Monday, May 6, 2030

Stan's the Man

Stan came into my office today, luckily after I shook myself awake. The request forms they used here have such a horrible layout that the brain wants to shut down in revolt. I assume this is purposeful as it probably cuts down on the amount of requests that are made.

He wanted to talk to me “in his office.” For some reason I had flashbacks of high school whispers of “ohhh he’s in trouble….”

Stan has an office in the simulations lab too, behind what I had thought was just door to an electrical closet was yet another hallway (seriously, how massive is this place?). The hall ended with another door that opened into a very roomy office. On one wall sat his desk with oak cabinets behind him. That scene would have been at home in any office park office building. Another wall however was all monitors, each monitor flipping through video feeds that seemed to cover the entire simulations lab floor. I’m sure Stan wanted me to see that both as a threat and a warning. We were watched. It was a given, but it was something else to see it in living black and white. Seriously it was black and white. This place seems to have no limit to its budget and scale and they can’t be bothered to spy on us in color?

But as spectacular as the wall of monitors was, the wall across from it was a wonder. I think it was a window (or an amazingly clean video monitor) to the server farm. But it was massive. They aren’t doing just a hundred or so tangents, they are doing thousands, tens of thousands. Server rack after server rack in a warehouse sized hole in the rock. We must be on the outer edge of Abzu because the server farm was sitting there surrounded by bare rock. It looked so fake honestly, like an underground factory from an old sci-fi film back when they used matte paintings instead of digital imagery.

Stan just wanted to reinforce the importance of this project, and how seriously “everyone” was taking this. It’s far beyond Greystle now.

I didn’t get to discuss what was of most interest to me: What “this” is. He just showed me his office and then pushed me out the door since he just “wanted to show me around a bit,” but that he had another meeting to go to.

Game night again tonight. It looks like we are using proper Abzu etiquette because our game is exactly where we left it. Adit would know if any piece had been moved.

Sunday, May 5, 2030

First day at the office

Wow, it’s amazing how spreadsheets can bring you back to reality.

Today I learned where the sacred form is. There was a stack of them in my office. Now I can requisition anything from toothpaste to all the computers we’ll need for the team. In fact I can request more forms with the form.

Today Stan Winston escorted me and Adit to the Simulations lab. I guess we work weekends. Abzu is a surprise behind every door. Down one flight of stairs and down yet another identical hall was a door labeled “simulations” (yes - in lower case). You open the door and zoom you are in a glass corporate office building, without the windows to the outside world. Rows of offices with glass walls, a cubicle farm that went on and on to the point of parody; this was going to be big.

“Welcome home,” Stan said with all honesty. I think I had just witnessed some kindness. I was allowed a few minutes of acclimating before the rest of the team showed up: Janice, Alice, Kaitlin, Erik, Chen, everyone.

In the middle of the cubicle farm there is a clearing and a sunken open space. Though there are meeting rooms, this is probably the only place large enough to hold all of us if there is a team wide meeting.

I introduced everyone to where we would be working and I showed them the sacred form from which all things derived. The assignment over the next couple of days was to fill out the forms for everything they needed. Each group was to get a meeting with me to go over their needs (and their forms) and I’d approve them. We were starting from scratch. Most of the cubicles had no chairs and none of the offices had desks (which made the chairs seem so lonely).

There were lots of questions I couldn’t answer, the most important being of course how we were to access the server farm or if there even was a server farm or were we to spec it out all over again. Other questions centered on how to get Alpha back up, did we have any access to earlier backups of the Alpha code with which to jump start this project. And of course, my favorite: What the hell was this project. I didn’t know that either.

I did have one piece of hardware though, and it held the only piece of information I had. Stan gave me a laptop with access to my corner of the Abzu grid. Nothing there except a meeting on my calendar for Thursday to discuss servers. Hopefully that will answer some of these questions.

The highlight of the day was the mess hall on the simulations floor. It was massive and had an Italian Market theme, and it was the first time we got to “mingle.” Yes, we got to mingle with other inhabitants of Abzu. In fact Stan instructed all of us as to the importance of this. This cela was the ultimate think tank, and information, thought, and retention only grows when it is expressed face to face.

