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nonverbal
 
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nonverbal
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09 June 2019 08:22
 
bbearren - 09 June 2019 07:29 AM
nonverbal - 09 June 2019 06:46 AM
bbearren - 08 June 2019 11:21 PM

I am also one of the posters on these forums.  I am not exempting myself from the observation of the OP.

On the other hand, as I stated in post #28, a site search for “critical thinking” yields 16 pages of results.  The term gets slung around a good bit.

You trust the opinion of a single-cylinder search motor?

Search engines have algorithms.  I am unfamiliar with “search motor”.  As to whether such would have cylinder(s) or opinion(s) I am even less familiar.

Feel free to use the big red Advanced Search button on the upper right of this page and draw your own conclusion(s).

Sorry, but if an engine has no clue, maybe it’s just a little motor. “Critical” anything—certainly thought, whatever that may or may not be—is abstract to the point of nonsense for such an entity.

 
 
bbearren
 
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09 June 2019 09:29
 
nonverbal - 09 June 2019 08:22 AM

“Critical” anything—certainly thought, whatever that may or may not be—is abstract to the point of nonsense for such an entity.

A contradiction in terms?

Abstract
1. thought of apart from concrete realities, specific objects, or actual instances.
2. expressing a quality or characteristic apart from any specific object or instance, as justice, poverty, and speed.

Entity
1. something that has a real existence.
2. being or existence, especially when considered as distinct, independent, or self-contained.
3. essential nature.

 
 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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09 June 2019 10:26
 
bbearren - 08 June 2019 11:21 PM

The term gets slung around a good bit.

Of course it does.  There are probably many who have posted here who aspire to be as good at CT as they can be.
How much of those 16 pages of resultant multi-page threads did you consume before concluding that you haven’t witnessed any CT here?

I ask, because I’m fairly certain that some of those threads talk about how to assess CT, how to practice CT, how to teach CT and various uses of CT in the real world.

 
 
bbearren
 
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bbearren
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09 June 2019 14:15
 
Jefe - 09 June 2019 10:26 AM
bbearren - 08 June 2019 11:21 PM

The term gets slung around a good bit.

Of course it does.  There are probably many who have posted here who aspire to be as good at CT as they can be.
How much of those 16 pages of resultant multi-page threads did you consume before concluding that you haven’t witnessed any CT here?

I ask, because I’m fairly certain that some of those threads talk about how to assess CT, how to practice CT, how to teach CT and various uses of CT in the real world.

Fairly certain?  Trophy, carrot, stick, cudgel, it needs to be taught more in schools and/or taught in more schools.

And I’ve been here for almost 6 years, participating in threads, following threads without participating.  I’m still waiting.

 
 
Jefe
 
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09 June 2019 14:22
 

Carry on then….

 
 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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09 June 2019 14:31
 
bbearren - 09 June 2019 02:15 PM
Jefe - 09 June 2019 10:26 AM
bbearren - 08 June 2019 11:21 PM

The term gets slung around a good bit.

Of course it does.  There are probably many who have posted here who aspire to be as good at CT as they can be.
How much of those 16 pages of resultant multi-page threads did you consume before concluding that you haven’t witnessed any CT here?

I ask, because I’m fairly certain that some of those threads talk about how to assess CT, how to practice CT, how to teach CT and various uses of CT in the real world.

Fairly certain?  Trophy, carrot, stick, cudgel, it needs to be taught more in schools and/or taught in more schools.

Don’t think you’ll find many here who disagree with this.

bbearren - 09 June 2019 02:15 PM

And I’ve been here for almost 6 years, participating in threads, following threads without participating.  I’m still waiting.

Didn’t really answer my question. 

But only you know how rigorously you read the threads. And only you can assess your own biases and opinions of the posters here.

I’d suggest that the practice and utilization if CT exists on a spectrum and that various posters here use it within that spectrum.  Some with more rigor than others.  Some more frequently than others.
But I’m not you, so my own observations can only inform my opinion on the matter.

