Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants

Initial Report Into Signal Cartel’s Survey of the Anoikis Cluster and the ‘Shattered Systems’ – report by A Dead Parrot (authorised for public release 9/24/119)

Ever since the Seyllin Incident and its related ‘Main Sequence Events’ that triggered the opening of the first wormholes in YC 111, New Eden scientists have been debating the physical location of the Anoikis Cluster relative to New Eden. As a result, several serious attempts to accurately map Anoikis have paved the way for what we know today.

The first major attempt to do so was conducted during YC113 as an Arek’Jaalan project led by the Intaki capsuleer-scientist Mark726, using the designation Project Compass. The Distant Stellar Object Data Capture (DSODC), using images captured in wormhole space from camera drones, relied on the principles of parallax and spectroscopy to determine just where in space each image was located. It attempted to “ascertain whether the same distant stellar or extra-galactic point sources could be identified in both Anoikis and New Eden” through space photography.

However, this early attempt incorrectly determined that New Eden was located in the center of the known universe and that the Anoikis Cluster surrounded it, like an outer shell.

Excerpt from the original Project Compass report

Following this attempt, with the discovery of the locator functionality of starbase control towers placed in space, Mark726 and Faulx launched Project Compass 2.0 which would again attempt to locate and map the Anoikis Cluster. This time, project researchers would use the triangulation of distance measurements collected from a small constellation of five control towers placed as far apart as possible in New Eden. Their conclusions were quite different (and contradictory) to those of Project Compass 1.0.

Project Compass 2.0 concluded that New Eden was in fact not at the center of the known universe surrounded by Anoikis, but instead, Anoikis was located in an entirely distinct area of space separated by a distance of almost 1,300 light years from New Eden.

Visual representation of the relative positions of the New Eden and Anoikis clusters, as determined by Project Compass 2.0

In addition, Project Compass 2.0 was actually able to determine a rough map of Anoikis itself, using a relatively small sampling of less than 300 systems located by painstakingly triangulating their distances from each control tower in the measurement array. As of 3/13/YC114, those control towers ceased providing distances to systems in Anoikis.

Disposition and distribution of star systems in the Anoikis Cluster as postulated during Project Compass 2.0

Some years later, during YC117, an independent researcher by the name of Alyxportur was able to put together a detailed static map of the Anoikis Cluster which appeared to confirm the findings of Project Compass 2.0. You can see, in his images below, the roughly hexagonal shape of the Anoikis Cluster, similar to the conclusions reached by Project Compass 2.0.

Alyxporter’s published map generated from independent research (prior to the discovery of the Thera system)

However, at that time, Alyxportur’s findings were criticized by the scientific community and he was in fact belittled by many who said he was merely repeating research that had already been done years earlier through Project Compass 2.0. But few actually comprehended the computational methods he used to produce his results. The Anoikis Cluster had not yet been mapped with that level of detail.

Unfortunately, Alyxportur may have been discouraged by the community’s unwillingness to appreciate his work and his research was abandoned, at least in the public eye.

It is important to note at this point that both Alyxportur and the researchers involved with the earlier Project Compass 2.0 completed their work using data obtained prior to the discovery of the Thera system, and were likely to be unaware at the time that they were only mapping what we now refer to as the Anoikis ‘main cluster’, as they had no maps, data, or even knowledge of the existence of Thera and the so-called ‘shattered systems’ that were discovered later.

Fast-forward to today. Through the work of Signal Cartel researchers including myself and hundreds of other Signal pilots engaged in ongoing deployments throughout the Anoikis Cluster, aided in no small part by discoveries made possible by the creation of Signal Cartel’s ALLISON navigational AI [1], a modern picture of the relative positions of the Anoikis Cluster, Thera, the shattered systems, and their combined spatial relationship to the New Eden Cluster are becoming clearer than they ever were. Who knows what future discoveries will unveil.

Based on the dataset gathered by Signal Cartel as described above, I therefore present below a preliminary hypothesis concerning the true, accurate spatial relationship between the Anoikis Cluster and the ‘shattered systems’. See the notes embedded in each document for further details on the measurement methods involved, together with expanded text on the overall hypothesis.

