Bendy Light

From: Alex Ferguson (alex@dcs.gla.ac.uk)
Date: Sun 25 Feb 1996 - 21:09:45 EET


I agree with David "Autofire Find Weakness" Dunham's comments on
the wacky Bendy Light theories of Brooke et al. Made your roll by
about 4, I think, DD.

To amplify, I think that speculations as to Glorantha's One True
Physics are a fairly vain effort in general, and that this
particular theory is exceptionally unwieldy. I am doubtful that
the vague, unquantified idea that (some) "light curves upwards"
can be made exact enough to explain observed phenomena without
tying oneself in logical knots. Does "curved" mean in a circular,
elliptical, parabolic, hyperbolic, or some other sort of arc?

Does "upwards" mean "always strictly upwards", or "deviated somewhat
above the straight line one would expect", or what? Making a special
case for Pure Solar Light seems particularly unsatisfactory.
How does solar light reflected by a mirror behave? Refracted
light? Light from other celestial bodies? Cans of worms abound.

However, in fairness I should point out that over normal distances,
the difference for things such as ray-tracing the Starfire Ridges
and shooting arrows at hapless hoplites would certainly be trivial.
Even if it were not, there are no true "direct fire" weapons in
Glorantha, so such sighting considerations would simply be figured
into the ad hoc corrections archers would be making for range in
any case.

I think the points which have some bearing on Glorantha Like What
She Is Played are:

1) Is there an apparent horizon in Glorantha? The concensus here
is yes, I'm sure.

2) Do Gloranthans, or at least the majority of them believing in
a Flat(ish) world bother to wonder why this is so? I suspect not,
in most cases. A belief in a flat earth seems to have managed
to struggle along on this decidedly round planet for some time without
invocation of such elaborate theories.

3) If certain Gloranthans feel obliged to explain the horizon, how
are they likely to do so? Few are likely to think up Nick's
explanation, since it is firstly predicated on a fairly sophisticated
view of optics in the first place, which the average Luddite Gloranthan
culture typically will lack, and the idea of light behaving in a
decidedly strange fashion, which would offend several sets of religious
sensibilities, I'm sure. The only people I can imagine promulgating
such a view would be the Lunars, and they'd do so mainly to Wind Up
their Yelmite fellows.

"As Straight and True as a Ray of Light, indeed. <snigger>"

Other popular views are likely to be:

Horizon? Wassat? In areas lacking plains, it's pretty easy to not
notice the horizon effect at all. And many of Glorantha's plains
are inhabitted by such staunch anti-intellectuals as the Pentans,
who if they ever had a clue about Gloranthan physics would declare
it a bastard and leave it exposed on a rock for the trolls.

It's not Flat, it's Curved. A fairly modest upwards curvature of
the Lozenge would produce a perfectly servicable horizon. Recall that
Known Glorantha is much smaller than earth.

Glorantha is round. Improbable, but already suggested by certain
nutters. Not infeasible by itself, but Heliocentrism is Definitely
Out -- Copernicus need not apply for the Sog City Yoonie chair of
astro(nom|log)y.

Assorted mystical rationales. The horizon is Instituted By God for
[arbitrary reason]. Keep man from getting uppity, hide the vices
of the filthy foreigners from the True Folk, seemed a good idea at
the time, pleasing artistic effect, blah blah blah, whatever.

Giving it to you straight,
Alex.

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