Comments on: You Bet Your Life! A revolution in time. Thu, 11 Apr 2013 01:11:28 +0000 hourly 1 By: admin admin Mon, 29 Aug 2011 21:17:16 +0000 Geoff, you seem to have one of the same problems that I do, namely including (or trying to) ALL of the information you have about a subject into anything you write about it! My use of the Titanic in the context of this piece was not about what caused the failure, or how it could have been avoided – though those are interesting issues about which many hundreds of pages have been written. Rather, my point was, “what do you do when the ship is sinking, from whatever cause, and you cannot repair it. How do your survive when the ship is going down?” The Titanic was destined to sink from the moment its encounter with the iceberg was over. Whether from poor metal quality or other factors, a massive seam was opened in the ship. This may have been due to the limitations of metallurgy at the time, use of lower grade steel than was desirable, low water temperature, or the interaction of these factors. Similarly, better naval architecture, principally in the form extending the height of the water tight compartments from the keel to the uppermost deck would likely have greatly delayed sinking, or prevented it altogether.

However, it behooves us to remember and take heed that the two most immediate and easily preventable causes of the sinking were first, the absence of binoculars. The Titanic s excellent quality binoculars were sitting inside a locker in the cabin that the originally scheduled Second Officer (Blair) was assigned. Blair was replaced by Henry Wilde shortly before sailing and Wilde did not know where the binoculars were. Thus he was using naked eye observations to look for icebergs. The seeing was excellent that night, and had Blair had binoculars, he would likely have seen the iceberg earlier. However, how much good that would have done is debatable because Titanic was cruising at a mad speed, despite having been warned about icebergs in her vicinity and on her charted course. Why Captain Smith ordered such speed and that it be maintained has been the source of speculation and debate for a hundred years. It seems like that both Ismay and Smith wanted to show that the Titantic could give good speed (and thus crossing time) performance despite her size and lavish fittings. Whatever the reasons, the ship was moving at an unsafe speed and that reduced the reaction time in which to deal with icebergs. So, the PROXIMATE causes were human error. However, in most disasters involving complex technological systems, of which cryonics happens to be one, there was really NO single point failure. Rather, it took multiple failure mechanisms to cause the disaster: human error & overconfidence, failure to engineer the watertight bulkheads so that they would not be swamped and overflowed, failure to engineer the electrical system supplying the bilge pumps to deal with immersion, the use of steel plating and rivets that became embrittled in near or subfreezing temperatures, failure to have an adequate number of lifeboats abroad, failure to have a backup pair of binoculars or dedicated on-bridge storage locker for them, failure to have strict regulations (with harsh penalties) for exceeding safe speeds in berg laden waters…. Such accidents are in fact almost Black Swans in their occurrence is a result of a combination of events which is perceived to be very unlikely, or almost impossible. Most or all of those factors had to be present and present when the Titanic took a grazing blow from the iceberg, A direct hit would not have sunk the ship. It was only the grazing contact with a berg of the right mass that could have opened a seam along much of the length of the ship’s hull. The Challenger disaster is another similar example. These failures modes are no respecters of time, place or nation. As instructive or more so is the very low failure rate in the commercial aviation industry. This feat has been achieved by meticulous attention to failure mode analysis and the design of systems that are robust against both single point and Swiss cheese failures. To achieve that, aeronautical engineers have had to adopt a number of fascinating principles, including the concept that a near miss is, in fact, a catastrophic failure, not a piece of good luck.

Engineers and thoughtful humans are fairly good at spotting single point failures. However, multi-point failure modes are more problematic and they become extremely difficult when human behaviors, motivated by factors completely outside the cool engineering of the designer’s envelope, comes into play. — Mike Darwin

By: Geoff Geoff Mon, 29 Aug 2011 13:10:36 +0000 This article, amongst other things, talks about the sinking of the Titanic.

The design of the ship’s hull and other ship’s systems is undertaken by Naval Architects. Naval Architecture is one of the engineering professions. The Naval Architect is to ships as the Aeronautical Engineer is to aircraft. Other engineers are involved in the design of ships such as Mechanical, Electrical and Electonic Engineers.

It would be helpful to include information on the role of Naval Architects and Naval Architecture in any writings on the Titanic.

In one of the movies on the Titanic that I saw, I saw someone make Naval Architecture type comments about the Titanic’s plight/chances of survival.
When a ship is damaged, it is best that those skilled craftsmen and labourers
follow the instructions given by a Naval Architect inorder to increase the probability
of the ship surviving.

