22 thoughts on “Decolonize Academia”

  1. All student loans did was distort the market and turn academia into an even bigger graft machine through questionable degree paths and padded payrolls.

    1. I learned rudimentary welding from my Dad who learned it from an adult education class held at my high school.

      I was much better at oxy/acetylene cutting.

      Electric arc welding takes some getting used to how to best hold the rod within the arc and waving it into the metal. Everything is hard to see and green… My Dad made a fantastic welding table out of iron plate. Which eventually was sold at his farm sale.

      1. I don’t have a clue as to how to weld, but I talked with a Voc-Tec teacher in the Green Bay, WI public school system about the work angle and travel angle required for electric welding processes and then I wrote this:

        P. Milenkovic (2021) Wrist singularity avoidance with a robot end-effector adding an oblique, redundant axis, Mechanism and Machine Theory 162 p 104355.

        It turns out that the natural symmetry axis of the type of curved welding torch that is commonly used in robotic welding can add a 7th degree of freedom to a 6-axis robot. This extra degree of freedom is useful should the first and last axis of the wrist line up, causing the robot to lose a degree of freedom.

        This loss of a degree of freedom is the wrist singularity, which is the same thing as gimbal lock in a 3-axis gyro.

        1. My struggle was keeping the rod close enough to keep the arc going without it getting stuck on the thing I was welding. Eventually you learn to let your hand get closer as the rod shrinks. A nice gentle wrist wave does the trick. Also striking the arc the first time. Now that’s hard. You learn how to tack weld to get everything settled so you can remove the cumbersome vice scripts or clamps that’s holding it all together at first. When done you take your slag pick to the weld (safety glasses on) to see how well you did. You want a lot more than just the rod getting hot or the slag pick will chip it all away!

          1. Thanks for the reminder about the need to feed the weld rod.

            The academic community writing about robotic welding treats it purely as a geometry problem, not a geometry of melting, incandescent metal problem.

            I had a read a scholarly paper, however, that directed the robot to weave the torch side-to-side on traversing the seam. Maybe it has something to do with your wave technique to avoid pooling of the tip of the weld rod?

            The Irwin company makes many kinds of clamping tools, including one type that they call a Vise-Grip.

          2. Whoever wrote that paper must have talked to a welder. Essentially most industrial robots are trained using the motions of human experts. The weave/wave across the seam sounds right to me.
            Also it was easier to restrike the arc on a hot spot.
            A little vibration back through the rod also helped remind you how you’re doing.

            One of Dave’s Rules about electricity: you don’t really understand it until you have felt it.

    2. I learned to weld at Portsmouth (NH) Voc-Tec about 45 years ago, when I was in my late 20s.
      Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (which is actually in Kittery, ME) is desperate for welders and all the trades. You could have retired fixing nuclear submarines.

      1. I worked at PNSY as a marine machinery mechanic until late 1984, when I left to pursue IT (indoors, warm, dry, better pay). My novel “Acts of Conscience” is substantially based on my time there. Nuclear submarines are really cool.

  2. I worked my way through college (no student loan debt here) in a metal machine shop making saw mill equipment and hatch covers for ships.

    Learned welding, lathing, torch cutting and lots of other really useful things, in real time, and got paid, too.

    I majored in Chemistry. My first job after school was teaching Astronomy.

    I’ve also owned and operated a Mom & Pop tax accountancy business for 25 years.

    If I ever again own a business, I would never hire a potential new employee just because they have a college degree. They would also have to have had significant paid experience in the Trades.

    Know what Tungsten Inert Gas welding is? No? I’ll get back to you.

      1. I worked at a foundry making reactor components where there was a lot of heliarc welding (though I was a machinist). It’s why I became interested enough in welding to take classes.

        1. I did TIG. Don’t know stick. Some of the other guys did stick. Being a newbie, I wasn’t taught how to do stick.

          Probably because they had a thing about my pony tail.

      1. My original thought was “Gee I wish I had that…” but now, um,
        I shudder to think what not working right means in this context.

        The other thing is welding seems to have an annoying habit of tying up one’s hands. My dad was good with the neck flip down, one hand up.

  3. It would seem that most of us here learned too long ago to be politely mentioned that you’ll never be paid for what you don’t know, can’t do or are unable to figure out. They used to teach that in engineering school, I don’t think they do anymore.

  4. MCS

    “…you’ll never be paid for what you don’t know, can’t do or are unable to figure out.”

    Let your competitors hire them. }8^D

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