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Moving Heavy Things Hardcover – Mar 1 2005
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About the Author
Jan Lee Adkins was born on the Ohio River in West Virginia and raised in Wheeling. He studied architecture at Ohio State University and apprenticed as a designer for several years. He shifted his major to literature and creative writing and graduated, after more than eight years of university, with a plain BA.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The anecdotes the author uses to explain the ingenious tools and techniques people have come up with to "move their heavy things", are so well written and sometimes humorous you'll find yourself reading them just for entertainment, even if you never have a need to move anything. With drawings as witty as the writing, this book honors the ingenuity of our forebears, before the age of the hydraulic brutes that do all our work for us today. Farmers, sailors, pioneers, builders of all kinds, have solved these problems, and this book passes on this clever heritage.
The pen and ink drawings are entertaining, and illustrate clearly how these tools and techniques work. One beauty is the trick of standing a tombstone up on ice cubes to facilitate positioning it over its base stone as the ice melts... without a scratch!
Adkins outlines a number of principles our grandfathers followed to arrive at elegant solutions, while minimizing sweat and risk of injury. Two of my favorites are "Applied Sloth" and "The Geezer Ploy". I could go on, but why give away too much? Treat yourself or your favorite "mover of heavy things" to this little gem. It's worth every penny! I tried to buy a copy a few years ago, but was told it was out of print. I'm delighted to see it available again. I have a few more friends in mind...
The focus is on simple mechanics, and manages to cover a broad range of concepts through explanation and illustration rather than with discussions of vectors, equations and complex formulas. Without mentioning terms such as kinematics or dynamics, it gives readers a feel for what the real life effects of weight distribution, centering, friction, pulleys, and wedges are on moving day to day objects of the larger varieties.
It covers everything from block and tackle to enough different knots to impress a Boy Scout. Some of it might be too advanced for many pre-teens, but even older teens and "young adults" might consider it a fun casual read. It's not meant to be a scientific or field manual in any literal sense, but even a non technical adult might be able to walk away with a better understanding of the world because of it. It's not completely free of formulas or calculations either, but a solid foundation of arithmetic is all that should be needed to make sense of them.
Each page depicts explanation and/or diagram that clearly shows how you would use a little brawn and a lot of brain to move heavy things. While this might be an austere proposal, I have used this rather effectively in class for students up here in the Canadian North. There are "camps", or more precisely "cottages" galore, and they are breeding grounds for physical problems. I would think that every teenager would like to actually show up their parents in some regard, and for that reason, this book has worked for me.
The tricks to working with Friction for example, are easily demonstrated in class, and used in a particular situation or two.
Using the "swigging" technique, or what I call the "tiny taper technique" is an exceptionally wonderful demonstration, and the mathematics and physics behind it ruthlessly simple. The applications to this are enormously relevant to anyone.
I could go on and on, but let me assure you that this book is filled with wonderful examples that motivate students to apply what you want them to learn. What could be better?
I have not meant to keep this secret, but in the twilight years of my physics teaching career I would like to make sure that this book filled with persistently applicable situations, is used by more and more physics teachers. You won't regret it at all.