History Main / BlackBox

13th Apr '16 1:26:45 PM Morgenthaler
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* The superweapons of the ''NavalOps'' series, especially in ''Warship Gunner 2,'' are considered to be Black Boxes by the people fighting against them. In ''WG 2,'' they run off a Black Box "Engine" strapped into oversized conventional ships (for a given value of conventional). The equipment you can unlock for customizing your own ship is explicitly labeled in game as "Black Box Technology" in the equipment screen, with individual pieces labeled Enigmatech (Enigmatech Bridge, Enigmatech Sensors, etc.).

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* The superweapons of the ''NavalOps'' ''VideoGame/NavalOps'' series, especially in ''Warship Gunner 2,'' are considered to be Black Boxes by the people fighting against them. In ''WG 2,'' they run off a Black Box "Engine" strapped into oversized conventional ships (for a given value of conventional). The equipment you can unlock for customizing your own ship is explicitly labeled in game as "Black Box Technology" in the equipment screen, with individual pieces labeled Enigmatech (Enigmatech Bridge, Enigmatech Sensors, etc.).
8th Apr '16 9:05:02 AM Soldancer
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* In ''Webcomic/{{Spacetrawler}}'', it's implied that the eponymous spacetrawlers (which the entire galaxy relies on to enable faster-than-light travel and matter synthesis from space debris) are so complicated that only the technopath Eebs can understand and construct them. [[spoiler:It's eventually revealed that their construction is less complicated than implied, but the details are so horrific that it's no surprise that the builders insist on keeping them secret.]]

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* In ''Webcomic/{{Spacetrawler}}'', it's implied that the eponymous spacetrawlers (which the entire galaxy relies on to enable faster-than-light travel and matter synthesis from space debris) are so complicated that only the technopath {{Technopath}} Eebs can understand and construct them. [[spoiler:It's eventually revealed that their construction is less complicated than implied, but the details are so horrific that it's no surprise that the builders insist on keeping them secret.]]



* Almost anything in custody of the ''Wiki/SCPFoundation''. [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-914 SCP-914]] is a more literal Black Box than most; it's an incredibly complex mechanical machine into which you put an object, and it comes out "refined" from the other end.

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* Almost anything in custody of The ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'' classifies objects into three broad categories: Safe, Euclid, and Keter. Safe objects' properties are researched enough that the ''Wiki/SCPFoundation''. foundation knows what the object does, even if it's not completely understood ''why'' it works. Most "black boxes" would fall into this category, since the input and output are stable. Note that here, "Safe" means "understood", ''not'' "non-dangerous".
**
[[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-914 SCP-914]] is a more literal Black Box than most; it's an incredibly complex mechanical machine into which you put an object, and it comes out "refined" from the other end.



17th Mar '16 9:01:13 AM ObsidianFire
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** Usually, however, it's {{Averted}}: the races known for being professional technological scavengers (Humans, Centauri, Narn and Vree) [[GenreSavvy normally open the black box and try and find out how it works, before putting it into production]], the jumpgate technology being the only exception.

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** Usually, however, it's {{Averted}}: the races known for being professional technological scavengers (Humans, Centauri, Narn and Vree) [[GenreSavvy normally open the black box and try and find out how it works, before putting it into production]], production, the jumpgate technology being the only exception.



* In ''[[VideoGame/ArmoredCore Armored Core: Nexus]]'', this comes back to bite the [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Corporations]] in the ass. One Corporation activates [[LostTechnology the robotic equivalent of a weapon of mass destruction]] to protect their territory. [[GenreBlind So, it promptly goes berserk]] and ends up killing the executives of that Corporation and most of the people who work for them. This happens again when Kisaragi, ''[[WhatAnIdiot in the same game]]'', [[spoiler: activates a copy of [[ThatOneBoss Nine]] [[BonusBoss Ball]] and a myriad of suicide bots]] which, again, promptly go apeshit and [[spoiler: kamikaze their way through the Corporations and [[OmnicidalManiac nearly kill everyone.]]]] It also [[spoiler: probably gets the protagonist killed.]]

