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Comment: Re:MOOG = massive open online synthesis (Score 2) 85

by TheRealHocusLocus (#49378015) Attached to: No Film At 11: the Case For the Less-Video-Is-More MOOC

Frankly, I had to look up MOOC online too because it wasn't in my 1938 Webster or Corey Ford's Guide To Thimking [1961, Doubleday] , the computer reference I most often consult.

[...] some people started GOOgling it,
not knowing what it was,
and they'll continue GOOging it forever
just because This is the trend that never ends,
only the name does change my friend, [...]

It means eLearning or iBrainPodPeople or LearningMOO/MUD. It also means Learn-A-TRON or Learn-O-Matic. As you see on the oldest revisions of the Wiki, it was "founded on the theory of connectivism and an open pedagogy based on networked learning." From these huble 2011 origins it has gone on to have been founded on other things too. TIL In MOOC "every letter is negotiable," which means the shortest possible variant of it is "" the null set...

No biting satire intended, as one who never attended High School I welcome the advent of the online courses that can be realized for less than $100,000, whatever the cost. Along with Benny Hill I am learning all the time.

Comment: Zorro-friendly: get in, make your 'Z' and get out (Score 1) 295

by TheRealHocusLocus (#49361563) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes Some Code Particularly Good?

I offer Sendmail in its mid-1990s form as an example. We had several dialup customers with Microsoft Exchange servers. They'd connect and Exchange would issue an ETRN to dequeue waiting messages. The problem was that Sendmail by default, would send a "Warning: could not deliver mail for 4 hours" reply back to sender after the email had languished in the queue that long, and they dialed in sporadically and not at all on weekends so folks who emailed them would get these messages. It was bad. I wanted to disable this warning specifically for ETRN domains but not for everyone.

Does this feature exist? Sendmail documentation defined 'queuewarn' as a global setting but did not address this "deferred delivery by design" problem. Could there be a presently-undocumented or undiscovered workaround? Delving into the source it was visually apparent the answer was no, the warning was unconditional. The only workaround would have been to run a completely separate SMTP server on another IP address with the queuewarn off, and MX 'em to that. What a bother. Are domain-specific attributes available? Yes, these had a mailer flag of HOLD. Can it be addressed with a one-liner? Yes. So the _FFR_NODELAYDSN_ON_HOLD compile/config flag was born, off by default because we don't want to break things.

Just a couple of hours to discover, patch and test. another hour to render it into a contrib patch where it made its way into Sendmail. Open source is cool and when you see your own contribution being proposed as a solution to solve someone else's problem years later... that is quite satisfying.

Sendmail had the right balance of code-to-comment. What comments were there would not make sense until you understood the underlying process, and tag names were explicit enough that comments were seldom necessary.

Comment: Re:Not just Thumbelina (Score 1) 45

Cell phone use causes the brain to disconnect from the whole body. When you spend your whole day staring at that tiny screen ignoring everything around you many things go wrong.

[Cue music] It would not have been possible otherwise, to sufficiently emphasize the frightful toll of the new menace which is destroying the youth of America in alarmingly increasing numbers. Cell phones are that distraction -- and the Internet is the enabler -- an unspeakable scourge -- The Real Public Enemy Number One !

Its first effect is sudden violent, uncontrollable laughter, then come dangerous hallucinations -- space expands -- time slows down, almost stands still.... fixed ideas come next, conjuring up monstrous extravagances --- followed by emotional disturbances, the total inability to direct thoughts, the loss of all power to resist physical emotions leading finally to acts of shocking violence ... ending often in incurable insanity.

In picturing its soul-destroying effects no attempt was made to equivocate. The scenes and incidents, while fictionized for the purposes of this story, are based upon actual research into the results of cellphone and Internet addiction. If their stark reality will make you think, will make you aware that something must be done to wipe out this ghastly menace, then the picture will not have failed in its purpose.

Because the dread technology may be reaching forth next for your son or daughter ...or yours ... or YOURS!