A nice theory and the people I met seemed nice, but very reserved and cagey about what they were working on. It actually was pretty uncomfortable. Hopefully communication and sharing will gain with time (as will our access to other research areas). Maybe to increase mingling we should have a mixer. Deck out the mess hall with ribbons and mirror balls. Serve bad punch. Bring up the awkward another notch.

Saturday, May 4, 2030

Cela Defined

Adit asked to read tonight’s entry – and he let me know that cela wasn’t them being hip and mispronouncing cellar, but rather it was Sumerian for “temple.” That’s kind of weird.

Orientation

Had two meetings today. One mind numbing and confusing, the other mind blowing and confusing.

Let’s discuss the boring one first: Facilities Orientation.

The most interesting part of this was that just two hallway turns away behind non-descript doors was a huge lecture hall.

We were told what the hours of the mess hall were, and that there are others but we need to receive permission from our Project Manger (Stan Winston) to visit them. A portion of the hall is open 24/7 for socializing (because formica and tile scream relaxation and community).

We learned about the requisition forms for everything from office supplies to bed sheets. But I wasn’t told where my office was (do I have an office?) or where to find these forms.

This presentation lasted 4 hours with one bio break. I think I reached a new spiritual level as my spirit lifted away from my body in revolt. That happened when we learned that there is no running in the halls.

I repeat no running in the halls. Well praise be.

After that we were lead into an adjacent room where a brown bagged late lunch was waiting for us. I realized that if I exited to the hallway from this room I wouldn’t be able to find my way back to my room. I’ve now declared that Adit must be my constant companion if nothing else for his ability to find his way back from anywhere.

When we were let back into the lecture hall there was a noticeable increase in guards. I’m sure that meant the next lecture was so boring that they were there to prevent us from running out of the room screaming.

And then my mind was blown.

This place is huge. We don’t have full access yet, in fact we probably never will but in the coming weeks we’ll get more and more access (if we behave ourselves). The entire facility has over 100,000 people. Though it is one facility there are many sectors: literal and virtual firewalls, biological filters. Gated communities with their own redundant systems. They don’t have emergency separation procedures, because these sectors are basically already separate; moving between them is infrequent and requires lots of red tape. Basically it is like entering another country; you’ll need a Visa. They call the sectors celas (Guess they’re too cool for the word cellar?). We’re in Research Cela 1 – catchy.

We’re the primary research sector (sorry ‘cela’), but there are others.

And then he briefly described the research done there: they’re building the future. As far as I can tell DARPA has gone big time with pretty much every other government research division (NIH has a secret research division) is represented here along with some universities. Greystle R&D is here as well and gets paid for their funding via rights to technology… I think. An underground and unaudited patent factory. Lots of money is going into and out of this place.

He tried to put a good spin on it, pointing out that the majority of projects was science for science sake, but I doubt that. They believe in cross discipline interaction, so basically after we’ve acclimated to the place we’ll be allowed to “mingle.”

And what is this place? Abzu. I thought that was a goofy name, but Adit just told me it is Sumerian for “primordial sea.” Okay, that is kind of cool.

The best part of the day was learning that Janice and Sally were only a few blocks away. Yes, each intersection of halls is a block. As stupid as that is that really helped me figure out how to move around the place.

Seriously I can’t tell you how happy in makes me to know those two are so close.

Afterwards Janice, Sally, and I started to play Go together in the Mess Hall. Yes there is a stock pile of games in the cabinets along the wall. Sally’s day was a guided tour of the exercise room and library. They have a huge online curriculum for her, but she said it was a very lonely day. She couldn’t get access to the wider Grid, so she couldn’t even message her old friends. Bur her spirits seemed high and she and I were a team against her mother. After a hour though we were just too tired to go on (it was a long day and nobody slept well last night).

I don’t know what the correct mess hall etiquette is, but we left a piece of paper on top of the board that says “don’t move.” I guess will see tomorrow if that works.

Yippeee I live in a cave

No seriously, we are underground again. In a military bunker or something. I’m sure I’ve seen this place in a dozen films. It’s probably an easy set to build. Build one hall and just use it over and over again at different angles.

I took a long elevator ride. Walked down halls. Took a long elevator ride. Walked down more halls. Was shown where the bathroom was, shown where the mess hall was and shown the door of my “room.” That and a long bus ride was my day.

I’m bunking with Adit. It’s only us two in this little room. I guess we’re lucky we don’t have a Greystle goon as a roomy. But having Adit as my roommate means I have to watch what I say. He’ll remember every stupid thing I do – forever.

