The Shear (Sheer) Moment of Inertia, or The Philosopher’s Shed

Lately I’ve been referring to my Holy Ghost building as a sauna cabana, but maybe an equally good name (especially when talking to the “revenuers” aka the building inspectors) is a Philosopher’s Shed. Since I am committed to my building being a mobile phone and wi-fi-free zone, I will certainly be doing a lot of thinking out there since I’ll have fewer distractions.

Even the planning process feels very philosophical. Yesterday I sat in my local big-box bookstore reading about things like the Golden Section and dynamic rectangles, and today while looking for the answer to a very practical question (which is stronger: a 2 x 6 or a 4 x 4?) I discovered a very philosophical-sounding concept called The Moment of Inertia. Also sounds like a punk band, but I digress.

Everybody knows that change is hard. In my case, I only ever change when the cost of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing.  Likewise, sometimes it’s hard to keep on keeping on, to remain steadfast and upright under adverse conditions.  Personally, I am lousy at self-improvement. But it turns out that’s nothing to be ashamed of: even wood feels the same way, caught between the desire to stand up straight and the desire to bend under stress.

Here’s the math: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20111119181716AAblLGx

And a table: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/wood-beams-strength-d_1480.html

When building anything, a life, a cabana, a henhouse, the trick is to create the conditions in which it’s easier to stand up than to succumb.