20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:20 pm

20180210 Update Knowledge Forum Knowledge Thread

Reference #1 Page 29 Paragraph 3 continuing to Page 30

Section: Recolonization by Nature

In this section, Dr. Dartnell reviews the processes that cause deterioration of built structures.

The paragraph that begins: “The greatest threat...”

continues review the natural forces that go to work to destroy structures built using this material, and describes the likely fate of most of them without constant attention by appropriate counter forces. In this case, Dr. Dartnell brings focus to foundations, and the effects of water moving unchecked into and around them.

It would be interesting to compare longevity of built structures in temperate climates with that of built structures in arid regions such as the Middle East. Quite possibly natural flows in those regions would have pronounced effects. I'm thinking here primarily of sand, but as Dr. Dartnell points out in paragraphs just ahead, climate change may increase amounts of water in those locations.

Reference #3 Chapter 2
Title: The Skills of the Unskilled
Section: The Broad Reach of Technology Specific Skills and Knowledge

Chapter 2 section Pages 30-34 introduces Mr. Bessen's personal experience starting a small business offering computer software.
This statement sets the stage:
Begin Quotation:
The biggest shock I had in starting a software company was just how important informal learning is.
End Quotation.

In the context of Dr. Dartnell's recovery scenario, it seems likely that almost ALL learning will be informal for an extended period.

On page 33, Mr. Bessen says:
Begin Quotation:
Learning through experimentation is also an essential part of science, and highly educated scientists acquire critical knowledge through experience.
End Quotation.

On page 34, at the conclusion of this section, Mr. Bessen says:
Begin Quotation:
In summary, a wide variety of evidence suggests that learning by doing plays a large role in today's economy.
End Quotation.

In Dr. Dartnell's recovery scenario, it seems to me reasonable for leadership to encourage learning by the individuals available, with a view toward success of the group undertaking.

(th)
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:05 pm

20180217 Update Knowledge Forum Knowledge Thread

Reference #1 Page 20 Paragraph 1

Section: Recolonization by Nature

In this section, Dr. Dartnell reviews the processes that cause deterioration of built structures.

The paragraph that begins: “So within just a generation or two ...”

sums up Dr. Dartnell's anticipation of what would happen to urban city landscapes over a number of years. While re-reading this passage, I was struck by the similarity of this vision to the reality of South American cities reclaimed by the jungle. The recent news (in 2018) included reports of use of instruments using a technology called LIDAR to reveal built structures hidden for centuries if not thousands of years by the jungle canopy.

Reference #3 Chapter 2
Title: The Skills of the Unskilled
Section: Turning the Tide

Chapter 2 section Pages 35 and 36 wraps up this chapter with a reprise of the importance of “learning by doing” in the United States during World War II, when a presidential directive led to construction of Liberty cargo ships.

Begin Quotation:
...average assembly time per ship dropped from 186 days to as little as 19 days.
End Quotation.

In the context of Dr. Dartnell's recovery scenario, achievement of performance gains like these by survivors would go a long way toward increasing chances of success.

(th)
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:15 am

20180224 Update Knowledge Forum Knowledge Thread

Reference #1 Page 30 Paragraph 1

Section: Recolonization by Nature

In this section, Dr. Dartnell reviews the processes that cause deterioration of built structures.

The paragraph that begins: “Apart from the cities, ...”

sums up Dr. Dartnell's anticipation of what would happen to some of the myriad ocean going vessels that ply the waves in 2018. To get a sense of the number of vessels on the high seas at a given moment, it is interesting to visit:

Links to Maritime web site:
To see vessels passing through the Panama canal:
http://www.cruisin.me/cruise-port-track ... panama.php
http://www.cruisin.me/cruise-port-track ... panama.php

To see an overview of ships at sea:
http://www.marinetraffic.com

Note that a request for any named vessel can be submitted to Google, as:
find vessel ever lucky

Reference #3 Chapter 3
Title: Revolutions in Slow Motion
Section: Chapter opening

In the opening of this chapter, Mr. Bessen recounts the career of Dean Kamen, whose many inventions include the two-wheeled Segway. As the discussion proceeds, Mr. Bessen makes a point which I think is worth highlighting:
Begin Quotation:
Single technological ideas don't transform society; knowledge does.
End Quotation.

This statement resonates for me with the entire purpose of “The Knowledge”. While Dr. Dartnell's theme is preservation of as much hard won knowledge as possible, and recovery as rapidly as possible where knowledge is lost, Mr. Bessen makes the point repeatedly, that those who undertake leadership of a recovering society, or a current one, should expect to take decades of persistent effort to make discernible progress in a population.

