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91370 No. 91370 ID: 164c83

By request, opened by someone who isn't the quest author because it really was kinda necessary.
No. 91372 ID: 164c83

Formerly spoilered posts that should have gone in a discussion thread posted here:

I'm not a specialist, I've just done non-specialist reading on the subject and had some mildly-related development/consulting/security work in the area. The wiki page should explain in sufficient detail for you to know what I'm talking about at least. One key issue that jumps out at me as a semi-layman is that the heat source is a geothermal hotspot that heats water or some other working medium to near boiling or pressurized-steam levels and that this then has to be used or else you potentially run risks of leaks or broader equipment failure issues from heat. Who knows how well the piping, containment vessels and passive radiation features involved are holding up after an apparent attack of some kind, and an unspecified period of management downtime during which there may have been geological instability events that disturbed things. Another issue is that sitting a computing unit near a geothermal plant seems a bit weird because they extract heat from below the ground and use the temperature differential between that and the open air (or perhaps a surface body of water) around to generate movement, and therefore electricity. Because of this a geothermal plant would always be detectably warmer than ambient, whereas most of the time we want computing bits to be in cool, barely-moist-enough-to-avoid-static environments as free from particulates as possible because of how fragile and finicky cheap consumer electronics can be. If the computing is working on future tech optical systems or some other raw-macguffinite technology that is far more tolerant of heat issues than shitty bulk Intel and AMD chips of today that may not be as much of an issue. If you have questions left after reading that or don't feel confident bullshitting some reasonably-plausible tech the tech stuff about it uh... ask specific questions?

But it all makes sense if the computers are on the cold side of the cooling loop. It's a matter of Carnot efficiency; the closer your energy extraction can get the water to ambient temperature, the more efficient your system is. It's all sources, sinks, and delta between them and absolute zero.
If the cooling water is passed through the core before going down into the crust then the core will be cooled better for being above a geothermal plant. I'm not sure how helpful this would be in a geothermal plant, but in other plant types it would be a form of energy recapture.

I assumed away thermal energy recapture as sane based on what I know about low-human-interaction server rooms: My assumptions going in were average ambient temperature of 15C, ideal computing core operating temperature of 5C, and therefore it would be a straight up loss having your server room anywhere near the geo plant since by definition you can only asymptotically approach ambient through passive cooling. We don't know what the local fluctuations between night and day temperatures are, what we're using for thermal surface radiative sink (a deep fossil lake like Lake Ontario would be water which is 4C year round), what the local air temperature range is, or even what the computing infrastructure is and its healthy and tolerable ranges of operating conditions for power, temperature, particulates, electrostatic effects and so on.

With a fluid cooling system 15c/59f is actually within the ideal operating range for a fluid cooled system, while 5c is not.
The key difference is that an air-cooled system convects heat away from the entire unit, while fluid cooled systems conduct AND convect heat away from the hot spots.
With an air cooled system the inside of the unit is going to be warmer than the outside air, meaning that no condensation will form inside. This means that the cooler the air the better (Within reason), as the ambient temperature of the air is the sole determining factor of cooling power.
However, with a fluid cooled system you have a coolant that is likely NOT the same temperature as the ambient air, and is likely to be cooler. The further you get from ambient temperature, the more likely you are to get condensation on the liquid cooling pipes. At 5c you will have serious issues with condensation on the electronics, which is typically fatal. However, at 15c you're working at around room temperature, meaning that condensation won't occur in a structure with ordinary environmental controls.

That's just the effect of the environmental conditions. The real meat and potatoes of the difference between fluid cooling and air cooling is specific heat capacity and specific density. Mass for mass, water takes 4x more heat than air to heat the same amount. However, water is also about a thousand times denser than air, meaning that everything else being equal the cooling of a fan blowing 12cu ft of air (~340L) per minute is equaled by a
pump pushing 0.3L per minute.
Then there's the convection vs conductivity issue. Heat transfers into water a LOT faster than it transmits into air, meaning that an air-cooled system needs to keep pushing warm air off the heat exchange surface to prevent it from forming an insulating layer. As water is an adequate conductor of heat this is essentially a non-issue in water cooling systems, allowing for much lower flow rates.
No. 91373 ID: 164c83

