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Research Into The Weird, Pointless, And Just Plain Silly
Posted: 18 July 2011 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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Chris Crawford - 18 July 2011 10:51 AM

Well, I do “damn well know” that you wrote 24 hours ago:

I created this thread to have a good natured laugh at some of the weirder, goofier things conducted under the aegis of Science.

and, unless you don’t have a good grasp of the precise meaning of “aegis”, that sentence constitutes a pretty generalized denigration of science.

Chris, as a retired scientist, I never get offended by D.M.‘s posts because I recognise that they are are essentially always written in jest.  By the way, although you questioned his usage of “aegis”, I’d suggest that you also work toward more precision in your own writings, since, if you read his above sentence carefully you may note the word, “some” which quite effectively refutes your “pretty generalized denigration of science.”

Occam

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Posted: 18 July 2011 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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Yes, I have no problem laughing at dumb things. But there has been an undercurrent of generalized condemnation of science in Dead Monky’s posts. Perhaps the simplest solution would be for Dead Monky to simply disavow any such interpretation of his writings.

OK, Occam, since you chose to criticize my writing, I’m going to come down hard. (I’m in a foul mood today.) Let’s parse the English, shall we? Here’s the sentence in question:

I created this thread to have a good natured laugh at some of the weirder, goofier things conducted under the aegis of Science.

I can’t do the old-style sentence diagramming here, but Dead Monky says that he wants to have a good-natured laugh at something. Agreed?

The object of the preposition “at” is the noun phrase “some of the weirder, goofier things conducted under the aegis of Science”. The central noun of that phrase is “things”. And you’re absolutely right that he modifies “things” with “some” (and further restricts the scope of the term with “weirder” and “goofier”).

But the killer phrase is “under the aegis of Science”. “under the aegis of” means “under the protection of”. Hence he is declaring that these “things” that he wants to laugh at are executed under the protection of Science. Note the capitalization of “Science”. That clearly declares that he is referring to Science as a large, universal abstraction, either the” idea of Science” or the “community of Science”. Since the “idea of Science” cannot offer protection, he is therefore referring to the “community of Science”.

Therefore, the sentence declares that he wishes to laugh at things that are carried out under the protection of the community of Science.

Obviously, the community of Science would not protect things with which it disagrees; it would only offer protection to those things that it approves of. Therefore, Dead Monkey wishes to laugh at things that the community of Science approves of. Yet none of his examples are things that were approved by the community of Science. Thus, we have a contradiction: either Dead Monkey does not understand the meaning of “aegis”, or his intention is to laugh at things approved of by the community of Science.

Yes, this is a long, complicated explication of the nittiest of nits. However, you questioned the precision of my writing, even though your criticism was in fact incorrect. Harrumph!

[ Edited: 18 July 2011 01:12 PM by Chris Crawford ]
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Posted: 18 July 2011 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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Chris Crawford - 18 July 2011 10:51 AM

Well, I do “damn well know” that you wrote 24 hours ago:

I created this thread to have a good natured laugh at some of the weirder, goofier things conducted under the aegis of Science.

and, unless you don’t have a good grasp of the precise meaning of “aegis”, that sentence constitutes a pretty generalized denigration of science.

I know what “aegis” means, both in its classical and modern usages.  And my use of the word was done in full agreement with the broader, modern understanding of the word.

I do not denigrate the whole of science because of the occasional moronic things conducted in its name.  I mock those moronic things which—weird, amusing, poorly done, or insane they may be—are still conducted in the name of science.  It’s really no different than mocking a terrible movie, a horrific song, or a poorly made work of art.  You wouldn’t say laughing at an ill conceived, horribly written book denigrates the whole of literature, would you?

EDIT
After reading your reply to Occam I noticed that I capitalized ‘Science’ in the quote you use.  (I know, I know, I didn’t notice it reading the very post I responded to. *shrugs*)  That was a typo on my part.  Oops?

[ Edited: 18 July 2011 01:01 PM by Dead Monky ]
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Posted: 18 July 2011 01:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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OK, so perhaps we can close this silly, ugly episode with the observation that you did not, in fact, mean to imply denigration of science as a whole, but that you *did* knowingly use “aegis” to imply that the community of science approves of weird, pointless, and just plain silly works. Fair enough?

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Posted: 18 July 2011 01:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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Close enough.

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“In the end nature is horrific and teaches us nothing.” -Mutual of Omicron

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Posted: 19 July 2011 07:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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OK, I owe you one contribution of something pointless, weird, or just plain silly masquerading as science. I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

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Posted: 19 July 2011 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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Chris Crawford - 19 July 2011 07:20 AM

OK, I owe you one contribution of something pointless, weird, or just plain silly masquerading as science. I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

Now we’re talking….... LOL  LOL

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Posted: 19 July 2011 09:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 05 July 2011 06:48 AM
George - 05 July 2011 06:25 AM

BTW, the size five is the U.K. size five. It is equivalent to 7.5 in the U.S.

