offer rental agreements to any interested parties that allow them to rent portions of the habitat for whatever purposes they desired, be it to set up housing, establish a market, or hold orgies dedicated to the Flying Spagetti Monster. This contract would specifically state that the authority of Extropia Corporation would extend only to matters of environmental hazards to the inhabitants or damage to the habitat itself. People would be otherwise free to do whatever they desired and Extropia Corporation would not be held liable. The rental fees are priced to equal exactly as much as it costs to maintain and upgrade the habitat itself at the time of the contract's signing.

Before we formalize any decisions on this issue, I'd love to hear some more debate from everyone else. Is futarchy the way to go? Do you like this Extropia Corporation notion? Want to just pick at one part or another? Have a third idea to toss into the mix?

As to the districts, I'd suspect that the Halo wouldn't be home to much illegal research as there really is no such thing as an illegal activity. I have a nitpick with Helix Avenue as well. With this being a nongovernmental habitat, the idea of a central highway linking up the whole place seems too... orderly. I get the feeling that Extropia should be rather chaotic in it's design. I love Voxelville and definitely feel there should be an entertainment district, a 'downtown' if you will. Between Catseye Heights and Swallowtail though, you've got both the north and south caps built up. These areas need to house the mirror arrays to bring in sunlight and the starport.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Thantrax wrote:
Perhaps what we need here is an Andrew Ryan, of Bioshock fame. A transhuman who decided to build Extropia to fit his/her ideal. One person, perhaps with the backing of investors or loans from the Lunar bank, who hollowed out the asteroid that Extropia inhabits and maintains the facility. Extropia Corporation would literally own all the hull and life support systems. They would offer rental agreements to any interested parties that allow them to rent portions of the habitat for whatever purposes they desired, be it to set up housing, establish a market, or hold orgies dedicated to the Flying Spagetti Monster. This contract would specifically state that the authority of Extropia Corporation would extend only to matters of environmental hazards to the inhabitants or damage to the habitat itself. People would be otherwise free to do whatever they desired and Extropia Corporation would not be held liable

Yes, this is a much more likely setup. Futarchy sounds more like something Titanian-influenced habitats would be trying out. Extropia Corporation actually makes a lot more sense.

A long while ago I wrote up this planet for a campaign, with some input from libertarian friends (there is plenty here that can be used in Extropia): http://www.nada.kth.se/~asa/Game/BigIdeas/atlantis.html
The planet was colonized by a foundation funded by various groups who wanted to build a society on libertarian principles. The foundation sold off the planetary system to the colonists upon arrival, reinvesting the money into the economy (but remaining a big, silent shareholder).

Quote:
The rental fees are priced to equal exactly as much as it costs to maintain and upgrade the habitat itself at the time of the contract's signing.

Why not make it profit-making? Going into my loony libertarian mode, while I would love to see a true libertarian society made possible, it would be even better to make it profitable. After all, doing something for pure altruism is suspect. However, Extropia does have competition. It cannot set prices too high, or people will move to other habitats (including make their own and move them nearby).

I doubt there is a single tycoon owner of Extropia Corporation, but I could imagine a number of big investors and charismatic board members. Running off and starting a major habitat in the asteroid belt, especially on ideological grounds, is not cheap. Besides the owners of Extropia there are going to be a CEO, CTO and CSO that actually have some important powers. However, I suspect the corporate charter has deliberately been written so that it is hard for the corporation to exploit its power without breaching contract. And plenty of hobby-paranoid citizens are deeply suspicious of any concentrations of power and do extensive sousveillance - EC might simply have decided it is easiest to conduct all its business with total openness.

Of course, outsourcing makes sense. Medusan Shield might be hired to run habitat external security and a few other security companies internal, mesh and economic security. Maintenance gets done by various companies bidding on contracts. CE runs prediction markets where you can make money by correctly predicting where problems are going to occur, and uses this information to direct maintenance.

Quote:
As to the districts, I'd suspect that the Halo wouldn't be home to much illegal research as there really is no such thing as an illegal activity.

Good point. Extropia has likely signed the Treaty of Uniform Security, though. I suspect there are activities that are so bad that no insurance or arbitration company would accept them, and hence are likely to get a visit from a bunch of well-armed vigilantes. And there are activities you don't want to end up in the mesh, even if the cosmopolitan extropians might not care - they are damaging in your home jurisdiction.

Quote:
I have a nitpick with Helix Avenue as well. With this being a nongovernmental habitat, the idea of a central highway linking up the whole place seems too... orderly. I get the feeling that Extropia should be rather chaotic in it's design.

The local design is going to be chaotic (or emergent, as they locals would defend it). But I can imagine the large-scale structure having a number of features thrown in by the builders like the location of major lakes, transport tunnels or things like Helix.

Quote:
I love Voxelville and definitely feel there should be an entertainment district, a 'downtown' if you will. Between Catseye Heights and Swallowtail though, you've got both the north and south caps built up. These areas need to house the mirror arrays to bring in sunlight and the starport.

Yes. I would imagine that both ends got starports (and hence also major transport hubs). Maybe Catseye Heights gets its name because of the apparent shape of the windows as seen from there; I don't think the area goes very high up (inconveniently low gravity), but rather turns into the north starport hub. Swallowtail could be pretty independent form whatever is on the cap below. There is a lot of space when you consider the size of the habitat.

I wonder what would form a downtown. In current cities it is usually business, but in EP most business is electronic anyway. People can do it wherever they want and hence there is an enormous need for nice parks, cafeterias and places for people to work - it might look like endless Starbucks and lawn picnics but it is the business "centre". There are a few symbols like the corporate buildings, Best Do It So Plaza and similar areas, but they do not draw that much people. In Extropia it could very well be entertainment (and especially *social* entertainment) that makes the real downtown.

Extropian

Psyfer Psyfer's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Gouldian Personal Security and Investigations (aka. GPSI, 'Gypsy').

Although far from the largest security concern in Extropia, GPSI has over the last 15 years developed a reputation for reliabilty and integrity second to none. Such is it's reputation that to be seen under the protection of an agent wearing the distinctive stylised Gouldian Finch(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gouldian_Finch) badge grants a level of presitige in many circles. The reason for this is simple: GPSI is very discerning about it's clients.

To secure a contract with Gouldian requires more then just money. The company goes to great lengths to avoid being associated with clients that may negitively impact it's reputation. Every potential client is subjected to an interview process, which, depending on the nature of the contract, can prove to be quite extensive. In many circumstances, the company will use it's own resources to investigate the prospective client. Should they fail to meet criteria or refuse to take part in the interview, then they are politely informed to seek the services of another security firm. If they pass muster, then a contract is written up and price determined based on nature of contract, duration of contract and the income of the client, and includes a clause freeing GPSI from any obligations to the client should they perform or be linked to any activities that may negitively impact GPSI or it's reputation. Finally, it is not unknown in certain circumstances for Gouldian to perform 'charity work' for disadvantaged clients at greatly reduced cost or no cost. Such cases are determined on a case by case basis, and require approval from the company's executive officer and owner, an enigmatic individual known as 'Finch'.

