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The REAL Shapers


Spddin Ignis
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We know that there are real Shapers in this world and they are called Geneticists. In my opinions, Genetics can take us farther that engineering as a whole. Why worry about A.I.( Artificial Intelegence) when you can have D.B.C's (DNA Based Computers) and so on.

 

We could even possibly use genetics to populate desert regions and other planets and such. And from geneforge, why not use them for war or other specialized purposes? How much of geneforge is impossible by today's standards? What do you think on the whole subject matter?

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First of all it's silly to state that genetics, or any particular scientific discipline, is somehow superior to "engineering as a whole." Genetics may be able to help us terraform planets, but you're still going to need spaceships to get off the earth. Some day dna computers may be practical but without computer engineering you won't be able to make them do anything.

 

In short it's obviously an exciting field, but claiming that it's somehow more important than all other scientific discovery combined is clearly false. Hopefully we'll some day know enough so that the things you mention become possible, although I hope we can come up with something more useful than genetically engineered war slaves or guinea pigs for space exploration. You know, like cures for diseases or something...

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Originally Posted By: Spddin
In my opinions, Genetics can take us farther that engineering as a whole.

It's good for different things. Growing food, fighting disease and so on can be accomplished well through biology and genetics, since they have to do with things that are already alive. I wouldn't want a biologically based computer; temperatures that my existing computer survives easily (although it may not operate while doing so) would kill it unless a lot of extra work was done. Failing to power/feed it could result in it dying rather than merely sitting, turned off. I'd have to worry about my computer being attacked by living organisms, that is, getting physically infected or decomposing! It's handy to have tools built out of materials that few or no organisms on our planet can metabolize.

That's not to say that I don't think there will be technological innovations derived from biology that will be useful for inclusion in tools and processes created by the branches of engineering of non-living materials. It's a matter of determining what techniques can best solve a problem. Biological processes are often slow and probabilistic, which means that they offer the features of low power use, adaptability, and self assembly, whereas inorganic technologies offer high speed, high precision, and rapid modular assembly. A roomba might benefit from being a pseudo living construction so that it could do things like run for long periods of time, change to suit its non-hostile but potentially varied environment, and heal minor damage. A battle tank, on the other hand, is willing to sacrifice power consumption and ease of construction for being able to drive at highways speeds, hurl shells thousands of meters, and survive direct impacts at huge energies. The tank needs heavy metal and ceramic armor that would be difficult to create biologically, while the vacuum cleaner could prefer a somewhat flexible exterior created from proteins or other carbon compounds.

Note that there are organically produced materials with characteristics like very high strength or hardness, like spider silk and nacre. many scientists are working to understand what gives these materials their useful properties, and you can be sure that when they figure it out they'll start applying those ideas to other materials either by replacing them with manufactured equivalents of the natural materials, or applying the discovered principles to create new materials which surpass both previous human made and biologically created materials.

Basically, all areas of science and engineering tend to build on one another. Modern genetics wouldn't be possible without many tools created using ideas from electrical engineering, computer engineering, and so on. Hopefully we'll see increasing instances of genetic and biological engineering creating new tools and ideas which can open up new possibilities in other fields.
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Yeah Ephesos, I should be a bit more specific, structural engineering was to specific. Structual/Mechanical/Electrical engineering would be a better description. Currently, the most common types of genetics you see today all involve the agricultural industry. Such as GMO Plants and Farm animals. But think about it, we spend more time building these new technologies and develpoing A.I. and such, when genetics is a whole frontier that we have barely explored.

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So you would prefer to rather have a cure for a disease than a house, a building to work in, a church, a bridge, a ? Oh, and if I use the real definition of a structure, "that which bears a load", then there goes your chair, desk, bed, car, sofa, table, and so much more. Yeah, I'll stick with engineering.

 

Originally Posted By: Lazarus.[/quote
Seriously though, ranking the importance of sciences is pointless.

 

Would you rather be having a Mac/PC or Geneforge/Avernum flamewar? (PC and Geneforge, BTW)

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Originally Posted By: Dantius
As a structural engineer, I would like to point out that my field is second only to farming in terms of importance for the human race. Y'all can take your genetics and go work in the forest, I'll stick to my nice high-rise.

large ants can tunnel hundreds of feet under ground and can be used to make underground cities, and trees will soon be made into houses .
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Originally Posted By: Spddin Ignis
I was just trying to make the point that we, people as a whole, are in a scientific society based more on structural engineering than anything. Of course we are going to need a balance between the two.

If anything, we've passed the peak of structural engineering. Now information technology, software engineering, and electrical engineering are in their heydays, and they don't show any signs of subsiding anytime soon.

Commercial and industrial genetic engineering are almost exclusively agricultural. I think that's a tiny minority of most genetic engineering, though. Most of it is, in fact, basic research. And a fair amount is medical. Not therapeutic, yet, but growing vats of protein-producing bacteria is already a big deal for diabetes.

