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Angus
08-03-2006, 11:22 AM
Not so much a rant as an amazed observation. Thought it might incite an interesting discussion:

Was in a debate with a friend as to the actual MPG achieved by my Toyota Corolla. I commented that I was getting an average of 34 miles to the gallon. He said I was not. But, I responded, I write down the gallons of gas pumped and the miles driven on that gas, divide one by the other, and get an average for my car. So far, it has been a good 34 mpg (I drive mostly highway).

You are wrong was his response because you are not taking into account the time factor :o ??? :o

What time factor?

According to the computer on his Mercedes, he actually is getting 22 mpg, even though using my calculations would show an average of 26 mpg. But the computer is providing an estimated MPG based on the history and habits of the driver. It is telling you what to "expect" to get based on the majority of the driving. He was adamant that his car only got 22 mpg despite the fact that the actual mileage divided by the actual gas used was 26 mpg.

To me, this is a clear case of letting a computer do the thinking for you and not understanding how it works. Is this our future? Are we to become so reliant on machines that we cannot think for ourselves? This guy is an engineer, and yet he now cannot comprehend the simple act of finding an average.

Thoughts......

Angus

WRATHWILDE
08-03-2006, 01:12 PM
I write down the gallons of gas pumped and the miles driven on that gas, divide one by the other, and get an average for my car. So far, it has been a good 34 mpg (I drive mostly highway).

You are wrong was his response because you are not taking into account the time factor :o ??? :o


You're both wrong... you have to subtract the distance traveled in reverse first! ::) :P ;D ;D ;D That's irony for you.

Wrathwilde

insanity
08-03-2006, 02:59 PM
He’ll probably come to his senses after he considers the time component.
(Drive x minutes at rate 22 mpg, accelerate from a stop for y minutes at a rate <22 mpg, and car burns gas while stopped for z minutes, etc) = 26 mpg.

mminuet
08-03-2006, 03:39 PM
He was adamant that his car only got 22 mpg despite the fact that the actual mileage divided by the actual gas used was 26 mpg....

This guy is an engineer, and yet he now cannot comprehend the simple act of finding an average.
Angus...

What time factor?

I have silently enjoyed your posts for a long time and hope that you see my response as a chance to share something interesting rather than an outburst from another forum troll trying to flex his e-penis. I also hope that you will be forgiving of the sloppiness in which I must present the following argument - it has been a long time since semester two calculus in school.

In discrete mathematics, finding an average is as simple as dividing a partial sum by the number of terms. In continuous maths, like calculus, the situation is slightly more complicated. How do you compute the average of a continuous function (think of a graph of your MPG vs time)? You can produce a series of measurements taken from pit stops at the fuel-and-go and produce an average that way, but if you drive on the highway with the windows down for the first half of the tank and in the city with the AC on for the second, your approximation is really not very telling – especially if you spent any time idling. If, on the other hand, you were to compute the MPG with a direct measurement (which the on-board computer is probably approximating) - basically, you're measuring the amount of fuel consumed per distance traveled as the distance approaches zero - then you have a supremely precise approximation of fuel efficiency, but it is still not very telling (it is perverted in EXACTLY the same way that the phrase, "off on a tangent" describes, as the instantaneous mpg is exactly tangent to the graph of mpg vs. time for any given instant).

Ultimately, you are both correct. If my argument made any sense, then you can see for yourself that the most useful measure would likely be taken by samplings of the on-board computer which would then be averaged, Angus-style. My statistics kung-fu is way way way too weak to be able to even suggest how to best choose when to sample the readings, however.

That said, I will add that I like your friend's notion of measurement against time more, because I find continuous maths to be beautiful and intuitive and discrete maths to be puzzling and bizarre. The best way to relate my beliefs to this example is probably with illustration: using your methods to calculate average MPG with my scenario of wildly differing vehicle usage, you might have computed a MPG of 34 by virtue of having an actual MPG of 68 MPG for the first half of the tank and 17 for the second - but you never, ever, had an actual MPG of 34. What happens to your measurements if 90% of your fuel is used while idling? Using his methods - or what I'm assuming his computer is doing - of continuous measurement, it is absolutely guaranteed (by the fundamentally beautiful Mean Value Theorem of calculus) that he at some point was actually operating at the MPG which he is claiming as an average. To me, this is neat - neat enough to share.

mminuet
08-03-2006, 04:19 PM
To me, this is a clear case of letting a computer do the thinking for you and not understanding how it works. Is this our future?Jesus, I hope so. I don't have the capacity to understand how every little thing in the world works. One should learn about the intricacies of Mercedes engineering because it is intellectually stimulating, not because it is mandatory for making the damned thing go!

JayH
08-03-2006, 11:00 PM
I personally hate having the computers think for me.

Example, a couple of years ago as all of Malibu was burning, a good friend of mine jumped in his shiny new Cadillac and went off to save his girlfriend's cat and dogs. On the way back, running in front of the fire the wind changed and blew the smoke towards and over him. His on board computer said “Oh My Gosh, we have to much carbon in the air their must be something wrong, I think I’ll just shut down so I don’t hurt the engine”. Luckily there was a fire crew following along behind and rescued him, the cat and the dogs. May the Cadillac rest in peace.

