Re: Axioms and Postulates

Folding her arms, Dijana considered the need for a ship engineer. A ship engineer! A brand new position aboard a ship! It was odd to imagine, much like the metal ship itself, but in some ways it was exciting. There had been so few improvements on the design of ships over recent years that it seemed the field was stale. This, though? If such a system worked, powered by its own internal mechanisms rather than the wind, it would be revolutionary!

“Not merely one engineer. Ships’ crews would have to be entirely retrained! If the masts were indeed replaced, there would be no need to maintain them, nor raise or lower them. That eliminates an entire class of responsibilities, and adds in new ones pertaining to the loading of the coal and the maintenance of these moving parts.” She started to pace absently, intrigued by the idea.

When Edward started writing out calculations, she looked up at the board. “Yes, but we would also have to consider the weight of the ship, would we not, because the ship’s weight determines the displacement. And the weight will be a consequence of using heavier materials like brass for the parts and the hull.” She was not certain about the density of those materials, but she thought they might play a significant role. “What are those calculations you’re making?” she asked, trying to follow Edward’s quick writing.
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Re: Axioms and Postulates

The chalk stops moving for a second and he pauses considering Dijana's words. She was right, there was potential that this new type of ship could abolish many long standing naval traditions. There was also no guarantee that it would create an equal number of jobs to the number of jobs it eliminated. That would be worth figuring out he decided, perhaps things would be better as they were if it meant keeping more people employed and happy.

Distracted from what he'd been doing he stood utterly motionless the chalk pressed to the board part way through the next number. "?" Edward snaps out of his stupor at her question making that little sound he made, that was best described as a question mark given voice. "Oh, I was doing some rough estimations of total mass, size, and displacement. I think that these kinds of ships will, at least at first, only be a single deck like a large enclosed barge. Given that the entirety of the engines will have to be at the bottom of the ship since I don't think wooden floors would be able to handle the weight without wear and making the entire ship out of metal would be costly. I was thinking an iron or copper hull."

The calculations were ones for density, displacement, speed, and rough outlines of RPM and fuel consumption. He rubs them away casually and then taps his chin. "There is much to consider in this. I think I got ahead of myself but there is so much to consider. The most important being should this be done? And if it should then how to make the engine work."
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Re: Axioms and Postulates

When Edward just stopped writing, and then stayed there for a while, Dijana thought she had broken his concentration. Rather than interrupt him further by asking him what she had interrupted, she said nothing and hoped he would get back on track. This resulted in what might have been a very awkward situation with two individuals standing completely still in a room had either of said individuals been self-aware enough to realize that what they were doing was awkward.

When he did address her question, though, she tilted her head as though the sound he had made represented a full question involving words in an officially recognized language. She listened to his full explanation, turning the ideas over in her head, until he got to the part he had been considering, at which point she gave a nod. Indeed, there were social impacts to take into account, like the one she had mentioned about the ship’s crew. She did not answer right away, but thought about it as well. Then she stepped around the table to join him at the chalkboard.

“Professor, my opinion is that it should be done. The benefits to having an engine powered by steam are enormous. A ship no longer reliant on the wind, albeit still supported by it if the masts remained as a backup, would be more reliable; and the speed at which it could travel would be a known quantity, unlike the wind. In fact, perhaps having ships made of metals could be better for holding greater loads and being harder to destroy than wooden hulls. They may withstand sudden storms better as well.”

She arched an eyebrow. “But that is only my opinion. The question I would return to you is, should we be the ones to make that decision? If a steam-powered ship—or more to the point, Professor, merely the engine you have here—becomes available, either shipping companies and merchants will use it, or they will not. The markets will always settle around goods that work.” With a small chuckle, she added, “Eventually. Ship captains are a stubborn bunch, it must be said. They would pitch a fit if someone said the masts must be a centimeter taller.”
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Re: Axioms and Postulates

Settling his chalk down he turns from the slate and listens as Dijana explains her point of view. Which struck him as more capitalist than scientific or ethical. However, she had a point people would use the technology or not once it was available. She also hadn't brought up the next more relevant issue.

"I suppose it is not up to us if this technology is released or not. Even should I stop my research here someone else will eventually hit upon the same idea. That is one of the inevitabilities of life, progress." He chuckles as he thinks of the church and Luddites who try to stand in the way of it not realizing that it would ever march on. It wasn't a cruel or mean chuckle though just the chuckle of a man reflecting on something he finds absurd.

"Just look at the mathematics of Algebra, the discovery and refinement can be traced back to nearly a half dozen people all of whom were working independently." It wasn't something the lay person would know but Edward had read the studies by most of the men who had explored the field. "So I suppose you are right in a sense it is better to contribute to progress than to try and stand in its way."

This resolved he decided to pursue the thing that had captured his attention. "Are ship captains all really so stubborn? Do they know how large of a difference a centimetre would be? I mean I've never studied it but I imagine the length of a mast changes by at least that much over time and there are probably margins of difference from ship to ship even when they are of the same type."
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Re: Axioms and Postulates

While Dijana did not quite notice that the opinion she expressed had been noticeably separate from the scientific or social aspect from which she had addressed it, she would have been the first to accept that her opinion had featured a heavy reliance on markets being fair and free. She had grown up a merchant; she knew markets better than she knew religion.

Fortunately, Edward seemed to pick up the relevant aspect of what she had been trying to express. She nodded as he chuckled, finding nothing odd about the laugh. It was a sound of familiar curiosity, and little more.

She considered her own algebra studies. Indeed, his observation made sense, although she had never noticed or considered that it, and other maths, had developed over time, in the care of many. "Yes, the engine alone could be revolutionary," she said. "I can hardly imagine all the uses for a steam engine. Others will have better, greater ideas building upon your work."

On the subject of ship captains, she smiled broadly. "Oh, yes. They are very much set in their ways. If you explained to one that a centimeter of difference would improve his sailing, he would come up with ten different reasons why you are wrong, if only to prove you wrong."

She nodded toward the chalkboard. “Back to the problem at hand. What are our next steps?”
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Re: Axioms and Postulates

Edward made that little articulation Dijana was no doubt becoming familiar with. It was just so hard for him to comprehend someone being so adverse to change. Logically change, if it had benefits in the long or short term, should be embraced. Yet so many people shied away from it for one reason or another. Ship captains our of stubbornness apparently, but people of power also fled from it for fear it might disrupt their power base. Yet all people who tried to stop change were invariably destroyed by it, people really should learn from history and stop trying to stop forward progress.

This line of thinking was completely unrelated to what they'd been doing. So when Dijana asks her question he blinks and shrugs. "I am not sure what you can do to correct human nature. Perhaps some mandatory classes in observing the mistakes of historical figures?" It takes him several long moments to realize she'd been referring to what they should do next with the steam engine. "Oh, yes right that." He says frowning in though before shrugging. "Honestly I am not sure the engine design is already sound. What is left will just be testing, locating issues, and then coming up with solutions. We've already foreseen some of them so testing our solutions seems best. I would start with the modified barometer as I think the potential dangers of pressurized steam are greater than we might imagine."
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