Starry Starry Night

Today I ran around looking at housing choices

Since I’ve been working for three weeks now, and they haven’t tossed me out, odds are I’m not pissing anyone off too much ;-)

There are “Residence Inns” that run from about $1500 to $2100 / month (which is “doable” inside my pay range, but a might steep…) and there are lower end hotels with a “monthly rate” or a “weekly rate” that run out to about $650 / month (furniture, power, water, sewer, and maid service included). Apartments run (from what I’ve seen) about $700 / month (but you pay your own cable TV, water, sewer, power…) and need to buy furniture.

Travel times range from about 10 minutes “door to door” up to 20 minutes.

Where I’m staying now is, for the moment, free. Yet we’re going to discuss rent “soon”. (So far I’ve bought a 4 burner gas grill and a $250 kayak as “house gifts” along with redoing the lighting plan to high efficiency lighting – expected about $600 lifetime savings – as payments in kind for the kindness of a guest room to stay in.) But the commute is 45 minutes one way, or 1.5 hours in total each day. Even with ride sharing to reduce the costs, it’s still 1.5 hours / day of my life “gone”… Time I’d much rather spend thinking and writing, and even making some trades, and not time I’d want to spend sitting in a car. On the same road. Every Single Day…

So I’m “doing the math”… What is it worth to have 22-33 hours / month more “life”?

What is it worth to have 600 fewer miles a month on your car and gasoline bill?

What is it worth to have the car inside a garage instead of parked outside a hotel when the Tropical Storm hits?

What is it worth to have Fast Money and Bloomberg recorded and ready to watch each night, instead of “Soaps”?

But that’s not what this posting is about….

The Night From The Pool

So I’ve come back from my day, and taken a nap (catching up from the many ‘short slept’ days of getting up at 5:30 AM and getting to bed at 11+pm). But my thinking isn’t done. I’ve watched a few hours of the weekly financial news (now, in many cases, too late to be of real trading benefit, but giving decent context to the week) and noted that the ones most of interest to me are not recorded as they had a conflict with some other viewing desired. (Not too big an issue as they are available a couple of days delayed on the internet, and now I have an internet TV Appliance of sorts… and I’m not getting to them in a timely manner anyway… and… )

And I’m still not caught up and I’m still not done pondering “best housing solution” (but I have enough jingle in my pocket now to have lots of choices to ponder… 9-)

OK, It’s a bit before midnight and the cat is out by the pool, the homeowner has gone to bed. (He took the kid off to college today, so is in need of sleep after a marathon drive / move day). It’s just me, the cat, and the pool. I think well when floating in a pool…

So I decide to ponder while floating in that ‘near zero G’ effect state… ( I wonder if pondering works better on orbit in zero G?) and head out to the pool.


Today, for a very late lunch at about 2pm, I stopped at a Mexican Restaurant for my Carnitas fix. It was good. But the “usual” afternoon weather came in. It had been ‘sunny and hot’ earlier, then it was cooler and raining. Lots of rain.

It politely stopped in time for me to head back to the barn (and eventually the pool).

I mention this not for a detour though that weighty question of “Carnitas or Pollo?” Nor even “Carnitas or beef?”. No, I mention it to point out the ‘usual’ status is for lots of clouds in the afternoon, ranging into rain. Sometimes, like the night before, LOTS of rain. As late as 9 pm.

But it’s not 9pm any more, it was just about midnight.

And I wanted to ponder.

In the pool.

Floating, and Pondering

Trying to decide just how much I liked this pool (and realizing that I needed to find out if “pool hours” would prevent this kind of thing in a hotel or apartment…) and trying to decide just how much it would cost to add a second satellite dish to the house, and trying to decide if I could read a laptop in the car with mobile internet and not get carsick… I looked up.

There, through the “Florida Room” gauze, was a clear sky full of stars.

The “Florida Friend” has a home on an acre or so in a gated community quite a ways from most city lights. (Thus the long commute). The “skyglow’ is low enough that the stars were quite nicely bright.

Then I realized that I had another pondering to ponder:

WHY was the sky so clear and the stars so bright?

Earlier it was heavy clouds and rain. Now it was a clear night. Earlier the pool was quite warm, now after cool rains and under a clear sky, things were getting a bit on the cool side. The “Ignore The Day At Your Peril” posting came back to haunt me…

Is this “proof” that each day the heat is “done and gone”?

Maybe not proof, but strong evidence for sure.

Something makes the clouds show up from near nothing early in the day.

