Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hotu Iti: The Next Steps

We are headed back to Kualoa Ranch on the north shore of Hawai'i this week for another round of moai walking.  This event is sponsored by National Geographic and NipponTV and will (possibly) produce footage for the already-filmed Nat Geo documentary as well as a new one for NipponTV.  The NipponTV version will have its own host - as I understand it - a Japanese movie star or some other notable figure.

The stakes have been raised for this round of experiments.  Now that we know the basics of walking the moai we are challenged to walk it further, walk it uphill and downhill and to demonstrate how it can be maneuvered in tight quarters.  I think we can accomplish that but given the fact we have to learn everything as we do it (there is no off-camera prep time) it could be hairy.  Moving it 100 meters should be a no brainer as our experiments showed that this is really very simple -- its just a matter of time - very little in the way of brute strength.

I'd also like to see how few people we need to move the statue.  I suppose the way to do that is start with our existing number and then eliminate individuals systematically until we can't get it to move any more. This should give us a better idea of the investment constraints when moving the statue (the lower end that is, since more people can always be added on). There are upper limits to the contribution adding "more people" have on the movement process -- at some point no additional individuals will make a measurable difference.

I am also going to pay more attention to the steps the statue takes -- how high are they, how far forward does it rock when it takes a step, etc.  It'd be good to see if the curvature of the front edge predicts the size of the step taken (I suspect it does given the physics involved).  That way we can then model statues of different sizes and shapes in terms of the characteristics of their walks.  Perhaps there are different kinds of steps done by different statues perhaps intended by their carvers. That could be an interesting stylistic aspect of statue walking to explore.

It's going to be a busy weekend - and rainy it seems.

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