“Torch” — Part V, Page 43

Posted on March 3, 2010 at 5:00 am in FINDER as part of TorchTorch - Part Five, « TorchTorch - Part Five, . Follow responses to this post with the comments feed. You can leave a comment or trackback from your own site.

19 Responses

  1. Owlmirror says:

    That can’t be just an ordinary chemical reaction. Otherwise, the parts still remaining up above would be disintegrating as well.

    Maybe some sort of program is running (by embedded nanotech):


    /* surface exposure is set to TRUE if oxygen is detected where it shouldn't be */

    IF ( surface_exposed (x[1]) == TRUE AND surface_exposed (x[2]) == TRUE AND surface_exposed (x[3]) == TRUE AND surface_exposed (x[4]) == TRUE )
    THEN /* Dome component is no longer in place -- disaster has struck! */
    run_complete_disintegration

    (or something like that)

    It’s probably an ancient built-in safety feature. Because if the dome is collapsing, would you really want pieces of it getting in the way of escape and rescue efforts?

  2. Owlmirror says:

    That didn’t come out quite the way that I thought it would. Why can’t we have a “preview” button?

    Take two:


    /* surface exposure is set to TRUE if oxygen is detected where it shouldn't be */
    IF ( surface_exposed (x[1]) == TRUE AND surface_exposed (x[2]) == TRUE AND surface_exposed (x[3]) == TRUE AND surface_exposed (x[4]) == TRUE )
    THEN /* Dome component is no longer in place -- disaster has struck! */
      run_complete_disintegration

  3. Oneiros says:

    Owlmirror, you have distinguished yourself in my eyes as a special Speedfreak. I dub thee “Sir Speedgeek”.

  4. Oneiros says:

    Owlmirror, what is “x”? When you test “x” at four different points, do you mean for this particular piece that fell down? As it is a crosspiece, it then has four possible exposed surfaces, so if all four surfaces are exposed, then it disintegrates. I was thinking that if the algorithm is based on exposed surfaces, then that whole skeleton that is still standing should disintegrate, since there are exposed surfaces up there, too. But if ALL relevant surfaces need to be exposed before disintegration, then that would explain why the standing skeleton has not disintegrated. But then, for a single length piece, there would only be two possible exposed surfaces, so then the algorithm for that would test for x[1] and x[2].

    Or maybe every part of the skeleton has a way of sensing when it is cut off from the whole of the skeleton, and when it is cut off, then it disintegrates. It might be like an electrical circuit. Not saying it IS one, just saying MAYBE it’s LIKE one, in the way that as long as a piece of the circuit remains connected with the whole circuit, there is a flow of electrons through the piece. Once the piece is removed, then there’s no flow. No flow detected -> disintegration. But of course, the other way to stop flow is to cut the circuit from its power source.

  5. reptangle says:

    I think the snake eggs cause it to go off. They check it out first and agree that it is a piece of dome, then zzzt! So quick that nobody can analyze what the chunk is made of.
    OR…
    The other hypothesis I have about the snake eggs is that they are a machine of present day dome scientists. They invented them to try to get data about any fallen dome chunks quickly before they disintegrate.

  6. Oneiros says:

    Hm. Interesting theory, reptangle. It was my impression that the “snake eggs” had to rush to the fallen pieces quickly because the fallen pieces disintegrated so quickly. But your theory makes sense. It’s like the original creators of the dome either made a system to clean up after itself very quickly, or made a system to make it so that no one else could figure out how the system works. Whether the obfuscation was deliberate, that’s the result.

    The “Rapid Research” folks that Owlmirror speaks of seem to be the present-day scientists, though, not the “snake eggs”. They try to get there soon enough, but they don’t ever seem to get there in time.

  7. Owlmirror says:

    Owlmirror, what is “x”?

    Good question. As you surmised, it was supposed to be a potential exposed surfaces count, but as you pointed out, the exact exposed surface count depends on the section that falls.

    To be honest, I was being very sloppy and not really serious.

    A more rigorous way of thinking about it that occurred to me is that there are oxygen sensors connected to the embedded nanocomputers throughout the material, and all of the nanocomputers are in communication, letting each one know its state (detecting O2 or not) and receiving the signals from their neighbors. If enough of them detect oxygen in a contiguous area, the combined system sets another state flag that all of them are now part of an exposed surface.

    If the exposed surface is the only one around (no others are detected on the contiguous piece that they are in), then the nanocomputers of the exposed surface are still on a piece that is still connected to the lattice/dome, and the self-destruct routine is not run.

    If there are multiple exposed surfaces on a contiguous piece of lattice/dome, each nanocomputer group detects the other nearby exposed nanocomputer group(s), and sets off the self-destruct routine for that piece.

    I’m too lazy to figure out how to express that as pseudocode right now.

    Or maybe every part of the skeleton has a way of sensing when it is cut off from the whole of the skeleton, and when it is cut off, then it disintegrates.

    My notion is meant to be a low-level implementation to do exactly that.

    It might be like an electrical circuit. Not saying it IS one, just saying MAYBE it’s LIKE one, in the way that as long as a piece of the circuit remains connected with the whole circuit, there is a flow of electrons through the piece.

    That leaves the whole system breaking down when there’s a single break. I think you need *something* distributed throughout the structure in order for it to have any robustness at all.

    Actually, in thinking about it more, it doesn’t have to work by oxygen detection, but rather, simple proximity detection between the embedded nanocomputers.

