The deadline is fast approaching, I have an angry PM glaring at me and telling me to hurry up, my wife is waiting for me in the restaurant and I’m still not done with my sludge digester. What to do?

“I know”, thought Mr Wong of multinational engineering consultancy beginning with the letter A, “I’ll pop in some illustrations of Japanese paper folding and add dimensions. No one will ever even notice!”

Mr Wong completed his task, left the office and made it to the restaurant on time. Hurrah! A win win championship result of results, surely? Well not quite, and don’t call me Shirley. The story of the deadline beating Mr Wong is pure fiction, but the methodology is not. The assumption here is that someone was in a real hurry and decided to fill up some drawing sheets with any old nonsense. So how do you get your project information out the door on time, every time? How do you make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? How do you polish a turd?

The answer to all your problems, if you are not aware, is folding. Paper folding, to be precise. In fact, to be even more precise, lots and lots of dimensioned origami birds on a drawing sheet. Alles klar, as they say in Deutschland? All right? Well, you may as well be in Germany or anywhere else for that matter, because it is not only paper that is being folded but the fabric of space and time itself. Or at least that was how my head felt when I first witnessed the madness of A1 drawing sheets, all properly entitled and set up, checked and signed by the PM, but with nothing shown but origami paper cranes. Howsaboutthatthen?

There were several different paper crane “designs”
Birdy go tweet tweet
A typical unrolled polished turd
Only design intent, not something really accurate? Phew! Thank goodness for that.

So, just like the origami solution, it turns out that the Japanese had the answer all along; dorodango. The same technique applied to night soil has the same effect.

By Bim Weasel

Born in 1900, in a block of cheese, Bim Weasel has had to struggle from day one. After eating his way out, bursting forth, like some kind of pasteurised Alien alternative, he began trading nuts and seeds before moving on to complex financial derivatives. After making his first million at the tender age of 13 and three quarters, he diversified into commodities. The outbreak of the First World War saw his fortunes rise yet further, as now the owner of copper, bauxite and iron mines in Papua New Guinea and Australia, and rubber plantations in the Dutch East Indies, his holdings shot up in value. The next decade saw Bim spend his fortune on women and fast cars, whilst the rest he just wasted. By the outbreak of World War Two, Bim was destitute and living as a tinker and shoe repairer in a coastal village in Sulawesi. Despite not being a Dutch national, his love of the colour orange saw him interned by Japanese Imperial forces. He was sentenced to execution and only saved at the last minute by a young Jedi. In gratitude Bim joined the Rebel Alliance and saw action on the forest moon of Endor, frozen Hoth and arid Tatooine. Upon his return to earth, with laurels upon his brow and feted as a war hero, he wanted nothing more than to return to nature and work the land; a simple agrarian lifestyle, far away from conflict. He kept a low profile and slipped from the public consciousness, his past largely forgotten and his true identity unknown to those few mortals who met him on his occasional forays into urban areas in search of cheap thrills and rice flour. He may have remained forgotten and unknown, wandering Southeast Asia as a vagabond, had he not overheard a conversation in a bar one night whilst on one of his jaunts into civilisation. A pair of businessmen were talking in hushed tones about a new disruptive force, sweeping all before it and trampling all over norms and customs the world over. No, this was not a US presidential candidate, but an American software developer called Autodesk, and in particular a product called Revit. Intrigued, Bim sought knowledge and found a ready source of pudgy, pallid and poorly dressed men from the damp isles of Britain; a cold and windswept outpost on the extreme fringes of Northern Europe. A destination even the all-conquering Roman legions decided to abandon due to its inhospitable climate, arcane traditions and warm beer. However, it turned out that living in fog and drizzle for three hundred days of the year also accelerated creativity and the ability to generate a seemingly endless number of Microsoft PowerPoint slideshows, as well as memes. Bim immediately felt comfortable in this land of sunlight starved and sexually repressed Gollums, and within a short time he had established himself as a purveyor of some of the finest slideshows, Yammer posts and memes. Bim travelled the world, expounding eager audiences with tales of 15-20% efficiency gains, whilst providing little or no hard evidence. It was like a dream come true for Bim, having felt that he had discovered his true calling! The rise of Bim has since been vertiginous, with almost all nations, states, principalities and fiefdoms seeing the benefits Bim brought, but with one stubborn exception; Hong Kong. Seeing it as almost his divine duty, Bim took it upon himself to conquer that semi-submerged volcanic caldera in the South China Sea. He has been there ever since. Hong Kong still stubbornly refuses to accept Bim, yet still he persists. Now entering the third decade of his second century of existence, he feels sufficiently knowledgeable to be able to pass on some of his experiences, here in this blog. Read on, brave adventurer!

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