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Category Archives: Measurements

Getting It Right: Measurements and Cooking (Part 2)

Measurements Trump Opinions & Intuition

“Nowadays when I’m lucky enough to watch a coveted recipe in progress I can come fairly close to replicating it. Even so the streams of liquids pouring into a bowl can be impossible to estimate as are random scoops of ‘this and that’.  I’ve often thought there must be a better way to capture creative genius. Then one day I recalled the secrets of baking – all ingredients, no matter how small, are weighed. Professional bakers don’t use cups or teaspoons, they use pounds and ounces or grams and kilograms. Baking relies a lot on chemistry and a key to making a consistent product is precise control of measurements.”

-from “Seasoning to Taste – and fond memories…..” 29 Mar 2012 post by Chef Joy in Choose Cooking

(Also see “Getting It Right: Measurements and Cooking” (Part 1))

 

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Feedback and Global Warming

An excellent summary of how the the science of feedback refutes the claims of the global warming alarmists: “The Skeptic’s Case” by David M.W. Evans in the 24 Feb Mises Daily.

Excerpts:

“…the skeptics agree with the government climate scientists about the direct effect of CO2; they just disagree about the feedbacks. The climate debate is all about the feedbacks; everything else is merely a sideshow.”

“The data presented here is impeccably sourced, very relevant, publicly available, and from our best instruments. Yet it never appears in the mainstream media — have you ever seen anything like any of the figures here in the mainstream media? That alone tells you that the ‘debate’ is about politics and power, and not about science or truth.”

 

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Are Vitamins Useless?; Is US Health Care The Best?; Is The US Becoming A Police State?; Should Our Fellow Citizens Be Our Slaves?

ET’s END OF YEAR BITS and PIECES

Study Stating Vitamins Are Useless An Example Of Junk Science

Reports on the Iowa Women’s Health Study (e.g., “Multivitamins no fountain of youth for women,” 10 Oct 2011, Reuters) hit the major media outlets recently, trumpeting the study’s claim that vitamin supplements are useless, or even harmful. Based on the numerous problems with the study (e.g., “Findings from Flawed Study Used To Discredit Multivitamin/Mineral Supplements,” Life Extension), it should be ignored.

US Health Care The Best In The World? Hardly

As mentioned often in ET, proper economic evaluations require the use of ratios; i.e. what you get for each dollar you spend. To evaluate health care, for example, one metric would be: how long do you live for each dollar spent for health care services? In the US, the answer is not good. “The U.S. healthcare system is more effective at delivering high costs than quality care than other developed nations.” (Ref. “What’s killing America? U.S. ranks 28th in life expectancy (lower than Chile and Greece) while it pays the MOST for health care,” 24 Nov 2011, Daily Mail Online.)

Is The US Becoming A Totalitarian State? The Signs Are Ominous

See “Government Forces Private Citizens to Pour Bleach on Home-Grown Organic Food.”

Atlas Shrugs: The Consequence Of Trying To Make “The Rich” Our Slaves

Engineers spend a lot of effort in designing reliable control systems for autos, aircraft, telecommunication centers, etc. One of the hallmarks of a good design is that it can’t “leak”; i.e. there are no sneak paths which can prevent the control from achieving the desired system response.

When humans try to control the behavior of their fellow humans, however, they often forget that–unlike machines–humans object to being controlled, and will find a way to “leak” around the controllers.

For example, there’s a lot of talk these days about “the rich” paying their “fair share” of taxes to support government services (also see “More Thoughts On Forcing The Rich To Pay ‘Their Fair Share’“). Regardless of your personal beliefs in whether or not those sneaky rich folks are pulling a fast one on the rest of us, it would appear that our government can force them to pay up (by threats of fines or imprisonment), except for one thing: they can leave.

And they are, in droves. But they’re not just the bling-laden cigar-smoking jet setters and corporate titans that you or I typically think of as rich. No, this little-reported but major exodus is composed of a lot of middle-class folks like you and me, who are simply fed up. As stated by a reader in Sovereign Digest #44 (a newsletter of The Sovereign Society):

“My wife and I have already voted with our feet. We moved to South America in May. We do not like the way our country is headed at all by the politicians — Since I have it so good here in a beautiful country filled with kind loving people, and I live for 65% less than in the States — why would I want to go back? Also, as one over the age of 65 I am treated with great respect and dignity here … PLUS, they reimburse me for the 12% national tax every month since I am a senior citizen — Also, my medical care here is just as good, if not better, than in the States for up to 80% less – and I can be seen almost immediately.

“Why would I even consider going back? I’ve been screwed enough by my government, and I was smart enough to get out!!! I worked hard for my money, put my kids through college, played by all the rules, saved my money – and now they want to take that away and give it to people who just expect to live off me and others. No way!!”

The Big Gorilla is the fact, like it or not, that people want to decide for themselves how best to spend their own money. They may be compassionate and caring people, or they may be self-centered and selfish. It doesn’t matter. If we try to make them our slaves they can simply leave, taking their talent, money, investments, and jobs with them.

Corollary:

A Society That Forces Some Of Its Citizens To Support The Rest Of Its Citizens Will Eventually Result In Either (a) A Totalitarian Society, or (b) A Poor Society

-Ed Walker

 

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Getting It Right: Measurements and Cooking

Engineering Thinking & Cooking: Measurements Trump Opinions & Intuition

An important Engineering Thinking principle is measurement. If you ever have to choose between someone’s opinion, or your intuition, versus reaching out and actually measuring whatever it is that interests you, you are well advised to do the measurement.

Measurements, also known as empirical validation, are a part of experimental science.  They are the bottom line, the proof of the pudding, the holy grail. Two analyses in the bush are worth much less than one good experiment in the hand.

Analysis is also important, because it can expand upon and offer insights into data that are provided experimentally, or even point the way to discovery. But analysis is theoretical and arguable, whereas measurement (done properly) is not arguable.

For an example of how engineers apply the important principle of measurements to a routine task such as cooking, please see “Cooking & Measurements: Why Engineers Get It Right” in the DACI 1st Qtr 2011 Newsletter.

-Ed Walker

 

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