Thursday, April 2, 2009

Philotes and ansibles

We have just finished our most recent project but the screaming, and it went together so well the customer took US out to dinner instead of us taking him out, for a change.

So we sat around and ate bar food and yapped about the project and the next one in the pipeline, and one of the guys said "I don't know why you made such a fuss about the communications. People have been using ansible for years!"

Yes, I suppose, they have. I imagine people have been using telephones for ages as well, but most have no idea of the changes that have taken place in their use. Oh, at some point there were folks who realized cellphones had gone digital, but like most things, few have any idea how technology marches on.

Philotes are a special and fairly interesting subject, and a lot has been written about theory. Almost nobody has any idea how the nuts and bolts work, though.

See, a philote....

Crap, let's back up a moment.

Imagine for a moment that the speed of light is one foot per hour. And imagine you are transmitting a message twenty foot away with a flashlight. Your message will take twenty hours to get there.

Now, imagine you have a twenty foot steel rod. You can turn the rod easily. There's a pointer on the other end of the rod, and if you turn the rod up the pointer on the other end means "1" and if you turn it down it means "0". SO you can communicate a LOT of data, just using binary, while you're waiting for the light beam to pass.

A philote is kind of like this, and though it's not an extremely accurate analogy, it's how they were treated at first. The very first philote monkeys were very good at transmitting extremely complex data simply using a binary function. They could take the philotic "Particle" (for lack of a better word) and use a tiny magnetic field to "excite" it so it was either "up" or "down" so to speak, and the philote on the other end would respond the same way- it's position could be "read" by the induction in the magnetic field.

And then someone stumbled onto Carpathian bees. Carpathian bees weren't exactly bees, though they did make something rather like honey. They don't sting, they don't seem to have a fixed lifespan (though you do see dead ones) and they make honey and abandon it. Carpath is practically dripping with the stuff, and as the sugar molecules are such that it won't spoil. They also give you a three-day painful erection, if you don't process it properly first.

And carpathian bees don't buzz- at least not out loud. Carpathian bees use philotes to communicate, and were the first "lower" creatures to be discovered to do so. Someone had a headset on setting up a net and a carpathian bee flew by, landed on his ansible terminal. The buzz was maddening until he took off the headset, so he started checking to see if there was a technical difficulty, but the bee was damned sure broadcasting. it was using a whole array of philotes, some of which connected to its' hive, some to other hives some distance away.

But it wasn't using binary, it was using the philote in ways nobody had ever imagined. There's a whole bee language in the way the philote is arranged.

Think of the particle as a globe with a pole. The bees on Carpath had figured out how to instinctively move that globe around, so that the pole was pointing in any of an infinite number of positions. So you had rotation around x, y, and z, and the particle could also rotate about it's pole, at different speeds. The philote on the other end would do the same.And each bee had multiple philotic links.

Once nature had shown us how it's done, we were able to use this method of passing data to our advantage. It's as if we had all been using morse code and were suddenly given three-d video and smellovision overnight. Whole armies of code monkeys were busy for years thinking of ways to encode information and use the extended abilities of the philote.

So now we can use the ansible to pass hundreds of orders of magnitude of data back and forth between one machine and another. And it's an incredible boon, because we have no practical limitation of what can be delivered or received. It allows us to make the manufacturing operations flexible in ways we never imagined, and it has changed the face of our industry.

And now I have a headache. Damned honey.

1 comment:

  1. headache is better than a painfull erection :}