Diamond Blogs

By Dan Ghiordanescu. Unsurprisingly.

By Dan Ghiordanescu. Unsurprisingly.

We had a legend, we denizens of Eriophora, of a cavern— deep aft, almost as far back as the launch thrusters themselves— filled with diamonds. Not just ordinary diamonds, either: the uncut, hexagonal shit. Lonsdaleite. The toughest solid in the whole damn solar system— back when we shipped out, at least— and laser-readable to boot.

Build your backups out of anything less and you might as well be carving them from butter.

Nothing’s immortal on a road trip of a billion years. The universe runs down in stop-motion around you, your backups’ backups’ backups need backups. Not even the error-correcting replication strategies cadged from biology can keep the mutations at bay forever. It was true for us meatsacks cycling through mayfly moments every thousand years; it was true for the hardware as well. It was so obvious I never even thought about it. By the time I did, the Chimp was on its eighty-third reincarnation.

Not enough that the processors lived down near the event horizon, where the subtle pull of Eri’s time-dilating heart stretched operational lifespans epochs past their expiration dates. Not enough that the circuits themselves were almost paleolithically crude; when your AI packs less than half the synapse count of a human brain, fiddling around down on nano scales is just grandstanding. Still, things fall apart. Conduits decay. Circuits a dozen molecules thick would just— evaporate over time, even if entropy and quantum tunneling didn’t degrade them down to sponge first.

Every now and then, you have to renovate.

And so was born the legend of The Cave: an archive of backups, slabs of diamond statuary a thousand times larger than life, like some crystal cubist Easter Island. When the inventory of backup Chimps ran too low— or of grav lenses, or air-conditioners, or any other vital artefact more short-lived than a proton— Eri would send lumbering copyeditors back to the Secret Place to read great mineral blueprints so vast, so stable, they might outlast the Milky Way.

The place wasn’t always so secret, mind you. Or so legendary. We trooped through it a dozen times during construction, a dozen more in training. But one day, maybe our third or fourth pass through the Sagittarius Arm, Ghora went spelunking at the end of a shift while the rest of us lay dead in the crypt; just killing time, he told me later, staving off the inevitable shut-down with a little recreational reconnaissance. He hiked down into the hi-gee zone, wormed through crawlways and crevices to where X marked the Spot— and found the Cave scoured clean: just a dark gaping cavity in the rock, studded with the stubs of bolts and anchors sheared off a few centimeters above the substrate.

The Chimp had relocated the whole damn archive while we’d slept between the stars.

He wouldn’t tell us where. He couldn’t tell us, he insisted. Said he’d just been following prerecorded instructions from Mission Control, hadn’t been aware of them himself until some timer ticked over and injected the new instructions into his job stack. He couldn’t even tell us why.

I believed him. When was the last time coders explained themselves to the code?

We still go searching now and then, on those rare occasions when there’s time to kill and itches to scratch. We plant tiny charges in the rock, read the echoes vibrating through our worldlet in search of some undiscovered grotto. The Chimp doesn’t stop us. It’s never had to; we’ve never found anything.

“They don’t trust us,” Kai said, rolling his eyes. “Seven million years down the road, all long gone to dust, and they’re afraid we might— what? Trash our own life support? Write Sawada sucks farts on their scale models?” He spoke for all of us; this was hardly the first evidence of head-up-ass syndrome we’d encountered.

Looking back, though, we really should’ve taken the hint. Job descriptions notwithstanding, we weren’t really crew after all. Never had been. We were just another set of tools.

And if we’d somehow left orbit under the wrong impression, grandiosely inflated our own roles in Humanity’s Grand Exodus To The Stars— well, at least it had kept the departure protocols on track.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Wednesday May 18 2016at 05:05 am , filed under fiblet, Sunflowers . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

54 Responses to “Diamond Blogs”

  1. Insert renewed or at least reiterated desire for a full Sunflowers novel/fix-up here, while settling for the possibility of at least another story in the cycle.

  2. What is this and where can one acquire more?

  3. Working on it.

    When this one’s done, there’ll be somewhere around 70-80,000 words set in the Sunflowers universe. Which is a lot of words when you consider that none of them actually deal with the overall narrative arc that bridges the whole epic, so I still haven’t even introduced the overall plot.

    It’ll probably be a doorstop when it’s finished. I don’t know how popular doorstops are gonna be a few years down the road.

