Server Bug Fix: How to decimate enemy armies without mutilating them? [closed]

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Everyone could agree that smashing a sword or shooting an arrow onto your plate of food is not the brightest idea, but vampires are even more extreme.
Vampires eat like spiders, they inject a substance onto the body of their victims which reacts with blood creating an acid which pre-digests the victim. Severed victims who experienced serious blood loss would only be partially digested or raw. Plus if someone is missing their head or a limb, most of the acid would leak out.

Vampires do not have particular super powers,other than perfect night vision and Incredible leaping powers, a vampire can jump 1.5 metres high from standing. Oh and they don’t age obviously! But other than that they are vulnerable to being killed normally.
enter image description here

They all look like the average aristocratic figure and they probably invented BDSM, oh and they have freakish red eyes! Not just a normal red, but brilliant red!

Knowing that I still question how do vampires wage wars without severing limbs and causing important blood loss on their enemies/meals ? It must be a method which is really effective since it was used through most of vampire history and evolution, and over the eons people hardly adapted to counteract the vampires.

edit

In combat between to factions one made of normal humans and the other made of vampires as described above, how does the vampire faction defeat the human armies without causing damages which would result in serious blood loss?

Vampires might like to eat their enemies. But they don’t eat enemies on the battle field. Someone will come up and kick them, hard. It is analogous to soldiers who have sex with their captives, or members of a conquered population. Those soldiers are not having sex with enemies on the battlefield. I don’t think. Not in a pitched battle anyway.

Vampires make war the same way fancy folks do anything grubby and distasteful: they have someone else do it. Vampires usually are in leadership positions and so deploy armies of humans which use the standard tactics of the day. Just as victorious armies evaluate the conquered for persons of interest (for example, the Mongols looked for craftsmen) so too your vampires peruse the conquered for persons of interest to them.

Prisoners

Casualities in battles are usually quite low. Most of casualities occure during rout, and even then, only a small portion of soldiers die, the majority is either captured, or managed to flee.

Don’t worry about killing some of the soldiers, if it’s the only mean to capture a larger part of them.

And don’t worry about holywood-style last stand, not only they are rare in history, but if beeing captured mean death with a painless poison, just after a BDSM experience, lot of folks would prefer that instead of fighting to the last and endure a long, painfull death

Mace

Humanity (and vampirity) has always been very inventive in killing others, and while swords, daggers and arrows have always been a staple of warfare, they are far from the only options. There is an entire arsenal of weapons available that is used to inflict blunt force trauma, which will typically cause internal bleeding and fractures, but will keep “the blood in the bag” so to speak.

From Wikipedia

During the Middle Ages metal armour such as mail protected against the
blows of edged weapons.[2] Solid metal maces and war hammers proved
able to inflict damage on well armoured knights, as the force of a
blow from a mace is great enough to cause damage without penetrating
the armour.

So where prehistoric humans might use a stone axe on the battlefield, a prehistoric vampire would rather use a club, so as to not spoil their meal. In the middle ages it’s swords for the humans and mace for the vampires, and moving on to the modern age, vampires now have a myriad of options available to them including (but not limited to) gases, bombs that kill through shock wave rather than shrapnel, biological agents etc. etc.

Also, vampires fight mean. Just like we don’t care about our honor when killing the animals we eat, vampires do not care how we die, as long as their meal isn’t spoiled. No vampire ever cosigned the Geneva convention. This means that if they can gas, trap, drown or burn (hmmm, crispy) their prey without even confronting them, they will. Vampires are evil after all.

If vampires are eating entire armies and so much so that they want to conserve blood from every single soldier — your vampires aren’t going to last long. They are obviously running through their food source with such speed that they will exterminate humanity and then starve.

Predators must be seriously out-numbered by prey.

Consequently, how are they going to work out how to do this before it’s moot?

Edit: As a logical consequence, the actual reaction of sensible vampires to war is to make peace by whatever means will work. Magic? Use it. Negotiations? Use them. Treachery? Use it. Anything to keep the sheep docile so you can fleece them, instead of watching them stampede into a marsh and drown.

I present to you: war hammers and maces.

Maces and war hammers have been used since before the modern ages, so they should accessible to your vampires. Both of these weapons are blunt (have blunt variants, as both also have spiked variants which could easily pierce the enemy with enough force), usually useful against armored enemies and what’s best in your case: will likely cause fractures and internal bleeding, ensuring that acid of yours reach better every single crevice in the body (plus, if they invented BDSM, they might be into having their enemies agonizing in the ground because their limbs were smashed with a hammer or club). Dealing with archery might not be too much of a problem if they are skilled enough, as a well shot arrow can kill a knight with minimal blood loss. If your vampires have good vision, they might want to take aim and take down the more troublesome looking enemies from afar.

For better reference, though more centered around more classic vampires and in a more individual perspective, this video from Shadiversity actually explores this concept of the weapon most suited to incapacitate an enemy with minimal blood loss.

Cauterize open wounds with hot metal

As Kepotx said in their answer, the actual ratio of fatality is actually quite low in a battle, leaving you with plenty of wounded prisoners.

If you’re just gonna eat them, you could simply cauterize all open wounds with red-hot metal and stop blood loss like that. It’s not gonna do much to save the lives of the wounded, as infections are the primary cause of death. But it’ll keep them alive a few hours to a few days depending on the severity of the wound, and it should keep the blood inside the body long enough for the venom to take effect.

I agree that the mace and hammer would be what vampires would use. even better would be a steel quarterstaff, which in the hands of a creature such as vampire, would be far deadlier.

as a matter of fact, i saw a video by Shad Brooks about what weapons vampires would actually use:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX0qlsV1Yxk&list=PLWklwxMTl4sxf_Yvz8ePW7tcpDnhGpKV_&index=34

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Server Bug Fix: Darkest hour, the beast which brings madness [closed]

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Darkest hour is a flying creature who usually lives in the depths of the ocean. Once a year we see the darkest hour exits the waters and fly into the sky which will turn foggy and dark.

enter image description here

The Darkest hour flies around for about an hour and wherever it goes, darkness follows. When humans enter the area of effect of a darkest hour they lose control of their minds, it is common for people falling victims to the darkest hour to go on a killing spree or mutilating and killing themselves.

In order for people to correctly defend themselves and survive the coming of a darkest hour. how does the mechanism of induced uncontrolled violence work and why it exists?

I mean, as far as it seems, we’re talking about a giant sea “thing” that can somehow fly, whose very presence causes the sky to darken. Saying it just happens, that it’s due to magic or that it’s a simply a byproduct of its reality bending abilities (because by your description I am 99% certain that this thing most likely came from another dimension) all seem like valid answers in this scenario.

However, trying to make it as realistic as possible within science fiction territory and considering it has an “area of effect”, we can likely rule out options like pheromones in the air, since those won’t stay in a determined open area, will not cease having effect immediately after the person leaves said area and won’t work exclusively on humans. My best guess here would be that the creature has psionic capabilities, directly influencing any humans within its reach. Upon a finding a human within reach, it will take control of its mind, numbing conscience, inducing a strong release of adrenaline in the body and passing the idea that other humans are a threat. Things like “the call of the void”, in which a person wielding a knife can get a heads up from their brain that they could use the knife they’re holding to stab the person doing the dishes right next to them exist, so this would be an extreme version aggravated by the state of aggression they’re in.

Though many other potential ways to trigger extreme aggression in humans are possible, I don’t think any realistic, existing method would attend all of the requirements (works in an area of effect style and only affects humans). Your Darkest hour isn’t that different from an earthquake or a hurricane, and understanding how the earthquake works doesn’t mean we can stop it, only that we might be able to detect it quicker and mitigate its effects. This thing is essentially a friendlier version of how a sentient natural disaster would behave if lovecraft had a say in it. You can’t defend against it, only get out of its way until it quiets down. If you can’t get out of the way, Restrain everyone until it has passed, so that the people won’t go on a killing spree.

Darkest Hour generates very strong magnetic fields which cause magnetically induced hallucinations in human brains. Laboratory tests show that exposing certain parts of the human brain to a 0.5 Tesla magnetic field can cause all kinds of different hallucinations.

The primary reason why Darkest Hour generates these electromagnetic fields could be that they are part of how its able to levitate. The effect on any humans in the area might just be coincidental.

