The Big “No Surprise”


Now here’s a curious story over on C|Net (Link): a company is being credited with figuring out that spiral forms are efficient and useful in solving problems that involve fluids; specifically mechanical design problems (fans, impellers, aso). Well, at the risk of sounding like a know-it-all … no duh.

As far as I’m concerned, most of us shouldn’t be at all surprised at this “breakthrough”; at least anyone who has watched water drain from a sink, or stared at the mini-whirlpool that forms in a drinking glass while stirring. And if you’ve rented the movie Pi you most certainly shouldn’t be surprised (the movie is about some guy obsessed with … what else? … spirals).

But then again, there are those who dismiss anything that doesn’t match the rigidity of current theory:

They approached scientists at Stanford and MIT to get feedback on the theories, but they experienced a lot of initial push-back. “People would say, ‘You’re building a model in the shape of a shell? That’s certifiable,'” Harman recalled.

Once again, no surprise to me that a bunch of academics will casually dismiss someone who doesn’t have a piece of dried animal skin with foreign words and a wax seal decorating it hung on their wall to prove they can think. One can only wonder how many truly good ideas were brow-beaten into obscurity by an incredulous horde of uppities.

Anyway, so far no surprises for most of us.

But wait, here’s another opportunity for surprise. The company, PAX Scientific, is calling itself an “industrial design firm”, even though the founder isn’t credited in the story as having an industrial design degree (closest he appears to have come was dabbling in comparative religion) . The company’s work sure doesn’t sound like something design*sponge would care about. And even on the other end of the ID spectrum, how many IDers are engineering impellers? None that I know of or ever expect to hear about. This sure looks like just another case of “diluted occupation syndrome” to me. Sadly, there’s no surprise here either.

Well, there you have it: the Big “No Surprise”. The only possible surprise afaic is that someone with more than a little common sense broke through the barriers erected by everyone that doesn’t want someone else to succeed. But that’s not really “surprise”. That’s more like … astounding.

{Image Copyright © 2005 PAX Scientific, Inc. }