Saturday, September 18, 2004

Civil Disobedience and the Laws of Physics

Two events transpired to bring to mind a funny story. My hometown is going to have a draft dodger's memorial beside the local cenotaph. And we got a call to work on a community freezer at a Quaker village.

Around 5 years ago we got a call from this village that their freezer seemed warm. The walls of the freezer building had become saturated with ice. This is common in large freezers. The moisture migrates towards the dry cold environment, hitting the spot where the temperature is below dew point, condenses and eventually freezes. The insulating value that may have existed at one time disappears. Much energy is expended attempting to cool the neighborhood.

The solution usually is to tear the thing down, and build from scratch. For the community it wasn't feasible due to the expense involved. We suggested that they could re-insulate the building using an insulating board as cladding. So far so good. In most of these situations, we just sit and wait since the problem is only going to get worse.

Now remember that community was founded on protest, particularly protest against the Vietnam war. People left their homes and moved to Canada to avoid the draft, and this group were acting on their religious beliefs. There was one individual who figured that protest could fix the freezer problems. He kept phoning us, arguing against our position. He questioned our experience, he even questioned the physical laws involved. He had positioned himself as spokesman for the community, and he was going to defend the community against, well, I don't quite know what. Eventually the food started melting, so someone else organized a work bee, where they reinsulated the walls, and things have been working just fine for the last 5 years or so.

I have a deep distrust of politicians and those who would politize debates. Most questions can be debated on their merits. But when political considerations come into play, I step back and watch strictly for entertainment. Solutions no longer are the issue, rather egos and power. All the qualities that our parents tried to warn us against seem to come to the fore.

What does this have to do with KDE? No, this does not have anything to do with usability :)


I am so glad that there are people like you, providing decorous sites like this.

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