Once the contract is signed, GPSI takes great pride in performing it's duties to a high standerd of competance and professionality. Every employee of the company is expected keep to the company's code of conduct, and breaches are investigated thoroughly.

So, one wonders, what is the reason for all this emphasis on appearing to be a clean securuty corperation? The reason is simple, and as much economic as ethical. GPSI sells more then just security services. It sells reputation. Public knowledge that an individual has a contract with GPSI imparts that they manage to convince the company that they are a upstanding individual unlikely to stain GPSI's immaculate reputation. As such, despite their stringent criteria, GPSI has no shortage of work.

Company organisation:

The company is split into three departments, GPSI Black, Red and Yellow:

GPSI Black (badge: Gouldian Finch, black headed morph)

The largest department of the three, GPSI Black handles personal protection and security. Although it's most obvious employees are professional bodyguards (quite often police or military veterans), this department also has a large pool of skilled infotech experts and nano-tech specialists to assist with information security and tech support.

GPSI Red (badge: Gouldian Finch, red headed morph)

GPSI Red is the investigative arm of the corperation. Its agents are a diverse lot, ranging form data-miners to infitration experts to old-fashioned detectives. Despite the potential for revenue through corperate espionage, GPSI Red steers clear of such contracts due to them running counter to GPSI's 'clean' reputation. One duty of import that they are involved in is screening potential clients, discreetly investigating them during the application procedure to insure that GPSI's exacting standerds are maintained.

GPSI Yellow (badge: Gouldian Finch, yellow headed morph)

GPSI Yellow is the smallest division of the corperation. It fullfills a very focused role, that of emergancy support and recovery. If a GPSI agent should get into trouble, it's GPSI Yellow's job to get them out of it. As a secondary role, they also function as a hostage rescue/stolen item recovery unit. Many of the department's staff are former special forces soldiers or intelligance operatives. GPSI Yellow is also home to the company's legal team. The entire department has the nickname of Yellowjackets, a referance to both a particularly vicious wasp and the mustard combat jackets of the departmental combat extraction teams.

Finch

No-one really knows who Finch is. All that is know is that he is the power behind GPSI, and individual that none within the company can claim to have seen face to face. Indeed, many believe that he's some sort of Infomorph. In conversation he's friendly, but in an aloof, distant way, always maintaining an air of professionality. He also interveiws personally every new employee, albiet all they ever see is a hologram of the company logo.

Several rumours exist concerning Finch's identity (the following is a selection of some of the more popular ones):

That there's some sort of symbolism behind the company logo, possibly to do with nanoecology or Finch's origin (the Gouldian Finch was a rare Australian bird of exceptional beauty).

That Finch and GPSI are simply a front for a larger hypercorp, used to cover up other more dubious activities.

That Finch was involved in some sort of tragedy or shady dealings in the past, and GPSI (in particular the corperation's 'Charity Cases') are an attempt to redeem himself.

That Finch is a Promethian.

That Finch is a TITAN.

Just another Ghost in the Machine...

AlexiusSawall AlexiusSawall's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Some awesomely cool stuff here, but there's something I'm curious about...

I've always assumed that Extropia is a micro-grav habitat. It's described as a beehive, and that's always made me think it's unspun.

Am I wrong?

Anyway, my players visited Extropia last session and I came up with a few interesting locations. I'll flesh them out a bit once the gravity question is nailed down (and apologise to the player who kept critically failing their zero-g rolls!).

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

On p. 281 it is stated that Extropia is a Cole Bubble. So it likely got gravity, but how strong is not stated.

I would suspect it is low but not microgravity: I would not trust the structural stability of remelted asteroid iron that much (there better be some bundles of fullerene cables running around it as reinforcement), but microgravity is rather troublesome to work in. Since there is plenty of microgravity anyway on the outside, any stuff that needs true microgravity can be done there.

Hmm, remelting 44 Nysa would probably have produced some interesting melt or slag deposits in the hull of the habitat. I can imagine the Bubble Lounge, a bar housed inside a big dome-shaped bubble that formed in the metal. Various features are surreal slag deposits and oxide crystals, nicely lit by spotlights.

Extropian

King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Machanto
Warehouse conversion districts, Situated beside the "passenger" side of a spaceport. It converts surplus warehouses built for space-shipping. Machanto Is now supporting an increasing number of cafes, workshops & art galleries. The area is also home to many exclusive shops and some high-end boutique style shops.

Here an artist can discover the charm of the organization, find cheap rent retail space, impress the necessary leadership for lucrative deals whether its arts, shipping or manufacturing.

The sector is supported by independent arts organizations, "Flux Thespian Auditorium" & shipping industries.

Flux Thespian Auditorium
Is a sponsor of many. Its name is used by others when sponsoring, In fact you often can make a donation & have Flux thespian Auditorium do it in their name. Because of these outside sponsors, its a jumbled mess to decide who is representing it & why it sponsored something. Despite (&because) the jumbled mess; it organizes workshops, education, festivals, broadcasts & participative events. It also helps in replacing outdated (or broken) equipments of Auditorium aspects (like large public view-screens).

Its "official" statement is the Aspiration to be a contributer for the joyfull with arts and creativity.



"To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult."
Plutarch

AlexiusSawall AlexiusSawall's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Arenamontanus wrote:
On p. 281 it is stated that Extropia is a Cole Bubble. So it likely got gravity, but how strong is not stated.

Wow - you're right. But if you look at the System Gazetteer, on page 97, it says that Extropia is a "massive beehive habitat". And I've been using that Gazetteer as gospel...

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

OK, so it is a beehive *and* a Cole bubble! So either they didn't melt all of 44 Nysa, or they have tunnelled through now solidified bubble crust, or (IMHO most likely) they used part of the asteroid to make the bubble. Given that Nysa is 113x67x65 km I have a hard time imagining anybody melting the whole asteroid!

So I would expect the Cole habitat to be the "new town" while the beehive is the "old town". Extropia Corporation used the profits from setting up the original colony to fund the massive Cole habitat (which would have required plenty of local infrastructure), recently finishing it.

This could be fun. New Town is likely a bit high rent and would tend to attract more hypercorp types, while Old Town is more like the autonomist habitats elsewhere. Various oldtimers would of course fiercely cling to their authentic beehive neighbourhoods, decrying the boring sterility of New Town, while other extropians would want to go with the wave and get the fruits of their ingenuity rather than living in a hole in a rock. As many moved, rents in the Old Town went down and it became even more bohemic by extropian standards.

Extropian

AlexiusSawall AlexiusSawall's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Arenamontanus wrote:
OK, so it is a beehive *and* a Cole bubble!

That's an interesting idea, but I'm just trying to get my head around both the physics of that, and how it would all be laid out in the asteroid itself.

So Nysa (pre construction of the Cole hab that would become Extropia, if we go with this hypothesis), starts out as a series of rock chambers in micro-gravity. No doubt these are linear in nature - chamber, linking tunnel, chamber, and so on, tunneling into the heart of the asteroid. Once in the asteroid's center, the work on the Cole bubble begins. Completed, it would look a little like this (forgive my poor ASCII art):

______________
|************|
---o-o-o-(``)****|
|______________|

But that center chamber would be much bigger. (also read * as whitespace, as the forum doesn't preserve non-characters).

