SmallWorld, by Harry Holdorf

SmallWorld, by Harry Holdorf

It was quite interesting from the start. The assortment of Santa Clara Valley programmers had tired of seeing who could get their charcoal barbeques lit the fastest (3.2 seconds), and had moved on to creating their own SmallWorlds. While the general public played Fantasy Football and Role Playing games, the Nerds created their individual approximations of the real world. The one rule was everyone’s program had to end up with the world in the exact condition that it’s in today: their programs had to explain how the world got this way. The depths which were reached depended on how much code was written, and in which specific areas.

The majority of the programmers had considerable difficulty explaining how Germany lost the Second World War; then Willard, a Sunnyvale programmer, entered code explaining how the Germans ran out of coffee beans, a commodity much more difficult to track than oil.

John Sargent, a transplant from the Great Plains, claims his program accurately predicted the lawsuit filed by Nebraskan and Oklahoman attorneys general against the state of Colorado, over its recent marijuana legalization. He insists his code revealed this outcome two weeks before it was publicly announced, without his obtaining any inside information.

The programmers generally agreed that death becomes organisms with exponential growth. The exception: the quite successful Chinese one-child policy of the 70-80s, had to be written in to each of the programs. Also, me-good-you-good-too religions persevered better than my-way-only ones.

Adjusting to people walking around without hats on, along with the rapid decrease of hair oil use in the Sixties, and a dramatic increase in the rate of informal apparel use was tied directly to an unusual bump in the American penal incarceration rate, associated with the American culture’s hysterical over-reaction to the repeal of centuries of undiluted alcohol addiction.

There was general difficulty with the human behavior extremes: it was difficult to tell how far extremist behavior would go before it was modified.  The programmers also had problems predicting something called ‘people power’, aka socialism, consumerism, popular culture, or democracy. Whenever it appeared it was stronger, more influential and longer lasting than predicted.

Soon enough, the programmers realized the commercial applications of their SmallWorld coding projects, began offering them to the highest bidders, and giving up their day jobs.

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