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LJI XI - 1: Resolution (~550 words)

...and in the midst of her turmoil he sent a demon of his to tempt her. And came the demon, and stood it invisible by her side, and whispered it in her ear, soft as a breath of air, light as an inspiration, clear as the best of thoughts: ”It does not need to be so hard, you know. Your college department is pressing you so hard to publish another article with your dissertation research? Go ahead, publish it. All you have to do, is not include the man you fear to discuss the results with among the authors.”

The machine that I work at, a stellarator (a much smaller one than those described in this article), has been in operation for over 40 years and it has collected large amounts of data. It is possible to process the data statistically and obtain new results. My younger colleagues want to do it, my older ones resist the change.

For my dissertation, I have been working on a possible processing algorithm for part of the data, but so far, it was like this little pet project, a side project, a toy, and it's been slipping through the attention of these older colleagues, although I have been studying the data obtained by one of them.

And continued the demon cajolingly, "For what you have been labouring at, is it not a but game? It is not that important, and what you have done has been approved by others, besides. You could exclude this man's name from the authors, and publish the article, and get the pressure released from you. It would be simple, it would be easy. You need not include him, for the fruits of your labour are but mist in the air that will dissipate after you make use of it."

I could continue as I have done, write my results up, present it, then shelve the dissertation with all those (quite a few!) other ones that were presented here and whose research was then discontinued. It is an awkward and not very honest way out, and the possibility of doing so has been weighing on me for a long time.

And she listened to the demon, and she imagined vividly how easy it would be, to do the thing it was whispering in her ear, and felt relieved. And she wanted very much to do as it suggested, but her mind would not be at peace and kept nudging her. And later that day did she realize that the road the demon had shown her was not a road at all, but dishonesty. And she grew a resolve to explain her work to everyone, that it be not a toy to be shelved and forgotten, but an instrument useful and practical.

Alternately, I could do battle about what I have done, explain it to everyone and give it a chance to be used later on. I was very tempted to follow the easy road but then realized that I could not. Fighting for this is likely going to be hard and horrible, but I will not respect myself if I do not try. Also, the staggering relief of realizing what the right way is in no way compares to the relief of contemplating the easy way.

Many thanks to Cislyn, Ro, Hafnia and Toni for beta-work and suggestions.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 28th, 2019 07:27 pm (UTC)
ConCrit is welcome.

The demons's voice is imaginary, but I could swear I heard it, the temptation was so vivid, so I let it sound. :-). The things fandoms (Good Omens, of course) do to you, haha!
Sep. 28th, 2019 11:33 pm (UTC)
Perhaps you have mentioned what the topic of your dissertation is previously. But I realized that I have either forgotten or never knew. It s something I would be interested in hearing about.

Lovely imagery, by the way. Though when I have my conscience looking over my shoulder, I sense it is that heavy, ponderous weight in my stomach. Slightly guilty musings about the easy way around responsibilities usually feels like a nervous flutter that I try to bat away like a horde of mosquitoes.
Sep. 30th, 2019 09:07 pm (UTC)
Normally, when I am trying to decide between the easy and the right way, I feel like the world around me narrows down to the question, compresses closer and closer and excludes more and more of my other interests and things I need to pay attention to.

As to my dissertation, this was the simplest I've been able to formulate the problem so far. Getting into detail...

Well, imagine that you have a large machine in which a discharge is ignited then studied by various diagnostics. Each experimental day consists of up to one hundred individual experiments (such discharges). Not every discharge is "good" as a whole. Some diagnostics are not on some days. The discharge may be good, but the data from the diagnostics can be bad. There are different regimes that are kept up part of the day here, part of the day there. And so on.

Imagine then that the data from at least some of the diagnostics is processed mostly manually, i.e., in specific discharges, and not all of them, because it is oh so time-consuming.

It is difficult and chaotic. Certain "interesting" regimes are paid more attention than others.

What I have been doing is mostly enabling the data from one of the diagnostics to be pre-processed and processed en masse: open up all the "shots", or discharges recorded in a certain regime/day, do certain operations with them (like, calculate the energy spectrum). Then chose what shots are good, and voilà, some of their characteristics are already known.

Nothing of it is new, exactly, only the application to this specific diagnostics and adjustment to its special features.

Edited at 2019-09-30 09:09 pm (UTC)
Sep. 29th, 2019 05:38 am (UTC)
I like the flow of the thoughts in italics. It's got that ominous bible tone, so well done with the temptation apect of it.
Sep. 29th, 2019 05:59 am (UTC)
*happy dance*

I was aiming at exactly this kind of voice. So glad it sounds like I intended.

Thank you!
Sep. 29th, 2019 09:35 am (UTC)
I love the opening.
Sep. 29th, 2019 10:17 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Sep. 30th, 2019 02:15 am (UTC)
I like the way you changed it to interweave the sections!
Sep. 30th, 2019 09:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I am glad that it worked for you :)
Oct. 1st, 2019 03:52 pm (UTC)
Clever use of format
Oct. 1st, 2019 06:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Took me a while to get it the way I wanted :)
Oct. 2nd, 2019 01:12 am (UTC)
As always, beautifully written, fascinating and thoughtful. And you are right it is we ourselves we diminish when we choose the easy way.

It's so good to have you back!
Oct. 21st, 2019 06:39 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Oct. 2nd, 2019 10:53 pm (UTC)
I am so glad you're back. I love what you did with this.
Oct. 21st, 2019 06:58 am (UTC)
Thank you!

I am also always looking forward to your stories :)
Oct. 3rd, 2019 06:31 pm (UTC)
Also, the staggering relief of realizing what the right way is in no way compares to the relief of contemplating the easy way.
That's the way you know you've arrived at the correct solution, and it IS a relief.

Good luck with this!
Oct. 21st, 2019 07:22 am (UTC)
Thank you!
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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