The next morning after breakfast on the porch Jown and Johann moved the ship into a group of bushes next to a low hill and covered it with netting and branches.
This crude covering should be sufficient for any airborne prying eyes and no one ever ventured on land beyond their home.
When they came back in they found that Hildi had set up a mounted camera about a meter away from one of the text blocks. Jown didn’t ask why because getting pictures of the images was a good basic idea. But Hildi explained anyway that for computer assisted analysis she had to have a means of getting the symbols and text into the computer. She could of course do it by hand, and perhaps her great grand children, if she ever had any, would finish it. But since she was a very impatient sort, she would program the computer to scan in each character in order, capture the lit up groups and the spoken language. While she was still explaining it she finished the setup and started the task. The recording work was very fast, but with the voice it was also noisy.
It didn’t take long for Johann to come over. “Dearest this will not do for long. It’s just too loud.”
“Of course you’re right. There should be a way of turning the sound down don’t you think? The computer can add the necessary amplification. But I don’t see anything on the block that might do it. I’ve tried touching and scrolling my finger on the sides and back, but it doesn’t to anything.”
Jown broke the short silence. “Well there’s nothing obvious, but maybe it’s built into your scrolling across the front. Have you tried varying that? Like up and down, diagonal, backwards, lower or higher in the screen?”
Hildi started again, this time across the bottom of the screen. The voice was barely audible. “You sure you’re not a scientist?”
Johann turned back to his work of getting internal scans of everything. While he did that he put Jown to work getting microscopic samples of all of the pieces for material analysis. Several hours later, hours that to Jown flew by, they all broke for lunch and then went right back to it until late. A quick simple supper then to bed. This went on for a couple of days, although their pace became more normal, and Jown began to get a little restless. Sensing it Johann gave him some encouragement.
“Jown this is the donkey work.”
“The donkey work. This is the part of science that no one ever sees or cares about. But it is absolutely the most important. All of our conclusions, all of our large discoveries depend not only on all of this inglorious work, but on being very careful to do it correctly and not miss anything.”
“What comes next after we finish the cataloging, scanning and material identification.”
“Then the job will be to use the initial information to invent new tests that will tell us even more. Then we will have to diligently apply the new tests. Then, if we get lucky, we will have something to work with, to discover with. Jown nothing of this magnitude can be done quickly. But the time will go by quicker than you think, and I don’t think you will be just sitting around for all of it. There will be more samples to go back and get, and new test equipment to buy and bring back.”
Jown was encouraged in spite of the realization that this might take years. Deep inside he had always known that this couldn’t possibly be fast, he was just an impatient young man. Johann and Jown finished their initial battery of tests after a few weeks. Hildi hadn’t quite finished her initial scanning in spite of the fact that she had gotten very efficient at it scanning at the rate of about a page a second. There was an enormous amount of written material. Rather than go on to other things, Johann and Jown helped her finish the initial linguistic scanning. It took a little over two weeks to finish.
Posted by strailon Tuesday, December 11, 2012 @ 00:00:00 UTC