(th)
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:18 pm

20180303 Update Knowledge Forum Knowledge Thread

Reference #1 Page 30 Paragraph 3 continuing on to Page 31

Section: Recolonization by Nature

In this section, Dr. Dartnell reviews the processes that cause deterioration of built structures.

The paragraph that begins: “The International Space Station ...”

strikes a chord with me because I consider the station to be an important milestone on the way toward human expansion into space away from the Earth. The scenario of disaster Dr. Dartnell provides for “The Knowledge” appears (to me at least) to presume that humans will not have succeeded in establishing a foothold off planet. The demise of the station would not be the only example of spectacular endings for orbiting objects. There are thousands of objects in low earth orbit, and many are of substantial size.


Reference #3 Chapter 3
Title: Revolutions in Slow Motion
Section: Decades for Overnight Success

In this section, Mr. Bessen provides a number of examples of concepts which have moved from first patent to first commercialization through market maturity. It is probably just coincidence, but the average duration he reports for these two distinct phases is 29 years.

Begin Quotation:
In almost every case, innovators were involved in long trial-and-error experiments.
End Quotation.

(th)
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:41 am

20180310 Update Knowledge Forum Knowledge Thread

Reference #1 Page 30 Paragraph 3 continuing on to Page 31

Section: Recolonization by Nature

In this section, Dr. Dartnell reviews the processes that cause deterioration of built structures.

The paragraph that begins: “The International Space Station ...”

By coincidence, this paragraph came up in this thread as news arrived of the expected demise of the Chinese Tiangong space station. The station has been in service for several years, and at least two crews of Taikonauts visited the station. However, the station stopped communicating with ground controllers, so they lost the ability to control its descent into the atmosphere. As these notes are entered on March 12th of 2018, the station is steadily dropping in elevation, and according to an observer from whom I heard recently, it is moving along at a good clip, compared to the International Space Station, which is much higher.

In a few weeks or so, Dr. Dartnell's imagery will come to life for a few observers. Due to the uncontrolled nature of the descent, there is a chance that parts of the station will reach land instead of falling in the ocean.

According to this article by Eric Mack, dated Marcy 6, 2018:
https://www.cnet.com/news/china-space-s ... -re-entry/
Begin Quotation:
The out-of-control Chinese space station is now predicted to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere sometime around the beginning of April. Most of it will burn up on the way down, but it's possible some pieces of the 9-ton spacecraft could make it to the surface.
End Quotation.

Update on 2018/03/29, from: https://www.yahoo.com/news/apos-see-chi ... 00865.html
Begin Quotation:
Spacecraft trackers with the Aerospace Corp. predict Tiangong-1 will fall to Earth between early morning March 30 and early morning April 2, with Easter Sunday (April 1) among the likely targets. Tiangong-1 is currently circling Earth about every 88 minutes at an average altitude of 134 miles (215 kilometers) — about half the altitude of the International Space Station — and getting lower each day.
End Quotation.

Reference #3 Chapter 3
Title: Revolutions in Slow Motion
Section: Complexity

In this section, Mr. Bessen asks:
Begin Quotation:
Why is so much trial-and-error needed?
End Quotation.

He then provides the example of Henry Bessemer's invention of a way to refine molten steel with a blast of oxygen, and goes on to explain that the complexity of nature requires extended periods of experimentation and learning before a human or a group of humans can achieve mastery of a process.

These observations will apply to the world Dr. Dartnell is imagining as well as they do to this one. The tips and suggestions Dr. Dartnell offers in “The Knowledge” will require years of perfection before they work reliably.

Mr. Bessen closes this section with the summary:
Begin Quotation:
As we have seen, a wide range of ordinary workers, from weavers to welders to computer users to surgeons, acquire knowledge to use new technology by learning on the job.
End Quotation.

(th)
Last edited by tahanson43206 on Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:26 pm

20180317 Update Knowledge Forum Knowledge Thread

Reference #1 Page 30 Paragraph 3 continuing on to Page 31

Section: The Post-Apocalyptic Climate

In this section, Dr. Dartnell previews changes likely to occur as a result of climate change

The paragraph that begins: “Since the Industrial Revolution ...” reviews the history of release of stored carbon to the atmosphere by humans, and sets up predictions for rise of sea level and other changes. Even if a global disaster does not occur, the effects of release of all that carbon are going to impact the lives of billions of people. The value of “backing up” civilization to Mars, the Moon and potentially even Venus is significant, and the handful of wealthy entrepreneurs who are trying to achieve a backup are in a race with the forces of destruction which Dr. Dartnell has identified, and some which even he has not imagined.

