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User talk:Milton Beychok/Archive 8

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Property list

Milt, I have taken your list from water and made a template Template:PropList which generates such a list.It can be used flexibly. To show the possiblities I have treated some of the properties as "requested", some as "optional", and the rest as "free". Do you think that this approach can be useful (after some adaption)? Peter Schmitt 02:36, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Peter, your template is excellent! I do have some minor edits to suggest and will do so later this evening or tomorrow sometime. I have something that I must finish at the moment. Thanks, Milton Beychok 02:45, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
This was a very quick response -- no hurry! (I am overdue for bed now ...) Peter Schmitt 02:50, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) Peter, I would suggest that the optional arguments use capital letters as well as the requested arguments; that the boiling point be above the density; and "property1" be changed to "Other property 1" as shown below:

| N = "Common name"                                                            
| I = "IUPAC name"
| C = "CAS number"
| F = "Molecular formula"
| M = "Molecular mass"
| B = "Boiling Point"
| D = "Density"
| "Other property 1" | "value"
| "Other property 9" | "value"

The "Example" was confusing because the items were not in the same order as above and the boiling point was given twice (perhaps you intended that to show that the template would straighten those out, but it confused me). I suggest that it be revised like this:

| N = water 
| I = oxidane  
| F = H<sub>2</sub>O
| M = 18.0153 g/mol
| B = 373.15 K (100 °C) at 1 atm
| D = 0.998 g/ml for liquid at 20 °C, 1 atm
| Critical point | 647 K (374 °C), 22.1 MPa
| Melting point | 273.15 K (0 °C)
| [[Specific heat]], c<sub>p</sub> | 4.184 J/(g·K) for liquid at 20 °C
| Heat of vaporization | 2257 J/g for liquid at 100 °C
| Heat of fusion | 333.55 J/kg for solid (ice) at 0 °C
| Viscosity | 0.001 Pa·s for liquid at 20 °C
| Refractive index| 1.333 for liquid at 20 °C

If you don't like having capital letters for both the requested items and the optional items, then you could use bold capitals or red capitals for the requested items to differentiate them from the optional items.

That is the extent of my suggestions for the "Usage" and for the "Example". Again, I think your template is excellent. Milton Beychok 05:06, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

I am glad you like it. I have made the changes you suggested. My choices were arbitrary and intended to test and show the functionality.
(Yes, I wanted to show the reordering effect in the example.) There may be more changes for further improvement.
  • Of course, more arguments (of all types) may be added, and their names could also consist of more letters.
  • I intend to add an optional parameter for the width of the columns.
  • And the name of the template is also available for change.
Peter Schmitt 01:26, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm glad to see someone willing to do something positive without first polling everyone. Thanks, Peter. Milton Beychok 03:17, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
I have added the arguments for setting the width. But it seems to be better to avoid them if possible. I have taken the initial settings from your "water" table and always wondered why one entry wrapped. Because of the current discussion on skins I tried others (Monobook and Modern -- I never changed the default): The line was not wrapped in these skins (Probably because a smaller font is used.) So these settings depend on skin and possibly also on the browser. Peter Schmitt 10:42, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
That strengthens my suggestion on the forums that we should have only one skin available, so that we all see articles the same way (other than whatever differences are cause by different browsers). I agree that perhaps it would be better to avoid setting the width. Just set an initial width that works in the current Pinkwich (which I think is dreadful) as well as Monobook and let it go at that. The setting now in Water works in my IE6 and in my Firefox 3.5.4. Also, have you noticed that (in Water) I nested the table in another table so as to avoid text impinging on the table? Milton Beychok 16:04, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) I started with the table as you constructed it, but later simplified it. I did not know much about tables, but learned a lot from this one. I think that it is best to set no width as a default because it may also depend on browser settings (at least, I think that it may).

Next, I shall look on properties of elements and try to include this list, too.

Are you aware that there are still about 10 subpages listing single properties but are no longer used? Such subpages exist in many cases. Should they stay until the list templates are replaced? This would require to request deletion separately. Or is ist easier to delete all of them in one step, and teplace the data from other sources?

