by John Wyatt
My first novelette!
What happens when rocks become intelligent?
Some of the terminology used in Rock Farm may be unfamiliar to those who do not work in computer related fields. First, computer fields are not where computer farmers grow their computers. Computers are hatched – mostly from the devious minds of the people who want to program them. It’s like building slaves, except that the slaves speak an utterly foreign language, cost lots of money, and do EXACTLY what we tell them to – whether we want them to or not. In other words, it’s a lot like having a teenager in the house (except that it won’t leave wet towels on the bathroom floor, computers being quite averse to water).
Rock Farm Terms Explained:
Bit = Abbreviation for Binary Unit. A BIT is the smallest unit of information in a computer. It’s also what the neighbor dog did to me in second grade – though how the two are related is a mystery to me.
TCP = Transport Control Protocol. This is part of the communications protocol for the Internet. Just because there is an Internet does not mean that there is an Outernet.
IP = Internet Protocol. Another portion of the communications protocol for the Internet. When combined with TCP, you get … (drum roll) …. TCP/IP (very imaginative, huh?)
SPAM = An artificial food that my mother used to feed us – which explains my aversion to SPAM. Because no one really knows what goes into SPAM, junk e-mail has also been termed SPAM.
Poles = What you call people from Poland. They are also the North and South poles of magnets. Magnetic poles clump into Domains and are very sensitive to heat. Spinning poles also create electric current flow, which explains why so many Polish dancers are electrocuted in the bathtub each year.
Ethernet = While I don’t use the term, the spitting and acking that goes on is just what computers do when connected to an Ethernet-based network. It prevents multiple computers from garbling each others transmissions. Some philosophers, however, may use an Ether-Or-net.
Meson = A very small sub-atomic particle that knows how to stack bricks.
Quark = Another very small sub-atomic particle that doesn’t know how to do anything. Also, the Ferengi merchant from Star Trek Next Generation.
Hyperbolic Lines = The result of bad script-writing for “B” movies. Also, the geometry underlying the Loran-C maritime navigation system that is used in many parts of the world. It relies on the timing difference between two pulses that were transmitted simultaneously. This allows a ship to locate itself at sea without having to transmit anything. (Like those “You Are Here” markers on the maps at local malls.)
I hope this explanation helps non-technical people to understand some of the subtle humor in Rock Farm.