Some New Year’s thank you’s – II

Continuing the thank you’s  from your division CEO.

Fourth: The gals in the steno pool.  Over and over they type out parts of the business plan when needed.  The plan itself is immense. War and Peace (English translation) has over half a million words and 3,100,000 characters.  The business plan comes in a weird language with only 4 characters.  But group two of them together and you have 16 possibilities, group 3 and you have 64. The plan itself contains 3.2 billion of these weird characters, or well over 1000 copies of Tolstoy’s epic.

No one is sure just how accurate they are, but if they’re like the group of stenos that copies the whole plan when the organization sprouts a new division, it’s impressive.  About one mistake in 100 million. For details see “”

Strangely, for a long time soi-disant experts thought most of the plan was junk.  It was strangely repetitive and because it didn’t code for the division’s buildings it was dismissed.  Now we know that some parts of the plan not coding for buildings tell us where to put them, when to make them and how many to make.  We now know that the girls are transcribing at least half of the plan, and perhaps most of it.  The experts for a time thought that this was like the turnings from a lathe, intellectual chaff if you will, but now they’re not quite so smug.

Fifth: Manufacturing — row on row of factories turning out (prefab) buildings.  So much so that from the air (which, 100 years ago was the only way to see our division) it was though to be unique to our division class (it was called Nissl substance).  There are a few factories in the far reaches of the division, but most factories are right here in the center with me.  One of shipping’s big jobs is to get the buildings where they’re supposed to go.  All this manufacturing and shipping consumes a lot of energy, so much so that even though our set of divisions constitutes just 3% or less of the organization we consume 20% of the energy of the entire enterprise.

Sixth: Communications — this is both a curse an a blessing.  Our division receives about 1,000 incoming lines from other divisions and they never shut up.  Not only that but they call as often as once every thousandth of a second.  Some of this is handled right at the incoming line, but guess who has to absorb all this information and decide whether or not to send it on.  The decision has been described by some as a computation, but it is far from straight forward.

The outgoing communications don’t use shipping (far too slow).  Special buildings all over the periphery of the organization exist to send things out so that information can go down the 1 meter of so in around 1/100th of a second.  If we were using the trucker analogy of going 90,000 miles instead of a meter, this would be 50 times the speed of light.

Sometimes we have to really step up the pace of our messages.  Pity the poor divisions connected to the cervical spinal cord where commands to move the fingers are received.  The boss has been practicing his piano like a banshee, and is now able to play 10 notes of a C scale in a second.  That’s one message every 100 milliSeconds.  He complains if they arrive unevenly.

Even as busy as the division is, I occasionally wonder about the organization as a whole (the job of the CEO is to think about the larger picture).  I wonder how many divisions there are, and what or who organized us.  Amazingly, no one knows just how many divisions of our type there actually are.  Estimates years ago were in the millions.  Now they’re in the billions.  No one has ever actually counted us, just estimates are all we have.  Hell of a way to run an organization.  Who decides which incoming lines hit our division.  I’m not sure how the division figures out who to send our messages to.  It doesn’t seem conscious.

I’m pretty sure that the business plan can’t specify this sort of stuff.  With only 3.2 billion characters each of which is one of 4 possibilities, this isn’t enough to individually address each of the billions of divisions of the organization.  How did our division every find the division which controls the gastronemius and soleus anyway.  Rumor has it that the entire organization with its billions of divisions arose from just one division like me.  Sort of the big bang of business.  Apparently this happens again and again.  Very hard for this CEO to believe that it all arises by chance.  I’ve been told that I lack sufficient faith that this is so.

Well anyway, our division has done a great job in the past year and we look forward to the next.  I did hear that the boss is thinking of learning to play the organ.  Heaven help us.

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