...Why scientific programming does not compute

Rod
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RE: [So what you, and the

Quote:
[So what you, and the article, are saying...

No the article is not about scientists or anybody from inventing things. It just a shot across the bow of some scientists in their scientific hubris, think they must save the world.

There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot. - Aldo Leopold

ML1
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RE: RE: [So what you, and

Quote:
Quote:
[So what you, and the article, are saying...

No the article is not about scientists or anybody from inventing things. It just a shot across the bow of some scientists in their scientific hubris, think they must save the world.

How do you save the world from the ignorant when the ignorant can't even see that they are ignorant? Let alone when they cannot even see what is about to hit them?...

There's the old saying that what the eye don't see, the heart don't grieve. Also known as "ostrich syndrome" or "sticking your head in the sand".

Usually, that still doesn't make whatever problem 'go away'...

Then again, ignorance is bliss until it hits you in the face!

Keep searchin',
Martin

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Take a look for yourself: Linux Format
The Future is what We all make IT (GPLv3)

Rod
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Like the title says, Why

Like the title says,

Why Engineers Must Try and Save the World.

Of course with humility and training on dealing with societies problems as a whole. :-)

There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot. - Aldo Leopold

Rod
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I apologize, I am being

I apologize, I am being idealistic and I know scientists are probably acting out frustration

There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot. - Aldo Leopold

ML1
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RE: I apologize, I am being

Quote:
I apologize, I am being idealistic and I know scientists are probably acting out frustration

Too right!!!!

;-)

(Note the multiple puns... :-b )

I can well see how in various stories, "seers" are usually shown to be cursed by what they can see amongst all the unseeing people around them...

:-(

We really do need to get better educated, quickly.

Keep searchin',

It's our only one planet.
Martin

See new freedom: Mageia Linux
Take a look for yourself: Linux Format
The Future is what We all make IT (GPLv3)

Mike Hewson
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Well, as it happens I've just

Well, as it happens I've just finished a book called "The Alchemy of the Air" which is the co-story of Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch shortly into the beginning of the twentieth century. They worked out how to get molecular nitrogen ( N2 ), a stubbornly stable molecule, into usable forms - called 'fixing' nitrogen. In nature there are essentially two methods : lightning strikes, and those little rhizobia (?) at the roots of some plants. The method devised is now called the Haber-Bosch process. These days one would most likely classify Fritz Haber as a 'research chemist' and Carl Bosch as a 'chemical engineer'. Basically Fritz worked it out and Carl got it done. You run gaseous nitrogen and hydrogen into a very pressurised hot chamber with the right metallic catalyst and out comes ammonia. Once you get ammonia then other nitrogen compounds are relatively much easier to produce. The hardest part is breaking the triple bond within the nitrogen molecule. Yes, there was quite a bit of bing-bada-boom to eventually get that right!

The relevance to this thread? They both started with pretty good ideals. Feeding the world. In the nineteenth century 'traditional' agricultural practices could feed about 1-2 people per arable acre in Europe, and up to 10 people per acre in Asia. On this basis, the world is currently overpopulated by around 2 billion people. That is, without added artificial fertilisers the world's arable land total could just manage to support about 4 billion people, whereas we have about 6 billion. Starvation is currently a function of the location of food, not the total global amounts.

In any case the problem is that nitrogen containing compounds are great as a soil additive, food production wise, but alas are even more terrific as explosives. That is gunpowder, TNT etc. Up until Haber-Bosch this was obtained, for both agriculture and munitions, from accumulated 'relic' sources. Sodium nitrate as bird poo basically, piling up over tens of thousands of years on the western coast of South America, say ( one of the first naval actions of WW1 was the Allies securing this for themselves ). There were lesser sources of potassium nitrate.

So with one thing and another their process became very quickly devoted to replacing lost overseas imports - both for domestic food production and war production. Most of it winding up in artillery shells of which WW1 had profligate use of. It is reasonable to place Haber as a rather self centered and glory seeking guy, he went out of his way to produce lethal gases for trench warfare. Bosch was more down to earth and caring, patriotic even, and his life was shattered when a large silo containing the above substances blew up and killed hundreds and maimed many more. He blamed himself and hit the bottle hard thereafter. He became a founder of the I.G. Farben conglomerate which materially and significantly contributed to the next world war.

Lessons from this? They are many and recurring :

- good intentions per se enough ?

- once the secret is out the usage is ?

- use & abuse always travel together ?

Cheers, Mike.

( edit ) They found that ammonium sulphate used to 'cake' onto the inner walls of silos, and could be conveniently dislodged by throwing a small charge in to loosen it. This became routine at the storage depots. However if sodium/potassium nitrate was inadvertently mixed in, above a certain concentration, then ...... you get a hole fifty feet deep.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

Rod
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RE: In nature there are

Quote:
In nature there are essentially two methods : lightning strikes, and those little rhizobia (?) at the roots of some plants.

rhizobia are bacteria that have a mutualistic relationship with legumes. (ie Clover Beans). If you want to earn a billion dollars find a way to efficiently fix nitrogen in soil. Here we keep chemical fertilizers to a minimum. We have legislated three year crop rotations(usually Hay,(clover) grains and potatoes. Food Production is currently unsustainable. Don't get me started I could rant for days on food production. I think with climate change unsustainable food production, reduction in fresh water, we are in for a wild ride. you think human migration is problem now, just wait.

