How many times must we ‘reinvent’ the wheel???

A couple of different threads in different groups have once again resurrected the proverbial dead horses…

And the ‘new kids’ are determined to show they know better than any old farts/fogies/dinosaurs.  Even if said old farts, etc. were there… Sigh…

Of note, all of these ‘wheels’ were dissected, flayed, and buried ten or more years ago (at least once if not more).

One is a discussion about a particular rifle based on an old ad by a well known company (dated to the late 70s) alluding to a military rifle designation. Said rifle was prototyped by a particular company, but never entered service. The company did advertise it with the ‘designation’ it would have had, had it entered service.

Remember how Ruger ‘sold’ the 5.56 range rifle? Said it was a ‘mini-14’ which looked strangely like an M-1 carbine…

Image 1 - 1976 Ruger Mini-14 Semi-Auto Rifle Gun Ad - Rugged

This particular kerfuffle around the ad and whether it was real or not, and was put to bed back around 2010, if I remember correctly, But the new kids ‘know better’, hence it reared up again. After probably 25-30 comments, including folks that actually built the prototypes, the new kids finally disappeared… Sigh. But never admitted they were wrong.

Another surrounds a pistol holster that a kid ‘invented’ and crows about how neat his holster is. But it’s a copy of a thirty year old holster, just in a different material. Same same… ‘They’ are honest and upright, and us old farts are just trying to ‘tear them down’…

And a military thread about how us old farts couldn’t find our asses with both hands, a flashlight, and a map, but the new kids can because… superior equipment, better training, more ‘knowledge’, and, and, and…

Of course they skip over the whole knowledge thing, never admitting that what is in the database is stuff ‘we’ collected back in the day, and the TTP they are using today are what we developed over 30 years ago based on thousands of hours of actual interactions with the bad guys.

Nor will they admit the new equipment they are using was, by and large, developed by us old farts after we retired and went to work for various companies. Unpossible! Y’all are out of touch with reality, ‘we’ are the Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) because we say so (even though the entire community has less interactions that probably six or eight of us old farts)!

I’m sure there are plenty more of these ‘reinventions’ going on every day out there, but damn, it gets old… Why do these people not do the research, and when information is provided they refuse to accept it?

Are they that insecure? Or is it because they’ve been coddled to the point that they’ve never failed? Or expect a ‘participation trophy’ for showing up? Or were they never told they were wrong?

I really don’t understand this mentality…

What say y’all? Am I that far off base?


Sigh… — 36 Comments

  1. One of my coworkers got interested in generating his own electricity. He was into weight lifting and figured he could use the energy of the weights coming down to create electricity.

    He did research, built his own generator proved it generated enough power to light an led. After I helped him with the circuit. I had to show him how to measure the power he was getting…

    Finally he understood how little power he was getting. I showed him the math but he kept on.

    Finally he came up bubbling about his solution. He was going to put rain collectors on the roof of his apartment building, those collectors would then get a pipe where he would use to weight off the water to power his generator.

    I told him that sounded like a great idea but I thought I had seen some pictures of that sort of set up and I would try and find him some pictures of it…

    A few minutes later I sent him pictures of the Hoover Dam.

    It wasn’t until that moment that he realized just how many people had put thought and effort into the problem.

    Everything was new to him and therefore new to the world

  2. The ungrateful turds wouldn’t know how to cope without the tech invented by boomers. Dad went from programming with punch cards and is still at it today, albeit semi-retired.

  3. Maybe the reason the younger generation think they invented the hot new thing is that they don’t have the same exposure to older people who have been shooting for a lot longer. If they had bounced their ‘new idea’ around with these people, they might have saved themselves a little trouble.

    Most new items made now are just older ideas constructed with modern materials / methods of construction.