Peter Schmitt 17:42, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

I would guess that those 10 subpages you mentioned are for elements. I think there would be less chance of causing problems if they were separately replaced and deleted. I haven't done any checking, but it would appear to me that all of the CZ articles on elements (perhaps 90 plus in total) will need reworking or replacing of their Elem Infoboxes. I really think that on the elements, you should consult with David Volk and work closely with him rather than me. He would be much more knowledgeable on that subject than I am.
Look at the Elem Infobox in Oxygen for example. In the top block, all I recognize is the 15.9994 as the atomic weight. All the rest of that block is Greek to me. In the next lower box, all those little squares arranged in the manner of the Periodic Table of Elements ... I don't understand what the color pattern of those squares is meant to convey. But I am sure that Volk would know ... and perhaps Paul Wormer as well. Those Elem Infoboxes were all developed by David Yamakuchi (I believe) and he has not been active for some time. The info in those top two boxes are not usually needed in my field of expertise (Chemical engineering) but I am sure that they are important to chemists. For all I know, those two upper blocks in the Elem Infobox may be okay as they are. But the next block on "Properties" definitely needs to be expanded. As for the lower boxes on "Uses" and "Hazards", they need to be deleted in my opinion because uses and hazards should be covered in the main article text.
I apologize for not being more helpful about the element Infoboxes. Milton Beychok 18:27, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
I was not talking about the infoboxes (I think the black square indicates the position of oxygen), but of the table on the Properties subpage. The data come from subpages (each containing just one value). And such subpages exist for water where they were used before you replaced the template by your table. So, at least, for water these subpages are useless. (I do not intend to edit these property tables. I only want to help with developing an easy to use template.) Peter Schmitt 23:11, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Sorry I misunderstood you. Can you use the "What links here" in the left-hand navigation column of the subpage to see what articles are using the value in the subpage? That might give you some indication as to whether or not to delete them. Milton Beychok 02:10, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

Seeking permission to impersonate you in order to get a screen shot of a bug reporting page for an unprivileged user


I am working on the How to report a bug in Bugzilla explanatory page (to see where I am at the moment, go here). I have captured a screen shot of what the bug reporting page looks like, but I suspect, since I am an administrator, I see more fields than a normal user. I would like to write the article from the perspective of an unprivileged user. As a Bugzilla administrator, I can impersonate other users, although they will receive an email message informing them that I am doing so. What I would like to do is impersonate you for the sole purpose of getting a bug report screen shot for an unprivileged user. Will you give me permission to do that? Dan Nessett 20:52, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

You have my permission. Since I am a now a registered user of Bugzilla, am I an "unprivileged" user? Milton Beychok 21:04, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
What I mean by an "unprivileged" user is one without administrator access. Only Greg and I have that level of privilege. We use these privileges to manage the flow of bug reports and enhancement requests, manage the configuration of Bugzilla, and so forth. Generally, there are not very many users with administrator access. As a registered user you can create tickets for bug reports and enhancement requests, receive email relating to those tickets you are interested in (even if you were not the reporting user), leave comments on those tickets addressing issues you are interested in, etc. So, don't think "unprivileged" means you are prohibited from participating in the issue tracking activity. Dan Nessett 21:22, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Milt. I have captured the screen shot and am no longer impersonating you on Bugzilla. Dan Nessett 21:29, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Second law

Milt, I worked hard on the 2nd law, and I'm finished for the time being. Could you do me a favor and read it? When you see any strange English, you don't have to tell me, you can adapt it straightaway. A "diff" will tell me what you have done. When you see something scientifically wrong, it is better that we discuss it first. Thank you. --Paul Wormer 16:53, 3 November 2009 (UTC)


Milt, it has taken longer, but now the template seems to work as intended.

If you think that it can be useful for chemistry, then tell me how to name it (ChemList, ChemProp, ...), and check the parameter -- should some more be included, some be left out? Should there names be changed?

Thank you. Peter Schmitt 00:48, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

Peter, these are my comments based on the your latest revision of Template:PropList/doc:
  • I assume that you intend to have two separate templates.
  • I would suggest naming the template for compounds (e.g., water, sodium chloride, sulfuric acid, etc.) as "ChemPropList"
  • I would suggest naming the template for elements (oxygen, chlorine, sulfur, zinc, etc) as "ElemPropList".
  • I am quite happy with the properties in the "ChemPropList" as it now is
  • I would suggest that for the properties in the "ElemPropList", you should make a real effort to get opinions from David Volk and Paul Wormer.
Good work, Milton Beychok 03:23, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
I have left David and Paul a message.
No, my idea was to have one template with two (or more) versions selected by an option. (This can be changed, but I think that it makes it easier to keep a uniform appearance.)
Peter Schmitt 13:13, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Hi Milton,

Just thought I'd post this:,3054.0.html

here for you in case you were willing to relocate our discussion over there...--David Yamakuchi 01:50, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

I've joined CZ - Henry P.

