Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Heroes Needed Now

The Sophos, or Wise Man, as the new type of hero was first called, was a person of intellect above his fellows, who applied his mind freely to the facts of the world around him, not without the guidance of others, but without subservience to tradition or authority, and anxious to use his knowledge for the common good.

F. S. Marvin, The Living Past - A Sketch of Western Progress, Fifth Edition, Oxford At The Clarendon Press, 1931, Chapter 4, The Greeks, pg. 57-58

Posted by John Venlet on 05/30 at 03:44 PM
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Hand Me That Safe Operating Envelope (SOE), Would Ya

Wired’s Danger Room has some halfway decent pictures of the U.S. Navy’s newest attack submarine, of the Virginia class, the USS Mississippi, along with an article, written by Spencer Ackerman, who tagged along for a ride on the Mississippi as it transited down to Pascagoula for commissioning.

Ackerman’s article, as with most articles dealing with government systems or weapons platforms, is just detailed enough to be interesting, and just vague enough to not spill any supposed secrets in regards to the Mississippi.

I did note one rather glaring inaccuracy in Ackerman’s piece, as follows.

The faster the captain wants to go, the deeper he dives.

While that statement does have some truth to it, it is not accurate.  Submarines must operate, when submerged, in what is known as the safe operating envelope (SOE).  The SOE for a submarine is calculated based on speed, depth, and it’s ability to recover from a control plane casualty.  If the Mississippi, or any submarine, attempted to run at Full or Flank speed at depths outside the established SOE, and suffered a control plane casualty, well, those onboard, as we used to say when I was on the USS Los Angeles (SSN688), may as well bend over and kiss their asses goodbye.

Exclusive Pictures: Inside the Navy’s Newest Spy Sub

Additional photos here.

Linked via Fred Lapides.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/30 at 11:22 AM
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A Common Wood Burning Intransigence

Sam Harris evidently must be having problems rallying folks to his atheist banner, and because of this is reaching out to non-believing environmental greenies, possibly to augment the atheist ranks.  Harris’ outreach program attempts to compare, via shaming, the more secular amongest us to religious folks’ alleged delusional belief in God by vilifying burning wood in fireplaces and campfires.

It seems to me that many nonbelievers have forgotten—or never knew—what it is like to suffer an unhappy collision with scientific rationality. We are open to good evidence and sound argument as a matter of principle, and are generally willing to follow wherever they may lead. Certain of us have made careers out of bemoaning the failure of religious people to adopt this same attitude.

However, I recently stumbled upon an example of secular intransigence that may give readers a sense of how religious people feel when their beliefs are criticized. It’s not a perfect analogy, as you will see, but the rigorous research I’ve conducted at dinner parties suggests that it is worth thinking about. We can call the phenomenon “the fireplace delusion.”

That’s some novel dinner party “rigorous research,” Sam.

In actuality, what Harris seems to desire, is an outlawing of burning wood, utilizing, naturally, the force of the state.  Good luck with that delusion, Sam, and enjoy the picture of my very believing Mum at the campfire.


The Fireplace Delusion.

Linked via Billy Beck.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/30 at 09:07 AM
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