As I said above… carry on.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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09 June 2019 15:11
 

From early on, bb asserted that he does not interpret.  So I assume he has some completely objective criteria for CT.  Since I want to learn how to critically think, I am asking bb to simply give me a written example of CT.  Just take a problem or subject and construct an argument or solution demonstrating critical thinking.  It would greatly assist me to see CT in action.

 
bbearren
 
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09 June 2019 18:00
 
EN - 09 June 2019 03:11 PM

From early on, bb asserted that he does not interpret.  So I assume he has some completely objective criteria for CT.  Since I want to learn how to critically think, I am asking bb to simply give me a written example of CT.  Just take a problem or subject and construct an argument or solution demonstrating critical thinking.  It would greatly assist me to see CT in action.

I’m working on one.  Be patient, and it will require more than a single post.

>>edit<< I’ve got one, there are a lot of details left out because there would be way too much to explain about the jargon, etc. that would just be distraction.  It’s still too wordy as it is.  And this may not be what you were looking for.

[ Edited: 09 June 2019 20:39 by bbearren]
 
 
bbearren
 
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bbearren
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09 June 2019 20:23
 

I’ll give it a go.  Here is part one of two:

This involves mining jargon that would be tedious to explain and add little to the understanding.  I will avoid as much of that as possible, explaining only that which is necessary.  I worked at a washer named Phosphoria, a satellite facility for the Noralyn beneficiation plant and washer.  The beneficiation plant used flotation to separate phosphate from sand, and further concentrated the phosphate.  We railed and trucked our pebble product away, and the more voluminous smaller size (beach sand size) fractions, feed for the beneficiation plant, were pumped 4.5 miles through 18” steel pipeline using 5 centrifugal pumps totaling 5,900 horsepower (4 @ 1,250hp and 1 @ 900hp).  This pumping system was named Marcona.  The feed was temporarily stored in a circular earthen dam 30’ high and with a 300’ inside diameter.  It was split down the middle with a cofferdam, and each side, called ponds, could store 15,000 tons of feed.  The system would pump from one pond as the other was filling.  The control room was located in the middle of that cofferdam, and the primary pump (called the Slurry Pump) and other equipment was at ground level in an open-topped concrete silo.

The pumping controls were all push button, the system could be placed in automatic mode once everything was running smoothly.  There was a running horizontal chart that recorded the converted mass flow signal sent from a magnetic flow meter on the Slurry Pump discharge, the converted density (percent solids by volume) signal sent from a nuclear density meter, also mounted on the discharge, and the calculated dry tons per hour (a multiplier using the two signals as input and a conversion factor).  The flow was in red ink, density in blue, and dry tons per hour, or tph, in green.  Control of the flow and density was achieved with high pressure/low volume process water, high volume/low pressure level control water, and a couple of other variables.

Each pump in the system had pressure gauges in the pipeline on the suction and discharge sides, about 20’ away from the pump to reduce vibration at the gauges.  At least once per shift when the Marcona was operating, pressure and ammeter readings were to be recorded for each pump, and these logs were kept in the shift supervisor’s office.  The other shift supervisors had a crew member take those readings, but I did that particular duty myself, with an eye toward knowing how it should look and sound when it was running correctly would be of benefit in diagnosing problems when something was going wrong.

On my crew of 6 was an African-American woman named Estella, about a year younger than me, who demonstrated good work ethic and was conscientious in performing her job duties.  She had worked on my crew for several months, and I had known her for a few years.  One day she told me that she wanted to train on the Marcona.  I told her I would be glad to train her, that I thought that she would be a good operator.  I told her to get with the operator to familiarize herself with the control panel and equipment, and she would be training when the system was being started up or shut down.  There is little to learn when the system was working correctly and running smoothly, but startup and shutdown were critical times, and those were the most useful times for training.

She made the initial visit, but whenever the system was being started or stopped and I would call her to get up there and learn, she would say that she was busy getting her samples or busy doing cleanup or just busy and the operator would already have everything going by the time she got up there, so she would wait until next time.  Each time I would remind her that those were the important times, that she was the one who wanted to be trained, and that I wouldn’t hold it against her in any way if she let part of her regular duties slide until the startup or shutdown was completed.  What I didn’t know for a couple of weeks or so was that, while she was telling me she was busy, she was telling the rest of the crew, “Bruce won’t train me on the Marcona.”  The crew knew better, and kept encouraging her to just get on with it.  She was still hesitant.