Hi Milt,  :-)

I've joined Citizendium as an author. Thanks for your help in recommending me. I'm sorry I haven't joined sooner. I tried to join many months ago, but apparently some technical problem arose and I was not confirmed as having joined Citizendium at that time. I've had problems with my internet connection from time to time and have also been pre-occupied with various other things in my life. This time I apparently signed up correctly. I think I'll check around here and see who the experts in chemistry and chemical engineering are in Citizendium. Glad to see you're still doing OK. Henry A. Padleckas 19:17, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Image:Petrochem Feedstocks.png

Milt, nice work on all "your" chem eng articles including the Petrochemicals article and the included pictures. I would like to suggest a minor change to Image:Petrochem Feedstocks.png. I suggest "Budiene" (steam cracker output in blue) be changed to "Butadiene". Henry A. Padleckas 19:39, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, Henry ... and welcome to Citizendium. If you need any help, please let me know. When you are ready to pitch in here, we could sure use the "Vapor-liquid equilibrium" and "Chemical plant" articles that you wrote for Wikipedia. I would be happy to help you get them into the right form for Citizendium. I will fix that mis-spelling of butadiene sometime today. Once again, welcome!!! Milton Beychok 21:40, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Nuclear power plant


Are you going to write an article on Nuclear power plant ? I'm not requesting you to, I'm just asking if you do plan to write one, so we can coordinate any efforts between us so we don't unknowingly duplicate efforts. If you're not writing such an article, I may start work on one some time in a sandbox of mine or possibly offline. Henry A. Padleckas 06:13, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Henry, I am currently writing a new article on steam generators of all types. It includes sections on the steam generators used in:
  • Power plants using fuel combustion
  • Nuclear power plants
  • Heat recovery steam generators or HRSGs (used in gas turbine combined cycles )
  • Solar power plants
Those sections focus primarily on the steam generators without getting into details about nuclear power plants, combined cycle power plants or solar power plants. I am about 60 percent along with the article and plan to finish it this week. You can take a look at the article in progress at User:Milton Beychok/Sandbox to see what I have written about nuclear power plants. I do not plan to write separate articles on nuclear power plants or solar power plants or on gas turbine combined cycle plants.
So, I do not plan to write an article on nuclear power plants. I don't have enough know-how to do so. Such an article would be quite useful, so go ahead and write one if you wish. I also think that we sorely need articles on Vapor-liquid equlibrium, Chemical plants and Heat exchangers.
P.S.: If you want to offer comments about what I have already written on steam generators, please do so at User talk:Milton Beychok/Sandbox rather than directly editing my sandbox article at this time. Regards, Milton Beychok 06:47, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your response. Chemical plant is in my sandbox, not far from completion. Vapor-liquid equlibrium is likely to be next, but that will take me longer to fix up. After that, .... I think I'll start work on Nuclear power plant some time, probably in a sandbox because it would take me a while to write that one. In the meantime, I have edits on Steam generator in mind, but I will wait until you transfer to the main [article] space. I wrote much of the WP articles on Shell and tube heat exchanger, Valve, and Motor oil which I would eventually like to [partly] transfer over to CZ. Henry A. Padleckas 13:58, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Can't find speedy delete templates

Hi, Milt, I can't find any templates for the four remaining items at even by clicking on the redirects and discussion pages etc. They're probably *somewhere*, but until I can find them I won't delete these items. Hayford Peirce 18:37, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

