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Author: Lutz Pietschker
Version: 2010-01-01

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...just some of the thoughts I cared to write down.


The mystic Greek Daidalos (or Dädalus, as the name is spelt sometimes) ist the prototype of the engineering profession: He was well experienced in more than one topic of the technology known at his time. He was technological advisor to the Cretan king Minos, he built a contraption that enabled the kings's wife to have intercourse with a bull, and he disposed of the result of this intercourse (the Minotaurus, as it was called) by devising a huge labyrinth from which nobody could escape (where they promptly put the beast into). (By the way: As you can see, he not only worked faithfully for his superiors but also was interested more in the technical side of his constructions than moral questions about the later usage. Fairly typical for the profession I fear.)
Daidalos did by no means become rich in the job- on the contrary, in the end he had to fear for his life because he knew too much of his employer's secrets. And here we come to most famous (and at the same time, most instructive) story about him: Defeating the laws of physics, he built wings for himself and for his son Icarus (Ahh! So you have heard of Icarus?) to flee into freedom. He warned his son not to fly to high for else his wings, which were made (recycably!) from wax and feathers, might dissolve in the heat. So what happened? Exactly what you might expect: While Daidalos flew into freedom securely, his son Icarus flew too high, the wings melted, and he fell to his death into the Aegean Sea, becoming quite famous in the process.

Now I will tell you in modern terms what happened: An ingenious mechanic had devised and built a technical miracle, gave precise instructions how to use it, and it worked. A user, however, managed to become famous by ignoring these instructions while the inventor was nearly forgotten. It's so up-to-date! The only difference is that today Daidalos would even have been sued afterwards.

Spoonerisms, Haikus

Beyond the limit
just one tiny step too far
the longest journey.

written after a nearly-fatal equipment failure during a high-altitude parachute jump

Sorry, some things work only in one language:

At the Butcher's:

Das Schwein um seinen Schinken weint.
weil ihm der Tod zu winken scheint.

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, last change 2011-03-12