It Just Knows

Lies, Damned Lies, and Manometer Readings

“It just knows.”

The senior HVAC technician I’d been working with on a home remodel answered with the conviction of decades of experience. I, on the other hand, was less certain. How could a new furnace “know” that it had just been connected to a 20-year-old air conditioner (from a competing brand), somehow read that unit’s cooling capacity, and then calibrate its own output to the precisely required airflow? In a bid to reconcile the reading on my manometer with the tech’s supposed savvy, I asked whether he was certain. He was, he told me, quite positive. “Tell you what,” he said. “If I’m wrong, then there’s probably 200 air conditioners in Princeton with bad airflow. And that can’t be right.”


From the upload comments (2020):
“I Heard the Bells” is the most perfect song for this Christmas. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote this poem as a widowed father of six children after learning that his eldest son had just been severely wounded fighting in the civil war. The words paint a beautiful picture of the despair he was feeling, but also the hope he maintained despite his circumstances.

Not the fall that killed them

Austerity is the problem here, not bankruptcy.


Yet even in this cross-eyed analysis a premonition of the obvious presses in:

In that scenario, Americans might not take the Covid-19 vaccine, failing to trust in its efficacy and that it won’t severely harm them or their children. They might not trust their criminal justice system, with no incentive to respect a system that allows elites to break the law with impunity. They might not trust the results of a presidential election, behaving as if they live in a banana republic and not a robust, if flawed, democracy.


[Guest post by Chickenman.]

This is the best depiction of a bad meeting that I’ve seen. If you’re not fluent in business you might miss the subtext so I’ll explain it below the video.

Probably you can tell all of them know they have been doing some bad stuff they never should have done. Probably you can tell that the boss wants to get out in a way that hurts the company least, and that the analyst’s manager says that would be bad because it would hurt a lot of others.

What you might miss is that the big boss isn’t saying “Cause them extra harm so that we get off better.” What he’s actually saying is that “No matter what, almost everyone is going to lose almost everything. There is absolutely nothing we can do at this point to stop that. The whole ship will go down, there is only one lifeboat, we can use it now or else the lifeboat also goes down with the ship and nobody gets to use it in the panic. So let’s use it.”

Which makes it a lot harder to call his decision here, now, in this clip, wrong or evil. The wrong thing was getting started down this road in the first place. Now that you reached the dead end there are no good choices left.

Mr. Chickenman has, half by accident and only half on purpose, been avoiding roads like this. Once you have gone down the road, the end the boss chooses here is the most right thing you have left to do. And that is a damnation all on its own.