The cause of the engine failure was reported by Cadillac after they had looked at the car.


Cheers
Jay

WRATHWILDE
08-04-2006, 12:38 AM
Angus,

On a 2nd more serious side, I do agree with your calculations. Time is not a factor in finding the actual historical average because you are only trying to calculate the actual miles driven by the quantity of gas used. And how does your friend explain away the fact that he actually drove 260 miles on 10 gallons of gas instead of 220 miles? Seems straightforward to me. I had a Ford Taurus at one point that calculated mileage... it was always wrong. The problem is that the cars computer has no idea how much gas you've actually put in the car, the floater that signals the gauge only knows approximately how much gas you have, inclines in any direction will give false readings. The Gas Pumps on the other hand know exactly how much gas you got, and your cars milage display knows exactly how far you've gone.

Wrathwilde

Angus
08-04-2006, 09:31 AM
mminuet,

Oddly enough, by explaining the methodology of fuel consumption calculations, you have sort of proven my point. Not satisfied with merely staring at the readout of a computer and taking it as fact, you would rather relate the lessons learned in Calculus to the real world. In other words, you are willing to think for yourself (nice explanation too).

My issue here, as Wrath points out, is that there is a lapse of thinking when a person ignores the fact that their odometer actually reads 260 miles, not 220. Intellectual stimulation is one thing, but if we are blind to the facts staring us in the face (e.g. numerical data) then the conclusions reached on our intellectual journey will most likely be incorrect.

Absolute trust in a system with no independant thought can only lead to trouble since it is so easy for those in control of the system to make it say what ever they want (Enron?), or for poor designing to risk the life of a driver and pets. Computers should be tools to gather information and present it to us so that we can reach an educated conclusion, not machines that do the thinking for us.

Angus

mminuet
08-04-2006, 12:07 PM
To me, this is a clear case of letting a computer do the thinking for you and not understanding how it works. Is this our future? Are we to become so reliant on machines that we cannot think for ourselves? This guy is an engineer, and yet he now cannot comprehend the simple act of finding an average.


Oddly enough, by explaining the methodology of fuel consumption calculations, you have sort of proven my point.

Then you are misunderstanding me. Your first argument was that your friend's mind had been gobbled up by faith in computers. My response was that he may, in fact, have a deeper understanding of the concept than yourself.



My issue here, as Wrath points out, is that there is a lapse of thinking when a person ignores the fact that their odometer actually reads 260 miles, not 220.


As opposed to the person who ignores their MPG gauge? I know, it is a difficult concept. Allow me to beat the dead horse by proffering another analogy: if you wish to compute average MPH, would you use a formula like MPHa = (d2 - d1)/t? Is your friend, who states that his average MPH is X - supported by the fact that X is what his speedometer predominantly reads - suffering from mental apathy just because his results are wildly different from yours?

The remaining rhetoric about man vs. machine and the need to know is cute, but we shouldn't take it too seriously, lest we find ourselves limited to sitting naked in the dark with crummy shelter, bad food, and poor brew. What better way to get a first look than to stand on the shoulders of a giant?

Cheers,
mmi

Angus
08-04-2006, 03:16 PM
Then you are misunderstanding me. Your first argument was that your friend's mind had been gobbled up by faith in computers. My response was that he may, in fact, have a deeper understanding of the concept than yourself.

I think you misunderstood me a little. I was actually saying that your desire to "think" was the important point, not whether your math was justification for me being correct. Let me also add here that he did not see that an average could be found by dividing the distance by the fuel consumed. His faith was in the readout of a computer, and he was unwilling to listen to the particular use of words that defined what we were talking about, that word being 'average'.


As opposed to the person who ignores their MPG gauge? I know, it is a difficult concept. Allow me to beat the dead horse by proffering another analogy: if you wish to compute average MPH, would you use a formula like MPHa = (d2 - d1)/t? Is your friend, who states that his average MPH is X - supported by the fact that X is what his speedometer predominantly reads - suffering from mental apathy just because his results are wildly different from yours?

The example of MPG was just that, an example. I was really not looking for a debate over the mathematics of fuel consumption. I used it to raise the point about our growing reliance on computers at the expense of independant thought. I am also not questioning your math.


The remaining rhetoric about man vs. machine and the need to know is cute, but we shouldn't take it too seriously, lest we find ourselves limited to sitting naked in the dark with crummy shelter, bad food, and poor brew. What better way to get a first look than to stand on the shoulders of a giant?

Careful here. I am in no way pitting man against machine. After all, I am writing this on a computer, I work in an engineering firm, and I love machines. The cute rhetoric is in fact the core of my observation, not the math surrounding the MPG. If man only relies upon the technical readout of a computer, then he is destined to be sitting in the dark. Man must constantly question the data obtained through observation and measurement, including those provided by computers, in order to reach a logical conclusion that can be used to further scientific knowledge. Total reliance on machines, with no willingness to think for oneself, is the road to "garbage in, garbage out". After all, we are the ones who are designing the machines in the first place.

My question, open for debate, is whether we, as a society, are putting too much faith in computers and are no longer willing to think for ourselves.

