Page 1594 - Math It Out

2nd Oct 2021, 6:00 AM in Magical Mystery Cure
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Math It Out
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 2nd Oct 2021, 6:00 AM edit delete
No, I don't think it's too much of a stretch for ponies to have some version of a kinetic molecular theory of matter, why do you ask?

Also, a little while ago there was a session of The Borrowers, our side campaign to The Forgotten Ones, and it's now available for your listening/viewing pleasure!
Spudventures - The Borrowers, Session 3 - Cults and Daggers: Podcast | Video

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



Otterfriend 2nd Oct 2021, 6:31 AM edit delete reply
Given that Epicurus in ancient Greece visualized the movement of atoms determining everything, I don't think it's at all inappropriate for the much more technologically sophisticated Ponies to have a similar conception.
zimmerwald1915 2nd Oct 2021, 7:01 AM edit delete reply
Ponies know special relativity ( and the Schrodinger Equation ( They have superseded deterministic atomism.
Borg 2nd Oct 2021, 9:13 AM edit delete reply
Of course, the uncertainty principle and quantum indeterminacy just mean it's impossible to perfectly know the present or predict the future. They don't mean the future you can't observe doesn't exist, and they don't mean you can't gather enough information to predict the parts you care about with high probability.
Guest 2nd Oct 2021, 7:02 AM edit delete reply
I mean, the ponies on this show rearrange matter, cross into other dimensions and travel through time, I think molecule theory is on the low end of that scale.
Winged Cat 2nd Oct 2021, 7:55 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
Does the world turn? Or, thanks to Celestia, does the sun orbit the world?
zimmerwald1915 2nd Oct 2021, 8:27 AM edit delete reply
Or thanks to Celestia, does the world turn?
CrowMagnon 2nd Oct 2021, 8:59 AM edit delete reply
As with the discussion on the nature of destiny, maybe that's a matter of perspective. Maybe it appears to be one thing to those who only see the hands of the clock move, but those who can actually see the clockwork observe the more complex systems in play.
Borg 2nd Oct 2021, 9:09 AM edit delete reply
If the world turns then there must be some weird physics for nopony to feel it starting and stopping when an alicorn prevents the sunrise or raises the sun incorrectly.

Of course, if magical ponies make the sun and moon move around the world, that implies weird physics too.
Digo 2nd Oct 2021, 10:07 AM edit delete reply
I created a running joke in my Shadowtrot universe that the reason everypony thinks Celestia raises the sun and moon for over a thousand years is that nopony had discovered orbital mechanics yet.
Guest 2nd Oct 2021, 11:42 AM edit delete reply
In the fic Changeling Space Program (and its sort-of sequel, The Maretian), the Equus system is heliocentric and what Celestia is *actually* doing is using the sun as a pivot point to speed up the planet's rotation by the fraction of a hair necessary to account for the speed it's lost during the day (I believe in-universe no one knows why it loses speed, just that it does). So it's a ridiculously OP feat of telekinesis-by-proxy, but it is still technically just telekinesis. I rather like that explanation, as it allows for, essentially, both models to be true at once (i.e., the planet goes around the sun, but it does actually require Celestia to do something about it). I guess Luna has it easier there - she "just" has to move/turn the moon using herself/the planet as a reference point.

