Success with a camping air mattress
Aug 13th, 2010 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

I recently spend part of a week at Raystown Lakecamping with my family.  My children enjoyed spending time with their cousins cliff jumping, swimming, and boating.  We did “tent it,” which always leads to some levels of uncomfort.  In order to mitigate the lack of sleeping amenities we did the traditional thing:  use an air mattress. 

 I don’t know about you, but I’ve had traditionally bad experiences with air mattresses.  Night one is usually fine, but then there seems to be a problem with air leaking, which just progressively gets worse.  The mattress gets pumped up at night, starts off firm, but by morning, various body parts are clinging to the hard ground.  Ugg. 

Thinking about this, I realized that temperatures change during the day – at night, when the mattress is full, it is cool, but during the day, the heat build up. In an air mattress, that means the molecular motion of the confined air increases, causing additional inflation and higher pressure during the day.  This then puts additional stress on the matress, which potentially creates microleaks. 

So I thought that if the pressure was relieved, this would prevent the additional pressure from building up.  Sure enough, with a partial deflation, I went back to the mattress in the afternoon to find that it felt fully inflated.  This, of course, died down during early evening, when I re-pumped the mattress before bed. 

Interesting  . . .

When I evaluate my thinking, I see this as a problem solving situation – which in my past definitions is a logical/analytical process.  However, I am forced to think that there was some creativity involved.  So I am at this cognitive dissonance trying to decide whether (or how) problem solving is a creative process.  I have traditionally distinguished problem finding and problem solving as different cognitive processes – but there may be some blurring that I need to think about more.

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