Sunday, December 30, 2029

Tear gas on the way home today.

I tried to sleep to the sounds of gun shots and the occasional explosion coming from the town and perhaps even from within the green zone itself. It was a failure. It seems fear keeps me awake better than Orexinal.

Erik banged on the door about an hour ago with the news. The President has ordered the arrest of the Speaker of the house and more than a few Senators and Reps have disappeared.

I guess tired of the months long cat and mouse game, the speaker sent out the Sargent in arms to arrest the President’s chief of staff for contempt of congress, but this time not symbolicly as it has been with all the other contempt charges for Prescott’s staff members. This time they were armed and they caught up to Mrs. Prince on her way home. A firefight broke out between the capital police and her private guards and Mrs. Prince was killed.

And now I am supposed to be packing. A Greystle guard is outside my door having just told Erik and I that we are to move into the lab until things settle down.

I don't know where they are going to fit all of us. God I hope Janice and Sally are all right.

Thursday, December 27, 2029

Alpha Update - what' s up down there

I get to spend less and less time with the core Alpha team. Almost all the developers are working on setting up Tangent. And some of the stuff they've come up with is amazing. We’ll be able to see divergents in real time. Not POV “seeing” of course, or even rendered snapshots but dynamic graphs showing the branches and offshoots of the data sets that comprise Alpha and Alpha’s Tangent.

I've broached the subject of what change the Alpha team would like to make that would trigger the change and creation of Tangent, but the concept of them playing "God" and manipulating an event on Alpha turns the meetings instantly into shouting matches. The team has become a bunch of Deists I guess, believing the creators of the world should stop interfering with mortal affairs after the initial creation.

I am noticing that my argument that Alpha itself will be untouched and that it is Tangent that will be the manipulated one is starting to sway them. Of course the fact that we still have jobs cannot be underestimated as a motivator.

Listen to me, this project has become too much politics and drama. I was going to devote this post to Alpha itself, not shop talk.

There are a variety of different species of our intelligent apes. Some separated by mountain ranges but in a few cases sharing the same valley.

As you'd guess most of the time they don't get along, but generally the keep out of each other’s way. If you like violence however, you have to tune in whenever the resources are scarce then you've got theft, sabotage, and outright wars. It's all too familiar.

Whether forced or possibly even romantic there have been examples of cross breeding. Leading, alas, to ostracized children that often don't make it to adulthood because they have no support. If they do make it they almost always end up childless as they are often sterile.

They aren't always rejected by their peers. Some often display gigantism or dwarfism like ligers and tigons (oh my). Whether to be used as warriors or mascots these unfortunate children are at least given a life with the tribe.

Technology both agricultural and martial has been slow to advance. Or at least it seems that way to me, one who has never witnessed the creation of a civilization before. Arrows and plows have both made an occasional appearance though. Flashes of genius that haven’t yet taken root.

Now to see technology we literally go to the other side of the world where our stoic little lizard friends have created wood analog computers that predict lunar cycles and even the positions of the fake little planets we've placed up in the skies. These guys are causing us a lot of CPUs. To make it easier on our systems the stars and planet projected on to their sky are our own. Alpha has our moon and sun. Even our Jupiter. Our already existing projections data of our solar system and night sky are just being loaded right into Alpha – so no new number crunching needed.

This touches on something we've discussed a lot over and over. While Alpha is often wondrously alien it also is very familiar. It is very Earth like. And by projecting our solar system onto the Alphan data we bring up again the most compelling argument as to why. Earth is our template. And because of that our rules and laws of existence create Earth like creations.

We have made Alpha in our own likeness. Heh, Janice would kill me if she read that.

Tuesday, December 25, 2029

It doesn’t really feel like Christmas

No one had time to buy gifts (or really the money - shipping costs from Grid vendors are insane).

We didn't have any decorations up.

But we had a big lunch with most of the original team together for the first time in a while.

I also gave Sally the old Star Wars toys I had as a kid and of course kept in my office. She was really happy with them, though she's been playing with those exact toys forever - whenever she visited the office. Now she owns them and she thinks that makes all the difference.

And Janice gave me a kiss.

On second thought, I guess it does feel like Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2029

Strolling on the Grid

Erik (who is on the tangent team now by the way) let me scan the grid at his room tonight. His desperate gratitude at me having secured him a job is a little unnerving, but the truth is he's a good addition to the tangent team and his research will definitely be helpful in taking POV to the next level. That is if we ever get a chance to work on it again.