    Translated from dinosaur:

    “Don’t forget that ‘peace dividend’ which divided newbies into the graybeards, and threw out the journeymen. Lost about a half generation in transferring (paper) files and expertise. Also lost some smarts, thanks to the financial wieners. For grins, I’d looked up some old reports (mine and others) on DTIC. Found some of them (red flag). Many of those I found were scanned aperture cards. Not scanned from the microfiche cards, scanned cards. All the text was blurred out of recovery (red flag). All the digitization was done by the lowest bidder. And of course, the push was to get rid of your paper files and make it all accessible and electronic. Nope. Transferred about three filing cabinets worth of irreplaceable stuff to a new custodian who grasped this. Now excuse me, that’s a nice-looking stegosaurus to chew on.”

  5. No, you’re not that far off base. I remember when the nylon flap holster for the Beretta came out and “how wonderful it was.” It was a nylon copy of the old leather flap holster. And now the Army is going back to a bigger cartridge, closer I’ve heard to the old 7.62.

    what’s the old song “Everything Old Is New Again.”

    • Yeah, that new round, basically a really hot .270ish but instead of based on the .30-06 round (which the .270 is) it is based on the .308 round.


      80,000psi out of a 13″ barrel. That’s a helluva lot of pressure.

      • Well, at least a new generation of soldiers will get frequent use out of their broken case extractors.

        I refuse to believe the “composite” case passed the same .mil tests the .30-06, .308, and 5.56 did. Just surviving the specified temperature range was the main fail for every “composite” or “polymer” attempt before.

  6. When I was a fuzzy cheeked young copper starting out in the 1970s, “de-escalation, and mediation” were the big buzzwords and crime was rampant. Except the bad guys on the street see that as weakness. We wised up in the 80s and went to meeting aggression with aggression, it was known as “verbal judo” but I’m sure it has ancient roots. It has a wonderous effect on bad guys. And now, it’s back to de-escalation and mediation and crime is again rampant.

  7. The biggest risk of using a clean-sheet-of-paper approach is there are many lessons-learned that were paid for with blood. Changes were made to the hardware and the reasons forgotten by nearly all.

    Those infrequent-but-catastrophic failures dog clean-sheet-of-paper designs. Exotic materials were tried and rejected. Every twenty years they are tried again. More things blow up. More things break. Sometimes more people die.

    It isn’t hard to buy an old-fart a cup of coffee and listen to him ramble. It is sure as hell a lot cheaper than having something fail because you chose a material/process/geometry that was going to fail.

    • I’ve read that when North American deliver the first delivered Apollo spacecraft the “climb and descend” (I’m sure that is the wrong term) were backward to every craft the Astronauts had ever known and North American wouldn’t give a good reason for it. It wasn’t fixed until after the Apollo 1 fire I think.

  8. Subject Matter Experts tend to fall into two groups.

    1) I Know everything anyone needs to know about a subject.
    2) Alway a student. Alway learning.

    #2 is much easier to deal with.

    • #2 is a saner way to approach the whole state of ‘being an expert’.

      Experience can sometimes be generalized from, but sometimes you run into a problem in ‘your subject’ that you cannot legitimately generalize from prior experiences and theory.

      Those bite you in the ass when ‘you already know everything’. I was not an expert, but ask me how I know that. (Hahahahaha. Hahaha haa. …) /bitterness

      When you are listening to other people, it is better to only trust the experts conditionally. Experience is always a narrow subset of problems, and analytical bias when generalizing makes that even narrower. Unconditional trust of someone who ‘must know all about this’ can be really bad.

      See, for example, recent ‘the public health experts must really know’.

      When you pay the experts enough specific attention to verify that you can trust them, and to know what their experiences and analytical biases are, then you can safely trust them.

      • Add to that the difference between an academic subject matter expert and practical subject matter expert. I used to bring a senior technician to design reviews who had 40 years experience in our field. He would tell you why something failed in the past so hopefully you would not make the same mistakes. Al never said it couldn’t be done, just why it had not worked. It made some of the pHD’s uncomfortable to hear a critique of their program but they all respect his knowledge. It saved us time and money

      • But before you even conditionally listen, first check the expert status for yourself.
        The big expert prediction out of London college was millions dead from Corona virus without severe lockdowns. Turns out he always over estimates and is always wrong. BUT… still an “expert.”