~~Cellphone Madness

Comment: Re: You should title this "Patriot act to be repea (Score 1) 186

by TheRealHocusLocus (#49343135) Attached to: New Bill Would Repeal Patriot Act

Amen. Surely more of a 'State of Emergency' than some sorry-ass hurricane. Oh yeah, and see about finding a President who'd veto this kind of shit, maybe roll back some of those perpetual declared emergencies too. Oops, that was Ron Paul. Better luck next time.

We should also give thought to those presently employed in these industries to ensure there is a safety net of retraining and placement. With a basic course in Constitutional Law and Civics. Those who do not score well might take advantage of the porous national borders, seek their fortunes in El Salvador or Mexico.
Things have got to change, But first, you gotta get mad!
  NSA and the Desolation of Smaug
  I am Sam. Uncle Sam I am.
  I really hated Men In Black
  Am I the first to suggest... BLACKMAIL??
  Sherlock Holmes: training wheels for NSA surveillance
  Stick a fork in the Republic, it's done. HR4681/309 [failed submission]
  The backbone, then [1980s] and now
  Whatever happened to the 'old' NSA? Directive 18?
  Last Wish (aka The Pact)

Comment: Re:Cory Doctorow makes a good point... (Score 2) 536

Comment: Re:Youtube? Your Questions Answered (Score 5, Insightful) 198

by TheRealHocusLocus (#49326163) Attached to: Pixar Releases Free Version of RenderMan

Yes, the FAA: Don't post drone videos on Youtube Any more questions?

Also don't shoot video from upper balconies, GoPro headbands while skateboarding 'Ollies' in the air, while hanging from chandeliers, cliffs, standing on the transparent tourist platform atop the Eiffel Tower, from tethered balloons, while being shot from a cannon, while head-butting a ram, riding glass elevators, or suspended from suspenderences such as but not limited to rope or chain, or if you are tall, or if the subject is short.

These distinct camera angles strongly suggest drone use to busy compliance officers, who have been judicially empowered to employ the same 'presumption of use', 'intent to distribute' arguments that have made the War On Drugs the successful endeavor it is today. If your content is flagged, you will be pressed to supply proof that a drone was not present, and unmarked drones may appear next to your your house and photographs taken. Drawing on the 'admissibility loophole' that has made the partnership between Intelligence agencies and Law Enforcement the successful endeavor it is today, where the fact of warrantless, illegal surveillance need not be disclosed, these photos may be presented to Judge and Jury without comment or disclosure of origin.

To avoid unnecessary legal hassle, do not even post footage of model environments such as Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Even obvious depth-of-field artifacts may be targeted by zealous prosecutors if they allege the use of drones in pan-tilt photography. Due to the perceived nature of building giant models and the fact that bugs were in it, the movie "Bugs' Life" is exempt. There is also a blanket exemption for drone footage of cats, or drones that ARE cats.

Fortunately for us... Google has announced they have developed an AI program that detects the use of drone footage with 99% accuracy.

Comment: Re:Any better ideas/solutions...? (Score 1) 417

by TheRealHocusLocus (#49316583) Attached to: How 'Virtual Water' Can Help Ease California's Drought

yeah lets combine 2 technologies that are each too expensive on their own. that will solve all our problems. you forgot to shave your neckbeard, doorstop.

Did I hear a-scuffle? Whose humor is so obtuse? Well sure... it's No-Plan Stan, Knight of the Status Quo! Good to see you in these parts. Kinda reminds me of a wild teenage party in progress with parents out of town, loud music, unidentified liquids and guests sliding down the bannisters, toilet paper rolled down the stairs. Owners' kids gathering the crystal and the nicknacks to hide in the basement, pets being fed hors d'oeuvres (Hot Wings) and throwing up on the carpet. People throwing up on the carpet. Bedroom, bathroom doors locked from inside. The piano is missing. Some kids are wearing funny hats in the hallway, giggling. One of them mentions Thorium Energy.

