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  Topic: Telic Thoughts Thread< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Posts: 317
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Aug. 17 2008,08:17   

Quote (jeffox @ Aug. 17 2008,03:02)
TP, you wrote above:

As an engineer, I am disappointed (but not surprised) you aren't familiar with the significance of how the U.S. Nuclear Navy came to be.

TP, I was in "Rickover's Navy".  I was a qualified nuclear electrician on a 688 class submarine.


You see Rickover was one of those people who mixed "ignorance and arrogance" which you dislike.  

While I never met Admiral Rickover, I heard an awful lot about him from many people who did meet him.  Some from people who knew him well.  I never heard them speak that way about him.


He made the bold assumption that it was possible to build a nuclear powered naval vessels.  More than that, he decided whether or not it was possible, the US needed to do it.

Ummm, he wasn't exactly alone in doing that.  While I'll agree that he certainly was a key player, he didn't exactly act in a vacuum, either.  Most people were already aware of the tactical possibilities of submarines anyway - nuclear power only made them far more so.  Surface craft are nothing but targets anyway.  :)

Assumptions were made (read "arrogant guesses").  

A stretch, at best.  The stuff that I saw was pretty well-designed, science-wise.  Even the very early stuff was well within the scientific paradigm.

Models were built.  Testing was done.  Mistakes were corrected.  

Good engineering projects are like that.  Duh.

There was no room in "Rickover's Navy" for nay-sayers.  

I saw plenty of naysaying.  If anybody were to order me to put the plant into an unsafe condition, I could, and was literally supposed to, tell them NO, SIR!  As long as I was right I was OK.  It was a unique system, but it did work well.

This may not be quite what you mean by this, but then your point is rather moot.

Rickover wasted little effort worrying about brusing egos of those who thought their academic degrees or policial positions warranted respect.

Admirals can do that, believe it or not.  It's a tradition that goes waaaaaay back.

Because of her age, knowledge and attitude I strongly suspect Joy was a product of this effort.

I totally disagree.  Naval nuclear power and civilian nuclear power are two very different things.  Joy has also written about a "nuclear mafia" that I strongly think does not exist.  I've seen no evidence for it, anyway (and I should have, if it DID actually exist).

Are you familiar with the term "Skunk Works" as it applies to engineering projects?

I never heard that term the entire time I was involved with my submarine.  Or in my (somewhat extensive) nuclear training prior to my actual service.  To the best of my knowledge, this term was applied to some CIA-based secret aircraft somesuch.  Blackbird or something like that.  Real expensive stuff.  Good for what, I dunno.

There are times when the best course of action is act based on bold assumptions rather than wait on "PhD types" being scientifically modest out of fear of making mistakes.

Very, very rare times, I think.  Myself, I can't think of a single historical example that works, successfully, for the above statement.  I can think of many that make it untrue.  

Skunk works is about more than just bypassing red-tape.  It is about intentionally taking the risk of doing something wrong.

While I'm not a big fan of "red tape", I recognize that it's usually there for a reason.  Usually several good ones.  Intentionally taking the risk of doing something wrong is what I call TARD.  I think most adult humans would agree there.

A Skunk Works project might be wrong about getting promised funding.  It might even be wrong about the feasibility of completing the whole project.  Skunk Works projects attract a certain personality type.  Those who can be arrogant in the face of ignorance due to a knack for overcoming adversity.

So you're saying tard attracts tard to do tard to and/or for the tard.  How tard!   :)

Like all things, there are multiple sides to the issue.  Boldness also has its downside.  

Now, here we can agree.  I wouldn't call tard boldness, however.  No, I call tard tard; and I think that all tard is bad.  It's certainly not science or scientific.

I suggest the Yin/Yang conflict provides balance most of the time.  No one view is the Ultimate Truth.

Interesting philosophical opinions.  I don't think that they apply to your above assertions, however.

Joy's view has merit as does yours.

I disagree that Joy's view has merit.  Nuclear mafia, indeed!  I do keep my viewpoint open enough to allow a change, should Joy actually begin making scientific sense and tone down the rhetoric.  I also don't think that your point(s) above are meritless, I just disagree (based on pretty close personal experience) with your assessments of Rickover, the U.S. Navy, and Joy.

Skunkworks was a division of Lockheed Martin, developing aircraft. They built the U-2, F-117, SR-71, and F-22. They are currently working on the F-35. Not all of their projects are secret, since you know about the F-22 and F-35.

The name is trademarked by Lockheed, but has been adopted anyway to describe branches of companies that are secretive and given largely free reign to play with ideas.

They don't do what they do by ignoring science and pretending to be physicists, though. Someone like Joy wouldn't last a day. You have to know your stuff, not bullshit.

To rebut creationism you pretty much have to be a biologist, chemist, geologist, philosopher, lawyer and historian all rolled into one. While to advocate creationism, you just have to be an idiot. -- tommorris

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