  4. John Rodriguez:
    What is this and where can one acquire more?

    This is the latest in a series of stories collectively known as “The Sunflowers Cycle”, which started out as my reaction to all those stories where we find a convenient network of stargates left behind by “The Ancients” or “The Progenitors” or whatever fortuitously-extinct race lets us get around the lightspeed barrier this week. My thinking was, what about the poor bastards who had to build those gates in the first place? Nobody gave them any breaks. So these are their stories.

    I envision a cycle beginning early in the next century and extending, well, pretty much unto heat death. So far, though, only three stories have come out: “The Island”, “Giants”, and “Hotshot”. Island won a Hugo, but I like ’em all. You can find them in various anthologies and/or languages stretching back to 2010. Or you can just grab them off my backlist page. Related art is here

    Actually, I originally envisioned the series as a video game. I still nurture faint hope.

  5. By the way, I see some people are starting to refer to this latest installment as “Diamond Blogs”. That’s just the title I slapped on this particular first-drafty excerpt.

    The working title for the whole story is “The Freeze-Frame Revolution”.

  6. Awesome. Thanks for the prompt reply and links. Big fan of your stuff and themes you touch upon. I’ve been preaching about your novels to my friends, but it’s hard to convince them to read unless I stick it to them as an actual gift and incur an unspoken social obligation. Your works are like sci-fi counterpart of R. Scott Bakker, who I feel like deals with similar themes but from a fantasy and philosophical perspective. I realize most people don’t like to mix the two, but I found they are quite good. Have you heard of him by chance?

    Will check out the other stories. What kind of videogame though? Where you play as a ship AI that tries to compel the organics to do their job by hook or by crook? That sounds interesting.

  7. Yes, please, More. I loved The Island when I read it in The New Space Opera 2 (and reread it in Beyond the Rift) and will read the other 2 stories ASAP. “Diamond Blogs” or whatever you wind up calling it is terrific.

  8. Peter Watts: Actually, I originally envisioned the series as a video game. I still nurture faint hope.

    Okay, fine. We all know what you’re hinting. And if nobody else is going to step up, I will.

    Of course, my game-programming skill is pretty limited, and I’ve only found a few free game-maker engines online that I can grasp in a reasonable timeframe.

    So it’s going to have to be a Japanese-style dating sim. That’s okay, right?

  9. Peter D,

    Make all the NPCs pigeons. I hear that’s big now.

  10. Peter D,

    Well we already have the incest route from the first story. Just give the chimp a cute anime avatar and you’re away.

    Cool story but I kinda wonder how the biological crew has lasted if everything else is getting worn down by sheer time, frozen or not. I guess “we’re all ntth iteration clones of the original crew” HAS been done before…

  11. What happens when the crew, 21st century homo sapiens, meets 10,000,021st century homo novus? I don’t see interbreeding happening. To be honest, I don’t see galactic humanity and its various isolates retaining sentience, let alone full and complete records of a billion years of genetic engineering. But that’s probably because I read Blindsight.

  12. I don’t see us pushing beyond as a civilization when we engineer the ability to chose how we feel at any given time, which may come before any wondrous leap in AI or cognitive enhancements that turn self-consciousness off. After all, what is society for except a way to get more of what we want/enjoy? You can skip the middleman and fingerbang your brain directly. I have no idea what anyone could do to convince people not to tap the their pleasure center all the time.

  13. Any reasons you can’t do the whole thing as a series of shorts? There’s plenty of older precedent for that :) From Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles and further back

  14. Nestor,

    It is my understanding from reading the stories that they are traveling at a percentage of C and coupled with the time dilating effects to the outside world they go under long cryogenic or hibernation (thousands of years?) and are only active for short periods of time. Meaning that subjectively they aren’t aging very much. There are systems in place for crew rejuvenation (gene fixing?) and also ways to produce new crew. One of the stories deals with that.

    I think what draws me to these stories is the whole mystery surrounding it. I think maybe I would prefer not to know the over arching plot if I really think about it.

  15. Do you know if one can by Beyond the Rift as non-encrypted epub somewhere? Both google play and kobo has two indistinguishable versions each, but both has adobe drm. If not I’ll just buy it and crack it as usual, but I prefer not to.

  16. John Rodriguez:
    Your works are like sci-fi counterpart of R. Scott Bakker

    Glad I’m not the only one to make that comparison, although as a writer I think Mr. Watts is more mature (I haven’t actually read any Bakker since Neuropath, though). I’d like to see them do something together. They are the only two fiction writers I know of tackling these sorts of themes.