Angus

scout
08-04-2006, 03:34 PM
The baby woke me up three times last night, so bear that in mind while reading this, it might get weird . . . :) :)

So the working theory by Angus is that the more we have things that simplify our life and complicate it at the same time (think internet and computers), the less we are inclined to think. My thoughts:

1. There are always stupid people. Not naming names, not calling names, just saying from time immemorial, there always have been and there always will be people who refuse to think.

2. No one person can know EVERYTHING. Even the eminently learned men of the Rennaisance, who knew a great deal on a great variety of subjects, did not know everything, nor even everything there was to know at the time. Therefore, has the person who can discuss Shakespeare but relies on a calculator to add 2+3 given up the ability to think? Or have they merely chosen not to add that particular tidbit of information to the masses of information in their easy recall. I do not hold the capacious knowledge about meadmaking that Oskaar does - does that mean that I have refrained from thinking about it or doing it? Nope. Personally, right now, I don't care HOW I make a good mead, I just want to make them.

I find a big difference between CHOOSING to not delve into the intricacies of everything you come in contact with and lacking the ABILITY. I CHOOSE to remain ignorant of some things. Sorry, guys, I have a life, a husband, 2 kids and about a zillion different hobbies. Ask me about beadworking someday, and you will see me in my "element". Meadmaking, though? This is for fun and for having a tasty brew or twenty. *big grins*

3. Anybody who has been on a PC for longer than a year should have lost ALL faith in computers and their ability to think. Or stay running. . . . Have I mentioned lately that I love my mini? And that it hasn't crashed on me at all in the almost year that I have had it? *grins* Even my linux box couldn't say that.

And mmi - my goddess, stop the calculus!!! My brain, my poor defenseless brain! *big grins*

Johnnybladers
08-04-2006, 09:22 PM
While I've no experience in calculus or engineering, I seem to recall a conversation with a friend of mine (he and I work in the same metal pattern {think tool and die} shop) about averages and a statistics class he particpated in. I think the differences being spoken of is the difference between mean and median averages. My mind set sees more value in the sum of a set of numbers divided by the number of numbers in the set (mean average- 200 miles traveled/10 gallons of gas= 20mpg). If I'm not making sense to anyone who knows better, keep in mind I'm drinking an average of one pint of freshly made Golden Bough Braggot per 20 minutes for the past 2 hours. Some pints went faster, some slower, but in two hours, 6 pints went bottoms up. My friend's favorite quote from that statistics class? "Figures lie and liars figure"..go figure.
Jon

akueck
08-05-2006, 02:17 AM
Ok, time for more loose change...

About the correctness of the mileage numbers, I'm a little on the fence. The more practically useful MPG number is, to me, the # gallons gas bought/# miles traveled. It has direct bearing on your wallet, whereas the number on the screen really doesn't. However, one must consider that the car computer can also be correct, since it is presumably calculating the number of miles traveled as a direct result of burning a gallon of gas. Other factors make the car move (gravity, momentum, etc) that do not require gas, so it's certainly possible for the numbers to differ.

To the math, I'm of the mind that the instantaneous average (if that's what the car computer is giving) should be, on average (haha), the gas pump average. Driving around in a friend's Prius today, going downhill the "instantaneous" MPG was 99.9 (the display limit). Uphill it was around 18. I'm sure at the pump it's somewhere in between. And certainly no one was claiming to get 99 MPG in their Prius just because the computer said so. All the calculus talk seems to me superfluous. Averages generally require little math, and calculus really isn't that exciting, if you want to quote higher math concepts. (I'm an engineering PhD student who knows precious little math, but calculus I do understand.)

And I agree very much with Angus on the whole "refusing to think" idea. Every so often I catch myself grabbing a calculator to add, and I think "why do I need a calculator? Am I that dumb?" Yup, I am, though I usually still put the damn thing down and spend 2 seconds doing it myself. It's just easier to not think, and so people don't. I'm guilty of it; I'm sure we all are. Personally I think the reason it's getting worse (and I think it is, considering the developed world as a whole) is because there are few consequences to believing the machines. 5000 years ago, if we believed everything we saw blindly, no questions, we'd be dead. Now it's no big deal (from a life/death standpoint). Call it evolution :)

Muirghein Tarot
08-05-2006, 04:21 AM
Asking me about numbers and math is universally a bad idea my brain isn't wired that way but I had a thought about all this calculating and number crunching.
Has anyone thought to factor in weight. The more that vehicle weighs the harder the engine has to runs to move it so the more gas it uses. Where is this weight coming from?

The gas.

I don't know the exact weight of say twenty gallons of gas but I can tell the difference in the way my truck moves when the tank is full verses when it is near empty.
Going back and forth to work is a short trip for me but in a weeks time I use enough to have just under a half a tank come Friday. I guess that would be around five eighths of a tank used in a week.
From a half tank in a weeks driving I end up with just below a quarter which would be a fuel use of three eighths of a tank.
The only difference is the weight of the truck. I drive the same roads and have to stop at nearly the same lights every day. Same driving habits, same miles per hour.

Now as for thinking for yourself.

It's a provable fact the past thirty years of warning labels have let the stupid people live long enough to breed! Think I'm wrong? The smartest people in our society are suppose to be the rocket scientists. Why did NASA crash a billion dollar space explorer into Mars? Because one group did their calculations in meters and the other group did theirs in feet.
And no body checked it before it launched.
Of course I can't say I'm any better than they are. I'm in a group where several times a year we go live like where homeless and the main enjoyment is to let another person hit you with a stick.
::)
Tarot.

