Tuesday, October 9, 2029

Staffing

I feel sorry for the geology team; they’ve got some pretty wild things to report about Alpha. The tectonic plates aren’t behaving at all like they should. They’ve been looking at the code and can’t find out why it isn’t behaving the way it should.

They keep bringing it up at the meetings but it’s hard to compete against the beginnings of civilization. I even heard Lisa muttering about all this damn anthropomorphism, as if the real signs of society occurring were all just wishful thinking.

But I do have sympathy for Lisa. Her team’s research got a pretty huge hit when Alpha was slowed down this week so that biology and anthropology could at the very least try to keep up with their data.

This basically all leads to the root of the problem, we are woefully understaffed. We are missing untold amounts of data every day. Our project was to create a world and we were perfectly sized to do that but our success has left us unprepared really on how to fully learn about what we’ve created. The parameter for success was to create a world and if we were so lucky as to have created a living world, to study it. We were a bit vague on study, and never would we have imagined how much there was to study. Greystle isn't really going to go for hiring many more though we will need more for tangent alpha. Perhaps I can get Erick on board. This project can provide some shelter to people we know.

Friday, October 5, 2029

Escorts and Agriculture and Religion - oh my

This morning I was awoken by my “escort,” and she wasn’t wearing a cocktail dress, she had a gun. I have an armed escort to work now. That got some looks around campus.

Today it was like a morgue in the lab. Everyone seemed to be there. Everyone seemed to be working. But no one made a sound. The real world was on everyone’s thoughts today.

The staff meeting today was the most... efficient, I guess, that we've ever had. No sidebars. We never went off topic. We never got sidetracked. I didn't like it. This wasn't my project. My team. This group of people was scared.

We can't imagine how to create and maintain our Alpha and its tangent if we are afraid to let our minds wander. If we are afraid to get off the path.

The path seems the only safe place.

But what is occurring on Alpha allows us to stay on task while still enjoying wonder. And it is wonderful and weird.

Some branches of the primate Alphans have already begun to develop agriculture. And because of it have become much more dependent on things out of their control. They are developing a spoken culture to explain their fear. Perhaps we are witnessing the beginnings of religion?

Also the primate Alphans seem to have many divergent branches. It will be interesting to see which, if any survive. Many of the branches are more or less sexually compatible, and we have seen that there have been cases of two dramatically different branches getting together. The heart wants what the heart wants after all.
The unfortunate offspring that happen often suffer from either gigantism or dwarfism like lygers and tigons (oh my). These children are shunned as you’d expect and don’t live long without support. And of course it seems that they are sterile. But it is interesting how closely these different species will live together, often with just a river or a hillside separating them. In Alpha’s future will we eventually have two or more completely divergent species fighting over resources?

The reptile guys don't have agriculture or seem to have any traditions beyond their silent democracy. Were their elections of Alpha males (or females) a weird evolutionary oddity? Though Janice didn’t like to hear it that is what a lot of us thought. Until we noticed something about their seasonal migrations. They were building. Basic root cellars and shelters really. Very odd, but as a new extended family moved into an area they soon began to use and expand the facilities left by the previous area occupants. They've built the beginnings of a town for others, without out ever meeting. If only the "friends" you make in the grid were as a real part of your community.

Things are happening fast. We have decided to slow Alpha down… way down. We are missing some important developmental moments at the speed it’s been running at. Greystle is fine with that as they’ve almost completely lost interest in Alpha and are more interested in the coming Tangent Alpha.

Thursday, October 4, 2029

A researcher with nowhere to go

Well now I can't get back to sleep.

Erik Dasner lives across the hall - he's the guy who just gave me the news.

Erik is especially nervous because his project at the medical school is getting its funding stripped. As soon as they close the books on the project Erik gets kicked off campus. Now with what is going on will the green zone be abandoned? If so what the hell happens to him? How does a researcher get a job in town?

Erik’s research project ended with a result so boring it doesn't really shine on his CV, which considering the amount of work that went into the study is a real shame.

