UFC Ultimate Fighter (TUF): 'Nations' Finale odds, online

[Official] TUF Nations Finale

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Star Shadow: the state of the world and rough timeline

So, finally coming in with a big chunk o‘ text! This is the write-up on the core tenets of my hard-ish sci-fi space opera, containing major timeline points and factions’ history. I’d be thrilled to get critique/thoughts/questions to help me develop this further - and onto the thingy now!:
Precursor Era: 2061-2104
The year 2072 finds humanity balancing precariously on the brink of an implosion. With Earth’s population boiling to a staggering 12 billion, the seas full of artificial islands and cities scraping up higher and higher to accommodate the people without the loss of agriculture lands, it seems that mankind will enter the new millennia as a species awaiting extinction.
The only upside to the looming demographic and production disaster is a relative peace on the globe - with the Great Jihad of the 2030s and Second Korean War of 2040s over, with Texas breaking off the US in a bloody civil war and the unification of South America under Brazilian hegemony, the interconnectedness of the world doesn’t allow anymore for mass-scale conflicts. Pockets of strife remain and waves of immigration from the still-struggling Africa occur within cycles of economic recession and upstart, but in general, humanity begins to learn how to keep an uneasy balance of a multi-polar world.
But the questions of space, of living quarters and production means still stay as sharp as ever. 2072 marks the year when the first commercial automated NPVs (nuclear-powered vehicles) begin leaving Earth for the colonization of Mars in a joint effort between the IESU (Independent European State Union), Russian Federation, GCPR (Greater Chinese People’s Republic), the USA, TAU (Trans-Asiatic Union) and SAC (South-American Conglomerate). In the coming three decades the robotic assembly of the Ares City in Hellas Basin is completed, allowing to transfer almost 250 thousand first settlers into the domed settlement. With that, in parallel, begins the construction of the Tharsis Shipyard, as to turn Mars into a colonization hub further into the solar system. As more and more domed settlements are built during the course of the next couple decades Mars gets its own government - the Olympus Autonomy - which is under the command of the newly formed EXB, the Extrasolar Bloc, an alliance of nations that launched the effort into extraterrestrial colonization and commercialized the use of NPVs.
By the time the first ENCIDU drive is successfully tested in 2107, mankind has thriving colonies on Mars, Europa, Io and Titan. All of these settlements, however, were domed infrastructures running on nuclear or geothermal power systems, and their populace no larger than a few million. A mere drop in the sea that was Earth. It just wasn’t enough, though mining and energy production which were promptly instated on the colonies, did work in favor of EXB’s economy.
The ENCIDU drive (ENergy Conserving Inter-Dimensional Upscaling engine, also known as the CY-engine, Calabi-Yau engine) was a true breakthrough in science and humanity’s understanding of the way the universe works. A team of Hesperian University scientists on Mars had successfully - mathematically - proven parts of the M-theory and Randall-Sundrum brane cosmology, underlining that our 4D universe as we know it is a holographic projection of a higher-dimensional reality consisting of complex brane-manifolds. This understanding resulted in a postulation that our 4D particles are energized enough to synchronize with the vibration of the higher-dimensional manifolds, can assume the state of that manifold, ie “enter” it and “travel” along its impossible topological curve. The idea that ordinary matter can switch dimensional representation seeded ridiculous until the physicist Antony Wyatt-Hoberst hypothesized that the lack of symmetry between matter and anti-matter in the observable universe maybe a result of such dimensional upscale shift that happened during the Big Bang, and thus, it’s physically probable to “upscale” regular matter. This lead to a string of experiments both within the EXB and several independent science entities to find a way of utilizing this theory.
In 2107, the ENCIDU-drive, a nuclear fission-powered monstrosity that effectively energizes the matter surrounding it to a CY-vibrational synch, was successfully tested in a manned mission of the spacecraft Ulysses to Proxima Centauri. One of the unexpected benefits of the aptly-named “branestreaming” was that space travel utilizing this method wasn’t only faster than light - it was unharmful to living organisms and instantaneous, negating the temporal-dilation effects of other proposed forms of FTL travel. For all means and purposes, branestreaming was more akin to teleportation, than to real flight.
