Russell Richard

Piping Stress Analyst, Piping Stress Inc.
Plainfield, IL, United States

About Russell

Bio

I am displaced. I want to be a forensic engineer. I want to crawl around inside of old buildings to see how to make them strong again. I want to investigate collapsed buildings to see how they fell and make sure no one makes that mistake again. What I am is a pipe stress engineer, which is convenient, but not close to what I want to do. I will get to where I want to go, but I am not sure how long it will take to get there.

In the mean time, I swim, ride my bike, read, and tinker with my motorcycle. I also drink gratuitous amounts of tea.

In the future, I may open a coffee shop. I have some unique ideas in that direction.

Areas of Expertise

3D Drawing, Structural Engineering, Photography, Finite element analysis

An idea worth spreading

We may need a new form of currency. The internet is the first in what I predict will be a series of inventions leading to the eventual effortlessness of duplicating all creations. The recent SOPA talks have shown that we have a problem. Our current system of monetary incentive for creating new and better things falls apart when the thing you create can be duplicated with no effort. Suddenly, its much more difficult to make money by creating things.

But, this technology isn't going away, and we will only gain the ability to make more things effortlessly. Eventually, physical objects will also be duplicate-able. At some point, the acquisition of material wealth can no longer be the driving force in our lives.

I'm passionate about

Education. All things follow behind education. We do it wrong. This I know from personal experience and I want to somehow rectify this problem.

Talk to me about

Stirling engines, daguerreotyping, how science can inform morality, and what I can reasonably ask from an employer.

People don't know I'm good at

Organizing. You would never know it from any of my living spaces.

My TED story

My presentations professor, very reasonably, introduced us to TED to show us what a good presentation looks like and sounds like. She showed us Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke of Insight. My Great Uncle recently had a stroke (non-fatal, thank God). My Grandmother, his sister, found Jill's book quite separately, and it greatly moved her. I was thrilled to be able to give the words my Grandmother had read new life by showing her Jill's talk.