This would at least mean that the beehive portion - assuming it's along the axis of rotation (and you'd want it to be, as whatever was built in there would have been built in micro-g) - would remain in micro-g.

So a visitor would have to travel through Old Town before getting to Extropia proper, or New Town as Old Town residents would put it. This would at least mean I've not just put my PCs through zero-g shenanigans for nothing :)

Of course, all this is predicated on the two descriptions of Extropia being accurate, and not a typo.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Many asteroids are double: two about equally large objects orbiting so close they almost touch. Others are bone-shaped, with a narrow waist near the rotation axis (think of Eros). Nysa is likely somewhat at least concave judging from radar measurements (see the Wikipedia entry). It could be that it is actually a double asteroid. In that case it would make sense to start Old Town in one of the lobes and have EC declare the other an industrial area. Over the span of a number of years they convert it into a Cole bubble in the same location. So now half of Nysa remains, orbiting together with the largest bubble in transhuman space. Even if Nysa was just one long cigar it would not be too hard to separate one piece at the end to work with.

However, I quite like the idea of housing a bubble *inside* an asteroid. A bit tricky in the case of an elongated asteroid like Nysa (since it would be rotating along one of the short axes; long-axis rotation is unstable if you don't correct it all the time) but as a general idea very clever: you get plenty of shielding, can build the habitat in secrecy and once you are finished you have easy access to the habitat. Some logistics problems with moving around lots of crushed regolith to make the spaces, but they are universal for all beehives. Most likely it just ends up stacked on the surface or bundled into webbing on the outside.

Extropian

Psyfer Psyfer's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Here's an idea:

As mentioned before, according to radar imaging 44 Nysa appears conical in shape, so it's possibly a binary of one large asteroid and a smaller one. What if the larger one was used as the habitat (turned into the Cole Tube), and the smaller one attached and counterspun to provide a stationary zero-g docking platform? It would be very advantagous for loading/offloading and ther spaceship-related tasks, and also provide an area for micro-g industries (precision manufacture for example). It would also provide a good attachement for radio/laser communications systems, as well as anything else that wants to be pointing at a fixed location (the above format is used on a smaller scale on telecommunications sattilites to allow the main body to rotate for stable orbit and have the communcations dishes still focussed on the ground).

The biggest flaw I can see with the idea is the linkage between the spun/counterspun sections. It would have to be massive, and heaven help you if something was to go awry. The torque from a sudden seizure of the rotational mechenism could possibly tear Extopia apart. Maybe a 'smart' lubricant of nanites within the linkage, acting to both maintain rotation, repair any problems and provide near frictionless movement.

It would also be a great plot device to throw at PCs should someone decide to sabatage the station, the antagonist trying to hack and reprogram the smart lubricant...

Just another Ghost in the Machine...

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

I think the Cole bubble/tube + zero-g asteroid solution is very good. Not just do we get gravity and microgravity, compatibility with both claims in the book but also a lot of possible location diversity.

As for the physics, ouch. I just had a discussion with a physicist, filling the whiteboard with angular momentum vectors. I think we have a few options:

  1. The remaining asteroid is counterspun (not necessarily to the same speed, it can be heavier) and the Cole bubble is connected to it with a rigid axis. As Psyfer points out, this requires some impressive engineering: there will be significant torques on the axis and it needs to connect two counterrotating objects. It also provides a nice transport system.

  2. The Cole bubble is not connected to the asteroid but spun along its long axis. Leaving aside the minor adjustments needed to keep it spinning along that axis, its angular momentum vector will need to make a 360 rotation every six hours as it rotates around the total centre of mass. This will lead to tumbling: the habitat will not stay oriented in the same direction relative to the asteroid. Making Extropia torus-shaped or disk-like just fixes the instability of the long axis, the tumbling is due to having two different rotations combined. On the plus side, this does not require any complicated engineering and I think the tumbling will not have a major effect on the internal pseudogravity (the six hour rotation is pretty slow; I get a centripetal force of about ~0.0008 G at the far end). On the minus side it will be trickier to go from the asteroid to the bubble, and the light reflection solution gets messy.

  3. Extropia is surrounded by counter-rotating weights (or high gravity habitats, industries, reserve stores or whatnots) linked to it by cables and attached to belts around its circumference. This keeps the total angular momentum to zero, and the cylinder will nicely point at Nysa without doing any tumbling. As it rotates there are various torques on the rotating bands, but they can be distributed over pretty large areas. On the plus side this keeps the asteroid and Cole bubble plus allows some nice connections along the long axis. These weights could actually be used as flywheels for massive energy storage. On the minus side we get some extra infrastructure that could potentially (but very unlikely) go wrong.

  4. Extropia could be a bolo habitat rather than a true Cole bubble: take the converted half of Nysa and turn it into a cylindrical box connected to Nysa through a bundle of cables. The centrifugal force provides gravity when the distance is right, it is easy to engineer and one could put a bus/elevator on the cabling. But this limits the area quite a lot and contradicts the book.

  5. Turn part of Nysa into a Cole bubble but not all of it, rotate the whole shebang along the long axis. This is pretty unappealing but makes the low to microgravity beehive an integral part of the habitat.

My own choice would likely be option 2, separate rotation. Yes, the habitat will be tumbling but that is just a problem for navigators (who are all enhanced anyway; to an AGI who has grown up in a symplectic manifold or a space dolphin it is all obvious). From the inside everything is fine, especially since the optics anyway will have to massage the sunlight to earth-like intensity and colour. Option 3 is not bad either, and outsiders might well overlook what those weird spars and cables are for.

Of course, a critic could say that we could just as well decide that it is either a beehive or a bubble, but the extropian thing to do is to have one's cake, eat it, replicate it and upload it!

Extropian

AlexiusSawall AlexiusSawall's picture
Re: Building Extropia

You know, all the complex designs sound great from a gee-whiz factor, but I just can't help thinking that they're all a bit unnecessarily complex and over-engineered. I think I'll stick with the all-in-one option.

That said, since we seem to have come to the conclusion that a mix of micro-g and gravity is possible, individual GMs can easily model Extropia as they wish :)

Psyfer Psyfer's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Well, even with a regular Cole cylinder you will have a microgravity environment along the axis of rotation, and you could still have objects on longer rotational paths extending from the Cole cylinder providing high-g environments. t really comes down to how you bould the cylinder. If it's spindle or ellipse shaped, you would have regions of different gravity as you move from the middle of the spindle (high g) to the points (low g). Could provide some interesting design opportunities... and headaches.

Secondly, Extopia is a (enlightened) market economy... If this is the case from the beginning, not everything will have neccessaryily have been done in the most effective way. Cost and corruption may have influenced it's construction and development, possibly in detrimental ways.

t's not something that has to have happoned, but it's worth considering.

Just another Ghost in the Machine...

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Psyfer wrote:
Secondly, Extopia is a (enlightened) market economy... If this is the case from the beginning, not everything will have neccessaryily have been done in the most effective way. Cost and corruption may have influenced it's construction and development, possibly in detrimental ways.