The most recent issue of Analog Science Fact and Fiction includes a short story by Brian Trent about a “settlement” in the atmosphere of Venus. Mr. Trent's story may be based upon the ideas of Dr. Geoffrey Landis of NASA. A Google search for “airborne habitats on Venus” should deliver a number of articles about the original idea. The floating habitats idea would seem more technically challenging than comparable habitats on Mars, but Mr. Trent adds some elements to the vision that seem to me to add to its economic viability.

Reference #3 Chapter 3
Title: Revolutions in Slow Motion
Section: Sequential Innovation and Economic Feasibility
Pages 42-46

In this section, Mr. Bessen asserts:
Begin Quotation:
Yet the success of major new technologies does not typically depend on the outcome of just a single experiment.
End Quotation.

On page 45, Mr. Bessen introduces a concept he calls “remainder principle”

Begin Quotation:
as technology reduces costs or increases performance on one task in a process or one component in a product, the value of performance on the remaining tasks or components increases.
End Quotation

The section supports discussion of why significant improvements often take decades.

(th)
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:30 pm

20180324 Update Knowledge Forum Knowledge Thread

Reference #1 Page 32 Paragraph 1

Section: The Post-Apocalyptic Climate

In this section, Dr. Dartnell previews changes likely to occur as a result of climate change

The paragraph that begins: “With the collapse...” discusses emissions that contribute to global warming, and predicts that emissions would fall off rapidly in the scenario Dr. Dartnell has chosen. I am reminded of the recent fires in California which may have been enhanced by global warming, and wonder if it is possible that emissions will continue for a while as natural fires consume supplies of available stored carbon.

In the general theme of global catastrophe … Elon Musk recently published a follow up paper on his concept of how it might be feasible to establish a backup for human civilization on Mars. Mr. Musk is quoted as pointing out that the history of the human race suggests that there will be another world war, and this time the prospect will be not too different from the scenario Dr. Dartnell has laid out. That said, it seems to me that it will be at least a couple of decades before even a preliminary attempt at a self-sustaining base on Mars will be achievable, so I hope the human race can avoid destroying itself for a while longer.

Reference #3 Chapter 3
Title: Revolutions in Slow Motion
Section: Skills and the Long Cycle of Sequential Innovation
Pages 46-48

In this section, Mr. Bessen asserts:
Begin Quotation:
The realization of the productivity potential of new improvements depended upon the ability of the workforce to learn on the job repeatedly.
End Quotation.

Mr. Bessen has studied the history of the development of weaving technology in the early history of the United States, and his numerous examples in support of his thesis are drawn from that history. However, as I read these pages, in the context of Dr. Dartnell's scenario, I am reminded that the principles of human behavior described by Mr. Bessen are going to apply in any scenario.

If the scenario is Mr. Musk's vision of a Mars settlement, or Dr. Dartnell's recovering remnant of humanity on a devastated Earth, it seems (to me) reasonable to suppose that success of the community is going to depend upon the willingness and ability of individuals to strive to improve the systems for which they are responsible, and that success is going to take years and even decades for cumulative change to gather momentum.

On page 48, Mr. Bessen takes up the idea that as automation takes over unskilled or low skilled activities, the displaced workers will require even less skill. He argues that the positions that open will require more skill than was true before.

Aside from either of the scenarios under consideration here, I am aware of how skill fades in the individual human being if an activity is not constantly renewed. The effects are increasingly evident as a person ages.

Numerous science fiction writers have taken up the challenge of trying to imagine fallen civilizations. A common characteristic is for remnants of a very advanced civilization to persist in little pockets, or to be preserved in collections accumulated by fallen survivors as symbols of the past, without understanding of the technology represented. It seems to me that even in the civilization that exists on Earth in 2018, the skills achieved by a given generation are often not passed along to a following generation. The situation is complicated by the revolution in technology we are experiencing, so that little we learn as youngsters retains much value as we pass through adulthood.