Comments & conversations

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Russell Richard
Posted over 2 years ago
What are some optimal professions for introverts?
And this has always bothered me. Especially in school, the students who are best in group situations are more highly recognized for their abilities than an introvert. The extrovert might not actually be better at or more passionate about the subject, but the introvert is less vocal, and therefore less likely to be recognized for their success. The extrovert will say that selling yourself is an important skill too. I have to ask, why? Because extroverts say so? I understand that extroverts are in the majority, but making extroversion a necessary skill for success in all subjects stunts our growth as a society by at least partially disregarding the contributions that some very insightful people can offer.
143920
Russell Richard
Posted over 2 years ago
What are some optimal professions for introverts?
I agree. The stigma that there are just some things that introverts can’t do is falsely based on the confusion between introversion and shyness. An extrovert is socially simple; more is better. Also, extroverts are much more common in the human race and they are socially dominant. So, it is easy for an extrovert to lump the two kinds of rare people together (shy and introverted) based on the one trait that they share, which is the thought that more social interaction is not always better. Introverts are like left-handed people. There are fewer of them and it often surprises people of the majority when they come across one. Also, like left-handedness, introversion is considered undesirable, or even evil, because the people of the majority don’t know how to react to it or deal with it.
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Russell Richard
Posted over 2 years ago
What are some optimal professions for introverts?
This question is well meaning, and a step in the right direction. But, I am afraid that many people, mostly extroverts, will read this question incorrectly. The way it is worded makes introversion sound like a disability or a disease. You could also ask; What are some optimal professions for people with no feet? Since people with no feet are not immobile, they just choose to limit their mobility to activities in which they are comfortable, which professions allow plenty of room for stationary work and the innovation that rises out of that? It is as if desiring solitary reflection is some kind of a burden that these people must live with and work around. If you are an avid consumer of TED talks, Aimee Mullins will tell you that not having feet is not the disability that people think it is. Similarly, not being extroverted is not the disability people think it is. Aimee uses her lack of biological feet to her advantage in ways that make us standard footed people jealous. Introverted people can use their penchant for solitary contemplation and reflection in ways that should make extroverted people green with envy. The answer to your question is that all professions are optimal. A more useful question is: How can we inform the extroverted majority that introverted people offer extraordinary strengths in ways that can be easily drawn upon?
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Russell Richard
Posted over 2 years ago
How would an economic system not based on the acquisition of material wealth work?
True, there is no zero point module or perpetual motion device. However, compared to the usual method of copying and distributing material, the amount of energy expended (for example) by a peer to peer data transmission system like Bit Torrent is miniscule. You don't have to have material to make DVDs, DVD cases, DVD writing machines, and paper inserts. Nor do you have to ship anything except data through a well established network. I agree. The internet is not really free. Somebody buys the equipment on which the data of the internet is stored. it is all based on physical items that must be purchased and maintained. It is a standard economic concept that the cost of an item is the lowest price at which it can be purchased (withing a reasonable time frame and distance). But, copying information based products is theft. It doesn't fit in the construct of economics. It operates outside of the cost rule because it sets the cost to zero. Here we have a problem. The people who consume data based products generally copy (steal) them. They do this without even thinking about it. To them, it's just another piece of data, just like any other. To believe that the government will be able to stop this theft with a law is foolish at best. There is no way to actually stop data copying short of destroying the equipment on which it is done. Therefore, because we cannot get rid of this kind of theft, we are going to have to find a way to live with it. And probably within this century, we will be having this same conversation for many physical objects, and soon after, all products of all kinds. The normal economic principles don't work when most of the consumers steal the things they consume. We are going to have to come up with a new kind of economics. I'm just wondering what that will be.
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Russell Richard
Posted over 2 years ago
How would an economic system not based on the acquisition of material wealth work?
Is it your contention that we could move away from a wealth-gathering society construct now? Generally, we use money as a reward for good work and great ideas. (Unless you're the government, then you just take money regardless of whether you've earned it.) We have the ability to stockpile money from one generation to the next, and those with a lot of it can fund the ideas of those without a lot of it (investing). I agree that somewhere inside of each of us there is a part that is afraid to be without food and a home. It is biological. Those without food and home die. Therefore, if we can buy more stuff, we do. It adds to our home and makes us feel more secure. Economics is generally based on the idea that every person always wants more and better stuff than they currently have. If every person in an economic system were to say, "Nope, I have enough. I don't want any more.", how would we get people to innovate and create new ideas and technologies? how would we reward them for making our lives better? Do we have to?
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Russell Richard
Posted over 2 years ago
How would an economic system not based on the acquisition of material wealth work?
Greed can drive an individual, but capitalism isn't about getting all that you can as quickly as you can. Capitalism is about being rewarded for work that society deems good and needed. The more work you put into a good idea, and the better that idea is, the more you make. So, if you have a terrible idea, you probably won't make any money (and we can't always assume what ideas will be terrible, some people once considered pet rocks to be a great idea and hey were proved right) And if you never do work, you also won't be rewarded. And some people will make it big! They don't stash that money away in some huge vault as physical currency. If a person has made it big, that person and their descendants will have the ability to fund people with great ideas in the future. Relating to the original topic, perhaps if we don't have to worry about physical needs, then the currency in which we will deal will be recognition for good ideas. The difference being here that descendants probably won't reap the benefit of the parent's creation as much as in a money and resource based system.
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Russell Richard
Posted over 2 years ago
How would an economic system not based on the acquisition of material wealth work?
Unfortunately, democratic control usually means some form of government. Governments, once they have power, almost never give that power up. If the majority of he wealth is under democratic (government) control, then it is the government that decides what I can buy and how to by it. Not directly, of course, that would be communism, but indirectly by controlling the flow of money. Luxury goods in such a system are automatically removed from the market. They contradict the idea that no one person should have substantially more wealth than any other person. Unfortunately, luxury goods are the places where many innovations are made. Things like cars, finely stitched clothing, and white bread were originally luxury goods.
143920
Russell Richard
Posted over 2 years ago
How would an economic system not based on the acquisition of material wealth work?
As a start to the conversation, Gene Roddenberry envisioned an idyllic future for humanity in Star Trek. One of the concepts visited in Star Trek was that human society no longer used money. To quote captain Jean-Luc Picard, "The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives." With the invention of the replicator, I can understand why physical wealth would be considered irrelevant. We have invented a very powerful replicator for information and content called the internet. In fact, it is so powerful that it replicates content whether we want it to or not. It also is even more powerful in that it freely generates content. What happens when we are able to generate all things - physical items included - as easily as we can generate content on the internet? The economics of the world would break down if everything suddenly became free. It would be my hope that the driving force in our lives would shift to become the acquisition of spiritual wealth, wisdom, and knowledge. How would such a society work? What would it look like? Would we stagnate because there is no incentive? How would we transition from this economy to the other, understanding that the technology to get us there will not suddenly appear?
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Russell Richard
Posted over 2 years ago
Clay Shirky: Why SOPA is a bad idea
Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please! Human Ingenuity Inc. is proud to announce the invention of a machine that duplicates things effortlessly! We are even more proud to announce that we will be letting everyone in the world use this machine for free! Now, before you get too excited, it doesn’t work on everything. We can’t duplicate physical objects yet, but we’re working on it! And the scientists and engineers at H2I think that before the century is out, we’ll be churning out duplicated cars, computers, and tee shirts with no effort whatsoever. Human Ingenuity Inc. hopes that this invention and our future physical object duplicators will bring about a new era for humanity... An era where the acquisition of material wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives.