Soilbuilding – the Integral

Driving in a car converts energy contained in fuel into a change in position.  You get in the car because you want to arrive somewhere else, right?  You burn gas and accelerate the car forward and change its velocity in order to obtain that change in position.

But gas costs money!  If you don’t have a fancy screen that tells you your calculated distance/gallon, you crudely calculate your MPG from refilling an empty tank while looking at the odometer change.  The miles/gallons gives you your miles/gallon!  Is that number the secret to your ambition?

A better way to find out gas mileage could be to note the subtleties in local clusters of driving.  Including highway and backroad distinctions helps us understand the way our machine consumes energy in a deeper sense.  But what if we could dig deeper than that and observe data from a specific section of time on the highway, when, for instance, you amp up a speed to pass someone before settling back down.  Let us think about mapping out this process.

The “integral” is a technical term referring to the area under a curve- any curve.  It’s when you take, on micro-levels, the summation of all the contributions from a given function along each section of it.

Incidentally, some of the best models for human city traffic jams… are actually fluid dynamics.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

-Robert A. Heinlein

It makes you wonder when you see interconnectedness in the forms of things… all because you wanted to make sure you calculated gas milage efficiently and well.  In a sense, the banter of the city of modern man is unified in form with fundamental levels of natural happenings.  Thus is all of our ruin not only inevitable, but also sublime.