Notes on SCIP (Small Child Interaction Protocol)

Since getting to/from the Outer Banks for vacation involved a 10+ hour car trip in each direction, I found myself in an excellent position to study and take notes on the Small Child Interaction Protocol (SCIP).  Up close and personal.  In the wild, as it were.

Here, I present my findings to date.

The Small Child Interaction Protocol (SCIP)

SCIP begins with one of two interrogatives ("Mama?" or "Dada?"), originating from the Child and directed at a Parent.  In theory, the particular interrogative is chosen to establish the communication channel with a particular Parent.  In practice, however, the opening interrogatives are issued in broadcast mode, and the Child is generally happy to connect with whichever Parent happens to answer up first.

If neither Parent is able to answer a connection request immediately, the Child will pause momentarily, and then begin issuing a repeated stream of interrogatives ("Mama?  Mama?  Mama?").  As far as I can determine, there is no rate limiting mechanism employed by the Child when entering into this state.  There is in fact some evidence that the Child will typically employ a negative exponential backoff if there is no ACK to any of the first half-dozen connection requests.

Upon receiving the interrogative, a parent is required to ACK the interrogative.  The actual form of the ACK is apparently very flexible.  "Yes", "Uh-huh", "Hold on", "Wait a second", and even "Who are you?" are all acceptable responses from the Parent.  The actual text of the response may be interpreted by a more advanced Child implementation and used to set communication protocol parameters; however, this is not required, and for most Children, the actual presence of the ACK is enough to finalize the establishment of the communication channel.

A conforming Child implementation will acknowledge the ACK from the Parent by issuing another interrogative.  This may seem redundant, but experience has shown that many Parent implementations will ACK an initial query without bringing any actual processing resources online to deal with the communication stream.  This actually makes sense, as any given Child instance may close down communications when a priority interrupt (ex., remembering a cookie, a sibling Child instance moving, a particularly interesting dust particle, etc.) occurs within 0.0001 ultra-micro-picoseconds of the initial ACK.  Thus, the Parent avoids a potentially unnecessary context switch by waiting for the second interrogative.

A Child will indicate to the Parent that it has avoided a priority interrupt and is fully ready to communicate by issuing a second interrogative.  The format of this interrogative will indicate if the data to follow is a simple statement (and not requiring a reply from the Parent) or a query for information from the Parent.  At this point, the Parent will context switch, bring processing resources online, and prepare to receive data from the Child.


C: "Mama?"
P: "Yes, dear."
C: "Can I tell you something?"
P: "Go ahead..."
C: "I liked swimming on vacation!"
P: "That's nice, honey."

C: "Mama?"
C: "Mama?  Mama?  Mama?"
P: "Yes, yes.  What?"
C: "Can I ask you a question?"
P: "What is it?"
C: "Um... I forgot."

C: "Dada?"
P: "Yes'm?"
C: "Can I ask you a question?"
P: "Sure."
C: "Do dogs have dreams?"
P: "..."

C: "Mama?"
P: "Um-hm?"
C: "Can I tell you something?"
P: "Go ahead..."

Related Protocols

Unfortunately, as Eldest Daughter spent the majority of the trip both ways drawing while listening to her new iPod, the chances to study the Young Teenager Interaction Protocol (YTIP) were minimal.  Keep in mind, though, that YTIP is simply a subset of The Surly Teenager Interaction Protocol (STIP).  If you are familiar with the main-channel and back-channel communication mediums for STIP (i.e., random vocalizations coupled with arbitrary eye rolls and an almost palpable disdain for anyone over the age of 25 or younger than they are), then you're pretty much set as far as understanding YTIP goes.

I May Never Ride With The Calvary

But Mothax did.
Riding with the 1st Virginia Cavalry at the Battle of Gettysburg
Over 10,000 reenactors showed up for the Battle of Gettysburg last week in Pennsylvania, and I was lucky enough to be one of them.   My buddy from service in Bosnia, and also the best man at my wedding, Mike Schramm has been doing reenacting for about 6 years, and has asked me innumerable times to join him.  The 150th Anniversary of Gettysburg seemed a good opportunity to get my first experience doing it.  And my Editor for The American Legion Magazine said he thought it would make an excellent magazine piece, so my wife (as photographer and camp cook's assistant to Mike's wife Jo) and I camped out with men, women and horses for a week.
Sounds amazing.  I've always enjoyed talking to reenactors.  I'm sorry to have missed the events around the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg. 

Advise Them Right In The Face

As usual with the Duffel Blog, it's a swing, and a hit...