        The medical experts who said Hydroxychlorquine or Ivermecton were bad…we’re all paid to say that, AND WERE 100% wrong.

  9. Those new guys have a combination of arrogance and a lack of history…
    I’ve noticed it in many people under 30 today. They believe they are the best ever and don’t know much about what or who came before them. In my experience, they are often very crude and are angry about anything that appears it could affect their chosen view point.
    They think they know alor but they don’t really… These people are going to be in for a ride awakening some day soon; I wonder how many will survive…

  10. On the one hand, Romans had kids these days spiels.

    Other hand, experienced people were not wrong to say that newbies are ignorant.

    Gripping hand, I’m pretty sure that I would be classed with youngsters who do not listen.

    In hindsight, I’ve had a lot of problems because I did not listen properly, and take heed.

    Maybe that is coddling.

    But, when there is a shift in the pathway by which people get their information foundation, there are translation issues between the information group A thinks is sufficient, and what group B actually needs to grasp A’s point. Folks out of the current public schools have been fucked with, deliberately, to try to make them unable or at least unwilling to make the translations from older cohort information. Year zero revisionism, and the aspiration some regimes have that their people know only the things that they tell the people to know.

    Forex, even ten years ago, some of the ‘how I got my first job’ advice based in experience only thirty or forty years back could be difficult to impossible to apply successfully for younger engineers. Because there seems to have been a qualitative change from the increase in HR insanity. There are still young engineers getting those first jobs, but a subset of the cohort is seriously demoralized about anyone having any useful advice.

    The primary and secondary school teachers basically tend to have no idea about the residual challenging fields in tertiary school. The tertiary school teachers know about getting jobs in tertiary school instruction. Otherwise, blind leading the blind.

    The left is using suborned institutions to stab everyone in the back. Younger cohorts don’t have the theoretical or experience answers for what to do, peer cohorts don’t have the theoretical or experience answers for what to do, and the older cohorts don’t have the theoretical or experience answers for what to do.

    It is disturbingly reasonable to try to navigate based on trusting peer advice, with demoralization about so much advice, generally. When you are panicked because of navigation issues, the stress kills your ability to take in new to you information.

    It is a mistake, because experience of most cohorts contains useful information, and well tested theory is a little bit more trustworthy. But, it is very hard to pull yourself out of that sort of panic by your bootstraps. And theory cannot model reality so perfectly that purely theoretical training can suffice to be a perfect guide to navigating the future.

    I basically used about the least productive possible path for filling out theory with experience the first time. Now, after finally having a navigable grasp of the first set of theory, I am trying to learn a second, wildly different, set of mental tools.

    Early on, there is a point where you /cannot/ pull together the tools that you have been given well enough to use them, or understand them, as a comprehensive whole. Theoretical training only goes so far, experience is necessary. But, when you have only had the theoretical training, it can be easy to think that the theory is perfect and complete, that it is only one’s mastery that is lacking, and that a little more work will be enough. It is only with experience that one can see that theory is somewhat of a dog’s breakfast, and that everyone, for generations, has been using experience based intuition to /guess/ how to fill out the theory, and see what actually works.

    Again, the advice public school teachers usually give for navigating is to unconditionally trust that the theory is true. Because Education major theory is false, they learn it by rote as being true, and they are able to get and retain employment regardless of whether what they ‘know’ is 100% wrong. The Education majors doing ‘research’ think that they are actually finding better answers than previous generations did. They basically have a retarded man’s understanding of how science works, that basically skips over experiment, because they don’t understand their methodologies enough to see that they are not actually testing their theory. (Except that genuinely retarded people are largely not the folks making this particular category of mistake. The retards are effectively /smarter/.)

