Category talk:Dimensions

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This use of the word "dimension" does not make sense.What you reallly mean is a plane in various dimensions. But what to call this category then? Something like "Spaces" would be accurate, but could be confusing. "Spatial hyperplanes" could work, but that term doesn't really have any connection to the game. Any other ideas? -- SvdB 18:01, 16 Jan 2005 (CET)

WTF is a "spatial hyperplane"? A "hyperplane" is a space, nothing more, nothing less. "Spatial hyperplane" is just treknobabble-style nonsense.

A spatial hyperplane only crosses spatial dimensions (as opposed to temporal dimensions). - SvdB 13:03, 21 Jan 2005 (CET)
Well, that's partly inaccurate, then, because clearly time exists in each of these spaces or else you wouldn't be able to go to them and spend time in them. I did a little research, and in vector math they use "hyperplane" to mean a smaller set of dimensions excised from a larger set of dimensions. A "spatial hyperplane", in other words, would be a two-dimensional plane in real space. I'm not sure what you're using it to mean here. You're probably going off of the New Age mystic definition of "plane", which is clearly only ever used as a metaphor -- the fact that we can easily imagine multiple planes coexisting in a space makes it easier to understand multiple spaces existing in a hyperspace.
I said "crosses", not "exists in". Draw a line on a piece of paper and you could say it exists in the "plane" of the paper. Prick a pen through it and you could say it "crosses" it ("intersects" would be better).
And you're wrong when you say a "spatial hyperplane" has to be 2-dimensional. (more below).
And I disregard the mystical use of "plane" (like the Pkunk use it) altogether, for the purpose of this discussion. - SvdB 18:53, 22 Jan 2005 (CET)
Read what Wikipedia says about it. A "hyperplane" is any subset of a larger set of dimensions in a vector space. A hyperplane of normal 3-D space is a plane. A hyperplane of a 2-D plane is a line. A hyperplane of a line is a point. There's even a movement to start calling three-dimensional hyperplanes of a four-dimensional space "realms" rather than "hyperplanes" *because* "plane" implies a 2-D environment.

The *best* term is "dimension". Bukowski and the Arilou both specifically say that although it's an inaccurate term it's the best English term available to them.

They don't say that. - SvdB 13:03, 21 Jan 2005 (CET)
He then goes on to use the word "dimension" over and over again, as well as the term "dimensional fatigue."
He doesn't say it's the best English term available. It's the best term that he knows of. - SvdB
  • sigh* I've never heard anyone use the term "hyperplane" to explicitly mean "a real-life universe or continuum outside the universe we know" until now. You might think it's a better term, but you haven't shown any evidence that it is.
The Arilou: "Some of your more broad thinkers refer to such realms as other dimensions. Though trivialized, this is a suitable metaphor for your intellect."
Again, use of the term "interdimensional fatigue" and constantly referring to QuasiSpace and TrueSpace as "dimensions".
Given that these places *don't really exist* and were made up by the creators of the game, I think it's pretty arrogant to say that because, to you, the terms "don't make sense" you feel free to edit TFB's own preferred usage to something you like better.
The fact that they don't exist (or aren't known to exist) in our universe, doesn't mean there's no accepted way to describe such a theoretical construct. It's not uncommon that something is named and defined even before it is found or disproved. - SvdB

Most people now accept that "dimension" has the secondary meaning of "extradimensional space" -- how often have you heard "aliens from another dimension"? Just think of "dimension" as short for "extra set of dimensions" rather than "single dimension" and you'll be fine.