They are not marked for deletion. They are on the list because they contain {{r|Boiler}} which transcluded the definition from the (now deleted) Boiler/Definition. This should disappear. Obviously, the to-delete list has not yet been updated.
Hayford, you will remember that this was discussed some time in summer. To prevent this, the speedydelete template has to be put between noinclude tags, or a new template using "subst:fast del" has to be used (see for details)
Peter Schmitt 22:05, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
"Ah, I see," said the blind man as he picked up the hammer and saw. Or "It was clear as mud, but it covered the ground." Geez, what we poor hard-working cops go through! What next, a plague of locusts? Hayford Peirce 22:21, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
You say, "they should disappear" -- when? When someone does something to make them disappear? When the server or something does something in its own mysterious way? They're still there this morning. Hayford Peirce 16:27, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
I have removed them from the list by null edits. I would have expected that the system sooner or later discovers it without this sort of help ... Maybe I was wrong. Peter Schmitt 00:18, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, in any case, thanks! It makes a poor old Kop's life easier! Hayford Peirce 00:34, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

"moving" Chemical plant to article main space

I wrote you a private e-mail on this, but I will repeat most of this here for any additional comments from any other Citizendium members.

I was thinking of writing another paragraph into "Chemical plant", but now I think that can wait until later. Do you think I should "move" my sandbox containing "Chemical plant" into the main space, effectively renaming the page, or to copy the contents and paste it into a new blank article main space. "Moving" the article from my sandbox would retain the history of how I changed it from a Wikipedia (WP) article to a CZ article. My understanding is that my sandbox after the move would essentially become a new Redirect. If I were to copy and paste both the article and its Talk page to their permanent new pages, the history of how I converted the WP article to the CZ article would be absent, but would stay in my sandbox, until my sandbox is possibly deleted later. The History record of one of your very minor edits would be lost, but it is insignificant. As far as I'm concerned, the history of how I compiled the "Chemical plant" article is insignificant to me, and I would rather have that history lost and the new history start when the article came to the main space. A summary listing of differences between the WP article and the new CZ would still be present in the article's Talk page. However, approving or disapproving editors may want to see a history of how it was converted from a WP to a CZ article. Do you have a suggestion ?

I will work on the subpages afterwards. Henry A. Padleckas 01:16, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

In a private e-mail to me, Milton Beychok responded as follows: I have always simply created a new article (with whatever title I want) and then copied and pasted the sandbox article. I made no attempt to save the history of ... [numerous] edits while creating the article. As far as I know, most other CZ authors do it the same way. ..... No one really expects to see the sandbox edits. .... Henry A. Padleckas 02:52, 4 December 2009 (UTC)
From my sandbox, I have copied and pasted the article and its Talk page to Chemical plant and Talk:Chemical plant, respectively. The new Talk page has the previously created Chemical plant/Definition. A Metadata page for the article was created with the Categories: Chemistry and Engineering, and with the subgroup:Chemical Engineering - as you recommended on the Talk page. Also as you mentioned, the status was made to be level 2. I may ask that my Sandbox and its Talk page be deleted someday, and I can make new ones for future articles. The other subpages will be worked on later. Henry A. Padleckas 03:03, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Approval of Chemical plant

Milt, do you hope to approve of Chemical plant before your "leave of absence"? I just want an idea for coordinating our efforts. I'm not trying to rush you for an approval now. Henry A. Padleckas 01:51, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Henry, I do intend to nominate it for approval but I think it will have to wait until after I return. If you contact Paul Wormer (a Chemistry editor), he may be able to get at it before I do. Its worth a try ... Paul is very knowledgeable and very willing to help. In fact, he was to first one to nominate my first approved article. Tell him that I suggested you contact him.Milton Beychok 02:53, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
I am perfectly willing to wait until you return, if you are in no hurry. I would like some more time to "tweak" it a little more. I'm currently reading about the approval process. Thanks for helping out with a couple of the subpages. Henry A. Padleckas 03:49, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

Good to see you back.

Milton, you are active again, good to see that!--Paul Wormer 08:37, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, Paul. However can only spend 20-30 minutes a day at the computer ... but that will slowly get better. Milton Beychok 07:58, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

Applied statistics

Milt, Applied statistics has "abc = Statistics, applied". You find it listed under "S" not "A". Peter Schmitt 10:13, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Peter, hope you're feeling better, Milt! D. Matt Innis 16:17, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
Hey, I don't see it under Statistics, applied in the Engineering workgroup either.. hmm. D. Matt Innis 16:20, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
Nevermind, it's there as Applied Statistics in the S's.. mental block. D. Matt Innis 16:22, 30 December 2009 (UTC)


Milton, you won't see much of me the next five weeks or so. My wife and I will be vacationing in Florida (USA). I take my laptop, so occasionally I will appear here.--Paul Wormer 09:28, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