They staggered us getting into the elevators, so I don’t know where anybody else is. I miss Janice a lot. Not knowing where she is makes it feel like I haven’t seen her in a long time. Of course, she could be next door. That would be good.

Orientation tomorrow. We’re all freshman now.

Thursday, May 2, 2030

So Happy Together

Wow – if Greystle wanted to get across the message that they were angry with us I couldn’t think of a better way. We are all packed. We have moved out of our dorm rooms and apartments. Our lives are packed into towers of cardboard boxes out on the campus lawn. With two hours before we are supposed to go Stan Winston the Director of Simulations for Greystle arrives with three old school busses, a couple trucks and lots of guards.

One truck is filled with small plastic storage containers. One for each of us. That is all we get. No place or time to store the rest of our possessions.

The entire campus grounds became the most hurried yard sale in history. Undergrad students picking up clothes, gadgets, and knick knacks for basically nothing. More tears were shed then money collected.

Gee Stan, what a great way to start our working relationship.

Tuesday, April 30, 2030

People Helping People

You work with people day in day out for months. Some are friends. Some you have lunch with. Some you say hi to. And all of them are brave and good people.

I have never been more impressed by my team. I have never been so overwhelmed at what people can do.

One long standing item on my to-do list was simply making what we were doing with Alpha easier.

The set up for Alpha and Tangent required so much custom coding; even the maintenance required so many developers, engineers, and DBAs hands on all the time. Of course some of the work was caused by the ever present hovering biologists, anthropologists, ecteraologists wanting to see more details or wanting to test a theory.

But when you got down do it the code to implement much of the laws our simulation needed to obey were already written. I had always planned on making some of these items as simple to implement as clicking a button. A world creating GUI if you will.

Thank god for procrastination. We never even got to the point of spec’ing such functionality. The simulations we ran are as difficult and complex to create and manage as they were from day one.

If you want to do it again we are necessary. All of us.

Greystle has been very obvious that they want us to do it again. So much so that they got us all out of jail.

So we put that to the test.

Last week Greystle announced that the Simulations Department was moving to ‘a new location.’ The last pretense of this being a project from an institution of learning- being on campus- is being removed. We were also told that we would be in some way working for the Defense Department and that because of that we weren’t being told where we were going.

Then last Thursday Janice learned that Sally was not coming with us. She was devastated. I was devastated. Within a minute of Janice and I being told I the news I was getting calls from team members about what we should do about it (even without access to the grid news travels fast).

Our team almost filled up the old cafeteria in the student center and I suggested something that to me seemed ludicrously ballsy. We would strike. We would go to jail and not to work.

And it was agreed to quickly and unanimously. Janice cried, so did I, so many of us did. The team was a beaten group, and this was a moment where they would fight back.

Whatever Greystle is planning on with another Alpha project must be big, because Sally is coming with us (and so is my unicorn covered slate I guess). They folded immediately. Good to know we aren't powerless.

Sally promises cookies for everyone as thanks. Assuming Greystle allows us access to cooking instruments (no knives?).

Friday, April 19, 2030

Unicorns and Rainbows for data safey!

Well thank God for unicorn stickers.

Now that I “work” for Greystle on “their’ simulations project I no longer have a right to privacy. They are trying to rebuild the project and have gone through everyone’s rooms/houses/apartments searching for every electronic device that may be of help.

Basically they are praying that someone broke their IP rules and took some work home.

They wanted to look at the slate but I let them know it was for Sally’s homework. And without missing a beat they just moved on. I wonder if that is out of respect for me having once been in charge of this project or for the fact that the slate is covered in unicorns and rainbows. Yes there are actual animating rainbows on the slate I’m typing on right now. I’ll never call them distracting again.

Funny thing is the “device” that knows the most about our project is Adit’s brain – so much of it is stored right up there. I’m guessing Ned isn’t fully in bed with Greystle, because they don’t seem to know that he is Rasa. The fact that Ned is keeping that secret makes me forgive the fact that he never showed up at any of the court hearings.

Tomorrow I meet the head of the project for Greystle. My first question is what are we doing, because Alpha and Tangent are dead.

Tuesday, April 16, 2030

Taxes

Okay, I did my taxes. I started getting the sweats as soon as I said I wouldn’t do them. I sent them to the IRS with seconds to spare. In the end I’m getting something back – easily enough for a pack of gum.

