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We Are the Idiots

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I suppose sugar/fructose etc. is now arguably the "new DDT"... except that it has apparently been verified (by medical scientists) that it is harmful to health.    :huh:

So what are we using now?  I always thought it was Malathion.  But I don't know where I got that information.

I remember Silent Spring being pushed by teachers in all 4 years of high school.  A big deal was made about automobile emissions which eventually led to computerized ignition systems in cars(as environmental concerns became more general.)  I still don't think the expense was justified.  Of course once the computers are a given you can add on safety features.  But there's no reason a points plugs and condenser ignition can't operate a clean running car.

@MilesAhead: No, I gather that Malathion doesn't really have a sweet enough taste to replace sugar, so sugar is still the favourite.

But there's no reason a points plugs and condenser ignition can't operate a clean running car.
-MilesAhead (December 11, 2014, 12:29 PM)
--- End quote ---

No reason they couldn't. But they usually didn't really. They were manual systems engineered to "good enough" standards. Usually as little as the law would allow. And they either had had no - or no reliable - feedback mechanisms or fault self-correcting capabilities.

Whenever you have a system that needs time and/or money to maintain optimal performance, said maintenance doesn't get done.

Prior to the advent of fuel injection, it was amazing what many people would put up with (stall-outs, backfiring, etc.) as long as their car still started up and stayed running. The fact it required some voodoo starting procedure or idled rough, and always had this weird foul smelling cloud following it around town, made no difference. It wasn't against the law back then. And it was sure better than surrendering your car for a day or two to your local garage mechanic. And then gritting your teeth while waiting for that always larger than expected bill you'd need to pay to get it back. No wonder people put off maintenance as long as possible. And the gravity well of "good enough" is inescapable if people have to actively do something (or pay additional money) to get something better.

Enter fuel injection. The chip and firmware handles everything. Add that to modern materials and engineering and now you average far better mileage, reliability, and engine life than you did with an old car. The fact cars routinely hit a 250K+ mile useful service life would have been inconceivable in the 60s and 70s. Hitting 70K was a milestone. Rolling the odometer over at 100K was a major life event. The big difference today is that while cars generally need to be fixed far less often than they used to, they're significantly more expensive to fix when they do.

It's a trade-off. But I think we can all mostly agree today's cars are far better and more reliable than the classic models used to be.

Not all change is bad. ;D


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