First: the Anoikis Cluster and its position relative to the ‘shattered systems’. The dataset indicates that the two clusters are not co-located at all, and are in fact separated by a considerable distance:

click for enlargement

Second: the positions of the ‘shattered systems’, the Thera system and the five ‘Drifter Hives’ relative to each other. Again, these star systems are separated from each other by a great distance, but appear to be co-located along a specific ‘flat plane’ with respect to the galactic centre [note: this is also true of the main Anoikis Cluster: neither can be considered a globular cluster]. There is also a tantalising pattern within the dataset that suggests a high degree of line-of-sight alignment between the ‘shattered systems’ and certain stars in the main Anoikis Cluster (see document text for further explanation).

click for enlargement

Further research and refinement of this dataset is ongoing, and more results will be published as and when reliable conclusions can be formed.

[ENDS]

Notes:

[1] The ALLISON construct is a prototype artificial intelligence that I designed, and it is installed on all Signal Cartel spacecraft as a matter of standard operating procedure. Its principal purpose is to enhance the capsuleer’s navigational situational awareness to unprecedented levels and has proved extremely successful. Its use during the project described above was crucial as it was effectively a form of parallel processing capability combined with ultra-long-baseline interferometry, as if several hundred Project Compasses were operating simultaneously.

The above paper is © A Dead Parrot. Attribution to external sources is given in the text. All opinions stated are those of the author. All rights reserved. The Project: ALLISON Phase 3 reports are © Cassandra Habalu.

Media Enquiries: for further information, feedback, or media bookings and interview requests, please contact A Dead Parrot via Signal Cartel management or please leave comments in the space provided below. We look forward to hearing from you.

Rescue Thanks in J164218

This one goes back to Jul-26, but it is such a nice thank you from one of our rescuees I wanted to draw attention to it here. Special thanks go out to Bill Kills for the great job he did as a Rescue Agent on this one! 🙂

I’m very glad to hear from you, because I sincerely wanted you and your corp to know how much I appreciated the extreme generosity I was shown when I had gotten stuck in a wormhole after logging off without first reloading my probe launcher. I am a returning player currently on an alpha clone and my wormhole know-how is still limited. Safe to say on 26 July I learned the basic lesson of keeping an extra set of probes in my cargo.

At the time I had actually had a fairly successful run hacking data and relic sites, so my Heron was almost at full capacity when I had to quickly log off due to IRL stuff – only to return later and find out that I had lost contact and could not reconnect to my probes. It wouldn’t have been the end of the world if I had had to abandon ship and clone, but during my scanning of the system I had spotted a can that said something about “EvE-Scout”… I thought I should give it a try, although I also thought it could just as well be a trap — this is EVE after all. In this case, however, it turned out to be the perfect rescue.

Following the note on the can, I quickly got in touch with friendly people in the chat, confirmed via the website, got directions for how to locate the can, got the password and got the probes. I couldn’t play more that day so I loaded the probes into my launcher and logger out. It felt almost unbelievable. Like a lifebuoy being thrown out to a person at sea. And I was that lucky recipient! If anything, EVE succeeds in making the player feel the vastness of space. Even more so in W-space, where there are no “roads”, only faint trails in the tall waves…

The next day, I logged in and resumed the scanning routine with the new probes. To see the probes flash felt like being able to breathe fresh air again after having been near suffocation. A small thing, really, if you think about it, but for a moment I felt something very real.

Eventually I found my way back to a station in high-sec space. I wanted to go back and restock the can with probes, but the path had closed by the time I could reach high-sec shops.

I have to say, there can’t be many cases of such altruism taking place in MMO games, let alone in the world. It was a really cool experience and yet another thing that makes EVE a very special game.

I saw the testimonials on your website and I would gladly let you share mine there. No need for anonymity – I want people to know how awesome you guys are!