  17. This all seems a bit strange to me. This system that is designed to last forever has an automated control system (the Chimp) and a bunch of people. Presumably the Chimp is for the simple stuff where reliability is important, and the people are there to deal with the complicated and unexpected. And these diamond archives are the the last-hope ultra-secure backups.

    But now the people, who the designers are keeping around to solve the problems the designers themselves can’t anticipate beyond a basic conviction that unknown unknowns must exist, have lost access to the backups. That necessarily makes the people less effective, which makes the voyage less likely to succeed.

    Sounds like something is wrong. A design flaw, maybe. Or the Chimp system got senile. Or someone deliberately inserted malware during construction. Or the Chimp and the people are not the whole of the system; there’s something else, and it’s what’s actually in charge of the voyage.

  18. other rick,

    My guess would be that they get pissy because they have reached the end of the network and there is nowhere to go in that direction.

    Theres no pleasing some people.

  19. John Rodriguez: What kind of videogame though? Where you play as a ship AI that tries to compel the organics to do their job by hook or by crook? That sounds interesting.

    That was actually my thinking, but someone in the industry told me I needed Human agency for the player. Wouldn’t compel otherwise, or something.

    Moot, so far.

    Peter D: So it’s going to have to be a Japanese-style dating sim. That’s okay, right?

    Hey, who know what those ‘spores get up to when they’re in VR?

    Just don’t expect me to write a chapter about it.

    Nestor: Cool story but I kinda wonder how the biological crew has lasted if everything else is getting worn down by sheer time, frozen or not.

    “Excerpt”, please. People keep reading these fiblets and assume they’re the whole damn story. Happened for “Colony Creature”, too.

    But yeah. I’m starting to run into that particular corner myself, doing the math…

    other rick: What happens when the crew, 21st century homo sapiens, meets 10,000,021st century homo novus?

    This story starts with one such meeting; it tries to eat them.

    Many other times, nothing at all comes out. One time it was bubbles.

    That’s actually a recurring theme of the stories; nobody knows what Humanity has turned into, whether it even exists any more, if the things that come out aren’t just aliens that found an abandoned subway system when we died off.

    Markus2: Do you know if one can by Beyond the Rift as non-encrypted epub somewhere?

    I dunno. Most of those stories are already available for free on the backlist page, albeit in pdf format. (Although I would of course recommend you buy ’em— Tachyon has treated me pretty well.)

  20. John Rodriguez: Have you heard of him by chance?

    We hang out occasionally. He’s good friends with my wife.

    Very good friends…

    Kolbex: I’d like to see them do something together.

    Well, we did sort of tag-team RequiresHate, back in the day.

  21. Well, we did sort of tag-team RequiresHate, back in the day.

    Sure, and how challenging could that have been, really. Seems eons since that one was hanging around Bakker’s blog. Didn’t know you tangled, too.

  22. Peter Watts: That was actually my thinking, but someone in the industry told me I needed Human agency for the player.Wouldn’t compel otherwise, or something.

    It probably wouldn’t jive with usual triple A shooty/staby market, but I think it could find a decent following ala Rimworld and other indie sims/managers but with a deeper narrative bent. I’m still pining for days of Alpha Centauri and Deus Ex when games at least tried to have something more substantial in the literary framework of its imagined worlds and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    The comment of ‘Human Agency’ however reminds of the usual comments by some book reviewers. “The character was not likeable” or “I could not relate to character X”. It baffles me that people can’t step outside their own skin and understand that some people think differently or even have motivations outside the norm.

  23. That comment about “human agency” is weird. There are plenty of “God sims” where you don’t play as any particular character, but instead you make decisions about what your tribe/civilisation/business should do. That would fit nicely with the idea that you represent a governing AI running the ship.

    Alternatively, this setting would work really well as an RPG where you play one of the colonists. The intermittent revivals/clonings give you a natural episodic structure; choices you made at the last gate could impact the crew/resources available in future episodes. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a meaningful combat system when you’re zipping past everything at relativistic speeds (except maybe for intra-ship conflict), so it would work as a visual novel type “narrative with choices” game, with stats representing crew relationships and ship resources tracked in the background. A dating sim engine would be perfect.