There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot. - Aldo Leopold

Mike Hewson
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RE: rhizobia are bacteria

Quote:
rhizobia are bacteria that have a mutualistic relationship with legumes. (ie Clover Beans). If you want to earn a billion dollars find a way to efficiently fix nitrogen in soil. Here we keep chemical fertilizers to a minimum. We have legislated three year crop rotations(usually Hay,(clover) grains and potatoes. Food Production is currently unsustainable. Don't get me started I could rant for days on food production. I think with climate change unsustainable food production, reduction in fresh water, we are in for a wild ride. you think human migration is problem now, just wait.


Ah yeah, the rhizo-guys. :-)

As I mentioned earlier the problem is population control. An entire planet running on solar panels, with a Prius in every driveway, barely solves anything compared to that. Hence AGW, or the lack of it, is quite irrelevant. Why do you think Copenhagen flopped? Because the have-nots said to the haves : no way! So the West gets to pump up its standard of living for generations by burning hydrocarbons, and now that it gets messy, the whole world has to pull together all of a sudden? You see, that's the discussion that no-one is having, 'cos it's too painful, uncomfortable, politically incorrect, hopeless, helpless etc .... and the 'green' message is failing to co-opt the young because they've worked out that it is the older generations saying to the younger : you should have rather less than the amount that we won't give up ( the green pundits/pollies haven't noticed that one yet ).

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

Rod
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RE: As I mentioned earlier

Quote:


As I mentioned earlier the problem is population control. An entire planet running on solar panels, with a Prius in every driveway, barely solves anything compared to that. Hence AGW, or the lack of it, is quite irrelevant. Why do you think Copenhagen flopped? Because the have-nots said to the haves : no way! So the West gets to pump up its standard of living for generations by burning hydrocarbons, and now that it gets messy, the whole world has to pull together all of a sudden? You see, that's the discussion that no-one is having, 'cos it's too painful, uncomfortable, politically incorrect, hopeless, helpless etc .... and the 'green' message is failing to co-opt the young because they've worked out that it is the older generations saying to the younger : you should have less than the amount that we won't give up ( the green pundits/pollies haven't noticed that one yet ).

Cheers, Mike.

Ah Population Control. Its usually middle aged white men who have finished reproducing that brings that up.:-) Its a dead end and impossible implement. As far as Copenhagen they are like fund raisers. Come to Copenhagen or Cancun. Bring your check book. Everybody strokes each other. Nobody trusts each other.

The way thing are going I think it going to be Plan B Geo engineering at some level. Not the Hacks that have been proposed so far. (There nothing wrong with a good hack as long it does not hurt anybody or anything:-).

I would like to see the problem engineered. Identify the Problem. (Climate Change who trending that we can't adapt fast enough. Put a multi-displinary team together with all the stakeholders. Develop a diverse tool kit including process and methodologies to mitigate the problem. Lets just stop screwing around. I know it a pipe dream.

There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot. - Aldo Leopold

Mike Hewson
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RE: Its usually middle aged

Quote:
Its usually middle aged white men who have finished reproducing that brings that up.:-)


Well, mildly obese middle aged .... :-)

Quote:
Its a dead end and impossible implement. As far as Copenhagen they are like fund raisers. Come to Copenhagen or Cancun. Bring your check book. Everybody strokes each other. Nobody trusts each other.


We'll get population control anyway. It's called war. History has shown you can discard about 1/3 to 1/2 of the younger breeding age within a few short years that way.

Quote:

The way thing are going I think it going to be Plan B Geo engineering at some level. Not the Hacks that have been proposed so far. (There nothing wrong with a good hack as long it does not hurt anybody or anything:-).

I would like to see the problem engineered. Identify the Problem. (Climate Change who trending that we can't adapt fast enough. Put a multi-displinary team together with all the stakeholders. Develop a diverse tool kit including process and methodologies to mitigate the problem. Lets just stop screwing around. I know it a pipe dream.


I appreciate what you say about engineering, it is problem and process oriented ie. 'can do' approach that serves a defined goal.

Aside : there's an interesting case, or class action actually, brewing DownUnda where a local coastal council has deemed GW to be true and thus placed restrictions on development of some ocean side real estate. The effect being to make said land effectively worthless and thus a dead loss for owners - but after they bought it! Sort of a case of 'legislative risk'. The acute liability problem for the relevant councillors who made said by-law, is that they did so without attributable scientific advice. So although 'everybody' says it is global warming, no one actually wants to say that in the witness box. The councillors, who could well be deemed to have acted beyond the usual ( vicarious/corporate ) remit of local office holding - may have to personally cough up the dividends, as none have 'special' qualifications that would save them and they can't produce anyone to back them up in court. So this is where the rubber meets the road ....

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

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