Posts Tagged ‘daVinci’



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Copying Nature as da Vinci did was to watch birds fly. It inspired him to sketch out a flying machine. It was beautiful as far a drawing is judged, but impossible to get it up in the air. Biomimetics or imitating nature often ends up as impractical.

It took years to discover why da Vinci failed. From mimicking birds flying he did not get the function of wings. The bird’s wing performs two separate tasks, both of which are essential. By its shape, it provides lift when air passes over it. And by its movements it provides power. The pedal power as da Vinci seemed to suggest was impossible. The crucial step to making aircraft was to separate two functions, leaving the wing to do the lifting but transferring the power function to an engine and propeller, something no bird ever possessed. So the lesson is clear: You begin by imitating nature, as in the case of birds but get beyond the seemingly simple use of wings. In the latter case the principle is integrated in terms of engine and propeller.

What does being civilized means? Is it not man leave off being natural and learn to conduct himself in such a manner he is agreeable to others in public?


The work of the German engineering Claus Mattheck Design in Nature: Learning from Trees is a classic on biomimetics. Mattheck’s lifelong love affair with trees has led to many important innovations in engineering design.

One of these considers the junction where the branch of a tree meets the trunk. Mattheck said the curvature around this junction was very cleverly designed to minimize the concentration of stress that occurs when engineers try to design the same shape. He developed a computer program to simulate tree growth, and the result was a fantastic reduction in stress concentration, allowing for more slender components. One may not be able to assume if trees had this in mind but it works in nature. Whereas when we need to minimize stress for example in the design of a car we need to think not like a tree but in terms of economy and practicality in human terms which are altogether different. We need to consider fuel efficiency, material cost,less CO2 emissions calculated obsolescence and so on. A tree is natural and can last for hundred years or so but if a car can run on for 100 years one may be sure consumer market would soon be dead and gone.

(ack: (The Conversation-‘Simply Copying Nature…/David Taylor of 10 June, 2014)


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`I didn’t know that Cheshire cats always grinned; in fact, I didn’t know that cats could grin.’
`They all can,’ said the Duchess; `and most of ’em do.’
`I don’t know of any that do,’ Alice said very politely, feeling quite pleased to have got into a conversation.
`You don’t know much,’ said the Duchess; `and that’s a fact.’
(Through the Looking Glass–Lewis Carroll)
More we understand cosmos we are faced with a world that begins to look more like the world through the looking glass. Just as well. We equated our material world as neat and precise as Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man. Our religion consequently delineated a divine connection between the human form and the universe. It is true depending on what we are looking for. Suppose we looked for our place in the universe in terms of thermal imaging the resulting picture would be altogether different. Would it not?
The Vitruvian man is as true as an infrared picture of man in its own way. Our rational world holds both as true. One we see with our naked eye and the other with special photography.
What of a portrait of man in terms of quantum physics? How do we account for the role of God, our moral responsibility and belief systems?
Enter Majorana fermion. The world of science is buzz with an elusive particle that is its own antiparticle may have been found, and, if confirmed, would be the first time a phenomenon predicted decades ago has been seen in a real system. In a paper published in the journal Science Thursday, Vincent Mourik and Leo P. Kouwenhoven said they were able to make the Majorana fermions appear by exposing a small circuit to a magnetic field.
Majorana fermions are so special because they are different from other fermions, which have antiparticles — particles that have the same mass but opposite charge.
Bosons, however, are particles that are their own antiparticle, and they don’t annihilate when they touch each other. Majorana fermions however act as their own antiparticles. Majoranas will annihilate when they meet their antimatter cousins.
Does this matter when we talk of our rational world and religion as a matter of certain practices? For each religion these ceremonies are vital. A pilgrim during the Hajj will ceremoniously stone ‘Satan’ and Pope will ceremoniously wash the Catholic pilgrim’s feet. All these ceremonies are alright. But is it all to religion? We in practice strain a gnat and miss out a camel. Five times you pray and it has a gnat’s worth of blessedness. But by slaughtering ‘infidels’ are you not losing a camel’s load blessedness in another way?
A little knowledge of Allah or of God from prophets and books drives man to make a distinction between infidels and believers; and fools determine who goes to hell and who to heaven. Neither do they in fact understand what is like.
If they had shown tolerance instead, it would have made their nonsense something lustrous like Lewis Carroll’s fantasy. Coming to the Cheshire cat it smiled unlike cats and it remained even when its body had disappeared. Our good sense, tolerance and compassion should likewise remain our calling card whether here or there.

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