From Dave in my basement, redux

Dave Taht is crashing in my basement again. While he’s here Dave is planning to cut another release of CeroWRT (the third one to issue from this basement, actually), and he has decided it needs a name.

And, well, “the release from ESR’s basement” just lacks a certain…zing.

Obviously, this means my basement needs a name. Something it probably should have acquired sooner, actually, as it is a rather storied locale. Often a resting place for traveling hackers weary of the wars; home to one of the larger collections of SF east of the Misty Mountains, and (as a commenter once noted) “obviously part of a previously unmapped tunnel between the Great Underground Empire and Colossal Cave”

So we have decided to name the basement after its most frequent inhabitant. Yes, that would be the entity most likely to sleep on top of you if you’re sleeping in the daybed…our very own fuzz elemental and companion-to-hackers, Sugar. (Who must telepathically know I am writing about her as she has just materialized in my desk well to snuggle up to my right foot.)

So, um, when you see that the next CeroWRT release is tagged “Sugarland”, do not think of a town in Texas or a valley in the Great Smoky Mountains. Somewhere in Malvern, a cat is purring. And she purrs just for you. Or your router. Whatever….

36 thoughts on “From Dave in my basement, redux

  1. Actually, the country music duo is named after the city in Texas, a suburb on the southwest side of Houston that got its name from the fact that it’s the headquarters of Imperial Sugar. The city is properly named Sugar Land.

    I never studied it, Eric. What’s the organizing principle of that library? Or is there one?

    That daybed is one of the more comfortable ones, for some reason. Perhaps it’s just that it sees regular use.

  2. >I never studied it, Eric. What’s the organizing principle of that library? Or is there one?

    SF is alphabetized by author, with multi-author anthologies after Z. That’s a bit more than half of it – I just did a rough estimate of around 5000 books by counting shelf units. There are smaller sections for miscellanea, then Cathy’s books mix historicals, classics, and fantasy.

  3. I think the basement book collection in sugarland is in need of a more robust queueing algorithm. Portions have overflowed to the floor, and it’s totally unclear if it’s head drop, tail drop, or randomness driving the selection. Mostly tail drop, I think.

    (As I write, sugar is wedged between me and the chair arm, who comes with her own tail)

  4. @Russell: While both cerowrt and I are currently crashing here, I hope to reduce that to just me. On this go-round I hope to be able to prove that the current linux implementation of codel is not as good as the latest ns2-derived one, but that’s going to require a lot of field based A/B testing by a lot of people to determine.

    Furthermore, as awesomely excellent as fq_codel is, I have been trying to remove some of codel’s single-fifo assumptions in a hopefully improved wfq_codel to reduce the horizontal standing queue problem somewhat.

    On top of that, I hope, in rapping with eric, cathy and sugar, to come up with some ways to get a funding floor put under bufferbloat.net. Fixing 2,000,000,000 machines is going to take some scratch.

    While I don’t expect to get a purr-fect release this time, I hope by con-cat-inating these efforts, we’ll end up with a release that can land on all four feet and can run for 20 years.

  5. Sugarland should host one or two hackers, periodically, to kick around some code to scratch various itches…an ongoing hacking adventure known as “The Sugarland Sessions”

  6. > [various comments regarding The Basement]

    Bah! We all know that this “basement” you speak of is actually a dodecapeton that you rent out as a bed and breakfast to passing Great Old Ones. This would explain why the daybed is so comfortable: sleeping on a few hundred mattresses extending into 6-space would be.

    As for breakfast? Eric lives fairly near the east coast, there is an inexhaustible supply of dumkopfen; to the point of being lion food

  7. >Bah! We all know that this “basement” you speak of is actually a dodecapeton that you rent out as a bed and breakfast to passing Great Old Ones.

    No, you’re confused. That’s the unfinished back basement.

    Little-known fact: Great Old Ones consider grues quite a delicacy. But they just can’t fit through the tunnel to the Great Underground Empire – they sort of have to lurk at the threshold waiting for one to wander into grabbing range. I figure I’m doing several universes a service, actually; keeps the grue population thinned, and any Great Old One trolling for a crunchy snack down there is one that is not spreading terror, madness and devastation in the daylight world.

    Mopping up the ichor afterwards can get kind of annoying, though, not to mention stitching up the random unravelings in the fabric of space-time we tend to get when any one of these guys stays over longer than three nights or so. Not much help for it, though; have you every tried telling Tsathoggua or Zoth-Ommog they gotta vacate so the next party can come in?

    Ah, well. It’s a living. At least they’re not too fussy about the condition of the bed linens.

  8. >yes, grues are crunchy and good with Jimmy’s secret hot sauce

    Um, Dave, is there something about your essential nature you haven’t been telling me? Should I be expecting degenerate cultists to begin chanting your name in the blasphemous language of drowned R’lyeh?

    I guess it’s really true. On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a shoggoth.

  9. >There’s a barbecue place in Malvern? Is it any good?

    WTF? We’ve taken you to Jimmy’s, haven’t we?