More than necessary

Milt, I think you could have saved the effort to correct the links in the bot-generated Related Articles pages. --Peter Schmitt 00:15, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Peter, I am not sure which pages you are referring to. I have done a number of them. Personally, I think the bot-generated Related Articles pages create more problems than they save. Milton Beychok 00:19, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
You disambiguated "Absorption" and then fixed the links. And, in my opinion, this is not necessary for links in bot-generated Related Articles like Set theory/Related Articles. Nothing important -- it was just a remark. And yes, these pages are often quite useless. (But in some cases, such as Howard cites them they can be useful.) --Peter Schmitt 00:29, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Appearance of mathematics with transparent background

Hello Milton,

I am working on improving the appearance of mathematical equations on CZ. If you recall, you asked that the default for equation rendering be "always use png". Greg made that change. During the discussion of this issue, others complained that the white background of the math equations make them look bad in certain skins, e.g. Pinkwich5. I am trying to correct the latter problem.

I have modified the way equations are rendered on the CZ test wiki. However, it appears this correction may cause problems in the IE6 browser. I have tried to find someone who has access to IE6 to look at the equations and report back, but so far no one has responded. After browsing through the thread that you used to request "always use png", I noticed that you have access to IE6.

Would you be willing to look at one of the equations that have transparent background and report how it looks in the Pinkwich5 skin? All you have to do is navigate to the test wiki ( and then edit your preferences. Select the Skin tab and then click on Pinkwich5. (note: this will not change your preferences on the live wiki, Then navigate to a page that displays equations, e.g., If you can report how the equations look, that would help determine whether the option I chose is the correct one. If the equations have appearance problems, there is another option I can try.

Thanks. Dan Nessett 20:22, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, but I no longer have IE6 on my computer ... I switched to Firefox a few months ago. Milton Beychok 01:39, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Amine gas treating

Hi MIlt, I responded on Paul's page, basically stating that since it was a copy edit, I could make the change myself and I went ahead and added Paul's name the Approved version editor list. Let me know if this seems to be in err! Thanks, D. Matt Innis 18:37, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Thanks. Milton Beychok 18:39, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Click chemistry

I started a stub on click chemistry, and I seem to recall that you might have used the term in some of your articles. So, is there anything in particular about click chemistry that you would like added to the article? By that I mean chemical reactions pertaining to some of your articles. David E. Volk 19:45, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

David, Amine gas treating has a very brief mention of click chemistry (about one or two sentences just above the References section. You might perhaps just make sure that it is consistent with your stub. Also, perhaps reference 6 in Amine gas treating might be useful in your stub. Other than that, I really don't know much about click chemistry. Regards, Milton Beychok 20:03, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

The Factory Analogy

I originally wrote this as an email to Milt, but it seemed perhaps I should share it with the community:


It is with _forward_ progress in mind, I would like to again implore you to reconsider leaving at least the existing properties subpages intact. I think that given the chance, I can paint the right picture in your mind by trying to tap into some experiences we may share. I submit to you that if you consider the following analogy of a productive factory you yourself will finally come to agree with me.

First and foremost, this is where _my_ expertise is Milt, I'm GOOD at programming computers. Always have been. I took to wiki templates like a fish to water...did I not? You may not be aware that I have never even contributed to wikipedia...ever. In fact CZ was the first wiki I've ever even really used. So believe me too when I say that I understand what it is like being "new to all this new-fangled stuff".

I can absolutely sympathize with any CZ author who wants to use the "right" way to put the info in but can't because it's complicated. If folks are getting so bogged down with using the right capitalization or filling out template metadata sub-pages mumbo-jumbo that they can't contribute actual content then they shouldn't do it. That's what I mean when I say "If you don't like it don't use it".

Put the page name in all caps I say. Use the the freezing point number in a simple table...that doesn't mean it isn't "correct" ... whatever way it gets into the article. Some poor editor...yes I mean you maybe...will have to fix it later for the reader. But if you play your cards right, you will have my help...and it might not be as bad as all that.

But my insight and my intuition tell me there _is_ a better way to do these properties tables. And that way is with subpages. But it's for very complex technical reasons specific to wikis and wiki templates, that I say this.

