So long and thanks for all the empty window offices?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/01/03 15:31 -05:00, original URI:

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western arm on the main Microsoft campus lies a small unregarded two-story building.

Atop this building on the second floor is an utterly insignificant cluttered little office whose ape-descended life form occupant is so amazingly primitive that he still thinks taking essentially three weeks of vacation without ever leaving the country, state, city, or apartment complex just because he was sick was a pretty neat idea.

This occupant has -- or rather had -- a problem, which was this: most of the people working in the offices around him were working on completely different projects for pretty much all of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with admins driving the movements of office maps, which is odd because on the whole it was neither the admins or the move maps that were unhappy.

And so the problem remained; lots of the people were strangers, and most of them didn't talk to each other, even the ones who took vacations.

Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in not moving to new buldings when they changed groups. and some said that maybe moving groups was the problem and they never should have left the group they were in.

And then, one Thursday, nearly 2000 hours after the people who left the group without leaving the building containing the group, one admin finally got through all the red tape and managed to arrange having the move maps sent out for all of the people, and she finally knew how the building could be made a more homogenous place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get to lose any of their computers or furniture.

This is not the admin's story.

This is the story of what happened when the ape-descended life form occupant of the utterly insignificant cluttered little office got back from vacation to find that the other group had moved.

Of the nine offices including and nearest his insignificant one:

He wisely, realizing that if he stayed there ll day with no human contact he would see no difference between doing stuff at home due to being exacerbated and sick on vacation and being at work in terms of getting things done and would thusly work from home forever, decided to spend the day in meetings and when there were no meetings he decided to just go home early, a task made more convenient by the fact that the sidewalk construction work on 40th Street was now complete enough to allow easier passage.

And by the next day there was one other person sitting right across the hall from him from his group who was also in his office, so it seemed worth staying in his office and getting his work done.

Though the one ape-descended life form occupant did still leave early that day, since he had started working at home that day at around 2:30am.

There was a point to this narrative, but it has presently escaped the chronicler's mind.

Hat Tip to Douglas Adams, of course!

Stuart Ballard on 3 Jan 2008 4:46 PM:

This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.

That was such a mindbogglingly awesome post that I'm almost inclined to try to use it to prove the non-existence of God :)

Michael Dunn_ on 3 Jan 2008 7:26 PM:

When the bowl of petunias in your office heard talk about you moving, the only thing that went through its mind was: "Oh no, not again."

John Cowan on 3 Jan 2008 11:09 PM:

Ape-descended, yes, but only in the sense that all extant apes are descended from other apes.

We *are* apes.  There is more genetic distance between the (almost-identical-looking) species of orangutans on Borneo and on Sumatra then there is in the whole human genome with chimps, bonobos, and gorillas thrown in.

Michael S. Kaplan on 4 Jan 2008 1:47 AM:

What does that do to Cathy's theory that men are "bears with furniture" anyway? :-)

Andrew West on 4 Jan 2008 5:18 AM:

"There is more genetic distance between the (almost-identical-looking) species of orangutans on Borneo and on Sumatra then there is in the whole human genome with chimps, bonobos, and gorillas thrown in."

Sounds like bullshit to me. Have you any evidence to back up this assertion?

According to (Molecular Genetic Divergence of Orang Utan Subspecies) "the orang utan subspecies are approximately as divergent as are the two chimpanzee species" (Demographic History and Genetic Differentiation in Apes ) states that "the extent of genetic differentiation among ‘‘subspecies’’ of chimpanzees and orangutans is comparable to that seen among human populations"

Richard on 4 Jan 2008 7:33 AM:

> There was a point to this narrative, but it has presently escaped the chronicler's mind.

If you will leave it in the planning office... just watch out for the leopard.

42. [Only because it has not been mentioned before... which is rather odd in this case.]

John Cowan on 7 Jan 2008 4:37 PM:

The first article is 17 years old, and while I don't challenge it specifically, I do know that the two orangutan subspecies have now been relabeled as species.

Table 1 in your second article seems to show that pi, the measure of diversity, is much higher among orangutans (0.27 to 0.36) than in any of the other apes (0.08 to 0.15), thus at least generally confirming my point.

I freely admit I am no expert in all this.

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