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Britton Sprouse

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since Jan 18, 2021
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Recent posts by Britton Sprouse

r ranson wrote:The next step is to find out if it is possible to buy new watch guts (for less than a new fob watch).

I've been looking at new fob watches but they all have the 12 at the "top" or near the (set the time and wind it up knob).  But when I take my watch out of my pocket and open it, I hold it so that the 9-o'clock is at the top.  If you look at antique fob watches, about half of them are that way up.  

I also haven't found a case that I like as much as this one yet.

So what's the word I can whisper to google to find "manual, I wind every day, no batteries, watch guts that work"?  



You're looking for a manual movement.  The three types of movements are manual, automatic, and quartz.  Manual movements are the rarest nowadays.  Automatic timepieces have a free-spinning weight that winds the mainspring as it's being moved or carried.  Quartz timepieces are battery powered.  Also important to understand: manual and automatic are both "mechanical", the only difference is how they're wound.  So if it says "mechanical", you need to dig deeper, because odds are it's probably automatic.  You can also search for "hand wind", some websites market manual movements that way.

I don't know the best places to look for pocket watches, but you'll always find old watches on eBay.
3 months ago

r ranson wrote:The finger on the escape wheel and the pallet fork on that side don't seem to be on the same... plane?  plain?  lined up correctly, so it jams on the back of the red thing.  



Yeah, you were descriptive enough for me to guess that it was out of alignment, i.e. not in the same plane.  Common culprits are the pivot points and the installation of the pinions (the ends of the shaft) in them.  They can be dirty or worn, but there can also be any number of bizarre faults- experienced watchmakers still occasionally see faults they've never seen before.  

Unfortunately that's about as much as I can help, on account of my distance and inexperience.  Best of luck on your project.  I'll keep an eye on the thread if you have anything more to report.
3 months ago

r ranson wrote:Here comes the problem - vocabulary.  I don't have it.


I studied a little bit of watchmaking, not enough to be an expert but I can help a little.  What you're describing is the escapement mechanism, and you described its function perfectly, it allows the mainspring's stored power to escape a little at a time (once per second if it's working perfectly!) instead of all at once.  Does it look something like this?



r ranson wrote:There is a round thing that goes back and forth acting like a pendulum.  It has an independent spring to make it go back and forth more.  


This is the balance wheel and hairspring.  Hairsprings, if faulty, are a pain to fix, they behave so unruly.  Let's hope that's not the problem!

r ranson wrote:Connected to that is what I'm calling a governor.  This is a thing with two arms that pivots at a point.  That wheel that is connected to the mainspring has lots of fingers and the place where the governor touches those fingers has some sort of resin on it.


I think this is the pallet fork, and that resin (I think it's a jewel, just like the pivot points) is there by design, it doesn't wear like metal would.  

r ranson wrote:When it stops, one of the arms (the one I can't get to easily) isn't touching the fingers where it should.  It's always the same arm of the governor.  But it's not always the same finger of the wheel.


Unfortunately I'm of little use to address this without visually inspecting it myself, and even then there's no promises.  It sounds like the pallet fork isn't properly moving in one direction, so it may be out of alignment.  

Hope that helps!
3 months ago
I clicked on this thread mainly because of the Caddyshack thumbnail.  Then I read it, and found that it relates to a book I recently read, called, "What is Power?" by philosopher Byung-Chul Han.  It was too tough a read for me to get very far in it but here's my summary of the relevant bit:

The more voluntarily one does another's bidding, the more power that other has.  The more resistance one puts up to another, the less power that other has.  A complete loss of power feels akin to death.

The person who needs you to do or say their bidding is under some assumption or entitlement of power.  This explains why they want your total obedience, since any amount of resistance is proof that they don't have the power that they think they have.  They have this assumption until you do or say something that explicitly counters their assumption.  Then they perceive that their "power" is under threat, and they react just as if their life was under threat.  Where they got this assumption is anybody's guess.
I'm not going to pretend to know precisely what I want, I think everyone's guilty of not knowing what they want.  Also, people are rarely satisfied when they get what they want- they want more, or they want something else.

So rather than talk about what I want, I wonder: what's worth wanting?  I'm struck by the idea that people aren't valued for what they do, they're valued for why they do it.  In that way, it doesn't matter what path one chooses, what matters is why they've chosen their path.  What ends are they aiming for?  Superficial things, like material possessions and status, are fleeting and do not last, which is directly contrary to the permaculture ideal.  What's deeper, and longer lasting?  Philosophical, religious, and spiritual ends fit this criteria, I think.  These ends prioritize goodness, justice, beauty, compassion, unity, among many other noble virtues.  Contemporary views of these ideals may differ from ancient ones, but the drive towards these ideals are identical and will remain so in the future, in my opinion.

