Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Someone listened to me! (I'm shocked)

In May I complained about the idiotic following of good guidelines for giving a presentation. The past two days I have spent with the same university group as they gave their fall update on projects (which my and other companies kindly pay for). Apparently somebody read my blog and got the point because only the professors and one or two new students followed the format so rigidly that it was comedic.

What a relief.

It made the nine hour day bearable. Even when half of the presentations involved finite element analysis. Now if I could only get them to move into reality and stop using such ridiculously idealized test systems. Maybe that's asking to much, though.


Douglas said...

I didn't know such a thing as idealized test systems existed. Isn't testing by it's nature "real world" as compared to idealized computer modeling. As I used to say to the FE jockeys before doing my modal tests. "Why don't you tell me what you think the answer is, and I'll tell you how wrong you are." Now that I do FE analysis myself, I have more appreciation for why they make so many idealizations.

At least you aren't working with mathematicians, though.


A farmer is worried because his cows are not giving much milk. So he asks his friends if they have any ideas how to fix the problem.

His biologist friend wants to run a lot of tests for diseases or poor nutrition - but the farmer thinks that would be too expensive and take too long.

His sociologist friend thinks the problem is the cows are bored. He suggests getting a landscape consultant to redesign the fields, getting a gardening expert to recommend some pretty flowers, playing music in the cowsheds, etc, etc. The farmer doesn't like any of that either.

So finally he goes to ask a mathematician.

The mathematician says, "What is your definition of a cow?". So he takes him into the cowshed to have a look.

The mathematician says, "OK, I need a flipchart and lots of paper". So he goes home, gets a chart and an easel, comes back, and sets it up in the cowshed.

He then draws a big circle with a dot in the middle. He stares at this for half an hour, then says:

"Theorem 1. Assume that a cow is a uniform sphere with mass m and radius r..."

euphrony said...

MB, when you work in drilling fluids, you find any test fluid that only has one component "idealized". A drilling mud can have upwards of 10-15 components, each competing with and complimenting each other is a dozen ways. When they take a simple starch or xanthan gum viscosified fluid and use it, they ignore a hundred different aspects of a full mud's behavior. I know they want to develop a basic understanding, but this is a little too over-simplified.

And I'm also glad I don't work with many mathematicians. They scare me.

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