.citycycling

.opposite

I like elegance. It has a myriad of types, the most popular one being the swooping lines and graceful movement of such divine creatures as a swan or a ballet dancer using a Russian to evoke a swan. The kind I wish to wax lyrical on today is that of the cunning engineer. Not so much that of the engineers themselves, unless they happen to be oft found clad in a tutu whilst being lithe, but that of their wonderful toys. A device that does what it's intended to without any fuss or fútering and with as little energy wasted as the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics allows is probably elegant to the eye and ear, but certainly to any mathematically trained brain that happens across it.

Some inventions are so beautifully simple and efficient I could idyll in a bath of them to a soundtrack of decadent synth and lather the cleavage of every fold on my cerebellum with their elegance.

Inelegance, on the other hand is an affront the mind at least and most likely to the eyes, ears and often nose. A swan taking off, slapping the water like a Buckfasted ned being filmed by a cackling spearcarrier with a stolen iPhone is as fine as example of clumsiness and wasted effort as one could ask for.

It won't take the most subtle of intuition to work out that I consider bicycles to be elegant, but while I shall duly pay their verbal tribute in good course, I'd like to draw your attention to some loveliness that accompanies them.

The LED could be said to hide its light under a bushel, if one is content to talk in allusion, or more Yorkshirely, in shite. The actual light they tend to emit is a vile electric blue that I only grudgingly admit is a sensible choice for reasons of retinal absorption, but their elegance lies in their physics. What happens a few tera-trillion times a second in an LED is that one electron will pop down from a high energy level, supplied by the battery(or if one is being especially splendid, a dynamo) to a lower one, releasing one of those fugly photons with a little fuss as a skittery little baby otter of a turd being bumblarted on a sweaty day. Compare and contrast with the incandescent light found in many another setting. They simply pour energy into a wire until it gets terribly terribly hot, and throws out a motley crew of light, most of which our eyes don't even absorb.

By way of comparison, an LED is like a phonecall to a modelling agency. One phone call goes in, one model of the requested size, age, gender and height comes out A light bulb is like King Kong shaking a treeful of drag queens till one falls out that's close enough to pass for Fay.

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