Ah, unlike government-run places, where everything works perfectly thanks to clever and long-range government planning... :-) The fun part about radically different societies like Extropia and the autonomists is not that they are perfect, but that they have very different styles of imperfections.

Hmm, so what are the biggest everyday annoyances to Extropia citizens? Obviously the steady flow of nuisance lawsuits wears on some: bump into someone and there is a nanotort rapidly handled by your muse that debits you 0.1 Rand damages. Your muse is likely annoyed too by dealing with the myriad of private currencies: practically every company and person have their own scrip and rep market, with complex convertibility systems. Some people also go nuts about privacy and try to enforce strict copyright about their appearance and identity; they burn up a lot of law firm money on trying to enforce being blurred out from public view (it never works).

While being a style capital of the solar system is nice, it also means there is no shortage of people doing *anything* to get attention. You cannot unsee some people you have seen (unless you take an amnesic tonic). Or they make stuff that tries to get attention. The molds behind your fridge may spell out poetry and invitations to a club. There are friendly butterflies trying to show off the holoadverts on their wings. There are nanofoam sculptures drifting in the air, enticing you to link to their design bureau.

Then there is the issue of insurance: while there might be no government around to hold your hand, your insurance companies will adjust premiums depending on what you do. If you want to do something outrageously dangerous you better be able to pay the premiums or accept that you will not be covered. Of course, there are the wildness sponsorship charities that try to promote a more radical lifestyle who might sponsor your stupid/interesting stunt (as long as they get to record it of course). On the good side, the insurance companies sponsor a surprising number of things that improve safety, health and security. "This railing has been sponsored by Zettalife. Keeping you on the safe side!"

And of course, if you don't run adblockers on your endos or ectos, you will go mad. At least outsiders claim that, but they are pretty odd themselves. Knowing the local media weather is important, you never know when it will change and what new things will become antimatter-hot.

Extropian

Psyfer Psyfer's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Quote:

Ah, unlike government-run places, where everything works perfectly thanks to clever and long-range government planning... :-) The fun part about radically different societies like Extropia and the autonomists is not that they are perfect, but that they have very different styles of imperfections.

Oh, I don't disagree with that in the slightest... :P At the end of the day, it's still people pushing the buttons after all, with all the pros and cons attached with that.

On the matter of everyday issues in Extropia, I'd imagine that a citizen of the station would have a (potentially large) list of automated contracts/responses/microtorts programmed into their muse to handle daily interaction. However, imagine the poor off-worlder:

"What do you mean, by accepting this handshake I've invalidated my genetic privacy?"

It'd be like surfing the 'net without AV software, only it's your body, mind and identity at stake. There could be a sizable industry based around suckering ignorant foriginers out of personal data to be traded and sold...

BTW, when I saw your advertisment spiel I couldn't help but think of the dream advertising from Futurama. Oh, and then there's the vaguries of subliminal advertising.... There's a legality tangle if ever I saw one.

Media weather.... :S I could see all sorts of interesting apps to visualise that. And like real meteorology, I can forsee it being as much an art as a science as well. :P

Just another Ghost in the Machine...

AlexiusSawall AlexiusSawall's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Psyfer wrote:
Quote:

However, imagine the poor off-worlder:

"What do you mean, by accepting this handshake I've invalidated my genetic privacy?"

You know, there are probably entire micro-industries set up to both abuse newcomers' ignorance, and to help newcomers adjust - it's likely a part of any ego-casting service into Extropia.

"Very well, Sir, has chosen his morph, but would Sir also like a full citizen-grade contractual package? It is, I assure Sir, the only way to be safe, and our package is vacuum-tight."

King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Arenamontanus wrote:
Hmm, so what are the biggest everyday annoyances to Extropia citizens? Obviously the steady flow of nuisance lawsuits wears on some: bump into someone and there is a nanotort rapidly handled by your muse that debits you 0.1 Rand damages.

Galactophage wrote:
(In "Organized Dueling" thread)

One reference in passing I found interesting was that dueling was becoming a popular way to solve problems, given access to backups and modern medical tech. Some melee weapons and single shot pistols would be weapons most habitats don't worry too much about. Here is an idea of mine: Given post scarcity economics and value of reputation, what if wagers involving reputation become attached to dueling? Given post scarcity economics and value of reputation, what if wagers involving reputation become attached to dueling? Instead of a lengthy trial and lots of red tape, why not duel the person who accused you of stealing their work?


Why not duel the person bumping into you at the street, or that sent a annoying nanotort against your Muse.
Psyfer wrote:
However, imagine the poor off-worlder:

"What do you mean, by accepting this handshake I've invalidated my genetic privacy?"

The off-worlder target that refused a handshake, may find him self challenged to a dual. People do take offence, if a "friendly" courteous handshake is refused; after all.

Extropia citizens everyday annoyances & entertainment may be the duels resolving matters. Whether the duel is held in a virtual world or in the physical world they could have serious consequences.



"To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult."
Plutarch

nick012000 nick012000's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Arenamontanus wrote:
  1. *snip*
  2. *snip*
  3. Extropia is surrounded by counter-rotating weights (or high gravity habitats, industries, reserve stores or whatnots) linked to it by cables and attached to belts around its circumference. This keeps the total angular momentum to zero, and the cylinder will nicely point at Nysa without doing any tumbling. As it rotates there are various torques on the rotating bands, but they can be distributed over pretty large areas. On the plus side this keeps the asteroid and Cole bubble plus allows some nice connections along the long axis. These weights could actually be used as flywheels for massive energy storage. On the minus side we get some extra infrastructure that could potentially (but very unlikely) go wrong.

I like this option, simply because it gives adventure opportunities for Firewall games above and beyond the risks and vulnerabilities all orbital habitats have (life-support, power generation, food production, et cetera).

+1 r-Rep , +1 @-rep

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Extrade

Quote:

The subject of gambling is all encompassing. It combines man's natural play instinct with his desire to know about his fate and his future. -- Franz Rosenthal

One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a package of garden seeds. --Dan Bennett

Extrade is the biggest prediction market of Extropia, a hypercorp represented across the solar system.

Information markets allow people to trade on predictions (e.g. that Cognite will release the Menton 2.0 before August 10, that there will be a TITAN attack against an inner system habitat over the next year, that the mass of the iota exotic meson will be above 45 TeV or that the Coprates Cougars will win the Marineris League). People buy bets on the outcome, earning money if it comes true. However, the purpose is not just gambling but to actually use the price of bets to get accurate probability estimates. People are motivated to make correct bets since they make money from them (unlike normal predictions, where there is usually no cost of being wrong). Overall, the prediction performance tend to be very competitive compared to asking experts.

Extropians have since their beginning favoured prediction markets, since they involve making money from being rational and knowledgeable and simultaneously provide useful information to the community. In fact, among extropians experts tend to be those people who do well on the prediction market rather than have the most impressive credentials. If you know something, you ought to show it by being able to make money from it.

