Let the programmers be many and the managers few – then all will be productive.
– the Tao of Programming
In the 5th century BC, Greek Philosophers Democritus and Leucippus raised the first theory about atoms being the smallest building blocks of everything that matters, thus stamping with validity the process of pontificating around a bar about life’s little mysteries. We salute you. Ever since their discovery there has been research into just what goes into an atom, why an atom is an atom, and just how often can we blindly tinker with the powers kept within before we singe our eyebrows off. An exciting time for science. And hazmat teams.
Stepping back from the physical, there exists in modern society a construct just as prevalent, made not out of matter but out of mind, red tape and paperwork. Able to restrain forces far greater than their own, the form and structure of these man-made apparatii are far less understood by lay people, recline people or even jump-up-and-down-on-the-spot people. This device follows the laws of Bureaucracy, and its agent is the Project.
When investigating why people accept an atom but are befuddled by a project, the instructor must recognise that not everyone thinks in the same way. Some people require great help to understand the nebulous complexities of life; while others have minds so conceptually abstract that remembering the buttons on their pants requires Cliff’s Notes on Socialising. Modern people are enamoured by sciences continual march forward in the name of research, power or greater advertising penetration. Ask the man on the street about Albert Einstein, everyone will talk about splitting the Atom if he doesn’t get hit by a passing motorist. But that’s not such a big deal (the atom splitting that is, being hit by a motorist or, even worse, a motor vehicle is no picnic, let alone a light snack or five course banquet.) Anyone can nail down some atoms fairly accurately. Get something, or someone, and a nail-gun. Nail afore-snagged item to a convenient weight and you’ve got a big collection of atoms. Possibly a vocal collection.
Yet the two building blocks, atoms and projects, are not as dissimilar as the wide-held ignorance indicates. Therefore, Professor von Explaino is proud – no, duty bound – to present in precise and delicately bit-constructed detail the beast known as: The Project.
An atom is commonly recognised as one of the smallest building blocks of everything. The project as a whole is quite the opposite, generally becoming larger than anything it is tasked to form. While large, neglecting to examine its component parts is similar to buying a car from “Honest Abe’s Used Automotive Dealership” just because its red and has four-ish wheels. Looking under the hood of a project is key to understanding.
There are three basic components to the common project: Budgetrons, Employeetrons and a Taskcleus. Negative Budgetrons orbit the single Taskcleus that is itself constructed by positive Budgetrons and Employeetrons. With the aid of a Micromanagementscope, Employeetrons are observed to be unable to take charge and serve only as additional weight to the Taskcleus – thus aiding in attracting negative Budgetrons. Insert what you will about looking into abysses and observing changing the observed. Work definitely gets generated, and energy is expended by the object, so it must be concluded that the Employeetrons do lots of work when nobody is watching. Between the orbits of negative Budgetrons and the Taskcleus are vast amounts of absolutely nothing. That, as a whole, is the Project ‘Atom.’
Holistic views are all well and good, but it’s time we kicked the metaphorical tires, played with the philosophical hose-pipe of the project radiator and generally made a nuisance of ourselves. The first model we will use in the dissection (no splash guard required, more’s the pity) is the Bohr model. Although superseded by the Quantum model, Bohr’s model is useful in explaining the simpler natures of the atom, while also keeping with the Project Atom’s commonly observed property of being superseded prior to completion.
The Bohr model of the physical atom states that electrons circle the nucleus in defined routes according to how much energy they hold. The more energy they hold the further from the central nucleus they orbit. Each ring can only hold a certain quantity of electrons before it is saturated, new electrons must have enough energy to sustain an orbit in higher ring. In a stable environment, the electrons would maintain their positions, however when outside energy (such as radiation) impacts on the atom, electrons can jump from ring to ring.
This logical model applies just as well to the Project Atom. While the positive Budgetrons of an atom remain static, negative Budgetrons circle in defined patterns (c.f vultures, dizzy and Sahara’s Funniest Home Videos). The more intensely negative the Budgetron is, the further away from the project itself the charge circles. However when outside energies (such as performance-reviews or pressure-from-above) impact on the Project Atom, the negative Budgetrons advance to tighter, more immediate rings closer to the Taskcleus. Some instances can cause negative Budgetrons to be ejected from the Project Atom (using funding-type energy), however this can leave the Project Atom unstable, and it tends to attract negative Budgetrons more readily to fill the gap.
