Friday, March 13, 2009

Busy @ Work

Aerospace audit & conformity this week and next... Rest assured, when you hop onto an airplane, the ammount of paperwork that went into qualifying each piece that went into the contruction of it, weigh more than the plane itself - at least that's the joke.

So when a plane leaves the assembly bay, the chances of something going wrong are as close to nothing as one can imagine.


  1. So those chances of a plane falling out of the sky, actually are reduced by the practices of checking and trying to get things right adopted by the language communities of engineers and auditors and so on. Thought so...:-)

  2. I’ll be throwing up another post in this Psi, but this is a perfect example of our conversation…

    We’re going through conformity on a tilt actuator servo motor – it’s about the size of a film case and could fit in your hand with a closed fist. Sold to the industrial market, without all the quality requirements, traceability and so on, it would go for about 300 bucks; to the aerospace market, we’ll be selling it under contract for just over 6,000 big ones.


    Well, consider the motor housing for a moment, just by itself. If I were to show it to you, you might say, it’s nothing more then a metal box/square/square tube, so on – that is, it isn’t readily obvious what’s going on or what it’s for. This is however, a fine enough answer for someone who does understand the complex nature of what they’re looking at. Philosophically, on the other hand, an appropriate response (or at least one that I prefer) to seeing the object would be, “It looks like an idea of ‘something’ worked out in metal.”

    Now, that housing, which is actually aluminum, has along within it a print. The print is, as you may suggest, a representation of the housing – which is a fine enough answer I guess, but philosophically boring and rhetorical. What I would suggest is that on the one hand, with the part itself, we have an idea worked out in aluminum, and on the other an idea worked out on paper – or in Auto CAD if you will. The paper doesn’t’ represent the aluminum part per se, anymore then it could be considered the other way around (although one could certainly consider that); the paper, if it can be said to “represent” anything, merely represents an idea, not a “thing” in itself. One of the reasons the motor costs so much money is due to the tightly held correlation between the idea in paper and the idea in aluminum.

    So what’s important to understand is that, prints (and for that matter maps), are not representing physicality per se, but another idea, which in this case is either worked out in aluminum, or in landscape.

  3. Correction,
    I'm thinking of another project - this motor sells to the aero market for 1800 bucks, not 6000.

  4. But they are not mutually exclusive ideas, it could be true that they are both physical manifestations of an idea, and also that the drawing represents the object, just as the map represents the territory.

    But what might we mean by 'represent'? Can we dispense with the toxic aspects of the idea, such as there being one true representation of reality regardless of the concerns of the representers without throwing the baby out with the bathwater?
    I think we can. But I'll save that for part 6.