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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-21-2013, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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What follows reads as political so if offended, save yourself some agita and move on. Pop warns you it's a rant but prefers to think of it as a history based rant laced with invective.

Elsewhere is a thread that has included a recent WSJ article about how less Americans tinker and that this non tinkering trend might not be a good thing. I was going to post this there in response but even Pop agrees that this post is too much BS for a motorcycle thread no matter that practically all motorcycle threads careen into a ditch sooner or later.

So... rant on.

I will not waste my time pointing out the culprits here. Read a little if you are interested. You can start your research with the WSJ since the culprits are heroes of the "Journal" that is now publishing "Gee Whiz, what happened to manufacturing?" pieces like they never saw THAT coming.

The late 70's and 80's brought a whole bunch of festering wounds that our gummint coyly called regulatory trade advances. These broadsides at the wallet of the American working stiff had actually been bounced around DC since post WW2 but took that long to get enough money lined up behind them. I mean the plans involved crushing several key homegrown industries. That was a hard pitch in the post war boom. You need to convince asshats like Roger Smith and John Welch and a pantheon of manufacturing titans to pull up stakes and move it out the door. Turning those battleships takes a lot of muscle and time.

Finally, they murdered non factory farming, wiped out textiles, turned forest products and mining from a turnkey to a commodities export business, and made heavy industry extinct nationwide. The liars in the beltway spent years bringing up how much better off the middle class was going to be in the wake of globalization. I still don't know how we missed that they were lying to our faces. I mean, their mouths were moving. A generation of kids grew up listening to that gibberish and now they are adults and thoroughly propagandized and we wonder why nobody tinkers?

These kids tell their kids that if they don't get into college they will be stuck in some dead end job banging nails or wiring condos. I know what good carpenters and electricians make. As dead ends go, they ain't bad.

We bought this line of crap lock, stock and barrel. We elected (and continue to elect) shitheels who gave up the golden goose for the promise of eggs. Our kids think that stuff from overseas is cool and better. Hell, WE think that stuff from overseas is cool and better. When was the last time you saw Mom and Apple Pie tattooed on somebody? A lot less often than some I Ching script I betcha.

It's done. Horses are out the barn.

Good thing for Pop. I tinker. People pay me handsomely to do it, like it's friggin alchemy or something. Problem is that it's a bad thing for my country, much more of a poison than arguments about border security or guns or clean air or which liar, the blue one or the red one is going to perpetuate this scam for another generation while the rest of the world picks our bones.

All the crap on tv and the pissing and moaning about rights, that's all fluff. They stand by while we wallow in the side issues to our hearts content as long as it continues to distract us from what they have managed to implement. Smarter men than Pop have said again and again "Follow the money". Well, the money , the real money, doesn't care about guns or who marries who or the price or tea in China. On second thought they do care about the price of tea in China.

They are running out the clock on the ones of us remaining who remember what was. Once we're dead then the historical record will be free to be expunged to eliminate reports of the positive effect of having been the most powerful manufacturing dynamo of all time.

But here's the kicker. The interwebs, 3D printing, technologies yet to evolve. That horse is out of the barn too. Those treacherous pricks that tried to milk the last penny out of us by getting us to fall for this "everybody gets the same cheap flatscreen" mentality didn't see the tech revolution coming at the pace it has. Some kid with the computer skills that he built up by playing with pooters instead of building soapbox racers or treehouses, that kid will design better flatscreens than what GE or Sanyo rams down our throats, other kids will buy the design from the guy on the interwebs with bitcoins, and churn them out for their own use for the price of the raw materials into their 3D printers. That there is globalization and it puts the squeeze on the big money plan to corner the markets on everything.

It doesn't restore our manufacturing glory but at least it will keep those scumbags that orchestrated the end of that glory on their toes. They will try to control the data. The data will move out of their control. They will try to control the raw goods. Mom and Pop providers will enter the void either above the table or under it. They will continue to force feed us the model of finding the lowest economic impact to mass manufacturing while better products are being made onesy twosy in garages and basements right back here in the good old US of A and and just about everywhere else for that matter.

The guy that printed that gun printed a primitive, practically unusable prototype. That's invention. That's tinkering. I said before that real money isn't scared of guns. They aren't, except that one. Not for what it can do but for what it means. Guns won't take them down but printing might. Ben Franklin would give that a thumbs up.

Pop won't live to see it but there's a good chance that my grandkids are going to stick it to the man.

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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-21-2013, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pop View Post
What follows reads as political
My only comments would be:

a) You can rest assured that gov't didn't just dream up those regulatory trade advances. Much more likely that asshats like Welch and Smith sold our elected officials on the idea so they could profit from slave labor and lack of regulations. Don't get confused as to who is the dog and who is the tail, corporations rule Amurica. Just look to the recent Citizens United case if you're in need of evidence.

b) I'm still a little skeptical about this printing revolution. You may be able to create a lot with it, but I wouldn't count on a kid whose greatest achievement is high score at the latest Atari game being able to out engineer the Asians at developing complex devices. Anyway, even if they could, there's more to business than simply making the product. And if some kid gets proficient at making highly desirable products, they will end up hiring a bunch of people to run the business and incorporate it just like everyone else. See Jeff Zuckerberg.