No, refering to "dimension" instead of "set of dimensions" is not what I'm complaining about. The word "dimension" has a whole different meaning. A dimension is a "direction" of the universe, a degree of freedom. Look at it as a high building. Within a floor you could define coordinates on the "longitude" and "lattitude" dimensions. TrueSpace is one of those floor. When you say an alien "is from another dimension" you could say in this case that the alien came "from the height dimension". But if you want to talk about the actual space they occupy, you refer to "floor" (the plane). Note that in general, the planes in the building (the total of space) don't have to be parallel. They may even cross eachother in places. When people say "another dimension", the "other" refers not to the fact that their own space isn't in that dimension (it is), but that it's in a dimension you can't normally travel in. - SvdB 13:03, 21 Jan 2005 (CET)
No. It's not that simple. There's no rule that other spaces have to exist like planes stacked on top of each other this way. Indeed, if you imagine the world consisting of a giant hyperspace, any three-dimensional cross-section of it can be experienced as an ordinary space, *regardless* of whether those dimensions "line up" or not with our own. A lot of sf stories talk about entering an alternate universe by "rotating" so that our time dimension becomes the z-axis and our z-axis becomes the time dimension; just doing that could put you in an entirely different space that people in our universe would be entirely unable to perceive, even though all the dimensions are the same as ours, just relabeled.
I explicitely noted the "in general, they don't have to parallel" so that what I said couldn't be misinterpreted. I guess that wasn't enough. (I guess they don't even have to be "flat" (in multiple dimensions) either) - SvdB
In any case this is an entirely tangential discussion. Regardless of how *you* define one dimension as different from another, if I *perceive* myself in an entirely different space from the one I was in before, it's perfectly meaningful to say that the set of dimensions I'm in now is different from the one I was before.
Being in a dimension by itself does not make sense; that's exactly my point. You can be in a space. And granted, a "different space" depends on what part of the larger space you define as your space. But there are a few preferable spaces, namely the ones in which you have free motion. - SvdB

It's exactly analogous with HyperSpace -- technically HyperSpace, QuasiSpace and TrueSpace all exist within *one* hyperspace (or hyper-hyperspace, or whatever) and themselves are just spaces, but we name the space we get to by traveling hyperspatially HyperSpace, and we name the things separated by extra dimensions just dimensions.

Only people who don't know any better do that. Granted, most people don't know any better, and to portray them accurately in fiction, you would have them say things like "dimensions" when talking about (hyper)planes. But we are writing a reference work, which should portray the way things *are*, and we should describe them accurately. - SvdB 13:03, 21 Jan 2005 (CET)
Is this from Planescape? Let me say it again -- the *real* meaning of plane is a set of two dimensions. It's by no means a more correct scientific term. Using "plane" to mean any arbitrary set of dimensions is as much of a metaphorical stretch of the original meaning of the term as using "dimension" to mean the same thing.
I don't know Planescape. I ententionally refer to "hyperplane" instead of "plane". The hyper refers to the fact that what a "plane" is to a 3D space, a "hyperplane" is to a space with more dimensions. Look here if you don't believe me. And even better, here's what dimension means - SvdB
Okay, so what makes you think that "hyperplane" is a particularly good term to use for what we're talking about? Something is only in a hyperplane in *relation* to something else. You seem to be misled by the prefix "hyper-", which, if *you* read the article there, doesn't mean what you think it means. Mathematicians don't use "hyper-" to mean four-dimensional -- here, "hyperplane" refers to a way to draw one vector space out of another vector space. It has little to do with the *colloquial* use of the term "hyper-" in the sense of "hypercube" or "hyperspace". A "hyperplane" certainly isn't a synonym for "3-D space"; a 3-D space happens to be a hyperplane of a 4-D space, but the best word for a 3-D space *specifically* is just "space" -- or "realm", I suppose. But using those terms gets you in trouble once you're using ordinary language to talk about real, 3-D spaces one can jump back and forth between, because once you use ordinary language and not the language of mathematics "space" can mean many different things, including just a particular region of space.
In any case, two of the people in the *Star Control* universe who know the most about dimensions use the term "dimension". This is an encyclopedia about the Star Control universe. Are you going to insist that we also change the name of HyperSpace because it's inaccurate?
"HyperSpace is a name", "dimension" is a description. If you have a story about a little kid who goes to a farm and meets an animal that makes "moo" sounds, eats grass, and is milked, but the kid refers to it as a "moomoo", and you were to describe what happens in that story, would you not use the word "cow", even though it isn't mentioned in the entire story? "dimension" is your "moomoo". - SvdB
If I were making an encyclopedia that took place in that story's universe you bet I'd call it a "moomoo". It's *fiction*. If the writers make up something called a moomoo that seems a lot like a cow in *our* universe, then it's okay to list that in a footnote, but you don't have proof that a moomoo *is* a cow.
You have to take the story on its own terms. If *everyone* in the story -- farmers, professors, businessmen, and so on -- rather than just little kids calls it a moomoo, all you can conclude is that in this world "moomoo" is the word for cow. Do you read Lord of the Rings and go replacing "mithril" with "titanium"? Or go through Star Trek replacing "duranium" with "uranium" or some such?
Especially consider that SC2 *is* soft sci-fi, at best; indeed it's much more like a "space fantasy", with quite a few magical and supernatural things going on. I don't see the need for perfect "scientific" accuracy, especially when you're talking about stuff that -- I reiterate -- there's no real scientific name for.