I will limit my answer to the questioned part and don’t discuss flying, darkening and so on here. ^^

One possibility for this effect on humans could pain induced frenzy be. In this case, the darkest hour emitts a really high pitched permanent sound, slightly above the area humans can hear but heavy enough to cause severe pain within a humans ears and head. By triggering the right areas of the brain (by a combination of the pain, fear and the wavelengths the darkest hour emitts which stimmulate certain areas) it causes a frenzy like state in its victims driving them to kill people and animals, destroy things and finally kill themselvs if the pain continues. As you didn’t define criterias for the area of effect I think there will be no problem if in the outer zones of the AoE the humans will have headaches but will not act that aggressive.

Barring psionics you’d have to assume some form of secreted hallucinogenic.

For which simplest defense would simply be take a strong dose of a fast acting drug that renders the consumer unconscious for 2-3 hours as soon the changing light conditions that accompany the creatures emergence are noticed and an alarm is raised. Everyone simply carries a vial with them during the relevant time of year wherever they go 24/7.

Even a simple cloth mask and a bottle of chloroform would probably do the tick assuming a properly measured dose.

The sky gets dark and foggy due to all the water the beast is displacing – a lot of it will go into the atmosphere, where it will block sunlight (think of very think clouds, in some cases they can make day seem like night). On top of that the mist and the rain contain a mix of very fine-grained cocaine, as well as some other narcotic substances.

Wearing hazmat suits should protect a person from the mind-altering effects. And if you wish to battle this creature, I say nuke it from orbit.

Lets try to look at it from its point of view.

First off, it is not a sea creature. A sea creature wouldn’t be flying. It is a creature that is capable of living in the sea, at least for a time. It might well have some shape-shifting abilities such that most of the time it looks completely different and causes no problems. It might even appear human and live among humans.

What is it doing? I suspect it is looking for a mate. Driven by biological urges and seasonal variation, it puts on a mating display trying to find a partner. The insanity is a result of the pheromones or psychic emanations it releases.

Why does it fail? Well, it is probably a non-native species and there is only one present. Whether it is from another dimension, or another planet, or just the last of its kind is up to you. If humans are a recent arrival, they could have killed off the other gender of the species.

As for the darkness? That could be part of its flight mechanism, part of a display, clouds of pheromones, another mental effect on humans, or something messing up the vision of humans. (The last two would affect people present but not video cameras.)

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Ubuntu HowTo: Why is evolution-calendar uploading and downloading high amount of data in background?

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I’m using Ubuntu 16.04 and Gnome. I use the system monitor widget and noted that network usage was unusually high both for downloading and uploading. I find this question and I installed nethogs to check what happened and found that network usage for the process /usr/lib/evolution/evolution-calendar-factory-subprocess was pretty high.

high_network_usage

In the online accounts window I turned off and on the calendar item, and after that the process came reduced network usage.

widget

normal_network_usage

Could it be a known bug? Was it sending/downloading data without consentment?


EDIT:

Running Wireshark I identified a lot of TCP/TLS requests to apidata.googleusercontent.com:

Wireshark_ss

is this of any help?

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Server Bug Fix: How would predation work in an empathic universe?

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In my world, there is a plane of existence whose laws of reality work differently than ours. In this plane, thoughts are not private. The boundaries between the mind and reality are slim, and thus every living creature’s thoughts are laid bare and broadcasted for all to hear.

Naturally, this changes quite a few things about how life functions, but particularly predation. Many predators in our world rely on the element of surprise in order to capture their prey. In this plane, however, sneaking and stealth are rather impossible, as a predator’s intent to kill would be felt by every living thing around it.

So, my question is, in this world where a predator’s killing intent is laid bare, what other ways might a predator capture its prey? What evolutionary and/or behavioral characteristics might they evolve?

Mindless reflexive predators

There are not many predatory plants, but there are a few. Venus flytraps have no thoughts whatsoever. They get by just fine.

Temporary comas or microsleep

Being an ambush predators will still be possible. You won’t be able to stalk prey without them knowing they’re being followed, but you can still surprise them and that can still be enough.

Somewhat similar to dolphin sleep patterns, this predator blends into their surroundings, then goes to sleep / temporarily enters a coma-like state of suspended animation. They can jolt to full awareness almost immediately, so when a prey animal triggers an instinctive reflex the predator jolts awake and immediately attacks. They were literally not thinking at all, emitting no telltale presence, so this will be quite a surprise to their prospective meal.

You’re neglecting an important arena in the predator/prey dynamic:

Thought.

If your predators can feel the thoughts of things around them and the prey can detect predatory intent, what’s to stop the predators from evolving effective thought patterns? Many creatures in such a universe would evolve behaviours and senses entirely focused on exploiting thought, and your predators are no exception.

Take ants, as an example. Ants use pheromones extensively. If something in the nest doesn’t smell exactly right, they’ll attack it. Basically they use smell in the same way as you would thought.

So a species of spider has evolved to look and smell like an ant. It’s such an effective disguise that the spider can waltz out of a nest carrying dead larvae and the ants just don’t notice it.

‘But’ I hear you cry ‘Surely that’s predatory intent?’

Well, yes, but it’s an example of the kind of mimicry evolution is capable of. If you have a prey species that eats grass (for example) then a predator that thinks ‘ooh, yummy grass’ when looking at them will have the same ‘predatory intent’ as the prey species has. It will ‘smell the same’, meaning that by the time the prey realise a predator is there it’s too late. The yummy grass will have been eaten.

If thought is used as an extra sense this would make predators that think ‘ooh, grass’ instead of ‘ooh, meat’ evolutionarily favoured. Creatures capable of masking or mimicking thoughts can exist, and not only that but if thought supersedes certain other senses (As pheromones do with ants) then thought-mimics could be highly effective.

You should view ‘thought’ as an extra battleground. If a Despair Squid is capable of broadcasting deep nihilistic despair to nearby prey then they might just die out of the sheer pointlessness of it all.
The Lazy Shrimp relies on instinct, basically positioning a spring loaded claw then making itself invisible by going to sleep and hoping it’s hair-trigger reflexes can catch something.
Chaff Magpies fill the air with mental chatter, making it impossible for prey to spot incoming Sociopanthers. The Magpies eat leftover carrion in an example of a symbiotic relationship.
Oh, and Homo Horrificus actively lets its prey know they’re being hunted, relying on their terror to cause them to run until they’re exhausted or they fall into a pre-prepared trap.

Basically: Extend the arms race that is evolution into the plane of thought. If there’s a mental trick that would help a creature survive in this world evolution will ruthlessly exploit it.

Some hunters, such as hyenas and humans, do not ambush their prey; rather, they tire the prey out until they die of exhaustion. We would see more predators with high endurance, with the ability to run many miles to wear down their prey.

Doublethink

For an ecosystem to allow for predation in this world, sentient creatures with the most advanced consciousness need to have this skill. It was first described by George Orwell in his book 1984:

To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself—that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word—doublethink—involved the use of doublethink.

The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies—all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.

You need to really convince yourself that you are not harming the prey, until the moment you strike.

Hypocrisy

By tradition the ancient greek could only sacrifice willing animals. They would assert willingness by asking an animal if they were willing, and then pouring water on the animal’s head so that the animal would nod.

Hypocrisy is a powerful tool that can help humans not feel any guilt when performing evil deeds, and without the feeling of guilt in the predator, telepathic prey may not know what hit them until it’s too late.

They honestly don’t think violent thoughts

If the predator believes killing to be actually joyful and pleasant to the victim, then the problem is solved. I sometimes wonder if dogs chasing squirrels think it’s all a game, just as when they are fetching sticks or balls.

Mindless damage

Sometimes predators are just brainless. Jellyfish don’t put much thought on their modus operandi, yet there are many species which eat fish.

Using the preys senses against them
Many species on earth use tricks to capture prey. Use of flashy lights/colors, loud noises or overpowering scents to distract the prey, and in some cases, stun them. In many creatures, if you overload the senses, they could possibly just lock up. Think something like a flashbang.

