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"On Being the Right Size" by J.B.S. Haldane  RSS feed

nathan luedtke
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This is a short 6-page essay from 1926 that I find very instructive when thinking of design questions. Why do some techniques work at large scale and others at small scale? What does "design from pattern to detail" mean? How are complexity and size related? This would be great people that are mystified by Chapter 4 (Pattern Understanding) and need some help connecting the abstraction of pattern to the real world.

"On Being the Right Size" by J.B.S. Haldane

I welcome your thoughts. Maybe this essay can become part of the Permaculture Canon?

Here is a short excerpt:

"You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft; and, on
arriving at the bottom it gets a slight shock and walks away, provided that
the ground is fairly soft. A rat is killed, a man is broken, a horse splashes.
For the resistance presented to movement by the air is proportional to the
surface of the moving object. Divide an animal's length, breadth, and height
each by ten; its weight is reduced to a thousandth, but its surface only a
hundredth. So the resistance to falling in the case of the small animal is
relatively ten times greater than the driving force."
She still doesn't approve of my superhero lifestyle. Or this shameless plug:
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