Home Β» Forum Β» Author Hangout

Forum: Author Hangout

Ages in stories

Uther Pendragon 🚫

This is only tangentially related to the 14yo rule.
But I notice that when reading stories by other writers that the age is often mentioned, especially when it is low.
I don't think that I mention the age of a character, as such, in more than 5% of my stories.
I'm much more likely to deal with te grade/class of my younger characters, because that' what people around them know.
So, do you feel it useful/necessary to put your characters' age out there for your readers' information?

Vincent Berg 🚫

@Uther Pendragon

Alas, listings ages in stories is similar to other obscure details, like height, weight, breast size, that most characters wouldn't actually be innately aware of when first encountering other characters. It's essentially a rookie mistake (which many don't grow out of), but more often, it's because authors don't yet realize who their characters are when they start a story, so they feature on generalities, only filling in the chapter when they get a better feel of the character over time.

For coming-of-age tales, it's better to mention class than age (ex: freshman, sophomore, junior or 7th grader, etc.). When your characters are older, just like in real life, your job/occupation often take over the role of your scholastic achievements (ex: Engineer, Sr. Programmer, manager, Uber driver), and in those cases, ages only matter in relation to accounting for their children (i.e. until their kids enter the story, their ages are utterly immaterial).

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son 🚫

@Vincent Berg

Alas, listings ages in stories is similar to other obscure details, like height, weight, breast size, that most characters wouldn't actually be innately aware of when first encountering other characters.

On the other hand, age is something the MC would generally know for himself, and most long time friends.

The limitation you speak of only applies for someone the MC/POV character just met for the first time. A situation that does not apply to every character in the story.

Let's tackle the coming-of-age story.

If it's set in high school(or the equivalent) the main character will know almost every other student's age to within +/- 1 year simply based on what grade level they are in.

On the other hand, a student is unlikely to know the age of any teachers or other school staff.

Vincent Berg 🚫

@Dominions Son

If it's set in high school(or the equivalent) the main character will know almost every other student's age to within +/- 1 year simply based on what grade level they are in.

First of all, that's simply not true. If it was, the news (a few years ago) that most athletes' success is directly dependent on their date of birth (i.e. those who are the oldest at the start of each school year generally are destined to do better in sports throughout their school years and even later in life, independent of anything else) wouldn't have shocked so many people.

That's why I think it's more appropriate to focus on each student's class, rather than their specific age. Students can assume anything they want, but that doesn't mean those assumptions are correct, so why base your entire story around a general fallacy. It's the same thing with stating bra measurements, virtually every guy assumes that he can accurately guess a given girl's breast size, when the girl's themselves often can't accurate determine their own bra sizes.

All things considered, common sense is very limiting. But, that's my take on things. You continued doing as you do, and I'll go my own way.

Dominions Son 🚫

@Vincent Berg

First of all, that's simply not true.

Yes it is. The standard for starting Kindergarten (in the US) is 5, but based on rules based on birth data vs start of the school year, it can vary from 4-6, which is 5 +/- 1 year. That will carry through all the way to 12th grade (18 +/- 1 year)

There are some exceptions that would fall outside this range, but those exceptions are rare to extremely rare.

Students can assume anything they want, but that doesn't mean those assumptions are correct

Those assumptions will be correct more than 90% of the time.

Replies:   Vincent Berg
Vincent Berg 🚫

@Dominions Son

Yes it is. The standard for starting Kindergarten (in the US) is 5, but based on rules based on birth data vs start of the school year, it can vary from 4-6, which is 5 +/- 1 year. That will carry through all the way to 12th grade (18 +/- 1 year)

Uh, wasn't that my basic assertion, that the school's class year is more relevant than a given student's age at any precise moment in time?

Yes, there are many assumptions a given students can make, and many are likely to be accurate, but we're discussing whether listing a student's precise age is a better way of initially describing a character, rather than focusing on what makes them unique, or what makes them stand out from the crowd. If there are another 700 students who are exactly the same age, then how does listing their age explain the attraction between two individuals (other than the obvious, 'dang, that chick is fresh and I'd best bust her before anyone else does!').

And again, you're always free to take whichever approach you want, as I'm not decreeing a standard here, I'm just discussing what seems to be the most reasonable approach to describing characters at the start of a story. If the characters' most vital factor is how underaged they are, then essentially, you're stating that nothing else about them is worth anyone else's time.

richardshagrin 🚫

@Vincent Berg

common sense is very limiting.

Common sense isn't very common.

Replies:   PotomacBob
PotomacBob 🚫

@richardshagrin

richardshagrin
6/9/2021, 10:18:08 AM

@Vincent Berg

common sense is very limiting.

Common sense isn't very common.

I read somewhere, a good many years ago, that Albert Einstein could frequently be found walking around the campus at (Yale?) in the rain. If Einstein himself didn't have sense enough to get in out of the rain, did he lack common sense?

Ernest Bywater 🚫

@PotomacBob

I read somewhere, a good many years ago, that Albert Einstein could frequently be found walking around the campus at (Yale?) in the rain. If Einstein himself didn't have sense enough to get in out of the rain, did he lack common sense?

Nah, that's just how he preferred to take his showers instead of having a bath.

palamedes 🚫

@PotomacBob

I read somewhere, a good many years ago, that Albert Einstein could frequently be found walking around the campus at (Yale?) in the rain. If Einstein himself didn't have sense enough to get in out of the rain, did he lack common sense?

As long as it isn't a hard rain or windy I myself find walking in the rain relaxing and peaceful. If I get overly wet then I simply change my cloths but otherwise just a hat to protect my face and glasses is all that is needed.

Uther Pendragon 🚫

@PotomacBob

(Yale?)

Einstein was __ when in the USA -- at the Institute for Advanced Study. That's not quite Princeton University, but it's a looooong way from Yale.

Crumbly Writer 🚫

@PotomacBob

I read somewhere, a good many years ago, that Albert Einstein could frequently be found walking around the campus at (Yale?) in the rain. If Einstein himself didn't have sense enough to get in out of the rain, did he lack common sense?

I take it you never walked in the rain (without umbrella or raincoat) just to celebrate being in love when young. But for a perpetual loner like Einstein, its a way to be out in the world, away from your cramped room, without anyone bothering or pestering you. So it seems like a win/win in my case. After all, once you're done, you just jump into a warm shower, dry off, put on a comfy bathrobe and mellow out afterwards.

Common sense doesn't negate having a romantic side, or wanting to explore different things, it just means you take the necessary precautions and accept whatever your actions unfortunately result in.

Remus2 🚫

@PotomacBob

I read somewhere, a good many years ago, that Albert Einstein could frequently be found walking around the campus at (Yale?) in the rain. If Einstein himself didn't have sense enough to get in out of the rain, did he lack common sense?

It's not unusual for people in the genius range of intellect to have odd behaviors. Walking in the rain is one of the tamer versions.

JoeBobMack 🚫

@Vincent Berg

If it was, the news (a few years ago) that most athletes' success is directly dependent on their date of birth (i.e. those who are the oldest at the start of each school year generally are destined to do better in sports throughout their school years and even later in life, independent of anything else) wouldn't have shocked so many people.

Umm, having gone through youth sports (into college) with one child, I'm not sure I follow this. Most parents had no idea of the exact birthdates of the players. They were all just "x-year-olds." Part of the power of the research you mentioned was that it pointed out how those who were older were perceived to have more "talent" and were therefore given more opportunities to practice, placed on "travel teams" and moved into more competitive leagues. Thus, there was a preponderance of high-level athletes with birth dates in certain months - not because talent was born in those months, but because it was developed. Its an argument for the importance of practice and effort to develop talent, as opposed to the idea that talent trumps all.

Of course, "talent trumps all" makes for poor stories with easy successes and no struggle. Go effort!

Ernest Bywater 🚫

@JoeBobMack

I don't know the research he was referring to, but on a simple logic basis where referring to school teams based on school year groups and not the registered birth age groups a person who was born just after the cut off date would be several months older than most of their classmates and if for some reason they were late starting school they could be up to 18 months older than their classmates. In both cases that relates to a more time to develop things like muscles strength, eye-hand coordination, and other physical aspects that improve as you get older. That's why most amateur sports bodies insist on seeing birth certificates when registering kids in their programs to ensure they end up in the right age groups while the school sports bodies go by the school year they're in and not their birthdate.

Torsian 🚫

@JoeBobMack

I have seen a summary of the research he is talking about. At younger ages even a few months matters in size. At the lowest levels of sport bigger usually means better. The better the player early on the more/better coaching they receive. It perpetuates itself through out life even as size catches up between people of similar ages.

Replies:   JoeBobMack
JoeBobMack 🚫

@Torsian

Right. Exactly. Effort and practice matter, but opportunities to get such may be skewed by external factors. Another example - many elite sprinters are younger siblings who focused on keeping up with older brothers or sisters.

Vincent Berg 🚫

@JoeBobMack

Umm, having gone through youth sports (into college) with one child, I'm not sure I follow this. Most parents had no idea of the exact birthdates of the players. They were all just "x-year-olds."

The documented tendency is not based on decisions made by parents or even coaches. In fact, the tendency came as a complete surprise to most when it was finally documented. Instead, those kids who are oldest at the beginning of each school year, are generally a tad bigger and more coordinated each year, and thus get taken under the wing of coaches, year after year, so they're the most apt to excel than those who are smaller than their teammates every single year.

Replies:   JoeBobMack
JoeBobMack 🚫

@Vincent Berg

Ummm... are we in disagreement? It seems like we are saying the same thing and have compatible understandings of the research. The original discussion was about exact ages vs. grades. You pointed to the research that suggests that, even within grade cohorts, exact age - relative age within the cohort - makes a difference. I agree.

Replies:   Vincent Berg
Vincent Berg 🚫

@JoeBobMack

No, I was merely responding to your statement that "I'm not sure I follow this". Thus I was attempting to highlight how it's not the characters actual ages in years, it's more their physical maturity and the developmental lead those individuals (who'd go on to become athletes) had over their contemporaries. The parents didn't need to 'know' anything, it's the later analysis of their relative age which revealed what was happening.

Replies:   JoeBobMack
JoeBobMack 🚫

@Vincent Berg

You're right. I have no idea why I responded to that part of your post. I was thinking about something else, probably written by someone else, but that's not clear at all from my comment. My bad!

awnlee jawking 🚫

@Vincent Berg

common sense is very limiting

It's certainly deprecated in the modern services sector. How often have you wished the police would just show a modicum of common sense!

AJ

Dominions Son 🚫

@awnlee jawking

It's certainly deprecated in the modern services sector. How often have you wished the police would just show a modicum of common sense!

Their common sense, along with their sense of humor, is surgically removed when they are issued their badge.

Replies:   Vincent Berg
Vincent Berg 🚫

@Dominions Son

Their common sense, along with their sense of humor, is surgically removed when they are issued their badge.

Trust me, living in both downtown Chicago and Manhattan, I knew quite a few cops, and the one common thing they all had in common is that most went into the force so they could shoot someone with impunity, the same with a sizable amount of the 'volunteer' military.

In that case, it's either become a career criminal (with notoriously short careers) or you become a cop (a 'licensed criminal' in many cases). I may be jaded, but if you look at the commonalities of their backgrounds, you begin to see similar trends.

Of course, not every policeman shoots people, just as not every judge is corrupt, but people are drawn to occupations based on their interests, more than those drawn by educational opportunities.

Vincent Berg 🚫

@awnlee jawking

common sense is very limiting

It's certainly deprecated in the modern services sector. How often have you wished the police would just show a modicum of common sense!

That's precisely the point. What most people think of as 'common sense' is merely a shared assumption, which is often incorrect, but is self-confirming (ex: if all the kids you arrest are black, because they all seem 'dangerous', then evidence confirms that your assumptions were correct. That's why racism is both systemic and built into society, making it virtually impossible to eradicate.

If 80% of society believes the same mistaken notions, then 80% of societies successes will confirm those believes. However, if that 80% is white, with the advantages that no one else has, is it any wonder why they assume that no other race is worth much? After all, there's aren't many monuments named after backs, women or Hispanics (at least before the 1960s).

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2 🚫

@Vincent Berg

That's why racism is both systemic and built into society, making it virtually impossible to eradicate.

Horseshit. Fear of the unknown or different is the root of racism going back to hunter gathers. It's built into genetics.

However, if that 80% is white, with the advantages that no one else has, is it any wonder why they assume that no other race is worth much?

That presumes whites have some unnamed advantages. I made it just fine as a half breed on my own merit and hard work. The idiots in modern academia just assume everyone not white are victims. Who the hell are they to presume to speak for me and every other none white out there? They should look a bit closer to home for racist thoughts since they presume we (non-white) are all victims.

Replies:   rustyken
rustyken 🚫

@Remus2

Hear, hear...
(sp?)

PotomacBob 🚫

@awnlee jawking

How often have you wished the police would just show a modicum of common sense!

If you think police officers are bad, try dealing with Microsoft.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking 🚫

@PotomacBob

try dealing with Microsoft

Is that even possible? I thought Microsoft customers had to put up with whatever MS deemed fit to offer them.

AJ

Uther_Pendragon 🚫

@Dominions Son

On the other hand, age is something the MC would generally know for himself, and most long time friends.

Know, yes, but how often does it cross his consciousness? I know my shoe size, and -- therefor -- so do most of my characters. I, and they, don't think about it much.
In one of my stories, Bob gets his driver's license; Jeanette's family is suddenly conscious that she's not only a freshman going with a sophomore, but a 14 yo going with a 16 yo.

Pete Fox 🚫

@Dominions Son

Really good points on age. Teenagers especially around driving and graduation ages can by hyper about knowing these things... when a person is in their 20s or 30s you can just say early or late or Pat just celebrated his 50th. Jenny her Sweet 16. I am working on a Prep School story so I find this discussion helpful.

Ernest Bywater 🚫

@Uther Pendragon

In some stories it's important to mention the age of the characters, especially for those stories related to school or sports aspects and the coming of age stories.

Quasirandom 🚫

@Uther Pendragon

Teenagers close to the age for getting a driver's license are often acutely aware of who can, does, and cannot drive. Especially in car-centric cultures in the US (and outside the largest urban cores).

Otherwise, though, kids are more aware of grade. That's the telling detail your POV would use.

Keet 🚫

@Quasirandom

Otherwise, though, kids are more aware of grade. That's the telling detail your POV would use.

Be aware that if the (approx.) age is important for the reader to know that not every reader is familiar with the US grade system and what ages are generally in what grade. And there are possible shifts in age/grade going back a decade or two.

Dominions Son 🚫

@Keet

And there are possible shifts in age/grade going back a decade or two.

Um, the general relationship in grade/age for primary/secondary education in the US has not changed since I was in school and that goes back 3-4 decades.

Replies:   Keet
Keet 🚫

@Dominions Son

Um, the general relationship in grade/age for primary/secondary education in the US has not changed since I was in school and that goes back 3-4 decades.

See, as a non-US reader I didn't know that but I wouldn't have been surprised if it had changed. Where I live the 'system' has changed a few times in the past 50 years.

Dominions Son 🚫

@Keet

See, as a non-US reader I didn't know that but I wouldn't have been surprised if it had changed. Where I live the 'system' has changed a few times in the past 50 years.

For the US, there haven't been any major changes in grade/age structure for k-12 education since WWII.

In fact the last major change probably goes back to the 1930s, which is when school attendance became compulsory across all states,

A few states had compulsory education back to the mid 19th century, but it wasn't universal until the feds enacted limits on child labor and pushed the states to make primary/secondary education compulsory.

awnlee jawking 🚫

@Keet

Where I live the 'system' has changed a few times in the past 50 years.

Obviously the Dutch education system must work quite well, otherwise the do-gooders wouldn't be trying to fix it.

AJ

Replies:   Keet  JoeBobMack
Keet 🚫

@awnlee jawking

Obviously the Dutch education system must work quite well, otherwise the do-gooders wouldn't be trying to fix it.

We have a very good education system, acknowledged around the world as top class. Some of the changes are good, keeping up with the changes in time. Others... not so much. My daughter is a teacher ('difficult' children ages 12-16) and sits in a special group to develop new education standards, or I should say, better ways to teach every student depending on his capacities. The thought is that a student should be able to advance if he can, make his own choices in what order he takes subjects, and specifically, not being held back in a mixed class because other students can't keep up. I have to see what they come up with because it's a very complex problem to solve. If they solve it every student can go as fast as he can manage, finally!
In short: we still keep changing the system, in most cases for the better.

Replies:   Vincent Berg
Vincent Berg 🚫

@Keet

In short: we still keep changing the system, in most cases for the better.

That's the general idea, but for each people who succeeds under a 'new' system, there will be at least as many who fall even further behind. So often, it's not a general advancement as much as a simple reshuffling of the deck, offering a new group a crack at the bat, at the expense of those who'd already had their opportunities.

Replies:   Keet
Keet 🚫

@Vincent Berg

So often, it's not a general advancement as much as a simple reshuffling of the deck, offering a new group a crack at the bat, at the expense of those who'd already had their opportunities.

Not completely true. Very, very slowly advancement opportunities shift towards the competence level and efforts of the student. Which of course should have always been the way in the first place but was too difficult to organize and required too much teaching staff to make it work. The advancement of electronic devices and online teaching has opened possibilities not available before.

JoeBobMack 🚫

@awnlee jawking

Obviously the Dutch education system must work quite well, otherwise the do-gooders wouldn't be trying to fix it.

I haven't noticed that do-gooders are deterred in their desire to "fix" things simply because those things might be working well, even quite well! If it's not perfect, there are those who deem it must be fixed. (Really, I'm trying to grin. It beats cursing loudly when I make the mistake of reading the news!)

awnlee jawking 🚫

@JoeBobMack

If it's not perfect, there are those who deem it must be fixed.

Even if it is perfect, there are those who deem it must be fixed.

And if it's an omnishambles, leave it to the next administration to fix ;-)

AJ

Dominions Son 🚫

@JoeBobMack

haven't noticed that do-gooders are deterred in their desire to "fix" things simply because those things might be working well, even quite well!

No, the point was they only want to "fix" the things that work well, fix them so they don't work.

Crumbly Writer 🚫

@Keet

Be aware that if the (approx.) age is important for the reader to know that not every reader is familiar with the US grade system and what ages are generally in what grade. And there are possible shifts in age/grade going back a decade or two.

The issues isn't that the grade/age relationship is perfect, it's that most students have no clue the precise age of any other student on any given day. However, everyone in a given school will have a general idea of what year the student is in school. One kid might have skipped two years, one might have failed 3 years in a row, another might have been born in September, while another was born in May. There IS no way, aside from friends bragging to each other, for students to accurately guess precisely how old another student is, and even then, those outside the norm are reluctant to admit it, further discounting your assertions.

My last several books (featuring teens) haven't listed a single age, and I haven't noticed any difficulty in constructing them. Frankly, specifying ages just doesn't really matter that much. It's a literary crutch, rather than specifying how someone looks, what draws other student's attention or what draws your first true love, it's easier to simply quote a series of random numbers, whether they fit or not.

Replies:   Keet  Dominions Son  LupusDei
Keet 🚫

@Crumbly Writer

The issues isn't that the grade/age relationship is perfect, it's that most students have no clue the precise age of any other student on any given day.

I know that and that wasn't the issue. I stated

...if the (approx.) age is important for the reader to know...

indicating that it doesn't matter who in the story knows or how aware they are of a persons age, it's about being clear towards the story reader and his possible unawareness of the relation between grades and age IF that is important to the story.

Dominions Son 🚫

@Crumbly Writer

One kid might have skipped two years, one might have failed 3 years in a row

And those cases are going to be rare. In a school with a total student body of 1000 students, there is exceedingly unlikely to be more than a dozen of those.

There IS no way, aside from friends bragging to each other, for students to accurately guess precisely how old another student is

Sure, if you are going for down to the month precision, but at a precision level of x +/- 1 year the will generally be accurate.

LupusDei 🚫
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

The issues isn't that the grade/age relationship is perfect, it's that most students have no clue the precise age of any other student on any given day.

It depends. I knew birthdays of everyone in my immediate class (of roughly forty pupils) very well.

Then, in our school system a class (typically of 20 to 45, less than twenty only in very small schools where there's simply not that much children in a whole district, more than 45 are split in parallel classes) is a fairly stable unit together all trough 1st to 12th grade with minimum changeover.

Also, we had tradition to, not exactly celebrate, but notice birthdays in class: the birthday kid would bring candies or cookies or other little something (usually self-made) and distribute that before some period with sympathetic teacher (class teacher if applicable) that day. (For birthdays in weekend they may do this either in Friday before or Monday after, or not at all; it was never mandatory, but rather expected.)

Then, it being fairly large school we had three parallel classes. Parallel classes mixed only in free choice electives and "after school" social activities from interest clubs and sports teams to dance nights. It happened I knew one of the parallel classes fairly well, both my best male friend and a girlfriend of nearly two years being there. I even joined them for a couple of school exclusions and hikes (with was unusual and strictly irregular, but I was extremely irregular, I even already had my own shelf in teacher's lounge by then). But the third parallel class, or in the years above or below, yeah, there could have been few I might struggle to find the name in a hurry, less the birthday.

About said girlfriend, by the way, I only learned from documents I shouldn't be able to see and then pressured her to admit she was in fact a full year older. But it was her keeping it extremely tight for her own reasons, nothing typical.

On the other hand, asking a random girl how old she is while walking her home after a school dance night (if not earlier) was completely acceptable and fairly typical. She might answer with only a grade number or elaborate down to horoscope sign if not exact birthday, her preference I would have to accept and consider.

Replies:   Vincent Berg
Vincent Berg 🚫

@LupusDei

It depends. I knew birthdays of everyone in my immediate class (of roughly forty pupils) very well.

Also, we had tradition to, not exactly celebrate, but notice birthdays in class: the birthday kid would bring candies or cookies or other little something (usually self-made) and distribute that before some period with sympathetic teacher (class teacher if applicable) that day. (For birthdays in weekend they may do this either in Friday before or Monday after, or not at all; it was never mandatory, but rather expected.)

So, you knew the kid's ages who had birthdays during the year, but not those whose birthdays fell later, or outside the scope of the school year.

Awareness is a tricky thing, we're aware only of what we're exposed to, and then extrapolate to everyone else. In short, we're not aware of what we're unaware of.

but I was extremely irregular

That's always a good excuse to be excused from a class, as you urgently need to make a mad dash for the restroom, and not just for a chance to smoke in the bathroom! ;)

On the other hand, asking a random girl how old she is while walking her home after a school dance night (if not earlier) was completely acceptable and fairly typical.

Again, this focuses on knowing everyone's age, rather than recognizing the developmental lead the athletes were getting in their earlier years, who made them stand out. That's precisely why no one ever noticed who only those who were older at the start of each year had an 'unfair' advantage in sports. It wasn't so much 'who worked harder' at it, it turns out it was primarily 'who was given the most prolonged attention to help develop those skills.

But, I think we've beat this poor horse to death already. Either you accept the research or you don't, and it only applies to a small subset of students in any given year, and has NOTHING to do with revealing characters ages at the very beginning of the story. That's mostly a way of indicating how young (i.e. prepubescent) the girls were, and is the reason for the 'under 14-years-old' rule concerning sex in stories.

If that's your only reason for listing the age in stories, then it's really not needed in anything but the borderline Pedo stories.

Replies:   LupusDei  Mushroom
LupusDei 🚫
Updated:

@Vincent Berg

Again, this focuses on knowing everyone's age

Because that was what I was replying on, a claim that typical kid doesn't know birthdays of any of their peers. While it may possibly even be true in some contexts (although fairly unlikely, imho), I wanted to illustrate it wasn't so at least in mine. And while me knowing well over hundred birthdays might easily be an outlier even there, I stand with a claim a typical kid knew at least thirty, woken up in the middle of the night. For every random person at all, no, of course not. Heck, I even said the way I accidentally learned my girlfriend's true age was plain out illegal.

but I was extremely irregular


That's always a good excuse to be excused from a class, as you urgently need to make a mad dash for the restroom, and not just for a chance to smoke in the bathroom! ;)

Um... not sure what it's purported to represent, but while not entirely inconsistent with my usage probably a misunderstanding. I used "irregular" as pc-speak for "grossly disregarding written down rules". My irregularity come somewhere between me writing an individual teacher/student period planning software for the school administration when they said they can't allow me to take all my wanted electives because of perceived impossibility (I ended up with ten periods each day) and mostly, hostile takeover of the school newspaper. When you're press corps personified, the freedoms people allow you are awesome. I managed to (mostly) maintain my grades acceptable by learning it takes less effort to take on voluntary extracurriculars than diligently doing the boring program.

focuses on knowing everyone's age, rather than recognizing the developmental lead the athletes were getting in their earlier years, who made them stand out. That's precisely why no one ever noticed who only those who were older at the start of each year had an 'unfair' advantage in sports. It wasn't so much 'who worked harder' at it, it turns out it was primarily 'who was given the most prolonged attention to help develop those skills.

We're in no disagreement here, it's a serious real world problem I know, although again, the "no one ever noticed" is untrue generalizing. My older sister was in artistic gymnastics at high enough level statement she was denied chance of tryouts for USSR Olympic team had sense (well, that structure cased to exist shortly, and we were in the forefront of making that happen, so there's that's too). Just to say the behind the scenes dirt of sports politics aren't anything unheard for me. And of course, even small age or other differences can amplify and snowball quickly. In gymnastics specifically you're between scissors smaller=better/older=stronger; being large boned and young for your cohort would destroy your competitiveness no matter your commitment, but everyone, especially athletes themselves were very, acutely aware of that. Sports on high levels is downright unhealthy in many senses.

But it's not only sports either. For example, I know a cellist who's probably very talented and does put a lot of work in, but... The international competitions aren't on a yearly schedule, and while it's supposed to be considered and partly level out over the available options and time, she happened to be youngest in her four-year cohort for several important ones. You must be Chinese to compete with 16 year olds when you're twelve.

Replies:   Vincent Berg
Vincent Berg 🚫

@LupusDei

Because that was what I was replying on, a claim that typical kid doesn't know birthdays of any of their peers.

Thanks for clarifying, as I'd assumed you meant that you didn't think that parents would know the birthdays of the athletes, and so wouldn't associate their physical development with the birthdates.

Um... not sure what it's purported to represent, but while not entirely inconsistent with my usage probably a misunderstanding.

Sorry, I was teasing you about your phrasing. But a lot of people don't get my sense of humor, which is why I've never become a comedian.

We're in no disagreement here, it's a serious real world problem I know, although again, the "no one ever noticed" is untrue generalizing.

See my first comment (above), as I hadn't taken your initial comment quite correctly.

But it's not only sports either.

Luckily, authors don't age out of the field quite as quickly, as most of us SOL authors never wouldn't gotten started.

Sorry for the continued misunderstandings.

Replies:   LupusDei
LupusDei 🚫

@Vincent Berg

Sorry, I was teasing you about your phrasing. But a lot of people don't get my sense of humor, which is why I've never become a comedian.

Oh, the why I didn't get it at first might have something to do with just the fact I don't have that kind of organs myself.

Mushroom 🚫

@Vincent Berg

That's precisely why no one ever noticed who only those who were older at the start of each year had an 'unfair' advantage in sports

But it also depends on the sports being played.

In some, being smaller is actually better. Most Olympic level gymnasts are only 5'1" (5'4" for men), and Olympic figure skaters are only 5'3".

For those sports, smaller is often times better. The same with many weight lifters. Shorter bodies and arms means less distance to lift a weight.

I even discussed this in one of my stories, about how most girls (and many guys) that participate in those sports are smaller, and being such gives them a large advantage over average sized gals.

Even in male couples figure skating, the average is only 5'7". Just a hair below average, but once again the less distance a skater has to lift their partner for over-head lifts, the better. As well as having a lower center of gravity for spins.

Switch Blayde 🚫

@Mushroom

As well as having a lower center of gravity for spins.

And the closer you are to the ground, the less your butt hurts when it hits the ice.

PotomacBob 🚫

@Mushroom

I even discussed this in one of my stories, about how most girls (and many guys) that participate in those sports are smaller, and being such gives them a large advantage over average sized gals.

What story was that, please?

Replies:   Mushroom
Mushroom 🚫

@PotomacBob

What story was that, please?

"Country Boy, City Girl".

Specifically, one of the girls was a gymnast when younger, and the other was into competitive figure skating. And when the one went through a growth spurt when she reached puberty, her idea of being a gymnast ended as her body changed in ways that were no longer good for competition gymnastics so instead went into dance.

The skater was a small girl, and continued. But quite a bit of time was spent discussing her efforts in finding a male she could transition into couples events and her inability to find one. And why the girl she coached could never really participate in couples routines, because she was of average size and slightly "full figured". 5'6" and around 120 pounds may not sound like a lot, until you figure a male would have to lift her over his head multiple times in a routine, and keep her balanced there as he was skating.

Much easier when the girl is 5'0", and 80-something pounds.

Remus2 🚫

@Mushroom

But it also depends on the sports being played.

True for many sports. Judging age by stature is a mistake anyway you look at it.

Ernest Bywater 🚫
Updated:

@Quasirandom

Otherwise, though, kids are more aware of grade. That's the telling detail your POV would use.

Not necessarily. Both Australia and the USA have a basic rule of starting formal schooling at 5 years of age, like many other countries. However, you can have an age difference of up to 2 years due to how close to the birthday cut off they're born, and if their parents were able to get them started early or they were late in getting them started. Then you can have age discrepancies due to them changing systems between countries. And that's all without the issue of a very smart kid being pushed ahead grades or a very dumb kid being held back.

I very thoroughly researched the schooling systems in Australia and the USA and have included some aspects of most of the above in some of my stories just to create and age difference between characters.

Then you have the differences in the laws on when teens can get a driver's licence as that varies a lot as well. Also you can include special licences to the mix.

edit to add: Then you have to worry about the time period the story was set in. When I went to school here in NSW, Australia in the 1960s you have Primary school teaching Kindergarten to 6th Class then High School teaching 1st Form to 4th Form followed by university, then in the late 1960s they tacked on 5th Form and 6th Form to high school as university prep classes and only the top 20% of students in the 4th From exams (the School Certificate) could go on to 5th Form and 6th Form to sit the Higher School Certificate. In the mid 1970s it became standard for High School to be 1st From to 6th Form. There was also an exam you could do at the end of 3rd Form called the Leavers Certificate for those who wanted to leave High School and take on an Apprenticeship. Then somewhere between the mid 1970s and the mid 1980s the whole system became Kindergarten to Year 12. So the terminology used would change with the time period the story is set in if in NSW, Australia.

Replies:   Vincent Berg  PotomacBob
Vincent Berg 🚫

@Ernest Bywater

Then you have to worry about the time period the story was set in. When I went to school here in NSW, Australia in the 1960s you have Primary school teaching Kindergarten to 6th Class then High School teaching 1st Form to 4th Form followed by university, then in the late 1960s they tacked on 5th Form and 6th Form to high school as university prep classes and only the top 20% of students in the 4th From exams (the School Certificate) could go on to 5th Form and 6th Form to sit the Higher School Certificate. In the mid 1970s it became standard for High School to be 1st From to 6th Form.

That happened in the U.S. too, but that's directly tied to how long the public school system has been in place, rather than age of students.

As more schools are build, and more prosperous school systems modernize and develop, they build more schools, thus the older one-room school houses are now broken into preschool, kindergarten, primary, secondary and high school. Then there are the predatory schools, specialty schools and local collages, and the precise 'ages' of college students become even more confusing.

PotomacBob 🚫

@Ernest Bywater

Then you have the differences in the laws on when teens can get a driver's licence as that varies a lot as well.

I thought across the U.S., almost all states let you get a driver's license at age 16. Who differs from that?

Dominions Son 🚫

@PotomacBob

e the differences in the laws on when teens can get a driver's licence as that varies a lot as well.

I thought across the U.S., almost all states let you get a driver's license at age 16. Who differs from that?

https://www.verywellfamily.com/driving-age-by-state-2611172

Most states today have restricted licenses for young drivers.

Some US states you can't get an unrestricted driver's license until 17 or 18.

Most states you can get a learner's permit at 15, however you can get a learner's permit as early as 14 in three states.

Mushroom 🚫

@PotomacBob

I thought across the U.S., almost all states let you get a driver's license at age 16. Who differs from that?

Idaho still does.

Back in 1989, a national highway bill was passed that mandated that all states raise their ages to 16 or lose highway funding. And Idaho along with the others that allowed drivers from 14-15 soon complied.

However, Idaho then changed their law a decade or so ago. That allows a 14 year old to get a "Special Instructional Permit", that gives limited driving privileges to those who are 14, and a process to get a license at 15.

Essentially, ignoring the previous law. And this is not unusual, today about half of the states allow licenses at 15.

Switch Blayde 🚫

@PotomacBob

I thought across the U.S., almost all states let you get a driver's license at age 16. Who differs from that?

Not when I was living in NYC. You had to be 18 to have a driver's license. I forget the age for a driving permit, maybe 17, but an adult driver had to be in the car with you.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son 🚫

@Switch Blayde

Not when I was living in NYC.

That would be a matter of state law not local.

See the link I posted up thread. According to that in New York, you can get a learner's permit at 16, a restricted license at 16.5 and an unrestricted license at 18.

Replies:   irvmull
irvmull 🚫

@Dominions Son

Strange thing, a friend of mine was fully licensed to fly a plane with passengers a full year before he was old enough to drive a car by himself.

Replies:   palamedes
palamedes 🚫

@irvmull

Strange thing, a friend of mine was fully licensed to fly a plane with passengers a full year before he was old enough to drive a car by himself.

Reminded me of a joke.

What is the difference between a good pilot and a great pilot ?

A good pilot everyone walks away from the plane after landing.

A great pilot can reuse the plane after landing.

Told to me by a pilot that did 25 years with the Coast Guard and then 20 years with American Airlines and is still flying his own private plane.

LupusDei 🚫

@PotomacBob

And of course all of Europe is at 18 years of age to apply for a full driver's license.

Differences may exist between countries, of course, I may only semi-competenly talk about Latvia.

Learner's permit exist, but (without looking it up) is short lived, although one is not limited to reapply for that unlimitedly (every six months or whatever it is), but they would have to pass theory exam every time.

Anyway, that is limited for learning, with mean, an instructor should be present in the front passenger seat. Then, the "instructor" doesn't need any special paperwork and can be anyone with valid license for at least three years prior continuously (so, no license suspension for violations during that time). Funny enough, as far I know he or she doesn't even need to be sober. Also, formally the car should be equipped with a learning sign (black "M" in red triangle), but that isn't strictly enforced.

In practice, the lack of learner's permit itself is often overlooked, if the adult next to teenage driver is quick to present their license instead and claim providing instruction, and there's no other problem the cop could nitpick on, the teen can get away without any documents checked at all.

So yes, all this boils down to is, it's probably better to let your unlicensed kid drive than drive while intoxicated, but it doesn't give much independence for the kid.

There is "bicycle driver license" one can get as early as twelve (or is it ten, even) that is absolutely never checked for. No, never. You can get it for bragging rights, frame it on the wall, and be done with it.

Then there's a limited motorbike lice one can get at sixteen (or maybe fifteen, I'm not exactly sure) that limits displacement of the internal combustion engine of the vehicle and the max power of it, and has unconditional max speed limit (again, I'm not sure, I think it sit at 40km/h (25mph) but 50km/h (31mph) or even 30km/h (18.7mph) would be more logical (as that's the default city street and "residential area" speed limit accordingly) and precludes the vehicle to have permanent hard roof, but is NOT limited to two wheels.

I know all of exactly one teen (girl) who used that loophole to legally drive her father's rebuild quasi car that counted as "motorbike" legally. Actually, she was breaking the law both by the engine being changed to more powerful after registration and routinely exceeding her special speed limit, but she got away with it for two years without a hitch.

Crumbly Writer 🚫

@Quasirandom

Otherwise, though, kids are more aware of grade. That's the telling detail your POV would use.

That used to be the case, nowadays, just as more young adults are living at home, more teenagers are forgoing cars entirely. The old U.S. car culture isn't the powerful social driver it once was. And even if it is, that only affects stories that revolve around characters just becoming 16-years old who want to drive their own cars. That's a pretty small sample size for deciding how to construct a story.

Grey Wolf 🚫

@Quasirandom

Teenagers close to that age were often acutely aware. That's changed in the last decade. The majority of teenagers that my kids know are essentially indifferent to getting their license; they have parents who will take them everywhere they want to go, and their lives have become much more about hanging out online than in person (pre-COVID-19).

And I live in an area with lousy public transportation, so that's not an issue. They do/did use Uber/Lyft/etc quite a bit, though, bankrolled by parents.

It's an enormous shift in US teenage culture. A lot of things have shifted abruptly.

Quasirandom 🚫
Updated:

@Grey Wolf

Interesting to hear that. This may be regional. My local informants were saying pre-COVID-19 that they were very much still interested in the freedom a license represents, even while being very unsure whether they'll be able to have their own car.

Replies:   Grey Wolf
Grey Wolf 🚫

@Quasirandom

It seems to be national in the United States, but I'm not sure about other areas. Here are a few references:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/driving-the-kids-are-so-over-it-11555732810

https://thenewswheel.com/fewer-u-s-teens-want-to-get-their-drivers-licenses/

https://medium.com/swlh/american-teens-are-driving-less-and-the-reasons-are-more-than-economic-4cf6217375a1

While the data is more complicated, there's also a drop in teenage sexual activity, in one-on-one dating, and in a number of other behaviors in favor of group dating and online/social media contact.

Quasirandom 🚫

@Grey Wolf

Group dating and even more online interactions, those my local informants described.

Vincent Berg 🚫

@Grey Wolf

It seems to be national in the United States, but I'm not sure about other areas. Here are a few references:

That's certainly the case with virtually ALL the teens I've known for some time now, but there seemed to be a fairly clear cut off about a decade or so ago, where cars simply stopped being 'viable' for teens anymore.

Vincent Berg 🚫

@Grey Wolf

And I live in an area with lousy public transportation, so that's not an issue. They do/did use Uber/Lyft/etc quite a bit, though, bankrolled by parents.

That's the same with books, most teens prefer paper books (either hard or paperbacks), mainly because their parents either buy them for them, or take them to major bookstores or give them gift certificates to those stores. Whereas those who work, after taking public transportation to work, typically prefer the benefits of electronic readers they can take anywhere, with plenty of alternates available.

LOAnnie 🚫

@Uther Pendragon

I think it depends on a lot of the contextβ€” if they're toward the younger/older side of their environment (18 year old in high school vs 18 year old college student), or if there's an age difference where it applies to a setting (50 year old professor with 18 year old coed).

In a serial I'm working on, the relative youth and the implication comes out a lot. When I'm writing third person, there will be times to vary she/her language that I might use "The eighteen year old", because in the events happening to her, it is kind of a big deal.

It all really depends on how people want to develop their stories. Some people like to take a thousand words to describe something where others might choose a hundred, or fifty, or 2.

Crumbly Writer 🚫

@LOAnnie

It all really depends on how people want to develop their stories. Some people like to take a thousand words to describe something where others might choose a hundred, or fifty, or 2.

That's fine. No one is dictating how someone constructs a story. All we're discussing is whether it's more advantageous to specify physical attributes (including a specific age) or to focus on the more clear cut ways of sizing ones fellow students up.

As far as most SOL stories go, the overriding concern in listing specific ages is to get the students as close to the 14-year-old dividing line as possible (i.e. as close to illicit as you can possibly get), rather than is describing what draws one student to another. Thus, I'd vie for descriptions of what appeals to each student, rather than merely quoting random statistics, which might or mightn't apply in a given case.

The stories that always fascinate me the most aren't those that follow a particular script, there's the ones that set their own rules, and fit the story around the characters, rather than a specific set of story specifics. But listing an age isn't forbidden, it just doesn't strike me as being particularly effective in bring a character to life on the page.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking 🚫

@Crumbly Writer

As far as most SOL stories go, the overriding concern in listing specific ages is to get the students as close to the 14-year-old dividing line as possible

I know a few SOL authors who like to write stories about that age group, but to claim 'most SOL stories' is a helluva leap. What percentage does that constitute?

AJ

Uther Pendragon 🚫

@LOAnnie

I think it depends on a lot of the contextβ€” if they're toward the younger/older side of their environment (18 year old in high school vs 18 year old college student), or if there's an age difference where it applies to a setting (50 year old professor with 18 year old coed).

Well, yes. I have one character who managed to skip two grades. She is very conscious, and secretive, about being younger than her classmates.
I have another story, though, involving an affair between a widower lawyer and his HS-senior babysitter. don't think it matters whether the lawyer is 40 or 45.

Switch Blayde 🚫

@Uther Pendragon

So, do you feel it useful/necessary to put your characters' age out there for your readers' information?

When it's appropriate to do it. There's no yes or no. If it fits the story, then yes. If not, then no.

awnlee jawking 🚫

@Uther Pendragon

So, do you feel it useful/necessary to put your characters' age out there for your readers' information?

Specifying a character's age means the reader doesn't have to worry about the intricacies of the education system in the author's chosen locale.

For example. the forum has recently had explained the system in Latvia where children typically start school at 7.

And the UK media is always having problems with the difference between eg Year 11 and 11 year olds. Recently there was an example of an advanced English grammar question from an exam paper. It was aimed at Year 11 students, but virtually all the UK media reported it was from a paper for 11 year olds.

AJ

Replies:   Vincent Berg
Vincent Berg 🚫

@awnlee jawking

For example. the forum has recently had explained the system in Latvia where children typically start school at 7.

Though it also specified the political environment responsible for the lack of modernizing and standardizing the discrepancies for the last several decades.

Generally, I don't base my stories on the outliers, I generally make the safest assumptions, and save those exceptions for my characters, to add a little complexity to their lives, rather than purposely making the stories more confusing.

As for your UK example, it's easy enough to briefly describe the particular system in play, to clarify any irregularities or mistaken assumptions. If British citizens can't figure out the level system, then foreigners aren't likely to either. But then, I think we've all witnessed the press' fascination with quoting the most captivating title, which draws the readers' ire, while very few actually bother to read the actual story. Again, that's NOT to focus of the story. They're merely interested in views, not presenting accurate information in a reliable manner.

Aiden Clover 🚫

@Uther Pendragon

Stating ages is a tool that should be used to give the readers an understanding of what they are reading. It should help the reader paint a picture in their mind of the character that is being introduced. For instance there is a scene that I wrote in a future chapter where my MC is introduced to a new character and his sister. The sister is a lot younger, so to give the reader an understanding of what type of character she would be I stated that she was a "little girl who looked to be about eight" and simply left it at that. That information alone should give the reader an understanding of how the character may act, based purely on normal behaviors of other eight year old girls.

In other situations age may be very important to the character. There are milestones that are generally age related. For instance, in the US, depending on the state you're in and the time period of the story, you could be getting a drivers license at 15, 16, or 18. So giving an age for a character may be relevant to the story.

Also giving general things like "He was in 10th grade" isn't always the best route. Age plays a HUGE factor in a lot of real life stories. Depending on your birthday you could be the youngest person in your class or you could be the oldest, simply because of a cut off age for school enrollment.

There isn't anything wrong about mentioning a characters age when it's done properly and it isn't a "rookie mistake" it's just a way of writing. It's also how a lot of us tell stories. How many of us have started off a story with "Oh gosh! This happened when I was maybe 13 years old". Age isn't necessarily relevant to our stories, but it puts them in context. The same goes for writing.

Again, stating age isn't a rookie mistake to grow out of. The mistake happens more commonly (in my opinion) when those descriptions are abrupt and long. You're introduced to a new character and suddenly you take an entire paragraph to give every detail about the character from their age, blood type, bust size, hair, eyes, nail color, and what shoe size they wore last year. That's the mistake. Instead of giving general terms to describe a character and then later on giving more detailed descriptions to further refine the readers view, writers feel the need to describe everything in detail right away.

Like anything else in writing, stating age is a tool to be used properly, but it can be done incorrectly.

Replies:   Pete Fox
Pete Fox 🚫

@Aiden Clover

This is a little bit of a rant. Age, authors PLEASE for the love of everything holly be true to your subject as respect to age. If as in the story I was reading this morning by Bluedragon-Big Tits Club- a high school story. Don't suddenly turn your characters 18 as soon as they are going to have sex because site rules somewhere (not on SOL say so). To me this smacks of being more concerned about writing a story you can sell or post on other sites. Not about how / when teenagers in your story become sexually active.

I know I am choosing to use Bluedragons Bit Tit Club to vent. But I have read other writers who post on SOL or publish who write OLD teenagers. I am disappointed most probably, in this story, because the set up and the writing is otherwise excellent. I felt tricked that in the story first month of Senior year of HS the main guy is magically 18.

Am I wrong in thinking that artificially changing ages yet continuing to pretend its a story about juveniles is kind of cheating? In this case I noted none of the tags were mt or ft yet was called at Teenager story.

End of rant. And by the way the guys who spend a bunch of posts talking about electric cars that is not the subject of this post.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son 🚫

@Pete Fox

I felt tricked that in the story first month of Senior year of HS the main guy is magically 18.

What's magical about that?

The only official numbers I can find is this from the 1960s: https://www2.census.gov/library/publications/1963/demographics/p23-009.pdf

That has the median age at graduation for white males at 18.3 and non-white males at 18.6

Note: those are medians, which means half the males would be older than that.

Being 18 at the start of senior year of HS might be uncommon, but not nearly so rare as your comment would imply.

Replies:   Pete Fox
Pete Fox 🚫

@Dominions Son

Being 18 at the start of senior year of HS might be uncommon, but not nearly so rare as your comment would imply

I think my point was it felt artificial. Placed there to remind the reader thr teen was an `adult`.

I know from my own experience most people were turning 18 in the year of graduation and I think is still the same.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son 🚫
Updated:

@Pete Fox

I know from my own experience most people were turning 18 in the year of graduation and I think is still the same.

The important word there is most. Some are older, some are younger. I myself was still only 17 when I graduated, but there were a couple of people in my graduating class who were 18 already at the start of the school year.

I think my point was it felt artificial.

And my point is that there is no rational basis for that.

Torsian 🚫

@Uther Pendragon

Age might be important information if the specific age is important where they live. Are they about to be old enough to drive, vote, drink, or retire for instance. Those transitions are pretty important in a person's life.

DBActive 🚫

@Uther Pendragon

I was always the youngest by at least a year all the way through graduate school. My age, not my grade, was a major factor in everything except academics - my grade wasn't.

irvmull 🚫

@Uther Pendragon

You have to be careful with that school grade thing.

One day, I asked a college friend if he had ever been picked on by bullies at school.

"Not once I started third grade", he replied.

"Why third grade?"

"That's when I hit six feet and 200 lbs.", he said.

By the time this conversation took place, he was 6'10" and somewhere in the "Refrigerator Perry" weight class.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son 🚫

@irvmull

Such extremes are not beyond the realm of possibility, but they are extremely rare.

Replies:   LupusDei
LupusDei 🚫
Updated:

@Dominions Son

It's not uncommon for girls here to reach six feet, but I had a classmate who did that before fifth grade, being seriously overweight to boot. That's why everyone called her in diminutive, DacΔ«te. Towering over most boys at that age, she could grab a would be offender and toss one handed.

We had couple of very big boys too, but they weren't standing out that much, my own six feet was very average by tenth grade. My best buddy was about 6'10" too, but lanky and so uncoordinated he was absolute disaster on basketball court; and I don't remember his boot number, but it was phenomenal, new shoes was a serious expense and project to plan in advance for him.

palamedes 🚫

@Uther Pendragon

When I was 10 I had a Agricultural permits for driving issued thru the State of Michigan.

I had to take and pass the standard driving exam both written and driving, the CDL exam both written and driving.

Provide the state with a map of the locations of the farm, fields, silos, elevators, Co-Ops, and the roads that I would be using.

I was only allowed to drive for farming business and work using only registered vehicles to the farm/s listed with my permit.

I was not allowed to drive on highways or expressways and only permitted to drive during daylight hours.

I was only permitted to drive up to 45 mph (72.4 kph) {this was back when 55 mph (88.5 kph) was the fastest legal limit even on expressways}.

If I wanted to drive equipment for another farm I was required to apply for permission (name of farm, maps, and reason for the change or adjustment).

Save for the tests which where handled by the state everything else was done locally thru our Co-Op and was pretty much fill out the forms and get the rubber stamp.

I did always find it funny that I could drive a semi hauling 60,000 lbs (27,215.5 K) loads but wasn't permitted to drive my moms 4 door passenger car as it wasn't a registered farm vehicle. I wasn't special as pretty much every kid in my area who wanted or needed (read ordered by your parent) was getting the permits as we are a farming community.

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2 🚫

@palamedes

Some of the backwoods areas I grew up around, the police wouldn't even check for a license. It was known to all who was from the area, and what their families did. That has changed drastically since the 60's.

Replies:   palamedes
palamedes 🚫

@Remus2

Same here with the police if and when they are in the area. Pretty much all you need to do is be polite and the Police will do nothing, but MDot ( Michigan Department of Transportation ) well they live to do nothing but hand out fines. MDot doesn't even need a reason to pull you over for inspection they can and will just pull you over for inspection that can last from 15 min to over 3 hours.

My favorite ticket that I get is having dirt on my tail lights, license plate, and on the doors covering the company name and numbers. I live in an area that is mostly dirt roads but that doesn't matter the law states that they must remain clear and visible.

In Michigan if you ever get pulled over by a Police Officer they ask for drivers license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance.

MDot will ask you for your drivers license, your health card, vehicle registration, proof of insurance, and your log book as they look at and record your yearly vehicle safety inspection which is a sticker of information about the vehicle and who performed the inspection and when that is placed on the right side front fender that must remain clear and visible.

Every state has their own version of the Department of Transportation and they are all the same they live to hand out tickets and fines even if the tickets are nothing but get this fixed in 10 days and have a MDot or Police Officer sign off that what ever needed done was corrected.

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2 🚫

@palamedes

MDot will ask you for your drivers license, your health card, vehicle registration, proof of insurance, and your log book as they look at and record your yearly vehicle safety inspection which is a sticker of information about the vehicle and who performed the inspection and when that is placed on the right side front fender that must remain clear and visible.

That's now the way it is in TN as well, except for the specifics of where to place the stickers. It used to be no problem for me to hop into the old KW and carry a load of hay etc down the road. I still have my father's old Kenworth cabover. When I first moved here, I got educated on the new ways fast. Especially the requirements for logs and a CDL even if it's only one or two trips a year. TN is especially particular about the not for hire placard. Got a ticket for that one this last summer. The part that really gets me is the CDL requirement as I'm not commercially hauling anything. TDOT is more revenue patrol than anything these days.

Replies:   palamedes
palamedes 🚫

@Remus2

except for the specifics of where to place the stickers.

I can't remember when they moved the stickers to the right front fender but the reason for it made sense as it places the officer on the outside of the road away from traffic and as much as I may hate the time wasted for the pull overs I just never want to watch or read about one of the officers getting killed because some other motorist who doesn't pay attention and hits them with their vehicle.

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2 🚫
Updated:

@palamedes

The odd thing is, there is no federal guidelines for where to place them. There is no specific location in TN either, so mine are on the toolbox door passenger side. During the last inspection, I was told it would be unlikely that I'd be able to pass inspection in the future due to changing federal regulations. It's a 74 KW K123 cabover. I'm told it's a change in the required overall length requirements. More likely it's an attempt to get older trucks off the road. If it turns out to be the case, it's going to screw over a lot of farmers.

Edited for spell wrecker

Michael Loucks 🚫
Updated:

@Remus2

If it turns out to be the case, it's going to screw over a lot of farmers.

Just as the proposed ~40Β’ gallon fuel tax increase being proposed by the Biden administration will screw farmers, truckers, and the working poor. (And yes, I know petrol prices in the US are quite low compared to other industrialized countries, but changing something so fundamentally structural to the economy has to be very carefully considered).

Government programs/regulations are often proposed/enacted without considering their true effects.

Dominions Son 🚫

@Michael Loucks

Government programs/regulations are often proposed/enacted without considering their true effects.

Government programs/regulations are almost always proposed/enacted without considering their true effects.

FTFY

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Michael Loucks 🚫

@Dominions Son

Government programs/regulations are almost always proposed/enacted without considering their true effects.

FTFY

LOL. From my "Steve's Rants" page on the AWLL wiki:

Rant #8 β€” Nearly all government programs end up having the exact opposite result as was intended.

Rant #21 β€” When the public demands 'something be done' politicians implement simplistic solutions which always have perverse effects.

Remus2 🚫

@Michael Loucks

Government programs/regulations are often proposed/enacted without considering their true effects.

Letting people who are essentially just popularity contest winners decide your fate is asking to get screwed. Unfortunately, the American voters are more about who makes them feel good over who is the most competent person.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son 🚫

@Remus2

the American voters are more about who makes them feel good over who is the most competent person

That likely applies to the majority of voters in every democracy everywhere.

palamedes 🚫

@Michael Loucks

Just as the proposed ~40Β’ gallon fuel tax increase being proposed by the Biden administration will screw farmers, truckers, and the working poor. (And yes, I know petrol prices in the US are quite low compared to other industrialized countries, but changing something so fundamentally structural to the economy has to be very carefully considered).

Government programs/regulations are often proposed/enacted without considering their true effects.

Well they are demanding more electric cars so we have to find a way to off set the loss in fuel tax some how.

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Michael Loucks 🚫

@palamedes

Well they are demanding more electric cars so we have to find a way to off set the loss in fuel tax some how.

If it only applied to EVs, I wouldn't object. The fact that it applies to ICE and they're adding a big per-gallon tax, that's beyond the pale.

Replies:   Remus2  palamedes
Remus2 🚫

@Michael Loucks

If it only applied to EVs, I wouldn't object.

Mileage tax coming to you soon.

palamedes 🚫

@Michael Loucks

If it only applied to EVs, I wouldn't object. The fact that it applies to ICE and they're adding a big per-gallon tax, that's beyond the pale.

While paying the higher tax will suck I am going to have to wait an see how it will effect my bottom line. I buy my gas in bulk and in doing so I am avoiding (legally) paying most of the taxes that most drivers are charged at your local station. In buying bulk I average around $1+/- less per gallon then what most people pay at the pump.

Of course this is harvesting time some who would want my fuel bill as I'm using around 360 gallons (1,363 liters) of diesel a day with about 85-90 (322-341 liters) gallons in unleaded per day. So if any of you want an idea of the bill per day just take your local price and subtract a dollar then multiply for the daily total.

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2 🚫

@palamedes

Automated electric farming equipment is coming. It's less than ten years out at this time. You can look forward to federal regulations forcing the issue.

Replies:   Keet  palamedes  Mushroom
Keet 🚫
Updated:

@Remus2

Automated electric farming equipment is coming. It's less than ten years out at this time. You can look forward to federal regulations forcing the issue.

It may even be sooner. If you think about it, it should be easier for a farm than for long distance transport. A farm can have it's own facilities for recharging and eventually all machines can run fully autonomously and return to a charger when needed. I wonder how this will affect the layout of the fields. A whole new 'field' of study to create this as efficiently as possible.

Remus2 🚫

@Keet

https://semiengineering.com/toward-autonomous-farming/
Early versions of automated farming equipment already exist. Joining that with electric is just a matter of time.

awnlee jawking 🚫

@Keet

Arable farmers face similar challenges to military vehicles. I don't see the army rushing to buy electric tanks or other all-terrain vehicles. They'll have to get battery capacity, safety and recharging sorted for that to happen.

AJ

Replies:   Keet
Keet 🚫

@awnlee jawking

Arable farmers face similar challenges to military vehicles.

No they don't. Think fully autonomous 'vehicles' that don't need anyone to sit on it. They still have to do the work but they can be build completely different. What now one machine has to do, three machines following each other can do too. That makes them a lot less heavy. Even the military is partially going that way, it already started with drones.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking 🚫
Updated:

@Keet

What now one machine has to do, three machines following each other can do too. That makes them a lot less heavy.

Sometimes heavy is good - more grip.

I also have concerns about reliability. A car's electrics has always been its achilles heel, and current electric cars are currently slightly less reliable than the Friday-afternoon lemons from the 60s, based on the frequency of garage visits. Three electric farm vehicles working in tandem would be very liable to failure.

Farmers (and the military) need vehicles which are reliable and easy to maintain.

AJ

Replies:   Remus2  Keet  awnlee jawking
Remus2 🚫

@awnlee jawking

Farmers (and the militsry) need vehicles which are reliable and easy to maintain.

Farm equipment and military equipment are not the same. If anything, the ruggedization of military equipment technology has bleed over into farming equipment when it comes to drive by wire systems. The days of half-tracks and tanks operated by cables and levers has long past. The same can be said for new farm equipment. Reliability is not the concern.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gMaQq_vRaa8

The only thing left to do is advance charging capacity and battery life technology.

Keet 🚫

@awnlee jawking

A car's electrics has always been its achilles heel, and current electric cars are currently slightly less reliable than the Friday-afternoon lemons from the 60s, based on the frequency of garage visits.

That's because modern cars contain all kinds features that will never be used in autonomous farming machines. You can leave off 80-90% of those features and it will be incredibly reliable. Even more so if you leave out the driver who causes most of the problems :D

Replies:   LupusDei  awnlee jawking
LupusDei 🚫

@Keet

And it will decimate the agricultural workforce for the third time in just slightly more than century. Leaving the countryside effectively empty.

Keet 🚫

@LupusDei

And it will decimate the agricultural workforce for the third time in just slightly more than century. Leaving the countryside effectively empty.

Unfortunately yes, but there's very little we can do against it, it's called 'progress'. The biggest problem is that eventually a few big corporations will rule the production of food and we all know what that means. Just look at Google, Facebook, Amazon...

awnlee jawking 🚫

@LupusDei

And it will decimate the agricultural workforce for the third time in just slightly more than century. Leaving the countryside effectively empty.

It might be somewhat more attractive in the USA with its giant farms and giant field sizes, but Europe's network of 'smallholdings' is a different kettle of fish.

AJ

Radagast 🚫

@LupusDei

Thats the intention. People forced into high tech cities with panopticon surveillance.

palamedes 🚫

@LupusDei

And it will decimate the agricultural workforce for the third time in just slightly more than century. Leaving the countryside effectively empty.

Actually it will not decimate the work force as no matter how advance you think the machines can be or will get you will always need workers. If it does anything it will make farming safer. What as you refer to as decimating the work force in the past was the inventions of the planters and the harvesters. These pieces of equipment are not changing is how they are used only how they are powered. Even with autonomous vehicles the LAW at least in the USA dictates that an operator must be in the cockpit. Subway trains can be operated at the push of a button from a control room miles away and yet every train has a conductor and this is true with farm equipment. So yes 100 years ago when we moved from using horse to tractors it took fewer workers less time to do the work but this isn't what is happening this time as the only change is how the equipment is powered not on how it is used or operated.

awnlee jawking 🚫

@Keet

That's because modern cars contain all kinds features that will never be used in autonomous farming machines.

I would expect autonomous farm vehicles to suffer similar problems to autonomous road vehicles, which even Elon Musk has admitted are a very long way from complete autonomy. Unless they have very simple programs, like robot lawnmowers, which are more of a status symbol than effective lawn maintainers.

AJ

Replies:   palamedes  Remus2  Keet
palamedes 🚫

@awnlee jawking

I would expect autonomous farm vehicles to suffer similar problems to autonomous road vehicles, which even Elon Musk has admitted are a very long way from complete autonomy. Unless they have very simple programs, like robot lawnmowers, which are more of a status symbol than effective lawn maintainers.

Actually autonomous farm vehicles have it easier as there are less factors involved. Once the field size and shape is programed nothing changes sure you may get an error but nothing like what cars have to do and avoid on the open road.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking 🚫

@palamedes

Once the field size and shape is programed nothing changes

A robot lawnmower version of autonomy!

It would be interesting to make up a list of things that could go wrong: stray animals and wildlife, chunks of metal from aircraft, dead bodies dumped by serial killers etc.

And I have concerns about how the autonomous vehicle knows its exact position within the field. Depending on the system used, there are several ways it could fail.

I suspect even autonomous farm vehicles need human operators on standby for the exceptions not covered by their programming.

AJ

Replies:   palamedes
palamedes 🚫

@awnlee jawking

A robot lawnmower version of autonomy!

It would be interesting to make up a list of things that could go wrong: stray animals and wildlife, chunks of metal from aircraft, dead bodies dumped by serial killers etc.

And I have concerns about how the autonomous vehicle knows its exact position within the field. Depending on the system used, there are several ways it could fail.

I suspect even autonomous farm vehicles need human operators on standby for the exceptions not covered by their programming.

The Dole company started in the 80's using autonomous farm equipment and one of the biggest problems they had to over come was the proximity alarms and warnings, see as you move threw a field you stir up insects and as the insect fly or leap into the air then birds would and will swoop down for the easy and free finding meal but as the birds did this is would set off the alarms and cause the equipment to either pause and stop or slow down as the on board computer tried to make out what was happening. Ground clutter is an on going problem for farming you would think a large heavy rock would sink yet instead they rise to the surface and depending on the size and placement can really ruin your day and equipment in farming and you will always find a farmer adding a basket to their equipment to deal with such problems as you being the operator you will have to pick it up and that is one reason why even equipment that is running autonomously has an on board operator other wise the system just sees the obstacle and finds a way to go around it to avoid the obstacle.

awnlee jawking 🚫

@palamedes

A farm I'm reasonably familiar with has a large field for crop growing which has a public right of way slap bang down the middle. That would be an interesting challenge for autonomous farm machinery too, because it would be illegal to plough it.

AJ

Replies:   Remus2  palamedes  madnige
Remus2 🚫

@awnlee jawking

A farm I'm reasonably familiar with has a large field for crop growing which has a public right of way slap bang down the middle. That would be an interesting challenge for autonomous farm machinery too, because it would be illegal to plough it.

How is it being farmed without being plowed?

Replies:   palamedes
palamedes 🚫

@Remus2

How is it being farmed without being plowed?

