On Human worlds, extensive use of organ transplants to prolong life led to those who died prematurely, including executed criminals, being "broken up" into organs. These organs were stored in extensive organ banks for future use. The high demand for organs led to more and more crimes receiving the death penalty. Prisons were emptied; criminals were all "sent to the organ banks". On Earth by 2099, people were executed for income tax evasion and even repeated traffic violations. Eventually, breakthroughs in regeneration and alloplasty, particularly the invention just prior to 2329 of a method for growing artificial organs, went a long way towards relieving organ bank shortages. This led to a gradual reversal in the trend towards more executions. By 2340, the death penalty was repealed for income tax evasion and illegal advertising. Capital punishment was ended on Plateau circa 2356, and the organ banks were never used in this manner in the Belt. It appears that on Earth, the death penalty never entirely disappeared, despite many medical advancements. Using a fusion drive in Earth's atmosphere would get the offender sent to the organ banks as late as 2645.
Reference: "The Jigsaw Man", A Gift from Earth, "The Ethics of Madness", "Flatlander"
(c)Gregory Pelton contacted Outsider ship #14 for the location of the "most unusual" planet in Known Space, in 2645. [Spoiler alert: "Flatlander"] This turned out to be the antimatter planet. [End of Spoiler alert]
(d)[Spoiler alert: "The Soft Weapon"] Nessus bought the Tnuctip stasis box from the Outsiders in 2657. [End of Spoiler alert]
Reference: (a) A Gift from Earth, (b, c) "Flatlander", (d) "The Soft Weapon"
Outsider ship #14
This spaceship was propelled by a reactionless thruster of unimaginable power (on the order of 2500 gees of acceleration) in a capsule at the ship's center, with a weak light on a pole two and a half miles long. About a thousand meandering, tangled ribbons of metal, joined at the drive capsule, made up the rest of the ship. The ribbons provided a huge amount of light-and-dark areas for the Outsiders to sun themselves for energy. In 2645, Gregory Pelton and Beowulf Shaeffer met them to ask the location of the most unusual planet in Known Space.
A mysterious, ancient starfaring species; many travel the galaxy as peaceful traders in information.
Physiology: Fragile beings of helium II metabolism, each resembling a cat-o-nine-tails, with a big thick handle containing their brains and invisible sense organs. Outsiders live on small, cold, airless worlds, and presumably evolved on one. They can live only in very low gravity; Luna 's gravity is much too heavy. Outsiders gain energy not from eating, but by generating electricity from a temperature differential (thermoelectricity) provided by the difference between feeble light shining on their heads and their branched tails in shadow. Apparently they have extremely long lives, at least thousands of years, and perhaps much longer.
Behavior/Culture: Outsiders dip their tentacles in shallow "food dishes" of fluid to absorb needed elements. Note the word "food" here is misleading, because they gain no energy from absorbing those elements. They are an ancient race, highly advanced technologically, having possessed hyperdrive and reactionless thrusters before any other known living race. However, they never use hyperdrive themselves, considering it "vulgar". Apparently most live in city-sized ships whose technology varies enormously, from light-sails to engines impossible according to Human science. In planetary systems with customers and a suitable world, they lease space for trading areas, rest and recreation, and supply dumps. Their ships apparently spend most of their time following starseeds in their sub-light-speed journeys from the galactic core to the galactic rim and back. Why do Outsiders follow starseeds? Do they need them, or vice versa? Outsiders value personal information highly; they will answer these and related questions for one trillion stars apiece.
Interspecies relations: Outsiders trade information in exchange for territory and "food soil", buying or leasing land on small, frozen moons. Their information fees are high and they never haggle, but are scrupulously honest. In Human Space they have virtually unlimited credit. They have sold the hyperdrive secret hundreds of times to various species of the galaxy. First contact between Outsiders and Humans occurred in 2409, when they sold hyperdrive technology to We Made It. Nereid was rented by the Outsiders, perhaps not long after first contact with Humans; continued use as a base was documented in 2645 and 2850. [Spoiler alert: Ringworld]Puppeteers indirectly intervened in the First Man-Kzin War, using a starseed lure to lead a starseed, and the Outsider ship following it, to Procyon A and the colony of We Made It, thereby ensuring Humans would gain hyperdrive technology. Thus the Puppeteers ended the threat of the Kzinti Empire's expansion. [End of Spoiler alert] See also Outsider contacts
Reference:A Gift from Earth ch. XIV, "The Soft Weapon", "Flatlander", Ringworld chs. 4, 6, 13