• Combined Endeavor, Lager Aulenbach, Baumholder, Germany

    by  • May 7, 2007 • Hexayurt, Personal • 0 Comments

    Sea of flags on the hill, with massive cable runs all over the place.

    Mostly various kinds of radio and computer guys, working to make systems internationally interoperable. Testing testing.

    Nearly everybody is either in camo (various nations, you get to know the pattern by eye) or the “working contractor” uniform (a particularly functional, I-work-18-hours-a-day kind of business casual). I’m a suit. The context of being DOD rather than with one of the services, of being an “ideas guy” etc…

    Very odd. Very odd indeed. Rather fun, though.

    Today’s mission: build a hexayurt. Small size, fully folding. Quite fiddly, everything connects to everything else (of course.) How to do the hinges, how to do the tape, how to work with the small local materials. 4×8 is available, but is a six-week lead time special order (yuck.) Should we have gone with cardboard and varnished it on site? No way to tell.

    At least the tape is right. I made a tape anchor this morning and it is deeply right and solid. I tell people this right here is the innovation – it’s not the panels, it’s not the shape, it’s the tape anchor. Without the tape anchor, there is nothing. It’s the kind of insight which only comes from building things and having them not work. Once seen, it’s too simple, too obvious.

    I probably won’t be able to take pictures here, but I’m going to try and get somebody to shoot some video and perhaps I can get some stills from there.

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    Vinay Gupta is a consultant on disaster relief and risk management.


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