There is a loud banging on the door. In bursts No-Plan Stan, Knight of the Status Quo.
The music stops.
With hands on hips he bellows, "You should all be ashamed of yourselves!"
Everyone is silent for a moment, each thinking of something truly shameful.
"This is all too damned fucking expensive! And Thorium Energy will never happen!"
He slams the door in retreat.

Yes, it was expensive for me. Was it expensive for you too? Did you feel the economy move?

It really is time to reexamine the reasons why things are expensive. I mean get down and dirty, research directly to the ultimate source of the resource, and chart its costs along the way. When it comes to the price of lollygagging while we have some idea of a new and exciting source of energy, but lack the guuumph to take the next step tomorrow, what a price that is.

After No-Plan Stan left, everyone streamed into the front room.
Lipstick-smudged faces peered out from doors in the hallway, then couples emerged.
The piano was found, and put back into place. Fires were put out.
"What a bitch! You mean, it all comes down to money?"
"That's what he said."
"What could we possibly do to change the world then? Go to Wall Street?"
"My Dad works on Wall Street. He says it's fucked just like everything else, and he's too low on the pyramid."
"Your Dad is building a pyramid?"
"No, he's low on the pyramid. He's building a Bubble. It's hard to explain."
"Okay. What was that bit about Thor Eeum?"
"Um... maybe... my hat?"
The hat is passed around. It is a Burger King paper hat with a silver DVD in front.
The DVD is labelled 'Thorium Energy'.
"So what's 'Thorium Energy'? It's weird how that guy just popped in and left."
"I dunno, it was in a pile of mail someone sent Dad because he works on Wall Street."
"So what's on it?"
"Hell if I know. I just picked it out because it would look cool on my hat."
"So let's see it then."
Everyone gathered around the screen. Snacks emerged. Some put arms around shoulders.

The world changed.

Thorium Remix 2011 DVD 02:23:49

[00:00] LFTR in 5 minutes; [06:05] dialogue on Energy sources & conservation; [08:29] Elizabeth May (Green Party of Canada) on why nuclear 'fails', response; [13:40] Kirk Sorensen's time at NASA, discovering molten salt research; [17:30] on Glenn Seaborg's discovery of Thorium's fissile properties in 1942; [20:05] What nuclear fission is, decay chains, half life; [26:45] neutron absorption, cross section, Xenon poisoning at Hanford; [30:06] isotopic enrichment, Thorium/u233 rejected for weapons; [32:45] Atoms for Peace, absorption propensity and performance of nuclear fuels, thermal & fast spectrum, Thorium/Plutonium debate; [36:28] Alvin Weinberg focuses on Thorium and liquid fuels, Oak Ridge Labs, Aircraft Reactor Experiment, the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment, Fluoride Salts; [44:40] two-fluid molten salt reactor; [48:18] light water reactors, Watts Bar, reactor safety and containment systems, issues with water, Fukushima Daiichi hydrogen explosions; [01:01:38] solid fuel & rod assemblies, Eugene Wigner & liquid fuels; [01:04:38] PWR efficiency, Weinberg's quest for near-100% utilization, AEC's choice to pursue Plutonium fast breeders; [01:06:46] Weinberg's concerns about LWR safety, Congressman Chet Hollifeld's inquiry, Weinberg leaves Oak Ridge, WASH-1222, Integral Fast Reactor, Traveling Wave; [01:11:26] Fusion is hard; [01:14:12] Thorium in a CANDU; [01:18:12] Colonel Paul Roege on military reactors, Robert Hargraves: prosperity is related to energy, Robert F. Kennedy on mercury from coal; [01:21:42] transuranics, LFTR active processing, electricity & isotope production from LFTR, Pu-238 and RTGs, Molybdenum-99 & Bismuth-213 in medicine; [01:27:48] cost to build LFTR; [01:30:26] proliferation concerns; [01:31:50] hysterical news coverage of radiation, LNT; [01:40:02] coal & natural gas radioactive emissions, Thorium & Uranium decay in the Earth, magnetosphere, Hargraves on CO2 emissions & ocean acidification & energy density, one-sided press coverage for 'renewables'; [01:50:07] various approaches to nuclear power, the 'reason why not' (LFTR), LWR business model; [01:54:40] China and LFTR, Sorensen's visit to Oak Ridge to obtain access to LFTR documents, the Chinese visit Oak Ridge; [01:58:01] Thorium and rare earths, China's domination of rare earths market, China's LFTR program; [02:06:39] transitioning energy sources, without plentiful energy we will revert to slavery, energy cheaper than from coal; [02:10:44] process heat applications, DESALINATION, synfuels, Brayton Cycle, managing transuranics, gas & oil working against nuclear, closing remarks and recap.