Now that the Bohr model has been applied, we’ll move onto the Quantum model. Again mirroring the Project Atom’s other commonly observed property of even though we know the way to approach the problem will change we’ll still have to do it the old, no-longer applicable way until someone else decides to change it.
Joining the Bohr theory of electrons circling the nucleus is the issue of two views of nature: Maxwell’s theory and Newton’s laws. A scientist called de Broglie hypothesised a link between both Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism and light and Newton’s laws for the motion of particles. He proposed that ordinary particles could act similar to light, in that they could exhibit wave-like properties and not that they make geckos scatter for the four winds and flicking a particle on and off can create a small rave party. This particle-wave theory aided in explaining atom’s sometimes wave-like behaviours, and sometimes particle-like: like surfers heading for a rip. Electrons did not move in the ordered rings as the Bohr model postulated, they vibrated in their path; known as an orbital. In fact the orbitals (the new, fancier term for ring) were more than just rings (and this is why), they could be spheres, dumbbell-esque loops, four-lobe-shaped or six-lobe-shaped; and the orbitals were generally built in that order. For example, at the second level of orbitals out from the nucleus, before electrons can be in a four-lobe orbit, there must be electrons in sphere and dumbbell-esque orbits in that level. This is the Quantum model of an atom. Broglie also postulated a method of calculating the wavelength of the particle in motion:
- Wavelength = h / (mass * speed).
- h is Planck’s constant [6.63 * 10^-34 Joule-seconds]
Eerily, this model again applies just as well to a Project Atom. Negative Budgetrons can be seen to vibrate in their path around the Taskcleus, commonly termed wiggle-room. They also orbit in non-predictable manners, influenced into these formations by specific obstacles. These obstacles are operational, budget-cuts, pay-offs and ohhellwheredthatcomefrom. Mathematically:
- Deadlines = tatsh / ([wo]manpower * spending)
- tatsh is ThickAsTwoShort Planck’s constant [6.66 * 10 ^-32 Caffeine-seconds].
Thus the more Employeetrons or positive Budgetrons the Project Atom’s Taskcleus is currently comprised of, the more deadlines can be extended and the more wiggle-room can be had in balancing negative and positive Budgetrons. Naturally this does have a saturation point and when the negative Budgetrons start colliding, volatile reactions can be counted upon.
The sheer number of negative Budgetrons circling a Taskcleus creates a named Immanent, detailed in the Periodic Table of Immanents. The higher the negative Budgetron count the more reactive it is and the more immanent the Project Atom blowing up in your face. This can be observed by the Projatomic Weight – the more ‘heavy’ the project is, the greater the sinking feeling it generates when handed to someone. Innanium, an element with vast amounts of negative Budgetrons and only Employeetrons in the Taskcleus that are barely holding the Project Atom together is one of the most reactive elements known to science and upper management. The destructive half-life of such a Project Atom is staggering, ensuring it will never truly be burnt out but will continue its fall-out ad infinitum.
An interesting duality of Employeetrons is how they actually appear, thanks to quantum, to serve a variety of disparate Taskcleii at the same time. This often leads to worrying trends with negative Budgetron build-up to critical levels. The specific Control Rods to monitor these and other reactions on and between Project Atoms are Managers.
While custom built for this purpose by carefully removing skills, talent and practical knowledge from their construction to create a pure core, clusters of Managers compete fiercely for the positive Budgetrons resulting in the negative Budgetrons being bounced back and forward between Project Atoms in highly excited states. This severely increases the rate of Manager degradation, with spectacular results. Its called Budget-Fallout for a very observable reason.
Applying quantum variance theory to the Project Atom is a regulated process. Quantum variance is the observed nature of extremely small objects (like a tiny Project Atom), which makes their observation difficult because the act of observing can alter its nature (I know I said ignore this earlier but.. hey, quantum variance!) Take a small Project Atom at a Scale of 10^-40. Tying of a shoelace. Here, quantum variance must be taken into account, as there is only one Peopletron, with possibly very low charge Budgetrons [Need new Shoes, Shoelaces, brand-new shoes]. The variance can be easily observed when people are wearing sandals. In larger scale Project Atoms, quantum variance has been subsumed into the large observation of risk, which can result in cosmic butterflies in the stomach.
