Sunday, March 1

The Rectilinear Species

This picture brought home an aspect of how we humans make our mark. Here we are, on a spherical planet surrounded by spherical objects moving in round or elliptical orbits. Whole galaxies tend to be round; nary a straight line to be found.

So why do we build our cities on square grids, using straight-line roads and building sides? Square windows, doorways, even whole rooms. Sitting at square tables, we think of moving in a straight line toward our goals. One of the rare spherical things that we tend to do is gain weight so our bellies come to resemble the moon.

Sure, we make things round when that’s the only way they’ll work. A car with square tires might look nice, but it’ll just sit there looking nice, not taking us places. We describe a trip to a destination and return as a round trip even though the roads may be straight.

I'll see if I can sort through this stuff and come straight to an answer. That is if I get around to it.


Susan said...

If you Google Round Tuit and check out the images that come up, you will have one of your very own.

Pete S. said...

Rulers are cheaper than compasses and French curves. I thought that was why all our stuff is straight.

Tom Hurley said...

Pete S: But start at the beginning—a line in the sand was first drawn way before the invention of the ruler. And I dare anyone to draw, freehand, a straight line.