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non charisian Navy ships

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Re: non charisian Navy ships
Post by Louis R   » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:13 pm

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The issue here, as elsewhere, is that people insist on shoehorning an artificial culture into a specific place on an evolutionary continuum that they think it matches, generally based on specific elements that catch their attention. Without grasping the significance of the dictum that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. And, in many cases, they don't understand the development of our culture nearly as well as they imagine to start with.


EdThomas wrote:I'm not an engineer. I have to go back to the demonstration to Thirsk of the precision of the parts of the rifles. I remember thinking all those precisely made small parts couldn't have been made with just casting and forging so they must have developed metal cutting machines to be able to achieve the volumes they did. My dad was a machinist. I remember he talked about milling machines where a revolving cutter was applied to metal. From a machine standpoint is that all that different than a lathe? With each you precisely apply a blade to the well-secured object to remove part of the object. It seems to me you can't produce complex metal parts unless you have both lathes and milling machines. I assumed (I know, I know) they had both types of machines.
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Re: non charisian Navy ships
Post by Silverwall   » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:25 pm

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Louis R wrote:The issue here, as elsewhere, is that people insist on shoehorning an artificial culture into a specific place on an evolutionary continuum that they think it matches, generally based on specific elements that catch their attention. Without grasping the significance of the dictum that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. And, in many cases, they don't understand the development of our culture nearly as well as they imagine to start with.


Not at all, this is entirely based on the given description of the tech level available in the first book. It is very clear that they do NOT have lathes and cutting tools capable of that fine machining based on the decription of the crudity of the Krakens on the Navy ships. To have gone from nothing to whole factories of them in 5-6 years is crazy land and the tech transfer should have been discussed. Maybe RFCs notes say differently but I contend that the evidence is not in the novels.
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Re: non charisian Navy ships
Post by Weird Harold   » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:00 pm

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Silverwall wrote:It is very clear that they do NOT have lathes and cutting tools capable of that fine machining based on the decription of the crudity of the Krakens on the Navy ships.


The 'crudity' of Krakens and other artifacts was not due to the limitations of their lathes and other machine tools, it was due to a lack of standardized measurements. That is covered explicitly in OAR as well.

Even a simple treadle lathe is capable of the precision necessary for Charisian tech advances over the series. the problem is in precision measurements; if you can't measure precisely and consistently, you can't cut accurately.
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Re: non charisian Navy ships
Post by EdThomas   » Sat Sep 22, 2018 5:40 pm

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Somewhere in the last couple books we did get a small infodump on the implementation of standardized measurements as well as the different types of precision gauges that'd been developed.
Getting back to the demonstration of the parts interchange-ability... My recollection is that Thirsk's whiz kid inferred the rifles had been made in different facilities from the differences in the stamped part numbers which screamed wide spread precise standards. Also, I think the Mandarins had steel parts which implies machine tools capable of cutting steel.
I wouldn't want to fire a breech-loading rifle that was not made with precision parts.
I don't know anything about treadle-powered lathes but these guys know a lot about gearing so it's not hard to imagine them coming up with machines with enough power to cut steel.
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Re: non charisian Navy ships
Post by Bluesqueak   » Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:13 pm

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Silverwall wrote:
Louis R wrote:The issue here, as elsewhere, is that people insist on shoehorning an artificial culture into a specific place on an evolutionary continuum that they think it matches, generally based on specific elements that catch their attention. Without grasping the significance of the dictum that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. And, in many cases, they don't understand the development of our culture nearly as well as they imagine to start with.


Not at all, this is entirely based on the given description of the tech level available in the first book. It is very clear that they do NOT have lathes and cutting tools capable of that fine machining based on the decription of the crudity of the Krakens on the Navy ships. To have gone from nothing to whole factories of them in 5-6 years is crazy land and the tech transfer should have been discussed. Maybe RFCs notes say differently but I contend that the evidence is not in the novels.


Um, but if they're boring out the barrels of the Krakens, wouldn't they have to have lathes capable of accurate machining? Isn't boring more difficult than straightforward lathe work?

Howsmyn suggests welding an iron band with trunnions because it would be so much faster than "casting and boring an entire new gun". Then later he uses saved time to ream out and rebore some of those Krakens to a standard bore size.