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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 06-30-2013, 10:18 PM
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As a young man raised by an older man, I was taught there was nothing I couldn't do. I've lived by that rule and am raising my children the same way. They continue to surprise me every day with what they teach themselves. That is tinkering in my book and makes me proud. My father didn't get past the 6th grade and did more in his time than an Ivy grad student ever thought he could. I don't know what the future holds for me or mine but I have not given up on the cause.

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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 12:13 PM
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I was a poor kid. Had plenty of video games growing up, but never the cutting-edge stuff. Didn't own a computer of my own till I was 23. Still can barely use a fax machine. Have a smartphone mostly for google maps.

Thing was, because I was a poor kid, I had to learn to fix stuff.

As a child, if my bike had a flat tire or broken chain, I better damn well fix it myself, cuz it'd be 3 or 4 years before a new bike was going to appear under a Christmas tree.

As a teenager, if I wanted to drive into town and hang out with my friends, I'd better figure out what's wrong with the ol' Cheyenne (affectionately called The Blue Torpedo) and get it straightened out.

As an adult, I typically end up paying someone to fix something for me once. After I part with that money knowing full well I coulda learned to do it my damn self, that's the last time I pay for that service. People will ask me who they should take their car to when it breaks down, and I typically offer to help them with it myself. If it ain't in my wheelhouse (electrical, ECM stuff, or automatic transmissions which near as I can tell run on witchcraft) I don't even know what to tell 'em because I haven't paid someone to work on my car in 10 years.

Things are gearing up like that for the bikes too. Haven't been riding real long, but I'm quietly and slowly acquiring the tools necessary to make trips to the dealer a thing of the past. Have lots of tools already, but some of the screwy motorcycle specific stuff is hard to just pick up at Harbor Frieght or Wally World. But I'll get there.

I take pride in my mechanical knowledge and skill. and the fact that I can put my hands on something and fix it makes me dying breed.

And those fellas who've dreamed up that 3D printer are pretty impressive. and maybe it'll keep manufacturing on some kind of life support. But I don't think they're craftsmen. They're skillful, sure. Hell, I don't have any idea how that stuff works. But those guys don't use their hands to make that stuff. Odds are if you placed something they created in front of them, said it was broken, and told 'em to fix it, their heads would probably explode. They make the computer do it for them, which is a set of skills I don't possess and it surely deserves some credit. But I fear the day computers do everything for us and no one knows how to do anything themselves. That's what your example of the 3D printer represents to me.

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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 02:08 PM
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Be a while before that puter builds your new home.
But its comming fast.

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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Luciferiad View Post
And those fellas who've dreamed up that 3D printer are pretty impressive. and maybe it'll keep manufacturing on some kind of life support. But I don't think they're craftsmen. They're skillful, sure. Hell, I don't have any idea how that stuff works. But those guys don't use their hands to make that stuff. Odds are if you placed something they created in front of them, said it was broken, and told 'em to fix it, their heads would probably explode. They make the computer do it for them, which is a set of skills I don't possess and it surely deserves some credit. But I fear the day computers do everything for us and no one knows how to do anything themselves. That's what your example of the 3D printer represents to me.
The hunter could not figure out what value the farmer saw in tilling dirt.
The potter didn't think much of the tinsmith taking his market.
The smith thought those fools making machines that people had to pedal were doing the devils work.

I can't mend a clay pot worth a (pardon the expression) tinkers damn, nor can I shoe a horse or sod a roof. My tool box is fairly full of gizmos, not a one of which can I employ to decently fletch an arrow.

Point? Well, my tools and my tinkering fit a time and a place and the things I can do without thinking twice might as well be black magic to my predecessors and will likely seem anachronistic to my childrens children.

I see a direct lineage from banging flint for fire to hitting the print button to make a firearm. It's all the economies of utilizing time and resources and the capacity to invent.

If my great grandpa were presented with a broken harness he would repair that leather until there was more hide holding the harness together than the horse.

If my battery won't hold a charge I'll run a series of tests to pinpoint the culprit, maybe clean it up if my investigation allows or maybe buy a replacement for whatever is faulty and maybe buy a better replacement so it doesn't happen again.

If my successor prints a goomus say gom that doesn't improve his bimbling, he might get a better printer or better media or tweak the program or reverse the polarity of his flux capacitor.

He's fixing the problem. Not like I am inclined to fix, but then my way of fixing is unlike my grand dads.

Somewhere in time somebody said that the Davidsons, the Hendees and the Wright brothers were not craftsmen, that Daimler was making something that would end up shriveling our legs up from lack of use.

C'mon Luciferiad, this old world already has ample flat earthers. Tomorrow is going to be... shiny.

