[Baelin] Scrapbook

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The player scrapbooks forum is literally a place for writers to warm-up, brainstorm, keep little scraps of notes, or just post things to encourage themselves and each other. Each player can feel free to create their own thread - one per account - and use them accordingly.

[Baelin] Scrapbook

Postby Baelin Holt on December 10th, 2015, 1:37 am

There’s three things I really love that’ll be the overarching theme of this scrapbook:
  1. Learning new things! Anything, really. It can be neat and inspiring, or horrifying and dark. I soak it all up like a sponge with a problem.
  2. Learning that things I thought were facts aren’t true. I had thought that the whole “people eat eight spiders in their sleep a year” was a fact for the longest time before I learned otherwise (Scientific American and Snopes).
  3. Learning that things I took for granted are actually open questions. For example: I used to think that bicycle stability must have been something we figured out ages ago, but it’s actually still an open question. Check out Ruina’s page (a Cornell theoretical and applied mathematics group) on bicycle stability for some of their work on it. That’s exciting, right!? I adore this kind of stuff. Saying something works this way, then finding out that’s wrong, and then saying well-actually-we-think-it’s-this-way, then finding out that’s also wrong, and so on and so forth.

Which brings me to the rules of this scrapbook!
  1. Question everything! Even if I post something here with loads of sources to it, if you find even just one source that you think is on to something and comes at the topic from an entirely different angle, feel free to post! Then we can dig into that source too, look for other viewpoints, and keep the learning going.
  2. Be nice to each other. And if you go out on a limb and post something here, and then someone comes in to question it, no worries! I can promise you that even experts in their field get questioned on things all the time, and sometimes those questions lead to great new research! So no fear!

Everyone on board? Excellent! Posting: Engage!
Last edited by Baelin Holt on December 5th, 2019, 4:15 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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[Baelin] Ignorance is far from bliss

Postby Baelin Holt on December 10th, 2015, 1:38 am

I’ll start! Did you know a $125 million Mars orbiter was lost because of a unit conversion error? A contractor used English units when making the orbiter's thrusters and those didn’t get converted into metric, which was what NASA was using for everything else. So this orbiter travelled all the way to Mars, turned on its thrusters like a good little orbiter when it got close, and then subsequently shot way closer to the planet then it was supposed to. It went 100km farther than they had planned, which was 25km (15mi) below the level the orbiter could function at. I got those numbers from a CNN article. And then that was that, no more mission. An unrecoverable mission failure. You can check out this NASA report too.
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[Baelin] Ignorance is far from bliss

Postby Ruari Darkwind on December 10th, 2015, 3:08 pm

By English units, do you mean Imperial?

Edit: I got confused when you called them English. ><
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[Baelin] Ignorance is far from bliss

Postby Baelin Holt on December 11th, 2015, 2:32 pm

Yep! Sorry for that, I'm used to hearing them called English units.

Did you know there's only three countries in the world that use English/Imperial units? The US, Liberia, and Burma. That's it. Here's a map.

It's frustrating that the US hasn't switched, I convert between the two unit systems daily and memorize two numbers for design features. Can't just know that you have a 1mm through hole, you also need to know it's about 0.0395in so you can work with both drill bits (English) and port seals (metric). It's stupid. Hell, my flow data isn't even in the same system. Flow rate is nanoliters and pressure is psi.

But switching can be tricky too. Air Canada made a big blunder in '83 while they were switching. They thought their fuel was in pounds, but the plane had switched to kilograms. So they loaded up with as much fuel as they needed, took off, and then halfway through the flight ran out of fuel. They did make a really amazing landing though. Only injuries were some minor cuts. Here's a NY Times article on it.
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[Baelin] Ignorance is far from bliss

Postby Astator on December 11th, 2015, 2:45 pm

I am so glad my job doesn't require measures in those fashions. It is all strictly pixels. =D

Heh anyone, speaking of the US switching over things. Did you know that there was a discussion at one point about the US getting rid of the Penny? That's right! That shiny copper-ish coin bearing the ugly mug of our sixtennth president was on the chopping block: Poor Abe Coin, apparently Canada and other nations have done it... But well, us Americans... We be stubborn. It still hasn't left, this Huffington Post article said it was suppose to go poof in 2015, it's almost the end of 2015 and it is still floating around.