And yes, I know I probably got those physics terms wrong. Sue me. You know what I mean.
albedoequals1 2nd Oct 2021, 12:39 PM edit delete reply
In the episode where Starlight Glimmer ruins the timeline repeatedly, we see an alternate future where Nightmare Moon won, and it has been night in Equestria for years. If the temperature is still comfortable, as it appears to be, we can infer that Equestria's sun provides no significant heat. If that is true, then there is no reason the sun needs to be a particular size. Maybe the Equestrian sun and moon are the same size as each other, and both are smaller than Earth's moon, and a lot closer to the planet, making them easy to yank around with telekinesis.
MechaDitz 2nd Oct 2021, 2:25 PM edit delete reply
The moon is at least close enough to walk if you have a handy rope and a helpful princess if the comics are to be believed
Kittoradra 2nd Oct 2021, 9:03 PM edit delete reply
As an alternative: The star system is perfectly normal and no notable magic applies to it. What changes is diffusion and reflection of visible light through the atmosphere, and at what angle it moves at. With all the powerful magic going on, it could very well default to "normal", but Celestia and Luna were able to manipulate it. If anything, there could have been an existing magic in place to make "natural sunrise" not function properly. It's also possible that this magic only applies over Equestria, and the rest of the world looks on in confusion when they see that one land with such a weird day/night cycle. Still powerful and complex magics... but might actually put Luna as the more powerful sister if she can actually grasp and manipulate the moon
Ebony Sable 3rd Oct 2021, 12:23 AM edit delete reply
Considering that Celestia actually says that the moon is easier to manipulate than the sun, it's highly unlikely that Luna is more powerful.
SilverShadow4 3rd Oct 2021, 8:58 PM edit delete reply
I really like that theory.
I've created a universe for a D&D setting in which the galaxy was almost clompletely destroyed. The remaining planets were mashed into one giant planet which is stationary around a black hole core in stasis. The planet is orbited by 3 stars that are the same size as or smaller than the planet which serve as the suns and 5 moons. The suns have a fixed daily orbit along the "equator" and 4 of the moons orbit more slowly influencing the seasons with the warmth they reflect (the 5th moon is less predictable for reasons I've yet to decide). Farther out are 2 pulsating stars that orbit each other and send out pulses that cause regular storms across the planet's surface.
Space is awesome and I love that I can do whatever I want with it as god lol
Wulfraed 4th Oct 2021, 8:11 AM edit delete reply
{If this essentially shows up twice, blame it on a net glitch}

We only see the Equestria side of that. Presuming Nightmare Moon can't /extinguish/ the sun, she must have forced it to the other side of the "orbit", where it illuminates some other land(s) permanently. That side is likely very hot (I was [and did on my first attempt to post] tempted to say "desert", but technically the Arctic and Antarctic regions are deserts -- desert is defined by lack of precipitation, not temperature) -- rain forests with near scalding water (probably the cooler zone -- with the cloud cover reducing solar radiation hitting ground) and, yes, deserts where water probably sizzles on contact with the sand.

Equestria might be getting spill-over via the atmosphere -- there must be massive air cells at the day/night terminator as hot sunlit air rises, and cold air flows from Equestria to fill the gap. At the same time, the upper atmosphere of hot air flows over to the night side where it begins to cool and sink. {If the planet does not rotate in space, there is nothing to provide coriolis forces, so just convection flows would affect weather}
Chakat Firepaw 6th Oct 2021, 1:09 PM edit delete reply
From what we see in the show: Neither, it has pre-Ptolomaic cosmology. In "Princess Twilight Sparkle", (S04E01-02), having both the sun and moon in the sky results in a distinct split of the sky into "day" and "night".
georgie_leech 2nd Oct 2021, 4:42 PM edit delete reply
You know, when you phrase it like "you fixed a problem 1000 years in the making in a little less than 24 hours," I kinda see where Celestia figures Twilight is gonna be impressive.
Jennifer 3rd Oct 2021, 9:44 AM edit delete reply
A lot of fantasy novels are like that; a nobody character discovers magic and works out something about it that everyone around them has never noticed before, and becomes the savior of many more experienced characters. I often find it annoying.
Guest 3rd Oct 2021, 10:57 AM edit delete reply
When done poorly, it's extremely annoying and tends to be one of the hallmarks of a Mary Sue. When done well, it's usually justified, as in Twilight's case, where the one person who knew the problem existed (Celestia) never told anyone else for PR reasons and couldn't use the Problem Solving Shinies herself (since she needed Luna to control half of them and that was a sunk ship already). In the case of Starswirl's spell, it's a little iffy, because again, nobody else got a crack at it (justifiably, as if Twilight hadn't been able to fix it Ponyville would've been screwed), but considering what we see of unicorn academics (and, for that matter, a large portion of real-world academics), it's not surprising that none of them hit on the seemingly irrelevant and counterproductive solution "stop working on it and go hang out with some bros."