One evening shift, I had called her to get up to the Marcona, the operator was getting ready to shut down, but she was “busy”.  About an hour later, the Marcona operator was in the office along with another member of the crew when Estella came in.  The Marcona operator said quite bluntly, “Estella, tell Bruce that lie.”  She asked, “What lie?”  He said, “That lie you keep telling us that Bruce won’t train you.  Every time I startup or shut down, I call Bruce and he says he’ll send you up.  I hear him calling you on the plant phone, but I don’t see you.  Bruce is trying to get you trained, so you either need to train or just tell Bruce you changed your mind.”  Estella said, “I do want to train, I do.  I’ve just been scared that I’ll mess up.”  The Marcona operator replied, “We all mess up sometimes, but Bruce isn’t going to hold that against you while you’re training, you know that.”  There was a bit more discussion, I reassured Estella that training was training, I wouldn’t expect any miracles from her, and she could train at her own pace, for as long as she needed.

It took quite a while, but Estella did train, and I managed to get her officially qualified for the job.  A couple of months later, the Marcona operator bid on a Locomotive operator job (higher pay grade) and got it, Estella was the senior qualified person on the list, so she got his Marcona job.  She was now my Marcona operator, and very nervous.  I told her I would help her in every way, that I would be with her on every startup and shutdown, and with some time in the chair she was going to do just fine.  That’s how it went for a couple of weeks or so, and she did get comfortable enough that she could handle startup and shutdown by herself.  I would check in on her three or four times during the shift when she was runing, and I began to fine-tune her training.

That was all for introduction.  The following is based on geology, which is plain old observation of reality, and the seeming whims and peculiarities of different types of systems gleaned from observation, experimentation, further observation and experimentation until I reached a fundamental level of understanding; I know what it’s doing, I know why it’s doing it, and I know what is required to make it do more or less of whatever it’s doing, or whether there is nothing to be done except to start over.  To reiterate, this is based on observation and experience, tried and true methods that work regardless of by whom they are applied.

There were some routine difficulties during startup.  The feed input into the ponds was not immune to geologic processes such as the delta effect at the discharge of rivers into lakes or oceans.  The larger particles settle out first, and the smaller particles are carried further by the flow.  The same processes happened in the ponds.  The pond would fill to the overflow level (there were six wide overflow weirs on each pond), and from that time on the slurry was being discharged into a deep pond.  As the feed builds up on the bottom of the pond, it forms a cone until the density reaches a critical level, and then there is a mini avalanche with accompanying turbidity currents.  The outcome of this over time is that most of the coarser particles stay in the center, the fluidity of the mini avalanches and the turbidity currents destabilzing the cone and allowing the heavier coarse grains to sink a little deeper until the cone stabilizes again.  This happens several time over the course of filling the ponds.  The end result is that on startup, the pumping process begins with a large poppet valve opening under the densest part of the pile of feed, and the coarser particles being the first to make it to the slurry pump.  Coarser particles required a flow rate of ~12,000 gpm and plenty of horsepower.

This brings us to a particular characteristic of centrifugal slurry pumps.  The required power curve increases with the load.  A particular characteristic of electric motors is that the horsepower rating is a maximum, but the motor won’t develop that much horsepower unless the load on the motor requires it.  The ammeter tells the tail.  So at startup, coarse feed begins to settle to the bottom of the pipeline and tumble along rather than being carried in the slurry.  This puts drag on the flow, decreasing it slightly.  A decrease in flow allows coarse particles that were too light to settle at the initial higher flow to begin settling to the bottom of the pipeline, increasing drag, further reducing flow.  This process, unless compensated, continues until the flow rate is too low to carry slurry.  This is reflected by the ammeter which indicates that the motor is nowhere near its horsepower rating, it’s just loafing along.  The common cure was to close off the supply of feed and pump water until the pipeline cleared, and then start all over again.  Depending on the overall coarseness of the feed, this could sometimes take quite a while to get that big pile of coarse feed pumped and get out into the smaller particles, which were much easier to pump.