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* In ''[[VideoGame/ArmoredCore Armored Core: Nexus]]'', this comes back to bite the [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Corporations]] in the ass. One Corporation activates [[LostTechnology the robotic equivalent of a weapon of mass destruction]] to protect their territory. [[GenreBlind So, it promptly goes berserk]] berserk and ends up killing the executives of that Corporation and most of the people who work for them. This happens again when Kisaragi, ''[[WhatAnIdiot in the same game]]'', [[spoiler: activates a copy of [[ThatOneBoss Nine]] [[BonusBoss Ball]] and a myriad of suicide bots]] which, again, promptly go apeshit and [[spoiler: kamikaze their way through the Corporations and [[OmnicidalManiac nearly kill everyone.]]]] It also [[spoiler: probably gets the protagonist killed.]]
5th Mar '16 5:00:05 PM WarriorsGate
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* ''VideoGame/DukeNukem3D'': When 3D Realms sought to make a sequel to their Duke Nukem sidescrolling games, they shopped around for someone who could make a convincing pseudo-3D engine. Teenaged Ken Silverman sent in his hobby demo, which would later become the infamous BUILD engine, and got the job. He sent 3D Realms the executable file and a bevy of documentation to explain how to make levels with it, and let them build the actual game and its assets without knowing how it works internally. Turns out 3D Realms didn't know how good they had it: the code was eventually open sourced, and internet code analyst/Google software wizard Fabien Sanglard dove into it, only to find it one of the most dense, most obtuse, most esoteric pieces of code ever committed to computer memory. Read all the gory details [[http://fabiensanglard.net/duke3d/ here]].

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* ''VideoGame/DukeNukem3D'': When 3D Realms sought to make a sequel to their Duke Nukem sidescrolling games, they shopped around for someone who could make a convincing pseudo-3D engine. Teenaged Ken Silverman sent in his hobby demo, which would later become the infamous BUILD engine, and got the job. He sent 3D Realms the executable file and a bevy of documentation to explain how to make levels with it, and let them build the actual game and its assets without knowing how it works internally. Turns out 3D Realms didn't know how good they had it: the code was eventually open sourced, and internet code analyst/Google software wizard Fabien Sanglard dove into it, only to find it one of the most dense, most obtuse, most esoteric pieces of code ever committed to computer memory. It was very obviously not meant to be intelligible to anyone whose name isn't Ken Silverman. Read all the gory details [[http://fabiensanglard.net/duke3d/ here]].here]] (tellingly, Sanglard had to have Ken Silverman proofread/explain parts of the article).
5th Mar '16 3:01:33 PM WarriorsGate
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Added DiffLines:

* ''VideoGame/DukeNukem3D'': When 3D Realms sought to make a sequel to their Duke Nukem sidescrolling games, they shopped around for someone who could make a convincing pseudo-3D engine. Teenaged Ken Silverman sent in his hobby demo, which would later become the infamous BUILD engine, and got the job. He sent 3D Realms the executable file and a bevy of documentation to explain how to make levels with it, and let them build the actual game and its assets without knowing how it works internally. Turns out 3D Realms didn't know how good they had it: the code was eventually open sourced, and internet code analyst/Google software wizard Fabien Sanglard dove into it, only to find it one of the most dense, most obtuse, most esoteric pieces of code ever committed to computer memory. Read all the gory details [[http://fabiensanglard.net/duke3d/ here]].
13th Feb '16 1:32:48 PM Theriocephalus
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* [[http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/index.html The Jargon File]] and its dead-tree twin, ''The New Hacker's Dictionary'', is rife with terms describing programming Black Boxes, most notably [[http://catb.org/esr/jargon/html/magic-story.html Black Magic]].
** The most memorable of which is the "Magic / More Magic" switch. The only wire soldered to the switch goes directly to the case of a server. There is electrically no way it can affect anything on the server (except for EXTREMELY bizarre capacitance effects), and yet switching to "Magic" causes the server to die.
*** It could also be due to a difference in electric potential between the ground and the case.

