Progress report (2)

Jul. 15th, 2017 12:21 pm
goddessfarmer: (Default)
[personal profile] goddessfarmer
This is the week/weekend of chimney. My chimney contractor is here now (on Saturday) putting in new flue liners for wood stoves and making room in the chimney for the gas boilers. 
The heat system is disconnected and 1/2 dismantled, maybe next week the heating contractor will come back and continue work on that.
The new living room is done, and currently serving as office and living room.
The new bathroom is still in progress. 
The hot tub is out.
The foundation on the south side is exposed and new south side footings are poured. 
Waiting for the electrician to move the PV cables, the conduit for that is in place.
The east end that is being demoed is cut off from the rest of the house at the second floor floor and the chimney that was there is down to the first floor ceiling. 
The framers are going to be working on the new outside walls and roof starting next week. 

Enlightenment apostasy

Jul. 15th, 2017 12:09 pm
dpolicar: (Default)
[personal profile] dpolicar
(A friend recently posted about feeling depressed at the extent to which people seem perfectly content to embrace beliefs about the world that fly in the face of our observations of it. This started out as a comment and got out of hand.)

Yeah, I hear that.

That said: I find it really helps me, when I'm disoriented in the way you describe, to remember that the Enlightenment is fairly recent, historically speaking.

The idea that we can arrive at accurate beliefs about the world by observing it, studying it, experimenting with it, taking careful records, making predictions and checking to see whether our predictions are accurate... that idea is just a few centuries old.

The idea that we can converge on beliefs about the world through that process...
That the same experiment can be expected to get the same result whether performed by Christians or Jews or Pagans or atheists, by conservatives or liberals, by materialists or spiritualists...
That the observable world itself can be the source of a set of shared self-reinforcing beliefs...
That reliance on that process can form the cornerstone of a community just as reliance on a set of stories about God that we inherited from our ancestors does...

...these are really new ideas, historically speaking. Our culture has not fully assimilated them, not even close. Most of us weren't raised in the community of believers in the process of observing our surroundings and reasoning about them rigorously and communicating about them reliably. We don't really have social practices that reinforce that process.

So, sure, we often reject it. We often stray from that path and return to the older practice of performing culturally endorsed beliefs about reality in order to reinforce group boundaries and affirm group loyalty without reference to a shared observational practice.

That's unsurprising. Humans have been doing that before we have records; probably since before we were recognizably human.

And the alternative is genuinely hard! And honestly, as community-centering practices go, it lacks a lot: it de-centers individuals, it doesn't directly address moral issues, it doesn't distinguish between emotionally satisfying and emotionally alienating claims, it doesn't speak to our fears about nonexistence and loneliness, etc.

The one thing it has going for it is a promise to converge on shared truths if followed assiduously.

And for a lot of us that just isn't enough, or isn't always enough. We may embrace the tangible benefits of the practice, the tools and medicines and crop yields and cherry-picked theories that reinforce our culturally endorsed beliefs, but we tend to reject the practice itself. Heck, even the thing we call "science" is riddled with those practices, like any other human institution. Those habits run deep.

So, sure, of course we continue to practice the old ways, choosing the practice of performing cultural beliefs despite contradictory observations over the practice of centering and converging on observable patterns in reality.

We will continue to do that for a long, long time. It's a natural consequence of being the sort of systems we are.

So anyway, as I say, remembering that helps me approach Enlightenment apostasy with compassion during periods where I start to fear it as the end of the world. And I find that helps.

TPS Report

Jul. 10th, 2017 06:02 pm
frobzwiththingz: (bridgeport)
[personal profile] frobzwiththingz
So, just a couple of days before heading up to Firefly, my 2005 Scion xB started acting up, occasionally running rough and sometimes stalling when dropping down to idle, but somewhat intermittently. It eventually lit the MIL status light and I extracted out the code P0122 out of it with the OBD2 reader I have. Ok, thats the Throttle Position Sensor being flaky. I found that wiggling the connector wires as best as I could given the awkward location of the back of the throttle plate is in an xB (hidden behind the air intake cluster and radiator hoses) seemed to make things a little better, and given that of course, the calendar date meant that Acton Toyota and pretty much all other auto shops would be closed until after the holiday, I decided that the current behavior *probably* wouldn't degrade and strand me on the way up to Firefly, so I took the vehicle, stuffed it full of camping gear and lasers and propane tanks and fire art and LED Tetris and L&I drove up to Firefly. Car did make it just fine, with not even any abnormal behavior, and continued to behave just fine until the return trip, which started out just fine, including a visit to Worthy Burger in South Royalton, VT, (whose burgers are indeed worthy and their beer selection is very good too), followed by driving south until I F'd up and got onto 93 North in Concord NH rather than South. So i get off at the next exit, and turn around in the gas station that was there, with L right behind me, and I explain to her "Oops, I F'd up and took the wrong exit, i'm now looking to get back on 93 in the right direction..." whereupon after running just fine my xB suddenly loses all power trying to get back onto 93 north and barely manages to limp along enough to get off of the entrance ramp and far enough along on 93 to be able to pull over onto the shoulder. I now explain to L "Um, xB has lost all power. I'm going to frob around with the TPS connector again and see if I can get it going again, otherwise it's Adventure Time with AAA"

Mucking around with the connector and wires a bit while moving the throttle by hand eventually produces a seemingly running engine again, and we manage to then drive back to Westford MA without further incident.

Problem seems pretty clearly local to the throttle position sensor or it's connector, so instead of going to a shop and dropping significant $$$ I called up Auto Zone and asked if they could supply me with a replacement sensor for my xB; they had one in stock and I borrowed L's xB and picked it up. Duralast part number TPS4117. I was wearing zero pieces of flair but they sold it to me anyway.

Anyhow, it's in a hard to get at location without removing other shit, so I had to take out the air intake stuff in order to get at the connector enough to disconnect it and remove the sensor: but I dike out the air intake and air filter holding enclosures until I can have good access to everything, whereupon I find this:




Well, golly, that yellow wire looks to be in *great* shape! (Not). Ok, I probably don't really need the new sensor, I actually need a soldering iron and some heat-shrink tubing.



Cut wire at broken location, stripped, soldered, heat-shrunk, etc, and reassembled everything; everything proceeded to work just fine and no more engine codes. Drove it back to Auto Zone and returned the unused sensor. Yay!   

I wonder what various shops in the area would have told me, and what they would have charged for the service. I wonder if *any* of them would have simply told me about the broken wire and just fixed *that*. 










 


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