Idealism has given way to pragmatism, not just in relationships ("I just want a wife who cooks") but throughout all aspects of society, e.g. ideally we'd like American made products, but pragmatically it's cheaper if other countries make them.  I think this reflects a defining characteristic of our era: there is no patience, we want results right now, we can barely think about next year or next week.  The opposite trend can be just as fruitless: if idealism is too strong, there won't be any work done, the perfect would be the enemy of the good.  Permaculture seems to be conveniently located at this crossroads, as it takes head-on the challenge of balancing the ideal with the practical, the long-term and the short-term.  

I think it's worth wanting to partner up with someone who is purpose-driven towards high ideals.  It would help if these ideals are shared, but interfaith couples prove that having identical ideals is not a prerequisite for a successful marriage, only the ideal that they are committed to each other unconditionally.  This can mean so much- mutual respect, willingness to sacrifice (including ultimately), and the flexibility to respond appropriately to the limitless possibilities implied by the word "unconditional".  I also like the idea of balance, that ideals are balanced with practicality, and neither partner is superior to the other.  It's like walking a tightrope where balance needs to be maintained throughout to avoid a fall.  
3 months ago
I am so happy to have found this thread.  I have had to keep secret from almost everyone (even girlfriends!) for nearly 15 years that I do not shampoo or shower very often, usually about once a month.  Now that I have long hair, I give it more attention than I would otherwise.  Almost daily I spray it with filtered water (chlorine is awful for my hair) and occasionally use conditioner.

My big epiphany about this came when I was playing tennis regularly in Florida.  It was hot, humid, and I was soaked from head to toe in sweat.  I was in the mindset that "when you sweat, you need to take a shower afterwards".  But on the drive home, I would leave the window open, letting the air evaporate the sweat and cool my body down.  So by the time I got home I was dry, clean, and surprisingly had no odor.  Why would I need to shower?  Ever since then, I've regarded the soap industry as such a tragedy, basically making money by convincing people they're filthy and therefore unattractive.
3 months ago
I am extremely pleased with Fastmail, they have a very reliable and professional service.  Plans range from $30-80/year depending on features and storage.  They don't offer any free options (other than a trial) but that seems right to me, especially considering the quality of the service.  

In case you're interested in a 10% off coupon for it, here's my referral link.  
Thank you Anne.  I got an excellent response to my question in the PDC thread.  I've found the threads to the other courses as well for further questions.  If I wasn't in college, I'd certainly consider the work trade option.  Thanks for suggesting the singles forum!
4 months ago

Alan Booker wrote:Hey Britton,

As the course instructor, maybe I am the best person to try to address your question.

One of the PDC's I taught a few years ago had two PhD's, six engineers, ...and a student just out of high school. One of the PhD's (in physics) at the end of the course said he was "stunned by the depth and scope of the information" in the course. The other PhD (biology) came back to take it again the next year because he wanted to hear it all again a second time.

But even though there was plenty in the class to challenge and engage the PhD's and engineers, the high school graduate also completed the course, gave an excellent design presentation, and got certified.

The reason this can work is because I approach the PDC from the standpoint of understanding and designing complex systems, teaching this in a way that builds directly on top of what you would normally cover in high school physics, chemistry, and biology. So somebody who is comfortable with these topics at the level they should be to graduate high school should be able to follow the course with a little work. I think it comes down to being engaged and curious, willing to do some research to fill in any areas you haven't quite mastered yet.

Folks who come to the class with a lot of domain-specific knowledge often were taught it in a siloed fashion, so there is a lot of new and rich information for them to explore when we jump into whole-systems thinking. They can bring all of their domain-specific experience with them, fitting it into a larger and more holistic context. I have had engineers and architects tell me that the PDC has helped them understand how their specific expertise fits into a much larger picture. They are probably the ones who get the most from the class, because I tried to design it to compliment and extend what they have already been taught in college. But even someone just out of high school who is engaged and works hard will be able to keep up and learn a tremendous amount (while maybe not being able to mine quite so much out of it as the engineers, scientists, architects, etc.).

So even though the curriculum is designed for people with a technical background, I think the basic prerequisites for the course are whether a person (1) has a good grounding in the basic sciences, (2) is willing to work hard and stretch themselves, and (3) is curious and has a passion to learn.



Thank you so much for your thoughtful response.  I think I meet those prerequisites!  I'll be seriously considering the PDC for my summer plans.
5 months ago