Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Diagonal Relationship

The Tiny House Movement is a project for people to build minute dwelling places, often on wheels.  Although I'm unlikely ever to do it, building a tiny house appeals to me because I like the idea of something which is achievable with my meagre skills and without reliance on others.  It's not that I don't want to rely on others as such, just that large groups of people tend to become gangs which are hard to trust, and if you have principles, they might not be the same as those of the people in the group, so you're thrown back on your own resources so you can hold yourself accountable for what you do and not step on anyone's toes.
However, if you do have a tiny house, you have to have somewhere to put it, and that involves renting and owning land, and then you get involved in the whole relying on others thing again.  Therefore, my thought was that it should be on wheels and put at the top of a valley like this:
You put it at the top of a hill and let it trundle down the side until it gets to the bottom, then it starts going up the other side before turning round and coming back again, and so on, and with correct positioning it moves between several different landowners, which makes it a bit more complicated for them to take legal action against you.

Or I could just put it here:

which believe it or not is actually mine officially.

Tiny houses are not as tiny as they might be.  They lead me to wonder how big the absolute smallest square room I could live in would be.  You might at first think that that would be around a thousandth of a nautical mile along each side, but you'd be wrong, although I am in fact close to a thousandth of a nautical mile in height, meaning that if you were to travel along me at one knot, it would take approximately 3.6 seconds.

In fact, a cube 1.852 metres on a side would have a volume of 6.35 cubic metres, roughly, which is about the volume of an adult African elephant so it's not really that small.  On the other hand, I could lie down in a cube which is 1.852 metres along the diagonal of one of its faces, which is around 1.31 metres on a side or 2.25 cubic metres, which I reckon is smaller than most rhinos.  Here we see the diagonal rear its head for the first time.

That's still too big though, because there is also the line between opposite corners of the cube is also a diagonal, such as top left and bottom right.  Suppose that's also 1.852 metres.  That then means that the diagonal of the face is itself only 1.3 metres, and the side of the face then becomes only 92.6 centimetres long.  This means I can just about live inside a box with a volume of a cubic metre.  To be comfortable inside that cube, it would need to have one corner facing straight up and another straight down, but that's fine.  It would be a bit cramped, but OK.

That would truly be a tiny house.  It could be made still smaller if I adopted a foetal position, but that's uncomfortably Freudian.

Now consider this route:

This is just over a kilometre, and to follow it you would have to walk through, for example, five houses on Black Griffin Lane, not to mention about twice as many back gardens.  Nor is it a straight line because it's on a curved surface.  Canterbury is located on a planet, so there is a shorter route between its train stations via a tunnel plunging through the archaeologically interesting depths of the Dane John.

Not practical then.  It shares this with the idea of living in a box with a volume of one cubic metre.  A more practical route looks like this:

This route is about 50% longer.

All these notions are based on Pythagoras's Theorem, that the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the two adjacent sides of a right angled triangle, like this:

These are of course referred to in trigonometry as the opposite, adjacent and hypotenuse sides.  I have jokingly sometimes imagined that not only is there an opposite gender, but that there are also adjacent  and hypotenuse ones.  The only drawback to this is that it doesn't seem to make any sense.  Except it does.

It's impractical to pursue a straight line between genders, and also undesirable because it involves walking straight through people's homes on Black Griffin Lane if one does.  A more practical route would involve following the curved route along Rheims Way and going along St Dunstan's Street.  This is in fact what most people do, because gender is not a scale with female and male at opposite ends, but a landscape with various landmarks on it.  Therefore, my gender might be the Dane John Mound and yours might be the Cathedral or Westgate.  There is not just one variable which can be tweaked between female and male, in any sense.  Nonetheless, there are definite addresses in the city of gender, and I occupy one right now, and you occupy another.  However, it's not like a street with houses from 1 to 100 on it because there is no one thing which makes you a woman or a man, or even places you somewhere on that single street.

That was just a whole random load of stuff dumped out of my head.  Worked out OK in the end though, didn't it?