Comment: Re:'Virtual Water': Fee Fie Foe Fum, I Smell ENRON (Score 1) 417

by TheRealHocusLocus (#49316079) Attached to: How 'Virtual Water' Can Help Ease California's Drought

This story, and your comment, made me think of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H...

The Hydraulic Empire was touched upon by James Burke in Connections S01E01: The Trigger Effect. The water stuff begins about ~28 minutes in, but don't cheat yourself out of what comes before. I consider this single program to be the finest hour ever filmed for television. It inspired in my me as a boy a lifelong love of infrastructure and concern for our continued species-survival as modern humans.

Energy is the thread that runs through everything now. With an ocean and technology and applied energy... fresh water is possible, on any scale. It just depends how determined we are to extract it. Every major source of fresh water in North America is presently guarded by peoples who will fight to the death to preserve their own land and way of life. Even the tapping of 'unlimited' deep geological reservoirs of water is fraught with unintended consequences. The only way to really solve the problem is to bring into existence something completely new that changes the game. Whether we be enslaved by access to water, to energy or the parasitic economy and the tax man, the breaking of these bonds are turning points of history.

"Every time mankind has been able to access a new source of energy it has led to profound societal implications. Human beings had slaves for thousands of years, and when we learned how to make carbon our slave instead of other human beings, we started to learn how to be civilized people. Thorium has a million times the energy density of a carbon-hydrogen bond. What could that mean for human civilization? Once we've learned how to use it at this kind of efficiency, we will never run out. It is simply too common." ~Kirk Sorensen, Thorium Remix 2011

Comment: 'Virtual Water': Fee Fie Foe Fum, I Smell ENRON! (Score 5, Insightful) 417

by TheRealHocusLocus (#49312835) Attached to: How 'Virtual Water' Can Help Ease California's Drought

Fee Fie Foe Fum... I Smell ENRON!

ENRON. The latest wonder-tool of the late 90s, a bold new approach to the distribution and settlement policies of grid energy [or water!] suppliers. You have all been losing money trying to buy and sell your product among yourselves. Now it is time to buy and sell your product through US. We'll take a percent and you will have MORE.

ENRON. Let us make everything into a stock market, a futures market. Let us negotiate on your behalf (said to both halves at once). Let us woo you with impressive corporate speak and wooly acronyms to describe what is essentially a transparent middleman-insertion tactic.

ENRON. Tired of trying to sell your customer base on some desired tactic by disclosing said tactic to the PSC and the public? Tired of those public hearings? Let ENRON come to the rescue. Tell us what you need to happen and we'll see that back-room conspiratorial tactics can ease your pain, by making all other options seem more expensive.

ENRON. Ask us how triggered brownouts [or droughts!] and planned resource shortages can improve your bottom line [and ours]!

ENRON. Because if energy [or water!] were priced properly, it is a safe bet that people would waste far less of it. We can help.

ENRON. Because no one needs to innovate or improve infrastructure. We just need to make life suck a little more, cost more, and people will demand less. More complicated is BETTER.

This message brought to you by The Smartest Guys In The Room.