The larger the market is, the better chance that it can pick up information (if only a few bet on something, only their knowledge will come into play) and remain unbiased - it is possible to bias a prediction market with enough money if there are just a few players. If it is large enough, biasers will instead be ruthlessly exploited by players who recognize their bias: the market stabilizes itself, and automatically punishes the manipulators. There can be problems such as communications lag, speculative bubbles, moral hazard (i.e. making a bet on a terrorist attack and then committing it) and cognitive biases, but this is where the different market companies get their competitive edge by setting up trading rules that minimize them.

Extrade is relatively new, emerging in AF 7 from the merger of Breezeblock and Exiton. It is owned by Banque de Nectaris, IEMDX Agorics and Scalia Associates. The default imagery used in corporate mesh, AR and physical presence tends to be rustic gardening-based: bets are represented as seeds and bulbs that might flower into high payoff, the corporate representatives have a homespun farmer or gardener style, probability charts tend to involve weather symbols and deviations are pests. The corporate "offices" in Extropia are a literal hanging garden. However, many people choose among the other numerous skins: it is easy to experience the corporation as shining math, radical expanding nanodesign or a Chinese celestial bureaucracy distributing luck and destiny.

To many Extrade is just gambling, but it also has another face as a forecasting corporation. Many groups want to find out things: what morphs will be popular next year, whether the Jovian Junta will hold together, whether crime will increase or decrease if the Planetary Consortium passes a certain bill or which reputation markets will remain stable. They pay Extrade for setting up markets on the questions and enticing their customers to bet on them. Extrade also does very careful data mining, detecting both suspicious patterns and early signs that something interesting is happening. There have been instances where Extrade was the first to notice significant events.

Prediction markets can be used for other things, and Extrade can supply the functionality. Futarchy runs organisations by having prediction markets predict what the best policy is. Some hypercorps use them internally to estimate the best course of action... and the probability that the stock price will rise if the CEO leaves - when that number starts to rise, shareholders take notice.

Firewall is of course a customer of Extrade (through some intermediaries). A great deal of information about emerging existential risks can be gathered this way: the current odds for transhuman survival over the next decade are at an optimistic 75%, but some risks such as human-triggered seed AGI swarms or alien threats have been creeping up worryingly. Firewall actually encourages sentinels to cautiously play: by being right about the magnitude of threats they make other groups take big risks more seriously. But it is dangerous to reveal too much: while sentinels who know of an Exsurgent outbreak might make some money from betting on it, they also afterwards reveal that they had insider information. This is also why it rarely pays for terrorists or criminals to bet on their deeds - they signal them beforehand and leave a money trail.

Extropian

Psyfer Psyfer's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Nice... I like the idea of a prediction market a lot.

It gives me some ideas for enterprises dependant on the markets, various archivists, trend prediction/production agencies etc... I'll write more when I have some spare time.

Just another Ghost in the Machine...

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

How do you manage traffic rules when there is no government? Easy: the one who owns the road gets to make the rules.

The road networks in Extropia are run by a few different odocorps, most notably Overground, FreePath and Legba Transport. They own the roads, sidewalks, subways and transport tramways. Vehicles and morphs using them have to obey their local rules; vehicle AIs link up to the traffic control system and become part of the flow.

Most locals have an account with each odocorp that gets debited automatically based on distance travelled, the amount of space and speed needed, mass involved, energy needs etc. If you need to get from A to B as quickly as possible you can pay for green light and clear road all the way (unless someone else outbids you). There are usually no speed limits per se, just an exponentially increasing road fee (and insurance premiums). If you want the safest possible trip that can also be arranged (especially Legba takes great pride in its ability to arrange unconventional secret or private travel).

Extropia Corporation enforces very basic freedom of movement so visitors can make use of at least the sidewalks without paying. Non-payees on the road or subway will however find themselves generally blocked, shunted into the slow lane or (if they ignore the rules) physically evicted by road warden bots. One way of travelling without dealing with the odocorps is to use jitney services: many people make a bit of extra cash or rep by picking up people and/or cargo and bringing them somewhere else. This is often recommended as a good way for newcomers to see Extropia and get to know the peculiarities of the locals.

Overground is the largest odocorp, owning many of the main avenues and streets. It keeps a low profile; as Helmut Schulman, the CEO put it: "If nobody notices us, we are doing our job". This strategy has worked well. A few years back Viacorp was the largest odocorp, but they started charging higher and higher prices to maximize short-term profits. Annoyed customers turned to Overground, and eventually the corporation bought most of Viacorp's streets.

FreePath is more directed at underground transport, although it also maintains many sidewalks and garden paths. It is customer-oriented and aims at maximizing the "movement experience" - which involved selling movement data to advertisers, arranging fortuitous meetings (sometimes because somebody paid for them, sometimes apparently just for fun) and many other antics, especially at the expense of non-payers (people are still talking about the Moebius Subway Station). Newcomers are recommended to get an account and carefully set their privacy options.

Legba is highly diversified in transport and logistics. The main activity of the company is physical transport using the underground transport grid rather than personal transport, but it also maintains logistic solutions for getting around - both effective and unusual. If you need to go from one place in Extropia to another fast, secretly, safely or extravagantly, contact Legba and its AIs will figure something out.

Airbridge Solutions is a new and nimble odocorp arranging above-ground transport, mainly for individuals. They maintain a large number of nanotech fold-out bridges on the rooftops of the south side, allowing customers to walk above street level. Behind the scenes their software negotiates deals with houseowners for their walls and roofs, or air-owners for their space. They have mobile bridgebots and "flying mats" that allow the customers to get around surprisingly well. It has become a stylish way of leaving to have a transparent staircase unfold from the sky.

Of course, some extropians make a point of not using any of the odocorps. Freerunning in Extropia is tricky (especially given the strong property ownership rules), but that just makes it so much more rewarding. The Grand Challenge is to get from one pole of the station to the other one without flying or paying anyone anything (or losing anything in a microtort); so far the Challenge is unclaimed, but not for want of trying. The current record is 88% of the way, and betting on who will actually achieve the full run is heating up.

Extropian

King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Arenamontanus wrote:
How do you manage traffic rules when there is no government? Easy: the one who owns the road gets to make the rules.

The road networks in Extropia are run by a few different odocorps, most notably Overground, FreePath and Legba Transport. They own the roads, sidewalks, subways and transport tramways. Vehicles and morphs using them have to obey their local rules; vehicle AIs link up to the traffic control system and become part of the flow.

Arenamontanus wrote:
Of course, some extropians make a point of not using any of the odocorps. Freerunning in Extropia is tricky (especially given the strong property ownership rules), but that just makes it so much more rewarding.

Doesn't "owning a road" collide with the values "Transcending Restrictions" & "Overcoming Property" that Extropist hold?

"We believe it is madness that anyone can own an idea, a blueprint, a thought, a melody or a genome. Human progress will advance far faster if knowledge, culture and resources are shared by everyone for the general welfare of all Earth’s inhabitants."

http://www.extropism.com/post/393563122/the-extropist-manifesto
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extropianism

Perhaps Extropia station have some sort of tenement (or free socage) system generally applied (and not just on Real estate), "Property" would never be considered privately owned; instead, its considered held. With forfeiture of the tenement upon failure to perform service (or holding).
-Beware of theft, holders of held items. Ownership doesn't apply here.



