Neal Stephenson, "Diamond Age"
"You know, when I was a young man, hypocrisy was deemed the worst of vices," Finkle-McGraw said. "It was all because of moral relativism. You see, in that sort of a climate, you are not allowed to criticise others--after all, if there is no absolute right and wrong, then what grounds is there for criticism?"
"Now, this led to a good deal of general frustration, for people are naturally censorious and love nothing better than to criticise others' shortcomings. And so it was that they seized on hypocrisy and elevated it from a ubiquitous peccadillo into the monarch of all vices. For, you see, even if there is no right and wrong, you can find grounds to criticise another person by contrasting what he has espoused with what he has actually done. In this case, you are not making any judgment whatsoever as to the correctness of his views or the morality of his behaviour--you are merely pointing out that he has said one thing and done another. Virtually all political discourse in the days of my youth was devoted to the ferreting out of hypocrisy.
"We take a somewhat different view of hypocrisy," Finkle-McGraw continued. "In the late-twentieth-century Weltanschauung, a hypocrite was someone who espoused high moral views as part of a planned campaign of deception--he never held these beliefs sincerely and routinely violated them in privacy. Of course, most hypocrites are not like that. Most of the time it's a spirit-is-willing, flesh-is-weak sort of thing."
"That we occasionally violate our own stated moral code," Major Napier said, working it through, "does not imply that we are insincere in espousing that code." "Of course not," Finkle-McGraw said. "It's perfectly obvious, really. No one ever said that it was easy to hew to a strict code of conduct. Really, the difficulties involved--the missteps we make along the way--are what make it interesting. The internal, and eternal, struggle, between our base impulses and the rigorous demands of our own moral system is quintessentially human. It is how we conduct ourselves in that struggle that determines how we may in time be judged by a higher power." All three men were quiet for a few moments, chewing mouthfuls of beer or smoke, pondering the matter.
Dale Hodgins wrote:I think starting with liquid slows the whole process down because of the limited surface area. And the way it's set up, the humidity is always very high, which limits evaporation speed. Consider this. Start with a bunch of granular salt, either stuff you've made or stuff you bought. Let's say we start with 20 lb. Lay it out roughly in the bottom of your evaporation container with lots of humps and bumps. You want most of it to rise above the surface of water that you're adding. Now instead of trying to reach a high temperature, use a flat plate collector and send lots of warm air over the granular material. The air will pick up lots of moisture and the granular material will continue to wick water from beneath until it's all gone. Top up regularly. If your pile of salt eventually settles into a relatively smooth shape, break it up to maintain the high surface area. You might want to filter incoming air so it doesn't give you a mixture of salt, dust and bugs.
You wouldn't have to start with salt. You could start with a pile of really nice clean black basalt pebbles. They would get covered in salt crystals soon enough and you would have the rough surface without having to start with any salt.
r ranson wrote:In a forum setting, the word count is huge. We don't really need to edit out hedging. We can merge qualifying and hedging together to make our communication softer.
In print media, things are different. Too many words lose the attention of the reader. They read print media to discover what an authority has to say on the topic. In this situation, removing hedging gives the writing more power to influence the reader.