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We can't help it
We just keep moving
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We mostly go where we have to go

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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-12-2013, 11:45 PM
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I think Adam Cramer from Philly Throttle is a man after your own heart Pop. Check out his interview posted on the show's Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v...2906925&type=3

Also found it on YouTube


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Last edited by Goatlocker95; 07-12-2013 at 11:48 PM. Reason: Added YouTube video
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 12:21 AM
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I believe you are absolutely right. We're shooting ourselves in the foot. I've been part of the problem. Now I'm not young but not old...34 actually. I was born a tinkerer. I took remote controlled cars apart as a kid to see what made them tick. Took moms vacuum apart before I was 10 to see what made it tick. Dad bought one of them Commodore PC 64 puters (which ran on DOS not windows) and I tinkered with it. I'm glad he bought that because that's where I make my money now...in an office on a computer. Anyway, dad was an auto mechanic by trade so I learned young. Pulled my first engine at 12. Did a complete engine build on my own without help as a young teen. I've worked construction, done plumbing, worked as an automotive mechanic too. Built computers, got into electronics and know my way around stereos, TV's etc. My point is I've learned to do everything, fix everything on my own...or at least try. Where I went wrong is fixin' things for my boys instead of teaching them. I've not devoted the time to show them how to tinker and they've become dependant on dad fixin' it. They are both 12 years old and they needed to replace the tubes in their bicycles. They bought the tubes and I took them to my toolbox and said "get to it". They didn't have a clue! They just looked at my wide eyed. That's when it dawned on me that I've failed. Them boys should be beyond repairing bicycles and start learning bigger repairs at that age. At 12 they are just now learning how to repair their bike tires. But from now on, their going to be getting their hands dirty.

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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 06:04 AM
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Quote:
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I think Adam Cramer from Philly Throttle is a man after your own heart Pop. Check out his interview posted on the show's Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v...2906925&type=3

Also found it on YouTube

Nice video, but I think the guy is a little confused. What he does is an art. What that has to do with the de-industrialization of America is unclear.

Will there be a next him to fix up bikes that nostalgic Baby Boomers will pay up for? Once the Baby Boomers are gone, probably not so many.

Seems to me that this guy is as upset about today's throw away products as anything. There must be divine-like rewards in giving old machines everlasting life...




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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 07-13-2013, 07:56 AM Thread Starter
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To steal an old saw" There is none so blind as those that will not see."

There is, between artist and mechanic a third and more predominant type, artisan. Cramer falls into that category neatly. At a glance he is much closer to the mechanic side of the equation than the artist side. He says as much.

Anyway so what it focuses on old stuff. The well spring of new stuff is old stuff. There is nothing "new" under the sun. All new stuff is rooted in old stuff and as we willingly discard our understanding of antiquated methods it is loss of knowledge and aptitude. I can go to any antique meet and see running antique bikes that offer mechanical or electromechanical solutions that are flat amazing. Things I see in modern bikes that are considered revolutionary had identifiable predecessors built in some little shed in Dayton or Duluth 100 years ago.

Working on old stuff is art? Nope, not buying it. Guys that rehab covered bridges go on to post and beam which is being considered a resurgent tech in hurricane zones. Dirigibles are getting a fresh look as cheap trucking. It may yet come to pass that motorcycles find themselves being pressed into service as delivery vehicles and livery and emergency.

I don't think that "We're number 1" means squat if some kid in Bangalore with a ball peen and a chunk of an old Whirlpool washer skin can pound out a better repop of a Royal Enfield fender than my grandsons. Not that they don't eclipse his skills in other arenas, but the saying isn't "We're number 1 in some stuff but other stuff that appears to be less marvelous we have decided to abandon on the gamble that those things won't reemerge as important moving forward." In the meantime Enfield repops match old Trumps and Matchless which look like old Harleys and old Harleys look like new Harleys and Bobi Ashramam from Bangalore is fielding internet orders and counts on EBay to satisfy his payroll and get him the scratch to pay for the villa in Palma de Mallorca.

I started my career path as a millwright apprentice. That is, I was being mentored and trained by skilled mechanics to do precise assembly and alignment of big manufacturing machines that must meet critical tolerances in order to operate. Today becoming a millwright apprentice requires two things, finding enough millwrights to mentor apprentices, and finding enough work that requires the skills that a millwright possesses. Well, good luck in a no manufacturing nation with catching those unicorns.

It does not mitigate the value or the skill of millwrighting. Nations all over the world are using American companies that field millwrights. That would be other nations that are not America. That would be the Bobi's in Bangalore building new manufacturing to employ Indian workers to make stuff to sell to Americans who marvel at the skill it must have taken to fashion that fender, skills we decided we didn't need anymore because we were going to the moon. So that worked out OK.

There is still much profit to be wrung out of a ball peen or a Whitworth spanner or a capstan. Art feeds the families of dead artists. Manufacturing feeds the families of live artisans and mechanics.

Red.
2012
Cross Country Tour.


We can't help it
We just keep moving
It's been that way since long ago
Since the stone age chasing the great herds
We mostly go where we have to go

That was written by James McMurtry
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