Wednesday, June 1, 2011

On Rube Goldberg and Simplicity

So, I'm more than a little impressed with this machine.  If not for the Lego engineering skills that I know this required, than for the sheer number of Lego pieces required.  To the unseen maker of this work: Sir, I applaud you.

(Here's a fun bit of trivia: Go through and count how many balls there were.  Do you have any idea how many lego soccer and lego basketball kits that must have taken?  Plus, I counted at least fifteen different Lego programming modules.  That's a whole lot of fiddling around to make that work.)

Here's a fun fact about Elder Tryon:  He loves Legos.  (You know, this Google spellcheck is really annoying.  It keeps insisting that Lego in the singular is correct, but lego, legos, and Legos are not.  I say, "Hang the code! They're more like guidelines anyway!" and a cookie to the first person to name that movie.)  Anyway, Elder Tryon loves legos.  He has a great big box of them at home, accumulated over more than twelve years of scrimping and saving money from yard work, gift cards, and begging Mom for more legos.  And from personal experience, he knows just how hard it is to make a big project.

I think that the closest that I've ever come to making something like this was back in ninth grade.  They had us do a project on Rube Goldberg, a cartoonist back from the 19th century.  He made a lot of cartoons, depicting machines that accomplish a simple purpose in complex ways.  I'd say the most well known adaptation would be the game Mousetrap. You turn the crank, which turns the gear that hits the lever, which collides with the boot, kicking over the bucket containing the marble which rolls down the ramps, down another ramp, which knocks into a large pole.  The pole then shoves a larger marble down a ramp, into a bathtub, through the hole in the tub down onto a small see-saw.  The weight of the steel marble sends the man on the other end of the see-saw flying through the air into a bucket.  The force of the impact sends a small cage falling down a pole, trapping the unsuspecting mouse below. 

My project back then was a device to turn off my alarm using dominoes, a rat-trap, string, scissors, a lego robot, and lots of legos.  Not that all of this blabbing really has anything to do with what my point is.

There's a number of reasons, but the simplest reason that I quit most of my Lego projects is that I run out of pieces, time, or interest.  It requires planning, accounting, and careful placement of resources.  That's usually why reasons number two and three come about.

That's kind of why most things fail in life, I think.  Either we run out of materials because of lack of planning, or we run out of interest or time.

I've found that generally, it's good to apply the rule found in Occam's Razor:  The simplest explanation [or plan] is usually the right one.

For me, the best plan is always the simplest.  All we need to do is apply what God tells us.  He always knows what is best for us, and wants the best.  If we work according to the plan that he gives us, we'll always come out wiser and happier.  I know this.   Getting into heaven is deceptively simple: It only has five steps:

  1. Believe in Jesus Christ to the point that you'll get out and do stuff.
  2. Repent, in other words change your life to be like God wants it to be.
  3. Be baptized by someone holding the proper priesthood authority.
  4. Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
  5. Endure to the end, which means you do steps 1 and 2 for the rest of your life.
If we do this, we will go to heaven.  I hope to see all of you there.

Also, a small music video to go along with this:

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