Sunday, August 04, 2013


Last night I tossed and turned in my sleep as I observed the movement and interrelationship of complex notions I could not grasp. I can't even tell you what they were or what they concerned, except that they were between possible truth and probable fiction. I bathed them in light. At some point things will become clear.

In educational Sloyd, it was proposed that learning move incrementally from the simple to the complex, and from the concrete to the abstract. The law of Parsimony demands that we examine things in the other direction. Just as our intellectual understanding of the universe may be built layer by layer our deliberations must be aimed toward the center of things peeling away toward center. Simplify. And when done, simplify again. When when processes and concepts are kept simple,we reduce the opportunity for error and deception.

The Arkansas Public Service Commission stopped an energy company "Clean Line" from doing business in the state. Clean Line had planned to build a massive 745 kV DC line to carry wind generated power from Oklahoma and Kansas to the Tennessee Valley Authority where it can be sold and distributed at a premium price because it is "renewable" energy. Their purpose was clear.

Now, AEP-SWEPCO plans an extra high voltage powerline through Northwest Arkansas, threatening the beauty of our forests, and the quality of our streams and rivers. Their claim from the outset was that we need the new line for "reliability." Power company Entergy plans additional powerlines that carry on from my lovely county east toward Tennessee and the TVA. Are you beginning to get the real picture? On the one hand, the APSC refuses the Clean Line traversing the state, and on the other, is asked to consider new powerlines headed in that same same direction and of a scale completely unrelated to our needs. One side is truth, the other fiction, and when it comes to political alignments, the poor folks nested on beautiful hillsides could be sacrificed and run over by 150 foot towers marching through the woods throughout the state.

Today in the wood shop, I'll be working on boxes. The first time I do something, I may not understand it in the simplest of terms. The first time I'm confronted with what folks tell me, I may not be able to understand what they say in the simplest of terms. Craftsmanship entails the learning to not waste effort. It can take years in the making. It is amazing how much intellectual effort can be required in reducing things to their simplest terms.

The photo above shows an experiment for my next box design. You will note that the rare earth magnet in one piece is set below the surface of the stock and the other slightly raised, so that when put together they align precisely. The new design will be a tower of nested boxes, each simply made and held together by magnets. There will be a secret compartment hidden in the base, also held in place by magnets.

Make, fix and create...

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