Comment: Great submission. (Score 1) 5

Here is the real gold from TA,

Human Emissions Saved Planet

Over the past 150 million years, carbon dioxide had been drawn down steadily (by plants) from about 3,000 parts per million to about 280 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution. If this trend continued, the carbon dioxide level would have become too low to support life on Earth. Human fossil fuel use and clearing land for crops have boosted carbon dioxide from its lowest level in the history of the Earth back to 400 parts per million today.

At 400 parts per million, all our food crops, forests, and natural ecosystems are still on a starvation diet for carbon dioxide. The optimum level of carbon dioxide for plant growth, given enough water and nutrients, is about 1,500 parts per million, nearly four times higher than today. Greenhouse growers inject carbon-dioxide to increase yields. Farms and forests will produce more if carbon-dioxide keeps rising.

We have no proof increased carbon dioxide is responsible for the earth's slight warming over the past 300 years. There has been no significant warming for 18 years while we have emitted 25 per cent of all the carbon dioxide ever emitted. Carbon dioxide is vital for life on Earth and plants would like more of it. Which should we emphasize to our children?

It's good because it represents a "fresh" take on the whole approach, he suggests that there might be an optimum level of CO2 that is higher than today's yet far lower than the highest historical peaks. If plants 'starve' at ~200ppm and growth starts to peak around ~800ppm, I wouldn't go so far as to think of 400ppm as a starvation diet. But his point of view is worthy of discussion and debate. If human activity has enriched plant growth, brought it up from almost-dangerous level, then our activity has helped to feed all the species.

Maybe it's time to put some of the green back in Greenpeace.

You might consider writing a paragraph presenting the plant angle, it should be fresh enough to pass the Algorian censors. And try not to link to Heartland Institute in the future, it makes Layzej very upset.

If a Greenpeace refugee with a PhD in ecology refutes CO2/temperature causation or begs us to consider positive effects, it's all pandering and nonsense. If Ralph The Dog delivers a speech about the danger of sea level rise to New York real estate developers without mentioning land subsidence, it's a welcome voice and a fresh look. Get used to it, that's how religion works.

Just popped in to seek refuge from the Alzheimer's jokes. Slashdot is filling up with retarded monkeys.

Comment: Re:The Time Rift of 2100: How We lost the Future (Score 1) 166

OH --- AND BEFORE YOU GO --- do please look over these necklaces of fine silicon jewels and take one as your own, or for your sweetie. You see they are actually little computers, or 'chips', as ran the great society of old. I have filed off the covering so you can see the tiny chip, which shines in the light. See here! Only a copper or two for each, and if you look me in the eye and promise you will strive to better your mind and help re-build this world, I'll part with it for a shake of the hand.

Did you know that the little chips in these fine adornments were called IBM Power8 Chips, and they were powered by... coal? Absolutely true! But that is another story...

Comment: The Time Rift of 2100: How We lost the Future (Score 2) 166

The Time Rift of 2100: How We lost the Future --- and Gained the Past.

WE CAN ONLY BLAME OURSELVES for the Time Rift. From discrete logic to main boards to chipsets to picoboards to nanite molecular clusters, we had machines re-drawing the same machines on smaller scale until they were like dust and pebbles, and yet, everything worked pretty well most of the time.

THE DISTINCTION between software and hardware had merged, workable modules open sourced and refined with a really clever interconnection scheme. Somewhere along the line we left hardware design from 'scratch' --- and software design to the 'code' level --- behind. Things were no longer constructed for purpose. Software was no longer compiled. We began to plug and play and clone and shim.

IT WAS HUMANS, amateur enthusiasts even, that first cloned and shimmed small machines into other machines of similar more refined purpose, and they did it with the same techniques we had used to construct analog circuits: locking together this way, and securing with that, test and done. There was an art to it. Where one had once meshed APIs together in the synchronous communications realm, now it was a matter of finding the proper angle and orientation of these smart pebbles, based on their markings and unique shapes. There was a flair to it, and some of this art was as much judged by its appearance as by function.

