With This Ring (Short Story Book 137)

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For super-strength, the best would bet would be, well, the "strong" force. This force is the grippiest of the four described forces of nature. It has times the strength of electromagnetism, a million times that of the weak force, and duodecillion 10 39 times that of puny gravity. Yet it operates only on the femtometer scale of the atomic nucleus. The strong force crams like-charged protons into an atomic nucleus. In our present technological state, we are quite good at manipulating electromagnetism and dealing with gravity.


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If we could learn to wield the strong force, it would suffice for the structural integrity of a Niven Ring. The strong force is medicated by particles called gluons; if we could rip apart quarks and use their "glue" beyond the nucleic scale, all sorts of architectural and engineering feats would become possible. Niven avoided this can of worms in his stories by inventing a magic, milky-gray material called "scrith. Transmutation of elements, such as the predominant hydrogen and helium available within Jupiter and Saturn, would be necessary anyhow for enough non-scrith material to build the megastructure.

As for the actual Ringworld building process, Niven sketched it as follows. The solar system's planets would be dismantled by machines and reformatted into disc-shaped plates. Cables would link these plates and, in time, the plates would be pulled together to form a ring.

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Given the miracle materials and advanced element transmutation required for a colossal Ringworld, smaller, other ringlike habitats make far more sense from an engineering perspective. The "Halos" in the eponymous video games, for instance, are about 10, miles in diameter. They could plausibly be made of steel. Bishop Rings, another proposed ring megastructure by a nanotechnologist, Forrest Bishop, would be a "mere" 1, miles in diameter and made of ultra-stiff carbon nanotubes.

These rings would not encircle a star or planet, but could nestle stably in a Lagrangian point, where the gravitational pull from a planet matches that of the sun. A ship swoops toward a Halo ring, under construction. The Ark, a construction and control station for Halos, is seen in the bottom of the image. Finally, the rationale for ever pursuing a Ringworld is questionable in the first place. The civilization's rulers would be placing an awful lot of eggs in one basket.

A catastrophic failure somewhere on the Ring, perhaps of a stabilizing thruster, could doom the entire venture, and its trillion of inhabitants.

Niven explores this kind of crisis in The Ringworld Engineers. Niven himself points out that Ringworlds are really for telling a good story rather than offering a prescription for an Earth whose population has runneth over. Type keyword s to search. Henry William Sydney Porter. Evan Hunter. Washington Irving. Shirley Jackson. James Joyce. Rudyard Kipling. Ring Lardner. Jack London. Katherine Mansfield. Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Guy de Maupassant.

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Herman Melville. Liam O'Flaherty. James O'Keefe. George Orwell. Thomas Nelson Page. Dorothy Parker. Edgar Allan Poe. The Facts in the Case of M. The Persians showed of all the richest adornment, and were themselves the best in the army. It is their custom to carry no armour of bronze or iron, save daggers only, and to use ropes of twisted leather. The Median horse were equipped like their foot, and the Cissians likewise.

The Indians were armed in like manner as their foot; they rode swift horses and drove chariots drawn by horses and wild asses.

LacusCurtius • Herodotus — Book VII: Chapters 57‑

The Bactrians were equipped as were their foot, and the Caspians in like manner. The Libyans too were armed like the men of their infantry, and all of them too drove chariots. So likewise the Caspians and Paricanians were armed as the men of their infantry. The Arabians had the same equipment as the men of their infantry, and all of them rode on camels no less swift than horses. All the rest of the riders were ranked in their several troops, but the Arabians were posted hindmost; for the horses not enduring the sight of camels, their place was in the rear, that so the horses might not be affrighted.

The horse was straightway dealt with according to Pharnuches' command; his servants led it away to the place where it had thrown their master, and cut off its legs at the knee. Thus it was that Pharnuches lost his captaincy. First, the Phoenicians ; they, with the Syrians of Palestine, furnished three hundred. For their equipment, they had on their heads helmets well-nigh of Greek fashion; they wore linen breastplates, and carried shields without rims, and javelins.

The Egyptians furnished two hundred ships. The greater part of them wore cuirasses and carried long swords. Their tribes are these: 13 some are from Salamis and Athens, some from Arcadia, some from Cythnus, some from Phoenice, and some from Ethiopia, as the Cyprians themselves say. These, too, wore on their heads the helmets of their country, carrying bucklers of raw oxhide for shields, and clad in woollen tunics; each had two javelins and shields fashioned well-nigh like the falchions of Egypt.

