41
   

What insight have you gained from you profession/education that the layman doesn't understand?

 
 
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 12:38 pm
Another pretentious thread from me, I'm afraid.

I would like for you to give me, (the layman) the insight, the philosophy, the world-view that you have accumulated over the years, so I can cheat my way out of ignorance without adopting multiple careers.

I want to put mine in later (well, the acquired philosophy of two years worth of degree, nothing more) even though I suppose it may do better here to act as an example.
Hum.
I mean, say you're an engineer, how do you feel when you make your calculations? How has your knowledge of engineering affected your worldview? If you work with materials, what is your relationship with them? How do you see things that I may not? What statements do you overhear on the train that make you grit your teeth because they're so ignorant?

I know people normally shy away from this kind of thing because it isn't cocktail conversation, but here is your opportunity to be as narcissistic as you like. Please.
Tell me what only YOU understand about what you do. Have a rant if you like.

Thank you, pq.
 
George
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 12:49 pm
I could tell you,
but then I'd have to kill you.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 12:51 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
I don't think it's pretentious at all, and if anyone does, **** 'em.

I'll be back, I need to put some serious thought into this.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 12:53 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
well, I could tell you but I'm educated whereas you are a lay(wo)man and wouldn't understand so it would be a waste of my time.
0 Replies
 
kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 01:01 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
"When things get big the rules change."

Simply it became well recognized a century ago by physicists grappling with Newtonian Physics formulas to define how the atom worked. They don't, because of the mass of the particles.

In my field, polymers, the same thing is true, and knowing the critical size of a polymer and whether it acts like its functional group, or whether it becomes polymeric "stuff" has helped me save more than one fiber spinning plant and millions of dollars.

But more importantly, in life, recognizing that as things get bigger and more complicated one might be wrong in using the same ways of looking at them as one does when things were not so big or complicated.
Francis
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 01:06 pm
Once, someone biding me an adieu, wrote me:

Quote:
My hunches tell me that you're married to your work, for whatever reasons you haven't mentioned.


She was right, my job is my happiness...
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 01:08 pm
i work on cars sometimes.

when every part is in working order, they run perfectly.

all it takes is one faulty component for the whole works to gum up and quit functioning. (usually a small one)

also, routine maintenance saves time and money over the long haul.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 01:30 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
people really dont know **** about their food until they have to raise it or bust it on the head and skin it.
George
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 01:33 pm
@farmerman,
Quote:
people really dont know **** about their food until they have to raise it or bust
it on the head and skin it

. . . and that's the way I like it, to tell you the truth.
fresco
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 01:38 pm
@kuvasz,
Kuvasz raises an important point about levels of discourse. To a large extent the phrase "history is bunk" may be valid when historians anthropomorphise the actions of countries with phrases like "Russia wanted..." etc. Such insight came for me from contrasting psychological and sociological approaches to human behaviour.

Another point with which kuvasz might concur is about simplistic lay concepts of "facts" . Science degrees tend to stress the constant restructuring of theories rather than the seeking of "truth". For example the "layman" might assume that the heliocentric solar system is "a fact" or "the reality" when in essence its adoption was based on the elegance of the model relative to convoluted alternatives. Ironically, the layman still uses a geocentric model for everyday purposes when he talks of the sun "rising and setting". This point leads to many others regarding "elegance" and "mathematical symmetry" with which the layman is ill-equipped to deal("negative time" in electrodynamics being one that springs to mind).


Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 01:43 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
One thing in my field, that happens is over-regulation. What the boneheads in government do not realize is that the more regulation and the more disclosure that we are required to provide, the higher the costs for our shareholders.

Some regulations are necessary and some disclosure is necessary and should be provided, unfortunately in the past 5 years, these disclosures have caused huge costs and to be honest not much insight for shareholders. So the cost ultimately are passed down to the owners of these investments with little or no benefit. I suppose it does keep me gainfully employed though.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 02:12 pm
@George,
Quote:
. . . and that's the way I like it, to tell you the truth.


Unless you can pick them from the blueberries, youll never know how many spiders are in a commercially made pie.

George
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 02:16 pm
@farmerman,
Quote:
Unless you can pick them from the blueberries, youll never know how many
spiders are in a commercially made pie.

That's right. I won't.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 03:29 pm
@George,
knowing that there is an abundance of spidermeat in a commercial blueberry pie, will you still eat said pies.
roger
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 03:49 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
What the layman usually doesn't understand it that just because the books are balanced, they don't necessarily reflect reality.

Also, your car doesn't depreciate just because you drove it off the new car lot, or had an accident. Go ahead and talk that way; we know what you mean.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Jul, 2009 10:28 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
I'm a physicist by training. Layman generally don't understand relativity theory and quantum mechanics, both of which were staples in my education.
aidan
 
  2  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 12:25 am
@Thomas,
What I learned in the practical application of my education (not the theoretical part of my education) that I didn't already know- is to what extent some people have to struggle- and how resilient a lot of very young people are.
I've also observed that that the power of that resilience seems to fade as people get older.

I don't assume that other people don't know anything that I know - that's another thing I've learned- sometimes the most unlikely people know the most amazing things.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 03:33 am
Where a layman sees pretty scenery and colored soils, I see clues. It can get to be like a constant hum or a symphony note in your head however. Having ideas about how an earth system works can get in the way of enjoying the pretty scenery.

I once was standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon and people ere all oohing and aahing. I was following a single bed around the horizon and trying to recontruct some tectonic feature.

Bummer.
George
 
  2  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 06:38 am
@farmerman,
Quote:
knowing that there is an abundance of spidermeat in a commercial blueberry
pie, will you still eat said pies.

I would prefer to add my own at serving, but, yes.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Thu 30 Jul, 2009 06:52 am
Considering how fragile computer networks are, I'm constantly amazed that Internet keeps working.

Especially considering how many malicious people there are out there.

I'm also constantly amazed at what people will install on their computers.

These aren't really great insights into how the world works, though....
 

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