Alan Rominger

Raleigh, NC, United States

Someone is shy

Alan hasn't completed a profile. Should we look for some other people?

Comments & conversations

Noface
Alan Rominger
Posted over 2 years ago
Leslie Morgan Steiner: Why domestic violence victims don't leave
There is a textbook titled "Intimate Relationships" that does a fantastic job of deconstructing these topics with actual published scientific literature. They classify this broad topic as "intimate terrorism", and it encompasses the more subversive acts she mentions in the video in addition to outright physical abuse. In this textbook, they report that we have enough studies and data to support a consensus opinion that intimate terrorism is done equally often by both genders, however, the abuse gets physical more often in the case of men. When you think about it, this conclusion makes perfect sense. We're all human, and we're all liable to abuse a partner due to psychological issues we've carried with us. But to think that the physically smaller sex (women) would turn their abuse physical as often or more often than men just doesn't make any sense. The minority of people in both genders who become abuse are psychologically pretty much the same. However, if you are going through this abusive psychological cycle, then you're more likely to get physical if you feel stronger than your partner. There's nothing sexist about that conclusion, but the stat she gives effectively assumes all abuse is physical, and this is either misrepresenting or ignoring what the experts have been telling us.
Noface
Alan Rominger
Posted almost 3 years ago
Rachel Botsman: The currency of the new economy is trust
I'm happy to hear a mention of Stack Exchange. I've been using the site for a while, and I think it has a huge amount of potential. I don't know of anything else on the internet that does as good of a job with matching people who have a need with people who want an audience.
Noface
Alan Rominger
Posted almost 3 years ago
Jonathan Trent: Energy from floating algae pods
Dr. Ritchie appears to have some valid points, along with some invalid points. The claims that the plastic hardware is a deal-breaker is pretty much true. This has been pointed out for such systems over and over again. I read The Oil Drum where they debunk lots of similar claims. Alage as a transportation fuel is only viable as open-pool systems. Our national research labs have confirmed this again and again. Now, the speaker isn't an idiot and he should know this better than anyone else. That's why he proposed the large plastic bioreactors that don't need any tensile strength - they're just bags. The only problem is that they don't work, as his very presentation showed. You need to do lots of off-gasing and processing so that the algae doesn't kill itself. They engineered systems to fix this, but the systems will require more such plastic and it kills the idea. But using metric units doesn't indicate fraud. Only someone who hasn't worked in those engineering fields that use them would say otherwise.
Noface
Alan Rominger
Posted almost 3 years ago
Jonathan Trent: Energy from floating algae pods
You're absolutely right about centralization. I would go even further. This project would never be successful without the individual facilities scaling up to a size that's hard for you or I to imagine. I linger on the image of wind turbines he shows in his graphics. These are simply unrealistic. Offshore wind power is competitive, or at least it can be, but it doesn't start to become so until you put in a capacity larger than 100 MW at least for the entire farm, with the individual turbine outputs at 5, 6 MW or larger. The sizes he shows would doubtfully be a paltry kW. The illustration could be true for a demonstration facility, sure. But the components he shows are orders of magnitude too small for profitability, as decades of experience in each respective industry has shown. The agenda of the investors is to make money. If you can't attract those investors, the idea will never get beyond research and modest demonstrations. The term "local" should not be attached to a San Fransisco or NYC waste treatment plant in the first place. The idea is inherently large scale. If anyone has the misconception that this idea will produce jobs in a diverse set of coastal communities, it's best to fix that misconception right now.
Noface
Alan Rominger
Posted about 3 years ago
Hans Rosling: Religions and babies
Sure, it's nice to have this presentation of the data, but I feel a burning need to point out the elephant in the room - that all this data is organized by nation. Why should we continue to look at the data in this sense which is at least somewhat arbitrary? We've had so much stability in terms of national borders in the last 50 years that it has become easy to look at the world through the lenses of national statistics. The problem is that it amalgamates information according to the involuntary association of citizenship which dilutes meaningful observations about different groups of people. The goal of this talk was to look at the connection between religion and sexuality. The talk focused mostly on the trends in birth rate for nations of different majority religions. This approach is riddled with problems. Firstly, the critical distinction for the stated goal isn't between different religions, but between the religious versus non-religious, which draws a much more clear line in birth rates. Secondly, the main difference between the religious and non-religions manifests itself within a single nation, not between different nations around the world. His conclusion was the religion doesn't have a major impact on baby production. I don't mean to express agreement or disagreement in this limited space, my argument is only that his evidence is of insufficient quality to support his conclusion.
Noface
Alan Rominger
Posted about 3 years ago
Melissa Garren: The sea we've hardly seen
I'll plead ignorance on the campaigns against aquaculture, but otherwise I very much agree with your comment. I would love to see more TED talks on aquaculture. I was going to say that it would be nice to see the issue addressed specifically, but as I think about this, I recall that this has, in fact, been done already. It needs to be said that even from a pro-aquiculture standpoint, new knowledge about the function of microbes in the ocean discussed in this talk is critically important. Obviously we need to understand what we're doing as we do it. Otherwise we're poking at sleeping dragons.
Noface
Alan Rominger
Posted about 3 years ago
Jon Bergmann: Just how small is an atom?
