24 June 09

Consequences 13

“This was only one solution for the present,” Ellers sniped.

McMason fidgeted. He knew all the funding for the Institute for Computational
History was at stake here.

“But, look at the correlations,” he replied. “The model correctly predicted that the Russians would move into South Ossetia during the time of the Beijing Olympics, and that Chris Hoy would be the first Brit to win three golds at the Games in a hundred years.”

“Did it predict he would be knighted for his efforts?”

“Uh, no…”

“Lookit, how many free parameters does your model have?”

“Five hundred and sixty-seven.”

“And I probably can tweak any ten of them and come up with different solutions giving Hoy and Ossetia. Mr. McMason, your model is underdetermined. To say the least.”

“Ms. Ellers, I just want to remind you of the opportunity you have here. Here is
what the model predicts. The Azerbaijanis will up the rate of water injection in the Baku fields. Overly so, it turns out. In three years, this will induce a massive earthquake just off the coast of Baku. That, the resulting tsunami, and the fires will devastate the oil and gas infrastructure, but more importantly cause a cultural phase transition.”


McMason grew animated. “Fire! In a land with a small but vibrant Zoroastrian community. It won’t be so small after that. People convert in droves. The religious movement spreads south, into Iran…”

Ellers sighed. She now knew the butterfly effect could produce a loon in her office.

(This was the thirteenth post in an online game of Consequences. The series started at Hydragenic. The previous post was at Ivy is here, and the next post shall appear soon at Velveteen Rabbi.)

Posted by at 12:21 AM in Miscellaneous | Link |
  1. A tsunami in the Caspian? Well, at least he didn’t suggest one in the Aral Sea.

    Dave    24. June 2009, 05:02    Link
  2. Now how does Rachel snatch it back from the edge of apocalypse? Onwards…

    Dick    24. June 2009, 06:28    Link
  3. :-) Loved this.

    dale    24. June 2009, 07:20    Link
  4. Wow… again.

    marja-leena    24. June 2009, 08:00    Link
  5. That’s quite a curveball you just threw me! Here’s hoping I can do something interesting with it. :-)

    Rachel    24. June 2009, 08:56    Link
  6. So fascinating the way that everyone playing this game has shaped the theme in such individual ways.
    This is yet another story that could be expanded into a full-length feature film!

    Natalie    24. June 2009, 10:08    Link
  7. Terrific story! And I’m so glad I don’t have to go next!

    beth    24. June 2009, 10:18    Link
  8. Cool! I love how wildly different these all are.

    leslee    24. June 2009, 15:24    Link
  9. Great. I’ve been toying around in my head over the past few weeks with the concept of ideas spreading like wildfire (unpredictable, all-consuming, etc.). This explores that notion brilliantly.

    Hg    25. June 2009, 01:29    Link

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