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Things we could do without on i'bles Answered

Ok, recently I have been seeing more and more Instructables that make me wonder about the youth of today, so in memory of my favorite comedian George Carlin (if you are under 18 or easily offended don't google him) I present People Instructables could do without: People who think piracy is a good thing to post. People who plagiarise (sp?) other peoples work and pass it up as their own. Pyramid scheme and other spammers. Companies who think that this is free advertising (remember what dremmel did?) People who make I'bles that should be a slideshow or forum topic. People who make I'bles on drugs, stealing, etc. I wont single anyone out by posting examples, and I know I'm no angel myself. Comments?


people who say it's their first instructable, and tell everyone to be nice to him in the comments because of it. The billions of k'nex instructables. And people who think the UK is the better than the US in every, single, possible aspect.


NO more K'NEX . . . . . . please

sorry to those who like k'nex but um.... instructables.com is about more than educational toys.

Hey, using first ible as an excuse is plausible......I do it all the time... Oh hey, this is my first instructable too! Be nice!

It's no excuse for anything, however it does send a message out that if they've got something rather wrong that there's reason behind it, if they post this is my first 'ible then make one that makes no sense because they have trouble understanding the step by step format then they can be told this and commented through such a problem. If they turned round and were abusive in retort to constructive criticism, that would be bad.

In general a first time 'ibler might need some guiding along the way, at least by saying it they're taking the chance to say "I have not yet learned the intricacies of 'ibling however I could learn.

I said plausible. If it's a good instructable, where you see the author tried, but could use some work, its ok, the author is just nervous. If its clearly and instructable in which no effort was put, then its just a cheap excuse.

It isn't good, but think of it as something you might say to a girl/boyfriend: sympathy or "still not impressed"? L

Exactly: I mean, personlly, I like to have advice given on how I might have made the ible better, especially if it is my first one ;-)

you mean it isnt? just kidding, and lets be honest... its all better than australlia :D (kidding guys)

lol. But everywhere is better than the Artic...Unless your a polar bear.

Three things; Knex haters. Non-Knex haters. Arguments about Evolution, Christianity and/or Catastrophism.

I don't ever remember having an argument about catastrophism...

It wasn't directed to you, but, still. Catastrophism is alot like Christianity (or so I was told).

Ahh, a person able and willing to admit a mistake. Much respect.


But I thought most people admitted when they were wrong...

I don't have to admit it when I'm wrong..... It's understood that I'm USUALLY wrong. I just get to do the "superiority dance" every now and then when I happen to be right!

Why don't you admit it? And lol. Haha, what is this "superiority dance"? :P

Me admitting that I'm wrong, is like God admitting that the sky is blue. Everybody already knows it! And the superiority dance...... I'll have to videotape it (and post it), if I ever happen to be right again.


I'm sure you'll be right someday soon.

I just have to think of a question you can get right...

Catastrophism was the best-fit explanation for the geology we see around us, before the discovery of plate tectonics.

Some early catostrophists were also strongly religious (seeing god's guiding hand in the destructive events, presumably Noah's flood etc). Later catostrophists were "proper" geologists, who battled with uniformitarians, who saw the earth as constant, subject to a gradual cycle of erosion and rock formation that maintained the geological status quo.

Now that we know about plate tectonics, and have a better knowledge of deep time, the best-fit is a mix of the two - gradual processes such as sedimentation and tectonic drift, interspersed with catastrophic events such as supervolcanoes, tsunami and meteors.

Keep in mind that there are two different, and mututally independent, kinds of uniformitarianism (my comments are shamelessly adapted from Stephen Jay Gould):

  • Uniformity of process, or the idea that the kinds of things which "could have happened" in the past are observable today. "There is no new thing under the Sun" is a statement of uniformity of process, as is the assumption in science of the constancy and universality of physical laws (radioactive decay rates, coupling constants, conservation laws.
  • Uniformity of rate, the idea that that the processes we observe today (see above) happened in exactly the same way in the past as they do now. No massive floods or supervolcanoes, no difference at all in subduction rates or seafloor spreading or anything else.

The first is an essential assumption we have to make in order to do science at all -- if physical laws can change from time to time, then we cannot use observations to infer anything about the past or to predict the future.

The second is a testable, and falsifiable, statement about the actual history of the Earth. And it's wrong. The environment and processes in the past weren't trivially identical to the present -- the atmosphere has changed composition rather dramatically over 4 billion years; the formation of supercontinents dramatically affects climate, erosion, and interspecies competition; intermittent catastrophic events have suddenly and randomly altered the global environment.

This is essentially a restatement of your last paragraph.

Actually (as far as I was concerned) I was arguing against the anthropic principal - the idea that life exists because of the miraculous coincidence that the universe works in just such a way, and the earth is at just such a coincidental position / state to allow "life" to exist.

