Tech Tuesday

Oscar Gordon

A Navy Turbine Tech who learned to spin wrenches on old cars, Oscar has since been trained as an Engineer & Software Developer & now writes tools for other engineers. When not in his shop or at work, he can be found spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, kayaking, gaming, or whatever strikes his fancy & fits in the budget.

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11 Responses

  1. DensityDuck says:

    [TT21] People who read Starship Troopers and say “it’s about fascism!” get it wrong. People who read Starship Troopers and say “it’s about how to have a responsible government!” also get it wrong.

    See, the whole thing about SF is that you say “what if (thing) were true?” and then you write a story about that world. “The Stars My Destination” is the story of Gully Foyle, but it’s about “what if people could teleport just by wanting it?”

    And “Starship Troopers” is the story of Johnny Rico, but it’s about “what if we had an objective, quantifiable, and testable theory of morality?” How would the world look if this existed–if we could say “Joe is more moral than Jane” and have it be a statement of provable fact, like “Frank can lift more weight than Joe”? How would we test for “moral ability”, and what would we do with that knowledge?Report

  2. J_A says:

    TT17 Grandmothers

    Though the Grandmother hypothesis makes intuitive sense to me, I would hypothesize a second factor. The relative high mortality of human females giving birth compared to other mammals.

    Human births tend to be more dangerous for the mother than most other mammals. If you have survived 17 pregnancies, like Queen Anne, it makes sense to stop being fertile so you can focus on helping raising your (possibly dead at chilbirth) daughters’ children. Historically, most women that survived their childbearing years were able to live reasonably long lives afterwards.

    The extremely abnormally long human infancy have to have required a lot of evolutionary adjustments. The Grandmother effect, like the Gay Uncle effect, might be one of thoseReport

  3. J_A says:


    Not anywhere as tall, but I think this is the coolest building in the Western hemisphere

    If you have 90 secs to kill, this drone view of the building and the surrounding skyline is pretty cool too

  4. Philip H says:

    [TT21] – I take issue with “defer to Superiors” – while it may be a universal constant, I doubt its moral. For one thing who decides who a superior actually is? Sure, we all more or less live in hierarchies, but how many MORE times do we need to read stories about hierarchical superiors who commit some sort of actually in the flesh mortal sin and either get away with it or become an object lesson?Report

    • Road Scholar in reply to Philip H says:

      It makes sense in an evo-psych framework where “morality” is an evolved set of psychological traits that contribute to group cohesion and survival and, since the survival of the group contributes to individual survival and reproductive fitness, ultimately redounds to the benefit of the individual evolutionarily.

      It’s crucial in such an analysis to avoid both the Naturalistic Fallacy of proclaiming that which is natural is morally correct and the twin Moralistic Fallacy of proclaiming that which is good is natural.

      Now you could object that my first paragraph is just a blatant example of the Naturalistic Fallacy that I declaim in the second paragraph. Certainly a libertarian would question the moral worth of the value of “group cohesion” (as JoeSal would say, resolving the truth component of that particular social construct), but all that really means is that we have competing moral values existing in tension and the balance between those values can shift in response to the extant environment. We don’t live in tribes anymore so that kind of group cohesion is less relevant to survival and reproductive fitness.Report

  5. Michael Cain says:

    TT20, second link: One of the most common ways that glass is recycled these days is as part of the drainage layer for landfills, and as the daily cover most landfills are required to put down, in place of gravel and sand that have to be mined and transported from somewhere.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Michael Cain says:

      Now that’s a cool – if smelly adaptive reuse.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Philip H says:

        As it turns out, recycling glass — beyond the landfill stuff — is only economic if there’s a source of clean glass and a quite local user for it. Where I live near Denver there are two bottle manufacturing concerns that consume quite a bit but it has to be sorted by color. There’s a new outfit on the north side of the metro area, between the two bottle makers, with a several-step cleaning process and computer-controlled color and size sorting. They’re currently ramping up to an eventual 50,000 tons of glass recycling per year.Report