Oskaar
08-05-2006, 04:52 AM
Akeueck, nicely put! I agree with you about the math. When I was a Medical Technologist I used to run freezing point depression, osmolarity/osmolality and a bunch of other stuff in my head on the fly because it was part of my every day routine. It didn't really equate to a facilty for math or higher chemistry (although I minored in Chemistry) calculations as much as it was a function of simple rote. I still run simple stuff in my head but when it comes to hammering out a bunch of numbers I'll fire up a spreadsheet or run the calculator. ;)

MT, you can really get involved with variables that affect the overall mileage with things like you mentioned such as weight as well as drag coefficient, tire size, tire inflation, alignment, front or rear wheel drive, four wheel drive, etc. etc. I tend to be bluntly pragmatic and just figure out how far I drove, and how much gas was consumed in the trip. From there I pretty much know everything I'm interested in knowing because ultimately that's going to equate to how many floozies will be attending the after-party for the next Exxon/Mobile board/stockholder meeting.

Cheers,

Oskaar

DeltOgre
08-13-2006, 12:30 PM
I think that technology has devolved humans, as far as their capacity for basic reasoning and abstract thought are concerned.

Take, for instance, the onset of the computer age and, along with it, the advent of "spell checker." Along comes this nifty little thing that tells you if something is spelled right or wrong, so you no longer have to worry about it. Dictionary sales plummet. The world falls into chaos... Why?

No one know how to spell, anymore...

How do I know? Because the computer knows that "no" is spelled correctly, but NOT that the writer has MEANT to type in "know."

Or "there," "their," and "they're."
Or "your" and "you're."
Or the fact that, just because there is more than one thing, a great many people add an apostrophe when, in fact, they do not mean, in any way, shape, or form, to imply possession.

Do you have a Sam's Club in your area? Go check the sign in front. It should say something like "Its About the Savings," or something like that. They actually forgot the apostrophe! No one seems to know when to put one in, and when to leave it out!!!

The written word is a lost art, and I believe that it will eventually lead to a collapse of our communications, be they interpersonal or otherwise. As our language devolves, our society will follow...

And you were all worried about gas mileage...

scout
08-13-2006, 09:30 PM
I would buy your example about spell checkers, Ogre, if it weren't for the fact that most people I have seen don't bother to USE THEM! *big grins*

DeltOgre
08-13-2006, 09:43 PM
Yeah... That's because some of them are "automated," now... Most people take that for granted, I guess.

Oskaar
08-13-2006, 11:30 PM
Hey Delt!

You're right about the devolution of grammar and spelling and its relation to the rise of automated spelling and grammar checkers. In the days of yore (couldn’t resist throwing another “yore” into the mix) the fundamentals of spelling and grammar were drilled into your head by stern faced matrons or even ruler wielding nuns who would mete out swift hickory justice in a flash if you didn’t follow their game plan. I went to parochial school (and had a dubious flirtation with parochial-military school) and to me it’s really interesting to see the curriculum out there at now at the similar grade levels as when I attended “Grammar School.” We were learning to read and write Greek, Latin and English along with grammar and composition at a pretty early age. We were expected to spell correctly when writing out our Latin and Greek translations, and we were graded down when our grammar, punctuation or spelling were wrong in any of the languages.

So to have automated tools is very nice, but it’s still incumbent upon the writer to make the necessary changes or corrections for composition and readability. I think a lot of folks just get lazy and as suggested below take it on faith that the automated tools relieve them of any responsibility for style, substance or form. Regardless of that, I still see so many spelling and grammar errors in emails because many people don’t even bother to use the automated tools available to them to at least make it look like they can spell and compose.

Cheers,

Oskaar

lostnbronx
08-14-2006, 02:26 AM
Strictly regarding the spelling, grammar, and language issues involved, and stepping slowly and carefully around the MPG debate (which, as Angus points out, is actually beside the point entirely), I believe we are in a period of rapid evolution -- both of society and of the very fabric of language.

I agree that the ability to spell and compose sentences is fading away. This is not a new phenomenon, though. One only has to read the correspondences of people, say, 150 years ago, to see a basic difference. The letters of Civil War soldiers, for instance -- and not of the so-called "educated men" at the front, but just the average men from farms and cities across the country -- were astonishingly eloquent by modern standards. This difference didn't just occur with the advent of computers; it's been an ongoing process of change in our society, and not an erosion of thought or culture.

Language is an exceptionally dynamic thing, and it will change as the times and cultures of it's users do. Words come and go as required by people -- as do the rules of grammar. Many Victorian-era sentences would be considered run ons and poorly formed if written today. And I, too, find the misuse of words like "your, you're, and yore" to be difficult to read.

But let's be honest for a moment: having three words that are spelled similarly and pronounced the same, yet which have entirely different meanings is ridiculous! This is not intuitive by any means and it's hardly necessary, as constructed languages like Esperanto prove out. We tend to consider a person who cannot use these words correctly in written communication as being at least somewhat ignorant -- and I suppose they are as far as that goes.

