Narrow Tolerances


It’s one ten-thousandth of a inch, not a sliver more, and if anyone has a problem with that, we’re switching to Angstroms, do you hear me?

The Man assures me that no one is going to understand this comic, but I’m not personally an aerospace engineer, and I wrote it. Furthermore, I’ve read every single xkcd comic, even though I have a liberal arts degree and haven’t even attempted to learn anything about coding since giving up on BASIC in 1982, and Randall Munroe specifically states that his work may not be appropriate for me.

The Man does work in this industry, but the idea of a 1/10,000 of a inch tolerance is kind of mind-boggling to me. He doesn’t have to actually measure the 1/10,000 of a inch himself–he programs robots to measure for him–but if it’s not right, back it goes. Some things won’t function properly if they’re, say, 1/1,000 of an inch too big. People could die. Or not die, as the case may be in that industry.

Math is sort of a foreign language to me, once that I’ve tried to learn on numerous occasions, and failed miserably every time. The only math class I ever did well in was statistics for the social sciences, and 100% of everything I mastered in that class vanished like morning mist as soon as I finished taking the final exam. Otherwise, I probably would have gotten a BS instead of studying psychology, which is an interesting, but inconclusive discipline. My parents would have been happier to start with, but probably more disappointed when I gave it up for art, which is what I told them I wanted to do to begin with. Imagine how much farther along I would be if I had ever in my life taken a drawing class instead of learning to calculate standard deviations.

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