CPU

When you hear computer computer scientists talk about processors you might hear them describe processors as the “brain” of the computer, but that is not the case. Instead, to properly understand what a processor does, you have to think of the entire computer as a brain, and work from there.

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The processor’s job is to take an instruction from memory, perform that instruction (doing math, writing to memory, ending signals to other computers, etc), and find the next instruction. Processors have to do all of this quickly, and by quickly I mean billions of times per second quickly. Processors can also be split into multiple cores. Each core is capable of performing tasks independently from one another. Think about a factory with workers assembling a product. The processor is the factory, and each core is a worker in that factory fully assembling a product from start to finish. The more workers, or cores, there are the faster the factory can produce products. Cores work together in parallel to take lines of work, called threads, and generate some sort of output. Threads are all put into a queue, and each time a core finishes a thread, it will take a thread from the front of that queue and begin processing that thread. Likewise, if the end of a thread does not fully complete a task that a program needs to finish, then that thread will create a new thread that performs the next task that a program needs to finish and put that thread at the end of the queue.

Do note that there are a two tasks that a brain can accomplish that processors do not accomplish. First, processors are not used for either long or short term memory (OK, that’s a small lie, but the memory that processors have is incredibly tiny and temporary). Second, processors do not determine what tasks they should be doing on their own. They rely on other components to send commands.

Knowing this, I hope you can appreciate the more complicated intricacies on how computers work.

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Reality Bending

If you’re reading this, then you must be one of our new scientists here at the Ideal Propagation Research Center. This classified documentation is for the IPRC’s cutting edge research on Lems. The purpose of this research is to quantify units of reality, and using that research to engineer weapons capable of destroying the reality bender’s that have begun to threaten our society.

But, before we explain the nature of these reality benders, Lems need to be explained. Lems are the average measure of reality a given space has. The higher the Lems are in a space the more real it is, and the fewer the Lems are in a space is the less real it is. This can be hard to understand upon first hearing, so let us explain it with an analogy. Let all of time and space compare to a universe-sized beach. At every point on that beach (the universe), there is sand (Lems). However, some parts of the beach have more sand than others. Likewise, sand can move across the beach if certain events happen that make it move.

This is an extreme oversimplification, and full explanations are given after this Preface, of course. To measure the amount of reality in an area, we use IPRC manufactured Lem Anchors. These devices are like using snow shovels on the beach. They store massive quantities of Lems and spew Lems where ever they need to go, but they need a source of Lems to function. For Lem Anchors to measure the “quantity” of reality within a space, we have used two Lem Anchors to create two arbitrarily high are low areas of Lems to compare to as a base line. The areas of high Lems are determined to have 100 Lems, while the lower areas are determined to have 0 Lems. Every time a Lem anchor makes a measurement, it compares its quantity to the high and low areas, and returns a value that is proportional to those two areas.

While measuring Lems is great, knowing those two benchmark numbers doesn’t put the scale of reality being manipulated. For the laws of physics to functions as they normally do, a value of 0.7 Lems is needed. Most humans maintain a Lem quantity of about 0.3 Lems inside their body, while the very outside of human bodies are kept at a shockingly high 13.4 Lems. In order to create and destroy matter, a Lem count of -30.3 is necessary. This means reality benders with that ability are extremely powerful, and are considered extreme threats to society.

Accessing further information on this document requires an IPRC clearance level of at least 7.

Hey, that’s pretty good

When writing my fiction stories, I always strive for as much conceptual creativity as I can. That being said, stories about people tend to be inherently unoriginal because people tend to write a lot about other people, and it’s not hard to see why. After all, it’s very easy to just write about the day to day experiences that a writer has. Because of this, I have worked to avoid a focus on an anecdotal human element, and I write more about particular settings and organizations of people rather than individuals themselves. I have found this to be quite effective in creating an interesting, although hard to relate to, narrative.

As a product of this, I also for no particular reason that comes to mind, write stories with the narrator telling the reader how stories occur in the past tense. I think the reason why I do this is because of the ability it gives me to skew time. I could have a narrator describe a series of events, and then I would tell the reader “oh by the way that happened in like 2068” in a fairly passive way. Not only does this set the perspective of the narrator’s time, but it also give the reader a totem to grab onto to understand the scale of the story and potentially give them an idea about how far technology has progressed (this works going into the past, too).