But today's English will not be tomorrow's, and technological influences like spellcheck programs will have a place in that evolution -- just as the printing press had an eventual influence in codifying the English language (acting mostly as a spur by making the written word more and more common in everyday life, and thus, starkly illuminating a very real need to make the spelling and construction of it less idiosyncratic and easier to read).

Angus' friend was convinced his car's computer was right, and more-or-less refused to hear any counter-arguments. Has he given up on thinking, and turned over his decisions to a machine? Well, possibly, but throughout all of human history, at all technological and sociological levels of progress and decay, there have always been stubborn men. You could just as easily make the argument that technology is the new religion for many people, and that some of them are dogged, even pig-headed, in their blind faith in it. There's always been something that some people have had perfect trust in for less-than-logical reasons. Very often they're right (if for no other reason than statistical chance), and this only reinforces their opinion...or the object of their faith fails them somehow, but this failure is put down to some prejustified reason or other, which, again, only reinforces their view. It isn't until there has been a shift in society as a whole that you see the old faith fade as a new one comes along to replace it, because there will always be a new one to replace it.

I don't know this guy, of course, so I can't speak to his personality, but I've met people who act this way -- some of them quite smart and/or highly educated -- and it mostly comes down to temperament and worldview, I think. And I'd hazard to say that if you had a time machine, you'd find lots of people, both in the past and the future, who do the same thing. Computers are tools, and you either trust in your tools and your ability to utilize them, or you don't. And you either have an open mind about them or you don't. This comes from experience and personality, I believe, and not from laziness.

Going back to the language issue for a moment; why do you suppose we see CEO's and important world leaders today, in addition to ordinary folks, who can't spell or construct sentences worth a damn? You can say it's the schools or the influence of technology or the alignment of the stars, but the plain fact is nobody cares. It's not very important anymore to most people if you can string two words together -- that's seen mostly as a specialized skill or talent, much like plumbing or electrical work, which can be hired out or delegated if deemed absolutely necessary, or ignored if not. And few people have a problem with this anymore, because if they did, it wouldn't be tolerated. In days of yore, people who filled their letters with misspellings and bad sentence construction would have never risen in any organization. But in this day and age, why bother sweating over details like proper English spellings or transposed words when you have spellcheck and a secretary or intern to take care of those details; or even if they don't take care of them, few people will even mind or notice?

What's important to us today is different than what was important yesterday, and different still from what was important the day before. It stands to reason, then, that tomorrow's values will be equally as alien. We're not likely to find the change a comfortable one; but someone, someday, will look back at our time now with surprise, wonder, and maybe some envy for our abilities. And like our current lament for the fading of certain skills in our society (read that, changing times), the admiration of us by future generations will likely tell more about what they value -- or even romanticize -- than it will about what we do now.

Yeesh! This is disgustingly long! My apologies to anyone who made it this far!

-David

Dan McFeeley
08-14-2006, 02:52 AM
It's not technology alone, there is also our wired up, start/stop lifestyle that plays a role. A few years back, I was talking with a professor at a nearby college and he had noted a change in student response to lecture. Attention span is shorter, they need more of the "bells and whistles" of multi-media approaches, otherwise they get bored too quickly.

Oskaar
08-14-2006, 08:47 AM
Damnit!! Where's my remote....uh...what were you saying Dan?

mminuet
08-14-2006, 09:28 AM
someone, someday, will look back at our time now with surprise, wonder, and maybe some envy for our abilities.

You can tally me as one who is presently envious of your writing abilities. You have a beautiful turn of phrase, and I'm crazy about the interesting word usements you structure.

Angus
08-14-2006, 12:18 PM
Language is a touchy subject in my family due to my mother's education and current employment (she works for a newspaper as a proof reader). I spent all of my life being corrected in my grammar, spelling and usage (e.g. when to use 'fewer than' instead of 'less than'). My counter argument was always that if language did not evolve as society advanced, the whole world would be grunting at each other, or speaking some early Sumerian dialect. The problem now, as has been pointed out below, is that people are becoming too lazy to learn the basics.

Computers have taken over the task of correcting spelling and grammar, which is fine, but they cannot ensure the correct word is being used. This is a pity since language, properly used, is a beautiful thing that should be encouraged. Our future, I fear, will devolve in2 ez & fast txt msg's...lol :-\. Are computers entirely to blame though? As David pointed out, language seems to have been declining in importance for longer than the PC has been a part of our lives. Could there be another suspect?

Perhaps mass media entertainment has slowly eroded the need for people to read. Books are no longer the primary source of entertainment, and it is from the printed word that people learn how to use the English language properly. Another friend of mine has a son who refuses to read a book since "everything you need is out there on the internet already". As expected, he is currently flunking English in school. Now, this does not mean that I reject the value of the internet or my television. After all, without one, I would not be able to watch the Mythbusters or Extreme Engineering. But, along with the good programming, come shows like Sweet Sixteen, which teach our kids nothing of value other than how to behave like a spoiled brat. What will the future generations opinion of us be when confronted with that sort of horrible "entertainment"?

