Knots on Mars
December 15, 2016 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Knots on Mars : "It might surprise most people to learn that multitudes of knots tied in cords and thin ribbons have probably traveled on every interplanetary mission ever flown. If human civilization ends tomorrow, interplanetary landers, orbiters, and deep space probes will preserve evidence of both the oldest and newest of human technologies for thousands, if not millions of years."
posted by dhruva (32 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't know why I find myself enjoying articles like this, that I can best term as self pre-archaeological navel gazing, but I do.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:08 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


WHOA. Talk about things I've never thought about but seems obvious now: KNOTS IN SPACE.
"Serious knot history buffs" outgassing and knots and. . . and. . .NASA KNOT TYING

NASA knot tying! I just! this is just the best thing, such a delightful confluence of knowledge and details one doesn't think about and someone DID and wrote about it and I just. . .this is just DELIGHTFUL. THANK YOU.

Also now I'm thinking about that amazing Tumblr post about our robots on Mars and how we named them Curiosity and Discovery because we thought it was important and next time I read that I'll be imagining the knots on them that came all the way from when we first learned to sail and I JUST whoa I think I'm crying.
posted by barchan at 9:11 AM on December 15, 2016 [29 favorites]


Related
posted by TedW at 9:16 AM on December 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


We were voyagers!
posted by Artw at 9:16 AM on December 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


The constrictor knot lives up to its name, respect the constrictor.
posted by bdc34 at 10:13 AM on December 15, 2016


"Communication intercepts reveal that the Earth humans were generally malicious and disorganized, which eventually led to their destruction, but the surviving physical artifacts recovered from interstellar space indicate that they really took pride in their cable ties."
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:22 AM on December 15, 2016 [11 favorites]


Related

This is sadly more or less a double- the planetary.org article is just a slight rewrite of the IGKT post. That said, I vote for keeping it, since the NASA workmanship standards are among my favourite standards ever. I understand why it's happening, but it's a little sad that they're replacing them with IPC.

Thanks a lot, 1995 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119 on Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities!
posted by zamboni at 10:55 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have long been fascinated by knots, and their history. Who was the first human to devise a Clove Hitch or a Bowline, knots so essential that they are among the first anyone learns?

I have several books on knots, including the definitive "Ashley Book of Knots," yet I know knots that aren't in the books.

Knotting has a logic and a set of principles that occur nowhere else. It is a subject that is endless.
posted by Repack Rider at 11:10 AM on December 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


from the title i thought this was going to be a chuck tingle thread
posted by poffin boffin at 11:11 AM on December 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


I work as an entertainment electrician, so we might run a few dozen miles of cable during a single install. On truss and pipes for most venues we use a clove hitch with a bow knot in all our ties, mostly because they can be easily moved or removed repeatedly.

Awesome post, thanks for this. Everyone in my studio is now reading it.
posted by nevercalm at 11:15 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I work as an entertainment electrician

I know this isn't what you mean, but I would totally go see a stage show featuring feats of wire fishing, exotic tools, and hostile-city-inspector taming.
posted by cmoj at 11:48 AM on December 15, 2016 [14 favorites]


This right here is why I come to metafilter. No where else would I have even learned such a thing exists. Excelsior!
posted by ShawnString at 12:07 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Man, that's great. I've always found knots pretty interesting as a whole class of mathetmatical objects, but have never really gotten into a headspace where I could (uh) untangle knot theory and really get into it. Somehow, the marriage of theory and pragmatism, and of space-age and bronze-age tech, really hits a sweet spot for me in terms of hope for the species.
posted by cortex at 12:15 PM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


cmoj: I know this isn't what you mean, but I would totally go see a stage show featuring feats of wire fishing, exotic tools, and hostile-city-inspector taming.

It would be a great opening act for AC/DC
posted by dr_dank at 12:19 PM on December 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


I have several books on knots, including the definitive "Ashley Book of Knots"

I've always thought it odd that there was only one great book for such an ancient human art. How strange would it be if there was only one definitive book on cooking? Imagine saying "it's in the farm book" and have everyone know which book you mean, because there was only one authoritative book on farming.
posted by ryanrs at 12:45 PM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


More Knotts in space
posted by nathan_teske at 1:06 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've always thought it odd that there was only one great book for such an ancient human art.

Having tied decorative and practical knots for decades, I'm "not" the guy you want to get started on the subject. I dare not link to my own website due to forum rules, but I have a photo of an original knot I am pretty sure no one else ever tied, and which may never be tied again. There is still room for creativity in knots, despite their history dating back to the dawn of humanity.

Knots are a subset of topology. There is a fascinating mathematical component to them, as well as logic, "families" of related knots, a specific vocabulary, and basic principles that apply to the form and function.

It stands to reason that there is a definitive work on the subject, but it is far from the only, and some of the others I have are pretty good. It's just that Ashley took it beyond compiling knots, he created a theory of knots and defined many principles for the first time, as well as adding new knots based on his own theories.

In compiling his wonderful work, Clifford Ashley invented an entirely new category and family of knots, the solid sinnet. I have worked a few of these, which require a loom and the numbering the strands up to 61 for the most complex, which has a cross section of a five pointed star.
posted by Repack Rider at 1:19 PM on December 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


some of the others I have are pretty good

Can you please link them? I am always looking for more knot books.
posted by ryanrs at 1:22 PM on December 15, 2016


The best one I have after Ashley is probably in your library, The Encyclopedia of Knots and Fancy Rope Work.

The one I would like to get is Darcy Lever's 1808 Sheet Anchor, which Ashley cites as one of the first references on the subject.
posted by Repack Rider at 1:33 PM on December 15, 2016


I dare not link to my own website due to forum rules

I'm pretty sure you can link to your own site in the comments; you just can't make an FPP that lists your own work.

So please, provide the link!
posted by suelac at 1:38 PM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


As a moderator I hereby (a) confirm that including the occasional topical self-link in a comment (rather than a post) is totally okay and (b) insist that you do so immeeeeeeeeadiately.
posted by cortex at 1:54 PM on December 15, 2016 [12 favorites]


I have a photo of an original knot I am pretty sure no one else ever tied, and which may never be tied again

I fucking love this website so much
posted by penduluum at 2:19 PM on December 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


pretty cool, but no mention of quipu?
posted by mollymillions at 4:26 PM on December 15, 2016


Ah, this awakens the long quiescent Boy Scout in me...
posted by jim in austin at 4:58 PM on December 15, 2016


OK, that's funny.. I hadn't read the article but it seemed like it would be right up a friend of mine's alley so I was going to send him the link. Turns out I don't need to; he wrote it..
posted by Nerd of the North at 5:55 PM on December 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Okay, here is a photo of a knot that I tied myself, and that is unlikely to ever be tied again.
posted by Repack Rider at 8:25 PM on December 15, 2016 [12 favorites]


26 comments in, and nobody's done a 'knots landing' gag yet?

Shocking lapse in standards.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:38 AM on December 16, 2016


And goodbye down the rabbit hole of Wikipedia's knot pages for me! I just looked up and it's 45 minutes later. Awesome stuff.
posted by corvikate at 9:12 AM on December 16, 2016


That's beautiful, Repack Rider.
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:39 AM on December 16, 2016


This is also known as cable lacing, which is pretty fascinating in itself.
posted by eclectist at 11:01 AM on December 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Art Zemon just posted this video showing how easy it is to lace wire (link goes right to the action).
posted by exogenous at 6:02 AM on December 20, 2016


navel gazing

Right where somebody tied a knot once.
posted by emelenjr at 6:25 AM on December 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


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