Friday, November 02, 2007

On Testing Things.

I think there has been endless commentary on testing issues.

One has to keep the following subtle points in mind.

1) You have to test your ideas out - otherwise there is no way to know if they really work. This applies to Indians, Americans, Japanese, Chinese, Pakistanis, Martians, people from Jupiter etc...

2) Unlike your high school physics experiment where everything the theory, the physics, the result, the procedure, the answer, the classroom where it will be conducted etc... is well known... a real test is a much less comfortable environment. Everything is only "sort-of-known", and you have to use your instinct and experience to draw conclusions. If you don't have either of those, then you spend your time learning about things like that - each kind of test is different.

3) Before you draw conclusions - one *has* to have information. Now this is where it gets tricky in the matter of testing things. If the access to information is restricted for any reason, someone who knows half the story will reach a different conclusion from someone who knows the entire story. That is why the interpretations of test results may differ.

4) This kind of differences of opinion are common in real inquiry and a scientific debate on the interpretation of the test results is a very standard thing - though I admit that it is almost never a public affair. What is told to the public is the consensus or average conclusion of the debate - there are always extreme positions that are taken in the debate by people but these are not necessarily accurate positions. It could easily be that the people who took extreme opinions were not fully aware of what done in the test.

5) You can keep testing something, but in general, the more complicated it is, the more ways it can fail in. Testing again and again is good if you want to mass produce something because you want to know every which way it can fail, but if the intention is not to mass produce then there is no sense in wasting energy doing repeated tests. However if the details of the test are known only to a select few, the possibility that this information is compromised is higher - each time you test. It is exactly as Szilard said to Byrnes, when you test, you let the biggest secret out - i.e. you tell everyone - it can be done.

6) Protecting such secrets is the biggest job on hand, even in my opinion superceding the primary function of the test - i.e. specific communication with someone.

7) What to test, well in general one tends to have more ideas than time to try everything out properly, so one has to pick from a set of ideas. Every idea has to be evaluated on its merits and demerits, for example, is bigger really better? or is simply better - better? etc... dirtier better or cleaner better? etc... frankly the ability of people without a technical background in issues to participate in this is limited, and to be perfectly honest I don't have an opinion about this. Knowing what idea is possible to try out properly, is something that is beyond my abilities.

These are very subtle points that one can easily forget in the heat of the debate.

Everyone should say what they want but one should keep points like this in mind - it helps avoid that horrible tendency we all have to go overboard with our imagination.

5 Comments:

At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi M,
Look at what Arun_S has posted in the DF forum
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Arun_S
Webmaster - Missiles/Space Site


Joined: 14 Jun 2000
Posts: 4180
Location: KhyberDurra
Posted: 02 Nov 2007 03:55 am Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yet another view by email:
Quote:
Rarely have I seen self-delusive behavior as that displayed by Indians and typified by the answer of the "venerable" Sri K.Subramanium on BRF. More often than not, against India, the NPA's and the present US administration (including a majority of the hardliners) are different heads of the Hydra. Of course, in case of Democrat administrations, the distinction blurs even more.

For India there is only CRE!!!! The NPA's know that if they show jubilation, the Indians will instinctively go the other way. On the flip-side, if they (the NPA's) demonstrate anger and chagrin, the Indians will automatically assume that the given path is the correct one to traverse. MMS of course has his directions hardwired, which makes him a different case.

So that explains the NPA behavior in Pugwash and the NPA "opposition" to the nuclear sell out. If the nuclear deal is signed, the sound of champagne corks opening will be heard in Beijing, Islamabad, and in every NPA household. This makes the statement made on BRF either by you or Ramana alluding to the fact that the British were only the agents in the colonization of the Indians, all the more pertinent. The actual process of colonization was done by the Indians themselves!

Incidentally, if the US was so overflowing with goodwill towards India, why has it consistently colluded with China to keep India out of APEC? The hackneyed argument that if India is included, then so should Pakistan lacks credibility. India is a part of APEC of three counts:

1. It is geographically and culturally an Asian country.
2. It is one of the founding Asian civilizations (if not THE founding civilization)
3. The volume of trade between India and APEC countries is quite large and rapidly growing, and is orders of magnitude more than Pakistan's (I haven't taken into account Pakistan's drug trade)
Thus India classifying as a bonafide APEC nation is more credible than Hungary and Bulgaria being classified a North Atlantic nations, and admitted into the NATO!

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http://forums.bharat-rakshak.com/viewtopic.php?p=416271&highlight=#416271

1)your reactions please

 
At 11:36 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Anonymous,

I think there is a keenness in India to find foreign influences.

Sometimes I feel people look harder for it than they should.

More often than not I find it is that Akbar Birbal story of looking under the light instead of looking where they should be looking.

APEC sounds good in theory, the details, well those the appropriate ministry will probably give you better feedback on.

 
At 8:47 PM, Blogger s c r a p s s t u f f s said...

Probably anonymous wants to know if you are the email writer. I thought so too initially but...

The disreputable forum has gone downhill, especially the strat side. People going ga-ga over the deal without knowing the full implications. I thought N3 would be different, but I guess not.

 
At 5:38 AM, Blogger quantum chaos said...

just saw news.emergency declared in pakistan.your stage 2 seems to be headed towards stage 3.where do we go from here? whats your opinion on it?

 
At 5:46 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Scrapsstuffs,

I have nothing to do with that email.

 

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