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    FLEXIBILITY

    Back in 1934, when the Cunard line was getting ready to name its greatest ocean liner, the consensus was that it should be named after Queen Elizabeth I. A high official is reported to have had an audience with King George V. "We would like to name the ship after England's greatest queen," he told the king. "Well," said King George, "I shall have to ask her." The ship was promptly named Queen Mary.

    Bits & Pieces, October 17, 1991.


    Years ago, Frank Lloyd Wright was given the impossible task of building the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. No comparable construction job ever before had been undertaken. With patience he laid plans for the immense building in this land of earth-quakes and terrible tremors. After carefully reviewing the situation, he found that eight feet below the surface of the ground lay a sixty-foot bed of soft mud. Why not float the great structure on this and in some way make it absorb the shock of the earthquake? After four years of work, amid ridicule and jeers of skeptical onlookers, this most difficult building in the world was completed, and soon arrived the day which tested it completely. The worst earthquake in fifty-two years caused houses and buildings all around to tumble and fall in ruins. But the Imperial Hotel stood, because it was able to adjust itself to the tremors of the earth.

    A. Smith, in Resources, #2.