I’m currently taking dives into W-space in between high-sec dabbling, so for now I’m not looking to join a player corp which gets wardecked a lot, but some day I would definitely like to try joining a friendly exploration-focused corp such as yours some day, if alphas are allowed.

Once again, thank you very much!!

Kind regards,
Ilska

Anatomy of a Rescue

It was a quiet night at ESR Central Command. And before you get any false ideas in your mind about what that is, it’s basically a few small desks in a tiny, cluttered office buried deep somewhere within Paleo station. Even though the space has been mine for close to a year now, I still get turned around sometimes when trying to find it. “Labyrinthine” is a pretty word that comes to mind.

At any rate, it was quiet. A Dead Parrot and I were just sitting around chatting. While not an “official” member of the SAR crew, Parrot’s work with Allison has made him an integral part of what we do, and he’ll often be found in the SAR office, working on one thing or another. It was getting late on this evening, and we were done working and had turned to discussing how to encourage our rescue pilots to keep at it, brainstorming ways to keep the heart fires lit and to help keep enthusiasm high. Parrot was right in the middle of saying something about Allison’s role in all of this, when the stillness of the office was disturbed.

It was the chime that we both love (a chance to help!) and dread (what if we can’t?), the alert we get from Allison any time a rescue pilot enters a system with an active SAR request: “ESR Team, I just flew into J111629 (An active SAR system) with Holphi Kord.”

Parrot was startled out of his reverie. “Holee cow poop! Now I have to stay awake.”

“Wow,” I replied. “How’s that for timing?”

“Amazing.” Parrot was already springing into action to check on Allison’s logs.

Allison’s alert had gone out over the network to all of our Coordinators. We got a reply right away from Triff: “One of you two got this? I’m out and didn’t want to have to remote in.”

From some remote corner of Anoikis, Igaze chimed in: “I can get in and message Holphi. There’s not a Tripwire chain, though.” Igaze was out sowing and tending rescue caches.

Parrot was already on it, spooling back up the main systems that we had just put to sleep for the night. “Iggy, are you in touch? I can check Allison’s logs if you need me to. Maybe find the kspace connection.”

“That would be great. He’s not sure the exact route he took in. Looks like he came from null. He’s scouting connections now.”

With Igaze in touch with the rescue pilot, Triffton was off the hook, so he rang off. (We do like to give our Coordinators a break ever now and then!) Parrot realized pretty quickly that we did not have any recent intel on the system Holphi had discovered, and we communicated all of this through Igaze so everyone was on the same page.

After a few minutes of discussion, Igaze got back to us: “I’m letting Holphi map. I’ll be off for 30 minutes or so.” And than about 15 minutes later we received an update: “He found a null exit. I’ll be available again in an hour.”

After another 30 minutes, Allison notified us that Angel Lafisques had flown into the same system with Holphi. The two of them did their thing, and got every connection to this system scanned down and noted in Tripwire.

Igaze came back on: “I’m going to try and get back to Thera and then see if I can get there. The null connection is 38 jumps out though. I, of course, am buried as far from k-space as I can get, I think.”

“Don’t kill yourself to get there,” I told him. “Especially since we have other pilots in system. Have we heard from the stranded pilot yet?”

“No. Been mailed, though.”

About 30 minutes later, we heard from Igaze again: “Ran out of time. Sitting in a C1 with low static. Angel is scanning routes but won’t be on until again until 20+ hours from now. I’ll be back in 8 or 9 hours to see what’s been scanned down.”

So that was the end of it for the night. Until the stranded pilot replied, there was little more we could do but wait.

Then, early the next morning, Igaze provided a status update: “Angel has things mapped out. Pilot just responded and will be available in several hours. I can’t be on then, but I think Angel has it in hand.”

So we each went about our business, always mindful of this stranded fellow capsuleer, anxious for the next update, eyes unconsciously darting to the clock every few minutes. Several hours later, we received a notice from Allison that Holphi was remapping the system, updating it with the most recent connections.

