Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Thursday, May 24, 2007

An Engineer? I'm Dubious

According to an alleged engineer writing to The Corner:

Immigration is basically a plumbing problem - our border leaks. When you have plumbing that leaks, you fix the leak before you start cleaning up your house. Build a fence and stop the leak, then decide how to clean up.

Note that the leak is cause by a pressure differential across the souther border - lots of people want to come here. (Compare to northern border). Economic opportunity here far exceeds that in their own country, and there is little risk of associated with coming here illegally. So pressure builds to our south. Once the leak is stopped, we can look at ways to equalize the pressure. Strict enforcement and deportation would do it. Getting Mexico to reform would help as well. I'm also fine with increasing legal immigration through carefully regulated valves on our southern border.

Ironically, amnesty will only increase the pressure.

Yes, I am an engineer.

On the other hand, if a leak is fixed but the water isn't conducted away, it will recur. According to to former blog Trolling in Shallow Water (quoted here):
One phrase the inspector seemed to like was "water will win." Apparently this is an aphorism he picked up in the Army Corps of Engineers. What it means is that, unless you give water an easy route to somewhere harmless, it will make its own route by wearing through whatever is in the way. A roof is not kept in good condition by waterproofing alone; that will fail unless there are appropriate gutters and flashings to let the water run off the roof. Likewise, the rain gutters must give water a clear path to a point far from the foundation, or the crawl space will flood no matter how solid the foundation is. Water will win.
Also see here:
If you build in the path of moving water, sooner or later, water will win.


Blogger Francis W. Porretto said...

"On the other hand, if a leak is fixed but the water isn't conducted away, it will recur."

That is a half-static view of an entirely dynamic situation. Border control isn't a fix-and-forget problem; it's an evolving counterplay of two forces, both of which have to improve their tactics and techniques continuously, lest the other side gain the upper hand.

Morale is critical here. If we persuade ourseoves a priori that the task is impossible, we'll never address it, conceding the contest by default.

6:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comment also assumes that after the repair, the point of repair remains the path of least resistance for the water.

Imagine what might happen in Mexico if getting into America was actually difficult...

Perhaps its citizens might find the government and its excesses less tolerable.

By the by, Mr. Hertzlinger, did you not expect a response over at Mr. Porretto's, or was it not the one you expected?

3:25 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

By the by, Mr. Hertzlinger, did you not expect a response over at Mr. Porretto's, or was it not the one you expected?

I'm supposed to reply to everything? I have little enough life as it is.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you make a comment that suggests I am calling for an ethnic cleansing, or to use the older phrase - genocide - and then wander off? So you were not after a discussion, merely a chance to attack someone?

I am glad that I gave your comments such little credence.

Don't worry about responding, I won't be back again.

1:35 AM  

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