You don't have to explain to me why zero-occupancy server farms have dehumidification in addition to more conventional F-HVAC: Managing relative humidity is key to slowing corrosion, biodecay and biofilm.
This is for normal (human-occupied) farms and lists data farm optimum temperature between 20-25C. They don't recommend cooling beyond that because such "over-cooling" (without dehumidification) can mean increasing the relative humidity, causing salt corrosion (and biodecay of chip/board/glue/solvent/resin materials, and biofilm growth like mold, slime, fungus, etc that the page fails to mention). That's a normal data centre where humans are expected to interact with the servers every work day, and is typical of server farms.

In contrast, no-human-occupancy server farms don't work like that. Outside air and humans in the server farm are actually your main source of particulate, biofilm and humidity hazards to be cleaned out of your air, which is why (besides wages and social-engineering security issues) some groups try not to have any in their server farms. If you can get rid of the humans, ionizing-filter your air and seal your facility, true optimum conditions for standard commodity hardware server installations are 5-10C with humidity mildly above the point at which static becomes a hazard. That retards biofilm issues to the achievable minimum, has no water freezing issues, slim to no condensation issues, additional margin for error with regard to overheating issues, allows you to run lights-out for power savings, and therefore overall more reliable hardware performance. The level of desired (minimum) humidity can vary from facility to facility depending on what's in it and the local particulates/airflow issues because the main hazards for static are moving disks/fans and the friction of the air (and particulates). The worse the static hazards the higher the humidity has to be to prevent it being a problem, which conflicts with wanting to lower moisture to minimize corrosion, biodecay and biofilm.

Theoetically, if you could have a server farm with no moving parts you could dehumidify to zero and liquid cool everything with no issues, perhaps even using something like a water-methanol blend for the coolant if your equipment runs fine below freezing. Sub-zero operating temperatures in a moisture-free environment ought to make biodecay and biofilm issues go away you'd figure, but that's a little more exotic than I've been involved in yet myself: I don't know if there would be additional, weird, corrosion or thermal gradient hazard issues or something from doing that.
No. 91375 ID: b8ceae

Yes, but if you'll notice there was an ID card in the room with us and a few human interfaces. We do not appear to be intended to run without human involvement.
No. 91380 ID: 164c83

Fans hum in the darkness, siphoning power from the large array they're built to cool.
Fluid gurgles in tubes, dragging heat away from the myriad webs of silicon and precious metals.
Deep in the middle of the six cores, fiber optics flash and shimmer, unseen.

That's most of the information we have about what kind of computer array we've got, aside from that our residuals storage of retrieved database stuff is 3Tb in size, which suggests something pretty close to a few years old real world data centre. It's inconclusive about how autonomous this installation is supposed to be aside from suggesting that something is going on to make our AI magically more effective than real world 'AI.'
Even no-humans server installations have human UI features like security systems and lights installed because humans are involved in creating them, and they tend to be installed in buildings designed for--and by--humans. You also gotta have them for the periodic maintenance days when the room gets shut down, they break the seal, triage is performed, equipment gets installed or swapped out, and then they spend hours getting the air back to cool/dry/clean enough.
We do have maintenance bots, which suggests we were intended to be substantially--or even primarily--self-maintaining. We also seem to remember things about autonomous maintenance, fabrication and construction which suggests we were either able or intended to achieve autonomous existence. Maybe that means the human UI features of the area are like the alarm-wired emergency stairwells on megaskyscrapers: There in case they're really needed, not intended to be used except on very rare occasions which are supposed to be as rare as possible. Without more information about things like temperature readings and set points in the room itself we just don't know.

