Articles

Slaying Dragons #35 – Control Theory

18/11/2020 |

John Watkins ponders Control Theory. One of the fundamentals of control theory is that when negative feedback is applied, the improvement in performance takes place at the point where the parameter being controlled is measured. For example, if a loudspeaker is equipped with motional feedback that uses an accelerometer on the diaphragm, the accelerometer will…

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Slaying Dragons #34 – Epidemiology

02/11/2020 |

John Watkinson considers epidemiology. We are now far enough through the viral outbreak to be able to look back at some of what took place. Given that my advanced years put me at risk, for my own safety I now know more about epidemiology than I ever wanted to know, but even the little I…

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Slaying Dragons #33 – Religions

22/09/2020 |

John Watkinson ponders religions. One of the traps into which the unscientific often fall is wish thinking, which is thinking something is true because it would be nice. It would be nice if we had guardian angels. It would be nice if there were an afterlife and a heaven, but it doesn’t mean there is.…

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Slaying Dragons #32 – Inequality

22/09/2020 |

John Watkinson contemplates inequality. Tragic recent events have led to riots and to the slogan that black lives matter. As Martin Luther King observed, riots are what happens when people feel they don’t have a voice.  Using simplistic logic, breaking social distancing rules in the middle of a pandemic is at least unwise. As Private…

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Slaying Dragons #31 – Negative Feedback

23/06/2020 |

John Watkinson considers Negative Feedback… Negative feedback is all around us and within us. We stay alive because feedback loops stabilise our body temperature and a host of other parameters. Feedback controls the temperature of our hot water. It’s adjusting the fuelling in a car and keeping an airliner at the right altitude. Despite the…

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Slaying Dragons #30 – Viruses

10/05/2020 |

John Watkinson considers viruses Understandably, audio has taken a back seat in the last few weeks and I have been researching a different topic that I felt might be more relevant. The present outbreak of a virus is the latest in such outbreaks that have been going on for as long as there has been…

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Slaying Dragons #29 – Science v. Belief

10/05/2020 |

John Watkinson considers science… As I have found it so beneficial in my own life, I want to say something about science, not only perhaps what it is, but also what it isn’t. First and foremost, science is not a belief structure. Those are ten-a-penny and because they are based on belief, anyone can believe…

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Slaying Dragons #28 – Laws of Physics

10/05/2020 |

John Watkinson considers crossing disciplines. The most useful knowledge a technologist can have is knowledge of the laws of physics, not least because they don’t recognise man-made boundaries or distinctions. Whilst it would be almost impossible for a lawyer to move from say, Washington D.C. to Copenhagen, a physicist wouldn’t have a problem. Boundaries between…

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Slaying Dragons #27 – Miracles

10/05/2020 |

John Watkinson ponders miracles. I remember as a child reading someone’s outpourings on the subject of radio and what a miracle it was that all the different instruments in an orchestra could simultaneously be reproduced out of one speaker.  I didn’t find it easy being a child and being told that adults always know better.…

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Slaying Dragons #25 – Redundancy and Self Diagnosis

10/05/2020 |

John Watkinson considers redundancy and self diagnosis One of the advantages of digital technology is that the equipment can be made self-diagnosing. It can log errors and in some cases correct them or at least continue working at reduced performance. The efficiency of modern audio production would simply not be possible without digital technology. Our…

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