  24. Peter Watts,

    “But yeah. I’m starting to run into that particular corner myself, doing the math…”

    It raises some interesting questions for me vis a vis the crew we’ve met in the three stories and fiblet so far… received wisdom is our bodies contain none of the material that composed them even seven years back. How much does Sunday resemble the person who embarked on the trip all those billions of years ago? The Chimp? When they find the backups, no doubt the people they’re coded for will be very different from the current crew, but which is closer to the original?

    There’s the account of Fraser going down the river now named for him, in which he comports himself admirably. Oral native accounts triangulate with it in most respects except he purportedly gropes at least one woman. The past is always lost to us, but I know which account I give greater veracity despite the lack of print. Makes me wonder whether the crew’s recollections will jibe more closely with their current forms or the backup versions.

    The more doorstoppey the better, btw, imho.

  25. Ben: Alternatively, this setting would work really well as an RPG where you play one of the colonists. The intermittent revivals/clonings give you a natural episodic structure; choices you made at the last gate could impact the crew/resources

    Hey, this could recreate some of the cool game play mechanism of Planescape: Torment. I loved how the character would wake up in the mortuary over and over. It was a lot more fun that having save points.

  26. Johan Larson,

    “there’s something else, and it’s what’s actually in charge of the voyage.”

    Maybe the narrator from Giants hid them?

  27. Peter, do you have any idea when “Hotshot” is going to be availible on your backlist? Really wanna read it.

  28. Kolbex: Sure, and how challenging could that have been, really.

    Not so much challenging as frustrating. RH had a lot of friends back in the day, of the sort for whom identity politics always trumps reason (One of them actually suggested that ad hominem arguments were A. Ok. because after all, the societies that had repudiated them were all run by old white men.) There were even a few people here on the ‘crawl who got sucked in. Not to mention the usual contingent of cowards who’d sidle up when no one was looking to whisper that I had their support, just so long as I didn’t expect them to support anything in public. It was quite the shitstorm for a little while (Check this out if you’re interested, and work back through the links.)

    I’m told RH still maintains a small flock of some sort, although apparently these days her principle interest is raging against “white feminists” (which I’m sure has nothing to do with the fact that a white woman won a Hugo for exposing her.)

    Ben: Alternatively, this setting would work really well as an RPG where you play one of the colonists. The intermittent revivals/clonings give you a natural episodic structure; choices you made at the last gate could impact the crew/resources available in future episodes.

    The crew aren’t actually colonists; they’re just a road crew. With a few exceptions they can’t even slow down following construction of a gate, since the radiation that accompanies the boot-up of nonrelativistic wormholes would fry them. But yeah; I was thinking the vast span of time between each build makes a perfect reset/breakpoint between mission levels. You have no idea what’s going to come out behind you. You have no idea what’s waiting for you up ahead. Sometimes you see a threat on the horizon and your only hope is to build a gate as fast as you can, and pray that whatever comes out behind you isn’t worse than the thing you want it protect you against.

    Phil Targon: Maybe the narrator from Giants hid them?

    Oh, it’s worse than that. They relocate the archive later in this story. There are ramifications.

    Andrej:
    Peter, do you have any idea when “Hotshot” is going to be availible on your backlist? Really wanna read it.

    I’ve actually got a few requests for that. Started converting the file yesterday, but ran out of time because there’s some fiddly, story-specific formatting that my usual pdfifying macro can’t handle. I gotta go in there and edit it manually.

    Next couple of days, though, probably. It’s on the list.

    P.S. Done.

  29. Post script link to “Hotshot” not working for me, I bravely navigated to the backlist page on my own. Oh, and thanks – looking forward to reading it.

  30. Gah. Missing equals sign. Fixed now.

  31. Huh. I started out wanting to like it, then realized I had no choice.

  32. Johan Larson,

    This brings up so many questions

  33. These story sniplets are like the smallest whiff of pure Heroin for a hardcore addict. So so so good, but not nearly enough. I am at the point where i would gladly shell out a hundred bucks for just one more Watts novel. PLEASE tell me there will be something..anything..getting released in the near future!

  34. Peter Watts: The crew aren’t actually colonists; they’re just a road crew. With a few exceptions they can’t even slow down following construction of a gate, since the radiation that accompanies the boot-up of nonrelativistic wormholes would fry them. But yeah; I was thinking the vast span of time between each build makes a perfect reset/breakpoint between mission levels. You have no idea what’s going to come out behind you. You have no idea what’s waiting for you up ahead.