Angus

P.S. I mispelled both usage (useage) and opinion (oppinion) in just this short entry. My mother would be so proud :)

WRATHWILDE
08-14-2006, 03:19 PM
Writing ability, and the expectation of such, has declined considerably in the video age. People seem to have become much more visually oriented, and the media has become much better at exploiting it. You can see it in the progression of film and television over the years. The dialog and story line of most any movie pre 1960 is better than most anything you'll find today, but the audience was different, less visual with a shared set of values and expectations. Characters that inspired, and people aspired to emulate... elegant, educated, sophisticated and suave. To the visual set, these are cold, boring people, shallow, vain and disconnected from their true nature. The visual set seem to find truth in immediate observation, feeling and actions... not contemplation, logic and rhetoric.

Unfortunately, I'm off to work, I'll expand on this later.

Wrathwilde

lostnbronx
08-14-2006, 05:52 PM
You can tally me as one who is presently envious of your writing abilities. You have a beautiful turn of phrase, and I'm crazy about the interesting word usements you structure.


Sea, cuz I is so whell red is why I is a riter, is why I is. :-X

Thank you!

-David

Muirghein Tarot
08-14-2006, 06:57 PM
I know that some of you are older than my own 35 years and, have seen more of life than I have. Some of you attended colleges where your minds got filled or emptied depending on what kind of school you went to. But if you will allow me to put my spin on this.

In my life I have seen TV go from three channels you had to get up to change, to in some cases over 900 channels you can change from anywhere in the house. Delivered to you with multiple surround sound systems than mimic the best movie theaters in the world.

My voice is preserved on several reel to reel tapes from when I was two. Now I can have it on something the size of a match box. I remember trying to record onto cassettes from the radio and thinking that was the greatest thing in the world. To listen to a song when every I wanted to. Now, I can have my whole music collection on something smaller than a pack of cigarettes!

And the Phone! Oh my god! It has gone from being stuck to the wall and no body wanting to answer it to containing more computing power than the Apollo moon lander! It takes pictures, It played music, It tells you the time, It gives you the news, and about a million other things. No matter where you go no every body has one. The next generations going to be born with their heads tilted!

Are me a generation growing up to lazy to use a dictionary? Are we to lazy to pay attention in class so that we learn when 'I' goes before 'E'? Are we going to lose the ability to read and write coherent sentences?

No. Yes. Maybe.

We are the generation that has been burned out by a never ending assault on our mind!. If I had the time to find my dictionary and go back threw every thing I type I would have time for the million other things I'm behind on. It takes me around a minute to spell check a post or a letter. It would take considerable longer for me to use a dictionary.

That is minutes out of my life I don't have to give. I took up mead making as a way of slowing my life down some. Since it takes so long to make it makes me look beyond the end of the next work week. Will my spelling and use of grammar be as precise as say my grandfathers? Maybe not, but I am living a better life than he did. I didn't spend my youth picking crops in someone field for pocket change like he did.

I honor the generations before mine. They did things I never will. By the same token I have in my few years done things my grandparents never could have. Here I am typing a post on a computer they could never have envisioned to people a world away. Probably going to be chastised by those very people for my lack of grammar but hey. ;) It's my best and that is all that can be ask of any person.


What will the future generations opinion of us be when confronted with that sort of horrible "entertainment"?

Three generations ago they considered public hangings and freak shows to be quality entertainment. Do you think less of them for that? Not really. It was what they did in their time. So it will be for us when I bones are dry.

And yes I will use a spell checker on this one as well or you would see that my spelling would make what David just posted look perfect.

Tarot.

Ps David- I know people who talk just like that! Lol

WRATHWILDE
08-15-2006, 01:16 AM
I know that some of you are older than my own 35 years

36 years here.



If I had the time to find my dictionary and go back threw every thing I type I would have time for the million other things I'm behind on. It takes me around a minute to spell check a post or a letter. It would take considerable longer for me to use a dictionary.
That is minutes out of my life I don't have to give.

Apple's OS X has the Oxford American Dictionary/Thesaurus built in, all I have to do is left click and choose (Look Up in Dictionary). No more time wasted pulling out the dictionary. ;D

I'm a fanatic about using words that convey precisely the meaning I intend. Usually my posts will get two scans for readability before I post them, and the OS is set to automatically flag misspelled words as I type. Growing up my father always insisted, from a very early age, that we say what we mean, and mean what we say. It did cause some problems growing up, I tended to take what people said literally, and thought they meant what they said.

Then you run across people who think they know the meanings of words but either the word makes no sense in the context it was given or more frequently the word has a meaning opposite of the one the conveyor believed. I think this comes from hearing and/or reading a word in such a way that you think you comprehend its meaning, but never bother to look it up.

I had a roommate that this happened with all the time. For some reason during her learning process she had assumed definitions of numerous words that were 180 degrees of actual. There was constant confusion when topics were revisited. If I summarized her position, she'd say that's not what I said. When I'd quote her back word for word, she'd say right, that's what I meant. When I'd point out that both were stating the very same thing, she'd insist that they weren't. When I'd define the word in question and show her that what she said was 180 degrees of what she intended, she would claim... "Well you know what I meant." Which wasn't always the case. Great Gal to party with though, and intelligent when not using the words she had "learned" wrong.

I enjoy taking life slow, so I always have time for myself and the time to do things right.

Wrathwilde

DeltOgre
08-15-2006, 09:15 AM
Wrath, you said it, brother...