And Celestia... isn't really friends with anyone. She had Luna, and possibly Starswirl, and then both of them vanished and she had to be a god-queen/mother figure for a thousand years. She's kind and generous and honest and cheerful and loyal, yes, but literally everyone else she interacts with is either her student, her subject, a foreign power, or her enemy. So given that magic runs on friendship, i.e. interpersonal relationships, I can see Celestia, in all her experience and wisdom and insane skill, in a class of her own socially, magically, mentally, and physically, being unable to do what Twilight could as a normal(...ish) pony on the same level as her peers.
Guest 3rd Oct 2021, 11:52 AM edit delete reply
Celestia can use all 6 elements herself. She did so when she banished Luna.
Khyrin 3rd Oct 2021, 6:35 PM edit delete reply
While she was able to use them all on her own once... they petrified immediately after, and in the 'modern' era, the Elements did not function at ALL when one bearer was missing.
zimmerwald1915 3rd Oct 2021, 10:48 AM edit delete reply
There was no problem until Twilight herself created one (in FiM - in FiD there was an actual problem, but only because Discord created one a couple weeks ago).
Ransom4 3rd Oct 2021, 8:20 AM edit delete reply
Some people have a very strong reaction to destiny in stories, though I tend to like the idea that a destiny doesn’t nullify one’s will or the meaningfulness of choices. I always felt Twilight’s destiny in becoming an alicorn was a bit like the cutie marks, in that people might get anxious about getting one that ‘trapped them’ in a talent they didn’t like, but in fact cutie marks were just reflections of what a pony already was, so it was less about having a stamp imposed on you as discovering more about yourself. That is, Twilight simply unlocked potential she always had.
Jennifer 3rd Oct 2021, 6:19 PM edit delete reply
I rather like the comment in LOTR that what happens to us isn't up to us; but how we handle it is. What we do with what we are given.
Chakat Firepaw 6th Oct 2021, 1:21 PM edit delete reply
I tend to handle 'destiny' similar to, (and often as an outcome of), how I do prophecy: They are long-term, very complicated spells¹ that the farther you are through casting them, the more they help the steps in the spell happen. The difference is that destinies, (not involving a prophecy), come about when people manage to cast one accidentally.

1: So if you go to an oracle for a prophecy, they will effectively give you a very long list of events that need to happen to get your desired outcome. Of course, you only publicly reveal the bit about how "the tyrant will be slain by the flame-haired witch of the south" and not the couple hundred steps it will take to get her and her mentor in the south nor that her actions will themselves just be a step in forming the Eternal Holy Empire a generation after she dies.
ionotter 3rd Oct 2021, 8:13 PM edit delete reply
One of my characters encountered a completely new race of beings that were made of light, and he had to figure out a way to communicate with them. They were currently taking apart the moon for resources, and our home world kind of needed that moon. So far, everyone that had tried to stop them had been treated much like you would a nest of hornets or soldier ants: they got "sprayed" with "bug killer".

So my character tried flashing light at them.

That got their attention, and they stopped mining the moon to have a look. So he started flashing at them in numbered sequences: 1 flash, 2 flashes, 3 flashes and so on, up to nine, but then he ran into a logic problem?

How do you define zero???

The GM was like, "I think they get the point, we'll work out the rest."
Wulfraed 4th Oct 2021, 8:20 AM edit delete reply
That also assumes they used a base-10 (decimal) numbering system.

Back in the 70s I read a story (might have been Asimov writing under pseudonym as it was a juvenile story) where a group exploring some small planet has a first-contact situation. The kid (I said it was a juvie story) figures out a means to communicate by drawing shapes on essentially a large touch-screen. The most critical shape turns out to be a sine wave -- as I recall, they used a decreasing sine wave to indicate a situation of something fading/dying...

Don't recall any better details.
Kittoradra 5th Oct 2021, 5:57 AM edit delete reply
Don't necessarily need to have the same numeric base to tell someone "Hey, we're intelligent!" The Fibonacci Sequence isn't a bad start, if you only have a basic "they react to this stimuli". If you can draw something out, the Pythagorean Theorem is a fair choice. Both require notable understanding of not just the world, but controlled expression of its representation. The collapsing sine wave is an interesting choice, too, since repetition and degradation are also fairly complex concepts to express.