6 Minute Read
My dad is a retired professor of Greek and Latin and has a pretty high opinion of himself and his profession. Certainly he has read a lot of books.
Growing up my siblings and I were surrounded by books. Bookcases lined the walls of our home and when we went to our dads office, you guessed it, more bookcases.
So yeah a pretty scholarly kind of guy. He also was quite presumptuous of the callings less scholarly. He would disparage one or another survey course as being equivalent to ‘basket weaving’.
As I grew up I took on his prejudices and thought basket weaving was pretty simplistic.
One day I rebelled against my father, of course.
It could have gone a couple of different ways. He was in the liberal arts. I could have gone for the sciences. Ha Ha f-you “Nanoseconds” (really short amounts of time) or explored the crafts like “basket weaving” which is what I did.
I went to a summer camp in the country that focused on art and craft and gardening and cooking. Crazy place. A large barn to do art and crafts in. Gardens to tend, bread to bake, chickens to feed and a cow to milk. Fields that grew hay and a woods where the cabins were.
The campers designed and built their own cabins. Plastic for windows, screening for ventilation and canvas for walls for privacy. Very simple, very beautiful. It was summertime so we didn’t need heat.
‘Simple beauty,’ isn’t that what the Buddhists are always talking about.
The biggest thing that I learned from The Farm and Sea summer camp was to follow my curiosity.
I came back to the farm to visit and ended up marrying the owner’s daughter and went on to a ten year career in pottery, two summers beekeeping, did a stint as a blacksmith and a machinist and I designed and built a beautiful 3500 sq/ft house.
And much more.
The tie in with basket weaving goes like this.
I was listening to a news report of a Korean Airlines jet crashing on the island of Guam in 1997.
Guam is located right out there in the Pacific Ocean. East of the Philippines, North of Papau New Guinea and South of Japan.
Surprisingly people do survive airplane crashes from time to time. In this case 26 people out of a total of 254. I thought about how the fuselage or tube that holds all the people or cargo is constructed.
I wondered if the fuselage didn’t break apart would more people survive a crash?
I had seen some videos and read some books about aircraft fuselage construction.
Essentially sheets of material put together with rivets along the edges, kind if like staples. Each point of connection is a stress point. Multiple connection points = Multiple stress points, that can let go and the whole sheet tears off.
I started to wonder if it would be possible to weave the fuselage, some kind of narrow strips of fabric made of some space age material, of course, like carbon fibre.
Something light and strong.
Strips of fabric that you could weave around the skeleton structure in the manner of the Maypole Dancers. The fabric strips going over and under and pulled tight until the fuselage is woven from front to back.
The skeleton or frame could be made out of hexagonal pieces cast in a geodesic Buckminster Fuller style, that snap together, making it light weight and strong and allowing room for wires and other infrastructure.
And if the fibres went the full length of the plane like that, would the fuselage take impact better and be less likely to break up.
If the fuselage held together better, would there be fewer deaths and injuries?
They weave bridges in the Andes.
Not as simple as it sounds.