plastic oil filter modules: absolute garbage but Chrysler fell in love with them during the Daimler years and now they show up in basically everything built off the E series chassis. BMW also use them, and they hold up to thermal stress very poorly. can not be recycled in the US like metal filters and have to be shipped, if you want, to germany.
plastic water pumps/plastic cooling systems: notoriously BMW, but also show up on Maserati so im told. they leak like a sieve and youll replace a major part of the system every 5k miles. cannot be recycled.
cheap hydraulics: im talking about that paddle shift dual clutch weirdness that shows up in high-performance mercedes 6 liter v8 engines with the double turbos. You build an engine that costs 3/4 of the vehicle value and you cheap out at the last minute with pot-steel roller bearings? in an engine that delivers north of 500 horsepower? tapered rollers or even high nickel needle bearings would keep the hydraulics running for years, but the hydraulic actuation assembly for the paddle shift stuff is an absolute dumpster fire. you cant disassemble the actuator, or service the bearings. the whole thing gets thrown out and replaced.
death by cad: this is more 'right to repair' but engines that were designed in a laboratory by a grad student from Malaysia who was told to 'make it work.' to service the turbo on some lexus F sports, you must disassembly the entire front of the car. headlights have to come off, the radiator and forward steering linkage too. its a $400 part, but thats $2300 in labor.
This is endemic (not just cars, but absolutely sodding everything), and utterly infuriating. So you end up with engines with perfectly reasonable reliability but need to be dropped out or a whole crate of ancillary parts removed just to change a water pump or clutch. Or the motorcycle oil seal that requires you to drop the engine and split the crankcases to change the £2.50 seal.
The old fashion of copper bronze or needle rollers everywhere and grease nipples seems quaint and excessive, but was at least considerate of maintenance and long life. Modern metallurgy and design shouldn't take the opportunity of throwing out every good idea of history.
How does this work in practice? I mean, what is it about CAD that gives this kind of result?
CAD is great for making stuff fit - once. In combination with the progression toward write once manufacturing, the only consideration is the cost and complexity of assembly. Can our factory robots and CNC do this? Can we reduce the component count? Can we use one-time moulded clips in place of those machine screws? Some is driven by cost saving, much by the purely mental visualisation capability of the new process.
Maintenance, even regular expected and necessary maintenance, increasingly takes a distant back seat. What once took 20 minutes to change now takes half a day. It now fits in a difficult corner or got combined with a dozen other systems making it now a £500 replacement.
It's visible top to the tiny fractions at the very bottom - saving fractions of a penny on self-tappers or clips self moulded into the single injection plastic where once (in ancient times like the 1990's) there'd be a small metal captive nut or bracket to bite into, or real machine screws and nuts.
Any and all of these can take years off expected lifespan mainly for the saving of pennies or a production step.
The most interesting trend, obviously, is that people are just buying fewer of them, so it will soon be a moot point.
Doing maintenance never has mass-market appeal.
The best approach, in my opinion, is actually the opposite of what most mechanics (or MechE/EE people) will say: we should try to achieve as much as possible in software, with the absolute simplest hardware.
Consider that an electric car, the fastest growing product in the category, has a considerably simpler engine and drive train. The software rules the roost there. It's just a coil. The engine and batteries are not really maintainable (they're certainly recyclable).
There's a lot of knowledge tied up in what you're saying, which is a really interesting point of view. But optimizing ICE vehicles and their attendant maintenance is sort of a dead end.
Then again, I'm agreeing with the general idea: CAD is bad. But what should the right response be? Don't buy things that need CAD designs at all!
After that I pay a lot of attention to whether the oil filter is visible and accessible from the outside of the bike without removing a cowling, Kawasaki seems to do a good job of this.
Honda didn't put them there just to look cool, and ease of maintenance certainly wasn't the primary design factor.
They built measuring equipment and software that allowed the companies to squeeze the biggest engine possible into the smallest compartment.
Costs have big impacts on manufacturing. Saving $0.50 on some little widget may allow for much bigger savings in the build process. There’s also a general goal to make minute cost changes just to eliminate inflation without retooling.
The thing is designing for that costs a fair bit, just take a look at the step from riding lawn mower (~$2k) to garden tractor(~$15k) for similar horsepower. It's not a direct apples to apples comparison but does go to show how much more something overbuilt can run.
I'm sure their tinier on the B/BX line but those also have a lower flow and capacity.
Their high powered, boosted engines also puts the entire powertrain under relatively high stresses causing accelerated wear out and fatigue of components. Although some durability test takes place to pick up on issues, if a design issue occurs late into the development phase it won't be fixed, if the cost to implement a change is too high. It will just become another 'service' item which has to be changed every x,000 miles. Sometimes the required technology does not exist to allow a component to last the entire life of the car so just has to be replaced at a set interval.
Luxury cars are often used as the test bed for new technology. This new technology is often novel or experimental and has new unforeseen failure modes which the design engineer is unlikely to account for. The accelerated testing done during vehicle development picks up most issues but a few slip through and only present themselves during actual customer use. The quality of these any new components can also be highly variable especially if a new process or material is being used in their manufacture. If the supplier has poor process control this can lead to high failure rates.
Another consideration is that luxury cars (well luxury sports cars at least) aren't driven that much - most will never reach 100,000 miles - so are designed to a lower durability than most cars. There's no point in over-engineering a component but if a customer has an extreme usage profile, they may exceed the design limits of a component. Cars are not designed for the worst case customer but rather the median usage profile. If cars were designed for the most extreme customer I imagine the cars would weight significantly more or have to use expensive exotic materials.
