Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Status of Contest

Three Hundred Sixty Ninth Post: Status of Contest

Well as posted on Constructor’s Corner the contest is over. With the contest event disseminated throughout message boards, no one chose to participate. The deadline was within 3 months (May 1st to August 1st) leaving plenty of time to work on ideas. Admittedly the contest was difficult. Also, it is a fact that some of the math problems don’t quite work, but the idea behind the problem is there. But the contest did succeed in what it was intended to do. And that is to bring new visitors to Constructor’s Corner. In the past 3 months Constructor’s Corner has had about 8500 visits. (That’s visits not hits.) There is one flaw however and that is the message board is filled with spam. It is down until this problem can be corrected.

So even if no one joined the art and math contest at least they got a chance to view the math and other content of Constructor’s Corner. That includes a new comic. I have been experimenting with comics and have discovered how difficult it is to create a good one. Comics Strips are great learning aids for art because the artist draws at there own style. I found that not having to draw realistically and draw any style helps improve my overall drawing. That’s not because drawing cartoons is easy. It is because the artist draws anyway they choose.

I have written many essays on math, art, and invention. Now I will blog on this subject some more:

In ancient Greece a King was being paid in gold. For some reason the gold was in a different size than the gold he was trading. So he went to one scientist (I forget his name. This comes from a story my 5th grade science teacher always told.) and ask him if there was any way to measure the gold to determine if he was trading fairly. The weight or mass was known, but he didn’t know how to compare the gold because it was a different shape. So the bright scientist thought and thought but could not figure anyway to solve the problem. So one night the scientist was getting a bath and filled the tub completely full. He got in and the water spilled out all over the floor. Then the light went on in his head. “Eureka,” exclaimed. (Eureka in Greece means I have found it.) Then he ran throughout the town naked yelling, “Eureka.”

What the scientist had just discovered is how to measure volume. Then with mass and density combined, density can be measured. And with density the King can tell if he is trading for the same amount of gold.

My teacher liked to tell this story and he went on to explain how most discoveries were discovered by accident. In my opinion discoveries are usually not accident but a series of possible events. What I mean by that is though every part of a discovery is not though out or planned, it is uncovered by searching for something new. So even if an invention was discovered by “accident,” part of the discovery is realizing what processes are relevant. In short, some action the inventor takes is the reason something was discovered. So what is interpreted as an accident is actually experimenting.

Think in terms of a drawing. It starts out as a black page with the potential to become anything. The drawer starts of sketching out what they have visualized. But as they put lines on the paper new things and designs are created. So even though the artist has an idea of what they are drawing, certain events and decisions also define the drawing. So as the drawer draws there are variations of the same drawing. However, there is only one that the drawers decisions have chosen. Does this mean the drawing was an “accident” because the drawer is not in complete control of the drawing. It absolutely does not. (As Bob Ross would say, “a happy accident.”) So there are variables of an experiment that can not be controlled. Does it make the invention any less remarkable? It does not. In fact without these accidents would we discover anything remarkable and interesting at all?

May the Creative Force be with You