Sunday, September 10, 2006
  No user-serviceable parts

Apologies for lack of posting. I've been busy with graphics projects, trying to develop a second source of income. So far I've survived well enough on the royalties from college courseware. And the product continues to sell well, so by the normal workings of a free market I could count on it for a few more years. But it looks like the allegedly Republican Congress is getting ready to investigate the textbook industry for daring to earn a living. This won't kill the industry, but it will do harm. So I'm trying to get ahead of the potential long-term loss.

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I'm voting all Democrat this year. Better to have honest Commies than Commies posing as capitalists. Both parties are in a race to ship our entire economy to Mexico, but at least the honest Commies will give us welfare afterward.

Who knows, maybe the alleged Republicans will actually learn something ... No,that won't happen.

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Anyhow:



Polistra is demonstrating two of the models I'm developing.

Making digital models is not only fun but (slightly!) educational. In researching the wringer washer, I learned that Maytag continued making them until about 1988, and Speed Queen is still making them in Saudi Arabia. I also learned that two of our major appliance factories are about to move to Mexico. Thanks, alleged Republicans.

Wringer machines, though they've become iconic of that bygone age when Americans actually made and repaired things, weren't around for all that long in America. They became popular in 1920 and faded soon after the first spin-dry automatic machine was released in 1940. It wasn't so much the 'automaticity' of the new type as the danger of the wringer that impelled the change. Amazingly, this happened without the assistance of lawsuits or Consumer Product Safety Commissions! How in the world could housewives have figured out on their own that losing fingers was no fun? Come to think of it, the washing machine would never have been invented if lawyers had been in charge back then. We'd still be beating clothes against rocks in the river, because you can't sue a river.

Wringer machines remain popular in parts of the world with limited plumbing, because they don't require connections to water lines, or even electricity. You can fill them with a bucket and drain on the ground, and a gas motor or even pedal power will suffice to run the agitator.

Moral of the story: We can't let simple direct technology go extinct.

Operating "off the grid" is the most obvious advantage. We would be less vulnerable to Allah's Army if we could keep running without complete and total dependence on our poorly maintained infrastructure.

Another more subtle advantage has to do with human wisdom and training. Polistra can see what's happening to her clothes, and she can put soap or bleach in at any point or pull out a delicate item at any time. In the process she learns something about clothes, about dirt, and about mechanisms. You can't do that with modern push-one-button technology. The machine decides when to dispense the soap, and when to let you open the door. You can't see or control any of the operation, so you don't learn anything.

People who use simpler technology become wiser and more independent. They acquire COMMON SENSE and humility about the workings of the world.

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One last (less important) observation. Look at the levers on the washer and the space under the sink. Kitchen equipment of the 1920s was designed to be used by imperfect people. The levers were big enough to see and hold, and you could sit down while doing dishes. The pipes and valves were out in the open where you could repair them easily.

All modern machines are designed for Japanese youngsters, who have superior visual perception and agility. They can manage a bank of unmarked little rectangular buttons on an unmarked black surface.



Look at the tiny pictures pasted on the surface of the cell phones, not to mention the multitudinous objects on the faces and elsewhere. It's a scientific fact: Japs perceive the world differently. They can see and remember a full range of details all at once, while Caucasians tend to focus on one central thing.

So, why do we continue to buy stuff that is effectively a cruel Jap joke on us [comparatively] big-fingered semi-literate dim-visioned Americans? We need to return to machines that were designed FOR Americans and built BY Americans.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

My graphics products:

Free stuff at ShareCG

And some leftovers here.

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