I haven’t told Erik about POV yet. I'm worried about what Greystle will to us if they discover we've been hiding such a breakthrough. If it didn’t mean the end of Alpha, then at the very least means then end of my involvement, and that of Adit, Kaitlin, and Janice. It also means that we’ll be kicked out of campus and without jobs. With the way things are going that means tent city. Jackie points out that if Greystle gets a hold of POV they would use it in ways we’d find very unsavory. Of course Jackie says everything Greystle does is unsavory, but I don’t think that is uncorrected thinking.

I feel like I'm being a little paranoid using Erik’s ID on the grid but we can't be having a person of authority on the project going to the news and opinion areas of the grid. I don't want Greystle to think the project is lead by a destabilizer. I assume they'll be less concerned if it is just a team member roaming about (I say now suddenly feeling guilty). I did make sure to avoid the more outspoken corners.

All the fake IDs Adit made for us months back seem to have abruptly stopped working. The government has announced a Grid crackdown to stop the destabilizing elements, and new security agents have scoured out a lot of fake IDs and took them off the Grid. Adit could probably make even more sophisticated fake IDs but he’s kind of swamped right now.

Janice was right about what is going on on the Grid. Traffic seems down. Interaction seems at a minimum. The news out there doesn't sound good but it seems… edited.

God, it is probably a lot worse out there.

It feels like the old web. Nothing is live. A lot of text, little real/immediate imagery or video. It’s not that the Grid isn’t being used… it feels like it is being edited. I can’t imagine the resources required to do that, but it looks like it is being done.

Saturday, December 8, 2029

It's a blur but it has become routine.

Day after day it happens so quickly, generally when I have a tooth brush in my mouth, the Greystle hired guard picks me up. Usually it is someone I don't recognize and they rarely give me their name.

We walk through campus and the students and refugees give us death stares. Outside the lab the gal from the roach coach hands me the stack of food that will be my meals for the day, and then I try to ignore all the construction folks walking down the stairs to the new floor (floors?) below the server farm. We've got the whole building to ourselves now with several floors being stocked with the new equipment and working space for the new staff.

Then the meetings start. First the Tangent meeting. The big topic that is being studied now is how best to get the Tangent Alpha up online so the branching can begin and once it does begin how will we track the branching. We have the systems and staff ready; we just need to make sure we get the start down right because in the end that is the thing, after that we step back and watch it go.

After that marathon of timetables and logistics comes a quick lunch as I walk down to my old office and meet with the heads of the Alpha project.

The first half hour is generally complaints and questions, neither of which I can address. Because I don't know anything and outside of the actual project I can’t “do” anything. The rest of the meeting is the only moments of wonder left in my day. Each group shares with the team their newest discoveries, questions, and answers that they have come across in their past day's dig into Alpha. Then the project heads makes their requests for equipment and staff that I deny. Tangent Alpha gets all of it now.

The team has become very agile though with loaning each other staff back and forth as needed. And each team has devoted a staff member to by fully dedicated to optimizing the snapshot data now that Adit's software team has been pulled completely on to Tangent. Because of their work the team has been able to have the data necessary to be able to back track trends as their significance becomes apparent. A minor change in diet from a few days ago can be brought to light when the jaw structure change in the dominant primate leads to an increase in miscarriages in the species. That was an impressive piece of detective work. I'm so proud of them but it is apparent I'm not really necessary any more but luckily no one ever brings that up and I get to bask in the reflective glory of discovery for 90 minutes.

Next comes the Everest of my daily meetings. Status with Greystle. This isn't a university project any more this is a Greystle project. Even my bank alert now says the daily paychecks are coming from Dulles Scientific Consulting and not the university. I asked around and it looks like DSC was formed a few weeks ago and has no official affiliation with the university even though we all live and work in the university and the company has the same name as the university. I'm now a part of Greystle I guess, and I didn't even get a welcome package from HR. Adit wrote an agent for the team that takes everyone’s daily deposits and converts them to a variety of different denominations based on the day's exchange rate. It has been a great hedge against the hyper inflation.

Then I use what remains of my energy keeping up with the actual business of managing this project. That consists of Grid forms and apps flying by while I eat my dinner. Before I get close to feeling I have a handle on what is going on a guard will come and take my back to my room.

I cross the campus and notice again, as I do every night, that glow in the dark frisbee and teens coming back from dates have been replaced by tent cities with bonfires to keep everyone warm. I actually saw a campus security guard today… he hurried away when he saw me and my “escort.”

And night after night I collapse onto my bed even before I brush my teeth or change. Except tonight – tonight I actually got to write an update. I want to see if I can do this more often.

It is all a blur and seeing it in words allows me to focus it and I don’t like what I see.