Monday, April 15, 2030

Meet the new boss

Unlike every other multinational Greystle still seems to be agile, I'll give them that. They can turn misfortune to their advantage. Well they can turn the misfortune of others to their advantage.

I had been feeling like we were a bunch of wage slaves for Greystle. We either worked for them on what had once been our project (a project of discover for discovery’s sake) or we could be let loose into the wilderness to search for employment that doesn’t exist. Though being near both Alpha and Janice is a joy.

Now the slavery is a bit more literal. The list of charges was ridiculous, our lawyer pathetic, and the sentence was draconian. Prison time for everyone.

Janice wouldn't be free in time to see Sally graduate high school. I wouldn't be out in time to see her graduate college. But longest sentence of all was for Alice who wouldn't be out in time to see Sally's children graduate. The judge and prosecutors didn't take kindly to her being a black belt and actually inflicting at least a few damage points to some soldiers.

But was most impressive about our collective railroading was that it was collective. You didn't even need to have come to our little riot to get sentenced. If you slept through it you still got 4 years. Being on staff or a grad student was enough. What few undergrads we had were expelled.

And then the white knights of Greystle arrived and all would be forgiven with such magnanimity that they believed they deserved another tax break. Actually Greystle didn’t look at this is an opportunity for good PR, corporations stopped worrying about that years ago. No Greystle now has a guarantee – none of us will go work elsewhere.

We can’t.

None of us will ask for a raise.

We can’t.

And we can’t seem to get a straight answer on how long our servitude will last.

All I know is that I’m not going to prison, Adit isn’t going to prison, Kaitlin isn’t going to prison, Alice isn’t going to prison, and best of all, Janice isn’t going to prison. We all can watch Sally grow. And be free. Though that word is a bit vague these days.

Oh, and I'm not doing my taxes on time this year. What are they going to do? Arrest me?

Thursday, March 21, 2030

The Big Boom

The explosion woke me up. It was loud. The glass shook and the smell felt like that it would burn my nose hair.

Next thing I knew I was outside in front of our building. When I was running across the campus I was joined by most of the simulations staff and students; we were pouring out of every piece of housing. I hadn't thought of how many there were of us until that moment. And we were all sure it was from our building.

The troops didn't run. They were already there. Blocking us from getting into the building.

It was if we were parents being blocked from entering the burning school knowing our children were still in there. The Alphans. Were they destroyed? The billions of simulated lives gone. Did some destabilizer commit the largest genocide ever, and not even know it?

Janice rushed the guards and was pushed back - hard, and in a strange moment of bravery or anger or - let me take a moment to sound lame – chivalry, I rushed the guard. I'm told I was met with a rifle butt.

I missed the real excitement. Adit dragged me away. Janice ran to me. Sally screamed and thankfully Kaitlin had the sense to take her back to the trees. Because the next think that happened was for all intents and purposes a riot.

A bunch of IT nerds and science geeks, made even more pale than normal from weeks of not being outside, rushed armed soldiers and Greystle guards. The only advantage we had was the few seconds of their inaction due to the fact that they were in a state of bemusement.

But they were old pros at dealing with rioters by then and we weren't that adept at rioting. An hour later I was at the campus hospital along with a dozen others. I'm sure one of the soldier’s boots got scuffed.

Sally got me the slate and a bag of cheese curls when she and Janice visited. Janice gave me a kiss and a lecture.

Now half my face is a big swollen clammy weird feeling mess and I'm told that I'm a very lucky little project director because my eye is fine and my retina didn't detach with the force of the blow.

But the truth is that the Alphans are dead, the project is probably shut down and every one of us is royally screwed.

Tuesday, March 5, 2030

Science is not a risk management matrix

Being back at my room doesn’t feel like being home anymore. I feel like I’m visiting. But does that mean the lab is my real home now?

There is a lot of hustle and bustle back at the lab. Work is being done, but it doesn’t seem to be science. All that the software and hardware teams are working on is how to do our simulations on a massive scale. There are plans, timelines, risk management, contingencies. It’s like Project Management for the sake of project management.

And if I see another spreadsheet... I’ll do nothing, I’ve got a lot of spreadsheets to look at in the coming days.