Look, I'm not about trying to make other folks do things a certain way, but I do have 7+ years professional experience designing electronics and circuit boards. Firmware too. Digital Signal Processors know...computers. In that job, that's what you have to do...tell manufacturing how to do it. As an Engineer, I think you can perhaps relate to this...

At CZ the authors are like your vendor's delivery guys, in the sense that they deliver the "raw material". That's the data that goes into the articles...however it gets there. The articles themselves are like the "product". That's the thing we want to have in the end. Let's think of the editors for now as being like QA or QC...OK?

Like in any manufacturing organization, if there is no raw material, there is no product. End of discussion. That seems like the most solid objection to the new "process" I've heard actually: "the raw material is not finding it's way in on it's own." If the UPS guy has to unpack your parts himself and feed them into the assembly line (process) standing on his head and singing the Canadian national anthem are probably not going to get much finished product...but you will get a lot of waste. That is how the complexity (of implementing properties as subpages) complaint fits the analogy.

It is a persuasive argument. But I'm not convinced. So I have solved that problem for us temporarily by just producing a small amount of raw material in the correct format myself. This would be the existing subpages and their basic structure. I have produced this raw material "in the lab" if you will, although to hear some describe it you'd think I was hosing the entire factory floor down with it. Still sound familiar?

I had to do this in electronics too. There is no example of how to build the computer until one exists. I would spend weeks and weeks wire wrapping address and data busses by hand, and more weeks and weeks debugging when the other engineers did not do theirs correctly. Then I'd spend weeks and weeks trying to convince the PCB layout guy that he can't do it _his_ way even tho it's easier because the circuit wont work, and _then_ figuring out how he can place and route and still obey the circuits rules (not my rules mind you, but physics'). Then I would have to show the assembly guy...who should know he had soldered the little square chips on well, but rotated at 90 degrees from where they should be. For good or bad that seems to be my gift. I can see the solution to those kind of convoluted computer logic problems that make other folks pull their hair out.

But back to the analogy. So we have some raw material now and I've "processed" it using the "new" process. The wiki actually does the processing for us. The processor is the "process"-er if you will. The "processed material" is the Template:PTofE and his kin...rendered on their final pages. The end result we are seeking. There are actually at least several useful "products" that can be made from these same raw subpages, if the raw materials are of the correct type, and if we process them correctly.
But there are no "finished products" at this time. Instead we have what my EE brethren would call prototypes. I don't know what the ChemE's call their "product" at this stage...assembly folks or ME's might call them "first articles". We would have to run enough material to get the process up to speed, to see what the all the real production issues will be, won't we? All we've shown right now is that there are some products that can be made if we process certain raw materials in such and such a way. Still with me?
OK, so we now give our prototype units to QA and ask for feedback. The response is: "Hey! I work for UPS too sometimes! I don't even know the American National Anthem!", "I don't _like_ the process you want to use", and "I don't understand how this was made".
Do you see why I'm struggling a little here Milt?
I don't mean to be contrary, but the QA guy's job is not really to look at it from that perspective. It shouldn't matter to the editors HOW the end product comes to be. The question they should be concerned with at this stage is: "Would this product better serve our customers needs than what we have now?"..."Is it of 'better' or at least 'sufficient' quality?" If the answer to this is no, we are back to the drawing board. I've been there a couple of times already on this one...just ask Hayford.
However, for the latest prototypes, the answer from the customers is a resounding YES! The prototype product looks good and may be quite useful. Larry Sanger, Tom Kelly, basically anyone who has looked at those "top level" templates from a customers perspective says they look good. And that is the quality test I'm looking for.

You can't look at the method of feeding the raw materials into the process at this point either...some progress has been made there but we have a way to question. I believe there was another term the engineering guys use to describe where we are at:

Proof of concept.
The prototypes show that the concept works. We can take X raw materials and put them through Y and Z processes, and we get A, B, C, and D ( and probably others) as end results. Initial customer feedback is positive.
But I don't think I can proceed with this alone. If the desired end product is producible within reason, I say we have to go for it. It's too juicy. Unfortunately I've got QA insisting we cant order raw material like that, and manufacturing is scratching their heads.
All I'm really asking here is for the Chemistry editors to stop demanding we destroy the prototypes.