The cure for this startup issue was counter-intuitive to many.  Most of the Marcona operators kept a close watch on the flow meter, because a drop in flow meant that the feed was coarse and could lead to trouble.  They didn’t pay attention to the ammeter.  Estella initially fell into this same habit.  She would call me to tell me her flow had dropped and she was gong to start washing the pipeline out, and she would tell me when she put the load back on.  The coarseness of the feed would be dependent on the mining area, the stuff coming out of the ground.  After a couple of washouts for Estella, I made sure to be with her on startup when I knew we were in coarse feed.  I told her to watch the ammeter, and ignore the flow meter; what was needed was horsepower, and the only way to get horsepower was to increase the load.  I told her that when the ammeter starts to fall back, increase the load to get it back up again.  She had difficulties with actually doing this.  I reassured her that she would never get in trouble for doing what I’m telling her to do.

[ Edited: 09 June 2019 20:57 by bbearren]
 
 
bbearren
 
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bbearren
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09 June 2019 20:35
 

Part two of two:

After a couple of fitful shifts with coarse feed (various circumstances had Estella starting up nearly every shift) I had an “Aha!” moment.  I took a pair of scissors and some scotch tape with me when I went to the Marcona.  Estella was due to startup soon.  I took the cardboard backing from a log book, cut a rectangle that would completely hide the mass flow chart, and taped it in place.  Estella asked, “What am I supposed to do?”  I told her to watch the ammeter, and remember what I had been telling her.  When startup time came, she was nervous.  I reminded her that I would stay with her until we got the coarse feed out of the way (about half an hour if done correctly) and she had nothing to worry about.  As she brought the system up, she wanted very badly to peek behind my cardboard screen, but I was standing beside her, and she knew she couldn’t get away with it.

As the ammeter began to drift left, she started using the control tricks I had taught her to keep a heavy load going to the Slurry Pump and the ammeter would ease back to the right.  She had used a pencil to mark the glass face of the ammeter to remind her where her target was.  After several minutes, she pretty much had the hang of running just off the ammeter, and as we got the coarser feed out of the way and the system was pumping better, the ammeter began to swing more to the right,  Estella began trimming slowly back on the load coming to the Slurry Pump to keep the needle of the ammeter on her pencil mark.

This routine went on for quite some time.  I would be with Estella on startup if we knew we were dealing with coarse feed, and I would visit her a number of times during the shift when she was running.  She became more and more comfortable with the job.  If problems developed she would call me and give me specific details of what was going on; she was very good at describing her Marcona and its ills.  She had no problems starting up with coarse feed.  I would be there, usually, but she didn’t need any input from me.  I also noticed that she hardly ever looked at the mass flow chart, but she eyed the ammeter regularly, and I commented on it.  She said, “That thing right there tells me everything I need to know.”

She had been my operator for almost a year when one day shift my superintendent (an engineer) said that the pumping rate for the Marcona was terrible (around 1,100 tph as I recall), he suspected that Estella was the main contributor, and I needed to get a handle on that.  I didn’t say anything.  All our shift logs were stored in a large locker in the back room for a year before being discarded.  We rotated to evening shift a couple of days later, and I got six months worth of Marcona logs from the locker and started going through them.  Operator, running hours, and total tons pumped were logged for each shift.  On a pad I had five groups of two columns.  I had a group for each of the four operators plus a group for vacation-relief operators, folks who were trained, but the Marcona was not their regular job.  Under each operator was a column for running hours and a column for total tons.

Running all the numbers revealed that Estella’s pumping average was almost twice the average pumping rate, only one other operator was above the system average pumping rate, and the other two were below.  Estella was carrying the load.  I wrote the names and the pumping average for each on a shipping tag, and put it in my filing cabinet.  I returned the Marcona logs to the locker and took my paperwork home with me that night.  When day shift rolled back around for me, I made sure I was in the office when my superintendent made his daily visit.  When he came in, I handed him my shipping tag and said, “I don’t think Estella is your problem.”  He said, “Where did these come from?”  I answered, “Marcona logs.  They’re in the locker in the back room.”  He put the shipping tag in his pocket, finished his cursory visit and left.

A couple of days later when he came by, he said that he was going to put me on a special assignment for a while.  He said, “Estella is obviously doing something right, I know that you trained her, and I need you to train the other operators.”  I asked how long, and he told me it would be as long as it takes.  As I recall, it was about six weeks.  I took advantage.  One of the pumps in the system was under performing because it had a smaller diameter impeller than the rest.  I convinced my superintendent to convince maintenance to put in the proper size impeller.  Startup and shutdown normally took around half an hour each.  The routine was to get all the pumps up and running before putting any load on the system.  Shutdown was cutting off the load and washing the pipeline out for half an hour.  Once we had all the pumps performing equally, I changed that routine.