Something makes them build to complete overcast and then dark rain clouds (dumping loads of water).

Something then makes them clear off and give a Midnight Starry Starry Sky.

A clear dark sky that easily lets heat radiate to space (just the opposite of those storm clouds that prevented the heat from reaching the ground; reflecting the sunshine to space, but blocking IR radiation in both directions).

And that something is NOT CO2.

In fact, I can find no evidence for it having any effect at all on the process of the day. Every day (almost) starts clear and coolish, warms to hot, then moves into rain and cooling in the afternoon – early evening. (Yes, there are a few exceptions, but not much…) Then the night clears and heat leaves via IR radiation. And a new cycle begins.

There is variation. Sometimes a major Tropical Storm or Hurricane comes through. But we know that those conduct MORE heat to the stratosphere (and off to space) not less; so hardly supportive of the CO2 meme.

Sessions End

At the end of the pondering, I decided two things:

1) An hour a day of more life to live is worth quite a bit to me.

2) Tropical Starry Starry Night Skies have their own story to tell.

I’ve not gone looking for day / night relative cloud cover numbers. I don’t even know if they exist. If they do, dividing them by local weather / climate type will matter quite a bit. The cloud cycles here are not at all like they are in the “cold ocean driven” San Francisco Bay Area. But the tropics dominate our heat engine “hot pole”, and Florida is characteristic of that zone…

So I’m left to wonder if anyone has the “cloud cover” data in a form that is NOT so “over averaged” as to hide the interesting bits… data that still says just how often we have “dark clouds and teardrops, through the rain” during the daytime but with “Starry starry nights” to follow. And just how much the climate models and the CO2 Junkies notice such things that limit ‘heat-in’ during the hottest part of the day, yet let it out during the cold bits?

For me, I think I need more “midnight dips” to see just how often this pattern repeats.

It’s an important one, especially if it is common, as it is clearly driven by the daily heat cycle. And it is very strongly counter heating cyclical.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in AGW Science and Background, Human Interest and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Starry Starry Night

  1. xyzlatin says:

    For quite some time now, I have been posting on here and other blogs, that the whole theory of more water vapour in the air adds more heat ( the extra 3-4 degrees terrifying people), does not stack up from my experience living in the tropics by the sea. Deathly silence has greeted me on this. No one wants to know. What happens is that temperatures near the sea are lower than those inland. Now you have realised it for yourself. Go check all temperature records in all countries. The water moderates the temperature. Of course, it does get very humid which people associate with heat but the actual temperatures are lower.

  2. boballab says:


    I was stationed in Orlando FL from Aug 1985 to June 86 and can attest that at this time of the year, typically every day at 4pm +/- 10 mins there would be rain. So I know what you mean about how it goes from comfortable with clear skies at 7 am to warm and muggy by the afternoon with big fluffy clouds to rain and then clear again with more comfortable evenings.

    With the above said you might want to read some of Willis Eschenbach’s hypothesis about the tropical areas and what happens:

    The Thermostat Hypothesis is that tropical clouds and thunderstorms actively regulate the temperature of the earth. This keeps the earth at a equilibrium temperature.

    Further Evidence for my Thunderstorm Thermostat Hypothesis


    Let me give the timeline of the tropical day that is shown in Figure 2, pointing out the important time periods.

    At dawn the day is clear and the air is calm. As a result, the air temperature starts rising quite quickly after sunrise.

    As the day warms, at some point before noon a threshold is passed. Cumulus clouds (the small puffy white summer clouds) start to form, and the lower tropospheric circulation switches to a new pattern.


    At some point in the late afternoon, the amount of incoming energy is less than the amount of outgoing energy, and the air starts to cool. It is aided in this cooling by the thunderstorms, which in warmer seas often continue until several hours after dark.

    After the sun goes down, of course, clouds have a warming effect because they greatly increase the amount of downwelling “greenhouse” radiation. This can be seen in the kink in the curve between about 19:00 and 21:00 hours.

    Once the clouds dissipate, however, the air is much freer to radiate out to space, and rapid cooling sets in which lasts until dawn. By that time, there are no clouds and the atmosphere is generally calm … and the cycle starts over again.

    I am neither a climate sceptic, nor an AGW believer, nor an agnostic on the subject. Instead, I am a climate heretic. I think that the dominant climate paradigm is completely incorrect. I hold that there is no level pool table. I say that there is no constant “climate sensitivity”. Instead, there are preferred states. I say, and have discussed elsewhere, that the temperature of the Earth is kept within a fairly narrow range through the action of a variety of natural homeostatic mechanisms.