That does rather suggest the 'irregular bores' problem was due to lack of standardisation, rather than the machine tools being incapable of accurate boring. Different cannon shops were producing 'Krakens' with different bore sizes.
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Re: non charisian Navy ships
Post by Weird Harold   » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:49 pm

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EdThomas wrote:I don't know anything about treadle-powered lathes ...


I didn't mean to suggest that Charis started upgrading from treadle lathes, only that the requisite precision could be achieved with far less tech than Charis started with.
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Re: non charisian Navy ships
Post by Silverwall   » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:43 am

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Bluesqueak wrote:
Silverwall wrote:[
Not at all, this is entirely based on the given description of the tech level available in the first book. It is very clear that they do NOT have lathes and cutting tools capable of that fine machining based on the decription of the crudity of the Krakens on the Navy ships. To have gone from nothing to whole factories of them in 5-6 years is crazy land and the tech transfer should have been discussed. Maybe RFCs notes say differently but I contend that the evidence is not in the novels.


Um, but if they're boring out the barrels of the Krakens, wouldn't they have to have lathes capable of accurate machining? Isn't boring more difficult than straightforward lathe work?

Howsmyn suggests welding an iron band with trunnions because it would be so much faster than "casting and boring an entire new gun". Then later he uses saved time to ream out and rebore some of those Krakens to a standard bore size.

That does rather suggest the 'irregular bores' problem was due to lack of standardisation, rather than the machine tools being incapable of accurate boring. Different cannon shops were producing 'Krakens' with different bore sizes.


Nope, there are techniques for boring out the barrels of cannon that do not in any way imply the use of lathes in the modern sense.

Finally the point of lack of standardised measurements is precisely why they do not have modern lathes as to make them work you need consistant screws for running the advance mechanisms and similar. Going from un unstandardised mess to the production they produced is handwavium in the extreme. It may make an exciting story but if you look at the history of technology there are just more and more gaps that have to be glossed over.

see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_tool#History for a very quick summary with dates. Then consider the issues the COGA forces have getting manufacturing going and it is clear that most of these are either missing or very early primative tools

From the wiki article:

"Machine tools filled a need created by textile machinery during the Industrial Revolution in England in the middle to late 1700s.[7] Until that time machinery was made mostly from wood, often including gearing and shafts. The increase in mechanization required more metal parts, which were usually made of cast iron or wrought iron. Cast iron could be cast in molds for larger parts, such as engine cylinders and gears, but was difficult to work with a file and could not be hammered. Red hot wrought iron could be hammered into shapes. Room temperature wrought iron was worked with a file and chisel and could be made into gears and other complex parts; however, hand working lacked precision and was a slow and expensive process."
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Re: non charisian Navy ships
Post by WeberFan   » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:54 am

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Silverwall wrote:
EdThomas wrote:Some questions.
Assumption - steam engine development so far has been in relatively slow engines. Is the metallurgy available to develop high speed engines and the complex transmissions they require?
I think the development of fuels for these faster engines would be considered as new uses of allowed procedures, i.e. distillation. I believe petroleum refining is a form of distillation which makes it an allowed process.
How do the Proscriptions deal with "new" knowledge developed in Universities? For example, germ theory.
Is the chemical makeup of granular powder the same as the original meal powder. If not, is it a proscriptions violation?
Same question for chocolate powder, smokeless powder and "Lewisyte".


According to RFC the answer to these answers is YES.

However myself and others feel that based on what is described the answer should be NO.

Basically there are a great many hidden steps needed to get from the technology level described in the first book to where RFC took them in story.

If you ever watch a programme called Connections (Either version) you see how interconnected this knowledge is.

Furthermore most stories like this. Sometimes called the 'Giving radio to the Romans" storyline ignores what has been said by many philosophers of science. Specifically that most inventions need both physical and social conditions to flourish. Steam engines in particular can reasonably be traced back to Ptolomaic egypt and temple miracles. However it wasn't until 2000 years later that a compelling need (Mine pumping) became widespread enough to cause widespread adoption of the technology.

Also in the interest of good storytelling he has massively compressed how long it takes a technology to become truely ubiquitous. In our world even cellphones took 30 years to mature as a technology from 1980 to about 2010 and that is not even counting the "Smart phone" aspect but just the phone aspect.

