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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cooperation, or Lack Thereof

Planetary gears meshing STEP / IGES Rendering By Miloš Barbir
Detroit Steve sent me a link to Semantic Scholar, a search engine that ostensibly uses AI (Artifical Intelligence) to look papers of interest from the academic world. Might prove useful to some people. I don't think I will use it.
     Most of the academic papers I've looked at have been horrible. Filled with references and name dropping, they are almost impossible to read. And most of them presume an elevated level of familiarity with the jargon. It's like they don't want anyone to read it, much less understand it. But maybe that's just my bad luck. I have seen papers that were well written and I could understand, but they are few and far between.

I hired a guy to clean the gutters on my house yesterday. Near as I can tell, he climbs up on the roof and walks around with a leaf blower and blows all the crap out and away. If falls in the yard of course. Then he walks around the yard and blows it all into . . . where? Oblivion? It all seems to be gone in any case. I didn't watch too close because the back of the house is three stories high and I didn't want to distract him by having a heart attack from watching him walking around up there.
    He charged a pretty penny, but then he works for a service, and they get a cut. He's okay with that because they keep him supplied with customers. No surprise there. Seems like every line of work is like that. For every person who is doing the actual work, you need another person to manage the business: talking to clients, advertising, billing and booking.

Getting back to academia, I'm thinking a lot of researchers could use a person to take care of the business, i.e. a writer to write the papers. Preferably someone who knows how to write. They try to teach writing in high school and college, but until you spend some time writing you won't be any good at it. And if you're a gearhead like me, you won't spend any more time on in than necessary. Words are stupid, gears are cool. But not many people understand that, so I've been reduced to writing about gears. Serves me right, I suppose.

In order to have a partnership between people who do the work and people who provide the interface to the rest of the world, you need to have a certain level of trust and cooperation. And that can be hard to find, which explains why things continue to bump and grind along instead of running smoothly, like they would if everyone would just be a gear.

1 comment:

Scott Roberts said...

GearHeads are kewl - in Gladwell's parlance - Mavens. Connectors and Salespersons are also kewl. I am not a writer. Rather, I am more of a story-telling "Connector type" whom enjoys the complex challenges inherent in Thresholding (Steven A. Ericsson). The work involved in developing a successful or functional "configuration" that enables connections and exchanges between very different perspectives is the very thing that I happen to obsess about; The very thing that turns the gears inside of my own head 7 x 24 x 365 as depicted by the beautiful video simulacrum you included. Well done.

As a holder of philosophical interpretation and history, Steven Ericsson is a Maven. Though his writing can be exhaustive to absorb, his story-telling skills are magnifique, IMHO.

Writing is an art form for sure, and not everyone has the skills, nor time, to present their thoughts in a manner that speaks with clarity across all audiences in a holistic sense. Is not that one of the great historical challenges of our human condition.. or differing perspectives, cultures, values, languages, etc. Is this not driving new efforts to produce an HMI that is based on relative, rather than hierarchical data models? (Ref. F.A.C.E. Consortium Data Model and it's principle authors, Jeff, Stu & Ron).

I like what you are defining as a master puzzle.. one which make all of our gears turn. In that regard, perhaps there is foundational configuration that we all share, whether Maven, Connector, or Salesperson.

As a photographer, I believe what I would label (labels are often dangerously misleading) as The (Coming) Age of Imaging, with all credit to Dr. Erickson's pioneering work on his concept of "Thresholding." One challenge that I have been pursuing (without much success to date) is how to capture the journey one takes to innovate, to build, to create, etc. How can one capture in still photography? In one exposure? In multiple exposures? In a collage or sorts? Or is even possible at all.

This is what keeps me up at night, and gets me up early each morning. I love gear heads - most of my friends are scientists. On the other hand, I am an artist whom finds connection-making an idiomatic process, and, as the privileged keeper of their stories, I somehow feel I have great responsibility - to tell their stories through my own work, which in itself tedious, yet rewarding, grunt work.

May I have the opportunity to learn more about what turns your gears? Though not a data modeler, in the classical sense, I too am working on a universal HMI.. one that can threshold across the boundaries you described very nicely.


Scott Roberts
Sturgeon Bay, WI, USA