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Budding tinkerer here

  1. Dec 14, 2016 #1
    So, yeah, I'm supposed to post something like this.

    Design is a mental activity I do a lot of--even if I'm pretty confident that I am never going to even try to execute a design. And I mean, by design I'm talking about anything possible that can conceived of as a set of choices. I believe the existence of the internet is making many (very many) customary ways of doing things less promising strategies than people were accustomed to. There's no such thing as a sure bet or safe money in economics, but many things could be relied on to a high degree of probability. And everywhere I look I see people relying on things that make little sense now and are probably going to make even less sense soon. A lot of the things I'm talking about, I don't think very many people think of these things as changing, like, ever.

    And so in that context, when I think there might be a problem, I try to design an alternative that might work. And so I'm basically assembling components that I believe exist. I find these components by considering even something like "Early Viking Age Culture" as a set of components that I can disassemble. So yeah, even things that develop organically I consider as a design. The organic things are actually the best things to apply this approach to, be cause anything that can be said to have "evolved" is probably very,very efficiently using many of the components involved. I don't think of evolution as something that makes mistakes.

    What I haven't been doing enough is learning the details of how these individual components work. So while, on a very abstract level, I know what a "battery" is, I was thinking the other day if it was possible to make non-chemical batteries and suddenly I realized that my concept of what a "battery" is is something I can't really rely on if a "battery" is part of the complicated part of the design. I was wondering also the other day if I could make a firestarter from a very thin wire and a watch battery. You'd pack tinder around the wire, engage the battery, and while the current was heating up the wire, you would set the whole assembly under some kindling. If the wire could get hot enough to light the tinder, success!

    But then I realized I really have no idea if a watch battery puts out enough power to do that. And I consider it as "power" ie I know nothing about volts and amperes other than having heard of them.

    So that's why I'm here. I'll try not to be too annoying.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 14, 2016 #2


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