—Alorael, who will go back to the original question and say that it's pretty much impossible to genetically engineer combatants for modern warfare, and that's even ignoring the fact that Geneforge posits control along with creation. No biological tweaking will stand up to rifles, and most biological tweaking isn't likely to produce something fiercer than, say, a tiger. Viral engineering has potential, but it has the same problem as nuclear weapons. Conventional total war is already over; the ability of potential participants to completely annihilate each other (and everyone else for good measure) makes the exercise pointless.
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Originally Posted By: Dantius
So you would prefer to rather have a cure for a disease than a house, a building to work in, a church, a bridge, a ? Oh, and if I use the real definition of a structure, "that which bears a load", then there goes your chair, desk, bed, car, sofa, table, and so much more. Yeah, I'll stick with engineering.

Well no, obviously lacking basic needs like shelter will kill you long before cancer does. But humans have known how to create shelter for quite some time now, I think we've got that pretty figured out. True if I were building a skyscraper I'd want a civil engineer to tell me if it's going to fall down, but I could provide simple shelter for myself without an engineer telling me how. I definitely wouldn't be able to treat my own cancer though.
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America's infrastructure doesn't mean the actual buildings, and while it probably does concern such things as roads, it probably doesn't really mean the physical condition of the roads either. That's engineering, but it's more municipal engineering. We have poorly planned and insufficient roads, perhaps, but the roads we have are perfectly well made, by and large.

 

—Alorael, who has found that "infrastructure" has lost much of its meaning to becoming a buzzword. Infrastructure is always a good thing, much like synergy.

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Originally Posted By: Dantius
Originally Posted By: Lazarus.
Seriously though, ranking the importance of sciences is pointless.


Would you rather be having a Mac/PC or Geneforge/Avernum flamewar? (PC and Geneforge, BTW)
Now that's just trying to provoke such a flamewar. tongue
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PC/Geneforge smile anywho, Modern shapers cannot make creations for battle for the simple reason of: We don't know how to make essence! If we could make that I'm sure any other reasons on not being able to do it would fall away like "Magic isn't real" and such.

 

I have to disagre with you Alorael. Biological tweaking could produce something more vicious that a tiger. Giant tigers or tigers with poison. Breeding two species toget. The may be infertile but as long as they are dangerous. Possibly reviving a T-rex using superior methods than those on Jurassic park.

 

Also 30% Biology 70% Enginering

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No, the grid is problematic. It's fine when all your power comes from coal, nuclear, and similar sources, but it's less than ideal once you hook up renewable sources such as wind. These sources fluctuate, and as a result, the grid power fluctuates a little. This may cause brownouts and (occasionally) surges, and the only reason it rarely causes a surge is because in situations where it would, the excess power is instead grounded. That's right, a lot of the energy from renewable sources actually gets discarded because the grid can't handle it.

 

What it needs is some batteries to smooth out these lumps. Lots of them, preferably. The more the better. (Rechargeable, obviously.)

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Originally Posted By: Hypnotic
I have to disagre with you Alorael. Biological tweaking could produce something more vicious that a tiger. Giant tigers or tigers with poison. Breeding two species toget. The may be infertile but as long as they are dangerous. Possibly reviving a T-rex using superior methods than those on Jurassic park.


You've left the land of what we can do. Big tigers, sure. Growth hormones don't require genetics, though. Poison? Maybe, but genes aren't organs, and it would be tough to make a tiger that didn't just turn out toxic (to itself too). Crossbreeds? Pure science fiction right now.

—Alorael, who doesn't know that all this is impossible. It's a long way from possible, though, and guns are cheap and easy. And what would even a dinosaur do against artillery?
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Originally Posted By: Dintiradan
(Everything I wanted to know about genetics, I learnt from Alpha Centauri. Meh, I suppose there are worse alternatives.)


I mean, the Academician is right. If only I could put Deidre's words to use more frequently. tongue

And in all seriousness, the Civilization series games do contain legitimate knowledge. I remember as a kid, I once corrected a teacher who tried to tell me that when I wrote "aqueduct", it was misspelled.
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Originally Posted By: Decorated Zombie Veteran
Nalyd believes he meant venom.

So did I. You can't just add genes for a toxin. Throw them in an animal and the most likely result is the production of that toxin in every cell and early embryo termination. More care can produce local toxins, but getting it into the right organs in non-fatal ways that can be transmitted is not at all simple.

I used crossbreed to mean "genetic mashup." Chimera might be more accurate, but it has its own genetic meaning, is quite common, and rarely has amazingly deadly powers.

—Alorael, who once tried to use the word "cresset" in a piece of writing in grade school. His teacher denied any such word and demanded proof. It wasn't in the class dictionary. There was a little boy who swore never again to use a small and simple word when a more panjandrous alternative exists. Bonus points for neologisms!
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Many animal neurotoxins (such as some kinds of snake venom) target a single, specific protein, so all you really need to do is make them produce the toxin (you can use a salivary gland-specific promoter so that their bite is venomous) and then give them a version of the target protein that's insensitive to the toxin. I'm sure it could be done, but it'd likely be less cost-effective than just sending in some dudes with guns.

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