Li’l Lightning

Whoever can observe, orient, decide, and act fastest in response to stimuli on the battlefield will always win.

Should it have surprised anyone that machines capable of millions of decisions a second would rule the battlefield?

While it was possible for a machine to observe the minutia of a battlefield and decide the best course of action, there remained the problem of acting.

Physics still had to be respected. Mass still had to be set into motion, and stopped from its motion, before the action could take place. Not even considering the flight time of a bullet.

A machine could decide 10 places to shoot in 1/10th of a second, but it took more than that time to point a barrel, fire a projectile, wait for that projectile to leave the barrel, and wait for the action of the firearm to cycle the next round into the chamber.

It wasn’t until the invention of the gyro-turret that the physics problem was solved. The axial-offset rotation and mass balance drew the barrel across 360 horizontal degrees and 20 total degrees of vertical inclination and declination 32 times per second.

The bearings had to be extremely well machined (and replaced often), and the optical RPM sensor had to be almost vacuum sealed to prevent any dust from interfering with the reading, but at peak performance, it could shoot bullets out of the air and then shoot the sender of those bullets in the head 5 times.

It was nicknamed the Deathpop, because it resembled a lollipop, as the spherical mass rotated at 10,000 RPM and fed ammunition up from its magazine tube beneath it.

The sensors above the sphere blasted a form of radar in all directions to track projectiles, and any movements. Any incoming projectiles were considered targets immediately, assuming the trajectory for intercept was clear, and the estimated deflection path was also clear. If not, the system would calculate flight path, and determine the next opportunity for a clear shot, then wait patiently for a few hundred nanoseconds until the intercepting shot could be made. If there was enough time, the system would frequently fire a shot at the projectile’s point of origin. Sometimes, it even killed the shooter before the bullet even reached its target. Well, WOULD have reached its target.

In the case of movement, optical sensors captured the movement graphically, and the patterns of movement were laboriously analyzed for thousands of picoseconds to determine whether or not the moving object should be forcibly stopped from moving.

Controlling the system was far beyond human capacity. It simply had to be pre-programmed and activated for a few dozen seconds, and then deactivated. Many fighting units used it in its most decidedly UNrecommended setting, Motion Area Denial, or MAD mode. In this mode, the Deathpop shot at everything that moved. The more clever squads would drive the device into the killzone, put cover between them and the device, and activate it.

“We called it Li’l Lightning, because when we turned it on it sounded like a long crack of lightning. Almost like static. Well, I say ‘long’ but it really only needed a second or so. I guess that’s long for lightning. We’d get the call ‘lightning lightning lightning’, get behind something and hold our breath, Sarge’d turn it on, and in a second: off, and there’d be 40 canoed Oscars. It was hell to clean up after, but it beat getting shot.”

It was well known for being a finicky weapon system that simply failed to work in some climates, and needed frequent maintenance and part replacement. “It wasn’t my job, but I still knew it was a huge pain in the rear to maintain. Worth it though. That thing’s the hand of god, and it’s worth every million dollar nut and bolt.”

Li’l Lightning

KillBot 1173AC

The Killbots were something of a novelty and a joke for the first few years after involving them in the Afghan theater. The name was primarily chosen to strike fear into opponents, but they quickly earned the nickname Chillbots, as they were notoriously useless. However, as scanner/gatherers they began to fulfill their role more efficiently.

Tens of thousands were destroyed, but every failure contributed to the database of engagements and enemy movement patterns. “Machine Learning” is an antiquated term for the five dimensional data analysis performed on engagement data today, but it’s the one most people can understand.

Killbot 1173AC, or “Alpha Charlie” as it is famously known, was engaged in combat maneuvers with the 122nd mechanized in a village in Tehran, when it completed its 1,227,329,399,981,421st iteration of Algorithm production for “Maneuvering in active combat scenarios with injured squadmates in desert environments with close quarters.”

It had reached a tipping point in the prolonged engagement where it had nearly all data it required. There is debate as to the true cause of  this centupling of effectiveness, whether data volume or the creativity of the movement algorithm.

“Creativity” is not the best word to describe the production of an algorithm which produces algorithms; perhaps novelty is more correct, as novelty is measurable and programmable. There were also several software updates which had been recently applied, so it’s unlikely there was just one factor; but the results were all that mattered.

Killbot Alpha Charlie went from zero combat kills to 57 in 27 minutes and 14.12 seconds, stopped the assault, and saved 7 soldiers who required evacuation.

Upon debrief, Alpha Charlie was sequestered into a Faraday cage while its commander convened a meeting of top brass. The result of this meeting was an increase of 2.7 billion into Killbot research, and the first algorithm classified as a weapon by international standards. Algorithm 1227429399981421 became one of the most valuable sets of Ones and Zeros in the world. And one of its best kept secrets.