When the load is put on the system, the only pump developing full power is the Slurry Pump.  The other pumps are just loafing until the load gets to them.  Beginning with Estella, I started loading the system as soon as the Slurry Pump motor was up to speed, and kept increasing the load until the ammeter was indicating we were getting the full 1,250hp from it.  From all those pump pressure readings I had been taking under all conditions, normal, startup, shutdown, washing out a loaded pipeline, I knew how long it took the load to get to #1 Lift Pump.  I had Estella bring up #1 at that time frame, and just keep the load coming.  We paused the requisite amount of time for the rest of the pumps, and by the time they started seeing a good discharge at Noralyn, it was a full load, not just water.  That cut half an hour off running time, and increased the average pumping rate.

After trying it with Estella a couple of times, she was completely comfortable with it, and I introduced it to the other operators in turn.  I worked straight day shift on this assignment, so I worked with each operator for a few days at time.  They all balked at the change, but did it anyway since I was backing them up.  By the end of the six weeks or so, we had the average pumping rate over 2,400 tph, and the electrical costs (measured per ton/mile) almost cut in half.  I went back to my regular shift, everyone seemed to be settled in with the new operating procedures, and about a week later, the area manager (another engineer, and a Scottish immigrant) came to see me early one evening shift.  We did the howdies and he said, “Bruce, how did you do it?  On my desk in my office right now I have a stack of reports about a foot high.  It seems that every engineer in the company has done a report on the Phosphoria Marcona and how to improve pumping rates, and nothing ever changed.”  He went on, “I can take that whole stack of reports and just throw them in the trash; they’re worthless.  You’ve doubled the rates, cut costs in half, and I don’t even have a postcard about it.  How did you do it?”

I told him, “All of the operators were taught from the beginning that they should never let the blue pen get above the red pen or they would choke the pipeline.  I just showed them that it’s okay to let the blue pen go to the top of the chart and stay there as long as they keep the ammeter in the right zone.”  He chuckled and said, “Are you telling me that all we really needed to do was change the color of the pens?”  I said, “That probably would have worked.”  He rose to leave, shook my hand and said, “Good lad, good lad.”

 
 
nonverbal
 
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09 June 2019 21:54
 

Bruce, are you also able to demonstrate applications of critical thinking relating to abstract notions such as free will, theistic faith, or non-human consciousness?

 
 
bbearren
 
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bbearren
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09 June 2019 22:40
 
nonverbal - 09 June 2019 09:54 PM

Bruce, are you also able to demonstrate applications of critical thinking relating to abstract notions such as free will, theistic faith, or non-human consciousness?

Not into philosophizers, not into philosophizing, not my bag.

 
 
nonverbal
 
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10 June 2019 07:36
 
bbearren - 09 June 2019 10:40 PM
nonverbal - 09 June 2019 09:54 PM

Bruce, are you also able to demonstrate applications of critical thinking relating to abstract notions such as free will, theistic faith, or non-human consciousness?

Not into philosophizers, not into philosophizing, not my bag.

You’ve perhaps noticed that you’re alone in this regard among most of the regulars here? Yet you’re here in this thread to badger the regulars, informing them that they fail to think like engineers? Even legitimate engineers rarely pass muster for you, right?

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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10 June 2019 08:19
 

This is an example of critical thinking on a very concrete subject.  But like non-verbal, I am interested in how it applies to more abstract concepts.  This is an atheist board, so how does it apply to the issue of the existence of God or the historicity of Jesus?  Are you saying that since these matters are in part philosophical that you are not going to discuss those things critically?  Then what is the purpose of even being here?

[ Edited: 10 June 2019 09:19 by EN]
 
DEGENERATEON
 
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DEGENERATEON
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10 June 2019 08:29
 

To people other than Bruce on the forum:  Is Bruce also known as “owl guy” in other threads?

To Bruce:  What is the point of that excruciatingly long story?  Do we need to know the horsepower of the pumps?  Is the fact that Estella an African American relevant?  If the ammeter is the only thing you need to start up the system, why not just automate the process?

This seems like an engineering problem where they throw in extraneous information and you have to sift through it, except all of the information is extraneous and there’s no solution.

 
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