    The latest one is:

  3. Joel Heinrich says:

    Well, I don’t have any numbers, but you can see the effect quite clearly here:

    You can see that it is more pronounced in the Tropics over land, less so over water and even less in the extratropics. Although we do have our own share of thunderstorms in the afternoon here in Germany (summer only).

  4. Verity Jones says:

    Remember what I said in Chicago – humidity matters.
    Willis Eshenbach’s ICCC4 presentation is still available on Youtube Part 1 here Part 2 follows:

    William Kininmonth also presented on humidity, but I can’t find that specific presentation although others of his are on Youtube, although I haven’t reviewed content.

    On more personal matters, quality of life can be more important than time as you are considering. Peace and quiet and access to nature are important to me. My journey to my main work base is 15 minutes, but with traffic at peak times that can be 45 minutes to an hour, yet we are contemplating moving further out – away from the city. I have learned to do quite a bit of strategic thinking during the commute, or else I enjoy music. Listening to podcasts might also be useful (or those TV recordings – that you can go back over later if there is something visual at a specific point).

    Have you considered house sitting? You would be quite attractive in such a role with your practical skills and longer term opportunities do come up I believe.

  5. j ferguson says:

    Hi E.M.
    congratulation on the job – i hope it’s fun and interesting. My last project was done out of Arlington VA. I flew up there from Miami first thing monday morning and back on friday night. There was a Day’s Inn across the street from the office. I went in and asked what they could do for 18 months of 4 nights/week. they sold out on weekends but agreed they’d use my room as a hold-back. I kept the bicycle in the trunk of the car.

    The job paid for this as well as the meals in the persian restaurant next door, but this was much less expensive (I was responsible for project budget) than a residential hotel which couldn’t deal with the 4 days a week.

    No kitchen though.

  6. Tim Clark says:

    When we moved to Wichita, Kansas, I was faced with a similar dilemma you are in now. The difference would be where to buy, not where to rent, or whether to stay with a friend. I pondered the following factors in my analysis (together with my wife):

    1. Time lost
    2. Privacy – noisy neighbors
    3. Freedom (try swimming in a rental pool after 12 pm or music, etc.for example)
    4. Nature-stars, planting landscaping on property or just walking around a one
    acre yard in a gated community, quietness in a remote area.
    5. Associated inconveniences- crime, other peoples dogs pooping on the sidewalk, other peoples kids, doordings on the car, parking, etc………..

    I drive an hour one way daily. I ponder issues while driving (not much traffic).
    Time lost while driving is more than compensated for by remaining time in solitude and peace.

    I guess we’re wired differently.

  7. Pascvaks says:

    The scene you paint is one I can appreciate. I’ll bet there were many and assundry deep fleeting thoughts under those stars. Life tends to get mucked up in the hectic hurry and scurry of the day. No place created by man comes as close to heaven as nature at her most pure and peaceful and pleasent and quiet. Best to you and your’s always, everywhere.

  8. j ferguson says:

    Tim Clark,
    How interesting that you value your commute time. I had hour commutes for many years and loved them – i could think about anything I wanted.
    My year running a K&T Chucker in the factory was a lot like that although the crew in that section turned out to be singers, so we sang most of the shift. no one outside our section could hear us over the machinery.

    Dad used to say that you went to college to get things to ponder while you were waiting for a train.

    I think it’s called found time.

  9. pyromancer76 says:

    A Cliche: different brains are wired for pleasure differently. Having driven 45-minutes each way for many, many years in L.A. traffic, I don’t experience a commute as a time to relax or contemplate very much. Eyes and mind on the road and other cars — 70 mph and lots of other drivers not a joke. So for the daily, I vote for the less commute, the better. (Details: 30 min in good times and 1+ hr in bad — 3 hrs each way during recovery from the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Almost made me sick. Yes, account for natural disasters in your living and commuting.)

    For the weekends, however, you can plan for that out-of-the city retreat. I have Bishop and and my beloved Eastern Sierras. Not a quick drive, but mostly an easy one. Right now my 93-year-old bridge-playing Mother lives there and holds down the fort.

    The two main issues for me are time-of-life (productivity and creativity) and as much joy as possible. Best wishes for your best arrangements. Don’t forget the time to write — you will enhance your readers’ collective joy the more you contemplate here on Then there are a number of books you almost have completed with all your efforts here. These probably are the most important. Your work needs/deserves a larger audience.