The best part to this all is that I’m also writing my stories in prices that are, get this, greater than 500-100 words! Can you believe it? The stories that I think are the most successful are the ones with greater word counts! Its almost as if the more tools to create an artist has, the better their work will be.

Now that I’ve ranted about the technicalities of my writing, I’ll share a few of my story prompts because I think they’re at least mildly interesting.

The prompt I am most proud of so far is a little something I wrote inspired from SCP. I’ve written a story in the exact same way that an SCP story would be written. The particular object I’ve decided to write about is a TV that emits light that forces objects to age extremely quickly. Constant power must be applied to the television to keep it off (because logic) otherwise the TV will quickly age the area around it. The rate at which the light accelerates ageing is unfathomably fast, but the reader is not told this, as they have to figure it out by doing a bit of cross checking on the experiment logs provided in the story.

The other idea I had was about a factory that hunts down raw resources, and uses them to sustain itself and produce scientific information. The entire process is managed automatically by the factory, so it requires no maintenance. The factory works so well, it has developed past the technology every other civilization that has ever existed, but the twist is that humanity has been dead for many millennia after the factory achieved this state.

Micromeaning in Microfiction

Seriously? An expectation to write strong stories in less than 100 words? I’ve been bamboozled by this conundrum. Less than 500 words is formidable because there was at least some room to slap together an exposition that the reader can hold onto and appreciate, but less than 100 means all you can have in a story is a small arrangement of actions between characters that are so flat that they might as well be classified as two-dimensional.

Many 100 word stories try to expand their characters by trying them into symbols. While I can appreciate the effort  being made to expand these characters, 100 words can still leave extreme amounts of variability when it comes to the interpretation of what those symbols are supposed to mean. Yes, a reader can figure out that a spider, bear, or snake is supposed to be the antagonist, but finding the details to derive the conflict with that antagonist becomes an annoyance. Is the antagonist supposed to represent a rapist, war, genocide, a paper cut, or maybe even you accidentally spilling your coffee on yourself right before you leave home to go to work? The expansion becomes so broad that any deeper meaning the author attempted to weave into their words becomes lost in a sea of vagueness.

It’s not that I hate the idea of short stories, but rather I hate the tools that get taken away with over the top constraints. In a similar sense: it would be cool if I could grow an entire cornfield with just one seed, but that idea does not work in practice. I can’t say I understand why my classmates are so enthralled with this idea,  but if its their cup of tea I guess they can appreciate it. I will be writing my fiction in as many words as it takes to make the writing compelling. Fiction creates an open canvas that no other type of writing can quite compare to, and that open canvas creates infinite possibility for any writer to communicate the world they want to represent. However, keeping stories too short is like cutting a 1 inch square section out of that canvas and trying to use only that fraction of the canvas to create a world. Sure, you can use any part of the canvas you want, but the final product will always be of lesser quality than if you decided to go ahead and utilize the whole canvas.

The Heist

Here is a small narrative piece I wrote for English class:

Tonight, we’re hitting up a warehouse in St. Louis. The warehouse is owned by an organization that calls themselves “private security,” but is really just a bunch of thugs and mercenaries. That being said, this organization has outposts all over the world, so there’s no telling what kind of juicy illegal loot is going to be on the inside.

The first place we need to hit them is their server room, as this will be where one of the guards is watching the cameras. In addition to blinding their primary security system, it will also allow us to steal the servers themselves. Who knows what could be on the servers? Military blueprints, secret state budgets, and even access codes to the vaults deeper inside the warehouse are all possibilities.

Once they’re blind, we need to sneak around the warehouse and search containers. We need to avoid being seen by guards, as every one of them has a pager to set off the alarm. Killing the guards is also undesirable. The more guards we have to kill, the more suspicious their radio operators will be from the silence.

Any look we find can be taken to the back of the warehouse by the river. The warehouse’s lookouts have a blind spot back there. We can set up a zip-line there to carry items across the river without being noticed.

Our contractor wants us to do this silently, and if we do set off the alarm, then we won’t have the firepower to hold off the SWAT team for any mount of time. If the alarm goes off, we are screwed.