Igaze had been in touch with the stranded pilot and was hopeful. “We might get this guy tonight. He’s online now and Holphi is talking to him. We’ll see what they figure out.” We all sent our best wishes to him, Holphi, and Angel.

About five hours later we received final confirmation: “Looks like the rescue was completed!” There was much rejoicing, a little bit of paperwork got filled out, and we all went back into waiting mode — ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice when our services were once again required by some poor, lost soul.

This is not an atypical rescue. They are each different. Each comes with its own unique challenges and each requires a team of dedicated pilots and office personnel. If what you just read sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, consider joining Signal Cartel, and get ready for the first time our copilot AI, Allison, tells you: “Captain, this system has an active Search & Rescue request.” It’s a completely new way to get your heart pumping and your adrenaline surging, as you become a vital part of the EvE-Scout Rescue team.

Astrophotography 101

Editor’s Note: This article is cross-posted from Katia Sae’s blog, To Boldly Go, and was originally published in March 2015.

“Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.” – Sean O’Connell, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

I figured it’s about time to share some astrophotography tips. After taking 30,000+ images, I’ve learned a thing or two that I hope you will find helpful. However, I’ll be the first to confess that my gallery is more about quantity rather than quality for the simple reason of time. If I truly took the time required for each and every image capture, I’d still be exploring my first region. There are moments when I simply have to stop and take in the beauty of New Eden and try my best to capture a quality shot and that’s what this blog entry will focus on today. TLDR – Astrophotography is serious business!

Camera Control

Centered subject

We’re fortunate to live in an age of technology that allows us as capsuleers to focus on the subject, rather than the technical aspects of taking a picture. No longer do we have to worry or fuss over aperture, shutter speed, focus, etc, as all of that is taken care for us. We can now concentrate on the artistic aspects such as composition and framing. It’s quite honestly point and shoot today.

How to work your camera controls. Here’s the image capture command sequence:

  • CTRL-F9 (Turns off the HUD)
  • PrtScn (Captures the image) | MAC OS use Command (⌘)-Shift-3
  • CTRL-F9 (Turns on the HUD)
Same subject, off center

You may want to setup a single command that executes the sequence for ease of execution and reliability. More than once I’ve found myself in a hostile system and was thankful I could quickly line up a shot, take it, and move on, with the execution of a single command

Depending upon your pod’s operating system, your images will be processed and placed in your data repository at the following or similar location:

C:\Users\UserName\Documents\EVE\capture\Screenshots

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Rule of Thirds

The first rule is, there are no rules. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to take an image. It is, after all, what intrigues or interest you, that moment in time you wish to capture, cherish, and share with others. So, as long as it’s pleasing to your eye, then you have achieved your goal. But as in all things, you’ll learn in time and experience to master your craft and instead of taking fair or good images, you’ll be taking great ones.

Rule of Thirds

Planet upper left cross hair, sun on top line

Well, it’s more of a guideline than a rule but it’s a good one to follow and should be broken in the right circumstances. Beginning astrophotographers, or someone who’s in a hurry like myself, usually line up the main subject in the center of the image. It’s only natural, as humans we look directly at our subject of interest. There’s nothing wrong with that per say and it can work, but often times it fails to provide a balance and it can eliminate an interesting environment surrounding the subject. Remember, looking at an image is more than just looking at the main subject, because your eyes will want to wander. A good astrophotographer will capture the main subject in its natural environment as well as provide a balance to the scene.

Moon lower left cross hair, sun flare parallel

Here’s how the Rule of Thirds works. Break your capture resolution up into thirds along the horizontal and vertical axis and visualize nine equal areas on your screen. Now, where the lines intersect, imagine cross hairs, there should be four of them.

Planet right third, sun flare parallel

With the lines and intersections visualized, you now line up your main subject, as well as other things of interest, at the intersections and along the lines. Why? The thought process is it will provide a natural balance to the scene that your viewer will be able to interact with. Take advantage of lines and curves to lead your viewer on a journey around your image.