    At at the tertiary level, doctors /have/ to ‘do something new’ for their PhD work, and that often leads both to overestimating novelty and to overvaluing ‘novelty’. It is easy to do something that no body has done before, or at least that pretty nobody does, as long as you search the space of things that are a really bad idea to do.

    I am in a younger cohort than you. I can tell you that I was definitely very badly advised when it came to much of the insinuation from instructors about who it was productive to listen to. Probably, they only way I came out as well was getting most of my socialization in a broader environment than the schools.

    • Sometimes folks listen to advice.

      It is at times worth putting out advice, so that the people who may listen have access to it.

      And perhaps modern youngster cohorts are a unique degree of screwed over in terms of not being willing to listen to good advice.

      If so, that just means there is a need for better advice, that works on finding a way to reach them.

      I really need to be making much better use of my elders than I am. These days, I am getting the most advice from my mom and from my aunt, and they are trained and experienced in entirely different areas from my work.

  11. I think it ot that we used to learn by doing, apprenticeship, mentoring, hell qualified to learn. Now they have a college degree and zero experience in actually learning anything.

    “gripping hand”…there is hope

  12. Been doing this for years, on even stupid stuff like… Haircuts.

    Them: “Waddaya think of my new cutting-edge haircut?”

    Me: “The Romans/Normans/English/Danes/foppish Cavaliers/Roundheads/Leonardo da Vinci wore it better.”

    Them: “Nu-uh, it’s new!”

    Me: (grabs book) “See? Not new, and, guess what, your hairstyle is tied into how the global climate is doing! Seriously!”

    Them: “You suck, I’m right, you’re being mean and you’re wrong!” (goes off sobbing…)

    Then there’s the NASA engineer who thought he built a new electric drive, and was pissed when I told him it’s just an ion engine.

  13. After (um um) years in nuclear power, I am continuously amused by some people “discovering” newer, better, cleaner nuclear power plant designs that will “save the world” from the tyranny of fossil fuels. During the fifties and sixties, virtually all basic reactor types were built and tested in laboratory scale. some were rejected after short operation periods due to various unsolvable problems, some were built as safety evaluation units often being tested to destruction, as more knowledge was gained, prototype unite were built and connected to the grid to see how they performed in something approaching commercial operation. Essentially four types survived this testing regimen, the Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR), the Boiling Water Reactor (BWR), the Liquid Metal Fast Breeder (LMFBR), and the High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor (HTGR). The Canadians, being different, and also not wanting to be dependent on the US for enriched uranium, developed a natural uranium Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR).

    Advances in technology may make some of the abandoned designs like the Molten Salt Reactors (MSR) or LMFBRs viable, or lead to a resurgence of the HTGR. but the existing PWRs and BWRs have generally proven to be robust and reliable and the advanced designs are much safer than earlier generations. Any new “whizzbang” design will need to go through the testing and evaluation program similar to what was done in the fifties and sixties Bill Gates not withstanding. In the current political environment I just don’t see that happening.

  14. There- Yeah, sigh…

    TMI- And I’m betting he’s STILL outprogramming the kids!

    jrg- If only…

    PK- Good point, and yes, much was lost/destroyed as being ‘too old to be usable’…

    Mike/Beans- Exactly!

    ERJ- Yep, ‘clean sheet’ is scary for the lack of knowledge displayed…

    RHT- Good one!

  15. Gerry/Bob- Yes! Using the accumulated knowledge IS the correct approach, even if non-degreed.

    Jon- Or how many they will take down with them?

    Bob- School house vs. real world experience IS a key factor, and the change in the educational process over the last 30 years.

    WSF- Snort…

    Bob- Granted, but what options do we have when they won’t listen?

    Vitaeus- One hopes…

    Beans- You really did piss in his cornflakes, didn’t you? 🙂

    NRW- Exactly, but they won’t want to DO the testing because ‘they don’t need to test’, it’s fine!