All I'm seeing, thus far, on this thread, is a list of excuses as to why no one bothers to polish their communications these days.

I don't have time. (A minute?)
I don't need to. (Why not?)
No one cares. (Further evidence of the degradation of the fabric of society.)

The facts are as follows:

1. Up until the computer age, people were much more cognizant of their communications. People wrote eloquently, communicated effectively, and weren't ignorant of their language.

For instance, do you really think "threw" when you mean "through," Tarot? Your spell checker didn't catch it, since it's spelled "correctly," in spite of the fact that it is the wrong usage of the word. I "got what you said," but it didn't convey the actual meaning that you meant to impart, threw a wrench into the works, and derailed my thought process just enough to keep me from giving much credibility to what you wrote.

None of that is likely fair to you. I can imagine that you are an exceptionally intelligent man, but without effective communications in this format, it's difficult, at best.

2. Sorry, Bronx, but I have to disagree on your assessment that this has been a gradual process. Certainly, certain subgroups of the general population have been experimenting with different colloquialisms throughout human history, but the actual degeneration of the language is a new phenomenon. Think of it this way; some bebop jazzy beatnik-type from the 1920s might have said, "Get on the trolley, hepcat," but he sure as hell would have been able to spell it correctly, and punctuate it, to boot!

Ever since the dawn of rapid-fire communications, which is a relatively recent development, people have been giving up on giving a crap, which leads others to give up, since no one else seems to care, which leads yet others... You get the drift. THAT'S degradation.

And it's happening at an incredible pace. Before you know it, people who can diagram a sentence won't exist, and we'll be back to telling stories by carving totems.

3. I apologize for picking on you, Tarot, but you've illustrated the previous points, as well as this one, perfectly with the following paragraph:

"We are the generation that has been burned out by a never ending assault on our mind!. If I had the time to find my dictionary and go back threw every thing I type I would have time for the million other things I'm behind on. It takes me around a minute to spell check a post or a letter. It would take considerable longer for me to use a dictionary."

- "Never ending" should be one word.
- "!." is completely unnecessary.
- "threw" we've covered...
- "...I type COMMA I would..."
- "considerable" should be "considerably."

That took me around a minute. Smell me, right?

The points to make are that we have given up on our own abilities, and we are making ourselves overly busy.

On the first point, if you would take the time to type correctly, think your thoughts through, and put them down in an orderly fashion, then the extra minute or so you were spending would save you the ten minutes of editing, correcting, etc. Do it while you write it. The problem is that most people just never bothered to learn it in the first place. So why did so many "uneducated" people a mere 50 years ago have that ability, but we don't?

On the second point, I've been in the hectic business world for a while, now, and I'm always astonished at the people who equate "running late" and "too busy" with "success." I could honestly take a day to discuss this particular phenomenon... Suffice it to say that there is no reason in the world to exhaust oneself in the name of "success." If you are too busy to take a minute to properly edit something you've written, then your life needs some rearranging...

Naturally, that's just my opinion, and what do I know? I'm "only" 29...

WRATHWILDE
08-15-2006, 03:07 PM
Hey DeltOgre,

I was going to ask where you reside, but I think I've got it worked out. Cow-Lumbers translates to Columbus and Ohio translates to Blow-hio. I was thinking a bunch of us could get together for a Great Lakes Area Mead tasting... maybe in October, or possibly next spring to give your batches some more time to come into their own? Anybody interested, and know of a good location to hold it... preferably somewhere around the southern shores of Lake Michigan.

Wrathwilde

yabodie
08-15-2006, 04:40 PM
I might be opening myself up for a few rants on this thread’s topic.

Regarding spelling: I admit I am a horrible speller, and if it was not for spell checker in MS word, I would be doomed. I too, always have spell checker on auto check. I happen to have a difficult time spelling English words when they are not spelled how they sound. I much prefer phonetic spelling of a word. That is why I like how Russian words and most German words are spelt. I can’t speak for the other languages as I am not familiar with them. This is why I try my best to type my posts in Word, have them spell checked and hope I did not miss anything in my dyslexic melon.

Regarding punctuation and grammar: I also have to admit I have never once stepped into a grammar class in my life, even after 22 years in school. The one class which killed punctuation for me was in undergrad. Our papers were graded out of 4 points and we were docked 0.5 points for every comma splice, but no points were taken off without a comma in its proper place. Thus, I stopped putting commas or any punctuation in my papers for that class. This practice, unfortunately, carried through to this day. I have to remind myself that yes, commas to exist and they should be used. So I have taken the stance on trying to relearn, or undo, what I was taught in school. The next couple generations are even worse off with text messaging and shorthand messages. Should be interesting to see how they turn out in a few.

Anyway, that’s my loose change. Feel free to rant…

I am off to enjoy the simple things in life, my homemade mead and my family.

Cheers.

Muirghein Tarot
08-15-2006, 06:17 PM
3. I apologize for picking on you, Tarot, but you've illustrated the previous points, as well as this one, perfectly with the following paragraph:

"We are the generation that has been burned out by a never ending assault on our mind!. If I had the time to find my dictionary and go back threw every thing I type I would have time for the million other things I'm behind on. It takes me around a minute to spell check a post or a letter. It would take considerable longer for me to use a dictionary."