BUT SOON WE GREW WEARY of that, and trained our machines to clone, shim and assemble these smaller machines. It was like some cyborg Tetris game where your challenge was to fit the pieces together as they fell from the sky. And the sky was full of pieces. Anything was possible if your reach was long and you gazed far enough, to grasp the perfect puzzle-piece.

A FEW RESPONSIBLE ENGINEERS of the era took the time to publish diagnostic procedures with which one could fix these amalgamations, should one have the patience to pull them apart to do so, like the SAMS Photofacts of old. Every piece had its own direct interface for configuration and in theory at least, one could fix problems or reconfigure the pieces by simply talking to them directly. They documented these diagnostic and configuration interfaces, often cribbed from the documents of other engineers, which were scarcely ever used now, probing them to discover the more primal pieces within to gather documentation on those too.

BUT IT WAS THANKLESS to do so, and these engineers found themselves out of work or forcefully retired. Their productivity paled besides younger geniuses who were simple hunter-gatherers, whose cleverness in assembling working prototypes was deft and swift. From concept to bubble-wrap technology companies had little interest in deep documentation. It was seen as a fetish. The thing works! Clone it and done. These hastily made things flooded the market and soon replaced other well-documented things. At times something failed and its inventors could not say why, they just assembled a new one or went bankrupt.

IN A SAD IRONY as to the supposed superiority of digital over analog --- that this whole professionon of digitally-stored 'source' documentation began to fade and was finally lost. It had became dusty, and the unlooked-for documents of previous eras were first flagged and moved to lukewarm storage. It was a circular process, where the world's centralized search indices would be culled to remove pointers to things that were seldom accessed. Then a separate clean-up where the fact that something was not in the index alone determined that it was purgeable. The process was completely automated of course, so no human was on hand to mourn the passing of material that had been the proud product of entire careers. It simply faded.

THEN SOMETHING TOOK THE INTERNET BY STORM, it was some silly but popular Game with a perversely intricate (and ultimately useless) information store. Within the space of six months index culling and auto-purge had assigned more than a third of all storage to the Game. Only as the Game itself faded did people begin to notice that things they had seen and used, even recently, were simply no longer there. Or anywhere. It was as if the collective mind had suffered a stroke. Were the machines at fault, or were we? Does it even matter? Life went on. We no longer knew much about these things from which our world was constructed, but they continued to work.

SO AS IT WAS IN THE POWER GRIDS, IN OUR INFORMATION GRIDS SUBSYNCHRONOUS RESONANCE HAD BEEN GROWING. In time protocols such as ancient NTP a certain amount of 'drift' was permissible and would be automatically corrected for as the piece was connected to a more authoritative time source. Too much drift and they would not 'lock'. The few but universally cloned time components contained network-synchronized autonomous clocks, but they had been cloned from separate sources and differed --- somehow --- in ways we could no longer understand. Some worked better than others is all we knew, and some needed to be connected in certain places first then moved to the far reaches and re-connected, in order to work properly. In true can-do tradition, a whole industry was built to work around this problem, by supplying locale-safe clock components. The industries would not even think to re-engineer or find or actually solve the problem, they made their fortune shuttling things around and connecting them in the proper places. A simple direct low-level access to clear and reset the network time state information was necessary. But we had forgotten that it was necessary, and how to do it.

THE ATOMIC CLOCKS THAT SYNCHRONIZE OUR WORLD COULD NOT, WOULD NOT, FAIL. There were several of them geographically dispersed, and the mechanics of these amazing timepieces were documented and understood completely. Their warrens were safe and guarded, and the manuals describing their construction and operation were even on paper, they were that old. With proper care their hearts would beat for a million years. The atomic clocks were surrounded by glass and lit with colored lights synchronized to Time itself. Some would make pilgrimage there to be mesmerized by them. One of these Clocks synchronized all of North America. They were immensely proud.