    On clouds and warm and cold: Svensmark, your diligent “dig here’s”, and other researchers’ work have convinced me. Looking forward to more evidence and details. Sun’s magnetic field, the most energetic cosmic rays, low clouds over the tropics (esp tropical Pacific), Solar System place in galaxy, supernova remnants. Ocean oscillations for most of the local results — your big “O”. Not quite sure where large volcanic eruptions fit in now, except Large Igneous Provinces. During their eruption times, the environment for life seems to suck. Comets-asteroids, too. Maybe they even initiate LIPs. Have to go back now and check on CO2. It seems good for significantly enhancing life as it is out-gassed during warming periods and not much else of great consequence in terms of causing warming or cooling.

    It seems the “local results” deserve a lot of detailing. Fascinating work here as you float in weightlessness. And now I am going to have to be stupid. Can’t find my print-out. Looked everywhere. Want to recommend the article by “Danish physicist” recommended by Chuckles, I think, on the physics of CO2 — deep convection vs (sort of) long-wave radiation. Needs checking by a physicist, but reads excellently. Can anyone help?

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    FWIW, I had a job once that had me put 120,000 miles on my car in 2 years. I’m not bashful about a long commute. (Most of my work life it has been about an hour, and I’m pretty good at contemplating things then).

    What I can’t do is drive and type at the same time…

    I find myself thinking of a couple of postings a day, and having time to research and make maybe one every other day. I resent that loss.

    Where I’m working is on almost the opposite side of Orlando from where I’m staying. We have found a semi-rural route around most of it, but still, it’s not exactly “lone time” when carpooling. Where I’m looking is about 5 to 10 minutes from work directly away from urban jungle and closer to ‘woods’.

    (My “fantasy scenario” is 5 acres about 20 minutes out and an RV… but not, I think, just yet ;-) A ‘zero commute’ some days, and a vacation in new places most weekends).

    At any rate, it will sort out.


    Your reference to Svensmark has me wondering if there is a day / night solar wind influence on cloud formation… More to ponder…

  11. Sera says:

    First- I hope you noticed Jupiter sitting under the crescent moon the other night/morning. They’ve been dancing with each other the past three days.

    Second- If you stay in a hotel for more than one month, you do not have to pay the taxes because it is considered a ‘residence’ at that point. All states.

    Good luck with the job.

  12. Tom Bakewell says:

    I hope you have a car with AC and an automatic transmission!

    For me commute time was when I broadened my horizons with courses from the Teaching Company. They are either 30 or 45 minute lectures and they have excellent lecturers covering everything from soup to nuts. I went to a tough technical school with no time for the niceties. So I’ve had a grand time learning about music, history, philosophy, and religions amongst other topics. You are a very broad bandwidth fellow, and you may already have a lot of this stuff in your noggin. But there is still plenty to learn, and differing viewpoints to consider.

    You offer us readers much and we appreciate it a lot!

    Tom Bakewell

  13. j ferguson says:

    Tom Bakewell, another interesting point.

    I commuted for a couple of months from Miami to Stuart. This was while they were reading The Perfect Storm on the radio. After a few sessions, i realized that I was not paying any attention to what was happening around me. I’ve come to believe that I can’t listen to books that can be visualized because that’s what i do and my eyes seem to turn off. i can’t talk on the phone for the same reason. I can listen to music because it’s non-visual, and i do have to be careful to think only of abstract issues which cannot be visualized. It took many years to discover this, including some trips through ditches beside the road.

    It is also very clear to me, at least, that this is not a universal problem. This talent, if it is one, served me well in my flying days. I could keep track of where I was through the amazing vectors and holds sometimes issued by approach control in bad weather.

  14. Verity Jones says:

    j ferguson
    I also have the same talent/problem. It’s only since frequenting this blog that I’ve realised I am a visual thinker and have tapped into it more, however I’ve had to give up doing 3D experimental design on the commute home and think instead about ‘people’ problems.

    On the plus side, the talent was always very useful for visualising/triangulating unmarked shoals when sailing, and my father and I used to love beating up a sound where there was a strong tide and lots of moorings. It was a safe anchorage and was the sort of place most people would motor through, whereas we delighted in tacking though it.

  15. j ferguson says:

    It was helpful in my architectural career. The problem with this capacity, is that for me it is very very hard to learn anything that cannot be visualized. geometry was a snap, trig was easy, calculus less so until someone pointed out the narrow slices of the area under the curves, then it was easier.

    i also have to read things three times to “get it.” I wonder if the two are related.

    it was a damn good thing there was a niche for me that didn’t depend on the things I’m lousy at.

