Author Topic: low tech cleverness  (Read 619 times)

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Offline velkyn

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low tech cleverness
« on: April 11, 2012, 02:14:53 PM »
I like this one website since it appeals to my fascination with being self-sufficient: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2011/12/the-chinese-wheelbarrow.html#more  it's not often updated but they have a cool article on wheelbarrows and how east and west diverge

Quote
The one-wheeled vehicle appeared around the time the extensive Ancient Chinese road infrastructure began to disintegrate. Instead of holding on to carts, wagons and wide paved roads, the Chinese turned their focus to a much more easily maintainable network of narrow paths designed for wheelbarrows. The Europeans, faced with similar problems at the time, did not adapt and subsequently lost the option of smooth land transportation for almost one thousand years.
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Online nogodsforme

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Re: low tech cleverness
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2012, 03:05:23 PM »
As a low tech person myself, I thought this article was very cool. I had wondered how people moved so much heavy stuff on wheelbarrows, considering how hard it is to push a US-style one when it is full of rocks or dirt.

I figured the Chinese people must be very strong....but it is a better design! Go figure. :?
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Offline Poseidon

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Re: low tech cleverness
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2012, 06:10:04 PM »
The chinese version of the wheelbarrow is clever in two ways. One; it places the majority of the load over the wheel when loaded properly. Two: they used large diameter wheels which would roll much more easily over rough terrain than the small wheeled western type.

The chinese also perfected a propulsion device for their sampans which we have yet to equal. It is a single oar like item that is called a Yuloh. It consists of a very long oar with a slightly bent blade. It is capable of propelling large boats with tons of cargo. The yuloh can be operated by a single person, or in the case of a large load it can be used by several men at once. The simple but geometricly complex device protrudes over the back end of the boat and can both propel and steer. "Damned clever those chinese" is an old expression used by long ago seafarers who gave accounts of things such as the wheelbarrow and yuloh.

Online nogodsforme

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Re: low tech cleverness
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2012, 06:17:19 PM »
^^^So why didn't anyone copy the clever Chinese designs? Why can't we have nice things? Why can't we all just get along?
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline jeremy0

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Re: low tech cleverness
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2012, 01:47:18 AM »
Actually, the history of the chinese, their culture, up until they became communist, is a display of brilliance - even their historical war strategies, while I don't enjoy the topic, were absolutely brilliant...
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Offline kcrady

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Re: low tech cleverness
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2012, 04:29:38 AM »
I like this one website since it appeals to my fascination with being self-sufficient: http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2011/12/the-chinese-wheelbarrow.html#more  it's not often updated but they have a cool article on wheelbarrows and how east and west diverge

Quote
The one-wheeled vehicle appeared around the time the extensive Ancient Chinese road infrastructure began to disintegrate. Instead of holding on to carts, wagons and wide paved roads, the Chinese turned their focus to a much more easily maintainable network of narrow paths designed for wheelbarrows. The Europeans, faced with similar problems at the time, did not adapt and subsequently lost the option of smooth land transportation for almost one thousand years.

Heh, seeing the title of this thread, that is the exact website and article I thought of.  Had it not already been linked as the OP, I would have linked it and said, "Yeah, but what do you think about THIS!"  lol

On the topic of (fairly) low-tech cleverness, this site is pretty awesome: http://atomiczombie.com/default.aspx  It's a site that offers DIY plans to make 30 different kinds of bicycles (radical designs that would cost thousands to buy, if you can find anything like them at all) from mostly salvaged parts with a few basic tools.
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Offline grant

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Re: low tech cleverness
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2012, 08:22:20 AM »
Western wheelbarrows aren't immune to evolution. We generally have no need to transport goods over long distances by hand, hence our wheelbarrow of today has evolved into a device generally used to move materials over a short distance with the goal to tip the contents out in a forward motion. Hence the growth of the wheel bar at the front to leverage the load from and secure the wheelbarrow in place. Even the weaker, pink and lime green wheelbarrows of today share this feature.



Not too long ago western wheelbarrows were useless at this task and better designed to carry loads such as injured mates over vast distances.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Jack

Ambulances, trucks, trains, cars and ships have all but made the transport wheelbarrow extinct today.



What if the hokey pokey is what its all about?

Online ParkingPlaces

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Re: low tech cleverness
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2012, 09:05:18 AM »
velkyn, the article is cool enough. But the web site it is from is incredible. I didn't know about it. Many thanks.

And kcrady, my brother will love the atomiczombie site. Thanks for that one.
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Offline MadBunny

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Re: low tech cleverness
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2012, 01:00:57 PM »
Very cool thanks for posting that Velkyn.
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Offline Historicity

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Re: low tech cleverness
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2012, 01:39:40 PM »
Actually, the history of the chinese, their culture, up until they became communist, is a display of brilliance - even their historical war strategies, while I don't enjoy the topic, were absolutely brilliant...