"To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult."
Plutarch

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

King Shere wrote:

Doesn't "owning a road" collide with the values "Transcending Restrictions" & "Overcoming Property" that Extropist hold?

Maybe, but the extropists seem to be a very recent offshoot. I have actually never heard of them, and I think I pay attention to transhumanist politics.

If you go back to classical extropianism like we wrote about in Extropy Magazine and discussed on the extropy conferences in the 1990's people were very open to libertarian ideas such as privately produced laws and environmental ownership. Extropianism was never explicitly libertarian, but there was a great deal of overlap. But then again, libertarians do not have to base their views on strong views on the right to property; I know some who are quite active in the pirate party and fiercely critical of intellectual property. I think this is partially the origin of the EP references to debates betwen anarchocapitalists and mutualists.

Quote:

Perhaps Extropia station have some sort of tenement (or free socage) system generally applied (and not just on Real estate), "Property" would never be considered privately owned; instead, its considered held. With forfeiture of the tenement upon failure to perform service (or holding).

I guess this could be another role for Extropia Corporation: they own the fundamental infrastructure and everybody are their tenants. I don't think it extend to much other property, though.

Extropian

The Doctor The Doctor's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Arenamontanus wrote:
Of course, a critic could say that we could just as well decide that it is either a beehive or a bubble, but the extropian thing to do is to have one's cake, eat it, replicate it and upload it!

Or do something different. We are playing Extropia as a torus.



Psyfer Psyfer's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Going back a bit:

Arenamontanus wrote:
I think the Cole bubble/tube + zero-g asteroid solution is very good. Not just do we get gravity and microgravity, compatibility with both claims in the book but also a lot of possible location diversity.

As for the physics, ouch. I just had a discussion with a physicist, filling the whiteboard with angular momentum vectors. I think we have a few options:

  1. The remaining asteroid is counterspun (not necessarily to the same speed, it can be heavier) and the Cole bubble is connected to it with a rigid axis. As Psyfer points out, this requires some impressive engineering: there will be significant torques on the axis and it needs to connect two counterrotating objects. It also provides a nice transport system.

I think I may have something approaching a solution (I will warn you though that I last did Physics in High School, I'm just going off some rough estemations here).

What if you have the counter rotating section fitted in the Cole tube like the ball on a ball point pen, with the linkage being a ring between the two? It would disperse the energy involved over a much larger area. an extension of that would be to affix the zero g section to a plate across the end of the Cole cylinder, and have the rotating mechenism between the two.

Any thoughts or suggestions? The only real flaws I can see so far is mass (it would be HUGE), and the fact that if it suffers a catistrophic failure, you could loose the entire habitat (a smaller linkage would be easier to seal in the event of an emergancy). If anyone can see other issues or solutions to the above, I'm all ears.

Just another Ghost in the Machine...

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

The Vault

Extropia has a thriving infomorph community. The Vault caters to their needs to secure storage and cryptographic privacy. While the Vault appears to be a single system in the Mesh it is actually a number of separate computronium mainframes maintained across Extropia, linked with some of the best quantum encryption money can buy to guarantee service. Inhabitants are assured secure storage, plentiful computer cycles and complete privacy within their servers. If someone decides to cocoon inside their server they are practically impossible to access even by Vault employees. Even finding a particular server is hard unless its owner ceases payment; the system is built so that the infrastructure reveals minimal information as long as all is going according to contract.

Isei

Isei is "front man" for the 120-Cell Group, a community of infosec AGIs producing cracking software and other security products. The exact membership of 120-Cell is unknown: the members are among the most paranoid, security-minded and anonymous informorphs in human space. They *seem* to be based in Extropia, but that could of course be a ruse.

Isei is an infomorph that acts as their sales representative. It is not the only one, and seems to exist in different forks that may actually be fronts for one or more other informorphs. There are even claims Isei is actually an intelligent P2P network linking the 120-Cell to their customers. Isei usually appears as a highly abstract avatar in various simspace bars or manifesting through a case synthmorph in one of Extropia's hacker clusters. It is sociable, if a bit bland, and blends in among others - there is no need to advertise, given the sterling reputation of 120-Cell.

Isei is a tough but proper bargainer, and has an impressive reputation for integrity. When the Phobos Phalangids tried to hack their way into 120-Cell by attacking Isei all current Isei forks simply disintegrated, leaving sticky viruses in their wake (the Phalangids soon found themselves hosts of some very nasty malware; their rep has never recovered). When a black ops team from Chiral Imines Inc found that their 120-Cell attack software did not work on a corporate opponent Isei quietly and efficiently provided them with a few "secret recipes" that allowed them access. When you deal with 120-Cell, you *will* get into the system you want. You just have to pay premium for it.

Extropian

nick012000 nick012000's picture
Re: Building Extropia

I'm pretty sure Computronium is TITAN-tech. Other than that, that looks good.

+1 r-Rep , +1 @-rep

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

nick012000 wrote:
I'm pretty sure Computronium is TITAN-tech.

Bah, it is just a slang term for dense computer processing.

Of course, many luddites outside Extropia would say that mainframes like the Vault are dangerous and could hide emerging seed AGIs.

Extropian

King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Well the best money can buy would be the "legal" TITAN-tech. I think people would put acquired TITAN-tech to use, if they could gain benefits (even short term). Due to warranted paranoia, Most would however not approve of such reckless acts & naive behavior. But thats after the fact...

Quote:
curiosity killed the cat. satisfaction brought it back.

P 237 talks about the allowed use for hard wired systems (heavy monitored & restrained)

Adventure seeds: Investigate if a certain server mainframe is using "illegal" Titan tech components to make a killing (perhaps in more ways than one).



"To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult."
Plutarch

nick012000 nick012000's picture
Re: Building Extropia

I don't get the impression the supercomputer networks mentioned on p. 237 are referring to TITAN-tech computronium, but rather more simply transhuman-tech supercomputers, clustered or otherwise. With computing material you've gotten from the TITANs, you could never be entirely sure it's not infected with some insidious version of the Exsurgent Virus that simply hasn't cropped up yet, be it in nanoswarm or infomorph form. Or, possibly, both.

Of course, tech created by any uninfected seed AIs is a different story, but the only people who have them in canon are Firewall and (maybe) Project Ozma. TILION's mini-Jupiter Brain is pursuing research that is probably derived from infected TITAN technology, so anything they produce from that is automatically suspect.

+1 r-Rep , +1 @-rep

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Club Apurvata

Located in the entertainment areas near Helix, Club Apurvata is one of the premier places in the solar system for singularity seekers and other people on the lookout for the very bleeding edge. This is equally a social meeting place, discussion forum and place to show off outlandish ideas. People who are uneasy about radical transformation better stay away: here one can find TITAN apologists, Ultimates, extreme cognohackers, people showing off Skinthetic alpha-release morphs, people discussing Seed AGI implementation, methods for disassembling planets or how to hack spacetime. The vast majority is of course hot air or just done for effect, but there are enough real movers around that a person with high rep may find themselves dragged into a scheme to harvest TITAN software, hyperevolve neural networks, a gatecrashing expedition or a serious attempt to catch and tame a nanoswarm.

