Sunday, February 8, 2015

Good Nomenclature: A Matter of Life and Death

In this post I will emphasize the importance of competent nomenclature as a foundation of coherent communication.

Our civilization is now endangered because of defective communication which damages understanding and nullifies intelligence.

First off, let's look at some recent disasters, and some that happened further back in time, to see exactly why nomenclature and coherent communication is vital.

Not many know that the sinking of the Titanic is an example of a disaster caused by bad nomenclature:
The saga of the Titanic now takes a new turn, with the benefit of the viewpoint of a family member of one of the officers who was on the Titanic:
Two different [steering] systems were in operation at the time, Rudder Orders (used for steam ships) and Tiller Orders (used for sailing ships).

Crucially, Mrs Patten said, the two steering systems were the complete opposite of one another, so a command to turn 'hard a-starboard' meant turn the wheel right under one system and left under the other."

She said when the helmsman, who had been trained in sail, received the direction, he turned the vessel [to the right] towards the iceberg with tragic results.

Mrs Patten has worked the story of the catastrophe into her latest novel, Good As Gold.

She said that while Charles Lightoller was not on watch at the time of the collision, a dramatic final meeting of the four senior officers took place in the first officer's cabin shortly before Titanic went down.

There, Lightoller heard not only about the fatal mistake, but also what happened next up on the bridge.

While the helmsman had made a straightforward error, what followed was a deliberate decision, she claimed.

Lightoller was the only survivor to know that after the iceberg was hit, Bruce Ismay, chairman of Titanic's owner, the White Star Line, persuaded Captain Smith to continue sailing [causing the ship to sink quickly].

The truth of what happened on that historic night was deliberately buried, she said.
(BBC News). That recent revelation, hidden for a century, can be used to look at the current political structure of the USA.
(Titanic Mistakes Using The W Compass). The directive 'hard a-starboard' meant two different things, it meant either 'left' or 'right' as it were.

That defective nomenclature caused many deaths, and it is not limited to ships on the waters:
Unlike the control yokes of a Boeing jetliner, the side sticks on an Airbus are "asynchronous"—that is, they move independently. "If the person in the right seat is pulling back on the joystick, the person in the left seat doesn't feel it," says Dr. David Esser, a professor of aeronautical science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. "Their stick doesn't move just because the other one does, unlike the old-fashioned mechanical systems like you find in small planes, where if you turn one, the [other] one turns the same way."
Robert has no idea that, despite their conversation about descending, Bonin has continued to pull back on the side stick.

The men are utterly failing to engage in an important process known as crew resource management, or CRM. They are failing, essentially, to cooperate. It is not clear to either one of them who is responsible for what, and who is doing what. This is a natural result of having two co-pilots flying the plane. "When you have a captain and a first officer in the cockpit, it's clear who's in charge," Nutter explains. "The captain has command authority. He's legally responsible for the safety of the flight. When you put two first officers up front, it changes things. You don't have the sort of traditional discipline imposed on the flight deck when you have a captain." (What Really Happened Aboard Air France 447)
(Titanic Mistakes Using The W Compass - 2). Over at Dredd Blog there is a post showing how coherent remedial response to global climate change is similarly plagued:
"... I want to focus on those beliefs that "God is doing the climate change if there is any, because human civilization is not capable of doing anything that could change the climate" (Ergo Anthropogenic Deigenic climate change).

Let's use the religious beliefs of two human public figures, Pope Francis and Senator Inhofe, to get the criticism in gear.

Pope Francis is of the faith that anthropogenic climate change is the reality, and that endangering and harming humanity by damaging the Earth is sin (Message of Science & Religion - Western - 2).

Senator Inhofe thinks the Pope is arrogant to have the faith that people could damage the Earth's climate ("the arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate").
(Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 39). The consensus of scientists is that the problem is anthropogenic climate change, while some religious tenets agree with that, others do not.

It amounts to a theory of deigenic climate change (God is doing it) or anthropomorphic climate change (human civilization is doing it).

There are two steering systems to correct those two different conclusions, one humanly operated, the other not.

So, those who are under the sway of Oil-Qaeda want governments to stay out of "God's climate system" while the others under the sway of science want governments to stop the emission of green house gases so as to avert catastrophe (Global Warming / Climate Change Will Generate Dangerous Religion, The Baby Is Not The Bathwater; The Guilty Are Not The Victims).

The two remedies would be:
1) prayer by the deigenic climate change believers, or

2) technological changes to implement a new energy system that is free from fossil fuels by those who adhere to the science about anthropomorphic climate change.
The fate of civilization depends on the proper outcome (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2, 3, 4, 5).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Really well done. You've been as concise as anyone could be.

But this post still exceeds the attention span of many Americans who spend hours per day commuting and another one, two, or three hours trying to understand what is happening around them by surfing the web while the TV or radio blathers in the background.

I don't currently have a suggestion as to how to get a message through to my fellow Americans. Chris Hedges writes as well as anyone on these subjects and has been doing it for a long time. How many Americans have ever heard of Chris Hedges?

I'm not trying to be negative. I'm searching some way to have a positive impact.

Anyway, good post.