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Echo from a possible future - a letter to an old friend

Kenji LarsenKenji Larsen wrote 06/04/2014 at 21:27 • 8 min read • Like

Dear Sally,

Thanks for your postcard! Was that a real antique or one of your amazing replicas? You have a real artistic sense, always have. It made me think back to when I met you, over a hundred years ago now! I would have said it warms the heart to think of those old times...

That was long before I had my heart replaced with the common open-source neuro-atricular five pump network. I still have the same one! It’s not the seven node system that people are getting these days, but it works well enough. As you know, I had a localized ischemia in one node a decade ago, that’s been regrown and replaced, doing just fine. I didn’t even notice when it happened. At 78% operating capacity, I didn’t even feel tired. I wouldn’t have even known at all were it not for the automated alert from the collective. A hundred years ago I’d have probably been dead. I’d love to thank the person that had the idea that you could use mechanical means to build structures out of the extracellular matrix that aren’t just copies of existing organs. Baste lightly, let the biological factors animate the biomachine, and it is genetically all me, but better than the original me. What an awesome hack.

You have the seven pump model now, don’t you? I’m glad you finally got rid of your old bio-heart, what a risky design. On a related note, have you considered the toroidal mesh of Willis? After getting mine, it seems I think a lot faster. It’s just because of improved brain temperature regulation and oxygenation, they tell me. But I got it because I was concerned about ischemia…all that bacon, you know, and my genetic propensity for cholesterol plaques. Call me paranoid, I know it’s not the problem it used to be.

You asked how I am, and the fact is I feel great. I think I haven’t felt better, not even way back in my twenties when we met. For instance, back then I had perfect vision, but when my lenses started to become naturally less supple in my forties, I struggled with reading glasses… remember glasses? You had them when I met you. I’m so glad you that told me about Zonule of Zinn fiber reassignment. Since I had that, with the regular multi-grate liquigel aquula that everyone gets now, I can see farther than ever, and macro zoom way down - progressive split-field too. You were right about how useful it is, but I also get a lot of simple enjoyment from it as well. I love tardigrades and pollen - and they were there the whole time; now I can see them unaided. I remember how we used to watch lightning storms together; it’s really not so different.

And of course my focus and differential bio-diffractors are integrated with the recognizers. To think of all the time we used to waste just visually understanding every interface before being able to use it - unthinkable today. But that is OK, we aren’t being chased by lions in the wild anymore either. Why should that continue to dominate our perception? It’s not like we don’t have the pleasure of discovery when we desire it. In fact that pleasure is actually augmented, by not having to get the brain working so hard to understand if a common visual interface is a hungry lion every single time. We’ve just removed the overhead.

Speaking of overhead, do you remember cars? You know, the ones that rolled on the ground? I remember I thought I was so cool back in the day when I hacked my car to unlock, open, close, and lock just by gesture. Ah those early days, if only we had had recognizers and the collective back then. That would have been so much easier. Now I don’t even need to gesture, my hovercapsule knows exactly when I need it to delaminate the ingress portal. I know you don’t really follow tech, and really why would anyone, as invisible as it is these days. But I’ve always been interested in those behind-the-scenes details, and I was really glad you asked me about them for your project. It will be great to see how your project presents all that artistically, can’t wait to see it.

The machine collective is a big thing, but in addition to the biometric integration that is common today, there were really only three or four fundamental technical advances in the last hundred years that have shaped our world as it has become. The hovercapsule is of course just a material mover within the collective, but it couldn’t exist without a power source. Nearly every device today has some form of Bussard-Farnsworth microfusor with virtual particle field containment. Not that things need much power anymore, but you do need some. Muons might be harder to make than electrons, but their huge inertia is what made containment practical. And things have come a long way since the Boron 11 union riots. I loved that Hackaday caused that riot to completely fizzle out when the open source community sidestepped the problem with the Lithium 7 Mooltiplier.

You may not realize that muon containment is now achieved by essentially the same technology that allows the hovercapsule to achieve neutral gravitational impulse. I’m sure you remember the big commotion in the news when Third Harmonic patented their system for inducing organized sub-quantum fluctuations shortly before the patent system was discontinued, and then for a few days had no rights under the new Jeffersonian. Well, that technology really was the basis for a lot of what we have today. The manipulation of the quantum froth to evolve virtual particles of almost instantaneous half-life is practically the same in muon containment as it is in hovercapsule propulsion. In containment, the unstable virtual particles are created with huge charge values, and dissociate back into the froth almost immediately, but not before the attractive force of the charge has an effect. The result is a nearly physically non-existent volume of persistent high charge density.

