Archive for the ‘ingenuity’ Category

Slings and arrows


Build a better wind trap

Working in Haiti, Shawn Frayne, a 28-year-old inventor based in Mountain View, Calif., saw the need for small-scale wind power to juice LED lamps and radios in the homes of the poor. Conventional wind turbines don’t scale down well-there’s too much friction in the gearbox and other components. “With rotary power, there’s nothing out there that generates under 50 watts,” Frayne says. So he took a new tack, studying the way vibrations caused by the wind led to the collapse in 1940 of Washington’s Tacoma Narrows Bridge (aka Galloping Gertie).

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Handy with engines, can walk long distances

I spent part of my afternoon today going through a friend’s website.  I have known Jim Yates since the beginning of my college days, and we have been on many adventures together.  I can trace many of the wonderful things I have incorporated into my life back to this man and his creativity and ingenuity.

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Cool Shit (no, literally)

While reading some really geeky material (the core rulebook for Anthropik’s role playing game “The Fifth World“–want to join me, anyone?) I ran across one of the most amazing accounts of feral ingenuity:

Most of the items salient to forager life are easily lost, but just as easily replaced. They are often crafted ad hoc and on site. Take, for instance, this account by Wade Davis of a certain Inuit on Baffin Island:

His family took away his tools and implements, hoping that it would oblige him to go into the settlement. Did it work? No. He simply stepped out into the arctic night and in the darkness, pulled down his trousers and defecated into his hand. As the feces froze he shaped it into a blade. He put a spray of saliva along the edge and as the shit-knife took form he butchered a dog. He skinned the dog with it and made a harness, he took the rib cage of the dog and made a sled and harnessing the sled to an adjacent dog he took off over the iceflows.[1]

Moral of the story?  Don’t fuck with hunter/gatherers.  They know shit.