The owner, Shantanu Purushottam ("Mr Pu"), is a key figure in Extropian technology investment and networking. While he never seems to be directly involved in any of the deals that occur in the privacy rooms in the club, he garners hefty indirect profits. In many ways he is running a VC firm for singularity-oriented VC firms: if you want to get in on the big game, you need Mr Pu's help to get access, rep and capital - and he always gets his cut once you make it. Exactly how rich Mr Pu is anybody's guess, but he can certainly afford some of the most outrageous morphs Skinthetic can clone and best security in the habitat. Some think he actually owns much of Skinthetic and/or Medusan Shield, others think he is one of the main people in Nine Lives. Mr Pu usually laughs off such speculations by claiming to be the Comte St. Germain or a time traveller.

Club Apurvata is a fun place even if you think most of the ambitions of the people there are misguided: this is where the most radical of the radical want to be seen. It draws celebrities, crackpots, inventors and people with truly interesting stories - the one thing that will get you thrown out by the security is being boring.

Adventure Possibilities

Firewall is seriously worried about Mr Pu. If he is merely bringing "interesting people and ideas" together, then he is still indirectly responsible for a noticeable fraction of activities that lead to Firewall interventions. But he could have a more coherent agenda, such as getting certain technologies developed, gaining influence over a new singularity. The most paranoid possibilities include that he is (or is a puppet of) a rouge seed AGI. The best way of finding out would be to get close to him, and in order to that some sentinels need to go undercover as singularity seeker VCs. Can they play their roles, getting involved in the most radical (and unsafe) technology around, to figure out who or what Mr Pu is?

Certain groups would like to destroy the club with extreme prejudice - luddites, the Jovian Junta and certain fractions of the Planetary Consortium. The PCs accidentally come across a very sophisticated plan to destroy it and make it look like a TITAN outbreak. Perfect anti-singularity, anti-extropian propaganda, but also endangering the entire habitat. Can they stop it in time - or can the terrorists convince them that it is for the best?

A radical acquaintance of the PCs has come up with a wild idea for how to find further Pandora gates using asyncs connected to quantum antennas - it is crazy enough to (maybe) work, but she needs help in implementing the plan. She wants the PCs to accompany her to the Club and find a VC willing to invest in her project. Her main problem turns out to be a former employee who might be the original inventor of the idea and now want control over it. He might be right or not, but he is a very resentful async who has a good reason to get rid of the only other person who knows all the details before she reveals them to others.

Michelle Hugues (Réunion Holding SA) and Tamati Timoti (Pentane Investments) are two successful singularity VCs, famously competitive. Mrs Hugues had her breakthrough when a group of her scavengers managed to bring back a compression algorithm from Iapetus, and solidified when one of her gatecrasher teams discovered a habitable world. Matua Timoti funded the Allgood mission into the quarantine zone on Mars, and have made a fortune on morph patents developed by the controversial Broadwood SimBio method. Both are constantly trying to scoop the other, put moles on each other's teams or even sabotage missions. All this is an elaborate love game: both are best enemies and care deeply - if somewhat oddly - for each other. Anybody getting dragged into their intrigues will become a pawn in a dangerous, exciting and very abstract passionate quarrel.

Extropian

nick012000 nick012000's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Here is the character sheet for my PC in an online game I'm playing in: Elia Torres, the CEO, Founder, and Chairwoman of Skinthetic. I figure they're bound to be pretty important for any in-depth examination of Extropia, given that's where their main offices are.

+1 r-Rep , +1 @-rep

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

nick012000 wrote:
Here is the character sheet for my PC in an online game I'm playing in: Elia Torres, the CEO, Founder, and Chairwoman of Skinthetic.

No reason to go for a minor character, right? (I still fondly remember the German foreign minister PC in one of my games, and all my players still cheer for John McCain thanks to his deeds as an NPC in a superhero game)

Hmm, this brings up an interesting issue: VIP security in EP. Elia Torres head is full of secrets people want to know - the second quarter earnings of Skinthetic, what projects they are working on, possibly some past black ops or other leverage. Ego-napping her would reap rich rewards. So how do you prevent this from happening?

Obviously normal security is around: having one or two assistants nearby and a bodyguard who keeps track of the situation fixes most everyday harassment. A proper bodyguard is also supported by a security firm that has situation awareness, can send in drones and perform larger interventions if needed.

But what to do if that isn't enough? Kidnappers might surprise the security, or hackers could use some new and devious way to hack her personal electronics.

Dead switches certainly exist, and a "suicide pill" version can be implemented that wipes the stack on command. Similarly an implant for liquifying the brain on command is pretty feasible. An emergency egocaster is even more useful (and I am a bit surprised Elia lacks it). Besides allowing an instant escape it also destroys the biobrain. I could imagine extending it with tamper-proofing so that it would get triggered if somebody tried to get into the cranial computer.

But these tools only protect you from invasion you notice. While one could add a suite of security software to keep watch on the mental battlements, it might be better to have security in depth. One trick might be to have an non-standard neural structure. Imagine an "encrypted" neural network that will only run if implemented on the right exotic (and non-obvious) bioware: the ego makes little sense without a morph specially designed to fit it. If downloaded with an ego-bridge into a normal morph the result will just be noise. Of course the price is exorbitant, and you need to specially grow the clones of your morph and store them securely.

Another (cheaper) trick is to have a "meterware" ego. Parts of the ego are kept separate and run on some secure server. The morph brain just contains a partial ego that only works as long as the encrypted connection to the server is up. Without it the morph turns into a drooling idiot. Another enhancement of this would be to have a neural network-based suicide pill that allows the ego to turn off its internal connections. So even if the enemy manages to get hold of the ego, puts it into a suitable morph-server configuration they also have to find and remove this pill.

Resisting interrogation, torture and psychosurgery is tricky. It might be possible to add various neuralware to ignore much of it (see the mind enhancement thread), but also booby traps: small pieces of exploit code inside the ego description file that will launch nasty viruses if read by an unwary psychosurgeon.

Of course, all this raises the opposite security issue: denial of service. Plenty of people would love to see Ella turn into an idiot during an important speech, so if there is a way of triggering defence measures too easily they can become a threat instead. There is no real solution here, just careful consideration of the threat landscape. Consider how much an illicit copy of you would be worth, and then make sure the cost of acquiring it has to be higher.

Extropian

nick012000 nick012000's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Interesting response.

Her bodyguards are likely to be Elia herself; she's quite capable of Jamming a couple of killbots with her multi-tasking implant. A couple Guardian Angels with nanoscopic vision, worn armor, and implanted machine guns would be quite nasty bodyguards, and would only take a few hours each to nanofabricate if she can do it all in one go. Getting additional assistance from a security firm would probably be a good idea for a Favor for her to ask for, though, if she needed it.

