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A one thousand-year-old history lesson awaits those who would deem the cutting edge wicked

Damascus steel was forged using a process of carbon doping iron in a smelting and quenching process.  This steel became famous almost a thousand years ago; it was said a Damascus sword would cut through falling silk, a rock, and then another piece of silk while still keeping its razor sharp edge. 

The ability to make the Damascus steel was lost with the ages.   Blademasters would often take the secret of the forging process to the grave rather than reveal its mysteries. Many were persecuted as heretics, others heralded as deities.

A study by a University of Wisconsin-Madison revealed that more than 70% of 1,015 surveyed Americans deem nanotechnology morally repulsive.  Professor Dietram Scheufele attributes this repugnance for technology to American reliance on religion. 

It's easy to say that perhaps the 1,000 Americans surveyed are just not that bright.  Scheufele disagrees, stating, "They are rejecting it based on religious beliefs. The issue isn't about informing these people. They are informed."

Scheufele believes that Americans who disprove of nanotechnology do not want humans "playing God."  That is, man manipulating structures of one nanometer, one billionth of a meter, is akin to God manipulating the forces of the universe.

In 2006 German researcher Peter Paufler discovered (with the aid of a sub-nanotechnology, the electron microscope) that a four hundred-year-old Damascus steel sword gained its incredible properties from carbon nanotube structures within the blade's edge.  Fifteen years earlier NEC created the world's first synthetic nanotube. One year later it was awarded the patent for one of the sharpest materials on earth, a plasma polished carbon nanotube blade.

Science has always bordered on the fence of terrifying and mysterious.  Civilization lost the secrets of Damascus steel making when then modern thinkers deemed it a practice of deus ex hominis.

Attempting to describe the morality of natural phenomena leads to an exercise in natural fallacy. Not once, in the history of mankind, has science ever been proven immoral -- and conversely -- nor has it ever been proven moral either. 

Will society deitize nano-researchers as modern day Damascus blademasters, or will it learn to look beyond the meta-ethics of natural phenomena for a change?


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RE: Whatever
By MaulBall789 on 2/25/2008 8:37:03 AM , Rating: 2
MAPPING.COM's List of WORLDWIDE AIRPORT CODES

Compiled from FAA, CAA, IATA, OAG, and other sources
Last Updates -- 19 February 2008
Total in Database: 34,580 Locations
(note that 454 IATA/FAA codes represent two locations)

If you think any airport personnel has the capacity to memorize this many codes at near minimum wage, you are big-time fooling yourself.

Repetition, by itself, will train people to know codes to the more frequently traveled destinations.


RE: Whatever
By rdeegvainl on 2/25/2008 10:17:18 AM , Rating: 3
I don't remember who said it, but it went something to the effect of, every day children are memorizing hundreds pokemon, but we can't expect them to know this?

Seriously, I think they should be able to have this as a requirement. Just like when I worked at mcdonalds for minimum wage I had to be able to take orders fast enough. Which did take memorization of the layout of my machine, and the different components of each and every sandwhich, and salad and everything else we did and made there.
All of us minimum wage kids could do it. We even had people who had mental handicaps who could do that. So when people complain they get no sympathy.


RE: Whatever
By MaulBall789 on 2/25/2008 11:47:47 AM , Rating: 1
Ok, hundreds of Pokemon, or 34,000+ codes. You're right, if someone REALLY applied themselves or has a special "rain man" ability, it surely can be done. I, myself, have probably memorized a foolish amount of stats on hundreds of baseball players for fantasy leagues. Even then I still make my own cheat sheet for drafting players. But I doubt even the top level airline execs have all 34,000+ codes memorized. A few thousand, maybe.

The reality is that such a person would have to derive some kind of enjoyment from memorizing these things. Kids really get into Pokemon and, as little sponges do, absorb as much information as they can. Just like me and fantasy baseball. Where's the enjoyment of memorizing thousands of airport codes? I'm sure there's someone out there who does get all excited about airport codes, just not usually the poor souls working at the check-in counter. Enjoyment doesn't seem to be what they are feeling.


RE: Whatever
By rdeegvainl on 2/25/2008 2:17:18 PM , Rating: 2
What it comes down to is if you want to learn them or not. If someone valued their job, they would want to learn the parts their employer ask of them. Since they are asking them to learn airport codes, and not city bus routes, I see no problem.


RE: Whatever
By masher2 (blog) on 2/25/2008 10:19:17 AM , Rating: 2
> "If you think any airport personnel has the capacity to memorize this many codes at near minimum wage"

Oops - airline personnel are NOT required to memorize the whole database, only those codes to which their own airline flies (a few dozen to a couple hundred codes in most cases).

As for "near-minimum wage", the median salary for flight attendants in 2005 was $53,700/year, The lowest paid job at my airport is customer service agent, and the median salary even there is about 2.5X minimum wage, plus extensive benefits.


RE: Whatever
By MaulBall789 on 2/25/2008 11:21:00 AM , Rating: 1
This is exactly what Kris said:

quote:
the company has a policy that every employee must learn the world airport codes.


At first glance it doesn't say some or most of the codes. If it's just the routes the specific carrier flies, you're right, that's not too much to ask. I know about 30 off the top of my head and I only fly about twice a year.

Where I work there are a good number of things I have memorized but even more are written down. Just can't remember every last little thing especially if it's an infrequently used bit of info.

And even at 2.5x minimum wage plus extensive benefits, a very few of the CSA's I've come across would be doing well to know the code of their own airport. But I would guess this new rule should be weeding them out.


RE: Whatever
By 91TTZ on 2/25/2008 10:35:05 AM , Rating: 2
Obviously they aren't required to know them all, just the major ones that the airline flies out of. You're not going to be landing a Boeing 777 on a grass strip in Africa and wouldn't need to know the airport code for that.


“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads














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