But what if your goal is to make something new? Then I think you have to tinker and experiment. Fool around. Try new things. Even things that you think will not work.
Tinkering and experimenting does not exclude thinking and using apriori as well as experienced data.
As a matter of fact, even the wackiest inventor does exactly that; Using what's known is a compulsive behavior for all of mankind - even if you see lots of examples that seems to contradict that
That's a way to steer clear of most bad things - like a 5 year old that pinch a hand in a door because he held the edge of the door closing it... The next time he'll use the handle (if he's not deeply retarded, but then there's other patterns of behavior he'll try to avoid.
And anyone that tries a thing that he thinks will really not work is worse than the retarded kid, as he's acting against his better judgment.
Here's a couple of examples:
Jump off a 5 story building... You think that it'll have a bad outcome, but did you ever try.
Drive in the middle of the road, or better yet, drive in the wrong side...
A very very very few things are discovered by accident (usually of the chemical persuasion), but for the rest of discoveries done by mankind, there's an idea, calculations (based in known physics etc.) to see whether it's worth your while and experiments only come after it turns out promising on paper.
What you're suggesting is something like this:I don't think this 5 kg steel ball will fly if I glue feathers on it, so I'll just spend a few hours experimenting with it.
Planning in that case is more a drawback than an asset. Why? Because if you look at the history of science, from engineering to medicine to geology, people first discover new ideas and only then figure out the science behind them.
Yes. Idea -> Applying previously collected knowledge -> If still sound, break out your calculator, pen and paper -> If still sound, start experimenting etc.
The only time (longwinded) planning is bad, is when eg. someone is trapped under a tilted bookshelf. At all other times, planning is a must and we do a lot of it each day subconsciously.
How can you plan a path to somewhere if you do not know where you are going?
If you don't know where you're going, you're not gonna get there
People rarely achieves anything without a goal. Even a true kook that sets out to make a car run on water to save energy knows what he's striving for.
So the goal is known, but without knowing "how stuff behave", they skip the "apply known..." and "calculator" phases and start building.
Since they think that their confused thoughts will revolutionize the world and as such have placed themselves high up on a pedestal (made of ivory, no doubt), the simple fact that their experiments never lead to anything working doesn't really distract them unnecessarily and they starts yelling about this being such a refined topic that engineers/scientists/whatever simply doesn't understand the concepts (mostly after they have gained a fan base of equally thinking (or equally not thinking)).
And that's where they're actually right... I cannot fathom why anyone would think that he can get energy out of stirring an overgrown bucket of water (even if we don't consider the energy wasted by the stirring). And I find it hard to believe a single of the stories about oil companies that buys up inventions of car engines that doesn't use gas or electricity but runs thousand of miles on a slice of bread (or whatever) - If such existed, even the largest company on earth wouldn't be able to suppress it and why would they(?) They don't give a rats behind of where the money comes from and local supplies would be so much better than having to buy crude oil on a highly unstable market.
But we got really sidetracked here, so back on subject:
Not trying to create the next best thing... just trying to make it easier to drive to work without worry of running out of gas.
It may not sound as glorious as inventing a magnetic propulsion system, but most people solves this the easy way, by hauling a good old jerrycan brim full of potential energy
I bet you can get back and forth more than once with 20 liters of gasoline in the trunk, or you seriously need to change either your car or your working place
Filling your tank as often as possible should work too and have the added benefit of keeping the tank from rusting on the inside (and in turn grind the motor down faster when it enters the EFI/carburetor and the combustion chamber).
All the time you save this way could be used on projects with likely outcome, or you can just see it as generally gaining a week or a month of lifetime
What if I used electromagnets? switching the currents back and forth would allow change in a magnet possibly beside or beneath it.
Yes, you could get it to turn that way (if everything is placed and timed for it), but you'd spend more energy than you got back.
Whenever you convert energy, there will be a conversion loss, which is turned into heat.
The amount of energy always remains the same, so when you "split'" the input into usable energy and heat, it's like if you take a 1 liter bottle and fills a cup with shaky hands. The amount that hit the table is loss and I'm sure that you wouldn't think that, whatever strange method you used to fill the cup, you would somehow get more than 1 liter into the cup (use a size D for that experiment
Some may argue that we
can do work without energy input, but we can't - we just store our "fuel" and can work on that for a long time.
What about our fuel/food then, how can it give energy without getting any energy. It can't, it get's its energy from nutrients in the soil and more important, from the sun.
The sun then... Well, it's just like any other "motor" and when it, some day (in a very distant future) runs out of fuel, mankind, if existing at that time, is royally screwed.