Work Well With Others

A lesson to be learnt. This website gets replaced every couple of years as I'm experimenting. Usually, everything gets deleted, but this important page remains.

I found this instructive page in the late 1990s when the web was young. The woodcut-style illustrations are marvellous but the coding of the page was terrible so I rebuilt my own version. Now rebuilt again…

Prepare materials

Take a wooden matchstick and slice a thin sliver from one side. Then cut the remaining stick in two, lengthwise. Make sure you leave a little of the red tip intact for effect. Discard one half.

Build plane

Make the aircraft by glueing the sliver of wood - the wing - across the remaining part of the matchstick - the fuselage. If you want, you can use little scraps to make a tail section. Or you can make a biplane. Or you can use a couple of thin slices of balsa to make a huge wing, one that will carry maybe twenty engines. Indulge your aeronautical whims. Think of lift, think of thrust, think of innovation without the benefit of an industrial policy.

Catch flies

Catch a bunch of flies. Put them in a jar and put the jar in the freezer. In a few seconds the flies will be chilled out completely. This is called cryogenics, and it has its drawbacks. For example, the flies will be dead flies if you freeze them too long. Dead flies are no good. So if you're a tinkerer, refrigerate your flies. It takes longer to make them comatose, but they have a higher recovery rate than the ones you leave in the freezer next to the burritos.


Meanwhile, put a tiny drop of rubber cement at each place along the wing where you want an engine.


Take the flies out of the freezer. Attach the abdomen of one frigid fly to each drop of glue. Make sure all the flies are facing the same direction.

Start up

Breathe life into the flies. A miracle: A gentle puff of your warm breath will resuscitate the flies.

Cooperate or die!

Launch the aircraft. It should fly like a charm, and, far from being cruel to the flies, you'll be teaching them a new and valuable thing, one that brings us to the virtue of this exercise. For we see that while flies think a lot alike, have a great deal in common, share many of the same hopes and dreams, they never act in concert, as a team, with regard for the worth of other, neighboring flies until forced to by grim circumstance - as, for example, when they are harnessed to fly and either first experience the exhilaration of high-altitude cooperation or die. Redeemed by such a critical choice, they'll soar like a glider, race like a Stealth, and, when overflying a barnyard or kennel, turn into a wicked-awesome dive-bomber.

Credit: this was originally at which now seems to have disappeared

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