Saturday, March 8, 2014

Coffeehouse on Mars part 7

\\ Mechanical shop engineers message each other on encrypted channel. Mr. Watson is at the door talking a truant officer and a teenage boy. The engineers are each huddled into one side of a cubicle. The bearded engineer, Eric. The tall slangy one named Terry and the short stocky engineer known as Malcolm.

Eric is anxious ["Gamification works well in test environment. I think it's ready for alpha testers."]

Terry unconsciously nodded, [We got fifty people who want in on the game. Everybody sworn to secrecy. Most friends and some family.]

["Good. Keep circle small. Have to build slowly. Have to get to critical mass of devotees, so when we're discovered, they can't shut us down so easily."]

Malcolm chimes in [You know, they didn't want the kids to be exposed to violence in the game. Said nothing about adults, seems kinda silly we hiding like this. What makes you think the general assembly would shut us adults down?]

["Because crowds are dumb. Individuals are smart. The G.A. is a crowd where only the lowest common denominator gets passed. Nothing new was ever invented by a crowd. We are creating something, filling a need. We can give life to the mundane existence we all experience on this rusty rock."] The bearded engineer is surprised by a tap on his shoulder by Mr. Watson.

Eric, take this young man, December, under your wing. Explain to him the importance of contributing here in the Shop. He just wants to hang out with his friends while others do all the work.

"Sit down kid."

\\ December feels like he's a prisoner. Trying to figure out how to distract himself for the next three hours.

"I'm not going to lecture you, kid. You won't listen anyway, what I will say is that I have had my run-ins with the truant officers when I was your age. It got so bad, they waited outside our house every morning to take me to this very mechanical shop. If you're just hanging out, then get used to the truant officers and the sanitation plant. If you want the society to change, learn how to build something, then you can change things. Now get us some coffee. I'll take mine black."

Cream, three sugars.

Espresso, two shots.

Martian Moons Transit the SunThe upper-left of these images shows the passing, or transit, of the Martian moon Deimos across the sun. This event is similar to solar eclipses seen from Earth in which our moon crosses in front of the sun.The bottom three images show Phobos, Mars's other moon, transiting the sun. The potato-shaped Phobos is roughly 15 miles across, about twice the size of Deimos. Deimos appears so much smaller because it is also a bit more than twice as far away from Mars as Phobos is.The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity took images of both moons on different days in March 2004.Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell