07 October, 2010

Stuff Comes from Somewhere

Back before I distracted by the shiny new car and purchasing of same, our own George W. had a post up that really forced some thinking.  And it's all because he was up at 4 in the morning thinking about bolts:
Where’s the nickel (which plates the bolt) mined? What’s the state of mine-safety technology? Do mining companies pay lobbyists to keep the laws lax? Or more likely, does the manufacturer just buy the nickel salts for plating from some third-world country where the government doesn’t protect the workers or the rivers or the children who live along them? Is that why the bolts are so cheap? What’s the external cost of the carbon output from manufacturing the bolt? Maybe that’s the reason I saved the bolt that was left over from a project of years ago.  Or maybe I’m just really cheap.
Read the whole post.  It'll make you think about bolts, politics, change and resources all in one go, which is damned impressive for a short post brought on by insomnia.  This is why I love George's blog so: when I leave there, it's not with the same eyes as when I arrived.

1 comment:

Lyle said...

In the comments the true complexity of society is clear. I have some 100 year old machineries handbook and the like left over from my grandfather, and even then things were complex. Going a bit further back my great grandfather was a locomotive engineer and I have a book called the Catechism of the Locomotive. Even back then how to run a locomotive to get max miles traveled per unit of coal was very important.
In fact it appears that a lot of the early improvements in steam engines (from Newcomen to Watt) where designed to make the engine use less coal so that the engine made economic sense other than at a coal mine.
Put this in the more things change the more they remain the same, or our ancestors were not as stupid as we think they were file.