Friday, December 02, 2011

Kardashev Scale

Noting this article on Next Big Future reminded me about the Kardashev Scale, and reading up on it again can certainly be a stimulus for the imagination.


The Polity, I suspect, is merely a Type I civilization, perhaps sliding into Type II territory with the construction of a Dyson sphere. The Heliothane, of Cowl, are also edging into Type II territory with New London sitting over the sun and tapping energy from it. Go check out the links to get your mind blown … so to speak.

The picture here is one from Halo, which seems to have some seriously cool artwork.

7 comments:

Northern Fop said...

Now that is an awesome picture.

Do you have a link to an embiggened version?

Northern Fop said...

Never mind. Clickthrough works now, firefox playing silly buggers.

Even awesomer in full size, and now my new wallpaper :)

Huan said...

How come most of the seriously big concepts come from Russian thinkers?
Is it the education methods that allow this kind of thought process or something else?

Brett said...

Depending on your definition of 'harness', the Polity could very well be classed as Type II or even Type III.
At the linked Wikipedia entry it states that a Type I civilization harnesses approx 10^16 W, a Type II 10^26 W and a Type III 10^37 W, and that '[a] Type I implies the conversion of about 2 kg of matter to energy per second'.
Given the average human is about 60kg, the Polity is transmitting and buffering approx 3 x 10^17 W for every human that uses a runcible, enough to classify as Type I as long as at least one human uses a runcible every second.
In Prador Moon a cargo runcible is used to transfer the moon Vina. Assuming Vina's mass is somewhere in the range of Phobos' 10^16 kg, this gives a 'harnessed' energy of approx 5 x 10^31 W for a single cargo runcible.
If at least one Vina's worth of cargo is in transit at any given moment, this pushes the Polity firmly into the Type II category.
If at least 10^21 kg of cargo is in transit at any given moment, the Polity enters the range of a Type III.

daniel ware said...

halo has some very seriously cool concept work done on it, but that's not an official halo image(though Halo Wars featured very similar imagery), the artist in this case is: http://phoenix-06.deviantart.com/

i highly recommend game artbooks, particularly of high-concept series like halo - their latest one "the art of building worlds" is excellent.

Neal Asher said...

Brett, it does tend to depend on your definition of 'harness'. How does a civilization that harnessess all the energy from a sun compare to a civilization that harnesses a bit from each of a thousand suns? And even if you closely define it as energy consumed that's not really a definition of 'civilization' since it should be per capita maybe, and even then you can get wrapped up in arguments about efficiency.

I'll take a look there, Daniel. I have looked at stuff on deviant art before and there's certainly some good stuff there.

Neal Asher said...

Huan, maybe because, at the time, thinking about their lives around them wasn't that enjoyable.