There's no reason to go editing the game's usage to make ourselves look smarter. TFB primarily used "dimension" and only occasionally used "planes" (a *more* inaccurate term) and never used "spaces" outside of a suffix. We're here to report, not extrapolate, remember? So use "dimension".

We being here to report accurately is exactly my point. You report things as they are, not necessarilly using the same words as the game characters do. TrueSpace, HyperSpace, and QuasiSpace are described as hyperplanes (also known as "space" when they exist in 3 dimensions), even though the exact word isn't used, not as things like "height", "width", "depth" etc (dimensions). This isn't a matter of making ourselves look smarter; it's about perfectionism. Also, I'd like to hear why you think "planes" (or "hyperplanes" rather) is inaccurate. - SvdB 13:03, 21 Jan 2005 (CET)
Okay, look: Language is not some thing dispensed from on high. If we *did* gain the ability to travel through HyperSpace, we probably would develop the *already existent* secondary meaning of "dimension" as a "separate set of dimensions one can travel through" into common slang. Just because it's not the *primary* definition now doesn't make it an illegitimate definition. Are you also like one of those annoying grade school English teachers who says you can't ask "Can I go to the bathroom?" or say "Hopefully it won't rain tomorrow"? There *is* no simple scientific term for something like HyperSpace because something like HyperSpace doesn't, really, exist. "Dimension" is as good a term as any, and I've even laid out a *logical* way you can develop a secondary meaning of "dimension" from its currently primary meaning so that it doesn't seem like a purely haphazard coinage of slang. You name things after where you go to get to them. "HyperSpace" is called that because its existence proves TrueSpace and HyperSpace together exist *in* a hyperspace, not because it, itself, is a hyperspace (it isn't, not if it's possible to navigate in it using an ordinary spaceship and visually see paths through it). It's no more illegitimate than naming the Far East or the Midwest after a direction.
I agree that what in SC2 is indicated by the name HyperSpace, is not a hyperspace in the mathematical meaning. I see no problem with that. But I disagree with the rest of this alinea. There *is* no "already existent" secondary meaning of "dimension" like the one you propose. I've looked in various respectable dictionaries, both online and in paper, and none of them mentions a similar alternate definition. The only place where you're going to find your use at all is in soft science fiction. Perhaps a dictionary of sci-fi will mention it. I don't deny the word actually is used in the way you suggest, just like some people use "starting the internet" for "starting a web browser", or use "Volt" when talking about power. It may be rather common for people to use terms like that, but that doesn't change the fact that it's still wrong. - SvdB
  • sigh* Prescriptivism rears its ugly head again. If everyone *does* use a term a certain way, that term *becomes* correct. That's what language *is*. If that's what everyone in the game calls it, that's what it is.
Secondly, even if you think this coinage is bastardized it's obviously *happened* in the SC2 universe. The Androsynth scientists, Bukowski, the Arilou La'leelay, and others don't use "dimension" because they're ignorant, but because it's the easiest term available to them. Clearly in the imaginary future "dimension" has become standard. Language is allowed to shift in an imaginary, sf-nal future even if you don't want it to shift in the real world now. Using a different term than dimension would be being untrue to the *actual usage* of language in SC2, just as changing "Androsynth" to something more authentically Greek would be, or "Unzervalt" to something authentically German.
If it actually was used in the game as a made-up futuristic word, that would make a case for using it as a category name. But it seems to me that either who wrote the dialogs in question (the dialogs were not all written by the same people) didn't know any better (it isn't as if "dimension" is a rarely misused word), or that the character in the game is meant not to know a better word. And what we are trying to do is describe' the SC world, not to take over their moomoo. - SvdB
Big difference between saying the characters are uneducated and the creators are. If the characters are uneducated, by all means make a note of where and how they go wrong. If the creators are uneducated, so be it; it's not your place to rewrite the SC2 dialogue to correct them. TFB made up a universe where "dimension" is the proper term for these things and everyone uses it. Accept it or write your own game.
The only people in SC2 who ever use the term "plane" are the Pkunk, obviously in reference to silly New Age mysticism. Their "planes", moreover, never refer to HyperSpace or QuasiSpace. Those are always, if they're called anything, called "dimensions" (unless you want to make a case for "reality" or "realm" based on a few references). "Spaces" only comes from the suffix on their names and is never used separately, because "spaces" can commonly refer to specific parcels of volume inside a single universe, which the game *does* use -- "Human space", "VUX space", etc.
Yes, "Space" is confusing (though correct), which is why I asked for alternatives. "Realm" begins to look good. - SvdB
Finally, "hyperplane" just plain doesn't exist at all in the sense you mean it. It's a math term, not a physics term. It's not in SC2, and it doesn't exist in real life, and I don't even think it comes from D&D, and I can't figure out for the life of me where you dug it up. I suppose you could make the point that, geometrically, each of the spaces we're talking about is a hyperplane of a larger-dimensional space, but it seems to me to be a stilted construction.
It is indeed a math term. And theoretical physics is the application of math to the "real world". All that we're doing is use the already existing mathematical term for a theoretical idea which matches the meaning of that term.
You've got the mathematical meaning of "hyperplane" wrong though. - SvdB
No, I don't. A "hyperplane" does not mean a 3-D space. If it did, it would be a redundant term. In any case you can't just say that because a mathematical term maps onto a physical thing that's what it should be called. There's a difference between a planet and an oblate spheroid.

