|Mozi, Lu Ban aerodynamics
The first kites were military devices invented by carpenters who didn’t believe in war. The philosopher Mozi, who was also a carpenter, invented the man-lifting kite for military reconaissance. Mozi’s competitor Lu Ban engineered the cloud ladder, a siege engine, and the wooden bird.
The story of kites
Mozi’s and Lu Ban’s kites, their wooden black-eared kites, were made of wood and bamboo, they say. Unless we regard the legend of a Chinese farmer in the wind who tied a string to his hat, the first record of kites of bamboo covered with paper or cloth was a thousand years later. Introduced in Japan around 675 kites became a popular form of entertainment and a part of Buddhist ceremonies. Marco Polo reported in 1282 seeing merchants use a man-lifting kite to test whether voyages of a ship would be auspicious. Today we think of kites, not as military tools or forms of divination, but as playthings for children.
Mozi’s parents showed Mozi only a little love. Mozi taught that impartial caring, regardless of relationships, should replace filial piety as the rule of a virtuous person. He taught that love is the standard that rulers should be guided by.
Success with kites
Ben Franklin’s kite collected static electricity to show lightning is a form of electricity. The Wright brothers tested the lift and drag of airplane prototypes by flying them as kites. Charlie Brown has trouble with the kite-eating tree. But even a loser can keep on trying.