    Verity, do you, did you, make your way in a pursuit where the visualizing was important?

  16. Verity Jones says:

    j ferguson,
    yes I did/do, but it is only recently that I realised the ability marked me out from others – both aiding me and holding me back.

    I’ve always visualised on all scales – right from the interaction of molecules, to anatomy, to plant cellular architecture, to engineering designs. I can draw and run, not 2D, but 3D graphs forward in time in my head. I build pilot plants in my head too – not to the the nth degree of course – engineering tolerances etc. still need to be calculated, but I can see what will work spatially and where to place instrumentation. Mostly I can describe, or draw, what I see, but sometimes the words don’t come readily.

    I hit a kind of glass ceiling for a while in my career. I would sit in some meetings and feel stupid because I couldn’t ‘see’, or remember, what was being discussed, yet with others, depending on the speaker and the subject, I could see it all and would make very strong contributions to the meeting. I struggled when I was being asked to do less visual things – personnel and resources planning and especially to write project management speak. In fact a lot of management and business speak is like a foreign language to me and I have to ‘learn’ meanings or remind myself what some abstract terms mean. It definately held me back for a while.

    In fact it is only in the last year that I’ve realised that I am such a strong visual thinker (it is so slow to have to think in words) and that it is not ubiquitous. I had taken for granted that it was. The realisation that it is not means that I value it more and I make extra efforts and try new ways to ‘see’ abstract concepts.

    For all that I’ve always used language well and been a good communicator, but my recent revelations have unlocked a kind of new productivity.

    Yes, I too often have to read things several times. Other times I forget i am reading and I just ‘see’ what is written, be it a novel, or technical vision.

  17. Tim Clark says:

    Detailed visual memory may be called semi-eidetic.

  18. Jason Calley says:

    @ Verity Jones

    Spatial visualization is a wonderful talent and one that I suspect all good engineers need to have. IIRC, in Tesla’s autobiography, he says that as a child he was sometimes confused because he could not always differentiate between what he was visualizing and what was real. When he thought of an apple he SAW an apple hanging in front of him. Feynman has also remarked on the fact that for him, the only way to understand a new theory was to visualize a model of some sort that he could mentally manipulate in accordance with the theory.

    Like you, I go for visualization — my wife is one of the “wordy” people. Tell me something, you need to say it three ways for me to understand. Draw a picture and I see it at once. Show me how to do it, and I will improve on it. For wifey, words work better.

    Interestingly enough, I am currently in the process of occasionally helping to care for young twin boys, identical twins. One is “wordy” the other is a “visualization” type. Same genes, different mental styles. I watched the “visual” boy spend about a twenty minutes (just before his first birthday) examining the door knob and latch mechanism of a bedroom door. Turn knob, watch latch move, poke finger into hole of striker plate on door jam. Try knob on other side of door, turn, press, poke, repeat, close door slowly, watching what fit into which, repeat, etc. He then took a few minutes to verify that the other doors in the house worked the same way. Once the mystery of door knobs was gone he went to play with the remote control. Words work poorly with him, but work well with his brother.

  19. j ferguson says:

    Interestingly enough, the architects did the plant layout (100 MGD wastewater treatment jobs) including piping at the engineering firm I worked for out of school. Pipes could be as much as 72 inches and there would be big pumps, compressors, service cranes etc. and all of this had to be buildable and serviceable – lift pumps out without removing anything more than spools or victaulic couplings – nothing in the way.

    This practice was chosen after a few Chinese puzzle projects where the owner was miffed that he had to take most of his plant apart to get at a bad pump. The partners thought that architects were more likely to be able to visualize what the completed plant would be like and not run any pipes through elevator shafts.

    I loved the work.

  20. Verity Jones says:

    @Tim Clark
    I suppose it is. I never really thought about it. Semi though. Sometimes I know where to find a piece of information in a book. I can ‘see’ the page and where the information is located – say half way down on the left-hand column opposite a page with say a table on it, and if I know which book it is in I have a chance of finding it, but I won’t be able to see the page number or even the title of the book. And I have to be able to find the page to read it.

    @Jason Calley
    I do like words too at times. There are some people who seem to paint word pictures when they write and that draws me in. Like E.M. himself for example. Reading about his day above and what led him to contemplate overnight heat loss… His writing led me to understand Gistemp a bit better, even though he was explaining code. But then there weren’t many graphs until others started providing them.

    Ultimately that’s what led me to start my own blog – somewhere to try visualising climate data.