    Mack- Because it was marketed as a ‘mini-14’ which did not exist. It was really nothing more than an M-1 Carbine in a different caliber, attributed to Garand. Lots of folks took offense to the marketing, saying it was BS because it was never a military weapon.

  16. I’ve been involved with the gun culture since 1998 and have never heard that. I mean you can look at one and see it’s a a scaled down M14.


  17. Prior art searches in the patent world are always fun. Whether it’s form our side or the examiner’s side, it’s cool to crop up an old 19th century reference that reads right over the present invention. Sometimes the inventor decides to just grab the old reference and produce it as is, in the public domain, because NO ONE ELSE can STOP you with a patent.
    When I went to ‘patent law boot camp’ (bar exam prep) one of the instructors mentioned that the USPTO has two examiners on hand dedicated to debunking ‘perpetual motion’ or ‘over unity’ inventions. Evidently there is an eternal succession of generations coming up who believe “It’ll work when we do it *my* way,” (cf: socialism) and don’t quite get that whether from thermodynamics, friction, wear, heat, or noise “the house always takes its cut” in energy transmission or storage.
    One unfortunate case was an improved armature for an electric motor. The inventor measured wrong and THOUGH he has 1.03%-ish over unity gain, and filed an application. Turns out he was actually VERY CLOSE – like 97% efficiency, but because the application published as an over-unity device, it had to go abandoned when the inventor couldn’t substantiate the over-unity claims. Since an abandoned application is PUBLIC DOMAIN, then the substantial improvement to 97% became FREE for ALL.
    In the early 2000s I did some work, including patentable improvements, in Tesla-style bladeless turbines, which are stacked series of disks with a set of central exit holes. The energetic fluid enters from the perimeter of the disk rotor and spirals inward as it loses energy while dragging the disks into rotation. Tesla said he was inspired while watching a kid dip a phonograph record with a string through its central hole into water flowing in a gutter. The flowing water drags the disk to spin on its string.
    But for decades afterward I would be contacted sporadically by over-unity tinfoil hat types who were gaw-gaw over the name ‘Tesla’ and *certain* that the disk stack could produce eldritch, over-unity celestial energy magic if you added enough coils, magnets piezoelectric flux capacitors and high-frequency coupled electromagnetic field hocus pocus.
    Nevertheless, disk pumps and turbines did find their industrial niches in multi-phase materials, such as concrete slurry pumps, vacuuming up cranberries from a flooded bog without bruising the fruit, and my research showed that you could condense steam all the way into part of the vapor dome (like 95% quality) and extract energy without worrying about water droplets banging into and destroying expensive turbine blades. They are also *very* quiet and I had known the the USN had looked into using them for fluid pumping on subs in the ’60s or 70s.

    • Spellchex:
      “form” -> “from” (line 1)
      “THOUGH” -> “THOUGHT” (line 12)

  18. Mack- LOL, you’re a kid, that’s why. That argument was 20 years before your time.

    Guy- Thanks, interesting points!

  19. Late to the party again…

    I’ll say this: I only wish that I was half as smart now as I thought I was forty years ago…

  20. You’re 8-ring or better, NFO! I see the same thing in Electronics and Automotive groups. Especially in the Antenna sections, and don’t get me started on what the Audiofools spout off with.

    And few of them understand the basics of where and how all this stuff came from…..

    • I once flipped through a copy of a magazine called “Stereo Review.” It had an apparently-serious article on “polarized” speaker cables. And ads for green(?) Sharpies you were supposed to color the edges of your CDs with so the light wouldn’t leak out. Or something.

  21. Uncle- Oh hell yes! 🙂

    drjim- Thanks! And I know enough to stay the hell out of y’all’s briar patch… LOL

  22. Baby Duck Syndrome is always a thing.

    But it’s fun to watch them the first time they learn about crossing a highway.

  23. In point of fact, it was good for America when that prick Hamilton got his arrogant ass shot by Aaron Burr. Basically delayed the Federal Reserve by 100 years.