These Cilicians were in old time called Hypachaei, and took the name they bear from Cilix a Phoenician, son of Agenor. These Pamphylians are descended from the Trojans of the dispersal who followed Amphilochus and Calchas. The Lycians were of Cretan descent, and were once called Termilae; they took the name they bear from Lycus, an Athenian, son of Pandion. The Carians furnished seventy ships; they had scimitars and daggers, but for the rest Greek equipment. The Aeolians furnished sixty ships; they were equipped like Greeks; in former days they were called Pelasgian, as the Greek story goes.

They were settlers from the Ionians and Dorians.

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The best sailing ships were furnished by the Phoenicians, and among them by the Sidonians. As for the ships of thirty and of fifty oars , and light galleys, and great transports for horses, the sum of them altogether was shown to be three thousand. Artemisia was her name; she was daughter to Lygdamis, on her father's side of Halicarnassian lineage, and a Cretan on her mother's. She was the leader of the men of Halicarnassus and Cos and Nisyrus and Calydnos, furnishing five ships.

This he presently did; riding in a chariot past the men of each nation, he questioned them, and his scribes wrote all down, till he had gone from end to end of the horse and foot. This done, and the ships being drawn down and launched in the sea, Xerxes alighted from his chariot into a ship of Sidon, sitting wherein under a golden canopy he was carried past the prows of the ships, questioning of them in like manner as of the army and making the answers to be written down. The captains put out as far as four hundred feet from the shore, and there kept the ships anchored in a line, their prows turned landward, and the fighting men on them armed as for war; Xerxes viewed them, passing between the prows and the land.

Now therefore tell me this: will the Greeks offer me battle and abide my coming? Yet if the order of your state be such as you define it to be, 19 you, being their king should rightly encounter twice as many according to your laws; for if each of those Greeks is a match for ten men of my army, then it is plain to me that you must be a match for twenty. That were a proof that what you say is true; but if you Greeks who so exalt yourselves are like in stature and all else to yourself and those of your nation who have audience of me, then beware lest the words you have spoken be but idle boasting.

For, were they under the rule of one according to our custom, they might from fear of him show a valour greater than natural, and under compulsion of the lash might encounter odds in the field; but neither of these would they do while they were suffered to be free. It is not then to be thought that a right-minded man will reject from him plain good will, but rather that he will requite it with full affection.

So is it with the Lacedaemonians; fighting singly they are as brave as any man living, and together they are the best warriors on earth. Free they are, yet not wholly free; for law is their master, whom they fear much more than your men fear you. This is my proof — what their law bids them, that they do; and its bidding is ever the same, that they must never flee from the battle before whatsoever odds, but abide at their post and there conquer or die.

For before this march, viceroys had been appointed everywhere in Thrace and on the Hellespont. All these in that country, except the viceroy of Doriscus, were after this expedition dispossessed by the Greeks; but Mascames of Doriscus could never be dispossessed by any, though many essayed it. For this cause it is that the gifts are sent by whoever is at any time king of Persia.

But this Boges he never ceased praising, and gave very great honour to his sons who were left alive in Persia; and indeed Boges proved himself worthy of all praise. Thus it is that he is justly praised by the Persians to this day. Eion, on the hill to the left, seen from the town called Nine Roads see A. The river is the Strymon. Eion was the last Persian settlement in Europe.

On his road from Doriscus he first passed the Samothracian fortresses, 20 whereof that one which is builded farthest westwards is a town called Mesambria. Next to it is a Thasian town, Stryme; between them runs the river Lisus, which now could not furnish water enough for Xerxes' army, but was exhausted. Past these he went, and past certain lakes of repute near to them, the Ismarid lake that lies between Maronea and Stryme, and near Dicaea the Bistonian lake, into which the rivers Travus and Compsantus disembogue.

Near Abdera Xerxes passed no lake of repute, but crossed the river Nestus where it flows into the sea. This town is called Pistyrus. It is they who possess the place of divination sacred to Dionysus; which place is among the highest of their mountains; the Bessi, a clan of the Satrae, are the prophets of the shrine, and it is a priestess that utters the oracle , as at Delphi ; nor is aught more of mystery here than there.

All this region about the Pangaean range is called Phyllis; it stretches westwards to the river Angites, which issues into the Strymon, and southwards to the Strymon itself; by that water the Magi slew white horses, offering thus sacrifice for good omens.

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