Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Science East and West

While we were trying to work out the window problem, there was a moment of cultural mismatch where the Europeans sat down, having solved the problem and thinking about the solution while the Japanese were trying to see the problem.

It reminded me of Tanizaki  complaining about western science, and how much more suited it would have been to Japanese sensibilities and the Japanese temperament if science had been invented in the east.

The Fenstermeister said that science worked the same in Japan as in Germany. I understood exactly what he was talking about, and could see the cause of the problem. We share the same physics, although what I may attribute to Newton, they would claim for Leibniz. 

And perhaps it goes back to Leibniz and his contemporaries Descartes in France and Spinoza in Holland who turned the world upside down by putting rational thought at the foundation, and building a world in our heads where our observations fall in place to support abstract theories.

Or maybe it was a language barrier and I failed to translate what they were talking about into Japanese.

Or perhaps the Europeans were wrong and their explanation of a sagging rail was not the reason for the problem. Having laid the probable blame on installation in this post, I also wonder whether design was a factor. 

There are only two hinges and a slider on a rail holding three window panes of 80 kg. That's a total of 240kg. Each hinge will take a maximum weight of 130kg, so if the weight is all being held by the hinges, there is not much margin for error. When the window is closed there should be no problem, but when the window is open or moving, the load is not static but is dynamic as 80 kg panes are twisting, turning, accelerating and decelerating. 

I suggested it may be sensible to have three hinges on this kind of door, and asked how many triple-leafed, triple-glazed windows they have produced of this size, and I'm still waiting for an answer.