If a predator develops a means to overload a preys senses, they can sneak up with little effort. a pack of empathic “wolves” when stalking a prey animal, once they get near range can begin to broad cast loud and nonsensical “noise.” they prey would know they are in trouble, but they are overwhelmed by the empathic noise that they panic and is unable to formulate an effective escape plan.

I’m thinking, something like thinking in your head a choir singing “This is the song that never ends” at the top of their lungs while quietly think about stabbing someone. Maybe the predatory thoughts get drowned out by the other noise your mind is putting out.

Predators are simply stronger

You can simply make the death inevitable. In many cases, predators can be simply faster, stronger, or thinking and reacting faster/better than their prey. Sure, it could turn into the evolutionary armaments race, but I would say that evolution supports diversity. Every specie has its advantages and disadvantages, which can be abused by predators. You could compare it to a game of rock, paper, scissors.

Snails have shells but are slow. It protects them against one type of predator, that can’t break the shell, but they might be vulnerable to those who are small enough to enter their shell.

Moreover, I believe team hunting would still work. Even with mind reading, a single weaker, exhausted, older/younger or previously injured animal might find itself in a situation where death is unavoidable.

If empathy is connects all beings, then ALL would be aware that life would be impossible without death. There would be no hunting, but I think maybe an “agreement” would be achieved – something like “Well miss lioness, our sick one agreed to feed your family”. I just don’t see the point in hunting if all KNOW eachothers needs.
Hunting is based on struggle for survival, but only exists because no one can “feel” the others. If they could, there would only be struggle when an agreement could not be reached.

As user76358 mentioned, there are sadistic predators. I think these beings would be extra violent, since they would be able to see the whole extension of suffering inflicted on their victims. That could enhance their trend.
I imagine predators would have to reach a zen-like ability to keep their minds blank while stalking.

Flying reptile predators like Quetzalcoatlus would have better chances surviving due to less competition.

enter image description here

In a world were everyone can predict you, only 3 types of predators can exist.

  • runners as the answer before me suggests

  • creatures which can’t be escaped because they fly

  • creatures which create traps like sandworms/spiders or humans

Arbitrators

This answer expands on Pablo Santos’s answer, per my comment there. (Edited for clarity but also added verbosity because one troublemaker misinterpreted mention of real world examples as a universal truth which no reasonable person would.)

In some but by no means all American First Peoples’ and European shamanic cultures, hunting, gathering, and farming are based on a shamanic worldview, which is founded on empathy. In those cultures, the agreement is reached by acting out the part of the prey, with an overseeing spirit as arbitrator.

Pablo suggests ‘There would be no hunting, but I think maybe an “agreement” would be achieved – something like “Well miss lioness, our sick one agreed to feed your family”.’

Perhaps then, in the imaginary world, there is a “god” or “spirit” creature, with a larger radius of influence, who can arbitrate in such an agreement.

Then they would also be available for other questions of morality, judgment, and if they’re rather large physically, might need to be placated now & then. “Wat!? You didn’t dance high enough! I’m going to smite your grandmother!

Stupidity, and spontaneity.

First to mask and create noise underneath which there could be an inherent or purposeful predatory tendencies.

Second is important because intent to kill and its identification only goes so far for survival in the wild.
If there is a gap between preparation to protect there is also room for predator to evolve, into covering that gap. Why would it evolve? Well like all organisms if its sustenance depends on predation of others than its either evolve or perish.

There could also be an evolution that instead of projecting intent to kill causes listeners to want to kill themselves, like induction of suicidal thoughts.

But it all boils down to what degree of individuality do the connected minds have, because any difference would be a defence for predators, and high degree homogeneity would mean that at that plane of existence there is one collective being. And predatory thoughts would mean self sabotage.
Think alcoholism, food addictions, etc.

A predatory thought could be someone thinking “How I wish I could have all the cupcakes in the world?” Or “I wish I could eat pizza all my life !”

Thought camouflage and cooperative hunting.

The prey will have lots of thoughts. Thoughts such as “I can hide here for safety and survival”. The problem is that they wont think in words but in feelings (I guess). So a predator could camouflage his thoughts: instead of thinking “I’ll hide here to catch prey” he’ll think “I’ll hide here for my survival”. Where survival means not starving but which prey is going to know that? By the time they see prey they will have to watch with desinterest until the prey is at the proper distance for an attempt.

Another method is to camouflage what you prey on. An antilope isnt going to be afraid if it thinks you are a lizard preying on an insect. Vice versa a lizard is going to act as if its preying on his natural enemies so his insect meal isnt going to flee while his natural enemies will steer clear of the area that is currently harboring something that might eat them. Ofcourse you have to switch it up because if anyone thinking of preying on predators is actually a prey for that exact predator it just highlights them.

But cooperation is also a perfect way to hunt. If you cooperate with other predators, who could not be thinking thoughts like “I’ll just take it all for myself” without being excluded, you can easily force prey into other predators and share the kills. The predators simply spread out over a large area so prey in the center cannot hear their thoughts anymore, then they close the net tighter and tighter until the prey notices them. They’ll try to run away but will eventually have to pass some predators, and the system of thoughts might not let them know WHERE the predators are, just that they are there and looking for food.

The prey can be like a fruit tree, gaining from its fruits being eaten. Living on such a high plain, the existence of predators is unlikely.

Many years ago, I read a science fiction story in which very large creatures, living at the bottom of the ocean, although very intelligent, telepathic, and empathic, indeed, sympathetic, mostly preyed on one another, with the larger seeking out (through telepathy) the not-quite-so-large and eating them. The mode of capture was precisely the use of empathy in that the predators used mind games to confuse and deceive the prey, who would otherwise go silent and hide out of view and physical access. Unfortunately I don’t remember the title or the author. The reader doesn’t realize until almost the end what the game is. One might also consider that in their hunter-gatherer stage, human hunters often practiced magic to get in sympathy with their prey.

One answer that I think could be interesting is the pleasure/pain paradox. The release of endorphins during death could cause a temporary state of euphoria, the hunter also receive this. Rather than simply mindless predator, or mindless prey, there is the hunt… which is simply an escapist fantasy. The drudgery of life, perhaps hard labor is necessary for the prey species and is ended by a merciful and benevolent hunt. This is mainly to increase endorphins or some other such factor. The psychic predator then quickly kill the victim before the pleasure/pain state is diminished. A joyful release from a life of toil, for those who have been chosen.

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Server Bug Fix: Why would evil minions raise humans to be their leaders?

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Evil minions also known as goblins are creatures who steal or raise children of humans to be their leaders and to guide them on evil deeds. Humans raised by goblins are intelligent and good in the art of war and they have the loyalty of hordes of goblins to their sides. A human leader is an inspiring figure for goblins and goblins are kindred to the human.

The goal of the goblins is to grow, reproduce, gain new land and most importantly destroy the human species.
Human leaders are grown to recognize goblins as their family and see the people outside goblin colonies as foes.
Goblins live in colonies with castes, they have a few queen who’s job is to produce new members of the colony. They are related to primates, but shorter, just as intelligent as humans and have a greenish skin, some darker than others.

The image below shows what goblins looks like.

enter image description here

This behaviour of evil minions is not recent, but it’s a thing evil minions have always done during their evolution. Ancient primitive goblins used to steal children of human ancestors and this behaviour was kept through years of evolution up to this day.

Why would a creature steal the offsprings of a closely related animal to raise them as leaders?

Goblins have a stereotyped view of humans.

A Ukrainian woman once told me “if he is not a Jew, he is not a dentist”. It was said in the context of a discussion about finding a good dentist. A stereotype: the best dentists are Jewish. It did not surprise me to hear it, although it took a Ukrainian to say it out loud. That stereotype is in the U.S. too.

A google turned up this

Southern Dental Journal and Luminary, Volume 7, 1888

…but to a very recent time dentistry in Holland was in the hands of
the Jews. A lady came to a friend of mine for some operation, or for
some artificial teeth and she asked him “Are you a Jew?” He said,
“No, I am a Christian”. She said, “I am sorry; I thought the Jews
were the only real dentists.”. So you see that in Holland a dentist
and a Jew are synonymous.

It is an interesting thing, this stereotype. In the wikipedia article on Stereotypes of Jews the stereotypes are uniformly negative. And there is no question that in Ukraine and Holland and pretty much everywhere else, jewish people suffered from these stereotypes, and at the same time jews served the population as dentists.