--David Yamakuchi 10:50, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

David, you asked a number of people to join you in discussing this subject on the forum and we have all done so. I had my say there and voiced my opinions there ... so I won't repeat them here.
Have you ever driven by a large oil refinery and taken a good look at it? It is amazingly complex and it runs 24 hours a day for years at a time. That complex facility is not operated by graduate engineers ... the hour-by-hour operation of that refinery is done by men and women with no more than a high school education and some with less than that. The engineers who designed that refinery had to be able to explain how it worked to those men and women running the plant. If the design could not be explained to them, then the design was useless. The design engineers could not say "Don't worry about it and take our word for it that it works". David, most design engineers learn early in life to "Keep it simple, Sam" ... the KISS principle. Milton Beychok 17:40, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
I improve my English here every day. Mistakenly I always thought that the principle was "Keep It Simple Stupid". --Paul Wormer 17:51, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Paul, that version could be taken personnally ... so I try to avoid it.Milton Beychok 18:17, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
They tell me my grandfather used to call every one of his grandchildren "Sam"...he had dozens of them running around it seems, and he had a hard time keeping track of them all...Um...not entirely sure why I mention that here but...--David Yamakuchi 18:47, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Milt, the extension of the analogy you provide is quite accurate. I agree. And, I'm glad (relieved) you have embraced at least the makes it easier to talk about this thing without getting mired in braces and pipes and painful template recursion stuff. That stuff is probably best hashed out in the technical forum...I think that is the intended approach.
However, you have perhaps forgotten we are talking about the the folks who built and ran the _first_ refinery in this analogy. I don't know what the educational level of the designers/operators was, but I suspect it's a pretty safe bet they were kinda making it up as they went. Did they base what they were doing on some fundamental science (like boiling points at different pressures perhaps)? Were the folks that fed the "crude" into it aware of the inner workings? Or did they perhaps get instructions like "Just put the crude in here, and don't worry about the rest." Maybe there was a warning gauge to tell when the refinery was about to explode? Perhaps the gauge went into the second refineries' design...I don't know. Does this help?--David Yamakuchi 19:18, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Help with Oxidation

Milton: Motivated by your recent call for certain chemistry articles, I started as stub Oxidation. I may have messed up the start article process, as I kept getting "this is an orphaned subpage" along the way. Did things fix themselves, or did I mess things up? Would appreciate your looking into it. Anthony.Sebastian 21:12, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Anthony, thanks for responding to my call for certain chemistry articles. The only reason I can find for "an orphaned subpage" is that you forgot to put the subpages template at the top of the Talk page ... which I have now done.
I also replaced the History category with the Engineering category on the Metadata template because I believe that the subject matter of Oxidation is much more relevant to the Engineering Workgroup than it is to the History Workgroup.
Thanks again and I hope that others will also respond. Milton Beychok 23:39, 15 February 2010 (UTC)


If an article starts in Celsius, then later on has temperatures in Fahrenheit, should the article be converted to one scale or do we list both? Meg Ireland 00:19, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

Although I personally cannot "think" in Celsius, I have come to believe it is best to list both the Celsius and the Fahrenheit temperatures in that order. Example: The boiling point of water at a pressure of 1 atmosphere is 100 °C (212 °F). There may be some who would prefer Kelvin rather than Celsius. Milton Beychok 00:41, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
My guess is that Kelvin is rarely appropriate with the exception of in the context of a thermodynamics equation or similar. Or when talking about temperatures near absolute zero. Chris Day 01:38, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
I strongly prefer SI only, so no Fahrenheit units unless for historic or other context. However, I recognize that some people have difficulties with the global standard, and so the next best option I see is what Milt proposed - standard unit, then non-standard unit. Ad Chris, another use of Kelvin is for temperature differences. --Daniel Mietchen 00:00, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Spaces between initials

  • Both Oxford Style Guide and Chicago Manual of Style recommends the use of spaces between initials in names. This is something I did not make up for CZ, despite what may have been said by a certain 'constable' on the forum. Meg Ireland 23:26, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
For pete's sake, Meg, a certain "constable" never said anything remotely like you "made up" stuff. I merely suggested that maybe it was *you* who had *espoused* that position. I myself couldn't care less whether there is another space or not. I merely wanted to know if we (CZ) had ever taken a formal stand on the matter. I will overlook your accusation that I "made up" things, but I think that you ought to moderate your language in the future. Hayford Peirce 23:48, 25 February 2010 (UTC)