Ah, that helps, I kept thinking that was tiny, although not yet ready for the feet-binding ritual to keep those toezies nice and small and sexy

Whew! Thanks, George. A size 5 American shoe would fit a very tiny woman, while a size 7.5 American is the foot size of the Average American Woman.

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Posted: 20 July 2011 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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Link

Wearing heavy plate armor was hard work and made you burn more calories?  Who knew?  Thank you, science!  Now my life is complete.

Wearing it for a long period, however, carried a very heavy energy cost. That’s what Askew and colleagues found when they had the armor-clad interpreters run on a treadmill at different speeds and monitored their oxygen consumption, heart and respiration rates, and stride length. The interpreters expended about 2.3 times the amount of energy usually required to walk and 1.9 times the energy usually required to run while wearing armor than when they weren’t, the team reports today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. This energy expenditure is much greater than the energy that a person wearing a backpack of an equivalent weight would use.

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Posted: 20 July 2011 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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Whoa! You don’t see the merits of this? There are two:

1. They actually measured the increase in energy costs. Yes, we all know that wearing heavy armor costs more energy, but HOW MUCH more energy? I was genuinely surprised that total energy consumption doubled while wearing armor. I would have expected something like a 50% increase, depending upon the weight of the armor.

2. They demonstrated that the energy consumption was greater for armor, whose weight is distributed across the body, than with a backpack of equal weight. This is a genuinely surprising result. I would have expected a small increase in energy consumption, not a large increase as they reported. After all, there’s nothing in evolutionary history to suggest that the body is better adapted to carrying heavy weight on the upper back and shoulders than distributed all over. Indeed, when the body has to carry excess fat, it never puts that fat upon the upper back and shoulders: it distributes it evenly around the body, in much the same way that the weight of armor is distributed (although more finely distributed). This finding suggests that the human body is maladapted to the task of carrying additional weight.

Later:

I just read the link you provide and the abstract of the paper itself. There were additional interesting findings: they calculate that most of the increased energy cost came from the armor on the legs (it is well known that leg weight is crucial to energy conservation in locomotion, which is why so many fast-running animals have such skinny legs.) That leg armor cost a lot of energy. They also found that the stride of the armor-wearers did not change—that’s quite important for locomotion studies. They also found that breathing did NOT deepen, as usually happens when people expend more energy. Presumably, this was due to the restrictions imposed by the chest armor.

Lastly, their abstract states:

Our findings can predict age-associated decline in Medieval soldiers’ physical performance, and have potential implications in understanding the outcomes of past European military battles.

The example cited in the news story, the Battle of Agincourt, is perfect for this. I have read analyses of the battle in which military historians speculated that the French knights were tired by their traversal of the battlefield, but this study demonstrates that they would have been utterly exhausted by the time they reached the English line—that will surely change the way that military historians evaluate the battle.

[ Edited: 20 July 2011 11:46 AM by Chris Crawford ]
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Posted: 20 July 2011 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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rolleyes  Kind of missed the point there again, huh?  Sure, the fact that they discovered it takes more energy to carry distributed weight is interesting, but that’s not why I put that here.  I put this here because they found that out by researching the energy costs of wearing armor that hasn’t been used for a couple hundred years.  Weird?  Eh.  Pointless?  Debatable.  Silly?  Check.  In other words: it was stupid research that actually managed to turn up something interesting.

EDIT
Added something.

[ Edited: 20 July 2011 11:46 AM by Dead Monky ]
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Posted: 20 July 2011 11:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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Maybe it costs so much more energy because you have to expend energy rotating the armor joints as well. Or maybe a lot of energy is lost as sound?

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Posted: 20 July 2011 03:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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Stick a body in a metal oven and it will consume more energy to keep itself cool. To cite a modern day backpack (designed for comfort and weight distribution), plus goretex clothing and well fitted hiking boots, no wonder that such a combination yields lower energy consumption. That is what they were designed for…. rolleyes

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Posted: 20 July 2011 03:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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it was stupid research that actually managed to turn up something interesting.

So you think it was mere serendipity at work? That there was no way for a scientist to anticipate that a study of energy consumption in human locomotion with a particular weight distribution would yield any useful results? If so, then any similar study with extra weights wrapped around the ankles, or a heavy backpack, or weights carried in the hands would be equally silly, wouldn’t it? And sports medicine would have nothing at all to learn from studies of human locomotion with differing weight distributions, would it? Moreover, orthopedics would have nothing to learn from studies of human locomotion with additional weight, would it?

Would you agree?

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Posted: 20 July 2011 04:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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Chris Crawford - 20 July 2011 03:58 PM

So you think it was mere serendipity at work? That there was no way for a scientist to anticipate that a study of energy consumption in human locomotion with a particular weight distribution would yield any useful results? If so, then any similar study with extra weights wrapped around the ankles, or a heavy backpack, or weights carried in the hands would be equally silly, wouldn’t it? And sports medicine would have nothing at all to learn from studies of human locomotion with differing weight distributions, would it? Moreover, orthopedics would have nothing to learn from studies of human locomotion with additional weight, would it?

Would you agree?

Why do I even bother?

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