Why would persons from a negatively stereotyped population be trusted to be dentists – which I consider an extremely intimate and delicate profession. A very interesting matter and if someone reading this can link up additional reading I would appreciate it.

In any case – so too the goblins. They hate humans as a group and would not be sorry for them all to vanish from the earth. Yet when they need a leader, they cultivate one from this same population because “if he is not a Human, he is not a good Boss”.

Because they’re better at it than the goblins are.

Goblins aren’t necessarily dumb, but they are panicky and prone to squabbles. In large groups, with nothing to rally behind, they scatter easily and lack co-ordination due to internal fighting. Even smart goblin sages and witch doctors can’t bring a horde together in pursuit of one goal.

But they’re smart enough to recognise potential in others.

Humans, especially human children, can be raised to be incredibly resilient, even without role models to teach them set behaviours. They are naturally more inquisitive, more brave and more likely to charge headfirst into things than any goblin, as well as being larger and stronger. This also means they are more likely to simply overawe any given goblin into following their plans. As such, humans can coordinate the mob relatively easily, and provide a much needed figurehead for the goblin hordes to rally behind.

So a goblin sage instructs one or two goblins to steal a child. They then spend a decade grooming that child to be a leader Of goblins and to hate all that is human. When it’s time to assemble a warband the human leader can easily rally goblins to the cause and (more importantly) keep them both under control and suitably motivated during the execution of their campaign.

Essentially: no goblin can serve as an inspirational enough leader, so they steal them instead. As a bonus this also deprives the enemy of soldiers, and if a human child dies in training? Eh. Steal another.

From the Forest Comes the Handle for the Axe

There’s an old fable about woodcutters and trees, which essentially boils down as thus: the handle to the axe to cut down the forest came from the forest itself. If no tree in the forest ever became an axe, then the forest could not be cut down. Similarly, the best way to destroy something is by using it’s own strength against it.

Goblins are a different species than humans and thus they are hardwired to think differently and have different innate responses or emphasis on various character traits. There are things humans do that goblins don’t understand, be it military strategy or political intrigue. And if goblins don’t understand humans, than it makes it very tricky for them to deal with humans because human keep acting in weird and unpredictable ways.

The goblin solution is simple – kidnap humans. They kidnap raise humans within the goblin nations to serve as advisors and leaders. With a goblin upbringing and innate human biology, plus some human teachers that goblins have kidnapped as well, the goblins now have the ultimate weapon against humanity – a goblin-raised yet human-trained human, perfectly capable of understanding human behavior, yet sympathetic towards goblin ideals. The perfect handle for the axe, as it were.

Humans have a longer lifespan

There are several reasons why this is advantageous:

  • You don’t have to raise a new leader every few years
  • With age comes respect, so with more age comes more respect
  • A long-lived human can accumulate experience and wisdom a Goblin couldn’t hope to achieve
  • A longer lifespan means a longer childhood means more time to properly groom the leader

Perhaps Goblins look at leadership differently than humans. If leadership was a terrible burden, with no tangible rewards other than serving the population he/she leads. Then it would be logical to steal humans to fill the role that no Goblin would ever want.

Goblins have too much infighting between the different clans/families/groups. They realize they will never find a Goblin that all other Goblins would find acceptable as a leader. The different groups hate/distrust each other so much they could not accept a leader form another Goblin family.

So they kidnap a human and make them the leader, because their not a Goblin no Globin-family feels like its at a disadvantage because its Goblins weren’t selected as the leader.

Humans have good organisational skills and It’s the way it’s always been done

You seem to cover most of the answer in your question, but in many “fantasy” works, humans are the ones who build the towns, villages and communities, while the elves keep hidden away in the trees, the dwarves underground, etc. Goblins are an ambitious but disorganised race, and while they may be scrappy and resilient, they just don’t have that organiser’s brain.

Humans do. (at least from the goblin’s POV)

Therefore they are the best choice as leader. No goblin leader has ever shown the charisma, organisational, inspirational and leadership skills that a human has and therefore has always failed.

Furthermore, you could add in that the human leader herself also believes this and therefore demands she be succeeded by another human. She then mentors her successor (after all, the goblins couldn’t really teach a human to be a great organiser by themselves) into becoming the next big leader.

Humans have, at various times, used poison gasses, germ warfare, impalement, starvation, burning alive at the stake, flaying, hanging, boiling in oil, electrocution, napalm, and atomic bombs to kill each other. Women and children are not spared. Enemies have been blinded, maimed, broken, humiliated, crippled, robbed, enslaved, and raped, their houses, farm, towns, and cities burned, their crops destroyed.

If you’re going up against an enemy that inventively and ruthlessly vicious, you really need to recruit one of them to your side to lead the way.

I always thought it was because humans were generally taller than goblins. That’s where the phrase, “Head and shoulders above the rest” came from. They are much more ready to carry out the orders of a leader they can see, and in turn when the leader can see them. If they can’t see the leader they revert to doing selfish activities and therefor is bad for the colony.

Natural Selection

You can certainly speculate on why. Maybe humans are innately better at long term planning. Maybe humans lead better because they can empathize with the enemy (other humans) better. Maybe having an ‘other’ as the leader reduces the tendency for goblins to fight within the group, struggling for control of the tribe. It’s entirely possible that no one really knows for sure.

But the bottom line is that a goblin tribe with a human leader is more successful than one without a human leader. It controls more resources, produces more babies, and has longer-lived members. Any goblin tribe without a human leader is weaker, less productive, and quickly dissolves or is exiled to less productive areas, like deserts or desolate wastes.

Because humans can be kind, but goblins can’t.

Imagine a stereotypicall “always evil” race. Now think about it a bit: what would keep them focused on killing humans, instead of killing each other? If goblins are truly full-on evil sociopaths, they won’t care for each other, they would cut each other down just as much as they cut down humans. Heck, if humans are more dangerous, then most goblins would rather risk killing a brother for food than hunting down a human.

While such darwinistic society would weed out all but the strongest/smartest/nastiest, it doesn’t really work well for K-reproductive species. Even for a genocidal war machine, some caring about each other would greatly increase efficiency. Killing your best soldier because of a moment of weakness is wasteful. Providing no healthcare to your soldiers and blacksmiths alike is wasteful. Slaughtering your peasants right before the harvest is wasteful.

And some of the smarter goblins figured it out. At first they tried to be kind themselves, but it failed miserably and with a lot of bloody bits. So they turned to humans, who are much better at it. They even steal a few human books now and then, maybe even some adult humans to teach the child, to ensure the human doesn’t grow a sociopath like they all are, but a good leader. And it works, the human sees goblins as a family, even if they don’t see her as such. She cares for them, provides justice where there would be none, keeps goblin society from imploding.

Ironically, it’s not that goblins really want to kill all humans specifically, it’s just when they are stopped from killing fellow goblins, there is none else to kill but humans.

They don’t steal the children as leaders, they steal them as training tools. It just happens that some, like Conan or John Carter (pulling references without verifying that I actually remember those references correctly), graduate and make their own name for themselves and become leaders. It’s a win-win. The ones that don’t survive teach the goblins how to deal with humans. The ones that survive help them do it.

Goblins are a twisted version of humanity and are envious of humans

Orcs/goblins in fiction are to humans as devils are to angels: they are made of the same stuff and had all the same potential but are corrupted by an original sin or evil to be a worse form of themselves. What they want is to get back the things they have lost: happiness, beauty, power, etc. But they don’t want to give up their characteristic evil, which is the cause of their distress.

If you want to remain consistent with the literary idea of a goblin, it follows that humans are somewhat more enlightened than goblins (although not quite as enlightened as the angels or elves), and goblins are envious of us. They want to be tall, handsome, happy, and able to come out in the daylight or whatever, but they don’t want to (or can’t) change their evil ways. Key point here: they’re looking for a shortcut.

Stealing human babies seems to them to be a way to get a piece of what they admire, without having to do any actual hard work to improve themselves. Inevitably it fails to make them any happier, just makes things worse for the rest of the world. The moral of the story is: evil is lazy, and taking shortcuts always backfires.

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Server Bug Fix: Are there animals that have evolved a resistance to human activity or encroachment?

