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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

Stasis Box  
  A space entirely enclosed by a Slaver stasis field, in which time does not pass.  

The Tnuctipun-Slaver war had wiped out most of the intelligent species of the galaxy, a billion and a half years ago... Often the Slavers, losing a battle, had stored valuables in a stasis box and hidden it against the day they would again be of use.

No time passed inside a closed stasis box. Alien meat a billion and a half years old had emerged still fresh from its hiding place. Weapons and tools showed no trace of rust. Once a stasis box had disgorged a small, tarsierlike sentient being, still alive. That former slave had lived a strange life before the aging process had claimed her, the last of her species.

Slaver stasis boxes were beyond value. It was known that the Tnuctipun, at least, had known the secret of direct conversion of matter... Someday, in a stasis box somewhere outside known space, such a device could be found...

From There is a Tide, by Larry Niven.
Published by Not known in 1968
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