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Objectivists board room

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by joe bloggs, May 28, 2015.
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  1. Zapp_Fan
    My boss likes to talk about the "bike shed effect" which if you haven't heard of it, is based on a (maybe apocryphal) anecdote -

    A planning committee is designing a nuclear power plant. There are hundreds of pages of specifications, safety regulations, detailed reactor designs, and so on. They are reviewing the whole planning document and most pages go by without comment. Finally they get to a page in the document specifying the design of a bike shed in the parking lot of the power plant - quite possibly the least important part of the plan. Suddenly, everyone has a strong opinion - there are multiple pages of revisions, lots of active discussion on everything, especially what color to paint the shed.

    The lesson is that people don't focus on what's actually important, they focus and try to improve things they can easily see and understand, even if it doesn't make a difference. Improving a reactor design is hard, takes a lot of work, and the details are hard to understand. The color of a bike shed is very easy to grasp, on the other hand...

    I think a lot of audiophool stuff comes from this phenomenon. Things like jitter are easy to understand in a "lower is better" sense, and so are discussed actively. Jitter is definitely one of the bike sheds of the audio world...
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
    CarlosUnchained and JaeYoon like this.
  2. JaeYoon
    Really interesting idea. I like it a lot.

    I have same thing in group projects. Everyone likes to change aesthetics of the design even when it serves no purpose. Just to make it look unique.

    Whatever is visible to them it's easier to understand. Even when it has no effect or even minimal.

    The more underlying and important parts are taken care of by engineers.

    I might steal this bike shed effect idea.
  3. castleofargh Contributor
    it's a pretty famous idea in organized work. and it's easy enough to understand mainly because it happens so often IRL. that's where you see good leaders in action, or not ^_^.
  4. JaeYoon
    I have to applaud all of the hard working people who are posting how digital data works in the "Why do USB Cables Make a difference" thread.

    Just reading that thread taught me one thing. If I ever have children. I will teach them never to become audiophiles. I have screenshotted all of the posts that I can muster myself in there without committing suicide, or taking a gun and pointing it to my head.

    people claiming themselves to be professors and absolutely spouting marketing and scamming other people of their money for "audiophile USB cables".

    I pledge myself never to become an audiophile and will teach everyone around me in IRL to never become people like this. Telling people to buy expensive cables that provide no benefit to people is like selling snake oil to others.

    "I didn't mean to harm them!!! I just believed snake oil cured cancer!!! So I recommended it to them!" *throws mic out the window*
  5. Argyris Contributor
    There's no better way to make sure your kids do exactly the opposite of what you want than by trying to teach them specific things they shouldn't do. A better course would be to teach them critical thinking, an appreciation of the limitations of human senses and human psychology, and a solid sense of value. Then trust them work things out for themselves; if they can't (or won't), there's not much more you can do for them. Pure subjectivism in audio is just another form of superstition, and they way you fight superstition is by giving people the tools they need to test it and prove to themselves that it's not real and therefore shouldn't influence or control them.

    Being involved with audio can be a rewarding hobby, and there's no reason to ward anybody off it just because of the lunacy that happens at the fringes. Every hobby has its share of lunacy, of excess and extremes; learning to stay away from these areas and knowing what's real and what isn't is the secret to enjoyment and sanity.
    JaeYoon likes this.
  6. pinnahertz
    I used to think audio was the worst of all for snake-oil-magic beliefs, but this past weekend I spoke with a professional driver (as in testing and racing cars). He told me a story of a Formula 1 car fitted with a sponsors badge on the front scoop. Unfortunately the thing had a bit of aluminum in it to make it extra shiny and reflective. It was determined that the aluminum substrate added some fraction of an ounce to the weight of the badge, so it was removed and replaced with a decal. Now, they could save many, many ounces of weight just by making sure their driver went to the bathroom before getting in the car, but no...that wasn't even mentioned. And nobody bothered with analyzing the aerodynamic impact of the slightly raised badge vs the flush decal at 200mph! No, that fraction of an ounce of weight was THE important thing they focussed on.

    I found the story encouraging in that lunacy isn't limited to audio. I suspect it's everywhere. I'm not sure why, but fantasy and fiction seem always more interesting than truth and fact.
    Argyris and JaeYoon like this.
  7. castleofargh Contributor
    the skid block is my favorite stuff in formula one.
    JaeYoon likes this.
  8. pibroch
    Reminds me of the Peter Ustinov album "The Grand Prix of Gibraltar" : the drivers in the German team had to blow their noses just before they got into their cars.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
    JaeYoon likes this.
  9. JaeYoon
    Hey thanks! Critica thinking is a lot more important. But hopefully I never have to have those little brats!! :p
    Just like the bike shed theory. They only change things that are most visible to them. Instead of inspecting of reducing weight of other possible things. It was the most aesthetic one.