To clarify another thing: I'm not in favour of using "Spatial Hyperplanes" as the name of the category. While it would be accurate, it would also be confusing to the user. I'm just looking for a replacement for "dimensions", which is just plain incorrect. "Spaces" so far has my preference, but I was hoping someone finds a word where the meaning out of context is immediately clear. I'm perfectly ok by making "dimensions" a redirect to whatever we decide though. After all, "dimension" *is* what most people who are only known with the word through "soft" sci-fi would refer to it, unfortunately. - SvdB 13:17, 21 Jan 2005 (CET)

"Dimension" makes perfect sense. Hard sf would use it as a slang term, because a truly descriptive term used by physicists would probably be long and unfamiliar. There's no point in being snobbish about "correct" terminology, because until we actually create the kind of technology we actually see in SC2, we won't *have* real, commonly used terms for things like HyperSpace, and we might as well use the ones the game gives us.
It exists as a concept, and we have a name for that concept. Maybe your version will be common use one day, like so many words have an original meaning which doesn't match what it's used for. But for now, being exact requires a better word. And you can probably do without me repeating that we're trying to make a reference work. - SvdB
We're trying to make a reference work about Star Control 2, not about every damn thing that science fiction writers and speculators bicker about today. You haven't convinced me that an *actual* thing like HyperSpace would be called a "hyperplane", and I certainly don't believe there's a consensus among the real-life scientific community on the matter. It may seem *logical* to you to map this math term onto a possible real-life physical construct but it doesn't to me, nor do I think it does to most people, and there's no reason to shoehorn this in by fiat where it doesn't belong. This is a Star Control 2 reference work about the universe Toys for Bob created, not about the sagely and masterful interpretation of theoretical physics according to Svdb. Or would you like us to find some botanists to give us long essays on how and why Supox physiology might or might not work in real life, or some UFO experts to give us explanations on what real UFO sightings and reports have been like and how they match up to the game's depiction of the Arilou, or some engineers to tell us why lasers don't really work the way they do in the Melee mode? This stuff may make good forum fodder but it's absolutely irrelevant to someone *who wants to learn about the world of the game*.