BUT IN AN OFFICE DOWN THE HALL FROM THE ATOMIC CLOCK THERE WAS AN OLD COMPUTER. Even in the climate controlled building, the books placed on top of it had accumulated a layer of dust. Its cooling fans had long seized and gone silent but fortunately, this computer was so 'slow' and ancient its hottest regions could be cooled by simple convection... and some helpful technician years past, who was perhaps the last that ever was, had lifted its cover and rested it on a book, so that air might flow more freely.

IT WAS WHAT WE IN THE POST-RIFT ERA KNOW AS A 'WINDOWS NT MACHINE', a fact those affected by the rift had long forgotten. They would not even know it as that. They imagined that their polished, throbbing atomic Clock reached out to the world through a network of glass fiber, or broad conduits of copper, titanium and steel in a configuration as important as the clever buttressed arches suspending the great arched halls of medieval cathedrals. Infrastructure infallible and eternal. They did not know that this was so... they merely thought it would be incredibly silly if it were not so.

BUT IT WAS NOT SO. In fact, the Clock pulses traveled into the ceiling in a fiber of light, emerging from the ceiling of that dusty office. It had once been plugged into a rack holding a specialized array of discrete machines, known as a 'cluster', that were of singular purpose and brilliant design. Three (or was it four?) complete computing systems with separate synchronized everything and an umbilicus by which each knew the others' states, so that network broadcast of synchronized time would be maintained even if there was a singular failure, or even several failures. The failed components could be replaced in minutes.

BUT COUNTLESS MINUTES HAD PASSED. THERE HAD BEEN MANY FAILURES. Who knows who or when or how the occupant of this office had lived, or what difficulty or trauma had been experienced. Did he or she swear aloud and write letters, travel to far places or try to gather funds to obtain the components necessary to restore this redundant rack to full fail-safe operation? That again is unknown, unless we find a notebook with desperate scribbles. And no one knows how long it took for the separate systems in the rack to fail, to the point where not even borrowing parts from one could restore another. There must have been a day when the last working machine on the rack was placed into service, and no fall-over was available.

THEN CAME THE DAY WHEN THE TIME-FIBER AND NETWORK CONNECTORS WERE PULLED FROM THE RACK, and connected to the Windows NT machine. A day of dark desperation perhaps --- but also, a day of great triumph for a single human. We see this machine had a hasty-written but correct program running that served the same function as the Rack, with only a little bit of drift and delay as was unavoidable with the latency of its ancient hardware. Ironically these slight drifting flutters had carried out from this facility to North America, assailing the precision of the Clock, but as is with authoritative time sources, you do not question them you merely follow them. Then at last the unknown and unsung human who had placed this silicone finger into the dike of time synchonicity itself -- had left or had gone to grave. There was not even a name plate on the door of that dusty office.

AND LIFE WENT ON. From time to time the NT rebooted on a schedule set by its last operator, perhaps to counteract some unavoidable condition of resource usage. But in these brief outages the network pulsed along autonomously, leaving only log entries in little time modules near the center of the network that no one even knew how to read. Then the steady tick of the Clock would be heard once again and all was well.

SET ON TOP OF THE WINDOWS NT MACHINE WAS A PAIR OF DUSTY BOOKS. The one on top had a title that enticed someone one day, who had wandered into the old office out of boredom or adventure-seeking. The simple act of picking up the book caused the one beneath it to topple over the rear of the machine. It struck the metal fitting to the network connection which had been intermittently failing from corrosion. A connection parted, and the Clock went silent to the world.

THE TIME RIFT BEGAN AS AN EVER-EXPANDING WAVE OF FREE-RUNNING CLOCKS spreading outward from the central clock facility. As the first tier lost contact with the NT machine they went into autonomous free-running state, but were set to let time pass before they themselves announced their change in status. For years the NT machine's reboots had been brief, but this was forever. A timeout occurred and tier one machines announced that the Clock was Absent.