By: admin admin Sun, 14 Aug 2011 22:54:50 +0000 My response to these comments is the article entitled “Fortune and Men’s Eyes.” — Mike Darwin

By: Shannon Vyff Shannon Vyff Sun, 14 Aug 2011 02:59:21 +0000 People support religion because religion gives back to the community. They can see their donations going to good works, they can help feed the homeless and host freeze nights. The vast majority of religious people care about their community and gain genuine pleasure from helping in their community, beyond that for whichever religion there are the social aspects and continued education.

I realized in my 20′s that there were very few cryonicists and out of those I could count on one hand the amount who could actually run facilities and properly suspend people. I naively thought cryonics would grow naturally as more learned of it, as it had been common sense for me. Over time I saw that cryonics does not make any money, loses money chronically and does not train new people-unless said people devote their lives to cryonics eschewing any family or career. A high price to pay and untenable for most people. Alcor wants to know what to do to grow, CI wants to know what to do to grow–they take different approaches of course as most readers here know. I feel it is imperative for each to give back to their community in some way. It is hard for cryonicists to see that, because they are struggling to just keep things running–resources are scarce (or poorly managed).

People are interested in cryonics, but the process of signing up is insurmountable for most. I don’t have all the answers of how to help the organizations, but I’m still learning (only in my thirties) and feel I’ll have some relevant ideas with time. It is quite amazing what I’ve learned and how my own views have changed in the past decade. Mike is right about the major problems at Alcor and CI, reading his blog is daunting–but there are specks of hope to be gleaned, suggestions for correct courses of action.

By: admin admin Wed, 10 Aug 2011 22:26:26 +0000 Classical, mostly, but truth to tell, I don’t listen to music much. — MD

By: Abelard Lindsey Abelard Lindsey Wed, 10 Aug 2011 01:11:51 +0000 Perhaps you are a jazz man. How about Maynard Ferguson?

By: admin admin Tue, 09 Aug 2011 06:34:15 +0000 I can’t stand their music. Someone tossed a large collection of Rush CDs in the dustbin shortly before I left for London. It seemed a shame to leave them there, so I carted them home and thought I’d give them another “try.” What a horrible racket! They went back to the dustbin the next day and a 20-something homeless tweaker, who is camped on a nearby hill took them, because he thought the cover art was cool. I got introduced to Rush (I think it was 2112?) in maybe 1979. I thought their lyrics were often brilliant, but their music made my skin crawl. Still does. That’s true of probably 98+% of contemporary music. Having said that, I do like some contemporary music, and I was saddened at Amy Winehouse’s death – I liked “Rehab” a lot: I heard it for the first time on a late night drive from Flag to Ash Fork, and I laughed out loud through the whole song, which caused the dog to look at me with a jaundiced eye. She also had a fantastic voice. I would have loved to hear her sing Jop[in songs, and some of the great Blues songs from the likes of Billie Holliday’s repertoire. I wonder how many people appreciated what a brilliant vocal talent she had? — Mike Darwin

By: zarzuelazen zarzuelazen Tue, 09 Aug 2011 04:13:07 +0000 “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em
Know when to fold ‘em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done”

“Now every gambler knows the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep
‘Cause every hand’s a winner
And every hand’s a loser
And the best you can hope for
Is to die in the sleep”

‘The Gambler’ – Kenny Rogers

By: Abelard Lindsey Abelard Lindsey Tue, 09 Aug 2011 03:27:31 +0000 It sounds like you like Rush as much as I do.

By: admin admin Tue, 09 Aug 2011 02:15:12 +0000 “Mike Darwin is an atheist and a homosexual and he comes across as far more respectful of religious people than you are. Orders of magnitude more respectful. Even in the face of the fact that religious viewpoints motivate some people to be a danger to cryonics and thus to his own life. I frankly don’t know how he does it…”

Once you realize what death is, if you have any empathy at all, then you realize why there is religion in the world. And once you realize what the undiluted,and unmitigated awareness of death does to a human being bereft of hope, then, if you have even a bit of common sense, you are grateful that religion has existed. A world of 6 billion crazy people is bad enough, a world of 6 billion angry, raving mad people, bereft of any prospect of rescue or succor, is terrifying. And that leaves the issue of social controls, in the forms of religious morality, out of the equation. [And please, don't lecture me about rationality and rationalist thinking; as a species we just figured out the most primitive rules of physics and biology (evolution) an eye blink ago, and the year I was born (1955) 44% of the world's population were illiterate (the number is now somewhere between 16 & 20% and rising).]

Finally, once you understand how venal, cruel, prejudiced and otherwise (despicably) human gay people can be, then, if you have a lick of sense, you understand that mostly discriminatory behavior is an integral part of human nature, and that if you put those on the bottom on top, they’ll be just as nasty as those they replaced, in less than a heartbeat.

The only rational responses to these realizations are compassion and a commitment to change things for the better – if we can only figure out how. — Mike Darwin