I usually side with Svdb on issues such as this, but I think Mr. Anonymous here has a point. There is no need for us to find a new term for what so many game characters call a "dimension". Naming the category with another term that is more scientifically correct would only confuse readers, who have heard them referred to as "dimensions" within the game.

Why don't we make a compromise? For the sake of usability, we keep the category name (or decide on another term that is also used in-game, but "dimension" is the only one I can think of) and place information in the category description about the more accurate scientific name. Also,, please make an account. It makes conversations easier. -Fadookie 06:04, 22 Jan 2005 (CET)

Yeah, I probably should create an account. Just a quick note before I go to bed, though:
THERE IS NO SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE TERM FOR A SC2 DIMENSION. THEY DON'T REALLY EXIST. The best you can come up with is using terms from physics to come up with what you *might* call such a thing if it *did* exist based on ways we talk about dimensions and alternate universes and such right now. But such talk is wildly theoretical and speculative, and even then has very little to do with the popular conception of popping into and out of other universes using magical technology that we see so often in sf. *Every* term for such things -- "hyperspace", "dimensions", "planes of existence" -- is essentially fictional. What I take issue with is Svdb thinking that some term he's come in contact with before -- "hyperplane"? -- is "scientifically accurate" and "realistic", which is patent nonsense when you're talking about one of the most fantastic and unreal tropes of science fiction. You can make a better case for established, mainstream terms for things like UFOs or psychic powers -- which at least a lot of people *believe* are real -- than for hyperspace.
Even for theoretical constructs there can be universally accepted names. Multiple dimensions are a common concept in mathematics, and the words "hyperplane", "space", and "dimension" have a well-defined meaning. Mathematics is the language of physics, and that is where the terms used in sci-fi come from. When you are describing something from a story you use the words that mean what is presented, often with additions like "named <bla> in the story". And TrueSpace, HyperSpace, and QuasiSpace are not dimensions. - SvdB 18:53, 22 Jan 2005 (CET)
"Space" in mathematics restricts itself to a certain set of properties, particularly when you mean a vector space. The real-world "space" of physics has quite a few more properties based on what we specifically observe about the space we live in. You can point to other things where a mathematician's concept of something does not equal the physicist's concept of something, even if they map onto each other. In this case saying that a "hyperplane" because it describes one *aspect* of what HyperSpace would be -- that its existence would prove the existence of a 4-D vector space of which it was a hyperplane -- makes it a good term for HyperSpace is like saying that the term for "black hole" should be something as simple as "discontinuity".
In any case, something *quite like* HyperSpace *only* exists in what you call "soft sci-fi". If we found something like it, the similarity to science fiction would be so obvious that I find it hard to believe that people wouldn't use sf terms like "hyperspace" and "dimension" to refer to it, just as terms like "teleportation" have been eagerly adopted for things like quantum teleportation.
And I continue to maintain that what's both an active slang use among the only group of people who seriously thinks or talks about this concept as a physical reality to any significant degree -- SF fans -- and what's the *actual use* among all characters in the game -- is perfectly legitimate.
I mean, again, gosh. You can get technical about all kinds of crap, like how the game uses terms like "base metal" that have no real scientific meaning, how the game has impossible things like neutronium lying around on the surface of a planet, and so on. I don't think it's within the scope of this work to play Mr. Science and give little lectures about why these things are impossible, or inaccurately described, or whatever. If you're going to talk about a fictional universe seriously you have to live inside of it, at least for the purpose of exploring it on its own terms. A reference work of the scientific inaccuracies in SC2 would be *huge*, an entirely separate project, and one that most people would have very little interest in, because to be honest SC2 is a game made mostly for fun by people with no science advisors or formal training in the sciences and no intention at all of being "realistic".