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Old 04-11-2008, 10:10 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LostCause View Post
This is a tricky issue because it is a balancing act. Without proper testing, I can't imagine any of us offering more than an intuitive suggestion.


I think experimentation is the only true answer.

- LostCause
Just so folks understand where I'm coming from on this, I draw a distinction between what I call "blind" testing and "educated testing". Theory (or what we can understand of it) transforms the first into the second and helps us understand what tests are likely to prove fruitful. My model for this is the Wright brothers vs the other clowns that were, in some cases, killing themselves by just throwing a bunch of stuff together and jumping off of things. While the Wrights did a ton of testing, they also did a lot of thinking about theory, even developing new theory about such things as how a propeller works--they spent a lot of time with pencil and paper before they even built models.

If you have limited time/budget (and we all do) then you have to pick the *right* tests and the only way I know to do that is to absorb as much theory as possible and let that guide you. Of course, one can take that to the opposite extreme and never get around to trying anything, so there has to be a balance.

And, of course, it may be that the theory we would most like to have is all proprietary and we won't have access to it for another twenty years. But speaking personally, I have to start somewhere and since I can't start building my conversion for a while, I may as well learn as much theory as I can.

Besides, I really enjoy learning this stuff! When someone like trebuchet03 reports an Re of 184 and that seems to me to be an odd number, I figure I'm about to learn something--after all he's got access to this cool software and testing apparatus, so he probably knows a thing or two that I don't.

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