  10. Massively off topic @ESR
    From what I have read of your stuff you rarely (never?) say anything regarding space exploration / settlement / etc.
    1. What are your minimum requirements to emigrate off world?
    2. Do you have any insights regarding the private companies?

  11. Foo,

    I don’t know about Eric, but you don’t want to get me started on the off-planet emigration topic. The sad fact is that off-planet colonization will require more time, raw materials, and energy than we actually have at our disposal. Intra-solar-system colonization would require massive, intensive terraforming projects to make the colonies human-habitable over the long term. And outside the solar system? Two words: Forget it. You would have to do all the engineering necessary for a long-term-sustainable intra-solar-system colony, plus all the engineering it’d take to accelerate it to some significant fraction of light speed and ensure it survives passage through the Kuiper belt and Oort cloud, plus you’d have to have guessed correctly as to an Earth-like, human-habitable destination. The energy budget for a project of that size is far more than we can afford now that we’re sliding down the right side of the Hubbert curve. It’s. Not. Going. To. Happen.

    We have one planet to live on. One. And in the past couple hundred years or so we’ve screwed the pooch so royally, our descendants may not have even that.

    Get comfy with the fact that human extinction is a certainty, and may occur within the next hundred years.

  12. @Jeff Read

    Even if you are trolling, it’s in very bad taste.

    There is a reason that Catholics consider despair a mortal sin. It’s the ultimate in arrogance to think that just because you don’t see a way no way is possible.

    Besides, “sometimes there’s just no point in giving up.”

  13. >1. What are your minimum requirements to emigrate off world?

    Ask me again when we have offworld colonies I can actually evaluate.

    >2. Do you have any insights regarding the private companies?

    More power to ‘em. But I don’t think I have any special insight.

  14. @Jeff Read
    >The sad fact is that off-planet colonization will require more time, raw materials, and energy than we actually have at our disposal.

    Do you mean currently? if so that is practically a tautology, if not then you must be forgetting / discounting the resources that we would barely even scratch if we depleted every single NEA.

    And those are already far more resources than we now use.

    >Intra-solar-system colonization would require massive, intensive terraforming projects to make the colonies human-habitable over the long term.

    True, distressingly true.
    I am not a foaming at the mouth disciple of O’Neil but who said anything about the planets?
    It is silly to seriously try to terraform a planet when you:
    a) Can barely claw your way out of your own gravity well.
    b) Have low travel time, low deltaV, low gravity, high concentration resources waiting for use (NEAs / Belt asteroids / the Moon to a certain extent).
    c) Can use those resources to build your own home in what ever orbit / gravity you want it.

    >And outside the solar system? Two words: Forget it.
    For now? definitely agree.

    >You would have to do all the engineering necessary for a long-term-sustainable intra-solar-system colony,

    If you put the cart before the horse then yes, however if you have been living in space for a long time these problems will have been solved / massively reduced if a gradual manner already.

    >plus all the engineering it’d take to accelerate it to some significant fraction of light speed

    Once again, if you have a robust in-system infrastructure this is much less of a problem, just to give a few spherical cow numbers:
    500 ton payload
    10% C transit speed
    works out to 753.25…….. lets say 755GJ Ke
    and lets be generous and say you only get a total efficiency of 20%:
    3.775TJ to accelerate from Sol
    A solar panel 116km on a side 1AU from the sun with 20% efficiency would supply that much power every second.
    At this point energy is not a problem.

    >and ensure it survives passage through the Kuiper belt and Oort cloud,
    um, what? By then you know what’s out there and can avoid it easily, this is not the Star Wars asteroid field, and if it is just send 3,721 ships :).
    You should be worried about dust grains and such; we do have some decent ideas on how to deal with that.

    >plus you’d have to have guessed correctly as to an Earth-like, human-habitable destination.

    I refer you back to the section on in-system expansion.

    >The energy budget for a project of that size is far more than we can afford now that we’re sliding down the right side of the Hubbert curve. It’s. Not. Going. To. Happen.

    Assuming that were true that is all the more reason to get off planet and start using SPS (worst case scenario).

    >We have one planet to live on. One.

    I had one computer to use. One. Till I got another.

    >And in the past couple hundred years or so we’ve screwed the pooch so royally, our descendants may not have even that.

    It would be easier to do something about the real problems if idiots didn’t keep discrediting the eco movement by foaming about the Disaster Of The Decade (Or Two) that is just around the corner And We Must Act Now.

    >Get comfy with the fact that human extinction is a certainty, and may occur within the next hundred years.

    I was going to try to figure out if this is a cause or effect of your irrationality, quite frankly I don’t care.

    –Summer Glau
    P.S. I can kill you with my brain.

  15. @Foo: Whenever you start explaining how colonization off-world is not only possible, but ultimately practical, you run right into the Fermi paradox, and The Great Filter. While I’m not totally convinced, I have to admit that it is possible that, for once, Jeff Read may actually be right.