    Did a bunch of nearby nanocomputers disappear? Are all of the neighboring nanocomputers also saying that nearby nanocomputers disappeared? Then the set of neighboring nanocomputers reporting this problem are an exposed surface.

    The rest of the algorithm would run as above, more or less.

    Alternatively, maybe it’s something like a localized positioning system. Each nanocomputer has a registered relative location that it has stored, and if a group “detects” that they are now ~20 meters (or whatever; something greater than some reasonable maximum allowable) from where they should be, that group runs the self destruct.

    I wonder if the pieces that fall are because of mechanical stress, or if the same tech that causes disintegration is going off incorrectly, perhaps due to false positive readings, thus causing the piece to break off in the first place.

  8. Owlmirror says:

    The “Rapid Research” folks that Owlmirror speaks of seem to be the present-day scientists, though, not the “snake eggs”.

    The “snake eggs” are flying/floating cameras; Kemet is just giving his startled first impression. We see them in Sin-Eater V1, pg 13, and the tour guide specifically claims that they are devices used by contemporary researchers.

    Grazie also uses similar tech for her program (when Jaeger is all beat up in the hospital), and I think they show up elsewhere as well.

    I don’t think they are meant to be shown as causing the disintegration, although it looks that way in panel 3 above. Note that the broken piece is starting to “fffff” in panel 1, when the cameras are *not* all pointing at it.

  9. Oneiros says:

    the tour guide specifically claims that they are devices used by contemporary researchers.

    Hm, some good arguments.

    Tour guide might be just saying that to make the tourists believe that they know how their own city operates, give the tourists a false sense of security, pump up their impression of how good a job Anvard’s government does. Like the folks at Munkyland choreograph things to control the attendees’ experience inside the walls. “All part of the show, folks!” Why else does Rapid Research always get there too late?

    Maybe the mere PRESENCE of the “snake eggs” are enough to begin the disintegration sequence. And maybe they are not actually the same tech as what Grazie uses, or Lynne fiddles with, or that monitored Marcie when she was in grade school. In Sin-eater, weren’t the devices that zipped through the air to the fallen piece also equipped with two filament-like arms? I’ve given away my Sin-eater, so I can’t check, and need another copy.

  10. Oneiros says:

    And somehow, my impression is that the tour guide is part of the Sylvan clan, which I believe is known for their pencant for art and performance, so I might not trust that everything she says is true.

  11. Owlmirror says:

    Tour guide might be just saying that to make the tourists believe that they know how their own city operates, give the tourists a false sense of security, pump up their impression of how good a job Anvard’s government does.

    Sure, maybe everyone lies all the time about everything, except for the occasional odd and often undetectable truths they tell now and again just to throw everyone off.

    Why else does Rapid Research always get there too late?

    Because they are not actually precognitive and the early warning bird circles don’t give enough lead time?

    Maybe the mere PRESENCE of the “snake eggs” are enough to begin the disintegration sequence.

    Because of quantum?

    In Sin-eater, weren’t the devices that zipped through the air to the fallen piece also equipped with two filament-like arms?

    Yes. Or at least, that’s what it looks like.

    The Rapid Researchers might have changed their tech since then.

    I’ve given away my Sin-eater

    You what your what, now?

    and need another copy.

    I hear that nice Ms. McNeil might have a few copies for sale.

  12. Oneiros says:

    Sure, maybe everyone lies all the time about everything, except for the occasional odd and often undetectable truths they tell now and again just to throw everyone off.

    We can’t help but to lie. Words cannot accurately describe reality. That’s just the way it is. But it’s worth the effort. It’s not always a conspiracy.

    “Only words can lie.” – Jewel

    “Poetry lies its way to the truth.”

    “We’re covered in lies, but that’s ok.” – Vertical Horizon

  13. Tour guides are Milo clan, pretty sure.

  14. Oneiros says:

    Really? Could be. I don’t really remember the Milo clan. What are they known for?

  15. Liza says:

    “Tour guide. Members of her clan are very long-lived, and are as such de facto historians. Her personal name is Medina.” –footnotes to Sin-Eater vol. I

    (Medina was the in-person walking-tour guide whose exposition framed the chunk of the dome falling off at the beginning of the book; not necessarily the same woman as the virtual tour guide on all the TV screens.)

    “Walking tours in the city of Anvard are maintained by the Milo clan, who are very long-lived. The woman on the TV screen is the head of Milo clan.” –footnotes to Sin-Eater vol. II

    Clan Milo appears with the other clan emblems in front of House Llaverac in Sin-Eater vol. II.

    Given her longevity, Ahsef’s lady luthier could possibly be a Milo.

  16. reptangle says:

    Ah yes, right. On Pg 19 in the hardcover “Sin Eater” the tour guide explains the eyeball robot things, Though these are a different style; they have little feelers and are less streamlined than the “snake egg” style.
    I keep the Finder book next to the computer, but it keeps getting buried under stuff. I wish clutter would disintegrate too.

  17. jessy says:

    Does tourguide mention wether the dome grows back. If so it could be natural biodegradation which allows the dome to keep “healthy” as the original dome engineers maybe would want their home to be self maintaining. If it doesnt grow back perhaps in the past it did, but now its not getting nutrients/stimuli it needs to regenerate. Perhaps if they let Shar’s people have a look at it they could help, being all biotechnically advanced.

  18. Royce Grey says:

    I thing the “eggs” are emitting perhaps something like ultrasonics or lasers at a very specific frequency that causes the molecules in the debris to disolve.

  19. Royce Grey says:

    That was a dumb comment of mine. Obviously, the “eggs” are observing the process and not driving it.

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