(th)
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:29 pm

20180331 Update Knowledge Forum Knowledge Thread

Reference #1 Page 32 Paragraph 2

Section: The Post-Apocalyptic Climate

In this section, Dr. Dartnell previews changes likely to occur as a result of climate change

The paragraph that begins: “The post-apocalyptic world ...” considers the consequences of elevated levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. On this general theme, I caught an interview with an author on CSPAN recently, in which the author discussed the effect of climate change on the Roman empire. While there are likely to have been plenty of causes for the decline of the Roman empire (books have been written on the subject) I think it is interesting that in this age of enhanced awareness of the impact of climate on human wellbeing, an author has taken a serious look at the impact of climate on the empire. In another interview with an author on CSPAN, climate came up as a likely contributor to the demise of population in South America. That particular author had written about a recent expedition to explore an abandoned city, whose stone works had been discovered using advanced laser sensing instruments. In the course of that expedition, the members became infected with a parasite that had existed in the region since the days of the dinosaurs. Fortunately modern medicine has advanced to the point of being able to identify the parasite and stop its progress in the expedition members, but apparently it cannot be eradicated. In the context of Dr. Dartnell's book, I note the expected loss of advanced medical knowledge, skill and capability, which would leave the remaining population with no recourse if their members stumble upon an ancient

Reference #3 Chapter 3
Title: Revolutions in Slow Motion
Section: Skills and the Long Cycle of Sequential Innovation
Pages 48-50

In this section, Mr. Bessen asserts:
Begin Quotation:
Major new technologies become “revolutionary” only after a long process of learning by doing and incremental improvement.
End Quotation.

In these pages, Mr. Bessen gives examples from several industries to support his theme. In the conclusion of the section and the chapter, he forecasts the following discussion of accelerating the pace of learning by developing standardization and formalization of knowledge.

It occurs to me that Dr. Dartnell has undertaken an effort along these lines. Still, it seems clear that anyone who lives through the scenario proposed in The Knowledge is going to be doing plenty of “learning by doing”, to convert theory to practice.

(th)
Last edited by tahanson43206 on Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:24 am

20180407 Update Knowledge Forum Knowledge Thread

Reference #1 Page 33 Paragraph 1

Chapter: The Grace Period
Section: Opening

In this section, Dr. Dartnell sets the scene for the chapter.

The paragraph that begins: “After a plane crash...”, includes a quote from John “Lofty” Wiseman:
Begin Quotation:
But how long you continue to survive is down to your knowledge and what you do.
End Quotation.

In the chapter ahead, Dr. Dartnell is going to point out the value of any salvageable library materials which may exist. I am all too aware of the perishability of the knowledge stored in my biological brain. That knowledge and related skills can be renewed, but it takes conscious thought or lucky circumstance to make that happen. I'll be watching to see (during this slow re-reading of “The Knowledge”) if Dr. Dartnell advises recording such knowledge as may exist in the minds of the survivors.

Reference #3 Chapter 4
Title: Standard Knowledge
Section: Opening
Pages 51-53

In this section, Mr. Bessen introduces Dmitri Mendeleev and describes his contribution to understanding of the field of chemistry:
Begin Quotation:
…, Mendeleev created what we now call the Periodic Table of the Elements.
End Quotation.

Later on, Mr. Bessen summarizes:
Begin Quotation:
The standardization of chemical knowledge during the 1860s had far-reaching effects, ...
End Quotation.

In the context of Dr. Dartnell's theme, it occurs to me that if a survivor is fortunate enough to find others with whom to share the challenges ahead, it would most likely prove beneficial to take inventory of the knowledge each individual possesses, and to undertake sharing through formal or informal classes or mentorships.

(th)
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Re: 20160208 Vision Author Culture on Knowledge Forum

Postby tahanson43206 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:28 am

20180414 Update Knowledge Forum Knowledge Thread

Reference #1 Page 33 Paragraph 2

Chapter: The Grace Period
Section: Opening

In this section, Dr. Dartnell sets the scene for the chapter.

The paragraph that begins: “So during...”, asks the question:
Begin Quotation:
,what remnants could you scavenge ...
End Quotation.

It is purely coincidental that in Reference #3, below, Mr. Bessen is stressing the importance of standards. I checked the index, and “standards” does not appear in “The Knowledge”. It seems to me that it is worth adding a note to one's dog eared copy of “The Knowledge” to look for materials that embody or reflect standards that may well represent decades of trial and error.

Reference #3 Chapter 4
Title: Standard Knowledge
Section: What Is Standardization of Technical Knowledge
Pages 53-55

In this section, Mr. Bessen opens with a reminder of what I consider to be “natural” standards, such as the Periodic Table, the Newtonian laws and many others.
Begin Quotation:
Another common form is the technical standard...
End Quotation.

In the context of Dr. Dartnell's theme, it seems to me worth while to prioritize search time and energy looking for pockets of preserved standards. Some may turn out to be useless if the context in which they had meaning is no longer available, but during Dr. Dartnell's “Grace Period” it might not be possible for survivors to judge the value of their findings.

In the context of establishing a community away from Earth, on the other hand, and assuming data storage is sufficiently compact, it seems to me prudent to collect and organize every record of standards that can be secured, because they so often represent many years of collective refinement.

(th)
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