I think I can understand that feeling. As an engineer, I really believe that the novelty from these insights only become clear once you start to understand the applications. The volume of a nucleus really doesn't matter until you have to deal with something like the average distance traveled by a free neutron in a nuclear reactor, for instance. This is, by the way, about a foot or a few inches, depending on the energy. But the point is that it passes through a huge number of atoms in that distance. It's journey is made possible by the fact described in this video - that atoms are mostly the electron orbitals. You know, the fact of the matter is that solid material isn't just free space, it's electron space and nuclear space. Some things interact (and are stopped by) the electron space, while some other fairly special things can completely ignore it, and will then only interact with the nuclear space. This is a huge foundation of almost all advanced science today. When we use x-rays to map crystal structures, for instance, we're using photons that with energies we designed to interact with the nucleus alone. Nonetheless, we have TEM and atom force microscopes that work by interacting weakly with the electrons. Anyway, physics isn't about mastering a single fact, it's about flexing muscle, and going to the gym regularly. As more people like you ask more probing questions, we'll see much more exciting material make its way from the textbook to youtube. It's an exciting time to be on the internet!
Noface
Alan Rominger
Posted about 3 years ago
Tavi Gevinson: A teen just trying to figure it out
Keeping the discussion on the developed world... So I've heard about signaling that girls receive - how they're told they have less ability and expectations on them. My personal experience limits my empathetic ability, but I believe it. Another valid point is that modern media, like the movie Transformers, are often gender-role disasters. If you've seen the movie it's very very hard to disagree. But people still rebel against political correctness. If our problem is that we have too many male-centered movies, I think the root of the problem is that... men write our movies, and the solution to the problem... would be to have more women write movies. It might seem pedantic, but I had 10 elementary school teachers, one of them was male, and he was training to be a principle. In other words, he was the only of the 10 advancing in his career. It's hard to deny that gender disparity of role models, and I admit it helped me. I felt greater expectations were placed on me over equal female classmates. Nonetheless, these (modern) problems don't imply clear corrective actions, and I think that scares people. People fear that feminists want gratuitous male-centric movies to be subject to PC censorship. Let me take a quote from your whoneedsfeminism.tumblr.com link. "Because I was told that I was being extremely selfish when I said I never wanted kids." This, like many feminist issues isn't clearly a feminist issue to me. I have male friends who believe this exact thing regarding themselves. I'm left wondering if I don't "get" it. I think that we need more men in households doing the work to raise children, but how? Rates of single mothers are skyrocketing. And the media seems to have evolved almost a new neo-misogyny that broadly cheapens our male-female relationships, which you see reflected in other comments here. If there's one good argument to refocus the definition of feminism, it's the observation that it seems to not be working.
Noface
Alan Rominger
Posted about 3 years ago
Tavi Gevinson: A teen just trying to figure it out
Women still have problems that need to be resolved. Even though the college population is more female, those women have less lucrative and less available career prospects than their male colleagues because they decided on majors in lower demand. The problem is what we adults tell them they're good at, and we don't have a preconceived notion that girls are good at electrical circuits and building model trains. An extremely valid point I've heard recently is that even modern LEGO commercials are jaw-droppingly sexist. That said, we shouldn't look at this young woman and label her as a product of the Barbie influence. Many women would go into fashion in the absence of sexist cultural influence. People are passionate about what they're passionate about and it should always be encouraged, but we have to take down the figurative "no girls allowed" sign as well as vice-versa. So what's the proper perspective to take on this? Well, abandoning Feminism isn't it. Your arguments result in the conclusion that gender roles are mismatched. We need both a Feminism and Men's movement. In fact, many of the Feminist causes can't be fixed any way other than opening up opportunity for men. For instance, if child care was seen as more acceptable of a role for men, then they would take off more work for that reason and workplace opportunities would equalize better.
Noface
Alan Rominger
Posted over 3 years ago
A conversation with Prudential: As people are living longer, how can we plan for a retirement that could last up to 30 years or more?
As an engineer, this talk about the lack of financial stability, and the risk with investment portfolios is somewhat unreal to me. We are in dire need of real investment into real infrastructure projects that are larger and take longer than ever before. Just have a glance at Exxon's investment plan for the next 5 years, which tops $100 billion, and includes many single facility construction projects that run >$5 billion. For energy in particular, we need major investment into new technologies at scale as well replacement of our existing infrastructure reaching the end of its life. Many of these projects have very good prospects of return, and taken as a whole, will certainly produce a good revenue stream. But as an individual we don't have access to these. Buying the Exxon stock is to pay far more for this capital than what it actually cost to build. At the same time, projects like new nuclear plants that we desperately need and produce one of the most stably priced commodities out there (electricity) can't get funded. Do we really live in uncertain times? If we do, we have ourselves to blame for it. It is actually very baffling to me that we have not managed to solve the problem of reliably saving for retirement. If you think about it, since capital is needed to produce so much of our consumption, one would think that the physical means to produce everything we need for retirement years could by and large be produced in our working years. It's such a simple concept, it seems baffling that we talk about it as if it's so hard.