Related to MAKE 03, MakeShift
MakeShift 03: Analysis, Commentary, and Winners
by William Lidwell
November 01, 2005
In many respects, this was the most difficult MakeShift to date. No prior art to consider. No books to read. No people who had done it before to consult—well, there is one person. In the category, "truth is often stranger than fiction"; I was actually charged with accomplishing the MakeShift 03 challenge in real life a few years ago. To be fair, my supplies and budget were not quite as limited as the MakeShift supply list, but the essence of the problem was the same: real estate mogul, heroic fiberglass cow, sky crane, hurricane season, and excess bravado. I am happy to report that the installation survived several severe thunderstorms and one tropical storm—all sleepless nights for me—before it was finally brought down and auctioned off for charity.
My nights were sleepless because as with most MakeShift-type problems, the variables affecting the solution were typically complex and fuzzy in nature. The best one can do with such problems is strive to understand them as much as possible and then employ strategies like redundancy, factors of safety, and weak links in your design to offset the risks of all the things you don't know. In many respects, the process is as much art as a science. Additionally, respecting the aesthetic of the cow sculpture was also a requirement. A number of submissions pointed out that a person at ground level wouldn't be able to see a cow mounted on a 40-story crane. I can tell you from personal experience that a life-size cow dressed like Super Man on a sky crane brings out all manner of rooftop gawkers and tourists with telephoto lenses. So the impact of the proposed solution on the appearance of the cow mattered in reality and in my evaluation.
Thanks to the MAKE readers who dared to take on the makeshift madness of MakeShift 03 and keep Super Cow's hooves firmly planted on the crane. Hopefully, you will never hear, "It's a bird … it's a plane …" the same way again.
Winners receive MAKE T-shirts to celebrate and show off their unique brand of genius and the ultimate MakeShift Master tool—the SWISSMEMORY USB Victorinox 512MB—equally useful for hiking and hacking. Honorable mentions get fame and recognition for their excellent contributions. In exchange, we at MAKE expect great things. Go forth and solve the world's problems!
The winners of the MakeShift 03 challenge are:
Congratulations to the MakeShift Masters and the Honorable Mentions (applause … accolades … bowing). All did a great job of taking on this difficult problem and communicating their solutions in a fun and effective manner. I encourage all readers to study these winning entries and share this link with your friends. And speaking on behalf of my fellow Gulf Coasters, let the hurricane season end already. Until the next MakeShift challenge, happy making!
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