Maybe they are using the no till method of field management ;)

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2 🚫

@palamedes

Going on 48 hours awake here. After reading through the post again, I see where I didn't interpret it correctly.
If the field is split by a public right of way, the machine would have to be programmed for separate boundaries treating each half as it's own field. It would require human intervention to switch fields though.

palamedes 🚫

@awnlee jawking

A farm I'm reasonably familiar with has a large field for crop growing which has a public right of way slap bang down the middle. That would be an interesting challenge for autonomous farm machinery too, because it would be illegal to plough it.

It wouldn't be a problem at all as the autonomous machine would see it as a divide an just avoid or skip it.

I myself have farm lanes (though not public access) in some of my fields and as I approach them I will just lift the plow and drive over them and then drop the plow once clear or if warrants I just turn the wheel avoiding crossing the lane. Not only do the lanes help with harvesting they also give me a field division where I plant this section of field this week the next section 2 weeks from now so on and so on over six weeks so that for me my sweet corn comes in every few weeks and goes fresh straight to market during the months of July, August, and early September.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking 🚫

@palamedes

It wouldn't be a problem at all as the autonomous machine would see it as a divide an just avoid or skip it.

So the machinery would have to plough each half separately. I suppose that makes sense, depending on the method of control.

AJ

Replies:   palamedes
palamedes 🚫

@awnlee jawking

So the machinery would have to plough each half separately. I suppose that makes sense, depending on the method of control.

Traditionally when plowing you would want your rows on the edge of the field to run parallel with the edge and would be the very last pass you make around the field as this is where you do the turning. With the outside edge of the field plowed in parallel with the edge it helps control run off in both directions (from field to road / road to field). The mounds of furrows act like little dams and it is more important to control run off from the roads into the fields as the fluids from cars are much more poisoning and damaging to the health of the soil.

There are a few different systems to run farm machinery autonomously one for instance is the Agriplanter system that has less then 2 inches (5 cm) of deviation and once you set the boundaries and parameters of the field the machine will do what ever you want.

As an example : corn mazes

Corn mazes where made by planting the field then when the corn was 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) tall you would mark the maze out and then either till under or mow (yep lawn mower) the corn needed to be removed to create the maze. Now all you do is create the maze in a computer file and once loaded into the planting system the computer on the planter will turn on or off the planter to only plant corn where needed thus leaving and creating the maze. You can save "A LOT" of money as the computer doesn't waste the corn that you would have had to destroy before to create the maze.

It was actually a skill and an art to be able to plant clean straight rows in the field .

madnige 🚫
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

a public right of way slap bang down the middle. That would be an interesting challenge for autonomous farm machinery too, because it would be illegal to plough it.

Not really - UK farmers can plough up public rights of way, but must restore them in a reasonable time (2 days, IIRC) and provide a reasonable diversion in the meantime.

ETA: There's an example here, near where I used to live (about a mile NW). The horizontal line is Cleveland Street, the ancient path between Guisborough Priory and the sea (about 1200's, I think; see bottom of this page), and when that middle triangular field is ploughed out, the diversion is on the roads round the top of the triangle. Other better known ancient paths locally are Quaker's causeway I used to drive to work along the road visible in the map) (picture), Pannierman's Causeway and the famous Lyke Wake Walk.

awnlee jawking 🚫

@madnige

In the instance I'm aware of, the farmer has never ploughed the path so the situation hasn't arisen.

A couple of google's top websites claim a farmer has 14 days to restore a footpath. But other sites claim a farmer is not allowed to plough a bridleway and I believe what I called a footpath is actually a bridleway although I've never seen riders use it.

AJ

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID 🚫

@awnlee jawking

In the instance I'm aware of, the farmer has never ploughed the path so the situation hasn't arisen.

With reasonably modern equipment, it's probably easier/less work to not disturb the ROW in the first place than it is to restore it later. Which is why it is uncommon to see a farmer do that these days.

awnlee jawking 🚫

@madnige

where I used to live

You idiot! Why on earth would you move from such a beautiful area ;-)

AJ

Replies:   madnige
madnige 🚫

@awnlee jawking

I'm not that far away - the same goods trains (Potash and Steel) that went past my house there, go past the bottom of the garden here; if I walk the 500m or so down to the beach here and look right, I can just make out my old house about 10km away across the bay - and I've not sold it, just renting it out.

Not_a_ID 🚫

@palamedes

The Dole company started in the 80's using autonomous farm equipment and one of the biggest problems they had to over come was the proximity alarms and warnings, see as you move threw a field you stir up insects and as the insect fly or leap into the air then birds would and will swoop down for the easy and free finding meal but as the birds did this is would set off the alarms and cause the equipment to either pause and stop or slow down as the on board computer tried to make out what was happening.

Modern AI based systems are moving towards visual object/pattern recognition rather than more "primative" IR or radar derived options. So they're likely to get better at that rather than worse. So long as the have multiple camera angles to view from and nothing permanently obstructs the lens.

Ground clutter is an on going problem for farming you would think a large heavy rock would sink yet instead they rise to the surface and depending on the size and placement can really ruin your day and equipment in farming and you will always find a farmer adding a basket to their equipment to deal with such problems as you being the operator you will have to pick it up and that is one reason why even equipment that is running autonomously has an on board operator other wise the system just sees the obstacle and finds a way to go around it to avoid the obstacle.

I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of the "rock farming" that happens has to do with root balls developing around the rocks and said root ball systems being pulled up and out of where they were when the farmer discs their field. So depending on how deep those plants are reaching for water and other nutrients, that potentially directly relates to how deep you're "reaching" into the soil for chances at pulling rocks out of the ground.

Replies:   palamedes
palamedes 🚫

@Not_a_ID

I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of the "rock farming" that happens has to do with root balls developing around the rocks and said root ball systems being pulled up and out of where they were when the farmer discs their field. So depending on how deep those plants are reaching for water and other nutrients, that potentially directly relates to how deep you're "reaching" into the soil for chances at pulling rocks out of the ground.

In this you are correct corn alone has a root structure that reaches 60 inches (152.4 cm) of depth.

discing (done with a Disc Harrow) a field will only disturbed the top few inches of soil as it mainly is used to break the crust, break down/level the soil and chop up any left over plant mater on the surface. Now a Chisel Plow, Moldboard plows (also called turnplows), Ridge Plow, or the daddy of them all the Subsoiling Plow (also called a mole plow) {You either have a very strong tractor or you use a tiny little plow as this will reach down 3 feet (1 meter) and flip the ground over}

awnlee jawking 🚫

@palamedes

The field I mention later has quite a gradient to it. If Tesla were producing the autonomous tractor, would it work on a cloudy day given how an autonomous Tesla car stopped because it was baffled by a cloud? We get a lot of clouds in the UK, being a temperate rainforest, although sadly lacking in forest these days.

AJ

Replies:   palamedes
palamedes 🚫

@awnlee jawking

The field I mention later has quite a gradient to it. If Tesla were producing the autonomous tractor, would it work on a cloudy day given how an autonomous Tesla car stopped because it was baffled by a cloud? We get a lot of clouds in the UK, being a temperate rainforest, although sadly lacking in forest these days.

AJ

There are fields that just have challenges and fields with gradients are no different. If possible you would avoid plowing in directions where you would be going up and down the slop as this would allow for greater soil erosion but if the gradient is of such a degree that you could roll the machine your in then you may have no choice. As with the cloud problem I bet no one at Tesela for saw this as happening but once it did they then hopefully found a solution. I mentioned earlier how Dole had the problem with machines stirring up insects and the birds swooping in for the meal was setting off proximity alerts that would slow or stop the machines I don't know what they changed or did but I do know that they fixed the problem. Some times you just need something to happen before you can fix it.

awnlee jawking 🚫

@palamedes

Some times you just need something to happen before you can fix it.

I call that the Microsoft approach. Chuck the tech out there and fix the bugs when it goes wrong.

Not funny when it causes computer users to lose work. Far worse when it causes injury or death :-(

AJ

Replies:   Keet  palamedes  Not_a_ID
Keet 🚫

@awnlee jawking

I call that the Microsoft approach. Chuck the tech out there and fix the bugs when it goes wrong.

The age old Microsoft way: "We have a huge corps of testers, we call them 'users'."

palamedes 🚫

@awnlee jawking

Some times you just need something to happen before you can fix it.

I call that the Microsoft approach. Chuck the tech out there and fix the bugs when it goes wrong.

Not funny when it causes computer users to lose work. Far worse when it causes injury or death :-(

AJ

Not everything that happens has to be a danger and not everything that some engineer sitting at a desk can be thought of or done unless they know all the parameters.

Case in point - most modern equipment has a seat safety switch that works by deactivating the machine if it doesn't detect something sitting in the seat thus making the machine supposedly safer to operate.

Now imagine when you run a combine you spend hours sitting in a seat and you have to pay attention to where and how your driving, what the terrain is like and doing, is everything running on/into the head correctly, what is the state of your hopper, is there anyone beside/infront/behind you, is the discharge working properly/evenly, these are just the larger highlights but the point is after hours doing this you get fatigued so when the combine is in park and all your doing is off loading why can't I stand up and stretch maybe climb down and walk around a bit OH I know that stupid seat safety switch that says someone or some thing must be in this seat or I'm not going to work.

Now yes the engineer did do their job as they where tasked, but we really needed and we did get it to where if the machine is in park we can get out of the seat.

Another feature that needed changing was John Deere implemented the lights onto a single switch. Down was off, middle was driving lights, and the up position was harvesting lights (imagine 100,000 watts of light {also known as day lamps}). Well the problem with this was that the plastic box that the switch was mounted into would flex and move so as you where driving down the road between fields and hit bumps the switch would flip from drive lights (middle) to harvesting lights (up position) when you hit things like pot holes or any bump in the road. You think it is bad when other drivers do not turning their high beam headlights down is bad try looking into harvesting lights. The repair was going back to a two switch method.

There are all kinds of things that should work on paper or in theory but fails in real life.

Replies:   Remus2  awnlee jawking
Remus2 🚫

@palamedes

There are all kinds of things that should work on paper or in theory but fails in real life.

Good luck convincing the modern point and click engineer of that.

Replies:   palamedes
palamedes 🚫

@Remus2

Good luck convincing the modern point and click engineer of that.

touchΓ©

awnlee jawking 🚫

@palamedes

They sound like examples of the Microsoft approach. Adequate testing during development would have identified the issues.

AJ

Replies:   palamedes
palamedes 🚫

@awnlee jawking

They sound like examples of the Microsoft approach. Adequate testing during development would have identified the issues.

AJ

I'm truly amazed that you believe that something will/can/should work every time the first time and that they are able to test everything perfectly.

Replies:   Remus2  awnlee jawking
Remus2 🚫

@palamedes

that they are able to test everything perfectly.

There is no such animal as perfection in testing. Though I also understand AJ's point as well. Microsuck has a reputation for using it's customers as test dummies.

Replies:   Mushroom
Mushroom 🚫

@Remus2

Microsuck has a reputation for using it's customers as test dummies.

Once again, how is it possible not to? There are millions of combinations of system assemblies, how could they possibly test them all?

One thing that was always fun for me for years was trying to use my Audigy 2 sound card when the OS changed. I have had it for almost 20 years now, and each time MS makes a change, Creative Labs has made a release saying they will no longer support that card.

Which generally means I sit back and wait either they finally get around to doing it from customer demand, or somebody else makes the drivers. That is not the job of Microsoft to do that, that is the job of the card maker.

And if I am using an even more obscure setup, say a Matrox RTC-100 or Canopus along with a specific ATI card, how or why should they be expected to test such an obscure configuration? I still remember bashing my head for weeks over crashes on a Canopus capture card with a dual processor system (yes, almost 20 years ago) only to later find out that the problem was the Canopus card in combination with the chipset. MS had nothing to do with it, I had to switch to a new motherboard.

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2 🚫

@Mushroom

Once again, how is it possible not to? There are millions of combinations of system assemblies, how could they possibly test them all?

If you're talking about people putting their own system together, that would make sense.

However, there are a multitude of companies such as Dell, IBM, etc, that sell systems based on standardized assemblies. Yet they too suffer the same problems. Therefore that argument doesn't wash.

Replies:   Mushroom
Mushroom 🚫

@Remus2

However, there are a multitude of companies such as Dell, IBM, etc, that sell systems based on standardized assemblies.

Often designed and made years after the Operating System is released. Once again, their responsibility to ensure all drivers and other aspects work properly. All MS can provide are the most generic drivers. And I can almost guarantee, if you use only those and none others your system will probably be stable.

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2 🚫

@Mushroom

And I can almost guarantee, if you use only those and none others your system will probably be stable.

Microsoft is about as helpful as a cat is for pulling a plow. Your statement does not negate my comments regarding them using users as test dummies.

awnlee jawking 🚫

@palamedes

They couldn't be bothered to have someone sit in the cab and drive the machine for a day?

And they couldn't be bothered to drive the machine over bumpy terrain with the lights on?

Did they do any testing at all?

AJ

Replies:   palamedes
palamedes 🚫

@awnlee jawking

They couldn't be bothered to have someone sit in the cab and drive the machine for a day?

And they couldn't be bothered to drive the machine over bumpy terrain with the lights on?

Did they do any testing at all?

AJ

Yes, they do testing but what tests and how they do the test maybe questionable. Most of the engineers are a 9-5 M-F only work during daylight hours so who knows if they bothered doing night time tests because the switch works 100% during the day. I do know that the only video/pictures of a combine working at night is just to show how much visibility their set-up and harvesting lights provide. All other functions and aspects are always shown during daylight hours.

But yes they do testing as we get sheets telling us that with proper maintenance this part will last for X number of hours.

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2 🚫

@palamedes

Those "engineers" are not the ones your picturing in your head. Their job title is going to be something along the lines of 'quality engineer.'
Broken down to their roots, they are more properly known as statisticians. Heads full of numbers and six sigma dogma. They very rarely know anything about mechanical or electrical engineering.

Replies:   palamedes
palamedes 🚫

@Remus2

Sounds about right.

Not_a_ID 🚫

@awnlee jawking

I call that the Microsoft approach. Chuck the tech out there and fix the bugs when it goes wrong.

Not funny when it causes computer users to lose work. Far worse when it causes injury or death :-(

Somewhat apples and oranges.

The IBM/PC/x86 series development cycle basically was forced into that development paradigm because they'd created a "ten thousand monkeys problem" after the PC clones and third party vendors for sound, video, and other accessories(including networking) were introduced into the mix.

There are simply too many possible combinations of equipment out there to be able to test more than a fraction of them "in house." Which means you need public testing.

Tesla self-driving cars are closed systems. They don't have to worry about the equivalent of some guy trying to use a Sound Blaster PCI card manufactured in 1998 in a PC build otherwise dated from 2018.

Replies:   Mushroom  awnlee jawking
Mushroom 🚫

@Not_a_ID

The IBM/PC/x86 series development cycle basically was forced into that development paradigm because they'd created a "ten thousand monkeys problem" after the PC clones and third party vendors for sound, video, and other accessories(including networking) were introduced into the mix.

It goes even beyond that.

The PC was designed with "Off the shelf" parts, that dictated most of what the systems were capable of. Most specifically, the 1mb memory limit of the Intel designed CPU.

Most of what came afterwards was not really to support the clones, as it was backwards compatibility with this original model. Unlike most of their competitors, IBM had a long history of keeping multiple generations of their computers compatible with their older ones.

That is why even in the last days of mainframes in the early 1990's, you could walk into the fishbowl and see parts dating back to the 1960's still in use. And that open architecture also allowed it to be expanded more than other similar systems of the era.

But even that compatibility does have a limit. I have an older 10 year old computer I do pull out on occasion for sound editing, because it has PCI for my SB Audigy 2 card. My newest computer has no PCI slots at all. And unless I am doing nothing more than "playing", I refuse to use "built in sound" in a computer.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
helmut_meukel 🚫

@Mushroom

Unlike most of their competitors, IBM had a long history of keeping multiple generations of their computers compatible with their older ones.