Framing

Mastering the Rule of Thirds is a great start to taking good images, but as you line up your shots, you’ll want to watch the outer edges and see if you can “frame” your subject. If possible, you can use other objects and/or the environment to provide a natural frame. Try to include natural lines and curves in a manner that will highlight, but not distract from the main focus. If you need to cut into your main subject, do so in a manner that looks appropriate. For example, making sure the object still looks whole and that the bulk of it remains.

You may end up bending or even breaking the Rule of Thirds to properly frame an image, but that’s fine if the end result takes a good picture and makes it a great one. Watch, however, because in general you don’t want to cut objects in half. Either position yourself or your camera to include them fully or eliminate them entirely.

There are however, times when cutting an object in half will enhance the frame, but only if it’s large enough to cover more than half of that particular edge. Again, not necessarily a rule, just a guideline, you have to experiment to see if the final image is going to look and feel right.

Taking a look at these two examples, we can see in the first one I’ve cut into the planet leaving some space to be seen behind it as well as cliping it along the bottom. A minor adjustment to the camera position takes care of that issue. In the second example, I’ve cut the customs office in half which really distracts from the overall image. Simply zooming the camera out moves the office completely into the scene and it helps to break up the bleak blackness of that part of the image.

Contrast

I’ve often heard that black and white photography is the most difficult to master. You may ask why, because it’s simply black versus white, but therein lies the catch. It’s not about black and white at all, it’s about shades of gray. (Not fifty shades of gray, mind yourself!) A great black and white photographer succeeds by taking a picture with as many shades of gray as possible. From the blackest of blacks, to the whitest of whites and all the grays in between. The same is true in color photography in trying to show stark contrast with shades of color. See how many shades of color you can achieve. For planets, I try to capture the shades from the night side to the light side. A fully sun lit side of a planet can be dull, but there are the extremes, like silhouettes, that can provide for some truly amazing shots.

Interesting Textures

Other than colors and contrast, textures can provide an interesting subject matter as well. After taking so many pictures of planets, they all begin to start looking alike, and you have to turn to something else to make it interesting. You may not think of planets in terms of textures, but they do indeed have them. Especially from high in orbit, where the details of a civilization begin to vanish, and the oneness of the planet begins to prevail. A famous astronomer once referred to his home plant as the “Pale Blue Dot”. Look for textures in your images and see if you can pull them out by highlighting them via the rule of thirds and framing.

Leading the Viewer

Be on the lookout for minor subjects that can help lead your viewer to your main subject. There are many interesting things in space, use them to your advantage. For me, the planets are my main subject matter in all of my shots, but I don’t always have them front and center. Sometimes they’re way off in the distance, but I always have the planet in there somewhere. In those cases I try to use nearby subjects and/or the environment to help the viewer find my main subject. Human eyes naturally follow lines and curves, so it’s fairly easy to find them and then utilize them to pull your viewer in.

Ordinary to Extraordinary

This is a difficult one, as it just comes from experience and many times, there’s just nothing in the scene nearby that can help to take what is an ordinary picture and make it into an extraordinary one. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying, nor preventing you from taking the picture anyway, if nothing else for the experience of it. Just be aware of your surroundings and see if perhaps a better position between you and the main subject will help you to pull in other things that can provide some additional interest or contrast. In the case of astrophotography, you may be able to position yourself to utilize the sun, for example, to help make some rings really pop out. Or maybe you can create an artificial sunrise or sunset. Don’t forget about other subjects like your own ship to help spice up a scene. Once you start looking, you’ll begin to see some things you can use. Move around from moon to moon, or objects like customs offices and stations, you just never know what you may find that will turn that first image you liked into something that you’ll love.

Final Words

Go out and have fun, learn by doing, there’s no better way. Sure, you’ll take some bad images, just look in my gallery, but you’ll start getting those great shots that will have others asking for more. Enjoy yourself and share, don’t be afraid of what others think. Not everyone is going to “get” your image, but you really didn’t take it for them anyway, right? Besides, there are many more who will see what you saw and that’s the greatest feeling of all, when others share in your experience.

W4C8-Q XI, E5T-CS Gate