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Physicist Explains Cthulhu's "Non-Euclidean Geometry" 179

Posted by samzenpus
from the dead-but-dreaming dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mathematician Benjamin K. Tippett has written a fascinating and deadpan paper (Pdf) giving insights into Cthulhu. A 'Bubble' of warped Space-Time makes alarmingly consistent sense of the dead God's cyclopean city under the sea. From the paper: 'We calculate the type of matter which would be required to generate such exotic spacetime curvature. Unfortunately, we determine that the required matter is quite unphysical, and possess a nature which is entirely alien to all of the experiences of human science. Indeed, any civilization with mastery over such matter would be able to construct warp drives, cloaking devices, and other exotic geometries required to conveniently travel through the cosmos.'"
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Physicist Explains Cthulhu's "Non-Euclidean Geometry"

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  • by lexarius (560925) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @08:48PM (#41837253)
    Keep in mind that most gods are not assumed to be omnipotent, except in a few monotheistic religions. Non-omnipotence implies that they have to obey the basic rules of whatever reality they inhabit, or at least some of them. A non-omnipotent god probably can't do instant teleportation through space. Maybe they can convert themselves into light and travel at light speed, but as far as we know you need to warp space to do better than that. Perhaps they can warp space with willpower alone, but that might be tiring over vast distances. It isn't unusual for a god to be portrayed as using a chariot or steed, so why not a ship? If it's easier for the god to build a warp drive and take a relaxing boat trip across the cosmos, why not? Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.
  • Re:So it's a Sci-Fi? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cranq (61540) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @08:49PM (#41837259)

    Some good SF has some similar roots...

    One example that I like is Charles Stross' Laundry series, which starts with this story: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Atrocity_Archives [wikipedia.org]

  • by runeghost (2509522) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @08:52PM (#41837287)
  • by guttentag (313541) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @10:15PM (#41837773) Journal

    Why the fuck would any self-respecting god need technology? I was always under the impression technology was humanity's attempts at mitigating our shortcomings as NON-Gods.

    First of all: Villagers use pitchforks. Gods use tridents. That being said, the trident is a tool. In theory, mythological gods used tools to do things so they wouldn't have to do things themselves. The most-commonly-used tools of the gods were people. If you have to do everything yourself, you're not a god, you're just that guy in the cubicle at the end of the row who doesn't understand shell scripting.

  • Re:So it's a Sci-Fi? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jonah Hex (651948) <hexdotms@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @11:06PM (#41838219) Homepage Journal
    HP Lovecraft was a product of his times, and he recanted these views before his death. He also married a Jewish woman, although at the time he did so he still had some strong feelings against immigrants. There are a few really good documentaries on him that go into this aspect of his life.

    Also, he's a huge influence on my own work, the Maniac Loveseat series I do especially. - HEX
  • Re:So it's a Sci-Fi? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PlusFiveTroll (754249) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @12:06AM (#41838599) Homepage

    Excuse or reason? If you were born to parents of racists it's highly likely that you would hold their worldview, at least for some time in your life, till you had the knowledge and experience to form opinions otherwise. It is easy now to look into the past and judge, how will history look upon you and judge what you are ignorant in?

  • Re:So it's a Sci-Fi? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lord Kano (13027) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @12:51AM (#41838849) Homepage Journal

    Many people are born into racist families and when they are old enough to discover the world for themselves, they become disabused of the notions that their parents held.

    Lovecraft was 22 years old when he penned this gem.

    • When, long ago, the gods created Earth
      In Jove’s fair image Man was shaped at birth.
      The beasts for lesser parts were next designed;
      Yet were they too remote from humankind.
      To fill the gap, and join the rest to Man,
      Th’Olympian host conceiv’d a clever plan.
      A beast they wrought, in semi-human figure,
      Filled it with vice, and called the thing a Nigger.

    There is a difference between the ignorance born of unfamiliarity and race hatred. Lovecraft practiced the latter. Lovecraft lived in a time of northern migration of a lot of blacks who sought to escape the crushing racism of the south. So I can surmise that he encountered some black people who fit the stereotypes that were common in his day but to accept such as the norm is akin to meeting one stingy Jew and operating as if they're all Shylock.

    Lovecraft was a piece of shit racist. I don't care how many people enjoy his writing.

    LK

  • by howlingfrog (211151) <ajmkenyon2002&yahoo,com> on Thursday November 01, 2012 @02:00AM (#41839099) Homepage Journal
    Back in college, a friend and I were trying to figure out what could possibly make people go mad from the mere sight of Cthulhu. We decided it must have uncountably infinitely many tentacles. A mere countable infinity of tentacles could be visually comprehensible, so long as each one is half the size of its predecessor, or if they were arranged in a fractal tree structure of tentacles upon tentacles. But uncountably many tentacles would drive you insane at first sight.
  • Re:So it's a Sci-Fi? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by myowntrueself (607117) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @07:03AM (#41840323)

    What I find fascinating is the propensity of supposedly intelligent people to judge the past using the morals of the present, without taking into account the prevailing culture of that period they are being so judgemental of.

    Equally interesting and rather more worrying is the tendency to want to completely erase a person from history when it is discovered the person has a flaw.

    And Gary Glitter is, today, a pedophile. Yet any of the girls I went to school with would have done anything to have sex with him; they'd have been throwing themselves at him. I think that at the time everyone expected that he was having sex with young girls and the shock would have been if it turned out he *wasn't*.

    The past is a different country.

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman

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