But they introduced the PS/2 series with Micro Channel. No compatibility at all. Very few third party cards for special purposes were available. Cards with 10 or 20 serial ports? ISA yes, Micro Channel no.

HM.

Replies:   Mushroom
Mushroom 🚫

@helmut_meukel

But they introduced the PS/2 series with Micro Channel.

That was years later, when ISA was first starting to show its age, as a new 32 bit standard to replace the 8-16 bit bus of ISA. And not all PS/2 systems had MCA, only the higher ended ones (business). The lower cost ones (home) still used ISA.

EISA was already in development as an alternative, and IBM hoped to recapture the business market by being the first to have a 32 bit bus. However, the licensing fees is why most companies never adopted it (Dell and NEC being some of the best known exceptions), and only a handful of card makers supported it (Adaptec being the most well known, but also Roland and others).

However, to be fair it really only "flopped" in the consumer area. Servers jumped all over it, and even their serious business oriented servers supported it for almost 20 years. Which is why it is much easier to find an MCA SCSI card then it is an MCA sound card.

The big problem ultimately was it was in an era when there were a lot of changes fast. Within a handful of years we had EISA, VLB, then finally PCI. Each had advantages, but ultimately all but PCI largely became nothing but trivia questions for most like me.

awnlee jawking 🚫

@Not_a_ID

There are simply too many possible combinations of equipment out there to be able to test more than a fraction of them "in house."

I'm not convinced problems with support for peripherals is a major contributor to all the patches Microsoft publishes.

AJ

Replies:   Mushroom
Mushroom 🚫

@awnlee jawking

I'm not convinced problems with support for peripherals is a major contributor to all the patches Microsoft publishes.

That is exactly the problem.

To operate your computer, you need three things today. Hardware, operating system, and the drivers to allow the operating system to talk to the hardware.

And the problem is, each peripheral makes wants to do their own things, their own way. And the OS maker is stuck in the middle, trying to support literally thousands of different cards and devices.

But here is the thing, they do not make the drivers. Back when the BSOD was a big problem, everybody was screaming at Microsoft. However, 90% of those were caused by drivers. The screen even said so, and those of us who were techs knew this.

When they release a new OS, they go to the various major makers, and ask for a "Universal Driver", and all they can do is hope it works. If the driver provided by say Creative Labs for their sound card conflicts with the ATI video card, that is not Creative Lab's worry. And why for many cards, there are what seems like an endless stream of driver updates.

And this is a bigger problem when MS releases a major upgrade to the OS, which renders older drivers obsolete (moving from 95-98 to NT-XP). Visa had that problem, which was not really deserved. They put in a compatibility mode, and many hardware makers did not want to bring back their programmers for older devices so did not update them.

But they did update drivers for their current generations available at that time. A system built at the time of Vista was actually remarkably stable. But legacy support for older items, good luck there.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking 🚫

@Mushroom

To operate your computer,

But to use your computer you need software. The majority of Microsoft patches were to the operating system and software.

AJ

Replies:   Mushroom  LupusDei
Mushroom 🚫

@awnlee jawking

But to use your computer you need software. The majority of Microsoft patches were to the operating system and software.

Yes, normally patches and feature upgrades. All operating systems get patches.

And of course bug fixes. With tens of millions of lines of code, that is only to be expected. It is not like they fit everything on a couple of floppy disks anymore.

LupusDei 🚫

@awnlee jawking

The fun thing with software is that it is mathematically provable that it will never be bug free. The testing time to ensure that would be infinite.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking 🚫

@LupusDei

The fun thing with software is that it is mathematically provable that it will never be bug free.

Is it?

In my middle programming years, the industry had several on-going initiatives to eliminate logic errors before coding even started. Unfortunately the overhead in both time and effort was deemed unacceptable and the Microsoft approach won - write something quickly and chuck it straight on the streets for customers to beta-test.

AJ

Replies:   helmut_meukel  Not_a_ID
helmut_meukel 🚫

@awnlee jawking

write something quickly and chuck it straight on the streets for customers to beta-test.

I started programming in 1977 on a HP 9815 S (a programmable desktop calculator).
The program stored our dye recipes, computed the amount of dyestuffs and chemicals for each batch; sent the value to the appropriate electronic scale (small, medium, large), checked the associated punch-card reader for the correct dyestuff number (the card was taken from the drum or box with the dyestuff) and let the user weigh to zero. Repeat until all components were weighed.
BTW, this program was tailored to our own dyehouse, not to be sold, because back then we were one of the first in Germany to use a computer controlled weighing system in the textile industry.
Due to capacity restraints error handling was extremely limited.
All tests had to be performed on the working system during weekends because the plant run around the clock for five days each week.

Some years later with another employer I programmed their real-time HP 1000 E (originally used only with a spectrocolorimeter) to store, retrieve and print their dye recipes and print the self-stick labels for the yarn cones.
After their third-party programmed weighing system with a HP 86B was no longer supported by HP, I created a weighing system based on a PC-AT with connection to the HP 1000 to get the recipe data transferred.

On a second HP 1000 (A600+) we programmed a production logging system (worker, produced quality, machine number) with 4 terminals on the factory floor and four heavy scales (max. 1 ton) and some more terminals in offices. The system also calculated the work performance for each worker per day for performance-related pay.

Starting about 1994 I worked freelance and programmed complex systems for production including PC-based machine controllers and correspondence with PLCs (data transfer from a PC-based central unit to the machine controllers and PLCs and vice versa).

There is no way to test critical parts of the programs without a running system. Blocking production for hours and days to thoroughly test a change or upgrade wasn't possible. So I did this during the nights and at the weekends.
In some cases the documentation of the machines had holes and you had to get the machine into the state to see how she really behaves.
After installation of the new or upgraded program I stayed there for at least a week to observe it running and fixing problems.

HM.

Not_a_ID 🚫

@awnlee jawking

In my middle programming years, the industry had several on-going initiatives to eliminate logic errors before coding even started. Unfortunately the overhead in both time and effort was deemed unacceptable and the Microsoft approach won - write something quickly and chuck it straight on the streets for customers to beta-test.

It isn't even that. It's that as a codebase becomes increasingly complex(larger), the greater the odds become of either a logic error or conflict within the code to occur. As the larger the code base becomes, the more people are likely to become involved in the project as well. Which further adds for the chances of errors, conflicts, and other "fun things" to develop.

And that's for something "developed from scratch." When you start dealing with software projects where some of the code involved was initially written 30+ years ago now...

Replies:   Mushroom  Keet
Mushroom 🚫

@Not_a_ID

And that's for something "developed from scratch." When you start dealing with software projects where some of the code involved was initially written 30+ years ago now

And based on even older code.

MS-DOS (1981) was largely a backwards engineered copy of CP/M (1974). Itself large based on the Unix shell circa 1971. And that was what most people used until in the early 2000's when they finally moved to XP.

But for an OS, they generally try to include at least 20 years of "backwards compatibility" for hardware and software that some customers are still using. Which means that along with new code, they have to integrate many older code.

One of the fun parts of my job as a field tech was how antiquated some systems I would see in use. Like an old XT in 1999 running Dos 3 that ran a piece of machinery at a mine that was a building, that was specifically made almost 20 years prior.

And trying to get the company to understand they had to start working on a replacement somehow. Eventually that computer would die, and bring their operation to a halt. Or in 2006 a stone cutting tool that used a first generation 386 with Windows 3.1. MFM hard drives, and an ISA card (which were already largely phased out).

I always wondered when as I warned them happened when that computer finally bit the dust, and they had nothing to replace it with. The company that made it was long gone even by then.

Keet 🚫

@Not_a_ID

It isn't even that. It's that as a codebase becomes increasingly complex(larger), the greater the odds become of either a logic error or conflict within the code to occur. As the larger the code base becomes, the more people are likely to become involved in the project as well. Which further adds for the chances of errors, conflicts, and other "fun things" to develop.

That's why Linux has had less of these problems over time. They use the paradigm "Do one thing and do it right." That means that generally there is no one large executable but a set of many little executables that perform a single task. Such a small executable is much easier to debug and maintain which results in a much smaller problem with bugs. The advantage is that each small executable can be used by many other programs thus creating a very consistent environment. This of course has the problem that you can't just make a change in one of these small executables because it will affect every program that uses it. It's a bit comparable to using basic functions in a linked library.

Replies:   LupusDei  Michael Loucks
LupusDei 🚫

@Keet

One sysadmin had a few very funny stories.

One, a client software gave strange, occasional errors, and they tried to blame it on the network because they claimed they had tested and repeatedly doubletested everything on their end. What was eventually found out was, certain function in certain popular database software (that was decades old), not simply had a very specific rounding error in a very specific case, but returned a completely unexpected result. Because, apparently, the database driver running on certain equipment called a piece of even older code without necessarily precautions resulting in an overflow.

He had a quite logical explanation wwhy it was such a rare niche case nobody else had noticed (or bothered to investigate) it for a decade or two, but I have forgotten the details. The software was still maintained and the fix was trivial, accepted and released in the next patch immediately.

Another boiled down to physical trouble. Troubleshooting of a wireless network in a highrise building made no sense, in a small part of the building it didn't work on certain days, no matter what. Finally they brought in rather expensive testing gear and discovered a narrow angle signal of immense strength drowning everything else out, possibly a radio link between two nearby military installations that wasn't always on. Since they couldn't do nothing about it, they ended up building the network around it in a rather convoluted way.

He chuckled imagining what someone afterwards would think, and then simplify, and if that outside signal would still be there it would all start anew.

Michael Loucks 🚫

@Keet

That's why Linux has had less of these problems over time. They use the paradigm "Do one thing and do it right." That means that generally there is no one large executable but a set of many little executables that perform a single task.

True until the systemd debacle.

Replies:   Keet
Keet 🚫

@Michael Loucks

True until the systemd debacle.

Yep, systemd doesn't make things better or easier.

Dominions Son 🚫

@palamedes

but if the gradient is of such a degree that you could roll the machine your in then you may have no choice.

I guess people have forgotten about terracing.

https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-is-terrace-farming.html

Replies:   palamedes
palamedes 🚫

@Dominions Son

I guess people have forgotten about terracing.

Nope not forgotten but terracing doesn't work in all settings or for all crops. Just try driving a combine to harvest crops on the terrace that you pictured it just doesn't work.

Also I really liked that at the bottom of the article you linked

"Disadvantages Of Terrace Farming
Terrace farming can lead to rainwater saturation. This is dangerous since it causes the overflow of water during the rainy season. The consequence of overflowing water is that it causes more dangerous water runoffs.Terraces may also result in mudslides if not well managed. Another limitation of terrace farming is that there's need for huge inputs of labor to construct and maintain the terraces. Hence it is expensive as it is labor intensive. However, it can be cheap if there's access to cheap labor. Terrace farming also leads to the reduction in soil quality due to the leaching process."

Replies:   helmut_meukel
helmut_meukel 🚫

@palamedes

The consequence of overflowing water is that it causes more dangerous water runoffs. Terraces may also result in mudslides if not well managed.

That is BS, the author has no clue.
Yes, it can lead to rainwater saturation. But compared to a normal field with a high gradient it's less dangerous and mudslides will occur only in extreme situations.
The mentioned soil quality reduction due to the leaching process is a fact, but without terracing the soil is reduced and goes downhill as mud.

Another gem from this article is this sentence:

Apart from rice cultivation, terraces are also used to grow rice, ...

Is rice cultivation different from growing rice? How?

HM.

Replies:   LupusDei  palamedes
LupusDei 🚫

@helmut_meukel

I expect terrace farming and other seemingly high labor methods to have a comeback with autonomous vehicles, once the paradigm shift back from oversized machinery to light and agile, mechanical slaves.

But because of that paradigm change requirements I expect things like vertical urban farming and soil-less hydroponics to take off long before, often despite even higher capital and operational costs, although that's not a given. Like Riga city garbage collector is growing strawberries in hydroponic greenhouses using landfill generated heat for over a decade now I think. They are successfully competing with Spain industrial produce (with is surprisingly even more tasteless, then, we judge by comparison with wild forest strawberries), even on prices, at least locally.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking 🚫

@LupusDei

wild forest strawberries

Would those be Fragaria vesca, which we Brits call Alpine Strawberries?

AJ

Replies:   helmut_meukel
helmut_meukel 🚫
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

Yes.

HM.
ETA: Woodland Strawberries

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking 🚫

@helmut_meukel

Thank you.

I can't remember where I got them, but mine have a range of fruit sizes and shapes. However they never produce runners.

AJ

palamedes 🚫

@helmut_meukel

The consequence of overflowing water is that it causes more dangerous water runoffs. Terraces may also result in mudslides if not well managed.

That is BS, the author has no clue.

This makes sound sense to me as one of the major causes of earthen dams collapsing is when water over flows and breaches the top of the dams. Terrace walls are nothing more then a collection of dams to hold water and if water starts to over flow the walls and causes one to collapse then I can see and understand a domino effect on subsequent lower from the first breach failing as well and once a terrace wall breaches all the water that was held back is now released like a flash flood.

-------------------

The sentence in the article is
"Apart from rice cultivation, terraces are also used to grow rice, potatoes, and maize."

What they where trying to do was say that more then just rice can and is grown in terraces.

By definition cultivation is the preparing of land or fields for raising the crops.

Growing is doing what ever is needed for the as the crop grows to maturity.

I don't grow rice but if it was corn then this is what I do.

Cultivate -

the field by first spraying them with a pre-emergence (weed killer), till the field as in my area we have black clay so we till the soil to loosen it up for the seed to take root easier.

Growing -

Then I plant the corn and at the same time fertilize.

When the corn is about a 12 inches (30.4cm) tall I spray again for weeds, insects, and fertilize with nitrogen.

When the corn is about to tassel out I spray again for insects, fungus/mold, and fertilize with more nitrogen. By this time corn has grown enough that it shades the earth to keep weeds at bay.

Once ears start to form it becomes a gambling game of what is the health of the crop do I need to spray again for insect or fungus/mold. If yes then you spray again and while your at it yep you guessed it add more nitrogen.

All during the growing process if you have an irrigation system for the field then you need to decide on how much and when to water all depending on the past, present, and future weather events.

Like I said I don't grow rice but I'm sure that they have steps that they do and follow.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
helmut_meukel 🚫
Updated:

@palamedes

This makes sound sense to me as one of the major causes of earthen dams collapsing is when water over flows and breaches the top of the dams. Terrace walls are nothing more then a collection of dams to hold water and if water starts to over flow the walls and causes one to collapse then I can see and understand a domino effect on subsequent lower from the first breach failing as well and once a terrace wall breaches all the water that was held back is now released like a flash flood.

I didn't consider terracing with earthen dams. Those are nearly exclusively used for rice fields where even light gradients need terracing to keep the fields flooded. Look at terracing in the Andes, there the terrace walls are stone, usually without mortar, excess water can and will seep through between the stones.
Even when heavy rainfalls cause an overflow, well constructed and maintained stone walls will not break. You will find terraces there not used for centuries, because no-one lives there anymore, and most of these terrace walls are still functional. Most damages found are caused by earthquakes and would have been repaired if people were still living there.

Rice fields on terraces are a very special case because the dams are build to hold the fields flooded!

The traditional method for cultivating rice is flooding the fields while, or after, setting the young seedlings. This simple method requires sound irrigation planning but reduces the growth of less robust weed and pest plants that have no submerged growth state, and deters vermin. While flooding is not mandatory for the cultivation of rice, all other methods of irrigation require higher effort in weed and pest control during growth periods and a different approach for fertilizing the soil.

HM.

