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Old 11-24-2022, 08:35 PM   #531
warellis
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Default Re: [IW] Ordinary Worlds with valuables!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr beer View Post
Don't know if this is what David J was referring to, but the famous Gin Craze of the 1700s triggered several peices of legislation aimed at curbing the public menace of widespread addiction. It definitely had a classist element because the concern was the visible poor committing various outrages while guzzling rotgut gin, not the wealthy doing the same thing in more rarified locations. It wasn't about revenue as such, though I'm sure that was a side benefit, but rather social engineering.
To be fair, doing such stuff in an isolated area is probably less socially problematic (if morally hypocritical) than say doing it in the streets and causing a problem for everyone to have to deal with.
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Old 11-27-2022, 12:02 AM   #532
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Default Re: [IW] Ordinary Worlds with valuables!

In Byrd-1, the United States spent much of the '40s developing claims on Antarctica in the belief that it would prove to be a lucrative and untouched source of minerals and energy. The Soviet Union responded, leading to a race to industrialize the South Pole that went on for the rest of the century.

It was a catastrophic economic boondoggle of truly astonishing proportions. By the time it was done, The US' imperial ambitions were obliterated, and the USSR had collapsed. In the current year of 2013, spaceflight is hardly more advanced than it was in Homeline's '60s, computers are delayed by more than a twenty years, and the gross world economic product is 40% lower than homeline at the time.

However! Byrd City, capital of Jefferson State, located on the coast near the Ross Ice Shelf, is nonetheless a bustling urban landscape of some 200,000. Jefferson presently is home to half a million residents, down from over a million in the '80s. Mines have been established deep into the heart of the continent, and the land produces vast quantities of uranium, iron, copper, vanadium, tungsten, and 99% of the rare earth metals extracted from US soil.

The holdings of the USSR were split among its daughters, producing a patchwork region of territories that squabble constantly over right-of-ways and energy. United, the region would account for almost half of the settled area of the continent, and the majority of its food production, but balkanized, they have little economic force. The Russian Federation's remaining territory is dominated by New St. Petersburg, which is the largest city in Antarctica and a major transport hub, though it is outdated and decaying.

China retains control of a number of aging artificial platforms constructed in a joint project with the USSR. They use these to extend claims to seabed resources in a vast swath of the antarctic continental shelf, including 30% of known global oil reserves. Compared to homeline's China, this one is more isolationist, content to develop inward rather than focus on export.

The rest of the regular suspects have Antarctic territories, though all of them combined are still smaller than Jefferson and less than half of its economic output. Their businesses and institutions, however, operate throughout the American state. A number of other states pushed for regional control, though the only one of significant import is Venezuela, which controls small but critical parts of Graham Land and are seeking to expand.

Generally, people are of the opinion that they are living in a high-tech futuristic world. Virtually all new power plants in wealthy countries are warm-weather variants of fission reactors originally developed for use in Antarctic settlements, a fact credited with solving global warming (though the economic collapse and slower growth has had a larger effect). Computers as they are used are far cruder, but they aren't expected to get much better very quickly, a fact which paradoxically means people feel that their electronics are quite advanced. Meanwhile, the USA retained more manufacturing, which (while it kept the total global GDP low,) strengthened the middle class. People visit the futuristic cities on the bottom of the world for tourism, and supersonic jets connect the global north with the far south.

So what exactly is valuable here? Well, for one thing, it's easy to get maps of untapped mineral deposits in Antarctica here. Also a number of exotic technologies which, while dating back to TL7 in principle, aren't explored elsewhere, most significantly ice excavation, thermal insulation, and economic processes that make use of extreme natural cold. Many mines operate multiple kilometers under the ice, and a number of major highways are sub-glacial, using the ice itself to protect from surface conditions. This all depends on ice drilling technology that is far in advance of most worldlines'.

Of course, the cheap nuclear power depends on simple, but elegant designs. But most oddly, the worldline is a great place to dump nuclear waste! A number of Antarctic cities will pay for high-level waste, which they use to produce heat while they store it far from the vast majority of civilization.

The worldline itself has bog-standard physics, a fact which makes it a good destination for upcoming technologies. A company which drip-feeds more advanced ICs into the economy has decades of market dominance to exploit. And the wealth can be siphoned out using the plentiful rare earth minerals and alloys the mines produce.

Last edited by PTTG; 12-04-2022 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 11-27-2022, 04:09 AM   #533
warellis
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Default Re: [IW] Ordinary Worlds with valuables!

Quote:
It was a catastrophic economic boondoggle of truly astonishing proportions. By the time it was done, The US' imperial ambitions were obliterated, and the USSR had collapsed. In the current year of 2013, spaceflight is hardly more advanced than it was in Homeline's '60s, computers are delayed by more than a twenty years, and the gross world economic product is 40% lower than homeline at the time.
Quote:
Computers as they are used are far cruder, but they aren't expected to get much better very quickly, a fact which paradoxically means people feel that their electronics are quite advanced.
So what are the Great Powers of this worldline, and what is general tech at?

