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.