IN A SANE WORLD WE MIGHT DECIDE THAT SYNCHRONIZING TO A SINGLE BAD CLOCK WAS BETTER than breaking the whole world into autonomous free-running clocks. This world had forgotten how to be sane and there was no need because hadn't there always been humans ready to jump in and fix things? No one fixed anything, and within an hour some of the farthest reaches of the network were free-running. To make matters even more confusing, some clock modules -- perhaps as many as a third -- either failed or were simply (and incorrectly) configured not to pass along these loss-of-synch announcements, so they and their synchronized offspring ticked along sourced by its own internal clock. No component in the branches even knew that the central Atomic Clock was no longer the source of Time.

THE NETWORK BEGAN TO DRIFT AND FRAGMENT. This was a curiosity at first, but within a few hours there was a storm front breaking over the network, and whole sections of it were going dark to the rest. Mankind had had so many clever ideas you see, among them the use of cryptographic links whose key schedules were rotated on the precise mark of time. Session keys hashed with absolute, 'universal' Time. Time is never an absolute even in a completely synchronized network, so as it happened a series of simple fallback measures was triggered that attempted to re-synch. But the logic behind these had been designed only to salvage connections for the brief milliseconds that Time was expected to wander. But Time was wandering, from place to place, beyond any previous bounds.

THESE TIME DRIVEN CRYPTOGRAPHIC LINK METHODS HAD BEEN PART OF EVERY SYSTEM, FOR DECADES. There was no one left alive who even understood them completely. There had been a game in the early 21st Century called "The Internet of Things". One aspect was a cat-and-mouse security skirmish where clever things would be built, then trivially hacked, then built better. Finally everyone realized that there is no level in which security is not necessary, and processing was fast, so these cryptographic methods were built into the chips which became the module-pebbles of later eras. Two components, even ones connected directly together, could not communicate without cryptographic protocol. And the most popular of these managed its own keys transparently... but also incorporated Time to help diversify session keys. After all, everyone had access to Time. And to a certain extent even Time protocols used this crypto, and were thus circularly anchored to Time.

THE RIFT WAS A SERIES OF IRRECONCILABLE PARADOXES of dependency that rendered the entire network of modern technology silent and uncommunicative. The paradoxes of time-reliant components and the difficulty with which they were originally placed was suddenly revealed as the greatest folly of Man, the most absurd and complete failure for the smallest of reasons.

DAMAGE FROM THE TIME RIFT WAS NOT REPAIRABLE, BY US. Even re-powering everything, and restoring the corroded connection in the back of the Windows NT machine, could not restore our world. It had to be taken apart, understood and re-assembled. Since there was no one ready to do this, it was all simply turned off.

AND THAT, MY LITTLE FRIENDS, IS THE GRAND AND AMAZING STORY OF THE TIME RIFT AND THE RISE OF THE ANALOG. Now it is time to rejoin your folks because the trade faire is over and you have a long ride ahead of you. Any spare coppers or simple goods you might send my way for this sideshow of sorrow and history will help this grateful old man continue to spin his wild tales of times past. Do you believe them? It is all amazing and true and even if you do not understand all of it, maybe you'll find some old books and learn about it. Does it matter? [wink] Be sure to inspect the hooves of the oxen, lest the cobbles of this old town make them lame. Now be off with you!

Comment: Re:What on earth (Score 2) 234

by TheRealHocusLocus (#49297831) Attached to: No Fuel In the Fukushima Reactor #1

Main difference being that it never actually burns through to Uruguay, because it stops when it hits the last letter of syndrome.

Who knew that the Silent E had such awesome power?? A perusal of available scientific literature does not even hint at this ability. Even graphene has a silent E, which could be the true source of its unique properties. Silent E should be incorporated into the design of all Gen V reactors.

Silent E decommissioning may also help with radiological cleanup.
It can turn a plume into a plum.

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"