Sunday, 13 September 2009


DA VINCI DAYS AT OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY----Celebrating and imitating the spirit of Leonardo. Big rigs camp miles away and pay big bucks. I park here---two blocks from the action---because I'm "invisible"----for the 3 day event. That's the spectacularly beautiful university in the background.
Bet you've never seen this before. And it's for real---and FREE. They take your bike and give you a ticket.
Taken here--unlocked--but under guard. Do you see the great lesson here? (pay attention you libertarians and right wing crazies) The alternative to this system is for EVERYONE to have separate locks.----Here we are POOLING our security for this event. SOME SERVICES ARE MORE EFFICIENTLY POOLED-----LIKE HEALTH CARE.
The centerpiece event is a kinetic sculpture race: Decorative, human powered vehicles capable of moving down the highway, across a sand dune, through a mud bog and down a river. Additionally, each contestant must compose a song about his work and entertain the crowd---the kind of multidimentionally Leonardo is famous for. Here's--the SLUG--one of the simpler creations.
Now this one is complex enough to catch Da Vincis' eye--lady powered and utilitarian. I asked if I could photograph its guts.
Here they are--a massive tangle of chains,gears, pulleys, transmission--linkage etc. Imagine the thought and time involved here----I think it proves something important: Challenges are more interesting than solutions. Prove this to yourself by reflecting on several movies---what comes most readily to mind is the central PROBLEM. Often, in fact, you cannot remember the conclusion.
Thirty or more entrants paraded before the race---from the tiny-----
To the huge---come tooting its own horn. Six hard pumping galley-people propelled this promethian entry. Its operation was via a unique back and forth pedal--cam system.
A "big wheel" toy grown ups could enjoy---fun and fast --AND---ready engineered for the toughest challenge --the river run-------You'll see!
Family enterprise---Is that grandma Clampett hanging off the back?
Next day each machine had a go at the mud bog. Hippypotamous had to be rescued by a gaggle of kids.
Now here's big wheel in his finest hour----no bouyancy problem at all--note the rear paddlewheel.
This little dog melted my heart---she looks so much like Molly that I cried---the owner let me play with her.
This lady stirred different emotions with her provacative dress. I resolved to engage her and succeeded-----
With the assistance of friend Paul who spirited her companion away whirling her on the grass while I got to know miss see-thru. (turned out to be the doctor in charge here)

Promoters of Da Vinci days would be exasperated with my coverage of this event---because I've not mentioned its most important purpose---to raise our awareness--draw our attention to matters ecological. Dozens of booths made clear our wastefulness---offered clever solutions---and positively indoctrinated the kids. I won't bore my readers---most are already on board that train---off the electrical grid---minimal water users--etc.

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