"This universe is just right to contain this planet which is just right for life" - the so-called Goldilocks Principal tries to claim that there must be some purpose to the universe as a whole, maybe even a guiding intelligence, because if conditions were different, life couldn't exist. Unfortunately, "life" as defined by this argument is "humanity as we know it". There is, quite literally, a whole book in the argument, but basically it is an empty argument, since we know that life exists now in hugely-varying conditions, from strongly alkali to strongly neutral, tens of degrees below freezing to hundreds of degrees above, from pressures of many hundreds of atmospheres to near-vacuum etc...

(Sorry, I know that was a long post, but "you're wrong" would have been impolite without a qualifier.)

I'd thought that the anthropic principal was essentially: "we're here because we are". That this is anti- "This universe is just right to contain this planet which is just right for life" - in that if it wasn't, quite simply, we wouldn't be here to bicker about it?


(don't forget sulphurous boiling acid - loving bacteria)

Generally, those that argue for it say; if the basic nature of the universe was even slightly different, life would not exist. Therefore, the purpose of the universe is to contain intelligent (human) life.

Even without the enormous leap in logic, they miss out the important phrase "...as we know it".

Sorry I'm thinking of something related to it - it must go under another name, but I don't know what it is. L

was it, the "I think, therefore I am" existentialism or the Kafka-esque view of the world?

Sorry, the only things I remember from touching upon philosophy in English Lit course

I kind of like the "I think, there fore I continue to exist" theory too ;-)

I think you two are mixing the so-called Strong and Weak Anthropic Principles.

The Strong verison (Dyson's choice, I think) is the argument from fine-tuning (changing any of the fundamental parameters of the universe would preclude our existence). One example is that changing the low-energy magnitude of the strong (QCD) coupling would lead to either no stable nuclei at all, or to stability of diprotons and a consequent shutoff of fusion-based nucleosynthesis.

The Weak version says nothing about the Universe's broad existence, but merely that we don't live in a "random" or "typical" part of the Universe, but rather in a place (and time) biased by the requirement that it be hospitable to us. This is a much simpler, and even self-evident statement -- we can't live on Jupiter or Mercury; we couldn't survive in a solar system too close to the galactic center, etc.

And Kiteman's comment above (to which I'll also reply directly) which Adrian/Lithium cited, was actually an argument in support of the Weak Anthropic Principle.

Mmm, yes that would be it, thanks. L

Oops? Nah, I don't think there was anything to be fixed :-) Just like you, I find the Strong Anthropic Principle (which is often referred to as just the "anthropic principle") to be silly, while the Weak version seems obvious, and therefore somewhat pointless.

As I read it, that comment was an argument in support of the Weak Anthropic Principle -- that our planet is not "typical" or "random" in the Universe, but rather has an environment which is biased to be suitable for our kind of life to have evolved. I fully agree with your distaste for the Strong Anthropic Principle -- to me, it's a stupid tautology that precludes research into the possible origins of, or variations in, the fundamental parameters of the Universe.

Mm, okay. I was just saying that you agree that there have been sudden, catastrophic events that affected the earth. ("environment changing dramatically...") And have argued against those who do not. (Only I guess that's not a good example. :D) >shrugs< Maybe you haven't argued with someone over this...maybe I imagined it. :-)

I hope I haven't done that. Unless somebody finds different?

Do I owe somebody an apology for not making myself clear enough?

Nah - I put on my Stalking Cap and went through your old comments - couldn't find any instances.

So I'm the one who should be apologizing.


Hey, no biggie - you know I trust you.

(Paternally-reassuring, and not-at-all-patronising hug.)

That got all warm and fuzzy there. Thank you.

who we dont need :

people who come here to advertise stuff they sell or participate in

people who find offense solely in order to get noticed or to blame others / who search for how to get offended

people who try to propagate elitism

who we do need :

People who think piracy is a good thing to post
instructable may be about the technical how to copy something. its up to you and only up to you to not do what the instructable is for. life can be complex and there may be situations where the knowhow of software / media piracy is crucial

People who make I'bles that should be a slideshow or forum topic
this can really be forgiven

People who make I'bles on drugs
are drugs wrong ? dont take them. does the law think so ? maybe not in the country of whoever wrote the inst. are drugs worse than cigarettes / alcohol ? vodka is worse than weed. besides howto use or make drugs you can use their knowhow to identify and cure drug related problems / grow non-drug plants / hide a hard drive / know more about the police

stealing, etc
again - thats only up to you to not steal. there may be many ocassions where this knowhow is crucial. how to beak into your home if you lost the key ? how to call home if you dont have anything but a pay phone and no coins ? how to steal a car to escape from errupting volcano ?