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* [[http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/index.html The Jargon File]] and its dead-tree twin, ''The New Hacker's Dictionary'', is rife with terms describing programming Black Boxes, most notably [[http://catb.org/esr/jargon/html/magic-story.html Black Magic]].
** The most memorable of which
Magic]], where a switch is the "Magic / More Magic" switch. found with its two positions labeled "Magic" and "More Magic". The only wire soldered to the switch goes directly to the case of a server. server--specifically, to a ground pin. There is electrically no way it can affect anything on the server (except for EXTREMELY bizarre capacitance effects), and yet switching to "Magic" causes the server to die.
***
crash.
**
It could also be due to a difference in electric potential between the ground and the case.
8th Feb '16 12:39:45 AM cricri3007
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* In ''Videogame/XCOM'' and its sequels and reboot, your scientists can research alien technologies and replicate them... But they don't really know how they work.
13th Jan '16 7:21:38 AM BrendanRizzo
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* The Turk was a machine built in the eighteenth century that supposedly was able to play a strong game of chess against a human opponent. Though the cabinet could be opened to reveal a complex gear mechanism, nobody who saw it in action could figure out how it worked. Of course, the reason was because [[spoiler:The Turk wasn't an automaton at all, but was concealing a human player]], and the reason no one could determine exactly what was going on for almost a century was [[spoiler:the human player]] was very well-hidden. That said, several people over that span came close to figuring it out, but their hypotheses were always flawed in some way.
8th Jan '16 4:52:19 PM nombretomado
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* The Creator/RobertAHeinlein[=/=]SpiderRobinson novel ''Literature/VariableStar'' has a living black box in the form of Relativists. These are men and women who can coax a ship's engines to accelerate to relativistic speed apparently by [[ContemplateOurNavels Comtemplating Their Navels]]. The Relativists think up a number of poetic descriptions of what they do all day to keep the engines going, but in the end they admit that even they aren't really sure how they're doing it.

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* The Creator/RobertAHeinlein[=/=]SpiderRobinson Creator/RobertAHeinlein[=/=]Creator/SpiderRobinson novel ''Literature/VariableStar'' has a living black box in the form of Relativists. These are men and women who can coax a ship's engines to accelerate to relativistic speed apparently by [[ContemplateOurNavels Comtemplating Their Navels]]. The Relativists think up a number of poetic descriptions of what they do all day to keep the engines going, but in the end they admit that even they aren't really sure how they're doing it.
6th Jan '16 7:52:30 AM crazysamaritan
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* For much of the UsefulNotes/ColdWar, nuclear weapons were black boxes, either entirely or to the people working with them. All nukes were designed by multiple people, but sometimes these teams worked loosely with each other in isolation, the effect being that no one person knew how a particular nuclear weapon worked. This method of security eventually fell out of favor as some of the bombs produced by these teams were abject failures; to the extent that at one point in US history, nearly all the warheads carried by US submarines were duds due to their faulty safety systems. In the other case of nuclear black boxes, teams designing ICBMs and bomb cases were given the bare minimum of information needed to design a delivery system.

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* For much of the UsefulNotes/ColdWar, nuclear weapons were black boxes, either entirely or to the people working with them. All nukes were designed by multiple people, but sometimes these teams worked loosely with each other in isolation, the effect being that no one person knew how a particular nuclear weapon worked. This method of security eventually fell out of favor as some of the bombs produced by these teams were abject failures; to the extent that at one point in US history, nearly all the warheads carried by US submarines were duds due to their faulty safety systems. In the other case of nuclear black boxes, teams designing ICBMs [=ICBMs=] and bomb cases were given the bare minimum of information needed to design a delivery system.
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