Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The world is now a little more like a Neal Stephenson novel.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20100921/ts_csm/327178

That link describes a new weapon.  The first of its kind.  A massively precise targeted virus attack intended to seize control of a specific industrial facility.  And then, presumably, destroy it.  This must be what people felt like back in the 40s when the atomic bomb was first unveiled.  But even that wasn't this kind of jump.  Atomic weapons were dropped from bombers, same as any other.  It was an incredible new mechanism, capable of letting one bomber destroy most of a city, but it was still a bomb dropped from a plane, impressive for smashing the incremental improvement curve.  This is transcendent.  It is a creation of the mind, something that could theoretically be done by anyone, and then carried in apparently in the pocket of an unknowing contractor until it has very real, very physical effects. 

The deliverer of this payload would pass any polygraph or brain scan.  They would have no suspicious contacts among friends or family.  They could be the most trustworthy employee you have, truly meaning you no ill-will.  And they would carry in a bomb capable of destroying your factory, a bomb that looks exactly like a useful piece of equipment, that has no markers, sets off no chemical sniffers, in the most refined version would be utterly undetectable.

I am a paranoiac.  This was only ever intensified by depression, eventually to the point where I was looking in the ceiling and the walls, and disassembling approximately everything I owned to look for signs of tampering.  And at my worst, I could have been infected by a weapon of this sort.  This could be considered the perfect payload.  Not the perfect weapon, I've got ideas on that that bypass many of the weaknesses this has, but Fat Man wasn't exactly a paragon of its kind either.  This is the first.  It will not be the last.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sometimes, the things you love don't love you back.

In my case, band saws.  Really, this is more a treatise on how no one is so smart they don't need to pay attention to safety, because I could easily have lost part or all of my thumb today if it weren't for shear* dumb luck.  The band saw is something akin to the platonic ideal of saws.  It is of industry.  This one is made to cut through hardened steel, and it will probably hit bone faster than nerve conduction velocity.  As it is, I felt the air blower that keeps the immediate work area clear on my thumb.  Further testing revealed that this is only possible within an inch of the blade.

Fingers are an interesting case as far as stuff getting chopped off.  They are completely controlled through tendons, ligaments, sinews, and all that other stuff I'd know about if I was a medical major of any sort.  No muscles in them.  To my mind, this should mean that they'd be easy as pie to make working prostheses for.  And, geek that I am, those would immediately need to be modded.  Current best ideas are a lighter, a laser pointer, or a thumb drive *rimshot*.  Comments suggesting other stuff to put in a prosthetic thumb or finger are on topic and probably hilariously awesome.


*I'm torn between not pointing out the joke and not having people tell me I did it wrong.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cargo shipping...

Cargo Ship.  It occurs to me I maybe shouldn't start with a TVTropes link, because it'll now take hours for you to get back here.  Regular readers will remember that I'm asexual.  Well.  I have found true beauty.  It is in precision.  In my machine tools program, I am spending basically a part time job worth of time each week shaping metal to my will.  I am using machines that have the ability to be more accurate than any of our tools can measure.  I can create physical objects exactly to theoretical specifications.  There is love, and it is in picking up a knurl so precisely you can't tell where it left off.

Now, despite the trope, no.  There is no having sex with a lathe.  The best possible result isn't all that great, and the worst is absolutely horrific.

Monday, September 6, 2010

It's been almost two weeks. And I don't give a shit.

People, when did you have any idea whatsoever what you wanted to do with your life?  I feel this lack of a goal, lack of a passion, is the most debilitating thing I'm currently dealing with.  Because I am good at planning.  I probably do it too much.  If I had even an iota of an idea what I wanted to do, I could work towards it.  I'd find a way.  But I'm left in this void, where no action seems effective because I don't know what the hell I'm trying to do.

This isn't Half-Life.  I can't just go in the one direction available to me and eventually I'll run into something that looks like plot.  This is Grand Theft Auto without quests.  All there is to do is drive around aimlessly, maybe randomly doing something on a whim.  But nothing lasts, nothing stays.  Where is purpose found?  Are there pills for that?

I think what's going to end up happening is I'm going to end up shackling myself to some charismatic person with a purpose and a goal and the need for people to help.  And there I'll be.  And that sounds like a cult, which bothers me, probably more for the accuracy I see in it.