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There are countless sources, both peer-reviewed and popular, explaining how overuse and misuse of antibiotics is breeding a new generation of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and MDR-TB (multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis). Over in the animal kingdom, the opposite seems to be happening – species after species is becoming endangered and/or extinct as humans destroy or alter their habitat through increased hunting, farming, construction, etc.

Are there any non-human animals that have been found to have evolved resistance to human encroachment into or alteration of their habitat in a way analogous to how bacteria have evolved resistance to human attempts to get rid of them? For example, this could consist of:

  • an animal that has adapted stronger bones to better survive collisions with vehicles
  • an animal that has significantly increased its blood coagulation rate to survive gunshot wounds from hunters
  • an animal that has developed better vision to see in urban environments
  • an animal that has evolved a skin pigment change that enables them to not take as much damage when they are sprayed with agricultural pesticides

One answer that came to mind is domestic animals – the horse and dog in prehistory, the cat in ancient Egypt, etc. That seems too obvious on one hand, and on the other hand may not really be an answer, as there seems to be no indication that pre-domestic animals were endangered by humans in any meaningful way. Are there animals that have significantly adapted themselves to surviving as wild animals in human-influenced environments?

Note: This is an answer to the last line of your question.

A classical example of animals adapting to the influence of humans on their environment is the adaption of the Peppered Moth.

Here is a brief summary:

The peppered moth was originally a mostly unpigmented animal (<1800). During the industrial revolution in the southern parts of the UK a lot of coal was burned. This led to soot blackening the countryside. Soon afterwards, a fully pigmented variety was first observed. Only a hundred years later, in 1895, this pigmented variety almost completely displaced the unpigmented variety.

It has been shown that the pigmentation is under strong selective pressure as birds hunt these moths. Since birds rely on their visual system to detect their prey, the variety that blends in with its environment (=camouflage) has a selective advantage over the variety that stands out.

As pointed out by Tim in the comments, since the 1970s there has been a rapid reversal with unpigmented animals being more abundant. As far as I understand, it is accepted that this reversal is due to a decrease in human induced air pollution leading to less sooty barks on trees which makes the unpigmented variety harder to prey upon.

Addendum: genetic basis of adaption

In a beautiful recent study, the causal mutation for the pigmented, or melanic, variety was identified: A ~9kb transposon insertion in the first intron of the gene cortex. The authors calculate that this mutation happened in the year 1819, a few years after the industrial revolution was in full swing. The interpretation is that due to sooty tree bark this mutation, causing pigmented moth, was under strong selection.

Many insects (as well as some other animals) have documented resistance to pesticides.

For example, the German cockroach (Blattella germanica) can be resistant to multiple insecticides1. In addition, some populations of this cockroach are now repelled by glucose, which leads to them avoiding traps2.

References:

1: Fardisi, M., Gondhalekar, A. D., Ashbrook, A. R., & Scharf, M. E. (2019). Rapid evolutionary responses to insecticide resistance management interventions by the German cockroach (Blattella germanica L.). Scientific reports, 9(1), 8292.

2: Wada-Katsumata, A., Silverman, J., & Schal, C. (2013). Changes in taste neurons support the emergence of an adaptive behavior in cockroaches. Science, 340(6135), 972-975.

Bighorn sheep are developing smaller horns and elephants are becoming tuskless in Africa:

The horns of some bighorn sheep are getting smaller, because hunters are picking off the most impressive rams before they reach their breeding peak

Elephant poaching, for example, is thought to have led to an increase in the number of tuskless animals in Africa.

Source

Nightingales have adapted to city noises by singing louder. Given that one function of singing is finding a mate there must indeed be a high, direct selection pressure to make oneself heard. Other birds have adapted in a similar fashion, e.g. by singing in a higher pitch, or at different times.

Not so much physical changes, but changes in behavior caused by human activity has numerous examples.
Foxes, pigeons, sea-gulls adapt very well to city life. Some species nowadays have larger numbers in cities than in the country side.
Polar bears are another good example. Disappearing sea-ice and increased human activity in the Artic has turned many polar bears into pre-dominantly garbage scavengers in stead of hunters/carrion-eaters.

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Server Bug Fix: Mcguffins, everyone wants them

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A mcguffin is a creature who is wanted by many organizations on earth, wars were waged through history to obtain a mcguffin and to this day they still are. People sacrifice their lives seeking or hiding and defending a mcguffin.

Mcguffins are creatures who evolved for the sole purpose of being wanted,rare in nature they are not bred or farmed and they are not eaten.

People are attracted by the mcguffin, they just want one, even at the cost of killing people and risking their death, finding a single mcguffin is incredibly rare and finding two takes the effort of a nation, but even then…mcguffins can’t be forced to breed, just like pandas they show no interest in sex.
Fortunately mcguffins last a very long time, some mcguffins were killed by terroristic attacks but no one has ever seen a mcguffin die of old age. Nations across the world pride their mcguffins, and some of them are as old as human civilations.

How do I explain why the mcguffin evolved to be wanted by humans in the first place?

How do I explain why the mcguffin evolved to be wanted by humans in
the first place?

All evolutionary traits are, or where at some point, beneficial to a species survival. This includes traits that have no apparent use other than being attractive to others. Being cute can keep you alive, just ask any baby. If other beings like you, and are willing to depart with food and other resources to be with you, you are basically set.

Your McGuffins are the apex of cute. In the same way both pikes and great whites evolved to be deadly, but great whites are a lot more deadly than pikes (to most species), cats and McGuffins evolved to be cute and attractive to humans, but McGuffins are a lot cuter than cats. People would throw their cat in the bin just to please their McGuffin and this means that evolutionary speaking, McGuffins have a better chance of success. This is why they evolved to be the most desirable creatures on the planet.

Mcguffin babies are carrion eaters. They lay their eggs on the bodies of the dead to ensure they have a suitable food source. However as they’re so much larger than the equivalent flies, they need a considerable supply of dead bodies to feed their voracious young.

As such they’ve evolved to cause uncontrollable desire in susceptible mammals, such that they will fight to the death to be in the zone of influence of a mcguffin. By this means a breeding mcguffin will accumulate enough corpses in a small zone to provide sufficient food for its young.

Nobody has seen mcguffins breeding? Perhaps it’s simply that nobody has survived seeing mcguffins breeding.

Now this would cause signficant issues if in full effect all the time, so the mcguffin primarily only releases the hormones during the breeding season, but mcguffins remain lazy carrion eaters and as such low levels are released on a steady basis even out of season.

Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.
Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies

Religious Icons

Considering that these creatures are biologically immortal, its not hard to imagine them taking on mythical, and then religious status among various cultures throughout history. I can imagine that they become religious icons for the people, direct physical proof that everlasting life is actually possible. People are willing to go to extreme lengths and expend monumental effort for religious purposes. Posessing these creatures gives vast political power to whatever ruling class manages to aquire one because it gives them huge influence with the worshipful masses since is validates that they are truly the chosen nation.

There is a natural dye called Tyrian Purple, which could only be obtained by harvesting a certain kind of sea snail in the Mediterranean Sea.

Twelve thousand snails of Murex brandaris yield no more than 1.4 g of pure dye, enough to colour only the trim of a single garment.

The enormous difficulty of producing enough Tyrian Purple to dye to even small amounts of cloth made it ridiculously expensive and an exclusive luxury item that would signal great wealth.
In the Roman upper class wearing a white toga with even a single stripe of Tyrian Purple was considered a great status symbol.
Later its use was restricted to be exclusively allowed for the Roman Emperor or respectively the Byzantine Emperor.

My suggestion therefore is, that your McGuffin – by the same sheer randomness that a sea snail produces a beautiful exclusive dye – organically produces something that is equally desired and can only by obtained from McGuffins.

What that something is depends on your world. As the example given shows, even something purely cosmetic like a beautiful dye can fullfill your requirements if it fits the attributes of your world.
In fact I would argue that if in reality Tyrian Purple had been obtainable only from your McGuffins instead of sea snails, it would have worked out exactly as you described it. There would have indeed wars been waged just so that a king or an emperor can wear purple garments.
We are simple creatures…

Near-immortality

The secret of the McGuffins’ incredibly long lifespans is that they produce some form of enzyme (or some other more appropriate medical term) capable of repairing the genetic and cellular damage caused by aging. This substance can be non-invasively collected (milked?) and works almost as well on humans; regular doses can slow down human aging by decades to centuries.