Janice has been able to get a skeleton grew to be dedicated just to Alpha and Tangent. Technicians and scientists that somehow haven’t shown up on a Greystle resource plan. The hardest part for them is to not follow their natural instinct and file reports. What happens in Alpha now is documented only in their personal journals. Anything official and they might get noticed. And if they get noticed they’ll be “ramping up,” and making the project “scalable.” And documenting our systems “best practices.”

Really, if it has never been done before I’m not sure the way that you did it the first time can be considered “best practice.” But what do I know – this is just what my career has become.

Thursday, February 21, 2030

Back on Campus

I had lunch on campus today – not at the roach coach not in the basement of our lab – in the actual student center. Society has a type of reverse entropy in that no matter the level of chaos it strives for normalcy. Or at the very least routine.

So I’m back to staying in my room, Sally is back to going to school (now located on campus), and if the green zone was open I’d work up the courage to ask Janice out on a date. A date on campus doesn’t seem right. Dating... see? an attempt at normalcy.

Erik has moved back to his room as well. We all have. The Green Zone is quiet and I hear the riots in town now are just something that happen every evening. The fear is gone just a sad desperation or perhaps a resignation seems to fill the air.

Wednesday, February 13, 2030

Tangentens and Alphans

Okay it’s been decided.

Look, in a way Alpha and Tangent are our children, and I know parents are not supposed to have favorites, but let’s face it, Tangent is no one’s favorite, well no one from the original simulation team at least. The Greystle folks are just giddy about Tangent actually.

You know this is just another example of what has become a really awkward work environment. We’ve gotten to be like one huge clique. We exclude Greystle consultants from our lunch tables, our conversations change when one of them comes near (even when it doesn’t have to). Some of the old group has taken to calling them Greys (okay – almost all of us. Sally started it and it just worked so wonderfully). Unfortunately the new scientists and engineers that we’ve brought on are probably feeling a bit left out. But we don’t know who to trust, so we only trust ourselves.

So maybe Tangent just doesn’t feel like one of us. It does feel like a violent hopeless place. War is constant on the north continents with the inventions of war occurring at a quick pace. Luckily the spirit of warmongering hasn’t seemed to infect the lizards. That said though, they don’t seem to be the same as the guys on Alpha. They seem a little less interested in intellectual pursuits and are migrating farther south on the continent than they are on Alpha. It’s like they are scared of those apes up on the northern hemisphere (not to be too worried though, their ship building abilities seems to have been stuck at raft stage ever since the battles that occurred during the divergence).

We’ve taken to calling the primates on both Tangent and Alpha as Tangentens as a way to describe our disgust with them, and the lizards are now officially named Alphans. We are so very proud of them. We love our Alphans – The Tangentens make me think of the Greys. Not a nice way to think of our benefactors, but I’m beginning to think of them like I think of the Tangentens – that they are primitive, greedy and brutish. Even if their greed is symbolized only be their patent grabbing and their brutishness symbolized by the guards, whose presence I resent yet I must admit I am happy to feel safe in this day and age. Though the campus is safe I can tell from others in different departments that the actual feeling of safety is a rare commodity.

Wednesday, February 6, 2030

What the Hell?

My request was met with almost zero interest. I’ve been told that their main interests in Tangent and Alpha have been met, and though we can continue the project (“for the time being” – what does that mean?) they want all software and hardware teams to begin work on making the simulations scalable.

They want to run 10,20,or even more tangents. I told them a real number would be helpful and was told “more than fifty.” Wha?

The idea of simulating the formation of a solar system is off the table for now. Maybe if we ever get from under the thumb of Greystle we can again have the scientists make decisions on what the science we are studying is. Boy I sound like such a dreamer.

I’ve had Adit’s team slow down Tangent and Alpha to the point where we don’t have to have constant upgrades. Kaitlin’s team is going to be too busy making the mother of all shopping lists to be able to spend time upgrading the simulation hardware every day.

Down on Tangent and Alpha it now takes weeks for a generation to be born and die. Suddenly that seems slow. How us long lived Gods bore of times slow progression. (Oh, I hope Janice never reads that, she really freaks when team members talk about the whole “we’re Gods to them” aspect of this project).

Monday, February 4, 2030

About the math

Ted Zell, our consultant from the math department was able to give us a bit of an executive summary as to what our lizards are doing down there on Alpha (side note, their intellectual pursuits seems to have slipped a bit on Tangent).

