Re: Horses, Zeps, Hackle, and Fanfic

From: Michael J. Rider <>
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 1996 18:55:25 -0400

Ed Rudnicki wrote:

>This could be true, but it would then imply that the development of
>Kat civilization was substantially different from hours. Without the
>"horsepower" available from beasts of burden it's difficult to make
>the transition from a simple agrarian culture to higher

There were almost no beasts of burden in the new world, yet when the
Spaniards arrived in Mexico there were no cities anywhere in Europe nearly
the size of Tenochtitlan. That's especailly impressive considering the bad
site. The Aztecs only used humans and dogs for transporting goods and
still managed to build a vast trade network. There were many other New
World civilizations that accomplished even more.

>For that matter, did the Kats ever have an agrarian culture? Humans
>went from hunter/gatherer to agriculture and to civilization from
>there, but humans are omnivores, relying on vegetable sources of
>food as much, if not more, than animal. Kats, OTOH, are predators.
>Could there be vegetarian Kats? In "Alien Nation" the Newcomers ate
>raw meat, but some small number were vegetarians.

RL cats get taurine deficiencies of they don't eat meat. Should this apply
to kats too? Jake and Chance do eat some plant material as spices (hot
peppers) like RL cats sometimes do (catnip & kiwi vines). Dairy products
are cool too. I don't recall any fast food in Megacat City. Was there

Cooperative hunting packs (like lions) would make sense for early kats.
They might change to a herding culture taking care of their own food
sources and finally to settled urban populations.

>It's not so much a matter of ignoring a good idea, as it is simple
>physics. With aircraft (heavier than air) the limits of size are
>based on structural strength and engine power (assuming such things
>as runways are available). Given a big enough wing, long enough
>runway, and powerful enough engines, one can get almost anything
>into the air. But with airships the overriding design criterion is
>weight. Every ounce of that ship must be lifted by an enclosed
>volume of gas. Now that we have better materials and engines, we
>could build rigid airships that would dwarf even the HINDENBURG, but
>they'd still have to land somehow, somewhere, and would still be
>vulnerable to storms. Even with such size, they'd be lightly armed,
>as weapons remain heavy (unless one uses rockets, which have their
>own problems), and armor would be unthinkable, as the level of
>protection offered could not justify its weight.

I'm sure huge airships could be built with carbon fiber, aramid, MMC
composites. They wouldn't come close to being practical in modern warfare
or even for passenger service. The landings and transfer of passengers
would be too difficult. The tower on the top of the Empire State building
was originally an airship mooring mast, but was only used once. There was
no practical way of getting passengers on or off. Speed wouldn't be a
problem since people go on cruise ships for weeks just for the trip. It
looks like they might even be pushed out of the market for stable camera
platforms at sports events by stabilized cameras on helicopters.

Storms? Big problem.

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Received on Wed Apr 24 1996 - 19:55:06 PDT

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