It didn’t evolve to be wanted by humans, it had a trait extremely beneficial to humans. Upon discovering this, humans began cherishing and protecting them, causing them to eventually lose the ability to defend themselves and becoming codependent on their human protectors.

Frame Challenge:

Mcguffins did not evolve – they were made to be like that

Some say that they came from somewhere beyond our world, long ago. Strangers from another world, so advanced they could tinker with their own biology? We can only guess.

It’s easy to imagine now that they stumbled upon our primitive ancestors, who were barely evolved beyond brute animals, and saw a chance. If they changed themselves to perfectly fit our strongest instincts for nurture and affection, they could be worshipped like gods! And so they did just that.

Well, that’s only a guess, really. Perhaps a real god created Mcguffins, or the guessed-at aliens did not change themselves, but designed grew the Mcguffins – a blessing they bestowed on us before moving on. We may never know the truth. But, as you would also know if you had ever encountered one yourself, Mcguffins were clearly created by some superior intelligence or divine power.

Nature is not capable of forming anything so perfect, so utterly desirable! Now hand me that detonator – we need to finish this IED so we can take out the lead vehicle in the convoy transporting this hemisphere’s Mcguffin. We must capture it for ourselves. Trust me – you’ll understand when you see it.

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Server Bug Fix: Fauna evolved to use portals

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Random portals of spherical shape are found on the surface of the planet, they are pitch black and have a diameter of 3 meters.

Once something enters any of the many random portals, they are “teleported” in the sky in the location right above the portal, kind of, it really works as a wormhole or gate not really a teleportation.

The portals never teleport anything further than the atmosphere.

But still, if a rock falls into a portal it will be teleported above it and then fall into the portal again, and again, and again until something moves it out of the way, until it melts and evaporates or until the portal starts losing power and dissapears.

Portals lose power the more often they are used by the amount of weight entering them. Some portals have a limit of a few kilograms others can last million of megagram, and they reform naturally over decades.

Now I want a creature who specifically evolved the niche to use those portals, possibly without killing themselves. Not just some bird who happens to go unto the portal by mistake, but an animal who is linked to the portals for survival.

This is not an edit to the original question, but just an highlight

“linked to the portals for survival” means that the animal would die or somehow go extinct without the portal the same way hermit crabs die if they don’t find shelter or how leaf cutter ants would die without their mushrooms.

What use could these portals ever offer to such creature? I have no idea, that’s what I’m asking.

The world is the same as planet earth in therms of composition, gravity and everything regarding physics, except the portals which are magic.

how the portals work

The portal acts as door or fenester always open. If a person put their head inside their portal they could see the rest of their body from way above, but if they by mistake fall onto the portal then it’s gonna be an eternal fall until they die or until they deviate the fall and hit the ground.

Portals always remain the same place until they dissipate their strength and then one is reformed in a random place on the surface of the earth. The reformation of a portal can take up to several years or decades depending on how much weight could a portal sustain.

Portals lose power the moment solid matter enters it by penetrating them. Water splashes on the portal instead of penetrating it, dust just builds up until the wind blows it off and bugs or small creatures can enter the portal if they push really hard. Entering the portal takes roughly the same effort as penetrating a leaf, but nothing is being really penetrated, is just a small resistance from the portal, If a person steps foot in the portal before it vanishes, their foot will be dismembered and fall on their head.

Portal trees.

Plants need sun. They compete with one another to get higher and get the sun. And plants struggle with herbivores. Stuff shows up (especially bugs!) and eats their leaves.

The portal offers a fix for both problems. A portal tree takes root by the portal and sends thru roots or branches. These appear high in the sky. There is so much sun up there! And it is breezy, and difficult for bugs to get too. Very difficult for deer and rabbits. The issue with getting water up to the sunniest branches is solved because from the perspective of the portal tree, water is going down to the sunniest branches.

The portals would quickly fill up with portal trees hanging their limbs down thru the portals. The tangles of leafy limbs high in the air will give rise to their own ecosystems.

Edit 3: I answered before OP explained how it worked exactly.

I’m guessing that using the portal conserve the momentum and that throwing an object in the portal will make it exit with the same speed and direction.
I also assume portals are one-way.

Long-range communication

A lot of species use the portal by throwing different objects into the portals.

Herd-hunting coyotes can indicate to fellow hunters that they find something by pushing a tumbleweed into the portal. The rest of the group know the direction and the approximative distance of the prey with the direction and the horizontal speed the scout pushed the plant or the signaling object into the portal.

Traveling

Flying squirrels are squirrels that can glide and control their fall speed. They can fall from literally any high. They often enter the portal to glide far away from it. This is useful to escape predators or cross a massive obstacle such as a large river, a small mountain, or just a dry piece of land where they are visible hence vulnerable.
An even better situation is when two portals are close enough that a squirrel can reach one by gliding from the other’s exit point. In that case, they can gather food from the richest area (forest, etc), and stash it on the safest area (cliff, mountain, etc)

It’s cool. Literally.

Portals are pitch black. I’m guessing it’s because the (re)emit no light. In that case, they don’t radiate heat either. On hot sunny days, some dominant mammals love to chill in its shadow for this reason: not only you don’t have the sun directly in your face, but it also feels like it’s pumping heat from you (you naturally radiate heat to it, but contrary to any other room-temperature object, it doesn’t radiate back its own heat).
Some small mammals like to bury food in its shadow: the soil is always very cold, and it works as a “fridge” for buried fruits. But careful not to be seen! They are very vulnerable when doing so, and predators know it’s a good place for their preys to be. If you’re a good hunter, you can leverage the fact that the portal hides your light AND most of the sound. Also, most stashing mammals spy on their peers to steal their buried food! Flying squirrels stash a lot because they can escape predators instantly by jumping into the portal.
Another reason the food lasts long when buried directly under the portal? It’s super dry. All the rain falling on the portal never reach the ground after all…

Get free energy for dissemination

If you suspend a paper sheet vertically, air molecules bounce from right to left and left to right all the time, canceling each other pressure. On the surface of the portal, the molecule going into the portal (from left-to-right) never come back. And there’s no molecule going in the other direction (from inside the portal’s black entry sphere to outside) to cancel it out. This means permanent low pressure at the surface of the portal (and high pressure around the exit point).
To sum up, there is a permanent breeze coming into the portal. It’s a vacuum cleaner to the sky!

For plants, it means that if you are near the portal, your spores have a chance to enter the portal and be widely disseminated! A rule of thumb is that you can see the effects up to 50m around the portal. A fun fact to observe is that in that zone, the further away from the plant from the portal, the lighter and smaller its spore, to better leverage this effect.
Plants can’t count much on the flying insects near the portal to disseminate the spores, as they are most of the time sucked into the portal.

Magic food dispenser

Remember how a lot of flying insects are sucked into the portal?
Birds know that. Some hang around the exit point and wait for insects to come out.
From the ground, it’s easy to spot a portal: follow the insect-eating birds: they cluster up in a specific zone in the sky, and below is a portal.
On the ground, spiders know that too. Building a web close to a portal is always a great idea for a spider. Most of them have super dark webs (no pun intended) to match the color of the portal and catch even more insects. Yum!

A fancy place to raise your kids as a bird

A lot of bird species raise their kids in a nest. When fully grown up, they jump out of the nest and have to learn how to fly… on-the-fly. A lot of them fail even if their parents invested a lot of time and energy. If you manage to build your nest above a portal, you kids have all the time they need to stabilize and make a kickass landing a few kilometers below.

Migration guide

Electromagnetic field, heat, light, and sound are all emitted on the exit point of the portal. This makes it easy to spot for migrating birds. They can use them to orient themselves in long migrations.

BONUS: How animals spot a portal?

  1. See insectivorous birds clusters above it
  2. Follow the wind
  3. Feel the cold on your skin **
  4. Echolocation ***
  5. Lack of electromagnetic field (it’s absorbed too and emitted on exit)
  6. Sometime ground-level fog pours out of the exit point

** When you are in front of a fire by a cold night, you feel hot on the fire-facing side of your body and cold on the back. It’s because the fire almost doesn’t warm the air, you just have direct radiation from the fire. If you hold a piece of paper in front of your face, you will feel cold on your face again! Animals can develop a specialized organ to detect this sharp contrast in heat radiation in their field of view.