FORT STEWART, Ga. — A force of approximately 25,000 advisers from the U.S. Army’s 3rd Adviser Division is heading to Iraq to not participate in direct ground combat of any kind, the Pentagon announced Thursday. 
“Make no mistake, we are in full-on advisement against ISIL in the same way we continue to advise countries against al Qaeda and its affiliates,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said at a press conference...
Although the Pentagon officially declined to give much detail as to what types of advice would be used, sources told Duffel Blog the troops will be authorized to engage with 5.56mm and 7.62mm advice whenever necessary. In some instances and with higher authority, the division could use 105mm and 155mm advice, along with 500lb Joint Direct Advice Munitions. 

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Huh.  Apparently this is A Thing.
Professional Paranormal Investigations is a group of paranormal investigators who try to assist in the unexplained activity taking place in homes or businesses.
Really.  I guess if Seattle can have real-life super heroes, a bunch of guys in Indiana making a living as real-life Ghostbusters makes some sort of sense.

Beam Me Up, Opie

A member over at TAGSRWC (The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club) posts a couple of pages of photos from Star Trek episodes that made use of the set for good ol' Mayberry:

On this web page I will be showing some of the buildings of Mayberry that were used in 2 episodes of Star Trek, the original series. The Episodes are "Miri" and "The City on the Edge of Forever". Both have some great glimpses of Mayberry that we normally never see in a TAGS episode.

I would have loved to see Mr. Spock encounter Barney Fife.  "You only carry one bullet?  How illogical."

One Charger to Rule Them All

Now that we have phones, tablets, and a cluster of iPods in the house, perhaps this would be useful...
If you're anything like me, your nightstand is full of electronic devices that need to be charged regularly. Enter the Anker 40W, five-port USB charger.


Gevlon, quoting a discussion he heard:
"No means no. Always. The choice of the woman must be respected."
[few seconds silence + angelic smile]
"except if she says no to Feminism, when she is an uneducated, brainwashed victim who doesn't know what's good for her."
Lacking context, I have no idea if the speaker was being serious, or sarcastic.

Sadly, it works either way.

Pinky Pie, Delirium, and Nick Fury

A brief discussion of "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" and how it relates to Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" comics. [1]

Last night, watching with the girls, I commented to Shari, "Pinky Pie kind of walks along the ragged edge of sanity, doesn't she?"

And then it hit me.

Pinky Pie is Delirium (she of the Endless who used to be Delight).

There are six main ponies... and six of the Endless.

"Oh, no," you might say. "There are seven of the Endless!"

Except that Destruction abandoned his duties. Ha!  So, six ponies... and six Endless.
  • Pinky Pie is obviously Delirium.
  • Twilight Sparkle? Always doubting... so she's Despair.
  • Rainbow Dash? Big plans, big visions. She's Dream.
  • Applejack? Hard working, dedicated. She's Destiny.
  • Rarity? Duh. Desire, of course.
  • Fluttershy? Death.
I can now watch MLP:FIM with my little ladies, and pretend that I am not watching animated ponies learn over-the-top, blatantly obvious lessons about personal interactions, but instead perceive a subtle drama about the interactions of the fundaments of the human psyche. [2]

Which should help to keep me on the ragged edge of sanity. Maybe I'll see Pinky Pie there.

[1] So I know about MLP:FIM. I have three girls. I am not only allowed, I am required. Don't judge me.
[2] Another interpretation sees Pinky Pie as Nick Fury, and maps the remaining ponies onto members of the Avengers. That works, too.

Yeah, She Had Way Too Much Fun With This

So, took a while, but I got tagged by someone for the ‪‎ALS‬ ice bucket challenge.

Now, the whole purpose of this is to help raise $$$ for ALS research. If you think otherwise, or think that "raising awareness" is like, so totally awesome... eh. Try hiring a research scientist with all that awareness, see how far that gets you.

So, yeah. It's all about the fund raising, if you're honest, and more importantly, if you're serious. Which is why I've made a contribution to the ALS Association.

As for dumping a bucket of ice water on myself?  Yeah, that happened.  Sure, it's a stunt, but it's an effective stunt, and it would be churlish of me not to play along.   I got two of da goils to help me out with it.  Eldest Daughter (AKA "Alldaughter") handled the video, while Youngest Daughter (AKA "Snugglepuppy") did the dumping.

For the record, Snugglepuppy was a little tentative about helping out, until I reassured her that she would be the dumper, and I would be the dumpee.  After that, she took an inordinate amount of pleasure in soaking her poor Dada with ice water.  At least someone enjoyed the experience!