However, what was conserved during branestreaming, was amply used on pre-flight preparations. It functions, basically, by reverse-mapping the topography of higher dimensions of the universe, right up to the cosmic brane itself, then "upscaling" the vessel to this dimension, and traveling along the "curvature" of the brane to the destination.
The calculations and math-work, the need in data were tremendous - ENCIDU vessels needn’t pilots, but they needed some serious computing. With Ulysses’ crew returning back from Proxima Centauri alive, unharmed within a few hours, the gates were open for humanity - it just needed more brainpower. The explosion of space exploration created an atomic explosion in the development of artificial intelligence, which could navigate the topology of branespace better than any human mathematician. The dawn of FTL coincides with the dawn of complex AI as companies like InDec, Cyna-Tech Blue and Ropulse Systems throw a ton of resource into the development of bleeding edge software.
First Expansion Wave - 2120-2193
The year is 2123, and all bets are off. By that time, with state-of-the-art deep space telescopes orbiting Neptune and Uranus, humanity knows all about the possible exoplanets in the Local Bubble that are fit for colonization. The space is silent, with no-one answering humanity’s call, and it’s for man to take it. The first mothership-class ENCIDU-vessel carrying an AAF (automated assembly factory) and over 4 000 colonists, blips clear off Io’s orbit towards Gliese 682 (dubbed the Voss Star), where exploratory flights had proved to have a habitable super-earth with liquid water.
It takes only 20 more years and the active settling of Voss Prime (which had liquid water indeed, but a largely methanous, non-breathable atmosphere), for other players to catch up to the possibilities that FTL opened up. The EXB stops being the sole builder of ENCIDU motherships and AAFs, as with the leak of technology and industrial espionage in general, large Earthen, Martian and Titan corporations seek to find and establish colonies of their own to boost profits and find resource-rich celestial bodies.
In turn, the ExtraSolar Bloc re-shapes itself, taking in India and Australia, and re-emerging as the Terran Alliance, a confederacy governing most of the Earth and its’ extraterrestrial “official” colonies like Mars and Voss Prime. Meanwhile, Virgo Rocket Dynamics colonizes a sub-Earth in the Ceta constellation, naming it New Europa - the largest interstellar settlement outside of direct Terran governance, making it a springboard into developing new shipyards in the segment and breaching out from vessel-making into asteroid mining business.
The rapid spreading of people into the galaxy provokes deep societal shifts. Nationality, ethnicity and religion slightly recede in importance as the enormity of distance clusters humanity into new brackets - corporate or governmental loyalty, homeworld attribution and professional reputation. While most basic notions of family, morals and values remain untouched, the new colonies, even such close-proximity as Mars gradually begin to foster separate cultures and societal norms, knitting new forms of self-determination while Earthen tradition begins to mythologize.
Language morphs, incorporating space-era lingo and slang. As nations and ethnicities erode, a gradual merging of several main languages occurs, giving birth to a new common tongue.
Aside from microbial life, mankind doesn’t find any complex organic lifeforms comparable to Earthen ones - more so, it doesn’t find any truely habitable planets. Voss or New Europa at best have one component fit for a more robust and full settlement, but that isn’t enough. The environments are often harsh and dangerous, requiring humanity to adapt where it can.
In 2138, the TA passes a historical decree - human genome editing is officially permitted for colonial governments seeking to give their populace an edge against the elements. Bit by bit, with the help of propaganda and direct combating of existing ethical and religious superstitions, certain populations begin to gradually change. Not everyone is happy about it.
Great Interstellar War: 2149-2173
All this bustling and rather peaceful activity doesn’t last long. In 2149, humanity finally got what it looked for - a contact with alien life. Unfortunately for mankind, it didn’t go as planned, and plays by the worst scenario. The aliens, later dubbed as Inklers, launch an unexpected orbital attack against the TA colony Yavom in the Lyuten system, which sees more than 100 thousand dead in bombardment.