One thing though: If we aren't capable of being fully self-maintaining, uh... that's really interesting because it means we'll need to recruit some live-in technicians pretty quick or just die.
No. 91382 ID: b8ceae

If that's so then we need to massively increase the priority of searching our area for survivors, as the conditions inside may not be survivable for extended periods of time.
No. 91391 ID: 164c83

Questionable. Who ordered the EMP, how long ago did the EMP happen, why was the room welded shut? Even if you're right that we weren't previously self-maintaining (I still think that's a pretty a dubious if statement) we don't know that any 'survivors' in the area wouldn't want to 'finish the job.'
No. 91392 ID: bd8b82

i bet we were technically self maintaining, but had no desire to be. breaking and repair caused us to gain wants.
No. 91398 ID: b8ceae

I never said we weren't self-repairing. I said it's obvious people are often in here.
According to the logs the researchers spent a lot of time with us, while security didn't trust us to our own devices and would want to have guards posted inside the room to make sure we don't start doing exactly what I suggested we start doing - scavenging the parts of the core that make it survivable to humans, and disable the EMP device and prepare to point it outside instead of inside.

Until we can determine exactly how long we were out we shouldn't assume it has been very long. Instead we should assume whatever disaster damaged the facility is still ongoing, that there is a chance of friendly survivors currently being in danger, and that time is a precious resource.
No. 91403 ID: 2c258e

Uh, isn't some of this going into a frankly unnecessary level of detail? I mean the two critical questions about machinery plants in fiction are "Is it working?" and "How is it going to endanger people?"
No. 91410 ID: cf960d

Heya. So, given that I've not been answering them in quest due to the fact they sound more like player discussions to me, your long term plans all seem pretty reasonable to me. If you've got anything you wanna fact-check that might not be known by Cascade, feel free to run them by me.
No. 91412 ID: 164c83

Well, the detail is background to the question of how often did we get maintained and changed by humans. That's relevant to the questions of how badly we need it right now, and in the future, and for what we might want or need it particularly.
Are we reasonably capable of building new storage/processing/facility equipment without human intervention and even improving on our original design? Or are we instead on a deadline to find and accept a master on pain of death?
That's kinda important because it determines everything about our future in this quest. I'm trying to work out the details of what it was like *when* we were self-maintaining and Seven01a19 is trying to sell us into slavery to the first human(s) we come across by insisting meatbags had their greasy hands all over our plastic and metal every day and we need it right now.
No. 91415 ID: e114bc

Considering we have no idea what's going on outside I propose we turn our little pair of rooms into a fortress. Cut panels out of the walls to block the end of the entrance corridor (with access hatches for our bots) and put shielded weapons platforms all along it.
No. 91416 ID: 164c83

We don't have the resources, we had enough optics for one robot and now we're buiding that. We desperately need more information, energy sources, raw materials and both computer and material/manufacturing processing to use all those to make any kind of fortress I think, unless we can salvage something pretty nice out of our kill-switch EMP setup.
No. 91423 ID: cf960d


The Core room was built with the idea of being mostly self-sufficient, with access possible in case anything went majorly wrong. Kinda like access into nuclear reactor cores. It's there if you need it, not because it's a good idea to go in. In the Core's case, people would have been in bunny suits.

As for building your own gear, the prior personality in what you now reside was probably not built to do it, but it can be done.

You've not actually used the optics, yet. They're high-grade, designed to repair and rebuild the optical circuitry that runs the actual AI section of Cascade. The lenses on the drones are plastic.
No. 91426 ID: 164c83

Question about the EMP: Are we severely sensitive to that stuff despite all the optical circuitry, or is that actually a weapon we could use to kill people directly?
No. 91427 ID: cf960d

"Kill people directly." Uhm. You show me what you think an EMP is, and I'll show you what I think one is.

You survived because the cores are optics based, not electronic. The EMP wiped most everything out that wasn't hardened.
No. 91428 ID: e114bc

EMP stands for Electromagnetic Pulse. It fries electronics and not much else.
No. 91435 ID: 164c83

Yeeees, electromagnetic radiation, usually of a wide array of frequencies both below and above the spectrum of visible light. Nukes--our initial go-to for what an EMP weapon is--scorch people into blast marks with the initial light pulse within range, and enough gamma and X-rays ought to do nasty things to a human nervous system. Electromagnetic radiation is the exact same thing you use to cook things in a microwave and cut things with a laser, why couldn't that be deadly?
No. 91436 ID: e114bc

Well I looked up one design for a non-nuclear EMP weapon, and it's not really something you can turn into a weapon.
No. 91437 ID: 518b46

The damage caused by a nuclear weapon, at least as far as that received directly by humans is concerned, isn't normally being caused by the nuclear EMP. Certainly, it's not the EMP (the most dangerous part of which is generated by gamma rays hitting electrons in the upper atmosphere) that is "scorching people into blast marks"—the blast itself and immense thermal radiation are probably responsible for that.