From what I could make out it sounds like they are doing some serious math. I felt like an idiot in there, I know enough of most of our pursuits to at least follow along, whether it is the biology, physics, or even the coding of Alpha, but this was beyond me.

Janice was with me on that, she looked fascinated, but bewildered. Adit seemed to be soaking it in the most.

Anyway they seem to be doing theoretical math. Math in multiple dimensions. Not just our standard three, or even four, but six, ten, 20. Pure insanity math. Spaces and manifolds and stuff. Pretty esoteric.

Ted even said as much. Beyond pure intellectual pursuit the only real reason to do such high level math is to explain some of what we see on the macro and micro levels, areas where Newtonian physics fall down.

Quote of the day was Adit, “so we’ve got a simulated organism equipped with proofs for theories on quantum fields and a multiverse while they live purely in a digital world.”

I have to admit that hit me a bit jarringly. I forget that all the Alphans from the now extinct jelly fish elephant like things to the lizards are really just zeros and ones. And here they were working out math that could help us understand better our analog reality.

Trying to sound like a project manager I chipped in with a concern as to whether or not their science advancements could soon outstrip our processing power, no matter how many upgrades we get (which Kaitlin now has occurring everyday at 11:00, shortly after the morning’s component shipment – I don’t even need to ask for money these day, Greystle just signs the checks without asking questions).

The answer is not yet, simply because they only are theorists, our friends are doing math that Ted says would fascinated Ng himself, but they don’t have equipment yet. They haven’t gone electronic. They haven’t even gone to smelting metals yet, something the much more primitive primates up north have been doing off and on for generations now. Until they go beyond theoretical we are in good shape, but as soon as they actually begin to compute and study with something more than their amazing brains we’ve got an issue.

I think I’ve got a pretty good reason now for asking permission from Greystle to slow the simulations down a bit. These lizard Alphans may just be a few generations away from making this entire project beyond our technical capabilities.

Sunday, February 3, 2030

We got a gold star today at school

Greystle is ecstatic about how tangent has worked out.

They've even given us some rewards. Though they don't call them that.

They are now saying it is safer out. And maybe it is but you can still hear gun fire from the town. But supposedly the green zone is calm. Though we've been told that no one from our department is allowed to leave campus. But the point is we are allowed back into the campus – that is, we are finally allowed outside. Ahhh Vitamin D here I come.

It's almost frightening how everyone is pretending things are back to normal. I even saw a frisbee game on the grounds today. Which of course is all the more exciting in the cold because the Frisbees crack when they hit a tree.

The roach coach lady is back which is a nice change from the basement food. Even if the quality of the food is a little sketchy. She's not much for small talk these days though. Janice says she lost someone in the fighting.

There are some troops stationed near the main gate, and I hear there are a lot more in the woods on west side. But besides that, if you pretend, you can make yourself believe nothing has changed, except for the bunker like guard stations and the few burned out buildings on east campus.

On the lighter side it was like a gift to see Sally be able to run around in the snow. And being on a campus has its advantages if you want to start a snowball fight, there were plenty of people ready to join her.

Back inside we got permission from our "managers" at Greystle for someone from the mathematics department to check out the work being done by our southern lizard friends on Alpha. Not Ng, of course, but one of his grad students.

I'd never seen such a large pile of NDAs and other forms they gave the guy to sign.

At the end of the day it was hard to keep on target in the debrief we had with him. As much as we were proud of our lizards and we wanted to learn more of their achievements we mostly quizzed him about life on campus for the past few weeks.

Basically the lockdown wasn't limited to us. There were still classes, but generally you took them from your dorm room. Troops occupied most of the grounds. Lab classes happened if the building was available via the maintenance tunnels. In the end his experience didn't seem any better than ours, in fact it sounded a lot worse. He didn't even get much more sunlight than us as most of the windows were boarded up.

Meanwhile the grid is full of celebrity news. Divorces seem to be on the up rise, but the uprisings don’t get much coverage.

Thursday, January 31, 2030

Violent Tangent

It might just be in my head, but I’m not alone.

Tangent seems like a more violent place than Alpha. And not just for the primates who now seem to be in constant war. But everywhere.

Thunderstorms seem worse. Rodents seem nastier. Even our lizard friends seem grumpy.

