In another universe, I am trying to pick a career. A number of recruiting advertisements by the National Number Intelligence Agency catch my eye.
On the radio, a voice charismatically explains the purpose of the National Number Intelligence Agency and tries to persuade me to join:"After the many years you have spent studying arithmetic, don't you ever wonder about the secret lives of numbers? Aid your country by joining the men and women on the forefront of observational research and surveillance of numbers at the National Number Intelligence Agency!"
In the newspaper, I spot another recruitment add in the classifieds.
After doing some research on their Website, I decide to register for the upcoming semester. With luck and hard work, I will be a full-fledged NNIA agent in four years.A Year Later
My first year in the training course has been very interesting experience. I am so excited to start the new semester that I nearly squirm in my seat as the professor introduces the subject matter and learning goals of the class.
"In the first course of this series, you learned methods to spy on individual integers or small groups of integers. You also touched on how numbers tend to organize themselves when they live in large groups. In this second course, you will learn about numerical psychology and how to take advantage of this in your surveillance..."
During this semester, the classes are much harder. I am at a much greater risk of having some kind of accident in the classes that involve field work, such as Magic with Java Beans II. A typical day goes by like this:Class 1 (Magic with Coffee Beans II)
"Let's make an arcade game during our coffee break!"Class 2 (elective)
"For today's lab, we get to make three maps of this town as it looked during the Cretaceous."
Class 3 (Diplomacy and Propaganda)
"The camera is counting down to explode!"The camera flash goes off.
"Oh, you just set it up to take pictures on a timed interval..."Lab Where I Ran that Program (Doing Homework)Deliberately ignoring the yellow exclamations on the monitor, a student programmer decides to compile their code.
Fifteen Minutes Later:Me
: "I thought that the ^ operator was used with exponents."Lab Tech examining the busy computer
: "When you use the .^ operator in this context, the computer starts trying to find the meaning of life."Me
: "How do you stop the execution of this program?"Lab tech examining the busy computer
: "You don't. The computer will continue to run the program until it finds an answer, and that may take millions of years."Me
: "Can't you just reboot the system?"Lab tech examining the busy computer
: "The computer commits its progress to memory regularly. When we turn it back on again, it starts from where it leaves off."