New-age quantum analysts are working towards constructing specific Managers that can funnel its controlled Project Atoms’ released positive Budgetrons back into the mixture to result in Perpetual Budget. Well schooled quantum analysts, like myself, know this pulling Budgetrons from the Ether as impossible, and all experiments to that end have resulted in abrupt, and violent fallout of the mixture, almost instant degradation of Managers, and multi-Taskcleus Employeetrons being attracted to different molecules by vastly higher positive Budgetrons. The amount of Managers required, if they were stacked end to end, would result in the bottom third being crushed by the weight of the Managers above them and the top third would either be flung from Earth or burning up on re-entry due to the weak gravity. The attractiveness of these projected results warrants further research.
Also observable are when Project Atoms combine to form molecules or departments. These larger building blocks of bureaucracy can result in greater variance in reactions. A single Project Atom alone can be highly unstable — when combined into departments their volatile natures mean they should not be constructed without proper training, a well ventilated room and (Budgetrons permitting) full-environmental suits. Commonly any mixing of Project Atoms or departments results in sedimentary Employeetrons at the bottom of the mixture that must be discarded to prevent negative Budgetron yields.
An alarming property of large scale departments is their gravity specific to other projects’ Taskcleii increases. Smaller departments or individual Project Atoms can find themselves absorbed into the chain with frightening speed. This combination results in the absorbed Project Atom gaining some of the absorbing Project Atoms’ Negative Budgetrons or the absorbing Project Atoms’ gaining Employeetrons or Positive Budgetrons from the absorbed. In some cases, composite chemicals composed of Project Atoms instead use the absorbed to store its own excess Positive Budgetrons in a haphazard manner, resulting in a powerful increase in the absorbed structure. This symbiotic link is short lived, as managers required for any two departments can be vastly different, commonly resulting in incompatibilities and detonation. Large scale linkings of these departments correlate to the three states of matter.
The three states of matter (ignoring plasma) are Solid, Liquid and Gas. Each state is partially related to the energy and excitement a Project Atom receives, solid being the most static and gas the most excited. The Solid state is rigid, impossible to shape without massive external force or excitement of the Employeetrons. All Project Atoms are heavily joined and co-dependent, and is a prime resource for finding the aforementioned multi-Taskcleus Employeetrons. After solid state is Liquid. Liquid departments promote more a flowing interaction between Project Atoms, any container they are moved to is very efficiently filled by the influx of Project Atoms. Whilst not as rigidly joined as the solid state, liquid’s tension (either surface or subtle) keeps the Project Atoms together enough via the bonds between Employeetrons. In this situation, the coffee break can be the only regularly occurring Peopletron interaction that prevents everything going pear shaped. Finally is Gaseous, or Vapour. These Project Atoms commonly move as far away from each other as they can, given their enclosure, and have the weakest bonds between Employeetrons available. The observed result of large vapour stores of Project Atoms have promise, yet never appear to consolidate until their excitement is contained and the state changes to liquid or solid. This quantum effect is called vapourware.
And there you have it, the internal workings of the building blocks of bureaucracy carefully dissected, weighed and then prodded with sticks. Scientific sticks, be assured. In the future, I envision large scale Project Accelerators (also known as consultants) actually resulting in more energy and Budgetron retention than one must throw at them to initiate and maintain the process. Large scale companies (the un-biological equivalent of life, comprised of departments and thus projects) lumbering about the landscape with their health being constantly monitored thanks to the knowledge that Project Atoms give to the larger picture. With the right funding (hint, hint), developments in Artificial Incorporation could result in the first company that is formed with a Project Atom, Manager, Department and Civic Duty balance that doesn’t result in low yield fallouts every few years. My advice is not to hold your, or anyone else’s breath.
- Suthers, Jolyon. Physicists guide to Project Management, an Idiots book. 1999, WiseArts Press.
- Nancarrow, Troy. Observations of Project Molecules Inaction. 1999, WiseArts Press.
- Creusillet, Vincent. Project Atom insulation, Advanced techniques. 2000, WiseArts Press.