*** Bats use their voices and ears as a sonar. The portal will have no echo, which makes it easy to spot even for these almost-blind creatures.

EDIT: BONUS 2: Clouds and fire

Portals will pump ground-level air in a particular point of the sky. Not a specialist, but I think this relatively hot air meeting the cold air in altitude can produce clouds and often even thunderstorms. When this happen, the thunder can spark a fire. And if the fire reach the portal, a lot of incandescent embers can start fire far from the original portal. Luckily, most of it will be washed by the heavy rain of the thundercloud before it reaches the ground again. But in some rare occasions, maybe a big burning branch can fall into the portal and get carried by violent thunder cloud winds to start a fire elsewhere, if it serves your story.
If you think portal-induced fire are common, then the whole flora and fauna will have adapted to it, like the eucalyptus. If you think clouds are enough, it will be easier to spot portals from afar, and the often raining clouds can bootstrap and sustain a very diverse ecosystem. Another alternative is that since portals are not only pumping hot air in the sky but also dust, insects and small particles, the continuous cloud seeding could continuously empty the cloud as it’s forming, so no problem. I have the intuition that would still electrically charge the area (the reason behind thunder in the first place) and that travelers would be zapped upon arrival, but I’m not sure of that and maybe the charge can be evacuated with the continuous very light rain.
(I would love to have confirmation by a meteorologist.)

Portal-Salmon, which aren’t actually fish…

Terrestrial salmon spawn in rivers, live in the ocean,and when it’s time to die they swim upstream to their original spawning ground to mate, incubate, and die. Let’s run with this example.

Portal-salmon are actually an insect (a big insect, weighing up to 0.5 pounds or 0.23 Kg) that are fertilized in the air. Male sperm and female eggs are both released at high altitudes where they mix (creating genetic diversity). The fertilized eggs fall to the ground with a wide spread allowing for least competition from fellow portal-salmon and least possibility of threat from predators. The fertilized eggs of portal-salmon are a bit more like seeds than fish, bird, or insect eggs, in that they need a bit of time to germinate, growing a root for nutrients, before hatching into the portal-salmon’s larval state.

The portal-salmon lives its life on the ground and in the air, but always avoiding the portals. Too much altitude kills the portal-salmon — not enough oxygen (or that sudden stop at the bottom of the drop, either one). However, during the portal salmon’s life it senses the strength of each portal it comes near, always remembering the strongest portal it encounters.

At the end of the portal-salmon’s life, the insect is drawn to the most powerful portal it came across, there to join with like-minded portal-salmon to be thrust heavenward to begin its last descent, giving of itself that its progeny might live. In other words, the process of releasing sperm and eggs is something like a balloon popping. It’s a bit… dramatic… but that swelling of sperm and egg is part of the life-span trigger that causes the portal-salmon to seek the best portal.

Intelligent natives have learned to follow the portal-salmon to find these strongest portals. They use them to open the rare but succulent rock-clams. The natives learned that by throwing the rock-clams into the portals at just the right angle and with just the right spin (putting a little “English” on the rock-clam, if you know what I mean), the descending rock-clam will land nearby with a satisfactory cracking sound, allowing access to the otherwise inaccessible delicacy. Thanks, portal-salmon!

Neverland Birds: A family of birds with an uncanny ability to sense portals.

  • The Neverland bird is an enormous dragon-like predator who feeds off the many large birds and flying fish abundant on the planet. It uniquely almost never lands once it takes flight, but it’s enormous size means it is incapable of taking off on its own. When the birds reproduce, their young are parachuted to the ground to feed and fend for themselves. As these small predators grow, they live on the ground. Once they mature, they seek out the portals present on their homeworld and go through. From that day they never again touch the surface of their world if they can help it. Those that do land must again seek a portal to once again get to the sky.
  • Relatives of the neverland bird exist who land and lay eggs, but then seek out portals
    to go airborne after the young mature. Males hunt and feed their young and females by dropping food to the nest.
  • Other members of this family of birds are aggressive predators of land animals, seeking out the kills of other predators and landing to drive off lesser predators with their great size. These birds are almost incapable of flight due to their large size, and must repeatedly climb through portals and glide until they spot new prey.

A narration derived from remote audio surveillance, anthropological mission W44/21.3 commissioned by the Rigellian Collegiate Council, AE 32,182, to further understand the unique cultural leanings of the Nahini peoples.

Son, your Shenduai into manhood is approaching, and I need to tell you the epic of the Ocutage1

For the whole of your youth, my son, you have watched the mighty Ocutage fly with great speed into the Eye of God — and each time God made the Ocutage appear high into the heavens. Over and over the Ocutage dove into the Eye, faster and faster he sped, until after the fifth passage through the Eye of God, the Ocutage streaks to heaven, there to be blessed by God forevermore.3

It was Mehaman, blessed by God to become our First Elder many generations ago and to bring the Way to Heaven among us, who taught us the Shenduai.4 Adorn thyself as the Ocutage. Be free like unto he. Dive through the Eye and be judged by God — for if you fly to the heights of Aden5 you are a man in the eyes of God, worthy to take your place among the honored elders of the Nahini and clean like the air and the water.

But I must warn you, my son, for if you are not prepared with courage, having begged forgiveness of God, then you shall not be allowed to pass through the Eye like the Ocutage and shall be damned,6 bringing much sorrow to the tribe.

But my son, you must not fear. For those who fear and choose to spurn the Shenduai are deemed most unclean and cast out of the tribe.7

Spend the night in prayer, my son, and upon the dawn we shall behold your flight to heaven!


1The ocutage is Nahini2 for “Bird of Heaven.”

2The Nahini tribe of the upper Barosh continent is a sedentary stone-age tribe of approximately 2,500 individuals spread across roughly 2,000 hectare area expressing an unique religious belief they call “kolainu.” (Excerpt from the “Galactic Gazetter” published by the Rigellian Collegiate Council, AE 32,167.)

3It was ascertained in zoological mission J811/19.9, AE 32,172, that the Ocutage did not, indeed, fly to heaven, but rather entered the lower bounds of the planetary troposphere to allow a symbiotic but parasitic fungus that grows on the underside of its primary feathers to succumb to heightened photosynthesis and cleansing in the high UVA light available at that altitude. Said flights last less than 20 standard minutes but result in rapid new growth of the fungus, which helps to seal the primaries and produce longer flight time. Old fungus growth, often diseased in the higher moisture and heat of the lower altitudes, is quickly extruded from beneath the primaries, which are disinfected by the UVA light, and burnt away. The bird then rejoins its flock.

4Very cautious research during this expedition (which conformed to Non Contamination Protocols per SSC22491.6.6) uncovered a heretical teaching that suggests Mehaman did not, indeed, invent the prevailing philosophy. It was one Kolani, using the Ocutage to justify his prophetic connection with God, who created the essence of the philosophy and tried to emulate the bird by diving off the cliff above anomaly Z25/6/6/211. The heresy suggests he missed his target. His first acolyte, Ukali believed the bird had more to do with it and was the first to don wings. It is said he passed through the anomaly once but died against the cliff on the second pass. The heresy teaches it was Mehaman who modified the bird suit for better flight control and was first to successfully pass five times through the anomaly and then glide to the bluff, 18 Km NNW from the anomaly. The heresy teaches Mehaman is therefore the one to create the distilled form of the Shenduai we see today. Ardent supporters of the current philosophy vigorously seek those who believe in the heresy and, in a curious twist of the philosophy mimicking history, cast them off the cliff without the bird suit. Those who survive passage through the anomaly five times are deemed forgiven. It’s rumored that one person did make it through the anomaly five times without the bird suit — but died (obviously) due to instability when reaching terminal velocity. We think this is an Urban Legend to teach children it’s impossible to avoid the heretic’s fate.

5We apologize for omitting this reference earlier. Aden is the Nahini name for the bluff 18 Km NNW of anomaly Z25/6/6/211.