Kaitlin thinks so too and she’s one of the most “grounded,” okay – analytical – people I know.

I wonder if anyone in Adit’s team can come up with a way to really quantify violence and get what is a feeling into the realm of fact.

Monday, January 28, 2030

Awakening to a new reality

Okay, I take it back. This really is an alternate "history" we have created. And it is amazing.

By the next morning there had been battles in both tangent and alpha. And when the battle was over in Alpha the leader of the proto fascists was dead. In tangent he not only survived but was victorious. It looks like an arrow was deflected by the fortress on Tangent and it met its mark on Alpha. It was just a flesh wound but it was the trigger that sent the divergences exploding into different directions so fast that the tracking servers went down. We never thought those servers would have to do so much so fast. But there was already so much data it was crunching that real time tracking was just wishful thinking anyway.

The seven millimeters was enough to change their world.

Greystle wanted us to speed up both Alpha and Tangent right away to see how long term and dramatic these changes would be. Would they continue to diverge or would they somehow get back in sync?

Yes, somehow in Tangent and Alpha there is fate. It must be an interesting algorithm Adit threw in there. Seriously, someone in Greystle thinks these two worlds will somehow get back in sync. The only explanation for such event would be fate. And I don't believe in fate and I know it doesn't exist in our simulations.

Someone has watched too much classic Twilight Zone where history can't be changed by the little people and that somehow the powerful people are more important and massive and that reality orbits around them. I guess they can't take that seven millimeters is all that was needed to create a new reality.

They’ve got big money and only do big things.

Friday, January 25, 2030

7 millimeters.

Today was the day. The alpha team decided what they would use as the divergent event. And it pissed off the Greystle folks in how minor the change would be but we reassured them that this was a good starting point to test the full system and If they didn't like the results in a week. We'd see about making another start.

So we've slowed Alpha down to the slowest it has ever run. It's running real time. Every second for us is a second for them.

We got a full instance of Alpha set up on Tangent based on this morning’s snapshot and ran Tangent at a slightly faster pace until both Tangent and Alpha were in sync.

Weird thing one: our read out of divergences looks like a heart monitor. We have countless routines running that are basically generating random numbers that feed into Alpha that are used in daemons that control the atmosphere, magnetic strength and location, weather, waterfall – you know, everything (creation comes from chaos after all). So there is explosion of minute divergences as Tangent and Alpha have developed different sets of random numbers, but almost immediately these divergences cancel each other out. Out of the randomness, the pattern of existence on alpha and Tangent become synced.

By afternoon we have finished marveling at this (actually if we had our way we’d have marveled at just this for weeks, but Greystle was watching and they seem to be on a schedule). We set about to get ready to start the change.

On an island closely off the coast of the largest continent there are some intelligent apes that have been preparing for war. They have built fortresses. They have built ships. They've even gone to the mainland and abducted other apes to use as slaves.

Not fond of these folks.

Pretty much why we choose these guys to mess with.

We waited until their nighttime and in the cover of dark moved one of their fortresses 7 millimeters to the left.

And bam – our read out of divergences exploded like a firework display. We pinched down the scale as we no longer cared about the minutia and began to watch the divergences on a macro scale.

Tangent and Alpha definitely are no longer in sync.

Weird thing two: We saw divergences immediately clear on the other site of Tangent. Insignificant, and nothing (yet) on a macro level, but much more dramatic than the heartbeat randomness of earlier. These changes occurred faster than it would take the light from the fortress to reach across Tangent to where the divergences occurred. The changes happened outside the cause and effect window. It would be impossible for any effect from the change to have occurred on the other side of Tangent by then. Spooky action at a distance indeed.

Now I’m crashing from the high. I almost feel let down now. Like somehow I was instantly going to see a dramatically different reality on Tangent? Like somehow Germany would have won World War II and big dirigibles would now roam about the skies.

Post partum depression?

Thursday, January 24, 2030

Going off on a tangent

Tomorrow's the day.

I feel like Alpha is having a baby.

Monday, January 14, 2030

Thank you Sally!

Okay now I have to have a cover story for why I have this slate, if a guard ever asks for it again: I’m checking Sally’s homework and it is her slate.

Quick things to remember:

1) Make a better password
2) Thank Sally profusely for covering for me
3) Remember to keep the slate in my office
4) Buy Sally a gift
5) Put some of Sally’s homework on here just in case
6) Keep the unicorn stickers
Hey, Sally here.