This is an article that floats somewhere between those two articles above, but it goes into some detail as to what the price to make a penny is and tries to get people to realize that the price of products isn't based on the monetary value they are listed, but market-based competition (Supply and Demand): Go away Penny!

I give them to my daughter, it would be sad to see something my two year old loves to put into her piggy bank just disappear. I don't think it will hurt the economy anymore than it already is if the penny vanished, but I doubt it will do any better without it either. (this is just my opinion)
Last edited by Astator on December 11th, 2015, 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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[Baelin] Ignorance is far from bliss

Postby Ruari Darkwind on December 11th, 2015, 2:48 pm

I get oddly proud when Canada is mentioned, being Canadian and all. It's like poofing out my feathers and preening them or something, if I were a bird.

Does the thing really say kilograms? I'm tickled by that. xD Silly paper, that's not a fluid unit.
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[Baelin] Ignorance is far from bliss

Postby Baelin Holt on December 13th, 2015, 7:08 pm

Gotta be careful about titles, they like to sensationalize them. The article actually says:
An administration official told The Huffington Post that "no conclusions have been made and we are doing research in FY 2015."
The article doesn't actually talk about the US Mint making a decision one way or the other, all it talks about is the fact that they're researching the costs and benefits of the coin. The penny's not going away anytime soon. This Wall Street Journal talks about nickles too. Apparently they're also a good deal more expensive than their actual coin, but nickles seem to be used way more than pennies so it looks like they're more useful.

I agree with you that I don't think it'll hurt the economy to stop producing it. I do think it'll help as an incremental gain. In 2014 it looks like the US Mint made 7 billion pennies at 1.7 cents a penny. So they spent $11.9 million cents ($119,000) on something worth only $7 million cents ($70,000) in the market for a production loss of $4.9 million cents ($49,000). See this figure from WSJ and this WSJ article for more information.

From a business standpoint, I have to cringe at that lost. But from a political standpoint, getting rid of the penny is going to have to be passed by Congress. And getting something passed through Congress is always a headache and a half.
Redacted :
Seriously, watch C-SPAN sometime. (Edit: anecdotal stuff ahoy, be warned!) Last time I watched it they were literally one second away from getting a bill passed, then the democrats pulled some stupid bullshit and the bill got put to the side again. This was literally a no-brainer bill to pass. You can check out the bill here. All it really does is update a bill passed in 2002 that requires reporting from Homeland Security. After 13 years some of the positions in the original bill don't exist anymore and some new ones have come about and the current bill being used doesn't reflect that. You can see the play-by-play of the bill here. That 3:07pm time point on 12/8 was bullshit and had nothing to do with actually reconsidering the bill.

Edit: I was wrong! HR 3859 did get passed! When watching it looked like the dems pulled a motion to adjourn right before the bill passed, but looks like it was just a moment too slow and it did indeed get through! You can see that here. Maybe there's hope after all?
Last edited by Baelin Holt on July 3rd, 2017, 1:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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[Baelin] Ignorance is far from bliss

Postby Baelin Holt on February 16th, 2016, 4:59 am

Here's a great demo to help conceptualize gravity!

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[Baelin] Ignorance is far from bliss

Postby Baelin Holt on March 26th, 2016, 8:39 pm

An infographic on how a car engine works. This can take a while to load, but it's definitely worth it. Enjoy!

How a car engine works.
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[Baelin] Ignorance is far from bliss

Postby Baelin Holt on April 19th, 2016, 9:28 pm

I had no idea this sport existed! Tandem surfing.

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