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  #1  
Old 05-19-2018, 06:28 PM
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ebacon ebacon is offline
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Numbers

A few years ago my daughter recited books of the Bible to me. I learned that there is a book titled Numbers. WTF? I had been pissed off for decades that Americans count everything and suddenly I was gobsmacked that there might be some rationalization for the odd behavior.

What guidance does the book of Numbers provide in the context of public policy, if any? I truly do not know.

The nearest that I have been to the intersection of god and numbers is in the context of calibrating electronic instruments. A calibration lab that I worked with had standards for the volt and second that were traceable to the National Bureau of Standards, now NIST I guess. The calibration lab techs referred to the rack of standards as "God". I thought the reference was funny at the time.

About twenty years later I took a walking tour of Regensburg, Germany. During that tour I learned that their town hall still has the old standards of length mounted near the doorway. Tradesmen that did business in the town had to trade in units according to the Regensburg standard. That story made sense.

It also makes sense that as goods traded across political boundaries, say by ship, there was political pressure to agree on a more general standard such as the meter. That story makes sense.

Where my mind twists into knots is somehow, in America, every number has been rationalized as needing to exist. IMO hell no. Not every number matters. Numbers need to have a story to justify their existence. The Bible has a story of Numbers. Regensburg has a story of Numbers. Scientists have a story of Numbers.

But America has a shitpot full of numbers and no story to justify them. Even worse, it has a public policy based on numbers. Why? WHY? Grrr.

It felt good to let out that rant.

Peace!
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Old 05-19-2018, 09:11 PM
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Good bratwurst in Regensburg - skinny, little ones that you eat in large numbers. Yum.
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Old 05-19-2018, 09:34 PM
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icenine icenine is offline
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I use the NIST website to set my thrift store watches after I have put in a new battery.
The Casio G-Shocks are the hardest to match with the NIST time display.
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Old 05-20-2018, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebacon View Post
A few years ago my daughter recited books of the Bible to me. I learned that there is a book titled Numbers. WTF? I had been pissed off for decades that Americans count everything and suddenly I was gobsmacked that there might be some rationalization for the odd behavior.

What guidance does the book of Numbers provide in the context of public policy, if any? I truly do not know.

The nearest that I have been to the intersection of god and numbers is in the context of calibrating electronic instruments. A calibration lab that I worked with had standards for the volt and second that were traceable to the National Bureau of Standards, now NIST I guess. The calibration lab techs referred to the rack of standards as "God". I thought the reference was funny at the time.

About twenty years later I took a walking tour of Regensburg, Germany. During that tour I learned that their town hall still has the old standards of length mounted near the doorway. Tradesmen that did business in the town had to trade in units according to the Regensburg standard. That story made sense.

It also makes sense that as goods traded across political boundaries, say by ship, there was political pressure to agree on a more general standard such as the meter. That story makes sense.

Where my mind twists into knots is somehow, in America, every number has been rationalized as needing to exist. IMO hell no. Not every number matters. Numbers need to have a story to justify their existence. The Bible has a story of Numbers. Regensburg has a story of Numbers. Scientists have a story of Numbers.

But America has a shitpot full of numbers and no story to justify them. Even worse, it has a public policy based on numbers. Why? WHY? Grrr.

It felt good to let out that rant.

Peace!
Trump, his "numbers" seem to be his only metric for feeding his insatiable narcissism.
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  #5  
Old 05-21-2018, 06:19 PM
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ebacon ebacon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icenine View Post
I use the NIST website to set my thrift store watches after I have put in a new battery.
The Casio G-Shocks are the hardest to match with the NIST time display.
Funny. As electronics makes the world go faster I search for ways to slow down my little part of it. One way is by maintaining an old mantle clock. Winding the chime spring every few days provides calming exercise and in its own little way lets me feel connected to timekeepers of yore, for example the people that set regulator clocks at train stations and kept time on sailing ships. That is the physical and emotional aspect of timekeeping for me.

What is funny is when I started to worry about the accuracy of the clock. It loses about a minute a day. It also has two timekeeping adjustment screws labeled "S" and "F". I imagine that they represent "Slower" and "Faster", but I do not know which ways to turn those two screws to make the movement dance together and make the clock just a wee bit faster. Sure I could go on the internet and find a video that explains how to make the adjustment. But for me the bigger question is whether I want increased accuracy. By accuracy I mean agreement with NIST in timekeeping.

That little mental exercise exposed both the utility and futility of the internet and its numbers. For on the same topic I searched the internet and learned that my mantle clock is only accurate to about a minute a day. In other words its timekeeping is flawless.

While practicing electronics a manager taught me that a man with two clocks does not know time it is. That discussion was in the context of synchronizing data in a single computer circuit and it made sense.

As I get older I wonder about whether there is human value in letting our individual timings get out of synchronization. I think there is. Resetting our clocks is a reason for gathering. We gather annually to witness dropping of the ball on New Year. We gather on weekends to reset more locally. In brick and mortar terms those timings manifest in things such as Times Square, local pubs, churches, and the like.

But at what point does increased accuracy of numbers and their timekeeping provide diminishing return? At some point a man with two clocks does not know what time is and doesn't care until it is gathering time. Enter the timeless value of village bells and clarion calls of trumpets.

That's my thought of numbers in a nutshell. They need a story to justify their existence. Not all numbers matter IMO.
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Last edited by ebacon; 05-21-2018 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 05-21-2018, 06:36 PM
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nailer nailer is offline
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1 + 1 = 2
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Old 05-21-2018, 08:17 PM
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mpholland mpholland is offline
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Aside from needing to be to work on time, I could really care less about keeping track of time. I have never been one to wear a watch, although I do own one. It has been in my top dresser drawer for about 15 years now. I do have a time piece I like. It is an old Empire cherry grandfather clock with a 9 tube backed Ural movement that was made by...my grandfather.
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