Black Box?

Waltz

Member
What's the deal with calling it a Black Box since it is related to tragedy? Isn't this outside the norms of our new systems of social dictation? How about Flight Box?
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
What's the deal with calling it a Black Box since it is related to tragedy? Isn't this outside the norms of our new systems of social dictation? How about Flight Box?
It's called a flight recorder. The term 'black box' comes from WW2 when avionics components actually were black boxes. It has nothing to do with signifying tragedy.
 

Whateverman

Well-known member
More abstractly, the term is used in a number of disciplines - including software development. "Black box" is used to label something completely self-contained, having no reliance/dependence upon things outside of itself. It does what it does, and doesn't need help from no one else.
 

Temujin

Well-known member
It's called a flight recorder. The term 'black box' comes from WW2 when avionics components actually were black boxes. It has nothing to do with signifying tragedy.
I think it was something to do with air force slang at the time, meaning a piece of subtle avionics that you didn't have to understand. There is no truth to the rumour that it was designed by a chap named "Black".
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
I think it was something to do with air force slang at the time, meaning a piece of subtle avionics that you didn't have to understand. There is no truth to the rumour that it was designed by a chap named "Black".
I don't see colour. I just see boxes. Some of my best friends are boxes.
 

Whateverman

Well-known member
I wanted to expand a bit on the "black box" concept a bit. Just because.

An 'object' in (object-oriented) software development is a thing; it's some entity that the program/application will be dealing with. A 'class' is the computer code which establishes the blueprint for the object.

A classic example of the object/class distinction can found in an application which helps a dealer sell cars. A "car" object is an instance of the car class. If someone is looking up information about a new model of car, a class would be used to establish what traits the car has: manufacturer, model, horsepower, color, cost, etc. All this class does is establish the properties of the car; as a blueprint, it's not actually a car itself. It's up to the software developer to come along and create an object from that class: manufacturer = Volkswagen, model = Golf R, Horsepower = 328, color = blue, cost = too much.

In an ideal world, the class is supposed to be "black box". It's supposed to do nothing more than represent the capabilities/traits of all cars.

A Car() class with a property called DrivingFasterThanThePostedSpeedLimit (with a value of True or False) would be an (awkward) example of something that violates the black box principle. The car object relies upon outside information to set the value of this property; it needs to know what the posted speed limit is wherever the object is currently driving. This could be useful information to the program/application, but a class with this property has been built in such a way that it might cause developers problems.

The black box recorder in modern aviation is not supposed to rely upon the plane to function. It records data if any is supplied, but if that data stops (because the plane has crashed), it doesn't matter to the black box. It holds whatever data was supplied to it, and waits until more data is supplied (if ever).
 
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