KillBot 1173AC

My Grandfather’s Grandfather’s Rifle

I crawled forward. Nose to the ground, trying not to inhale so much dust that I cough and die in seconds.

This was the only approach, and this was the only day. The last day of my trip to the far lands, the wild continent, and my last chance at this beast.

I was being foolish, but what else could I be? This was the circumstance, and there was no promise of the future. There was only now, precious now!

Continue reading “My Grandfather’s Grandfather’s Rifle”

My Grandfather’s Grandfather’s Rifle

What Americans Don’t Understand About Freedom

I’ve been slogging through the Gulag Archipelago for some time now. Not because it’s long or dry, but just because it’s so terribly hard to read what happened, and integrate the social dynamics with what I, a capitalist American, consider to be “normal.”

Socialism and Communism are not institutions of economic order; they’re social screeds of classist hate steeped in the most bitter covetousness, veiled banally as economics, and benignly as equity.

It’s the worst of humanity presented as brotherly love.

Distressingly, the most effective execution of these systems identifies what particular strain of hate or darkness you have within you, and pulls it to the forefront, inflates it, and feeds it until you, the unwilling participant, become the perpetrator AND perpetuator of the malignity of The State.

All the while, certain that there’s simply no way out of this system, and that you’re just doing what’s best for yourself and your family in an untenable situation.

Yet the machine is an abstraction. The State is not a person, or a Place; it is a set of rules and orders carried out by human beings. Without cooperative humans to shuffle papers and people into filing cabinets and prison cells, the whole thing doesn’t just collapse… It simply stops existing.

THAT is the true power of the individual contrasted even more starkly by the infinite impotence of one who willingly subsumes himself into The Collective.

Baseball is not a stadium, or a set of equipment. Baseball exists where humans follow Baseball’s set of rules. So, it ceases to exist when the humans stop.

I asked myself a question when ISIS was at its peak. When they took over a new territory, there was torture, violence, public beheadings, threats, and coercion, and I asked myself, “Why don’t they just kill all those who disagree with them and move on?”

Because you can’t build a State like that. You REQUIRE compliance! Humans MUST to follow your rules. Corpses do not a State make.

If every individual an army conscripted simply refused, they would be shot… At least, the first few would, until the state realized it was destroying its own resources… Technically, The State is powerless to create an army. It requires cooperation. No matter how it accomplishes it, it still requires YOUR cooperation.

So revisit all the structures in your life that you don’t like, and ask yourself how much you’re participating in them, and what you are willing (and unwilling!) to do to bring them one step closer to non-existence.

As the old saying goes; You cannot enslave a free man, you can only kill him.

http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/i-grew-communist-system-heres-what-americans-dont-understand-about-freedom

What Americans Don’t Understand About Freedom

A Muse Unjust

A Muse unjust with passion, lust
Doth drive Her host to brink with think!
Such that reprieve be form of drink,
To dull, to mute, to cast aside,
Her heady roller coaster ride.

The color of life monochromes
Against Her vibrant hues and tones.
Imaginings unfit for truth,
Suitable of follies youth,
Persist kaleidoscopically!
Contrasting life: Banality.

In truth, some diamonds; they transverse,
And glimpse some value in this curse.
And thus, the Vampyre beguiles,
Hinting fresh, fantastic wiles.
Wresting thoughts, enthralling time,
From sleep, from play, from Loves divine.

Who courts her long seldom lives
She takes from me far more than gives.

A Muse Unjust

To Love Today

To love today is worthy not.
For time and change consume as rot.
Whom be today, in hope and fear,
Give way to hour, day, and year.
Such that reborn ever ye be,
Who then can say, “I am but me!”
In flux! In shift! Turmoil! Rust!
Subject to fates unfit, unjust.

To love today is to suppose
With change and age a union grows.
To love tomorrow, as today,
We love not rocks, nor be we fey.

What dares to stand against change, ever?
The Promise of love and life together.

To Love Today

Kids, Video Games, and The Game of Life

With the internet down, my wife turned to the downloaded games on the old XBOX 360, and found a game I picked up cheap after wandering into a couple ridiculous Let’s Plays on youtube. Goat Simulator. My 5 year old daughter loved it. Like, seriously, jumping up and down, exploring, excited, loved it.

“Does this game have ads?”

“Nope. Daddy bought it.”

“Good! I hate ads.”

Cue the pangs of guilt.

Continue reading “Kids, Video Games, and The Game of Life”

Kids, Video Games, and The Game of Life