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Mappings... - Lines in the Sand [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
David

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Mappings... [Jan. 5th, 2004|11:59 pm]
David
Imagine an n-dimensional space filled with beams of indefinite size, pin-jointed at the ends to others. The beams themselves are light, but shifting winds play through the ever-changing network of the structure, following their own determinism; it twists and flexes, though only by a small angle. The chaotic or random way in which the beams are added has obliterated any initial order or pattern, but still from time to time (as if by chance) pockets of order appear - regular polygons of three, four, ten beams, neatly resting in a reciprocal frame under and over, under and over, while all around entropy rules.

It may be the winds themselves, or it may be the changing temperature of the air they bring and different thermal expansivities of the slightly different alloys making up the beams, or it may be something else entirely. Whatever the cause there are tensions in the struts. Creaks can be heard, transmitted more through the fabric of the structure itself than the fluid around them and thus seeming to originate everywhere simultaneously.

What, then, is the analysis? Will the edifice fall down, or will it stay up? No-one knows where to put the support reactions or what they are, and even if they did, the Equation of a Maxwell (or an Equation of the Maxwell) prevents further knowledge through insufficient constraints. The nearest one can say is that when a beam snaps or a joint fails, then yes, that was the tension then, there. But by that time the world has changed, intangible entities (or possibly conveniently imaginary constructs) constantly in motion. No-one can be sure, even of one single beam; and the tension in every single beam branches out through the web to direct the whole world.
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