by: veen

comment by
kleinbl00
badged comment

    What I'm apparently failing to explain is that I want more consideration, not less.

What you're explaining loud and clear is that you feel the people responsible for the truth on the ground are not giving it the proper consideration. When I called you out for arguing (as a grad student) that you knew better than the law, you doubled down:

    That's not my luminary genius insight but professor after professor after professor has taught me.

I took one (1) acoustics class. It was taught by the two acoustics Ph.Ds at UW. And we started the class with one of the profs explaining the measurement rig he had pointed out the window: see, the buses outside were loud, but it was spring and soon the trees would be covered in leaves and it would be much quieter. et voila. Acoustics.

We believed him - I mean, I was 22 and the actual math of the attenuation of a shit-ton of leaves is intensive. Nonetheless we never did end up comparing beginning and end. Once I started working in the field I relayed this story to my boss and she laughed uproariously and showed me the B&K chart listing attenuation on the x and "meters of forest in hundreds" on the y.

These are acoustical professors with Ph. Ds prestigious enough in their department to fund a boat that flips on its tail for sonar studies. And we learned all sorts of great stuff about nodal analysis, resonance, deep channels and the like which provided a fundamental basis for the practical knowledge that I then picked up in the field. Because "practical knowledge" wasn't their thing - they were busy rewriting the theory. And for environmental acoustics, the theory was laid out by a dude a hundred years dead.

We'll disregard my profs' erroneous assumptions about the way environmental acoustics work. We'll even disregard the fact that when they were busted, they shined it on as if it never happened. We'll focus instead on their attempts to broaden the body of knowledge that we all benefit from and thank them for it. We'll even spot them the assumption that if my boss were to walk into that room and give them a lesson on the acoustical isolation of leaves, they'd listen interestedly, ask intelligent questions and have a rigorous debate about the mathematics at play.

Because nobody comes out ahead when we assume everyone else is a fucking idiot.

FIIC. Field Impact Isolation Class. A two-digit number that takes two trained professionals two days and ten thousand dollars worth of equipment to arrive at. Lucrative, no? I mean, we couldn't roll one for less than $3k. Which means we didn't get to roll them nearly often enough. And we spent a day burning through the math in custom bullshit Excel spreadsheets that sucked and that wasn't any fun either. So when we were presented with an opportunity to test some composite floors so we could build up some better mass law models, my boss paid me to schlep concrete and sand up to the 4th floor of a condo for six weeks so we could do our own testing. Contribute our own models. Put in our own research.

I billed out at $150 an hour, dude, and she sank 240 hours into it.

So I'm glad you're "all worked up." You should be. You "want the underlying assumptions, biases and structural issues unearthed and discussed" which can only mean you think they aren't. You "want to know in which context they work and in which context they don't" as if you think people don't fight over this shit every goddamn day. And I've been trying to say this a dozen different ways and you aren't hearing it, probably because it's offensive, and because it assails your worldview:

The experts in the field know more than the people they measure.

That's it. That's my beef. That's my fundamental observation, that in any esoteric body of knowledge, the practitioners of that knowledge know more about that knowledge than the people who encounter that knowledge glancingly. No matter how broad your evaluation of mapping and GIS, it will never be as focused as the mid-level bureaucrat in some forgotten town who has jurisdiction over where roads go in his township.

The argument put forth in your essay is that the experts are fucking idiots. When I tried to find something about objective vs. relational you came back with "no, it's that the experts are fucking idiots." When I came back with "you know, the experts I've worked with seem to know their shit" you came back with "they don't know it nearly enough because research." So yeah. I'm fucking offended. Your argument hinges on the idea that the practitioners of a science are incurious about the theory of the science, which is the argument people always make, so often that you actually whipped out

    So you sound to me like yet another arrogant engineer who thinks their numbers are always a good enough substitute for the truth.

Dude.

DUDE.

The "arrogant" engineers are the ones that know they know more than you and are sick of having to explain it. They're the ones whose knowledge is called into question because somebody just did a study somewhere. They're the ones being forced to (temporarily) rewrite their entire code of behavior because some expert somewhere in another unrelated field has better PR.

These are Assistive Listening Devices. They cost about $300 each, plus about $1000 for the transmitter. And thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you have an auditorium that holds more than a hundred people you have to have enough of them for five percent of the audience. That means if you have a school somewhere with a gym that seats 300 people, $5500 is going to be spent on shitty FM radios that nobody ever listens to... rather than band instruments, rather than gym equipment, rather than art supplies.

This happened because a well-meaning audiologist argued back in the mid-80s that deaf people were being left out of public events because they couldn't hear, and a lot of them couldn't afford hearing aids, so clearly any public building should be forced to pay to bring them in so that they would be "handicapped-accessible." And none of them ever get used - you wanna stick someone else's grody earthing in your ear? - but they're mandated by law and building inspectors across the US have to count the fuckers every time there's a permit issue. Millions of these things, mouldering away in closets.

Repeat for in-class reinforcement, smartboards, etc. What usually happens next is some journalist gets a bug up their ass to investigate waste and comes after whatever the it-thing is and administrators are pilloried for wasting money on that thing that only has one study to back it but ALS has hung on for three decades because the ADA was written by the Pope, effectively, so here we are. But fundamentally? People who don't know telling people who do know bones it for everybody.

My argument, simply put, is it's dangerous and offensive to assume that the people doing the majority of the work are in the knowledge minority. And the fundamental argument put forth by this argument - and by you - is that if we have a number, and everybody agrees on it, it reflects calcified thinking and oppression of the populace.

    I don't want to paradigm shift my way to glory, I want people to stop and think about the values and methods they pick.

The only way you could want this is if you hold deeply the idea that "people" aren't already doing it.

And fuck right off with that shit.