22:32 13-10-2013
The schaastbeest

I just found your schaastbeest concept, and seeing you scrapped it despite it was extremely cool in my opinion, what if you made it into a water skiter instead? it could be something like a water strider but with sails you might have to thin it out to make it visibly delicate-looking, but the basic concept could be preserved! =)
15:16 12-10-2013
I love your work. I'm considering starting a series of 3d rendered creatures from fictional worlds in the context that they're all in a zoo. The plan is that I'd eventually put them up on a website with links to the pages of the creators. I was wondering if perhaps I could include some Furahan animals, such as perhaps a tube shark and a neocarnivore. Of course you'd be welcome to the .obj files and textures used, as well as the final images.
15:13 07-09-2013
For truly exotic-looking plants, you may find this interesting
The Australian continent cut-off from the rest of the world created the most bizarre animals, as well as plants. The succulent ones are rarely seen among cacti and succulent collectors (including myself), and may give inspiration for the worldbuilders among us. Search for "Halosarcia bulbosa" for a quick start.
20:00 05-08-2013
Sigmund N.
All: I hadn't looked here for too long, which is why I am behind with replies...

Gabriel: I am by no means an expert of global wind or sea patterns, so I based what's there on Furaha on Earth. An axial tilt of almost 90 degrees; hm. In two times during the orbit (the equinoxes), conditions are like the same as on Earth: one half is lit, one half is dark, and day and night change places one very day everywhere on the globe. The poles would still be cold. But during the solstices one pole receives the brightest possible sunlight while the other receives no light at all. Are you not worried about one half of the seas freezing to a considerable depth for half a year? Perhaps the heated atmosphere on the lit side blows towards the shrunken low pressure area on the other pole. I can think of a spiral wind blowing from the lit pole towards the cold pole, but cannot imagine such a place would be safe for life.

Andrew Broeker: some of the code was written in a procedural version of basic, and the other ones are written in Matlab. All represent a considerable amount of work, so I would need a very good reason to share that code. I haven't discussed biochemistruy other than a passing remark because I am more interested in biomechanics and behaviour. It has never been my intention to write an exhaustive textbook, as I think that would be not a good idea from the point of view of generating interest. There are several good astrobiology books that will help you get to grips with those subjects (searching Amazon for 'astrobiology' should produce some good titles.

SH (Steven Hanly?): that is indeed a nice beast. I wonder whether evolution would drive the 'front jaw'to open even wider: if it could swing upwards that might help with catching prey.
21:25 31-07-2013
Thought you might enjoy this design.
18:30 07-07-2013
Andrew Broeker

I don't suppose you'd mind sharing the source code you used to generate these gaits? I also haven't yet found any discussion of biochemistry, metabolism, or reproduction. Where should I be looking for that?
18:22 04-07-2013
I’m in the process of preparing a setting for a sci-fi novel. Part of the novel takes place on a super-earth with a high axial tilt, similar to that of Uranus. Though familiar with the “global winds” on such a planet, I’m having some difficulty perceiving how sea currents will flow, as they respond more slowly to seasonal changes. I’ve been looking for simulations online, either particular climate software or examples published online. So far, I have found general answers which do not allow building an accurate model for my setting.
This is not an exobiology project, just a novel. I will set-up a particular geography (place continents, seas and mountains), make-up a history of continental drift and find-out how climate changes over the eons, then set-up an evolutionary path for ecological niches. A few key species of plants and animals will be described, yet I want my setting to be realistic, hence the need for such information.
If you know about essays which provide “examples” of possible climates on these planets, either desert planets like Mars or as “wet” as Earth is, I’ll be glad to hear about them.
06:29 27-05-2013
Evan Black
I can't remember if I already asked this, but on the page about hexapod carnivores you mention the paleocarnivores; are they extinct, or are there still living representatives of that clade? Perhaps on an isolated landmass like the Paleogeas?
19:28 26-02-2013
Zerraspace: I will read your response to William later; not much time now...

As for the word 'ballonts', good! I have responded on your DA space.
20:33 25-02-2013
Dear SN,

Recently I have focused my efforts on a worldbuilding project involving a Super-Earth with enormous atmospheric pressure utilizing ballont concepts. I have named these lighter-than-air fliers in honor of your own handicraft and inspiration, and wished to ask for your approval in this. To this end, I have provided two links: one the work on Deviant Art here ( ) and the other to the project on the Speculative Evolution forum (the first page solely involves the physics of the planet, and was before I had settled on the thick atmosphere - ).