  16. @LS

    @Foo: Whenever you start explaining how colonization off-world is not only possible, but ultimately practical, you run right into the Fermi paradox, and The Great Filter. While I’m not totally convinced, I have to admit that it is possible that, for once, Jeff Read may actually be right.

    Dispair is a cop-out. It’s the easiest answer. If we’re all going to die we don’t have to plan for the future.

    Jerry Pournelle is fond of point out that it takes as much energy to lift a pound into orbit as it takes to fly it from Los Angeles to Sidney.

    Technology is incremental. Some problems look intractable until all the ingredients come together.

  17. @BobW: Please read up on the Fermi paradox. If the problem is not intractable, there must be some other really good reason why we haven’t seen other intelligent races by now. Dispair has nothing to do with it.

  18. The dispair part lies in assuming we’re all doomed.

    Has anyone noticed that our emission levels and power requirements have gone down since we started? That we’ve moved into digital and spread-spectrum technologies much harder to detect? Perhaps it’s a natural progression.

    Also, a civilization would be foolish to deliberately broadcast its presence. It’s simple prudence not to blast your stereo the first night you move in to a new apartment. I cringe at the proposals to do that.

  19. @LS
    The problem with the Fermi Paradox being used this way is that it sounds (to me anyway) like the person is trying to argue that we shouldn’t go off world, when in almost any conceivable scenario it would make more sense to spread out.

    Besides if we stay planet bound we *know* we have an extinction deadline in five billion years.

    @BobW
    >Some problems look intractable until all the ingredients come together.

    Maybe it is just me, but the surface to orbit part of that doesn’t seem like much of a problem now (as of May 25 this year). For the first time in my life the scene of the Orion spaceplane docking with Space Station V is not filled with dashed hopes.

    As an aside the McGuffinite that everyone has been wondering what it would be is here:
    Nerds with metric tons of cash.

  20. “The problem with the Fermi Paradox being used this way is that it sounds (to me anyway) like the person is trying to argue that we shouldn’t go off world, when in almost any conceivable scenario it would make more sense to spread out.”

    “Also, a civilization would be foolish to deliberately broadcast its presence.”

    OK guys…now put those two ideas together. A civilization is bound to spread out sooner or later, and once it does so, its presence will become known; hiding will be practically impossible. Add in the fact that, with so many billions of years to do it in, even the slowest rates of expansion would have filled the galaxy by now, and maybe you’ll see the problem – it looks like civilizations destroy themselves (or get destroyed) before they spread.

  21. @LS

    The Fermi paradox is a paradox only if you think technological species must be common. The Drake equation is usually taken to mean that intelligence is not rare. In fact it is only a rough guess at the parameters of the possibilities. The Wikipedia article says that the original discussion assumed very high values for the probabilities of life and intelligent life.

    In any event it is our responsibility to plan for our future. Perhaps it would be prudent to spread out as soon as possible and not give up our military capabilities.

  22. “The Drake equation is usually taken to mean that intelligence is not rare…the Wikipedia article says that the original discussion assumed very high values for the probabilities of life and intelligent life.”

    The assumptions are justified. Our sample of one developed life within one billion years of the planet’s origin. For many species, higher intelligence is of clear value to survival, and is naturally selected. Ten billion years is a very long time; if we don’t see other intelligent races, there must be a good reason.

    Planning is all very nice, but we really need to know and understand more before we infest the rest of the galaxy. It doesn’t need a whole chain of destroyed planets; another, more prudent, race might make better use of them.

  23. “Sugarland” may be seen as honoring your late feline companion.

    But as a toponym, it is more likely to be seen as an allusion to the Imperial State Prison Farm, located in Sugar Land, Texas, for many years. It’s mentioned in Leadbelly’s song “Midnight Special”:

    “If you’re ever down in Houston
    Boy, you better walk right
    And you better not squabble
    And you better not fight

    Bason and Brock will arrest you
    Payton and Boone will take you down
    You can bet your bottom dollar
    That you’re Sugar Land bound … “

  24. @LS

    We got life almost immediately, figuring in cosmic timescales. Complex multicellular life took a great deal longer.

    Then there were setbacks. Earth has had a number of extinction events. Each one killed off most life larger than a certain size. It’s arguable that even a dinosaur killer might not wipe out all human beings today, but it did get all the dinosaurs except a certain specialized branch.

    Life is probably common. I think the obstacles to the development of intelligence may be somewhat higher.

  25. @LS

    Planning is all very nice, but we really need to know and understand more before we infest the rest of the galaxy. It doesn’t need a whole chain of destroyed planets; another, more prudent, race might make better use of them.

    I know this reply is late, but your comment really rankles. If you’re trolling, enjoy.

    If our existence is an infestation, so be it. We have at least as much right to exist as the Norway Rat.

  26. Sugarland, like the Bat Cave, is obviously just an imperfect manifestation in this cosmos of the Real Platonic Ideal on Arbre. It was also trucker CB slang for Savannah, GA, and maybe the name of a prison in Texas.

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