Author Topic: The Parable of the Starship Rental Agency  (Read 3921 times)

Prelate Diogenes Shandor

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The Parable of the Starship Rental Agency
« on: December 23, 2012, 06:27:55 am »
I have a parable for you all about the nature of discord

Imagine, if you will, an agency in the far future which rents out starships for interstellar travel; The starships cannot traverse the stars instantaneously through the power of lazy writing as seen in so many science fiction movies, but they can move at over 99.9% of the speed of light.

It so happened (happens will happen? could be happening????) that this agency charges its fees based on the distance traveled and the amount of time elapsed before the ship is returned to them. Imagine now that a customer came and rented one of these ships, took it to another star at its top spped, and then brought it back. Verily I say unto you, if that customer and the rental agency can both agree upon a price to be paid when the ship is returned then at least one of them is a chump!

Through a combination of relativistic and economic effects Each party will observe a correct value for time elapsed and distance traveled which benefits their
own interests and each would be both self-destructive and (perhaps more importantly) insincere if they were to accept a price based on the other party's less beneficial correct value.

They
must disagree not because one is right and the other wrong, but because they are both right yet still in contradiction.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2012, 06:33:40 am by Prelate Diogenes Shandor »
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Rev Thwack

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Re: The Parable of the Starship Rental Agency
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2013, 08:06:46 am »
It so happened (happens will happen? could be happening????) that this agency charges its fees based on the distance traveled and the amount of time elapsed before the ship is returned to them.

The wording used for incurring charges indicated the point of observation being the location the ship was rented from. By saying the amount of time elapsed before the ship is returned to them, you state that the point of measurement is the rental facility and the time as noted there. Saying engine run time would imply a measurement taken from on board the ship as it references the passage of time for the engines. Saying duration of the flight would be a case where you are not truly implying a location for observing the passage of time.


In the last case, the lawyers would have made sure to include wording in the contract that is the most beneficial to the rental company and you'd be stuck abiding by it or having to give up your dream of traveling to distant stars.
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LMNO

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Re: The Parable of the Starship Rental Agency
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2013, 02:37:15 pm »
Yes, it appears that the only Discord in the story is a lack of precise contract terms.

Quote
this agency charges its fees based on the distance traveled and the amount of time elapsed before the ship is returned to them relative to the perspective of the rental agency.

And Concord is reached.

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Re: The Parable of the Starship Rental Agency
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2013, 02:54:14 pm »
Yes, it appears that the only Discord in the story is a lack of precise contract terms.

Quote
this agency charges its fees based on the distance traveled and the amount of time elapsed before the ship is returned to them relative to the perspective of the rental agency.

And Concord is reached.

Wait, Concord in Mass, Concord in Cali, Concord University, or concord grapes? I'm thinking it's grapes, as if I'm going to drive things anywhere it's usually to something like a fruit instead of a place.
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Re: The Parable of the Starship Rental Agency
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2013, 02:57:54 pm »
I'm going back to Concord, to Concord, in Cali.  I'm going back to Concord --

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Re: The Parable of the Starship Rental Agency
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2013, 02:59:49 pm »
Joke's on the rental agency, it went out of business centuries ago.

Jack signed the papers. Speedy Jack's Starship Rental was now out of business. It was a sad day to be sure, especially after Jack's father, Jack Sr. put so much energy into starting up the rental agency. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it takes a starship a long time to be returned. Time dilation and all. The lot was almost always empty, except when Jack was able to scrape enough together to buy another starship he would probably never see again. For all he knew, the skies were littered with broken Speedy Jack's starships, perhaps due to colliding with micrometeorites at .99c, perhaps they were intercepted. Perhaps there was no reason to get back to Earth.

The divorce settlement didn't help much either. Speedy Jane blasted off with a newer model, a warp engineer to boot. There was no future in sublight ship rentals. It was a good thing that Jack Sr never lived to see this day.

There was only one last thing to do.

Jack got onto the last starship on the lot and fired it up. He took one last look at the photo of him and the kids.