    First, love the fiblet. Secondly, quoting you, above, Haldeman had a good view on this in his Forever War. They were using a “collapsar jump” to get “instantly” from one location to another extremely distant location, skimming from a tangential interaction with the event horizon of Ceres-sized black holes at near-lightspeed, sort of popping out of the here-and-now to appear at the there-and-then. Of course, relativity certainly worked as expected in the process of getting up to, or down from, the speeds needed to get the jump effect. So there were the expected drawbacks of leaving Earth in 1999 (IIRC) and coming back in 2030. Yet the interesting bit is that after the biggest jump excursion to date, they are in deceleration mode and discover that they’ve got company, an agravitic-drive ship that can jump between the stars without the years of acceleration or the limitations of a collapsar pairing. The war is over, and so is everything about the whole mode of space flight they’d been using.

    In the case of this story, what was waiting for them was sufficiently weird so that most of the former combatants weren’t having any of it, and what was waiting was also sufficiently wealthy and gracious as to provide retirements and resettlement opportunities.

    I am having some difficulty imagining you writing something so cheerful (at least in the “Sunflowers” universe) as having the construction-boat crew be intercepted by their beneficiary future civilizations to be told “heh, no more need, fellows, for the long lonely life, we have beer and your back-pay”. Besides, probably the physical laws of that universe would preclude such a wrap-up. I do hope your characters find their missing library before the Chimp forgets how to maintain the airlock seals or somesuch.

  35. Peter Watts,

    Thank you, I enjoyed reading it very much.

  36. The K: PLEASE tell me there will be something..anything..getting released in the near future!

    I can’t. Not quite yet.

    The thing is, I kinda got tired of handing things in not when I was happy with them, but in order to meet a deadline. So I’ve decided to try getting around that by finishing a project before I shop it around. The up side is that you’ll get a story that’s as good as I know how to make it, not one that’s as good as I had time to make it before the production schedule came knocking. The down side is that you may never see it at all, since I don’t have a publisher lined up, and can’t guarantee that one will be interested.

    There’s one medium-sized exception to this. Still waiting to get the paperwork back and details sorted, but I hope to make an announcement sooner rather than later.

  37. John Rodriguez: I have no idea what anyone could do to convince people not to tap the their pleasure center all the time.

    As long as we have physical bodies there will be limitations.

    Without physical bodies… I personally have problems envisioning what we call a ‘human being’ without a physical body. I’m not sure such a thing is even possible.

    We seek happiness. But happiness is just a bunch of chemicals in our brain. A computer would not have those chemicals, and hence no happiness. Would such a computer intelligence even bother trying to stay alive? Why would it? Who’s setting it’s goals?

  38. fons:We seek happiness. But happiness is just a bunch of chemicals in our brain. A computer would not have those chemicals, and hence no happiness. Would such a computer intelligence even bother trying to stay alive? Why would it? Who’s setting it’s goals?

    I see no reason why the experience of happiness could not be reproduced in other media. It would be very strange if brains of our type were the only objects in the universe capable of producing happiness.

  39. EthicsGradient,

    Indeed and on rat brains for example, we see them choose campanions and exercise over pressing a lever that injects drugs when they live in a rat park versus a skinner box.

  40. EthicsGradient: I see no reason why the experience of happiness could not be reproduced in other media.

    Define happiness. You inevitably end up with something that’s based on us, on biology and and chemical processes in the brain.

    A computer program needs a problem to solve. We are our own problem; our biology is our brains “problem to solve”. If we could upload (what we think is) our consciousness into some computer framework, the “problem to solve” goes away. I don’t know what we would end up with in this experiment, but I don’t think it would be recognizably human.

    I dunno, I’m not smart enough to explain myself properly. 😉

    It would be very strange if brains of our type were the only objects in the universe capable of producing happiness.

    That’s a different story. I was talking specifically about a “human being without a physical body”.

  41. Define happiness: Evolved reward mechanism to encourage behaviour and circumstances that have historically been beneficial.

    If you are able to properly simulate and upload human brains then they will the capacity to be happy because if they don’t then you have failed to simulate them properly.

    Of course they will be happy at completely inappropriate times because their heuristics don’t match their circumstances.

    You could theoretically create an AI with no capacity for happiness and that’s fine too, but if it has the capacity to reproduce and evolve then its descendants will end up with their own success and failure heuristics.

    So what are you trying to say again?

  42. Peter Watts,

    One thing I have been wondering about. Are these gates connected in a chain or is there a many to many relationship? If many to many then is it all to all or a limited range mesh?