  21. j ferguson says:

    I read a lot, but slowly. Spouse catches me moving my lips. I know people who snicker at this sort of thing, but there it is. i could never grasp a paragraph with a glance. If I’m not intent on actually reading something, i can go through it pretty quickly looking for things that are unfamiliar or surprise me assuming that this will be where the value in the thing is.

    I did structural engineering for small buildings for a Wisconsin telephone company one summer – mostly beam calcs. This was in 1966 and before computers and they didn’t have Friedens, or Monroematics either – slide rule stuff. At the end of the summer, i could look at the equations and know what the answer would be like on sight – and they were all enough different for that not be a memorization feat. I had to write it all out anyway, so they could be checked.

    I’d like to think i can write. i did a lot of it over the years. but still there’s the slow reading and the lousy absorption rate. i thought everyone had the same reading troubles that i did until college where I had a hell of a time keeping up and most everyone else was done with the week’s reading stuff by midweek.

    the word is anosognosia which is not knowing that you’ve got something wrong with you.

    it seems that if the results are impressive no-one ever looks at the effort which may be completely disproportional. To think I’m figuring this out well into retirement when the insights won’t have a whole lot of utility.

    I apologize to anyone that’s reading this and thinking I’m wasting their time. Indulge me. This is one of the few places that supports what seems to me highly intelligent conversation among people who are well worth the reading.

  22. pyromancer76 says:

    J feruson, there are so many different intelligences, or so many ways to offer important ideas throughout one’s life. Your comments always add to any discussion, in my opinion. One of my dearest friends, almost like a brother, had to take his engineering licensing exam(s) over and over and over until he passed. All his life he had exam problems, connected to reading issues, but probably also unique to him. In his engineering career, however, he had few peers.

    For many years I taught artists from every field, and the variety of intelligences was astounding. We can only be grateful for the variety (except when they are tracked into marxist thinking by an academic establishment).

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    I wish I had more time tonight to comment on all this…. Perhaps in a few days when I’ve fixed a few things…

    At any rate, the spouse does “special Ed” of all sorts, and that includes GATE – Gifted And Talented Education. Yes, there are may intelligences… much of her job is in teaching kids how to use what they have to do things that usually take a different talent…

    For me, I think my only real “talent” is that I have identical verbal and non-verbal IQs and scored identically on the PSAT and SAT tests. To the digit… Spacial visualizing and such is easy for me, but words work well too, so I can blend them and use one for he other. In high school I learned not everyone can do that, and got pocket money as a tutor as I could visualize solutions to math problems, then work out the words to make a word picture for the kids who didn’t “just see the answer”. Work out a non-visual non-gestalt method to get to the same place… (thus, one presumes, my eventual career in computer programming was a natural consequence…)

    But my favorite mode really is the “just see it” one… (but word play comes in a close second ;-)

  24. j ferguson says:

    i came up in the “we’re all alike” period. I was done a bit of a disservice by my parents, both brilliant, to the effect that if i was having trouble with something I wasn’t working hard enough. This is mostly good advice, but sometimes the return for effort expended wasn’t too good.

    I eventually fell into a pattern that would get me to 85% on almost anything. It’s funny to look at the results of the 5 day architectural exam, the various FAA wrtittens, the ham exams, etc. all within a point or two of 85%. Except for anything having to do with geometry and there it would be best – always.

    One of the truly wonderful effects of the web has been that people can converse on anything of mutual interest worldwide. I’m building some PIC based instruments for the boat right now with parts and advice from a guy in Germany and another in new Zealand. I trouble-shot the main computer on the boat in 2003 with a guy in Seoul korea who had used the same components to build a similar machine and already figured out how to overcome a driver conflict. And there’s this place and Bishop’s, and Verity’s.

    I suspect that the velocity of gains in our understanding of all sorts of things will increase exponentially with improving access in China and india.

    If we could only attenuate the noise of superstitious pseudo-science.

  25. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. Smith
    Having equal (high) proficiency at verbal and spatial skills, while moderately rare, is a great advantage. I think the subject has come up before, but I am reminded of “Smart Fraction Theory.”

    The basic premise is that while high math and science skills are a plus, in order to really be productive individuals (and nations) need to have some minimum level of both the verbal AND the spatial skills. Many of the problems which we face during the course of a day are of such a nature that they cannot be solved by the loner sitting in a garage. These problems require people to think in bunches, which is to say, to communicate clearly so that they may work in concert.

    Verbal skills — good.
    Math/science skills — good.
    Verbal and math — best!

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