Sunday, January 10, 2010

SMILEs all 'round! Defense Program Update

Good news! If only the Director was here to witness the great leap forward that our defense program, something that I have long championed in the face of some determined conservative resistance, has made.*1 I've sent a telegram to her last known location (Bora-Bora, as it happens), but frankly I have little hope that she will receive it. In the event, the obvious next step was to broadcast a general media release.Please feel free to distribute the information below as widely as possible.

Museum of Dust is proud to announce that its SMILE*2 Program has recently showed significant progress.

MoD's crack team of Slimes has cracked the mobility issue and produced a prototype slime-controlled all-terrain vehicle.

Although the six-legged machine (aka 'robot') can, at this stage, only be controlled by team scaredy-mould Physarum polycephalum, the next stage of development will see modifications that will make the machine driveable by any slime.

The deployment of, ultimately, millions of the vehicles will ensure Museum of Dust's border security for now and the foreseeable future.

As some territorially offensive would-be empires*3 have found to their cost, we have crack troops of some of the fastest moving and most voracious slime moulds know to humankind. This innovation will make them not only faster but also capable of carrying a modern payload.

Of course, WE only ever intend to use them for peaceful purposes, but their sheer technological sophistication and their capability to wreck catastrophic damage should give the most confident invader pause for thought.

For more on our research partners (What, you didn't think the slimes came up with this all by themselves, did you?! Sure, they're smart -- but they have problems with complex tool manipulation.)
Robot moved by a slime mould's fears >

Background to the program: Intelligent Slime

For more background >

*1 Yes Yes YES. So the program WAS initiated by Inky-Blinky. Your point is?
*2 Slime Mould Intelligence Leap Enterprise
*3 Yes, it IS Republic of Tinselman I'm talking about!

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Friday, January 01, 2010

French Polish

After months stretching to years of silence, the Director has sudddenly seen fit to bless us with the fruits of her labours.* Suddenly we are positively deluged with a tsunami of stuff. Now, I'm always ready to use my initiative, I can improvise with the best of them, but my job description says 'administration'... it doesn't say anything about being the person who has to decide what to do about 20 cubic meters of random objects. Again, there's not a word of explanation or a direction as to what the Director wants done with them.

Fortune famously favours the prepared. As a former Wolf Cub, I have had early training in being prepared and so I always am.

Which is why, when a waif timidly knocked at the door of the Museum, I knew at once what to do with her. Having cunningly extracted her name (by making her fill out an employment application form), Maissa Toulet, I immediately engaged her. The terms were very favorable -- she may come out of the Oubliette when she has usefully deployed ALL of the objects in Director de Plume's most recent delivery. Not feeding her seems to be working -- since I disallowed meal breaks (and meals), her output has really picked up. I occasionally throw in a spongecat as an incentive...

Just between ourselves, I'm rather pleased with her progress. She is bringing an order and clarity to what I had thought were simply deliberately random fragments, red herrings, stalking horses and paper tigers.

You can see more here >

Thanks to Sublime Frivolitié who furnished the waif with a personal recommendation >

* Never mind that I thought that her labours involved looking after the long-term viability of this establishment ... in point of fact, I thought that she was off hunting the Skin Armor -- the Museum's most missed missing treasure, the object that gave the entire endeavor (in Musrum's day) its point, its purpose, the entire collection's centrepiece and zenith, etc -- it turns out that she actually been gallivanting all over the shop.

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