Rob keeps a diary. That is so cute. He even has a slate for to it. That is a good thing because Rob's handwriting is awful. I had better handwriting when I was just doing block letters in pre-school. I'm doing cursive now.

Rob, two things:
1) I hope you like my unicorn stickers. If you're going to tell the guards that this is my slate it has to look like it.
2) my mom's name is perhaps the most obvious password ever.

And Rob before you freak I stopped reading after 2 posts. I think you really probably didn't want me to read this when you handed it to me. But I think you're going to have to tell me what POV is and what it has to do with me, that talented magical princess friend of yours.

So here is what is going on: Aliens. Yep Aliens.

The aliens are studying what we are like when we are trapped in a building and not being allowed to go outside.

That way they will know what will happen when they put us in a space ship and not allow us to go outside.

Wednesday, January 9, 2030

VIPs

Some kind of big wigs came today. I asked Adit who they were. I mean, had he ever seen them before. He had.

Two of them appeared on a news show for a minute or so a few years back it seems. They were members of the Walker family.

Relatives of the first family. Wow. I know, though not sure why, that Alpha is pretty important to Greystle. But is Prescott aware of our little project here? Are they really that interested in lizard's and their breakthroughs in mathematics?

Oh did I mention that? Those guys are wizes at math. Their theories are getting to the point where Adit and Kaitlin's team are spending their nights reading up on higher math to see what the heck they are doing and if there are some new discoveries being made. I've asked Greystle if we could bring in Kim Ng from the math department, Dulles's own Noble Laureate. But Greystle was pretty cagey about the idea.

Are we some kind of high end sweat shop? I have to ask permission to get someone to explain the science our science experiment is uncovering. Maybe we'll get a grad student of Ng's at least.

Saturday, January 5, 2030

Living in the basement

I used to joke how our team was just a bunch of basement dwellers, of course there were less of us then, but we didn't live in a basement. But you know. Times change.

They've got a huge kitchen/dining area in our new basement campus and have even brought in some pretty good cooks. Though part of me misses the roach coach lady.

We have breakfast, lunch, and dinner there, and we eat in shifts. Not sure if that is really because there are so many folks living in here now or if Greystle want us to think there are.

The place just feels so large now. There are people on the staircase and in the halls that I don't recognize. I have no idea where they came from or where they go during the day.

Janice, Kaitlin and Adit certainly have their ideas but I've pretty loudly told the teams the best thing for us is to just keep working on the project and let the world figure itself out.

Narcissistic? True, but giving basement dwelling nerds permission to live only in their world and not the real one is what I needed to do. Nothing good is going to happen if we get involved. And what could we do anyway. What should we do?

Besides, the project is the only thing that is really joyful in here. Well that and Sally. She's taken to this so well, though she is definitely getting a little stir crazy. If it ever feels safe enough to pull POV out again I'd love to find some nice field or beach for her run on.

They've got some great horse like creatures in one of the southern continents. Sally would love to be one of those.

Sally’s also got the beat theories as to what is going on. Mostly they have to do with aliens.

Tuesday, January 1, 2030

Happy new year

I guess I should be happy this year is over as I sit on a cot mattress in a huge barracks like room. They can fit twenty of us in this room and there are three rooms like this on this floor. And there seems to be more floors below us. I guess now I know what Greystle was building.

Were they planning ahead for when the country would start falling apart? I’m pretending the sounds I heard from outside when I was walking down the stairs were celebratory fireworks. Should I be out there too? Fighting? For what I know. The past. But not sure what the fighting does. It doesn't seem organized. Not to use the presidents term but it just seems destabilizing.

So it is New Year’s. A lousy fake holiday to begin with, now seeming even more pointless. No one is celebrating.

Should I reflect on the past year? Where it looks like so much has gone wrong with the year. With me. But so much has gone right with what I want to do. With Alpha. Is it wrong to take joy in that. When I should be miserable. Like the rest of the world.

I'll take what I can get. I'm luckier than I should be.

Hard to believe at this time last year Ned and I were overseeing the shut down of all the other projects at the Simulations Department and the formation of the Alpha team.

Alpha has gone from a University sponsored study staffed mostly with grad students to some kind of military industrial skunk works in what seems like a blink of an eye. Or a few billion Alphan years I guess.