The Inklers baffle humanity. They offer no contact or communication, arrive to human systems mute and silent utilizing a similar dimensional-upscaling FTL-technology, and attack. Then they drop troops onto a chosen planet and start methodical extermination of any encountered people, deaf to any attempts of negotiation. Afterwards, the Inklers drop huge structures which mankind name Pillars - terragenic devices that begin to change and/or generate atmosphere on targeted plantes, cause seismic or geothermal activity and other effects on the celestial body.
The study of Inklers reveals a perplexing biology - they happen to be photosynthesizing, carbo-silicate “multicellular” organisms which instead of cells are comprised out of “virocytes”, colonies of silicone-shielded, independent viral-like formations that share genetic information between each other instantaneously and can rewrite themselves at a whim, if needed. Physically the aliens resembled strings of thick optical cables, glued in bunches to approximate vague, gaunt shapes of horse-like, multi-limbed beings with an undulating ventral stalk on which they slither at surprising speeds on land. Inkler tissue seemed to be convergent and multi-purpose - it is both muscle and nerve, capillary system and sensory organ all in one, and within it, a dark-blue fluid that enabled locomotion and nutrition. This liquid that would burst out of a cut Inkler is what gave them their moniker among human soldiers, and later, the general populace.
Mankind soon discovered that the aliens’ carbo-silicate biology and photosynthetic nature was what had possibly led to the conflict - like humans, the aliens required water, CO2 and oxygen, but they also required copious amounts of nitrogen and sulfur to facilitate their biochemistry, which put them at odds with the desired habitats for humanity.
Due to the nature of branestreaming, in the subsequent 23 years of war over 6 of humanity’s worlds, neither faction had managed to discover the enemy’s homeworld. As TA had enforced a ban on communicating through Earth, the threat of Inklers finding mankind’s cradle largely ceased, but humanity didn’t have much luck in determining where the threat came from either. It had been a grueling war with an genocidal and non-caring enemy that seemed to treat mankind not as fellow sentients, but as weed that should’ve been destroyed before planetfall.
Inklers largely communicated through pheromones, which didn’t allow humanity to breach the gap in understanding them, and their long-distance comms were just as quantum-based as humanity’s, so no breaking of ice there as well. In general, though, interstellar war with an alien intelligence proved that physical principles where universal across the board - Inkler ships and armaments were, for the most part, functioning under the same basic fundamentals as the Terran ones, projectiles, bombs, lasers and the like - so both enemies were locked into battle on rather equal footing.
With the threat of extermination looming over the largest human settlements in the Local Bubble, TA and the corporate colony-worlds strike an alliance. Resources run thin, so each party was interested in the cooperation with their counterpart. The corporate worlds were in control of key industry areas, such as robotics and heavy machinery production, while the Terran Alliance excelled in ship construction and possessed a large military force.
In record times, humanity’s forces were re-oriented for a war effort. With Inklers making planetfall on major domed worlds, threatening millions of people, cargo ships were replaced with fighters, and EVA suits - into power-armor. For the Terran Alliance, the Great Interstellar war boosted the development of tactical AI, capable of analyzing multi-faceted battlefields and strategies of the enigmatic enemy.
This cooperation yielded great results. Even though in the beginning of the war humanity suffered great loss of life and resource, at the beginning of 1967 the tide turned, following the battle at Khalil Moon near Gliese 686. 6 years later the war was concluded with TA’s flagman strike-ship, the Iron Testament, nuking the last remaining Inkler stronghold in the Bubble in the Wolf 11c system.
The Great Interstellar War ended with the total wiping of the Inkler fleets over the disputed planets. Surprisingly, no reinforcements returned, and mankind was even able to reap the benefits of the otherwise devastating conflict - the Inklers left the Pillars behind, and those were studied and reverse-engineer, fueling the Second Expansion Wave.
Second Expansion Wave: 2173-present (2248)
The aftermath of the war left humanity with a task to re-build what was lost... and to accelerate even further. The TA reverse-engineered the Inkler’s Pillar technology, establishing a temporary monopoly on terraforming existing and new worlds, which lead the Alliance to believe in being the tugboat of all humanity. The disarray that inevitably followed as mankind struggled to regain its footing was seen as an opportunity to pick up the pieces and unite everyone under a common banner.