- "Never ending" should be one word.
- "!." is completely unnecessary.
- "threw" we've covered...
- "...I type COMMA I would..."
- "considerable" should be "considerably."



Correct on all the above except for the "!". It was placed at the end of that sentence to emphasize the statement I was trying to make. For a tenth grade drop out who failed English freshman, and sophomore year I don't do to shabby in making myself understood. It was not technology that led me down the paths I have walked in grammar, but a understaffed, under-budgeted school system. The school I went to had a freshman class of 400+ and a senior class of twenty. That and I'm a southern boy with a slow drawl. ;D
Tarot.

PS Reading back that sentence to myself I say never ending quite distinctly as two words, and My dictionary doesn't list it as two. Shrugs.

DeltOgre
08-15-2006, 06:35 PM
Wrath... Where are you, bro? I thought more toward the middle of the country... Definitely up for a mead tasting, though, to be sure!

Yabodie... You were docked for commas? The horror!!!

Tarot... Thanks, first off, for being a good sport. It shows what a Southern Gentleman you are, and I, for one, appreciate that. (My family is from Harlan County, Kentucky.)

As far as that "!." was concerned, the period was what I was referring to... Anyways...

More importantly, I saw your post as the perfect reference piece; you had admitted that you had used the spell checker, and yet it was rife with errors...

Anyways, peace to all y'all (Tarot knows EXACTLY what I mean, there...) and I hope we can all get together for some serious drinkin' sometime soon...

Muirghein Tarot
08-15-2006, 06:53 PM
As far as that "!." was concerned, the period was what I was referring to...

I just had to check that one three times to see what you were talking about. Good eyes. That would be a 'typo'. I don't know if I would have seen that one if I had checked it myself. I don't quite hen peck the keys but I do have to look at where my fingers are going. :-[

Tarot.

yabodie
08-15-2006, 07:28 PM
DeltOgre,
Yup, we were docked for every misplaced comma. So, to the detriment of my punctuation, I worked the system to pass the class, by avoiding punctuation altogether. Sad thing is the issue was not dealt with by any professor from that point on in multiple university systems. It seems like grammar has fallen to the wayside. Maybe we should go back to sending snail-mail and actually hand-writing letters, etc. Then, maybe, we can get back to better penmanship, and figure out why the MPG average calculated by an onboard computer differs from the average number of miles driven on a tank of gas…

Now, back to my mead…

DeltOgre
08-15-2006, 08:19 PM
Yeah... let's get back to the things that matter the most!!!

I, for one, have FIVE BRAND NEW ONE GALLON JUGS WITH MATCHING RUBBER STOPPERS AND AIRLOCKS THAT ARE JUST DYING TO BE FILLED!

I think I should get right on that.

Also wik: Wrath, hombre, the missus says that we are in dire need of a mead tasting, as we are yet to have a taste of anyone else's mead. Thus, we are very unsure as to the quality of our own. We like it, but is it really mead-like? How will we know without ever having tasted yours?

You see, if I were to follow your directions for, say, a homegrown orange tree to the letter, except that I had accidentally planted apple seeds, instead, and I had never, ever in my life seen either, how would I know that the thing that I was calling an orange was really an apple? My perception (That being that I had planted an orange tree...) would be faulty, and I would have attributed the wrong moniker to the poor, defenseless plant.

This, folks, is what fraternity living, impetuous youth, and a philosophy-heavy liberal arts education cause...

WRATHWILDE
08-16-2006, 01:53 AM
Also wik: Wrath, hombre, the missus says that we are in dire need of a mead tasting, as we are yet to have a taste of anyone else's mead. Thus, we are very unsure as to the quality of our own. We like it, but is it really mead-like? How will we know without ever having tasted yours?


DeltOgre,
I'm in Dubuque, Iowa. Angus is in Milwaukee and I'd wager that he'd be up for a Great Lakes Mead tasting. I'd like to see if we can get Dan McFeeley to join us... I believe he's in Illinois somewhere. I think GrantLee63, David Baldwin, Kace069 and ScottS are all in Michigan. ScottS spends most of his time moderating the Mead Forum over at winepress.us, but he's also a member here. I'm sure there are other members in the area that would enjoy getting together.

I'll start a new thread to see what we can come up with. Great Lakes Mead Tasting (http://www.gotmead.com/component/option,com_smf/Itemid,103/topic,4304.0)

Cheers,
Wrathwilde

Oskaar
08-16-2006, 06:08 AM
Wrath,

I saw an http error in your tags so I made the fix for you. Hope you don't mind. :-\

Also, if you can con ScottS into being there he'd be a great asset to the tasting. Scott is very knowledgable and a great guy to boot. He's also running his own family farm, producing honey, making mead commercially and generally kicking ass and taking names. Get him there if you are able, you won't be sorry!

Cheers,

Oskaar

DeltOgre
08-16-2006, 07:05 AM
Shoot (Which, according to George Carlin, is really a familiar four-letter word with two Os...), we should just have the tasting at his place!!!

I, unlike the better part of Central Ohio, actually like Michigan, and enjoy all the time that I've spent there. Besides, Ted Nugent is from there. It can't be all that bad...