Thank you,
20:25 25-02-2013
If I might take a stab at William Stephens proposition...

Before I could take a definitive stance, you must first go into a lot more detail as to the nature of this virus/fungus crossover might be. At a glance I assume you mean this organism (if it can even be called that, as viruses are not always classified as living things) shares characteristics of viruses and fungi, likely incapable of reproducing on its own but requiring a host organism to increase its numbers (the contribution from fungus is not immediately apparent).

Tampering automatically suggests that there was some form of intelligent intervention in the organism’s biology (in this case, bordering design), and this I cannot comment on; the implications of such a scenario are staggering, as are any engineered purpose however far removed from the present they may be. Those alone are worthy of their own discussion, nevertheless I will try to focus on the immediate concern of the crossover organism here, and as I see it, there are two major issues with this scenario.

You say that the virus/fungus can use “the corpses of the dead to convert into spores”. This implies either that the virus is capable of utilizing foreign organic matter and converting it into structures unaided, in which case it should not need other cells for replication (unless there is some other process it relies upon that it requires these cells for, but in this case it should not be capable of existing outside a host body), that it is utilizing organisms involved in the decay process, or that it is actually using still-living cells within the decaying body to produce them, in which case spore creation and dispersal should take place concurrently with the infection. The last scenario seems best suited for the task; the organism could inadvertently pass viral spores while it is still alive, allowing them to migrate and spread to more hosts, and many cells live on for some duration even after the host’s “death” (particularly in the case of brain failure). It is a matter you should give some thought.

I cannot see how you could maintain viable biological material for billions of year. Supposedly viable marrow cells have been cultivated from Cretaceous dinosaur fossils, and bacterial cells trapped in fossilized amber have been reanimated, but even these date back perhaps 90 million years at most. Over these timescales, biological materials should have decayed regardless of their surrounding conditions (moreover, ice expansion could easily have destroyed the samples before they could even be collected for preservation, but that is probably a minor footnote in the scheme of billion year preservation).

The obvious solution is to allow the virus/fungus some opportunity to breed within this duration; this requires other Martian life having survived until much more recently (if it does not remain extant); within the last few million years at least. Perhaps the Martian ecosphere lives on underground, where warmth and liquid water might still be found, and re-emerged on the surface during the terraforming effort, bringing with them the virus. The native biota have most likely adapted to the virus/fungus and no longer find it quite so deadly; it is only dangerous to those unadapted Earthlings who come here.

More concerning one is how the virus/fungus would affect Earthly biota. This organism has evolved specifically to deal with Martian biology; its pathways and functions are all based on Martian systems, require these to replicate, and the chances of all of these matching Earthly ones are so remote I would dare care it impossible (while you might try to justify this by saying life originated on one planet and was transported to the other, this still gives several millions if not billions of years for the planets’ organisms to diverge, depending on the mechanism of transport). It might still be possible by infecting some form of aquatic Martian microbe, if said microbe finds a way into the bloodstream (which won’t be as easy as taking in the spores); in this case the virus’ impact on the microbes might cause explosive reproduction of the microbe host to compensate, leading to a vicious cycle wherein the latter eventually overwhelms the human body.

That being said, if life from both planets originated on one, there is one system that might be shared between them, if only because it’s shared by all known life on Earth; use of ribosomes for protein synthesis. Earthly viruses hijack other cells by inputting their own RNA or DNA, which is then interpreted by the cell’s ribosomes to create viral proteins. So long as the virus/fungus uses DNA or RNA, there is some possibility that these could be used by Earthly ribosomes to create its proteins (this assumes that the Earthly/Martian ribosomes interpret RNA in the same fashion and utilize the same amino acids). The trouble then becomes determining a universal delivery mechanism.
14:36 24-02-2013
William: I did not feel that I had much more to say. Traffic at this message board can be slow (it's a message board, after all, not a forum). Have you considered the speculative evolution forum?
14:27 24-02-2013
Warren: good news indeed. The number of people visiting my post on 'Fragment' suddenly increased last week, so it seems like interest is growing. I will order Pandemonium, but will wait for the paperback version (not enough space...).
23:02 23-02-2013
William Stephens
Hellooo my question slowly gathers dust
02:20 23-02-2013
Evan Black
Good news! I really enjoyed Fragment, but when I saw that Pandemonium was released as an e-book I wondered how long it would be before I could read it.
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