As for computers, are they like at early 1980s levels or something?
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Old 11-27-2022, 12:06 PM   #534
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Default Re: [IW] Ordinary Worlds with valuables!

The general TL is early TL8, with TL7 spaceflight. Consumer computers work in the 25 MHz range and have single-digit Mb of ram, though in principle more powerful designs have been developed, the industry simply doesn't exist to make them.

In other words, it's the computers of the very early '90s, and it's been that way for the last ten years and probably will remain so for the next. Electronics in general is similarly delayed; tape cassettes are the dominant storage media, and advanced LCDs aren't commonly used. Due to the slow growth, it's rarer to see an especially high-end PC

The United States, for all that it is slouching into a new great depression, is still the biggest economy on the planet. Most of its power is soft power and alliances with the other western nations, a power which is declining as it struggles to find a way out of its investments in Antarctica without becoming dependent on foreign supplies of metals, fuel, and fissiles.

Second place is China, but it is even more inward-facing than the USA is. If it was ever roused, it would be a very different situation. As it is, it's a sleeping giant.

Third is a slowly consolidating EU. Each individual member state is a minor power, but together they are increasingly relevant and independent of the US' umbrella. While the economic stagnation this world is experiencing is hurting them, the continent may be leading the climb out of the pit.

Fourth is the Russian Federation. It remains a dominant force over any individual state in the EU, but can't handle the whole organization.

After Russia come a host of middling powers. Each large EU state in isolation can operate as an independent force, as can India, Japan, South Korea, Iran (secular), Venezuela, Brazil, Australia, etc., etc. They have proportionately more strength than they do in OTL due to the great powers being weaker. But they all themselves have proportionately stronger internal divisions.
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Old 11-27-2022, 12:17 PM   #535
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Default Re: [IW] Ordinary Worlds with valuables!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PTTG View Post
In Byrd-1, the United States spent much of the '40s developing claims on Antarctica in the belief that it would prove to be a lucrative and untouched source of minerals and energy. The Soviet Union responded, leading to a race to industrialize the South Pole that went on for the rest of the century.

It was a catastrophic economic boondoggle of truly astonishing proportions. By the time it was done, The US' imperial ambitions were obliterated, and the USSR had collapsed. In the current year of 2013, spaceflight is hardly more advanced than it was in Homeline's '60s, computers are delayed by more than a twenty years, and the gross world economic product is 40% lower than homeline at the time.

However! Byrd City, capital of Jefferson State, located on the coast near the Ross Ice Shelf, is nonetheless a bustling urban landscape of some 200,000. Jefferson presently is home to half a million residents, down from over a million in the '80s. Mines have been established deep into the heart of the continent, and the land produces vast quantities of uranium, iron, copper, vanadium, tungsten, and 99% of the rare earth metals extracted from US soil.

The holdings of the USSR were split among its daughters, producing a patchwork region of territories that squabble constantly over right-of-ways and energy. United, the region would account for almost half of the settled area of the continent, and the majority of its food production, but balkanized, they have little economic force. The Russian Federation's remaining territory is dominated by New St. Petersburg, which is the largest city in Antarctica and a major transport hub, though it is outdated and decaying.

China retains control of a number of aging artificial platforms constructed in a joint project with the USSR. They use these to extend claims to seabed resources in a vast swath of the continental shelf, including 30% of known global oil reserves. Compared to homeline's China, this one is more isolationist.

The rest of the regular suspects have Antarctic territories, though all of them combined are still smaller than Jefferson and less than half of its economic output. Their businesses and institutions, however, operate throughout the American state. A number of other states pushed for regional control, though the only one of significant import is Venezuela, which controls small but critical parts of Graham Land and are seeking to expand.

Generally, people are of the opinion that they are living in a high-tech futuristic world. Virtually all new power plants in wealthy countries are warm-weather variants of fission reactors originally developed for use in Antarctic settlements, a fact credited with solving global warming (though the economic collapse and slower growth has had a larger effect). Computers as they are used are far cruder, but they aren't expected to get much better very quickly, a fact which paradoxically means people feel that their electronics are quite advanced. Meanwhile, the USA retained more manufacturing, which (while it kept the total global GDP low,) strengthened the middle class. People visit the futuristic cities on the bottom of the world for tourism, and supersonic jets connect the global north with the far south.

So what exactly is valuable here? Well, for one thing, it's easy to get maps of untapped mineral deposits in Antarctica here. Also a number of exotic technologies which, while dating back to TL7 in principle, aren't explored elsewhere, most significantly ice excavation, thermal insulation, and economic processes that make use of extreme natural cold. Many mines operate multiple kilometers under the ice, and a number of major highways are sub-glacial, using the ice itself to protect from surface conditions. This all depends on ice drilling technology that is far in advance of most worldlines'.

Of course, the cheap nuclear power depends on simple, but elegant designs. But most oddly, the worldline is a great place to dump nuclear waste! A number of Antarctic cities will pay for high-level waste, which they use to produce heat while they store it far from the vast majority of civilization.

