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"You have to budget the number of fuzzy rules you use to control a system. It turns out, you can state the optimality principle in three words: 'patch the bumps.'"
- Bart Kosko

Curtain (Force Barrier)  
  An easily set-up protective force barrier.  

Interesting early use of the "force field" idea; note that the authors felt that the barrier needed wires to carry energy.

The dripping jungle pressed its greyness close up against the interlacing net of copper filaments that was the Curtain, the apparently frail barrier around the liquid mud clearing of this outpost of Earth's commerce…

At last they were through the Curtain. Arnim turned, took something from the voluminous pocket of his waterproof. A tiny radio-transmitter, low-powered, sending only a long dash that varied completely in wave length for a half minute. The key to the Curtain—Penger pressed the button. A coruscation of tiny flashes snapped through the wind-tossed filaments. The power was on—that apparently frail barrier hummed now with the Grendon vibration.

Britt could see the driven rain rebound from the invisible wall. Nothing, no human body, no Venusian dart, not even a high-powered electro-bullet could pass through the net. The station was safe, protected against all intrusion until the machines that produced the vibration were stilled by another pressure on the little instrument with its secret combination of frequencies.

From Venus Mines, Incorporated, by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat).
Published by Wonder Stories in 1931
Additional resources -

Compare with the force-field from John Campbell's 1931 story Islands of Space, the barrier from Robert Heinlein's 1940 novella Coventry and the Langston field from Niven and Pournelle's 1974 classic The Mote in God's Eye.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Venus Mines, Incorporated
  More Ideas and Technology by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat)
  Tech news articles related to Venus Mines, Incorporated
  Tech news articles related to works by Nat Schachner (w. AL Zagat)

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