From an observer on Earth, the trip took a little over 8 minutes, but 8 minutes is but a brief moment at relativistic speeds.

Solar flare activity was reported that day, which was odd, as the Sun was at solar minimum.
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Re: The Parable of the Starship Rental Agency
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2013, 03:09:11 pm »
Yeah, I remember reading the OP when it was posted, but then I didn't respond because I didn't see a problem. Time, clearly stated as time elapsed since leaving the point of rental, plus mileage. And? Is there something to think about, here? Maybe the OP can come back and clarify what he was getting at.
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Re: The Parable of the Starship Rental Agency
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2013, 03:10:08 pm »
Joke's on the rental agency, it went out of business centuries ago.

Jack signed the papers. Speedy Jack's Starship Rental was now out of business. It was a sad day to be sure, especially after Jack's father, Jack Sr. put so much energy into starting up the rental agency. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it takes a starship a long time to be returned. Time dilation and all. The lot was almost always empty, except when Jack was able to scrape enough together to buy another starship he would probably never see again. For all he knew, the skies were littered with broken Speedy Jack's starships, perhaps due to colliding with micrometeorites at .99c, perhaps they were intercepted. Perhaps there was no reason to get back to Earth.

The divorce settlement didn't help much either. Speedy Jane blasted off with a newer model, a warp engineer to boot. There was no future in sublight ship rentals. It was a good thing that Jack Sr never lived to see this day.

There was only one last thing to do.

Jack got onto the last starship on the lot and fired it up. He took one last look at the photo of him and the kids.

From an observer on Earth, the trip took a little over 8 minutes, but 8 minutes is but a brief moment at relativistic speeds.

Solar flare activity was reported that day, which was odd, as the Sun was at solar minimum.

Twid wins the thread.

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Re: The Parable of the Starship Rental Agency
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2013, 03:14:56 pm »
Joke's on the rental agency, it went out of business centuries ago.

Jack signed the papers. Speedy Jack's Starship Rental was now out of business. It was a sad day to be sure, especially after Jack's father, Jack Sr. put so much energy into starting up the rental agency. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it takes a starship a long time to be returned. Time dilation and all. The lot was almost always empty, except when Jack was able to scrape enough together to buy another starship he would probably never see again. For all he knew, the skies were littered with broken Speedy Jack's starships, perhaps due to colliding with micrometeorites at .99c, perhaps they were intercepted. Perhaps there was no reason to get back to Earth.

The divorce settlement didn't help much either. Speedy Jane blasted off with a newer model, a warp engineer to boot. There was no future in sublight ship rentals. It was a good thing that Jack Sr never lived to see this day.

There was only one last thing to do.

Jack got onto the last starship on the lot and fired it up. He took one last look at the photo of him and the kids.

From an observer on Earth, the trip took a little over 8 minutes, but 8 minutes is but a brief moment at relativistic speeds.

Solar flare activity was reported that day, which was odd, as the Sun was at solar minimum.

Twid wins the thread.

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Re: The Parable of the Starship Rental Agency
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2013, 03:16:34 pm »
You Goddamn penny pinching Ferengi.
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Re: The Parable of the Starship Rental Agency
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2013, 03:25:49 pm »
You Goddamn penny pinching Ferengi.

But why pinch a penny? It's not like your fingers are strong enough to hurt it, and that would be a jerk-ass move anyway.
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Re: The Parable of the Starship Rental Agency
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2013, 04:32:06 pm »
Bump.
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Re: The Parable of the Starship Rental Agency
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2013, 07:43:51 pm »
This sounds like a plot point for some SF show.

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Re: The Parable of the Starship Rental Agency
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2013, 12:12:41 am »
This sounds like a plot point for some SF show.

The OP or the Melancholy Demise of Speedy Jack?
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Re: The Parable of the Starship Rental Agency
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2013, 05:14:56 am »
This sounds like a plot point for some SF show.

The OP or the Melancholy Demise of Speedy Jack?

Dude, The Melancholy Demise of Speedy Jack sounds like some surrealist anime title.
I need to remember that story so I can use it somehow in the future for a DND in SPAAAAAACE game.