Isqua Istari

The Wise Wizards

Speculative Delusions

Posted in Delusions of Grandeur by Ziggy Wednesday January 13, 2016 at 12:28

I think about how to use the things at hand. It’s kind of like this but for tools and equipment. It happens with skills as well, but much more rarely. My psyche is more focused on possessions than personal powers. Of course, being a young man, a lot of these hypothetical scenarios involve using whatever is at hand as an improvised weapon in some sort of violence-driven cinematic sequence.

In any case, I’m often rather startled by the incongruity of the speculations that come to mind. I’m going to start posting these under the Delusions of Grandeur category. Hopefully these missives from my imagination will prove interesting and worth reading, in keeping with our high content standards here at Isqua Istari.

To add some content to this article, here’s an example. (more…)

Cascading Failure: Lumber Edition

Posted in Other,Short Stories by Ziggy Wednesday December 4, 2013 at 13:27

Sometimes things just seem to “go wrong”. My suspicion is that this is a result of putting off solving problems until they build up and overflow into non-related areas. Here’s an example from today.

I need to shoot in a part with the laser tracker in building B. Sadly, the genius laser tracker guy is out of the country (doing laser tracker stuff), and the backup genius is also overseas. There’s a few standby marginally competent laser tracker guys on the project, but they can’t figure out my part.

So we went to get help from another project. (more…)

Thinking for Fun and Profit

Posted in Delusions of Grandeur,Other by Ziggy Tuesday October 8, 2013 at 22:12

Some like to sweat. Some run for fun. They like to run in the hot hot sun.

I do not like to work this way. If I must run, I’ll run away.

Instead I like to learn and think. I like to think and think and think.

And when I think, my thoughts, they stink! But when they don’t, I use some ink. (more…)

The Void (In a Box)

Posted in Articles,Short Stories by Ziggy Wednesday March 27, 2013 at 15:53

I was in the clean room doing some tests. Everyone is in white gowns. The place feels like a science lab. My ears hum with the ubiquitous noise of the air handlers. The place tastes like plastic, and smells the same.

The tool I’m testing needs a new razor blade. I ask the foreman, and he points me to a drawer. Striding confidently over, blue fabric covered shoes scuffing on the white tile underfoot, I grasp the cold stainless steel handle. Everything in the clean room is cold. Cold and bright like a winter’s day. (more…)

Stories and programming

Posted in Articles,Other,Short Stories by Ziggy Wednesday November 21, 2012 at 14:42

Over at shamusyoung.com, someone left a comment that it would be cool to write a program in the form of a story.

This is both easier and more difficult than it sounds. (more…)

Empathy

Posted in Articles,Short Stories by Ziggy Monday July 16, 2012 at 13:19

What are the reasonable bounds of empathy?

Should we feel sorrow when we take apart a broken machine? What about killing a slug, or a butterfly? How do you feel about separating a mother from her children? What if it is a mother wasp instead?

We found a wasp outside our apartment just this afternoon. It had built a nest and was working hard to bring food back to its children. Minding its own business. But a wasp is a threat. And the nest was right next to a path. The path to my front door. My kids play along that path.

What do you do when there’s a conflict of empathy? (more…)

Starship Log: 021

Posted in Starship Log by Ziggy Monday October 10, 2011 at 10:02

I’m giving the heat dumps a day to settle in before characterization. Back to more normal work today. Did some rounds on the mech deck. Everything normal, just like it should be.

Ran out a formal report to the engineering on that surprisingly useful “improved 0-Gee wrench”. Basically I said that it’s useful for making temporary crimps with “permanent” fittings. Threw a bunch of slang and extra info on top, should be a pain to read. Pretty fun to just ramble.

Starship Log: 020

Posted in Starship Log by Ziggy Wednesday August 17, 2011 at 17:23

Had a good day re-installing everything. There’s nothing like a clean system working smoothly. Of course, the heat dumps are still deactivated, pending diagnostics. Most tasks have acceptable time frames for completion, but diagnostics are renown for their unreliability. It may take days for the diagnostics to come out just right, if I play it correctly.

Data from the probes is coming back. Now that we have current high resolution images there is an “Explorers Privilege” naming contest. We’re all submitting names of the major weather systems. Of course, the A-Tors are going to make the final picks, but it’s a nice gesture. I’ve come up with a few good ones myself.

Not saying which though. Wouldn’t want to skew your vote Dirk.

Starship Log: 01B

Posted in Starship Log by Ziggy Friday August 5, 2011 at 09:14

Worked late today finishing the particle scrubs. When I got back to quarters (just a little bit ago), there was a message waiting for me. Apparently three departments love the idea of cleaning all of the air-handling equipment before we make an insertion on Planet Four. I notified Dirk that we can’t possibly have all of that done, with our normal duties besides, before we reach planetary orbit in a couple of weeks. We’ll see what they decide.

With any luck I’ll be tagged for full time duct scrub duty. Fantastic.

Starship Log: 01A

Posted in Starship Log by Ziggy Monday July 25, 2011 at 11:58

Heard a couple of engineers complaining about the temperature in their quarters. Apparently they are propping their doors open at night. Almost makes all the hassle worth it. Spent most of today finishing the disassembly. Tomorrow is scheduled doing the in-place particle scrubs.

The heat plates slide into static baffles, which the air has to flow over. The particle scrubbers have reach into the convolutions in order to pass the particle count tests. If the plates were integral with the baffles then everything would come out at once. I asked the engineers about it during lunch today. They said it had something to do with manufacturability, fluid efficiency, and mass savings. Whatever it is, they’re the ones suffering, not me.

Had a scare today in life support. There was a pure oxygen leak. Had to evacuate two sectors for a purge and scrub. No detonation, thankfully. I think the oxygen levels for the whole ship rose above 0.3% before it was contained. It’s easy to forget that just one major failure could kill us all. EP-61-4 is looking more inviting by the hour.

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