After the two biggest murder sprees in 2018 were discovered to have been committed by men who had brain shockers funding poured in for a study about the long term side effects of this treatment. This was the first year that brain shockers were approved for mood disorders and no longer were limited to epileptics and schizophrenics. It was an incredible life improving technology that required only an hour long procedure to implant and optimize. And the idea that this technology could lead to such violent behaviors was quite the story, the media milked it for all its worth and a lot of people who could have been treated with the brain shockers were instead given the same old mildly effective drugs they’d been given for the past few decades. The game changing technology was given a black eye.

So Erik became the lead researcher in the study and after 10 years they discovered that a small percentage of the group did indeed exhibit abnormal behaviors from violent sexual fetishes to self mutilation and anger management issues. In an even larger percentage they noticed cheating, lying, and general anti-social behavior. Basically what they discovered was that the long term effect of brain shockers was that they were just typical humans. The percentage of aberrant behavior in the study group was basically the same as it was in the general population.

By then the technology was off patent, the lawyers had moved on, and the media had long since lost interest. No one publicized the findings. Since it was off patent there was no real money to be made clearing the treatment’s good name. Hopefully at least a few doctors read about the results and then recommend the treatment to their patients.

At least that is what Erik hopes. Otherwise 10 years of his life really was for nothing. And nothing is looming in his future right now either.

And the present just makes him more terrified about what nothing will be like.
Erik just burst in and woke me up. The campus is in lock down. We can’t even get into the Green Zone now. Where the hell is this going?

Wednesday, October 3, 2029

Lizard Voting

From the tree we could see the lizards gather up the flat stones. They placed the stones in front of the various elders. Two stones in front of one, three in front of another.

Janice was right: this was an election. These lizards had a representative democracy.

Thank god the animal I was in didn't get something to eat while we were online. Poor Adit was the one who needed a bucket after this POV visit.

After rinsing out his mouth he grabbed some used coffee grounds from the filter and gargled with them and some six hour old coffee. Seriously it couldn't have been that bad. I never thought of Adit as a drama queen.

Though I admit I don't think I'll remind anyone that I haven't had taste mapped yet.

After Sam Larson’s anthropology team discovered the rudimentary tool making quasi-primates, Janice has had her team scour the data from Alpha to find other examples of individual intelligence. Janice couldn’t let her team’s record of having the coolest discoveries upped by another team, especially not anthropologists.

Alpha has many thriving examples of group intelligence, my favorite being the elephant sized jelly fish like creatures that live in one of the rain forests that ring the northern tropics. These jelly elephants stack their dead on the dirt at the edges of their swamps. The dead creatures dry out and collapse forming a thin paper like husk. Eventually with body after body stacked on top of each other the compacted husks form walls that are as strong as concrete. Creatures as dumb as ants thus create barriers that protect their "stomping grounds" from storm surges. While an amazing example of emergence, this feat of civil engineering is just one of many. Alpha is full of it. It seems that any piece of data we pore over reveals something fascinating. But individual intelligence is truly special. What individual intelligence will give us is the potential to see cultures emerge perhaps even communities. You can’t have those things without a sense of other and thus a sense of self.

With this group of politically active lizards we jumped into something we didn't expect so early on. It looks like we've got ourselves a society here.

Janice brought the lizards to our attention in today’s morning meeting. She announced to all that in the deserts in the southern most continent of Alpha were reptiles that though don't yet have tools, have an amazingly complex social structure. Including something that looks almost like a democracy when it comes to the selection of leaders. We had some arguments over that last point in the meeting. Leave it to Alice to say that from a distance America looks like a democracy too. That was met with laughter and grimaces. Guess which came from the Greystle folks.

Yes, there are Greystle representatives in our official meetings now. Thus there are now regularly scheduled unofficial meetings

Thanks to POV we got to watch the election first hand. Yes we could render it and watch from any angle in the main lab, and we will tomorrow with as many of the team we can get in there, but seeing it first hand, from up on that tree, made it so real. It made it alive.

I hope we can come up with a good name for these guys because some here are already calling them Reptilians and that just don't feel right.