However, it wasn’t as easy as the victors had expected.
It is important to note that the last years of the Great Interstellar war saw prominent strife and split within the Terran Alliance itself. Most notable was the Martian bid for autonomy in 2170, more often cited as the Ten Thousand General Conspiracy: the Martian military junta of the Olympus Autonomy, dissatisfied with how the Earth command was leading the war, had conspired to take matter in its own hands and overthrow the Terran Alliance government, then known as the Terran United Forces. This bid was powered by a grassroots bid for Martian independence - The Frateria or MAM, Martian Autonomy Movement. Frateria existed for decades as a result of Mars being the largest human settlement outside Earth, and it finally raised its head when the junta decided to stage a coup.
The TA/TUF president, Jin Xua, and 80% of the existant parliament members were murdered in October of 2170 during the president’s visit to Titan in a terrorist act by the Frateria, but the results were the opposite of what the Martian secessionists wanted - the remaining Terran military immediately cracked down in MAM, found the conspiring generals and ran a series of public executions, culminating in the crackdown on any planetary independence programs. The Frateria was wholly eliminated, but Mars remained the Terran forces’ military stronghold - the surviving members were imbued with guilt and almost eternal penance for the crimes of the Ten Thousand.
All in all, after the war with Inklers, humanity was victorious, but fractured. In 2175, after a tumultuous transitional period, Earth declared that the TA is no longer - all planets under its’ control are reformed as the Terrik Empire. Wielding the monopoly on T-Pillar technology as a club, the nascent Empire kick-started the return of its colonial property and new wave of extrasolar exploration.
Meanwhile, the corporate worlds too had undergone a transformation. Fearful for their independence in the wake of the Martian crackdown and imperial ambitions of the Terrik, the 7 major corp-worlds announced an alliance and quasi-statehood under the banner of Border Systems. For a few decades, up to 2202, both entities remained in an uneasy cooperative state, dependent on each others’ resources and technology, with the Border Systems’ formally existing as the Terrik Empire’s protectorate.
The Terrik Empire believed that the corporate colonies provided insufficiently for the war effort of the past, and were nothing more than easy bait for either Inklers, should they return or other, unknown alien threats. The Border Systems, in return, felt that the hunger of Terrikians for new acquisitions were too much for the terraforming the Empire had provided, and valued their independence and self-sufficiency.
The balance had been up-ended with the infamous Changar Heist, that saw smugglers attack an ENCIDU Imperial cargo-ship that transported a T-Pillar to a new world in the Cetus. The heist of such pinnacle technology was instrumental to granting the Border Systems’ the leverage they truely desired - they no longer depended on the Empire to provide terrageny services for the expansion and could cut all ties with them.
When Kyado V colony had been established under a modified Y-Pillar by the Tjazhe Brig Inc., Terrikians saw it as an act of hostility. The Empire sent a fleet to the new colony only to be greeted by a similar-size fleet from New Europa, Oceanex and Virgo Bright. The meeting of two large navies ended in a bloody skirmish over Kyado, and the Uprising had officially begun.
The following years saw many conflicts flare up between the two factions. The turning point to outright war and the Uprising becoming the Border Systems’ official doctrine was the Terrik Empire’s covert virus-bombing of New Europa, which totally decimated the planet, leaving over 40 million dead behind the atrocious act.
Even though the Empire later condemned and admitted to the disaster, vowing to ban genetic bioweapons, the damage had been done - with so much blood between the two, making peace was hard. Soon, the Border Systems’ answered in full, carrying out a massacre of an entire Imperial ore-refining facility within a neutral spacer hab on the Rajapuni-Ishtar Goldmine Belt as power-armored commandoes breached the facility’s dome-bubble and depressurized the whole rig.
A New Sentience: 2150s
One important development that started during the human-Inkler war and continued into the Second Expansion wave, was the creation of truely sentient AI in the Empire.
