August 04, 2011


I just learned about a web comic called "Outsider". It is really good!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in linky at 01:25 PM | Comments (12) | Add Comment
Post contains 14 words, total size 1 kb.

1 Yes, it's great, and he's basically admitted that the Loroi are based on Elerians.

The downside is... he averages 9-10 pages a year.  This year is shaping up to be the best yet--we might get a dozen or more.

Posted by: BigD at August 04, 2011 01:48 PM (1VXek)

2 ...and the last few updates were even on time!  (less of a 'wheres my free ice cream' and more of a 'I hope the creator hasn't thrown the towel in!'...was getting concerned.)

Posted by: Douglas Oosting at August 04, 2011 01:48 PM (sdWdc)

3 Yeah, it's been a treat seeing them show up in my RSS feed on a regular basis.  I remember having the same thought as Douglas, "I hope he's still doing these..."

Posted by: CatCube at August 04, 2011 03:14 PM (20436)

4 Reproductive biology:

I like the art, and the Loroi characters have distinct personalities.

Here's hoping the release schedule picks up.

Posted by: refugee at August 04, 2011 06:23 PM (auErC)


Is there a terrestrial equivalent?

In fact, sex determination happens in all kinds of ways.

Most plants are bisexual, producing both eggs and sperm (aka "pollen"). Some are not (e.g. marijuana) but the seeds have the potential to become either male or female plants. In the case of marijuana, when conditions are right you can get as much as 90% female plants.

In colonial insects (bees, ants, termites), sex is a function of chromosome count. Females are diploid, and males are haploid. Males only get created in mating season, and then only in small numbers.

There's a kind of shellfish where young adults are all male. After they age a bit more (and grow considerably larger), they convert to female.

In birds it's controlled by chromosomes, just as it is in mammals. But it isn't precisely the same. The sex determination chromosomes are known as W and Z. Males are ZZ; females are ZW.

Now this has an interesting consequence. If you keep a lot of chickens without any roosters around, occasionally one of the hens will convert to a rooster even though it's still ZW. It isn't as fertile as a real rooster would be (because one quarter of its offspring will be nonviable WW, equivalent to YY in mammals) but it's enough to keep the species going in cases where by mischance all the roosters get killed off.

(And, I think, it's the basis for the cockatrice legend, which says that a cockatrice comes from an egg laid by a rooster.)

In a lot of these cases, the sex ratio isn't 1:1. In some cases (e.g. termites) it isn't even close; probably more like 1000:1 over the life of the nest.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 04, 2011 07:08 PM (+rSRq)

6 I just looked it up, and it seems that WW can indeed be viable in some cases.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 04, 2011 07:14 PM (+rSRq)

7 Interesting. I should have thought of the social insects.

I also just discovered the Insider pages, with all sorts of explanatory material, including this on Loroi biology and society. I think most of my questions are addressed here.

Posted by: refugee at August 04, 2011 07:19 PM (auErC)

8 Huh, I didn't know that about chickens.  I imagine that is why they have their chromosomes "backwards" versus mammals:  if the females were WW, they couldn't produce a Z chromosome from nowhere.

Posted by: metaphysician at August 04, 2011 07:25 PM (hD30M)


I imagine that is why they have their chromosomes "backwards" versus mammals: if the females were WW, they couldn't produce a Z chromosome from nowhere.

It's doubtful there's any reason behind it. It's just the way it worked out. Seems as if the dinosaur/bird line developed sexual differentiation independently from our ancestors, way back there somewhere.

And it isn't really that big an advantage. Mammals have done just fine without that ability.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 04, 2011 07:39 PM (+rSRq)

10 And right in time, too. I was getting tired of Erfworld. Unfortunately, it seems like not updating much.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at August 05, 2011 03:57 PM (9KseV)

11 Thanks! My webcomic list was missing a good sci-fi series.  This one seems to be leaning towards hard sci-fi too.

Posted by: Tom Tjarks at August 09, 2011 10:01 AM (T5fuR)

12 That's the kind of story that makes me wish he'd write it as a novel and get it published.  Although then we wouldn't get the eye-candy.

Posted by: ubu at August 09, 2011 05:02 PM (GfCSm)

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