It’s really the same with propulsion, the hovercapsule’s surfaces are just introducing “period three” chaotic fluctuations a microscopic distance away, but instead of huge charge, it’s huge mass. The controller network creates these particles wherever they need to be to balance the pull of the earth, or really any G-field, and then they dissipate. That also allows nearly non-inertial right angle turns - not really non-inertial, but inertia-compensated. It’s just exploiting the gravitational properties of mass, instead of the electrostatic (or muostatic) properties of charge - but really, it’s the same mechanism. Same with the personal projected interference shield, all the same. Power, movement, safety, ultimately all stemming from a single hack.

They say that all our use of the froth is causing the universe itself to become physically smaller, by a negligible amount. It just makes me think of all the things we used to think were negligible and then it turned out they weren’t. This one seems harmless though, even if true. It’s still way better than combusting volatiles and relying on friction between rubber and road.

That makes me think of all the talks we used to have about recycling. Remember when houses didn’t have a material separation tank? Or any micro-production capabilities? Only water and energy like electricity and gas were part of the home. Data came later. Material conduits (other than water) were never really standardized like that. We relied on shipping and shopping to get raw materials and food, can you imagine?

Once the recycling and production mechanisms moved inside the home’s perimeter, it really paved the way for the Sovereign Individual movement. Materials became really inexpensive, since only small quantities of new stuff were consumed, and most things were made new again right within the house. The good old JormuFlex 12-D clothing printer used the same kind of material for so many years. I remember having to recharge it with new plasticizers only once a year or so. But every day I had a brand new suit. No laundry, no ironing - into the vat the used ones went for separation and recycling. You still hand wash that old woolen sweater you have, don’t you? I guess you must, since no one has a clothes-washing machine anymore. Speaking of wool, did you know that the Makkaravjo printing fiber is actually based on the structure of reindeer fur, emulated on a micro scale? It integrated so well with the printed biometrics, even today’s biometrics are based on that old stuff. My neuro-atricular failure was sensed by my shirt’s electronic fibers, which were based on the reindeer hair… sometimes the most commonplace articles have a bizarre pedigree.

People have really come up with some amazing things by hacking the unexpected together. Once knowledge became not only free but also ubiquitous, and individual food and energy needs were solved by the microfusor, it really just made sense that the Sovereign Individuals on Hackaday would create the distributed Hackaworld governmental system. Isn’t trading on the basis of excellence the purest form of equitable societal organization? It wouldn’t have worked way back, when some groups controlled the food or means of production of other groups, but who can even remember those days now? Some things I see produced today I would not give a three skullar bill for (remember bills?) but there is always someone who appreciates it, or even better, improves it. And stuff that works proliferates. It’s a rich world we have these days, full of ideas, art, and technology, not to mention wonder and discovery - and it’s all because every single person can make stuff by themselves. Technological development and social evolution are now inextricably linked. I think your project will show that prominently.

So I have to apologize for not visiting. Even though I can get to anywhere on the planet in eighteen minutes in my hovercapsule using G-compensated sub-orbital injection, I tend not to visit you. But then, you don’t visit me, either. So let’s get together when I get back from this trip. The Red Spot is really awe-inspiring, but the neighborhood has gotten a bit crowded, with all the resort stations littering the sky. If the Spot were less of a sight it would be intolerable. I’ll let you know how the Dark Spot tour goes, it’s not as spectacular, I hear. If that is the case I’ll be back sooner, bearing some of your favorite Callistan spice water for your coffee, and I’ll come over for some of your dome-made raspberry pie.

I’m not sure why I got so nostalgic just now. It’s nice to remember the good times.

See you soon!

- Kenji

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j0z0r pwn4tr0n wrote 05/05/2015 at 15:48 point

Great piece of work, have you considered writing a book? 

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Kenji Larsen wrote 12/20/2015 at 03:01 point

Thanks! Yeah, well... 100 books in progress... never finished... you know.

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