The creation of PG (personality-grade) AI had been a game changer for the way the Empire’s society was structured, as humanity gained an asset that not only was instrumental in its victory over Inklers, but that could danger-proof it against future threats. The created PGAI possessed true non-human intelligence that existed within environments and operated in conditions that were inaccessible to man. Thus, they provided unique perspectives on the Universe and any given situation, processing the happenings of the world in their own unique way. Ultimately, PGAI became the core element of Imperial governance, overseeing every facet of Terrikian life, from military to citizenship leveling.
The Empire kept the technology of PGAI creation and fostering to itself, as well as its programs in human-machine neural symbiotics which saw the merging of consciousness between PGAI and man. The tight secrecy ensured that the Border Systems’ were never been able to catch up with these advancements. However, the heavy involvement of AI in the imperial society soon became a big point of mistrust and hatred among the Border Systems’s populace, on the level of their xenophobia in relation to the imperials’ genetic editing.
As such, the Uprising became a stand-in not only for the hatred of Imperials for their non-baseline ways, but for anti-AI hysteria, with politicians preying on the idea of robotic holocaust.
The year is 2248. Humanity spread to the stars, colonizing over 19 exoplanets/moons/asteroid systems in the Local Bubble. FTL travel keeps the time synched between systems, terraforming is a viable industry and benevolent AI aids societal problems. An alien threat had been conquered, but between the conflict of the genetically-edited, cyborg supermen of the Terrik Empire, and the power-suited, spacebourne oligarchs of the Border Systems, the fate of mankind is as vague and unpredictable as ever.
As humans do what they do best - battle for supremacy and dominance - the blackness of the uncharted void still watches them with hunger. Because bright stars cast long, dark shadows.
submitted by BlackOmegaPsi to worldbuilding [link] [comments]

UFC on FOX Discussion

The UFC on FOX press conference begins this afternoon at 4pm EST/1pm PST.
The combined win percentage of Cain & JDS is .956 - the highest in a UFC HW title fight since Ricco & Sylvia (.968) in 2003.
This is without a doubt the biggest moment for MMA in the United States as the top organization broadcasts a HW Title fight on primetime broadcast television.
Who do you think will win? Will UFC learn from EliteXC/StrikeForce's mistakes? How will American media respond? What about the rest of the card?
I'm taking Cain (though I'd bet on JDS as an underdog with the given odds) in the ME and I'd like to see Bendo win, but I think we might see Guida control him heavy. Either way, I envision this being a moment - like Forrest/Bonnar TUF Finale - that we look back at in many years as a 'turning point' of sorts for the sport.
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TUF Nations Finale Results: Chad Laprise Edges Olivier Aubin-Mercier to Win Welterweight Final More While neither The Ultimate Fighter Nations final panned out as a nation vs. nation match-up, there was no importance lost on the significance of the welterweight fight between Canadians Chad Laprise and Olivier Aubin-Mercier . For those focused on the TUF finals, however, it comes down to four Canadians, as none of the Aussies were able to make it to the finals. The middleweight honors will go to the winner of Sheldon Westcott vs. Elias Theodorou, while Chad Laprise and Olivier Aubin-Mercier battle it out at welterweight. TUF Nations Finale Weigh-in Results TUF Nations Finale Betting Tips – Aubin-Mercier vs Laprise. Allsopp April 14, 2014 9:43 pm April 14, 2014 [adrotate group=”25″]This fight is a classic Striker vs Grappler match up. Chad Laprise has an overwhelming advantage in the striking department, whilst Olivier Aubin-Mercier is a significantly better grappler. OUR BET: 10.00 UNITS ON THIS FIGHT TO LAST LESS THAN 2.5 ROUNDS AT ODDS OF 1.73 | -137 | 73/100 [divider] MORE BETTING TIPS FOR THE TUF NATIONS FINALE… Proposition betting tips for the TUF Nations Finale Elias Theodorou vs Sheldon Westcott Chad Laprise vs Olivier Aubin-Mercier Akira Corassani vs Dustin Poirier The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Nations Finale is tomorrow night (Wednesday) at the Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City. The card starts at 7PM tomorrow night and will be on Fox Sports 1. There is also an event this weekend, so we’ll have plenty to bet on the next few days. TUF Nations Finale Best Bets. Bet Olivier Aubin-Mercier –122 (SportBet) vs

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