6It should be pointed out that like all cliffs, the wind surrounding anomaly Z25/6/6/211 is frequently strong and unpredictable. The Ocutage use this anomaly no more frequently or less than any other and we surmise that the Nahini use it only because of the convenient cliff. However, the often unpredictable winds tends to result in frequent deaths before five passes through the anomaly are achieved. Consequently, there is an unusually high ratio of females to males among the Nahini peoples. We believe this is the reason for the development of institutionalized polygyny among the tribe. See earmark BB25/A-7 for our request for a follow-up anthropological study to better understand Nahini mating practices in association with the Shenduai.

7Note the settlement in map grid FFE-266 that we suspect is a group of exiles from the tribe that sourced the above excerpt. It appears they periodically raid the camp to kidnap females for breeding purposes. Analysis of this group is also a part of earmark BB25/A-7. It should be noted that we find this complex socio-political dependency as a derivative of a single avian species’ need to manage and control a symbiotic but parasitical growth to be fascinating.

In a countries with developed public transportation and a stable population of street dogs (read: Eastern Europe and former USSR) one can easily meet a dog that regularly catches a bus or a metro train.

From a dog viewpoint, the bus is a portal and the dog pretty much has the ability to use it.

Also, note that some creatures like ravens are known for dropping hard prey (e.g. shellfish or turtles) from a great height onto a hard rock to break it open. The portals offer an easy way to do this, if a portal is located next to a rock or other hard surface: all a creature has to do is look down through the portal at the nearby rock and then throw the prey at it. It will fall from a great height and strike the rock, at which point the creature can feast on its insides, without having had to fly up to a great height in order to drop it. (The creature might not even need be capable of flight.)

Flying squirrels.

The presence of one of these portals near their nest would allow them to more freely forage near the ground, as they wouldn’t need to climb a tree to be able to take off (in case of imminent danger for instance). That means a much bigger abundance of food for the same area (anything that is found on the ground and not on trees). They would probably evolve to have better ground mobility whilst keeping a decent amount of air control or maybe even grow bigger, as climbing trees fast wouldn’t be as important.

It also would allow them to expand their territories by travelling between portals (assuming portals would form within gliding distance of each other).

Any even semi-intelligent species capable of tool use could find the portal to be a source of free energy, at least for a while. Consider, for instance, a waterwheel or generator located between the input and output of the portal. All one has to do is dump a bucket of water, sand, or gravel on it periodically (or even rain will do), and then reap the benefits of the wheel spinning constantly until either the water or the portal itself evaporates. This could be used for anything from grinding grain to sandblasting to generating electricity. If this happens for long enough, the species could culturally begin to depend on it.

Imagine this, if the portal only teleport something to above the portal like wormhole, I imagine a lot of flora , will take advantage of this, for pollination and such, to spread their seed ( higher altitude probably with wind can help spread them more ).
And such flocks of bird or bees can learn this and try to catch those seeds to eat and wait them near portal.

Felines or other land animals that would normally only able to catch birds when they land, can learn this behavior and maybe evolve parts of their body , like legs, ear or sight to enhance their chance of catching the prey after they leap into the portal and to have a safe landing, after the hunt.

Vertical fish.

If a stream happens to flow into a portal, it will become a waterfall, with gradually increasing capacity until the portal can’t hold any more water (its entire two-dimensional surface is filled with falling water) and starts losing water around the edges, which would form a pool around the lower portal and continue to flow downstream if possible. Similar things might happen if a portal formed under a lake, or formed on the ground in a location which becomes flooded during part of the year.

Any fish which are caught in this situation will be in freefall until the portal exceeds its weight capacity and finally evaporates (at which point the fish will fall from the sky into a suddenly flooded area with possibly an outgoing stream, or into a lake). Other contents of the water (vegetation, insect larvae, other marine life, sand, rocks, etc.) could be in the falling water as well.

If the fish were capable of gliding (e.g. like Earth’s Flying Fish) they could also use this falling time to find a new pond or stream and fly to it. Or they could fly out of the stream briefly, snatch some insects (or birds?) from the air, and then rejoin the stream before it entered the portal again.

Note that such fish might be somewhat easy targets for predator birds, which might be willing to dive, osprey-like, through the column of water to catch falling fish (or any other small creature that found itself suddenly airborne for that matter), or wait until a fish emerged from the cascade after an insect. On the other hand, smaller birds that tried this might become victims of larger flying fish that decided to go after them instead.

It is not clear to me how fast such a column of water could fall: on Earth, the limiting factor is “terminal velocity” due to air resistance, but in this case, the column of water’s only friction would be with its outside boundary against the surrounding air, and with each cylindrical shell of water against the one outside of it. The inside of the fall might be traveling much, much faster than the outside. This friction might possibly heat the water a bit. (Or more than a bit…? Perhaps to the point of steam (which would cause pressure or even an explosion!)) The tension of the portal surface itself might slow down the fall of water slightly, but it seems that this would be greatly overwhelmed by the acceleration of gravity over the distance between the two portals if they were very far apart.

A strong wind might upset this phenomenon for a while, causing some water to miss and therefore not immediately enter the lower portal, or at least to hit the surrounding landscape and then have to drain back in.

Something else to consider: Such a cascade of water also might act as a lightning rod, possibly triggering thunderbolts from passing storms to be conducted along it to the ground. This might fry some fish, birds, or whatever creatures were on the ground near the lower portal.

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Ubuntu HowTo: Evolution and Office365

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I have Ubuntu 19 and at work I use two Exchange-type mail accounts. One is on an Exchange server and one is on Office365. I can set up both using evolution-ews and for the ‘old fashioned’ Exchange server it works and syncs mail, contacts, calendar, etc.

For the Outlook365 server it shows the folder pane and even shows how many new messages there are. But the message pane stays empty (“There are no message in this folder”) everywhere and I get the message

Failed to refresh folder "[email protected] : Inbox"
The reported error was: "Connection terminated unexpectedly".

If I start it from the terminal I get these messages:

$ env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=GNOME evolution
(evolution:9221): dbind-WARNING **: 08:56:37.994: 
   Couldn't connect to accessibility bus: 
   Failed to connect to socket /tmp/dbus-67zLohQHkE: Connection refused
(evolution:9221): Gtk-WARNING **: 08:56:38.181: 
   Failed to register client: 
   GDBus.Error:org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.UnknownMethod: 
   Method "RegisterClient" with signature "ss" 
   on interface "org.xfce.Session.Manager" doesn't exist
(evolution-alarm-notify:9227): dbind-WARNING **: 08:56:38.395: 
   Couldn't connect to accessibility bus: 
   Failed to connect to socket /tmp/dbus-67zLohQHkE: Connection refused
(WebKitWebProcess:9248): dbind-WARNING **: 08:56:38.512: 
   Couldn't connect to accessibility bus: 
   Failed to connect to socket /tmp/dbus-67zLohQHkE: Connection refused

I’m afraid I don’t know what that means.

My window manager is XFCE, which I know is not the default for Evolution. But on an older computer with Debian Stretch and XFCE I have access to the account, and I have seen it work on work on Ubuntu 18 with KDE.

It seems that Ubuntu 19 makes Evolution fail with Office365? I reverted to the Ubuntu 18 repositories and deleted then re-installed evolution 3.28.5 (probably not recommended!) but that has not solved the problem.

Does anyone know if, and how, Office365 can be made to work in Ubuntu 19?

EDIT: The problem seems to be the two-stage authentication. Even though for both exchange/outlook servers I have to set the server that I use for web-mail as well, the authentication, which in both cases goes via this TIQR app on the smartphone, still lets one of them work in Evolution/Gnome Online Accounts but not the other.

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Ubuntu HowTo: Can someone build me a DEB package of Evolution Mail Client + EWS 3.36.3

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I am running ubuntu 20.04 which natively supports Evolution 3.36.2, but in version 3.36.3 there is included a critical for me bugfix. However, I am running this version from Flatpak, but since it is running in sandbox, it does not support integration with the gnome3 desktop and calendar.
That is why i need version 3.36.3 (including the EWS plugin) as DEB packages so that they will be able to integrate with the gnome 3 desktop.

Can someone help me with this? I saw the explanation how to build the packages from evolution website, but it seems too complicated for me with many environments and variables setup.

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