Another example is how long economics caused sail powered craft to linger. Despite steam becomming common in the 1830s and 1840s the final death knell for sailing coasters wasn't until the U-Boat depridations of WW1 where thier very low spead made them excessivly vulnrable to the subs.

One than that is criminally under-discussed in the book and should be holding both sides back is the lack of machine tools. Especially the modern steal cutting lathe which is essential to making everything. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_lathe This is a technology so core to all the advancements in bolt actions and complex steam engines it really should have been discussed much more.

Great post, Silverwall.

Interesting that you bring up Connections... I remember watching the series and eventually bought the entire series on DVD. Fascinating work!

But thinking about your post, and about the "Connections" connection, and reading some of the other posts in this thread it seems that the common theme is that it's just not taking long enough to develop a new technology. There are "too many missing intermediate steps."

In my mind I'm thinking "Of COURSE the intermediate steps are missing." The essence of our technological development on Earth is incremental, linear, step-by-step advancement because A) we don't understand the ultimate possibilities of our work - we're blinded by our own lack of imagination and creativity; and B) we have no idea how to get where we're going - we're hamstrung by the need to "figure it out."

But what if those two statements were no longer true? What if we already knew what we were trying to create and already knew how to create it? What if the only thing holding us back was trying to pretend that the development path WAS slow and incremental?

In my mind, the entire tedious, circuitous, blind-alley-strewn development path could be bypassed. We could go in a straight line from A to Z. Well, we might want to throw in the occasional dud just so we couldn't be accused of being demonspawn... But all the fruitless intermediate steps... All the non-value-add intermediates... could be bypassed.

In one of the other posts in this thread, there's a comment about the metal lathe. Good example. What if you didn't have one already, but could SEE one? What if you could SEE how one is built? What if you could SEE one in operation? What if you could ask (and have the question answered with 100% accuracy) what it was made out of and how it was made? What if you could ask how to make the high-strength steel necessary to make the machine tools and get those questions answered? What if you didn't really NEED to experiment to find the answers for yourself? Would that speed up the development of steel lathe technologies? MWW has already told us in textev a number of times how Owl has enabled advances in base technology (providing the CALIBRATED crush gauge for determining bore pressures immediately comes to mind).

With Owl and his library database I think all that is possible. The only thing standing in the way is the (temporary) need to include some blind alleys.

Personally, I think this is one of the better threads on the board. But my conclusion is that Howsmyn and the entire nascent company of technology innovators will begin entire new lines of innovation in the new book. And I for one am really, really looking forward to seeing where that might lead!
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Re: non charisian Navy ships
Post by Dilandu   » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:28 am

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WeberFan wrote:
With Owl and his library database I think all that is possible. The only thing standing in the way is the (temporary) need to include some blind alleys.

Personally, I think this is one of the better threads on the board. But my conclusion is that Howsmyn and the entire nascent company of technology innovators will begin entire new lines of innovation in the new book. And I for one am really, really looking forward to seeing where that might lead!


One problem: getting rid of experimental stage is counterproductive, if you want to establish a mindset for innovation. I mentioned this before; current situation is, basically, reinforcing the CoGA doctrine that knowledge should not be seek but should be provided from above; Charisian "perfect technology" (especially in compairson with non-perfect technology odpf anyone else) basically did not actually inspire innovation but rather waiting for a perfect solution to be Angel-delivered to you.
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- Scarecrow from Oz; he was strawman before it became political.

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Re: non charisian Navy ships
Post by Randomiser   » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:17 pm

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Dilandu wrote:
One problem: getting rid of experimental stage is counterproductive, if you want to establish a mindset for innovation. I mentioned this before; current situation is, basically, reinforcing the CoGA doctrine that knowledge should not be seek but should be provided from above; Charisian "perfect technology" (especially in compairson with non-perfect technology odpf anyone else) basically did not actually inspire innovation but rather waiting for a perfect solution to be Angel-delivered to you.


You are right to an extent, of course, but they needed to deal with the slash lizard in the front room before thinking about the great dragon in the garden. They needed to drive technical innovation fast enough to survive the war, or any innovative mindset would have been doomed anyway.
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