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2 🚫

@helmut_meukel

I've stood in the middle of some of the Andes terraces. They were not as impressive as the rice terraces of the Philippines Cordilleras. There are also more impressive terraces in China, though not all of them used for crops.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
helmut_meukel 🚫

@Remus2

I've stood in the middle of some of the Andes terraces. They were not as impressive as the rice terraces of the Philippines Cordilleras

Maybe less impressive. My original critique of the cited article stands. They list the overflowing and breaking of terrace walls as a general disadvantage of terracing without a hint about the fundamental differences between rice and all other crops: rice fields were flooded and the water should stay there, while fields for other crops should have some form of drainage to avoid flooding.

HM.

Replies:   Dominions Son  Remus2
Dominions Son 🚫

@helmut_meukel

And if they were being smart about it, even rice terraces would have some form of controlled drainage to prevent overflow.

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2 🚫

@Dominions Son

The rice terraces in the P.I. are subject to typhoons/monsoons. They do in fact have means of control for excess water.

Remus2 🚫

@helmut_meukel

while fields for other crops should have some form of drainage to avoid flooding.

Some susposed terraces are in fact just another form of raised beds. Most of the Andes versions are that. Drainage is important for raised beds.
I think there is a disconnect regarding the definition more than anything else.

Remus2 🚫

@awnlee jawking

I would expect autonomous farm vehicles to suffer similar problems to autonomous road vehicles, which even Elon Musk has admitted are a very long way from complete autonomy. Unless they have very simple programs, like robot lawnmowers, which are more of a status symbol than effective lawn maintainers

The human element is the drawback for road vehicles. In a field of wheat, there is no bus picking up or dropping off kids at a school, nor idiots Jay walking. As such, that's an apples and oranges comparison.

Keet 🚫

@awnlee jawking

I would expect autonomous farm vehicles to suffer similar problems to autonomous road vehicles, which even Elon Musk has admitted are a very long way from complete autonomy.

Nope, not at all. A field has fixed dimensions so using either GPS or beacons solves any routing problems. Since there are no randomly occurring obstructions like other traffic participants pre-programmed routes and will run perfectly every time.
This is an article from a year ago, https://civileats.com/2020/09/29/automated-harvest-is-coming-what-will-it-mean-for-farmworkers-and-rural-communities/, explaining that automated harvesting is already functional and that the Corona pandemic is pushing further development to even go faster.

Replies:   awnlee jawking  Not_a_ID
awnlee jawking 🚫

@Keet

Wow, they're brave. Soft fruit has long been regarded as nigh on impossible to automate, so if they succeed with strawberries, unlike dozens before them, it will be a fantastic achievement.

AJ

Replies:   Keet  palamedes
Keet 🚫

@awnlee jawking

so if they succeed with strawberries, unlike dozens before them, it will be a fantastic achievement.

I was really surprised reading that too. Harvesting strawberries is very labor intensive so if you can manage to automate that it could be a huge time and cost saving. Apparently they use colorimetry to recognize ripe fruit so if that works there's all kinds of possibilities for other fruits and vegetables. The best part is you only pick ripe fruit so you can run again a few days later to get the next ripe batch.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking 🚫

@Keet

The last time I saw someone attempt to automate strawberry picking, it failed because the robot was unable to get the pressure right to pick the fruit without bruising it.

Vine soft fruits like raspberries and grapes could be even harder.

AJ

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2 🚫
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

There are some things robots/automation are unable to do, and likely will remain so. Any skill requiring tactile feedback being at the top of the list. That goes beyond farm harvest.

Replies:   Keet
Keet 🚫

@Remus2

Any skill requiring tactile feedback being at the top of the list. That goes beyond farm harvest.

It is used for artificial hands so they can pick up a glass without crushing it.

palamedes 🚫

@awnlee jawking

Wow, they're brave. Soft fruit has long been regarded as nigh on impossible to automate, so if they succeed with strawberries, unlike dozens before them, it will be a fantastic achievement.

One of a few strawberry harvesters that are almost fully ready for market.

AGROBOT Robotic Strawberry Harvester

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=autonomous+strawberry+harvester&&view=detail&mid=0C25E72B2240FD261BF80C25E72B2240FD261BF8&&FORM=VRDGAR&ru=%2Fvideos%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dautonomous%2Bstrawberry%2Bharvester%26FORM%3DHDRSC3

Not_a_ID 🚫

@Keet

Nope, not at all. A field has fixed dimensions so using either GPS or beacons solves any routing problems. Since there are no randomly occurring obstructions like other traffic participants pre-programmed routes and will run perfectly every time.
This is an article from a year ago, https://civileats.com/2020/09/29/automated-harvest-is-coming-what-will-it-mean-for-farmworkers-and-rural-communities/, explaining that automated harvesting is already functional and that the Corona pandemic is pushing further development to even go faster.

Depends on which part of the planting cycle you're in. "Rock farming" isn't likely to automate very soon, so if you're planting, or simply tilling the field, that's going to be a human-centric job for awhile to come yet.

"Tractor's stuck" is also a fun thing for automation to address. In many cases, the robot is likely to be even worse than the human about that type of magical experience, and that can happen any time of the year where the ground isn't frozen.

Replies:   Remus2  palamedes
Remus2 🚫

@Not_a_ID

Depends on which part of the planting cycle you're in. "Rock farming" isn't likely to automate very soon, so if you're planting, or simply tilling the field, that's going to be a human-centric job for awhile to come yet.

I have a wide area GPR unit I used for ground assessment back in my engineering days. Knowing where the rocks are and how big they are, before they get to the surface allows them to be dug out when they are at a shallow depth. These days, I rent out services to local leo and farmers with it.

Then there is this;
https://techcrunch.com/2021/05/26/rock-picking-robotics-startup-terraclear-raises-25-million/

From what I gather, it's using radar and GPR to auto-pick rocks in fields. Once it homes in on the rock, cameras etc guide the arm to pick up the rock.

Point being, rock farming days are numbered.

As for frozen ground, there is technology to detect that as well.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID 🚫

@Remus2

As for frozen ground, there is technology to detect that as well.

Detecting Frozen ground isn't the problem.

Detecting soft ground that'll try to swallow the tractor whole is another matter in some areas.

Frozen ground was mentioned as it is one of the scenarios where driving a tractor into what is essentially quicksand isn't really an issue because the water has been turned into ice.

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2 🚫

@Not_a_ID

Detecting soft ground that'll try to swallow the tractor whole is another matter in some areas.

That can be detected as well. Changes in density and moisture content directly affect electrical permeability.

Replies:   joyR
joyR 🚫

@Remus2

That can be detected as well. Changes in density and moisture content directly affect electrical permeability.

There is a difference between "can be detected" and "detector mounted on tractor will detect in time to stop tractor".

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2 🚫

@joyR

There is a difference between "can be detected" and "detector mounted on tractor will detect in time to stop tractor".

Machines for digging pipeline trenches already use the tech I'm speaking of. It's a proven technology in that world. There is no reason it cannot be applied to farming.

Replies:   joyR
joyR 🚫

@Remus2

Machines for digging pipeline trenches already use the tech I'm speaking of.

Those machines move at a much lower speed than tractors.

awnlee jawking 🚫

@joyR

Machines for digging pipeline trenches already use the tech I'm speaking of.

Those machines move at a much lower speed than tractors.

That's a very trench ant observation ;-)

AJ

Remus2 🚫
Updated:

@joyR

Those machines move at a much lower speed than tractors.

Yes they do. However, that is not evidence that the tech won't work with tractors. It's EM based, real time density gauging. It's speed of detection is much faster than the trenches it's mounted on.

ETA: How is it that you are arguing that it can't work, when you don't know what it is?
Audio-magnetotellurics, ground penetrating radar, are two things you need to educate yourself on before taking shots at what I'm talking about.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son 🚫

@Remus2

trench ant

Trench Ant: A flightless social insect that lives in ditches and other similar negative earthworks.

palamedes 🚫

@joyR

Those machines move at a much lower speed than tractors.

How fast do you think a tractor goes ? Depending on what job the tractor is doing the speed can be all over the place. Tractor by itself travelling down the road 15-20 mph (24-32 Kph), pulling a full set of plows in my local black clay soil 3-5 mph (4.8-8 Kph), planting somewhere around 6-10 mph (9.6-16 Kpm) and the speed could be slower as fields in my area are odd shaped/short/narrow/obstacles, soil types, or what is being planted (tomatoes being one of the slowest to plant 2-3 mph {3.2-4.8 Kph}).

Tractors are not speed racers they are power houses their strength is in being able to pull/drag heavy loads.

Replies:   awnlee jawking  Remus2  joyR
awnlee jawking 🚫

@palamedes

How fast was the tractor going in the John Deere ad?

AJ

Replies:   palamedes
palamedes 🚫

@awnlee jawking

How fast was the tractor going in the John Deere ad?

AJ

I myself could not tell you for sure but I do know that it wasn't top speed.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son 🚫

@palamedes

I myself could not tell you for sure but I do know that it wasn't top speed.

Top speed on a paved road with no load, or top speed off road pulling a max load?

Replies:   palamedes
palamedes 🚫

@Dominions Son

Top speed on a paved road with no load, or top speed off road pulling a max load?

different ads show a combination of in field or over an open road but these are ads how far are they really traveling for them to get 5-10 maybe 20 seconds of footage.

Dominions Son 🚫

@palamedes

different ads show a combination of in field or over an open road but these are ads how far are they really traveling for them to get 5-10 maybe 20 seconds of footage.

Are they actually traveling at all,

1. It could be stationary in front of a green screen with a moving background inserted later.

2. I've read that the majority of commercials these days that don't show a live human actor are CGI.

awnlee jawking 🚫

@palamedes

different ads show a combination of in field or over an open road but these are ads how far are they really traveling for them to get 5-10 maybe 20 seconds of footage.

The ad I saw (earlier in this thread?) was in a flat field in dry conditions with an agricultural device attached but not pulling a load. I'd guess at something like 30mph but that comes with a substantial margin of error.

AJ

Remus2 🚫

@palamedes

Tractors are not speed racers

they are power houses their strength is in being able to pull/drag heavy loads.

Compared to a trencher they are. Speed however, isn't the point. Trenchers probably outweigh a standard farm tractor 3:1 or so. Average depth they dig is ~6' or so. If one of them gets stuck, it's more likely to be left behind than recovered.

joyR 🚫

@palamedes

How fast do you think a tractor goes ?

The point is that a working tractor moves at a faster speed than a trencher.

GPR is usually 'look down' not 'look forward' so bolting one to the front of a tractor means there is a limited amount of time between 'seeing' the obstruction and stopping the tractor.

Obviously there are variables, but adding the autonomous feature vastly increases the complexity.

There is a difference between what is possible and what is practicable.

Replies:   Remus2  awnlee jawking
Remus2 🚫

@joyR

There is a difference between what is possible and what is practicable.

Forward looking GPR as applied to mine detection.
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20130014114

Audio-magnetotellurics is a near surface variant of standard magnetotellurics. You obviously didn't bother to look it up, or it didn't give you the answers you wanted. The combination of AMT and F-GPR works. The tech doesn't care if it's on a trencher or a tractor.

You're on the wrong side of this argument.

Replies:   joyR
joyR 🚫

@Remus2

You're on the wrong side of this argument.

Actually it seems you are pursuing a different argument, or seeking one.

I'm discussing the practically of using a detector fitted to an unmanned tractor to prevent a plough hitting rocks, boggy ground etc, not theoretically, but a package that would actually be practicable. That means both economic and safe, as well as being at least as efficient and cost effective as the current method.

Trumpeting a study document about a FLGPR for detecting IED's that requires an operator isn't germane to the discussion.

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2 🚫

@joyR

I'm discussing the practically of using a detector fitted to an unmanned tractor to prevent a plough hitting rocks, boggy ground etc, not theoretically, but a package that would actually be practicable. That means both economic and safe, as well as being at least as efficient and cost effective as the current method.

Trumpeting a study document about a FLGPR for detecting IED's that requires an operator isn't germane to the discussion.

Actually it is germane to the subject. It's a demonstration of theory at a minimum. As for practicable, your argument against the tech being capable of mounting on a farm tractor was this:

Those machines move at a much lower speed than tractors.

You had no idea what it was I was talking about prior to that point, yet somehow you just knew I was wrong. I had to clue you into the tech and theory. Then you still take shots based on erroneous assumptions. If I told you the sky was blue, the reply would be, "no its not."

https://cropwatch.unl.edu/ssm/sensing
The University of Nebraska is currently working on this subject. They are taking it one step further as they are attempting to work in a method for increasing crop yields through proper soil mapping.
It's not if it's going to happen, or can it happen, it's down to when now.

Replies:   joyR
joyR 🚫

@Remus2

If I told you the sky was blue, the reply would be, "no its not."

Exactly correct. The sky is NOT blue.

Argue away, but do so with someone who cares. I enjoy discussion, especially with those who possess some couth.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin 🚫

@joyR

The sky is NOT blue.

"April 26, 2019
DISCOVERY PLACE SCIENCE
Spring is finally here, bringing along with it plenty of flowers, warmer weather and blue skies. But here's the catch: the sky isn't really blue.

Lord Rayleigh was a British physicist in the 19th century. He discovered the element Argon, wrote books on sound that are still used today and played an important role in the start of quantum mechanics. His name is also given to Rayleigh Scattering, which is the scattering of light particles into individual colors based on size. This effect can be seen when you look up at the sky and see that beautiful Carolina Blue covering horizon to horizon.

Any fan on Pink Floyd knows that when white light enters a prism, a rainbow of color comes out the other side. Together, the colors make white light, but they have their own individual wavelengths. The prism changes the speed of each wavelength, making some colors slightly change direction, spreading them out into the rainbow they are. The same happens with rainstorms, with the raindrops acting as thousands of tiny prisms spreading the sunlight's colors across the sky.

Earth's atmosphere acts similarly, but these individual colors hit the atoms in the air and get scattered or reflected. The colors that have higher energies and are more excited get scattered more. Blue is higher energy, and so our sky looks blue since it's scattered more. When the sun rises or sets, it has to travel through more air, and the reds and oranges get scattered more, giving us gorgeous scenery to look at and post to Instagram.

You might be saying right now, "But wait, blue isn't the highest energy in the rainbow! Purple is. So why isn't our sky purple?" And you're right, purple is higher energy than blue, so it does get scattered more. Thus, you've just discovered the truth bomb of this blog.

Our sky is actually purple
Purple light has higher energy, and gets scattered more than blue. But the answer to why we see blue skies isn't a matter of physics; it's an answer for physiology.

Think back to high school biology. Ever done an eyeball dissection? (If not, we sometimes offer that at the Museum! Come by an open one up!) Human eyes contain shadow-sensing rods and color-sensitive cones – three types of cones to be exact. These red, green and blue cones detect a range of the natural colors in light and work together to produce all the colors you see in the world.

The predominant blue and purple scattered light triggers not only the blue cones in the eye, but also a little of the red and green cones. These all act in unison and essentially average out the scatter to, you guessed it, blue."

Lets not feel blue about the apparent color of the sky.

"feel blue

Be depressed or sad, as in I was really feeling blue after she told me she was leaving. The use of blue to mean "sad" dates from the late 1300s. See also blue funk, def. 2; have the blues."

awnlee jawking 🚫

@joyR

There is a difference between what is possible and what is practicable.

This morning the wheels on my shopping trolley locked as I entered the supermarket because the robots decided I was trying to steal it.

I don't think the machines are quite ready to take over yet.

AJ

Replies:   joyR
joyR 🚫

@awnlee jawking

Could it be that you have a history of trolleynapping? Perhaps we should dredge a few canals for fingerprint evidence?

Or were you trying to enter the supermarket the back way…?

:)

palamedes 🚫

@Not_a_ID

"Tractor's stuck" is also a fun thing for automation to address. In many cases, the robot is likely to be even worse than the human about that type of magical experience, and that can happen any time of the year where the ground isn't frozen.