    Also I was at a speaker store yesterday. Now I don't think all audio enthusiasts are crazy. But were a couple of guys checking out the seriously expensive speakers (to me).

    I happened to hear these horrid voices I turned around the guys were like.
    "Oh yeah baby, look at those nice lips"
    "Those thick baby making cones"

    "Nice round smooth edges"
    The way they were using their hands to feel the edges of speakers going back and fourth.

    They were literally checking out the speakers. They were licking their lips too!
    It was so nasty but hilarious at same time.

    The store employee assisting them had this face expression of "well..this is out of the ordinary"
  10. bfreedma

    No argument that the car industry has its issues, but your F1 examples aren't accurate. Yes, every F1 driver does use the bathroom before every qualifying session and race to reduce weight - they also train incredibly hard to cut weight. The lighter the driver, the more ballast can be placed in advantageous locations in the car without exceeding FIA's mandated minimum post race car weight. And despite what you might think, even fractions of ounces are important where a few hundredths of a second can be the difference between the poll and row 2. For example, F1 teams use titanium bolts and screws to save a fraction of an ounce here and there. McLaren and Ferrari recently estimated that every 1/10th of a second saved during in season design alterations costs approximately 10 million USD.

    As per assessing the aerodynamic impact of the badge, that was most assuredly done. Other than a few back of the pack teams, each F1 team has it's own wind tunnel which literally runs 24x7x365 with the exception of the FIA mandated "summer break". In fact, the only reason the original sponsor ad was on a raised badge was that it provided a small aero advantage (small change in the direction of airflow over the car's sidepods adding a few pounds of downforce) and didn't fall afoul of the restriction on "movable aerodynamic devices". The big teams in F1 literally have over 1000 people (mostly engineers) dedicated to the program - their entire job is essentially to find tiny improvements within the sporting regulations so no surprise that the weight of the badge substrate was identified as an opportunity to cut weight and be removed.

    F1 is all about pushing the rules. Take a look at Ferrari's results this year after FIA mandated that they could no longer supplement the standard fuel by injecting engine oil into the mix sent to the cylinders. It wouldn't seem like a few pints of oil would make a difference, but it did get Ferrari around the max fuel consumption rate that was only measuring "gas" flow rates.

    You may find all of this extreme, but pushing the envelope to the max is what F1 is all about.
    JaeYoon likes this.
  11. pinnahertz
    So do the drivers use an enema before each race? Shave their heads? Cut their finger and toenails? Not drink water?
    It's one reason I'm not into F1. I've got an OCD hobby on my hands already, don't need another.
  12. bfreedma
    LOL - Serious answer to a not serious (I think) question:

    I don't think enemas are allowed by FIA, otherwise they might be happening. While the drivers don't shave their heads, good luck finding a driver with long hair these days (they really are that serious about weight). Drivers do have access to drink during the race, but the amount is precalculated based on the expected weight loss during the race arrived at by pre-season testing on drivers in various temperature and humidity levels.

    I know this sounds absurd, but with the money involved in F1 (both cost to participate and value of wins/points), literally nothing is left to chance. Since the drivers and cars are weighed immediately after the race (before the podium ceremony, let alone media access), it's a serious component of the sport. If you ever watch a race, take a look at what the cars are doing in the warm down lap before returning to the pits to be weighed. They go off line to pick up as much clag (tire shreds ripped off by cornering loads during the race) to gain another 5-10 lbs - just to ensure the post race weight calculated at the factory has a little buffer.

    All of this is driven by how tightly the technical regulations are written. There's a reason that cars independently developed by 10 manufacturers have very little variance in design. If you're into materials and aerodynamic technology at the leading edge (military/space is bleeding edge), F1 can be a very interesting sport to follow.

    I get it though - it's not for everyone.

    How ridiculous can it get? Most drivers have sponsorship deals with watch manufacturers and used to wear them during the race so the in-car shots would pick them up. The teams were unhappy about the extra weight and now the drivers have images of their sponsored watches silk screened onto the wrist of their race suit.
  13. Don Hills
    ... thereby ensuring that they end up with the opposite set of values.
  14. JaeYoon
    I remember you mentioning about the fear of jitter.
    I just witnessed someone on another thread get conned out of their money sadly.

    They were being spooked by another member that they should drop $1,100 DAP that they will use as a transport for their portable dac/amp.

    The reason was that a cheap transport and it will introduce jitter and EMI and EF signals. That investing in a 1000 dollar product would insure the persons dac/amp setup would bypass internals of th. player would be jitterless.
  15. 93EXCivic
    So let's say that I don't have a place to do a proper listening room with acoustic treatment, what is the next best solution from a objective point of view? Are speakers still better then the headphones if you can't acoustically treat a room? Would something like K1000s be a decent replacement for speakers in this case? Or should I do a near field system?
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
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