In the 19th century the Chinese so underfunded their military that artillery units had no gunpowder for practice and as a group discipline 2 competing units would roll their cannon to face each other and alternately both sides would yell "BANG" in unison.  The company that yelled loudest was declared the winner.

The Empress was once told they needed steam boats for the navy.  She had a steam boat built of marble in a pond at a palace in the capital.  The Chinese go there for picnics now.

In the 1870s a Chinese worker in California had a savings bank for Chinese whose only security was that whites didn't know about it.  When that was learned he was attacked in a home invasion, tied up and robbed.  He cut off his Manchu pigtail which meant he could never go back to China and wrote to the imperial government that they should send an invincible fleet to attack and hold until the money was returned.  In 1875 the fleet sailed into Monterrey and fired their cannon with blank charges as a threat.  In a hilarious case of east/west misunderstanding the town thought it was a salute and quickly honored the fleet with a parade and the admiral was given the key to the city.  His impression was that this was some weird but wonderful western way of surrendering by throwing a party.  Then thinking that he had conquered the city he sent a messenger to go to the capital of the United States (somewhere up the coast, of course, as China is a very coastal country) and offer to return the city for the ransom of the missing bank money.  After a while the messenger did not return and it slowly dawned on the admiral not only what had happened but the mind-blowing fact that the US is a country comparable to China.  He never returned to face the consequences of failure and just became another Californian.  The fleet of junks rotted away at the docks.

As for the Communist military here's an incident from WWII.   Isolated Japanese units would find someone had sneaked up and left them a sort of Care package.  It was gifts from the Communists.   A soldier at one unit got a call and some Japanese voice on the line asked how they had liked the comfort packages.  At the question of who is this the voice said he was a defector to Mao Tse Tung.  Stunned silence.  Oh, yeah, said the voice, we have your phone lines tapped and trust me, you won't find where.  Then he asked the outpost to surrender.   They were asked several more times  by men yelling over the days to surrender by a deadline.  The People's Liberation Army had been tunneling under the outpost.  Then they blew it up.

Offline jeremy0

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Re: low tech cleverness
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2012, 05:00:44 PM »
^^ and there are the things I didn't know...   :)
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Offline kcrady

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Re: low tech cleverness
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2012, 07:57:30 AM »
Western wheelbarrows aren't immune to evolution. We generally have no need to transport goods over long distances by hand, hence our wheelbarrow of today has evolved into a device generally used to move materials over a short distance with the goal to tip the contents out in a forward motion. Hence the growth of the wheel bar at the front to leverage the load from and secure the wheelbarrow in place. Even the weaker, pink and lime green wheelbarrows of today share this feature.


The Chinese wheelbarrows described in the articles are still a superior design.  These "evolved" Western wheelbarrows still require the user to lift and carry much of the load's weight.  To dump it, you have to heave the load all the way up over the wheel.  If the wheel were placed at the center of gravity, it would bear the weight, and dumping would be a simple matter of tipping the load forward.  Its own weight would assist as the center of gravity shifts forward of the wheel.  I have seen Western wheelbarrows with two bicycle-style wheels mounted in the middle on an axle, which would provide the advantages of the Chinese design without as much of a need to balance the load around the wheel.

Edit: Also, the Chinese wheelbarrows didn't look nearly as garish. ;)

Ambulances, trucks, trains, cars and ships have all but made the transport wheelbarrow extinct today.

While the fossil fuels hold out...
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Offline MadBunny

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Re: low tech cleverness
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2012, 08:40:25 PM »
That image makes it look like the wheelbarrow is protesting being called weaker because it's pink and green.

"F-U-man" is how I read it.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: low tech cleverness
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2012, 08:56:23 PM »
Not sure if it was western or eastern cultures which gave us the axe, but I knew a bloke who had such a good one it lasted 70 years.

In all that time it only needed 1 new handle and 2 new heads.
Go on up you baldhead.

Offline jeremy0

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Re: low tech cleverness
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2012, 09:27:46 PM »
Not sure if it was western or eastern cultures which gave us the axe, but I knew a bloke who had such a good one it lasted 70 years.

In all that time it only needed 1 new handle and 2 new heads.
My golf drivers tend to only last about 1 season before the head starts separating from the shaft.. They don't make them like they used to.  My car only goes 160,000 miles before pleading for mercy.  Old cars - 240,000 miles until I did something wrong and killed it.  Shame..
"If you find yourself reaching for the light, first realize that it has already touched your finger."
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Online nogodsforme

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Re: low tech cleverness
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2012, 10:32:35 PM »
Not sure if it was western or eastern cultures which gave us the axe, but I knew a bloke who had such a good one it lasted 70 years.

In all that time it only needed 1 new handle and 2 new heads.

Oh, that Ozzie humor.... &)
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.