The worldline itself has bog-standard physics, a fact which makes it a good destination for upcoming technologies. A company which drip-feeds more advanced ICs into the economy has decades of market dominance to exploit. And the wealth can be siphoned out using the plentiful rare earth minerals and alloys the mines produce.
An independent world jumper could clean up by introducing small but useful innovations in electronics. Also this world is ripe for the introduction of fracking. Improved electronics in the drillheads were the killer apt that unlocked that bonanza.
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Old 11-27-2022, 08:45 PM   #536
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Default Re: [IW] Ordinary Worlds with valuables!

So did focus on Antarctica change the Cold War in any manner? It sounds like both the US & USSR poured less money into their militaries there.
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Old 11-27-2022, 09:49 PM   #537
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Default Re: [IW] Ordinary Worlds with valuables!

In this world, the efforts of the space race went into Antarctica. But Antarctica, frankly, isn't worth it. Space gives you GPS, areospace engineering, earth observation, communication tech, and lots and lots of materials spinoffs which the Cold War combatants integrated.

The Cold War, therefore, was far less efficiently funded than it was in OTL; most military planners assumed that there would be a conventional war fought in the Antarctic, possibly in the aftermath of an atomic exchange in the North. That, and the overall slower economic growth, resulted in militaries that were well-prepared to fight on ice sheets in harsh weather, but less so elsewhere, at least compared to their outtime equivalents.

There clearly were some large shifts. China went isolationist, and of course the expansion of Antarctic colonies required massive movements of men and materials. Germany was reunited on schedule, but the details were substantially different. But I'm not enough of a cold war buff to connect all the dots as to how that happened. I'm interested in other's thoughts on the effects.

All that said, there are signs that the cold war was more suppressed than the cliodynamics of the situation suggests. For instance, despite most politicians being the same as OTL for much of the cold war, it remained largely focused on development of Antarctica, not on nuclear brinksmanship. It's enough to be suggestive of someone manipulating the politics of this worldline. And if that is the case, that strongly suggests that there's more to Antarctica here than simply a mineral wealth.

Last edited by PTTG; 11-27-2022 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 11-28-2022, 12:22 AM   #538
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Default Re: [IW] Ordinary Worlds with valuables!

I can see Canada and the Nordic nations being relatively wealthier because the tech developed for Antartica lets them develop more efficiently. It lets Russia develop Siberia more also but that doesn't overcome the overall waste of investment from Antartica. China gets more out of Tibet also which may explain some of the inwardness.
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Old 11-28-2022, 02:18 AM   #539
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: [IW] Ordinary Worlds with valuables!

Tartaria-3 is a myth parallel but a relatively unexotic one, an alternate history where west of China and north west of India is another great civilization of comparable advancement to those civilizations. In the 15th century, Tartaria is experiencing a golden age of art and literature, the products of which are very salable both on Homeworld and on Tartaria-1, where Tartaria as a 19th century TL 6+2^ superpower replacing Russia is undergoing a spasm of nostalgia for it's previous social peak. Tartaria-1 having no idea what fissionables are good or bad for, has no problem exporting them to parts unknown at low prices.

Malthus-1 is a world where the development of antibiotics and improved agronomy by Jesuits let to a far more dominant Roman Catholic Church and a far more populous and medically advanced 20th century. They make an excellent market for meat which has become a premium luxury good there, and in return they can provide advanced pharmaceuticals never invented on Homeline. Considering the constant threat of crossworld infection these imports are a high priority.

Tunguska-7 is a world where the local time frame is something like 9,000 BCE. A meteorite impact apparently wiped out the ancestors of those who would first colonize the Americas, leaving North and South America still full of interesting megafauna to liven up Homeworld's zoos.

Rossum-1 is a world where cybernetics simply advanced in a hurry leading to widespread automation and ubiquitous humanoid robot servants and massive social stresses that are likely to set the world on fire. The robots are proscribed merchandise, but Rossum is currently where Homeworld gets its replacement limbs.

Ciaverella-1 is a world in the grip of paranoia concerning the delinquent tendencies of teenagers. Ciaverella's UK, deals with the "problem" by requiring all of their teenagers to be on a mood-leveling drug. Despite their massive over-use of it by Homeline standards, it's a useful drug when used more judiciously.

Hannibal-3 is a world in which Carthage won the Punic Wars. It's primary export is purple dye because it is actively cultivating murex snails.
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Old 11-28-2022, 05:54 AM   #540
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Default Re: [IW] Ordinary Worlds with valuables!

I doubt chemical products like drugs or dyes are worth much. The formulas maybe, but the actual products, well, not many places have a chemical industry that's much cheaper than homeline, and *especially* for drugs you'd like to keep a closer regulatory eye on the production that you can on something you are secretly importing. Given the subtle shifts in natural laws that sometimes show up in the IW setting, I'd be cautious about using anything produced in another world too.

Murex dye is out, more colorfast purple dye is available cheaper from every timeline that has 19th century or later chemistry. If you'd like the actual stuff, this paper seems to be the current cheap bench synthesis for the colored compound in Tyrian "purple".
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