Actually the autonomous driven machines get stuck less often as they have a ground clearance control. If the computer senses a deviation in the ground clearance for X period of time the machine will follow a pre-programed escape which could be either stopping or changing of directions. When this happens you get an audible warning, a visual indication either on the control monitor or dash light as the machine is doing what it feels is best. As a human driver we usually just look for changes in color of the soil or standing water then decide if we can make it of not (more times then we care to admit it is not).

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID 🚫

@palamedes

Actually the autonomous driven machines get stuck less often as they have a ground clearance control. If the computer senses a deviation in the ground clearance for X period of time the machine will follow a pre-programed escape which could be either stopping or changing of directions. When this happens you get an audible warning, a visual indication either on the control monitor or dash light as the machine is doing what it feels is best. As a human driver we usually just look for changes in color of the soil or standing water then decide if we can make it of not (more times then we care to admit it is not).

That would be a simple and reasonably elegant way to address the problem alright. I could imagine an occasional false positive happening with it. But I'd also freely concede that a computer monitoring for such changes is going to notice a lot faster than most humans would.

awnlee jawking 🚫

@awnlee jawking

Farmers (and the military) need vehicles which are reliable and easy to maintain.

Allegedly old-style Landys are now selling for more than they cost new (adjusted for inflation). Country dwellers, particularly farmers, are making sure they've got a way of getting from A to B after the end of new internal combustion engine vehicles. I have my doubts about reliability but they're easy to repair and can cope with just about any weather conditions the UK can throw at them.

AJ

Replies:   palamedes
palamedes 🚫

@awnlee jawking

Allegedly old-style Landys are now selling for more than they cost new (adjusted for inflation). Country dwellers, particularly farmers, are making sure they've got a way of getting from A to B after the end of new internal combustion engine vehicles. I have my doubts about reliability but they're easy to repair and can cope with just about any weather conditions the UK can throw at them.

It isn't that the new machines are not easy to repair the problem is that the new machines are programed so that if something breaks you need an authorized repair person to access the system computer with their tablet to clear the error code to allow for the machine to run again.

EXAMPLE :

I just had to change an alternator which is held onto the machine by 2 bolts, 3 nuts to hold the electrical connection, and the belt. It took me less then 15 minutes to change but it took an authorized technician over half a day (like 15 hours latter) to just spend 2 minutes with his tablet to clear the code so the machine would run again. Oh and if your wondering it cost $135 for said technician to do this repair.

It is issues like that which has us wanting the older machinery.

Replies:   Keet  DBActive
Keet 🚫

@palamedes

It is issues like that which has us wanting the older machinery.

And it's going to get worse with electric cars. I wonder how many Tesla drivers realize they are followed and registered every mile of the way. Split by different drivers in the same car...

DBActive 🚫

@palamedes

If a $15 OBD2 scanner wouldn't work don't you have any friend or garage owner who would do it for free?

Replies:   palamedes  Mushroom
palamedes 🚫

@DBActive

If a $15 OBD2 scanner wouldn't work don't you have any friend or garage owner who would do it for free?

No as they have encryption. Just follow the right to repair to get a full understanding. Believe me as I would in a heart beat as would others purchase the device needed.

There have been some Jailbreaking American tractors with Ukrainian Firmware but when your doing this a quarter to half million dollar piece of machinery it is a gamble I myself will not take. An yes I used American tractors as it turns out that they use different software for different parts of the world so what can work over in Asia or the EU will not work in the USA.

Replies:   DBActive
DBActive 🚫
Updated:

@palamedes

You can buy devices to reprogram Land/Range Rovers without any problem - same for every auto. They're not cheap - $500 to $1000 but if you do a lot of your own work they're worth it.
For me I just go to the local garage and he'll check and clear codes for nothing as l on as he doesn't have to list a wrench.

Replies:   palamedes
palamedes 🚫

@DBActive

You can buy devices to reprogram Land/Range Rovers without any problem - same for every auto. They're not cheap - $500 to $1000 but if you do a lot of your own work they're worth it.
For me I just go to the local garage and he'll check and clear codes for nothing as l on as he doesn't have to list a wrench.

This is true and as a business you can write off purchases like that on your taxes. The problem is that they have encrypted chips the require pass keys get it wrong then the system bricks itself. Even the official technicians have at times screwed up and bricked the equipment that they where suppose to fix. Until they are forced to share the codes like the auto industry does you have no choice but to play their game.

Mushroom 🚫

@DBActive

If a $15 OBD2 scanner wouldn't work don't you have any friend or garage owner who would do it for free?

For equipment like that, an OBD2 will not cut it. You really need an HDOBD scanner. Or an EOBD+HDOBD if it is a European made truck. Those cost a lot more than "$15" (normally in the $200 range and up), and are harder to find.

Just a standard ODB or ODB2 scanner will likely return gibberish codes.

Replies:   DBActive
DBActive 🚫

@Mushroom

Actually the estimate in my post was $500-1000. I didn't cheap OBD2 would work.

palamedes 🚫

@Keet

eventually all machines can run fully autonomously and return to a charger when needed. I wonder how this will affect the layout of the fields. A whole new 'field' of study to create this as efficiently as possible.

We all ready have fully autonomous farm equipment so nothing will need to change because we switched from a fuel based engine to an electric motor. I don't run autonomous as my field sizes just don't warrant the cost but it is available and actually it is affordable.

palamedes 🚫

@Remus2

Automated electric farming equipment is coming. It's less than ten years out at this time. You can look forward to federal regulations forcing the issue.

Yes they are coming along nicely in testing and battery life is no where near the at a minimum of 8 solid hours of run time let alone the near 14 hours like I'm running right now. The other problem with electric farming equipment is the weight as this effects soil compaction and the electric farming equipment I've seen so far have a far heavier ground foot print then the equipment available right now.

But yes they are coming and I myself look forward to it. From the few samples that they show off the daily maintenance is far easier and the potential for fuel savings will make the cost of the machine worth it.

A combine during harvest can easily use 24-28 gallons (91-106 Liters) of diesel per hour.

Plus as your burning diesel you are using DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid - 55 gal {208 liter} Drum of DEF cost $240) which is controlled by the machine but works out to about 2.5 gallons (9.5 liters) per 100 gallons (378.5 liters) of diesel.

Then there is the engine oil, coolant, and the needed filters.

Oh yes I look forward to one day having electric farming equipment.

Mushroom 🚫

@Remus2

Automated electric farming equipment is coming. It's less than ten years out at this time. You can look forward to federal regulations forcing the issue.

This has been predicted for decades. But a lot of crops are still worked almost entirely by hand. They just can not get the care or be harvested by machines.

Strawberries are one of them. They use tractors to till the ground, but almost everything after that until the ground is plowed over for the next crop is by hand.

Such techniques are really only good for a few crops. Like wheat, corn, and potatoes. For a great many of the others, nothing can still replace humans doing the work.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son 🚫

@Mushroom

Strawberries are one of them.

I guess you missed the link posted above to a video of a robotic strawberry harvester being demonstrated.

Mushroom 🚫

@Michael Loucks

Just as the proposed ~40Β’ gallon fuel tax increase being proposed by the Biden administration will screw farmers, truckers, and the working poor. (And yes, I know petrol prices in the US are quite low compared to other industrialized countries, but changing something so fundamentally structural to the economy has to be very carefully considered).

Here is the irony of that. The actual "fuel price" is largely the same around the world. The difference is mostly in the amount of taxes added. This can be seen in getting gas when crossing state lines. Just 10 miles away, you can see the price drastically rise (or fall), just based on what that state charges in taxes.

Being an oil producer, California once used to have some of the lowest prices in the country. And when I went to visit family in Oregon, I always filled up right before the state because Oregon was more (mostly because there is no "self-service", every station has an attendant to pump your gas for you).

But as that state has drastically raised their taxes in the last 20 years, it is now cheaper to fill up in Oregon before you go to California.

Gas simply costs more in most countries because the government taxes it more. Many countries in Europe charge $2 or more per gallon, while in the US the Federal Government only taxes $0.56 cents. But you then have to add other taxes, like California with its $0.80 per gallon tax. And then even more taxes and fines.

California is one of the states that charges sales tax on the total price, so take the price and add another 8%. Then in San Francisco, they add another 2.5% sales tax. 2 cents per gallon for the tax for storage tanks, and soon you have close to $2 in taxes alone in that state.

And this has been causing problems in the state economy for over a decade. As it is state-wide, and even the poorer and more rural areas are paying the high taxes of the big cities (but a lower income). And the Indian Casinos are making bank. They do not have to pay any of the state or local taxes, so just set their prices at 5 cents a gallon less, and rake in the money.

The exact same with other insane taxes, like cigarettes which is over $1.30 a pack. It is not inflation that is driving up the price like gas, it is the ever increasing taxes.

palamedes 🚫

@Remus2

doesn't surprise me. Probably want you to use something that cost twice as much and is half as effient.

richardshagrin 🚫

@Uther Pendragon

The ages are the stone age, the bronze age, the iron age, antiquity and the middle ages. Then you probably get the modern age, although there may be divisions involving different products produced like automobiles, computers, and spacecraft. And atomic and hydrogen bombs.

Dominions Son 🚫

@Uther Pendragon

Seeing delay here.

LupusDei 🚫
Updated:

That pages zealously of age rules makes for strange editorial choices sometimes, and nonsensical tropes.

Of course it is artificial.

That said, 18 at start of year 12 in school is wholly expected if the local education law stands "children start school the calendar year they turn seven years old" as is currently in my country. Given that school year starts September The First, you expect 8/12 = 2/3 of students to be eighteen at that point. But yes, that's a local anomaly, much more commonly that age is six, and it was tried to make so here too, but then switched back again for quite a bit of chaos.

Then, our first graders are commonly expected to navigate city streets and public transportation independently and without supervision, while carrying school bags heavier relatively than what typically carried by soldiers, or at least so some "think about children" crazies are claiming, so starting that at five (1/3 of them would be at start of school if the rule read "calendar year they turns six") is a bit too young.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son 🚫
Updated:

@LupusDei

That said, 18 at start of year 12 in school

In the US it's 5 and it's not the calendar year, it's tied to the school year.

The other thing you have to keep in mind is that the US has Kindergarten which is where the 5 year olds start, grade 12 in the US is actually the 13th year of school.

And my state now has two years of kindergarten, for 4 year olds and 5 year olds.

And the statutory requirement is that a student has to be the appropriate age, 4 for 4K 5 for 5K and 6 for first grade by September 1st of the school year which is the first day of school.

If this current law had been in place when I started school (my birthday is September 14th) I would have been 18 by the start of the third week of school for my Senior year.

Robin G. Lovell 🚫

@Dominions Son

If this current law had been in place when I started school (my birthday is September 14th) I would have been 18 by the start of the third week of school for my Senior year.

The MC in one of my 'works in progress' has a birthday on September 15th. She will turn 17 a few weeks after she starts her Senior year. She has a friend who started school the same day and place she did who will turn eighteen the day after my MC turns 17.

Replies:   Dominions Son  Lumpy
Dominions Son 🚫
Updated:

@Robin G. Lovell

The MC in one of my 'works in progress' has a birthday on September 15th. She will turn 17 a few weeks after she starts her Senior year.

That wouldn't work under the current law in my state, at least not without her skipping a grade somewhere along the line.

She would have to have already passed her 17th birthday by the 1st of September of her senior year.

Replies:   Robin G. Lovell
Robin G. Lovell 🚫

@Dominions Son

That wouldn't work under the current law in my state, at least not without her skipping a grade somewhere along the line.

First, the story is set in an alternate history universe.

Second, the MC in that story started first grade in late August 2001.

By the way, part of the alternate history includes no terrorist attack September 11, 2001.

While 33 states have a cut-off date of September 2nd or earlier (September 1st and August 31st being the most common), 9 have a cut-off date on or after September 15th.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son 🚫
Updated:

@Robin G. Lovell

All I said was it wouldn't work in my state under the current law (I have no idea when it changed, but the cut off was later when I started school) I said nothing about whether it would work elsewhere or in the past.

As I said elsewhere, I was still 17 when I graduated from high school, without skipping any grades.

Replies:   Quasirandom
Quasirandom 🚫

@Dominions Son

As did I, and all four of my college girlfriends β€” all of us from different states. Apparently the rules were different in several places in the early '70s.

Lumpy 🚫

@Robin G. Lovell

Now that does sound a little young, especially at the start of Senior year, unless the MC was advanced through a grade.

Replies:   AmigaClone
AmigaClone 🚫

@Lumpy

Now that does sound a little young, especially at the start of Senior year, unless the MC was advanced through a grade.

It is implied in the story that when the MC started school, the cut-off date was September 15. The MC also mentions on her 14th birthday that she is the youngest student in her school.

LupusDei 🚫

@Dominions Son

Yes, I know it's different in the US. The whole point was to point out that it may potentially differer in different locations, times, etc.

We also have the division a bit different.

"Kindergarten" are accessible from two or even 1.5 years of age, but aren't mandatory, actually paid service even if provided and partially subsided by county (I think "daycare" is closest equal, but our kindergarten is expected to be at least nominally educational).

"Preschool" is accessible from 4.5 years, and isn't mandatory either, although at least one year of that is near-compulsory in practice, as first-graders are expected to read at least one language (two in minority schools) and have sense of basic arithmetic already. Some kindergartens bundle preschool in their services, some may not. Some preschools are wholly independent, others are directly affiliated with gymnasiums/secondary schools, especially those deemed prestigious, effectively being, and sometimes even named "zeroth-class" of those.

Parents can also apply for an exception for their kid to start school a year early or late, upon assessment of a special commission.

First four grades are "beginner-" school, and grades five through nine "basic-" or "elementary-" school.

Although quite a few independent beginner-schools have existed historically, especially in rural areas, I doubt any had survived the latest reforms. Typically, those basic schools that aren't full secondary schools are nine year schools. That's also where mandatory education ends. Ninth grade is graduated at sixteen, and one can legally work from fifteen.

Secondary school, the grades ten through twelve we actually call "Middle" School in direct translation. ("High School" in Latvian is reserved for institutions that offer doctoral degrees, also called Universities.) While actually perceived as mandatory in practice, those can have competitive admission rules as the attendance is optional at least legally. (Also, "Evening Schools" that offer High school education for working adults exist.)

Most public schools are full twelve (or thirteen, with the preschool integrated) years in a single organizational structure and usually building (and rarely exceed thousand students total; a single class cannot significantly exceed forty students, but there can be parallel classes in the same school, sometimes up to four or five; and in some schools some of those may be thematic or differ in primary language of instruction).

Graduates of "Middle" school (High school) are expected to attend "High" school (University) or at very least a College (with differ from university level by only giving limited degrees and/or professional certification, albeit typically in shorter times than full University). (College as such an interloper only come to be this century around here.)

Here, it's effectively seen as failure for a High school graduate to not continue education. According to a survey made in the beginning of 2020 (right before the pandemic) less than 4% of high school seniors admitted they don't have such plans, while nearly 35% claimed to have plans to study abroad (and I happen to know for a fact COVID screwed at least few of those plans).

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2 🚫
Updated:

@LupusDei

Here, it's effectively seen as failure for a High school graduate to not continue education.

Unfortunately, it's more or less the same here. It wouldn't be so bad if the degrees sought after we're not so laden with french fry degrees (xyz studies). From where I sit, it's reached a critical juncture. The world cannot continue as is without replenishment of personnel trained and capable of at a minimum, maintaining current infrastructure, much less building more of it.

Back to Top

Close
 

WARNING! ADULT CONTENT...

Storiesonline is for adult entertainment only. By accessing this site you declare that you are of legal age and that you agree with our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.