Tail Wagging the Dog

[From Bruce Abbott (2015.02.09.0900 EST)]

Rick Marken (2015.02.08.2100) –

BA:Â Cutting to the chase . . .

RM: All that’s very interesting but what I have shown is that the disturbance to the mass in a mass spring system has no effect so, for all intents and purposes, the gain of this negative feedback system is 0.

BA: Obi Wan: “Ah, the farce is strong in this one, Luke. Be careful! He has gone over to the Dark Side!�

BA: Luke: “Yes, Obi. As Yoda taught us, one should never underestimate the power of Denial. It clouds the mind until you end up believing in absolute nonsense. In one extreme case I heard of, a man came to believe that his mother was a hamster and his father smelled of elderberries (or was it the other way around?). If we’re not careful, he’ll soon have us believing that the Emperor is a sweet, kind man or that equilibrium systems have zero gain and no resistance to disturbance!�

BA: Obi Wan: “I hope not, Luke. As you have learned from the Master, Reality (with a capital “R�) is unknowable; all we can really be sure of are our own perceptions. If too many Minds become convinced that equilibrium systems have no resistance to disturbance, those perceptions will change Reality. Imagine your kitchen table suddenly failing to resist the disturbance imposed on it by the weight of your coffee cup! You’ll be watching the cup sink right through the table! (Come to think of it, the floor will no longer support your feet, either!)�

BA: Luke: “Wow, I hadn’t thought of that. If this Vader dude succeeds, the Universe itself will be in grave trouble. Let’s hope it is not a part of his diabolical plan!�

BA: Kidding aside, if that’s what you want to believe, you’re welcome to it. Like Sisyphus, I’ve pushed that rock up the mountain-side repeatedly, only to have it roll back to the bottom every time. Unlike Sisyphus, I am not condemned to do this for all eternity: I can choose to let the rock rest in the valley – its equiilibrium point!

BA: I encourage you to write up your new discovery about equilibrium systems and submit the paper to Science or any one of the referred physics journals. I’m sure that the reviewers will give your results their just due – after they’ve stopped laaughing.Â

BA: While you’re at it, why don’t you expand your efforts to other phenomena? Perhaps you could prove that:

Control systems are actually perpetual motion machines.

Two wrongs really do make a right.

Nature doesn’t actually abhor a vacuum, but she isn’t too fond of one, either.

The Earth is flat – thee apparent curvature is an optical illusion.

Or that perennial favorite, that the moon is made of green cheese.

BA: I’m not going to debate this issue with you anymore. I’ve done all I can do and there just isn’t any point in my continuing.

Bruce

[ From Rick Marken (2015.02.09.1255)]

···

Bruce Abbott (2015.02.09.0900 EST)–

Â

Rick Marken (2015.02.08.2100) –

Â

BA:Â Cutting to the chase . . .

Â

RM: All that’s very interesting but what I have shown is that the disturbance to the mass in a mass spring system has no effect so, for all intents and purposes, the gain of this negative feedback system is 0.

Â

BA: Obi Wan: “Ah, the farce is strong in this one, Luke. Be careful! He has gone over to the Dark Side!�

RM: Darn I was going to correct this last night but I was tired, not near my computer and assumed that you would realize that my statement was a mistake because I had repeatedly explained that what I had shown was exactly the opposite of that statement.Â

RM: But I’ll correct it here. What I meant to say was:Â

RM: All that’s very interesting but what I have shown is that the disturbance to the mass in a mass spring system IS COMPLETELY EFFECTIVE, so for all intents and purposes, the gain of this negative feedback system is 0.Â

RM: I’m not reading the rest of your post because it’s a reply to something I clearly did not mean to say. So you can now spend your time constructing a funny reply to what I meant to say.Â

BestÂ

Rick

Â

BA: Luke: “Yes, Obi. As Yoda taught us, one should never underestimate the power of Denial. It clouds the mind until you end up believing in absolute nonsense. In one extreme case I heard of, a man came to believe that his mother was a hamster and his father smelled of elderberries (or was it the other way around?). If we’re not careful, he’ll soon have us believing that the Emperor is a sweet, kind man or that equilibrium systems have zero gain and no resistance to disturbance!�

Â

BA: Obi Wan: “I hope not, Luke. As you have learned from the Master, Reality (with a capital “R�) is unknowable; all we can really be sure of are our own perceptions. If too many Minds become convinced that equilibrium systems have no resistance to disturbance, those perceptions will change Reality. Imagine your kitchen table suddenly failing to resist the disturbance imposed on it by the weight of your coffee cup! You’ll be watching the cup sink right through the table! (Come to think of it, the floor will no longer support your feet, either!)�

Â

BA: Luke: “Wow, I hadn’t thought of that. If this Vader dude succeeds, the Universe itself will be in grave trouble. Let’s hope it is not a part of his diabolical plan!�

Â

BA: Kidding aside, if that’s what you want to believe, you’re welcome to it. Like Sisyphus, I’ve pushed that rock up the mountain-side repeatedly, only to have it roll back to the bottom every time. Unlike Sisyphus, I am not condemned to do this for all eternity: I can choose to let the rock rest in the valley – its equilibrium point!

Â

BA: I encourage you to write up your new discovery about equilibrium systems and submit the paper to Science or any one of the referred physics journals. I’m sure that the reviewers will give your results their just due – after they’ve stopped laughing.Â

Â

BA: While you’re at it, why don’t you expand your efforts to other phenomena? Perhaps you could prove that:

Control systems are actually perpetual motion machines.

Two wrongs really do make a right.

Nature doesn’t actually abhor a vacuum, but she isn’t too fond of one, either.

The Earth is flat – the apparent curvature is an optical illusion.

Or that perennial favorite, that the moon is made of green cheese.

Â

BA: I’m not going to debate this issue with you anymore. I’ve done all I can do and there just isn’t any point in my continuing.

Â

Bruce


Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Author of  Doing Research on Purpose
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

From Bruce Abbott (2015.02.09.1750)]

Rick Marken (2015.02.09.1255) –

Bruce Abbott (2015.02.09.0900 EST)–

Rick Marken (2015.02.08.2100) –

RM: But I’ll correct it here. What I meant to say was:

RM: All that’s very interesting but what I have shown is that the disturbance to the mass in a mass spring system IS COMPLETELY EFFECTIVE, so for all intents and purposes, the gain of this negative feedback system is 0.

RM: I’m not reading the rest of your post because it’s a reply to something I clearly did not mean to say. So you can now spend your time constructing a funny reply to what I meant to say.

BA: Well, perhaps I didn’t read carefully enough, but that’s exactly what I TOOK you to be saying. You can see this illustrated in my little dialog, where Obi Wan explains to Luke an implication of the disturbance being completely effective (i.e., no resistance being developed to it whatsoever): coffee cups falling through the table and non-supportive floors.

BA: So, the rest of my post is relevant and shouldn’t be ignored on the basis of irrelevance. My bottom line: your conclusion is total nonsense, for all the reasons I’ve already given.

BA: Are you still working at Aerospace? Do you know any engineers there with whom you might discuss this issue? It would seem we need to send this to arbitration.

Bruce