    I’m just thinking that topology constrains continuity re: what can pop out. Flying around at 20% of C would let you do builds mere decades apart on average.

  43. dpb: One thing I have been wondering about. Are these gates connected in a chain or is there a many to many relationship? If many to many then is it all to all or a limited range mesh?

    Kind of a combination. In fact, this very story climaxes (so far, at least— unless some astronomer tells me all the physics are wrong, in which case I’ll have to come up with something else) around a (naturally-occurring) black hole, which is used as a kind of booster-station/nexus for a multigate. Imagine such a nexus as a spiderwebbed crack in a windshield; each radial crack consists of several “chain” gates, and some of those chains eventually join up with another spiderweb.

    dpb: I’m just thinking that topology constrains continuity re: what can pop out. Flying around at 20% of C would let you do builds mere decades apart on average.

    I come up with about 1 build every two centuries, assuming that 10% of encountered stars are gateable (about 1 every 2 decades if every star is gateable, but they won’t be). But the vast majority of these will be routine operations that the Chimp can handle on its own; the meat gets thawed out much less frequently, only when Eri encounters something interesting enough to hang a story off. Right now I’m saying that happens one time out of a thousand, with means you get human resurrections about every 200,000 years. But of course, all those figures are infinitely flexible, depending on what the story requires. They’ll probably change somewhat before publication.

    In any event, the Chimp will certainly have a more fine-grained view of what’s happened to humanity over time than the crew will. But then again, the Chimp might not decide to share all he knows. Bad for morale, you know.

  44. dpb:
    If you are able to properly simulate and upload human brains then they will the capacity to be happy because if they don’t then you have failed to simulate them properly.

    But that perfect simulation would have to be indistinguishable from our current reality. And in that case: what’s the point?

    Also in that simulation we would have (what would appear to us) a physical body, and in my thought experiment I assumed a “human being without a physical body”.

  45. Can you just crowdfund this or something? Yours is some of the only SF that I find interesting at all anymore.
    I’ll pay $10 for this story no problem. I’d pay $40 bucks for the full doorstop.

  46. Great stuff, Pete — thanks! I read “The Island” a few years ago, and still remember its mind-blowing ending. Haven’t read “Hotshot” yet. Hmm. I’ll get on that now. Can’t wait to read more from this Sunflowers series.

  47. fons,

    I don’t really see the point myself, but pointless is very different to impossible. I make a point of achieving 6 pointless things before breakfast.

  48. Peter Watts,

    That gives a very real possibility of coming unstuck and ending up in a region where you can’t easily extend your gate network. Time to backtrack and add a few thousand years between builds.

    I’m half tempted to throw together some software to explore different star density/suitability/gate length parameters and see what you need to make things work.

  49. dpb:

    That gives a very real possibility of coming unstuck and ending up in a region where you can’t easily extend your gate network.Time to backtrack and add a few thousand years between builds.

    Way I see it, you just keep adding links to the chain until you’ve crossed the desert. (If the epic goes as planned, eventually Eri reaches a star for a build to find that someone else has already gated it. Which is how they get out of this galaxy and into another one.

    I’m half tempted to throw together some software to explore different star density/suitability/gate length parameters and see what you need to make things work.

    Hey, it’s bound to be better than the Excel spreadsheet I’m using now…

  50. Peter Watts:
    Hey, it’s bound to be better than the Excel spreadsheet I’m using now…

    Noooooooooo.

  51. A Wattsian-Monroe API

    The neutral good singularity started by a scheduling spreadsheet out of Nebraska? https://xkcd.com/1667/
    Imagine if the singularity starts in a dystopian networking covering algorithm in a spreadsheet macro. A group has formed to protect us from such future evil AIs, but with little success. from ineffective austerity measures to medical fraud, we are slowly losing. http://www.eusprig.org/horror-stories.htm

    (can also provide fan-fiction for other serialization formats)

  52. Peter Watts,

    I’ll see what I can do if I get any free time in the next couple of weeks. Are you happy with using gnuplot to view results or do you want graphics?

  53. Hello again.

    What I was alluding to earlier was the fact that “who you are” is intricately linked to your biology.

    Just came across this video (from a guy at the top of the craft) illustrating this in a mind-blowing way. Have a look, it’s only 5 minutes ;):

    You Are Two: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfYbgdo8e-8

  54. Off topic interesting hype:

    Earth has second temporary “moon”