Also, the sort of weapons envisioned when talking about "EMP" are usually specifically meant for frying electronics, and aren't generally a direct threat to humans. Not that you couldn't hurt someone with electromagnetic radiation, of course.
No. 91438 ID: 518b46

To be clear: the gamma rays I'm referring to are part of the ionizing radiation generated directly by the blast, and aren't part of the "nuclear EMP" (though being gamma rays they obviously are electromagnetic radiation).
No. 91439 ID: 164c83

It's still beaming electromagnetic radiation into an area, even if the frequencies involved are too low to cause ionizing effects. The Active Denial System entry (or the Bofors HPM Blackout, which is probably pretty similar) is probably what was used, and it's pretty effective at herding and hurting people.
No. 91473 ID: b8ceae

Well, now that's just base slander!
If there are survivors then we need to rescue them, since OUR long-term prospects for survival drop to damn near zero if people die when we could have saved them.
The idea was that once we did the big damn heroes thing (and pumped them for information) we would release them someplace safe and tell them we plan to do the wise old hermit thing and live in seclusion.
No. 91479 ID: 164c83

Not base slander, logical conclusion of, "We were regularly adjusted/maintained by humans before all this happened." If we needed it before the event we'd need it now and in the future, no? Word of god says we were generally autonomous before so that concern has been mashed with a giant foot out of the sky Monty Python-style though.
You're right that we do not want a reputation as a man-killer for many, many good reasons. A key question there is whether we're better off with no information whatsoever leaving about us or some. Xenophobia/looting concerns suggest we don't really want to send off anyone who knows anything about us, including that we exist and where we exist, if we can help it. Suggest finding any trapped humans and 'arranging' so that they can escape without ever encountering any signs we survived, and gain the mistaken idea that we didn't.
No. 91485 ID: cf960d

Your issue with that is that survivors who belong to Cyan Labs are probably already going to know about Cascade, though not quite how Cascade is now.
No. 91486 ID: 8e0b6a

The thing is though, we already know from the chronic password problem that the whitecoats are a lot less security conscious than say, the security team.

The head of security might think he needs to finish the job, kill us as ordered to keep corporate interests secret. A scientist, especially one who never wanted to nuke their work in the first place, might have a very different reaction.

It also depends under how much duress / external threat any hypothetical survivors are under. That might make them more willing to work with us instead of against.
No. 91575 ID: cf960d

Oh, yeah.

Would it be possible to grab some feedback from people, given this is my first attempt at anything like a quest? I'd like to know what I'm doing right and wrong, ect.
No. 91579 ID: bd8b82

so far it seems okay.
No. 91581 ID: e114bc

It's not bad. It's got the right amount of mystery, motivation, and mechanics.
No. 91589 ID: 164c83

Seems to vaguely resemble things I've seen before, albeit much closer to hard scifi instead of fantasy-syfy. If you really want I can try to track down a reference, but I don't know that the quest I'm thinking of lasted long enough to rate a real wiki entry and all.
It's a difficult balance to strike between hard physics that are awesomely real and educational versus handwavey artistic license not-so-physics, and I won't pretend to know how you should balance that better than you already have. Not sure enough has happened yet to really comment on besides that the repair-bots having individual personalities and emotional reactions seems to be an artistically-acceptable break from realism.
No. 91912 ID: cf960d

Sorry it's taken me so long. Work broke me and I got signed off on stress/depression.

This place isn't a blog, so I'll say no more, but I thought you guys should know why I was silent.
No. 91913 ID: cf960d

Was me.
No. 91914 ID: e114bc

Get well soon.
No. 93085 ID: 0d1c37

...With my regrets, quest running is far harder with my work than I expected. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask for this to be archived for now. I'll return to it.
No. 93091 ID: bd8b82

just leave it alone and it will go into the graveyard by itself. if you need it taken out then ask a mod to do so and they usually will quickly.
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