As for emergency Egocasters, well, she doesn't like the idea of blowing her head up. It'll take ages for her to grow a new body, after all. If she has to ditch her body in a hurry, the fork in the Ghostrider module would jump ship into the local mesh while the multi-tasking software and mnemonic implant proceed to wipe her brain and delete all the data off of themselves that they don't need to do so (they can do merges and uploads, so they should be able to do erasures as well), and if she's going somewhere remote, she'd simply fork herself and leave one of her selves to run the business while the other went out to do whatever.

I'd also imagine she probably does have non-standard neural hardware, to a degree; her COG+INT+SAV is high enough to be basically immune to Basilisk Hacks (only infected on a roll of 99), and that implies that something is fairly unusual about the way her mind is set up and processes sensory data.

Actually running the ego over two different servers seems like a bit of a screwy idea, though, since anyone with a packet sniffer would be able to watch you think! Well, once they decrypted it, anyway. Resisting psychosurgery by infecting yourself with viruses seems like an interesting idea, but might lead to unintended consequences once the viruses start running in your meatware. It might be simpler to just program a suicide switch into your infomorph sleeve, and just delete yourself if someone captures you.

+1 r-Rep , +1 @-rep

Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: Building Extropia

I'd like to toss my hat in on this idea of building Extropia...

Wrong Side of the Tracks

The drug trade of Earth was, if nothing else, colourful. With the constant risks from all sides, the infighting, the games of cat and mouse with government agencies, and the like, a mystique settled in the mind of popular culture throughout much of the 21st century that offered a kind of glamour to the underbelly of society. While the realities of this lifestyle did not usually live up to the popular fiction turned out by the media, that did nothing to reduce the appeal.

Now, even in a place like Extropia, the laws of old that created this lifestyle have vanished, but the strange tendency for humans to want to engage in a fantasy that no-one would ever wish to live out in realtiy has seen no diminishing. This has led to the creation of an unusual niche market.

Wrong Side of the Tracks is a triple-faced club. Taking up an area the size of a warehouse, the three entrances each allow a visitor to walk into their choice of faithful recreations of a Prohibition era Chicago speakeasy, a New Orleans brothel, or an Argentinian slum. Each offers the sense of luridness and delightful impropriety that comes in occupying such places, along with hefty doses of pleasures of choice, tailored delightfully to fit the vernacular of the simulated era. The Tracks, as it is informally known, has earned itself a reputation as the place to pick your poison as a result.

The owner of The Tracks is an enigmatic figure known as Salvador. He does not make public appearances, preferring to only appear from dimly lit sky-boxes overlooking the playgrounds he has created, smoking a cigar and making announcements in a deep, booming voice. Apart from his dark skin and large build, little else can be said to be known about the man.

Adventure Hooks:

-The annual Mardi Gras celebration in the New Orleans face of The Tracks is approaching, and a lot of special names are on the guest list. As is tradition, all mesh inserts go autistic for the time of the gathering (enforced via a radio signal disruptor), and all guests must wear masks, concealing their identities for the duration of the gala. This would make the party the perfect place for secret backroom dealings, or an assassination...

-Juan is in a lot of trouble. A stockboy at The Tracks, he's been receiving death threats for days now. A client in his slum died a week ago from an apparent reaction to the drugs he had supplied her with. Her family is too poor to even afford a system to run her on as an informorph, yet alone a resleeving, and her brother has been threatening Juan ever since. Despite being cleared of all charges, Juan is terrified of being thrown out an airlock for something that was an honest mistake.




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Skimble Skimble's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Regarding the confusion on whether Extropia is a Cole Bubble or a Beehive, I asked for Word of God on Twitter yesterday and received confirmation that Extropia is officially a Beehive.

As to the form Extropia takes, I imagine it as having been constructed in a fairly chaotic way. The initial Extropians must presumably have decided on the basic structure of the initial tunnels, but after that I imagine each person or group taking a bit of the asteroid and carving out their own network of tunnels and chambers. Sort of how individual sub-nets make up the Internet.

With space being limited in the long run, I presume there must be some kind of arrangement as to the spacing between tunnels, how much overall space any given group can take up etc. Perhaps an amount has to be paid to the collective per cubic metre of space taken up by a new tunnel system?

I mainly like this model because it allows for a variety of different tunnelling and habitat strategies. For instance, the tunnels and chambers in the Skinthetic base on Extropia might be very different from the tunnels occupied by a clade of Octomorph uplifts.

The mission my Firewall team has just concluded was on Extropia, and regrettably I didn't have the time to build up a very rich description of the environment, but I did have one setting element that I liked in the form of Synthtown.

Synthtown is near the surface of the asteroid and is open to vacuum. It also has a higher level of radiation than is healthy for most biomorphs. It is essentially a ghetto for cases, synths and AGIs and it's the best place to get customised synthmorphs, upgrades and other niceties that help make being one of the Clanking Masses bearable.

In Synthtown the Clanking Masses trait is inverted to become a bonus when dealing with the inhabitants, with the shoddiest of cases being accorded a certain amount of extra respect for the crosses they have to bear. By contrast, biomorphs and even pods who come here are treated suspiciously, as second-class citizens.

Perhaps the worst aspect of this is the total silence. While the cases, synths and other synthmorphs surrounding them enjoy the gentle hubub of a busy town despite the vacuum thanks to their augmented reality adjustments, biomorphs are excluded from public chatter by default. This means that a visitor is literally given the silent treatment on arrival, and is surrounded by a mass of silent, judging metal people.

The hypercorps that operate on Extropia despise Synthtown and often try to forbid their indentured case workers from going there. Unfortunately this is most often an exercise in futility. Those who can't go there in person can often persuade a friend to carry them as an infomorph, enabling them to take part in the Synthtown community despite their employer's restrictions.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Skimble wrote:
Regarding the confusion on whether Extropia is a Cole Bubble or a Beehive, I asked for Word of God on Twitter yesterday and received confirmation that Extropia is officially a Beehive.

Good to know. I am still going to have it as both in my campaigns, anyway.

Quote:

With space being limited in the long run, I presume there must be some kind of arrangement as to the spacing between tunnels, how much overall space any given group can take up etc. Perhaps an amount has to be paid to the collective per cubic metre of space taken up by a new tunnel system?

Not collective - a corporation or foundation. This is after all true anarchocapitalism (think David Friedman and Robert Nozik, or Norlonto in Ken MacLeod's books). The Extropia corporation (or foundation) claimed original ownership of the bedrock resources of 44 Nysa and presumably lease or sell them to inhabitants (whether corporations, individuals, associations, socialist collectives or anything else).

Extropian

Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: Building Extropia

Arenamontanus wrote:
The Extropia corporation (or foundation) claimed original ownership of the bedrock resources of 44 Nysa and presumably lease or sell them to inhabitants (whether corporations, individuals, associations, socialist collectives or anything else).

This is something that's bothered me considerably; namely, the lease or sell part. If Extropia leases property, rather than selling it, you have something resembling a government; they can enforce laws on their land because the whole asteroid belongs to them. It's still technically capitalism in that case, but it would feel, to me, ultimately to be distinctly lacking in the anarchist part.

If they sell it, on the other hand, Extropia is considerably more free. Anyone who's ever lived on rental property versus owned property knows just how much of a difference it makes, and everyone knows of the looming threat of eviction should you fail to pay your property taxes.




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