Luxury cars now do not have significantly bigger engines than those of the past --- it's mostly the emissions control equipment and other auxillary components (including the not-so-useful plastic covers) that take up the bulk of the space and make servicing difficult. Look at the difference between a late 60s/early 70s Cadillac and one closer to today, for example:
The latter is 3.6L V6. The former is a 7.7L V8. They both have over 300HP. The former is also FWD. But the difference in serviceability is enormous.
Make that decision hundreds, maybe thousands of times and it all adds up. However, I agree that there are some obvious decisions I disagree with choosing the weight reduction.
The cynic in me says it's price segmentation. People who buy luxury cars have the disposable income to throw away several thousand a year in repair bills and pay more for gas to boot. In fact, if they buy the car to signal that they have disposable income to burn, it's actually better for their purposes if it has terrible reliability. It shows that they have the means to not care. So it's a win-win-win-win all around: the car manufacturer extracts more for the car, the dealers extract more for service, the luxury car buyer gets to show off their wealth, and the mass market buyer gets a car on razor-thin margins that are subsidized by the luxury buyer.
I see something similar with high-end phones (particularly iPhones). Every reasonable practical concern takes a backseat to making the thing as thin as possible. The result is a phone with mediocre battery life, antenna problems, and a body about as impact-resistant as an egg.
Also, a Corolla will have more inherit more R&D, uses less of new tech, etc.
>they buy the car to signal that they have disposable income to burn
I agree with you there.
These people are getting exactly what they want from the luxury cars that are currently available. If a manufacturer spent money on making its luxury cars more durable and easier to maintain, they would need to raise prices and would then lose sales to other brands.
In other words, this situation is a result of consumer preferences, not a conspiracy by manufacturers to cut quality. And that applies to a lot of things, not just cars.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class comes with a 4-year or 50,000 mile warranty in the United States, which actually has pretty high level consumer protection when it comes to cars. However, in my country, the E-Class has a 2-year warranty and I get the feeling that the situation might be the same in many of the other European countries. That's not that much of a warranty for a car starting at 48,071 euros (53,996 USD).
I think most people prefer to pay someone else, luxury marque or not. Not everyone has the skills, knowledge and tools to do maintenance beyond topping up the washer fluid.
> They are ok with paying someone else to do it
Yep, I'd rather pay someone that knows what they're doing - that doesn't mean I want to get ripped off though. BTW, a tip for car owners - always haggle on service costs. I've been a car owner for 20 years, and every time I've asked, the dealer has offered a discount, just because I asked.
> cars come with long warranties these days anyway
At least in the UK, the luxury car makers (e.g. BMW, Mercedes) come with a 3 year warranty, same as they have for a long time. This is short by comparison to Kia's 7 year warranty, and I seem to recall Hyundai offers a 5 year warranty.
Of course, if you need to actually claim on the warranty, that's when the fun and games might start... I've never actually had to claim on the BMW and Mercedes I've owned, but I've had a hell of a time getting pissed about by Nissan and just assumed other makers did the same.
When I was working as a mechanic, we had a few customers with land rovers (most of our business was trucks & SUVs). The land rover owners had to pay roughly 2x for everything, simply because the cars are so much more time consuming to work on. And from family members who have owned them, BMW & Mercedes are just as bad, albeit slightly more reliable. If it is time consu3and a PITA, the customer will be charged more.
Consider that the cost of man years of engineering is essentially irrelevant to the cost of a vehicle.
(of course the total engineering costs are going to be significant, I'm talking about incremental costs of spending time thinking about how to make vehicles a bit nicer here or there)
They are also backed up by great guarantees (5 years without mileage limit in case of Hyundai, and 7 years from Kia).
African markets used to love Peugeot 504 and Mercedes E 200. Extremely reliable in harsh conditions.
Probably hard to know, but by now, we're already seeing that blu-ray players are rendered nearly useless by lost remote controls (because they (all blu-ray player manufacturers) no longer build adequate physical playback controls into the set top box, and 99% of blu-ray on-disc software requires a directional keys and an enter key to trigger playback of the main content, which can only be found on remote controls), leading to a necessity for bootleggers that can rip and recopy the main content of the movie to a version stripped of menus, that immediately plays automatically upon insertion.
It's shocking to me that this is even a thing. I looked it up and apparently Blu-ray players are required to execute Java off the disc! How far we've come since the Sony CD rootkit days...
A cursory read over the spec on Wikipedia indicates (among other horrifying things) that it is possible and supported to release a Blu-ray that contains no media, but instead streams it over the internet from the studio's server.
The latest 2019 Land Cruiser (not the US luxury version) is nearly identical to the version sold 30 years ago.
As for the Toyotas, they can become the Ship of Theseus, they can live forever, as long as there is demand.
- 3D printing + open/royalty free
- Modular car, speaking to a car designer, they said it'll cost a lot, there's safety issues and laws (ie cage)
I had the impression 6k miles is the standardized recommended interval for most brands (e.g. my current Subaru) but I guess that isn’t true for Lexus?
This is a major problem with capital taking over industries. Financiers don't care and also don't remotely understand what is happening in the details. Technologists running companies at least have the high level insights required to make nuanced decisions regarding whether to move fast or focus on quality. Finance just cares about the quarterly figures and we end up with a make it work rather than make it good approach to building tech. As long as we're making money who cares right. The Boeing scandal is a good example of this.
maybe our definitions of “technologist” is different, but i think even with technologists it’s important to understand that just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should (e.g alan kay’s “reverse vandalism”), and is still a danger with regard to entrepreneurship/business vs what is actually “good” for the world...
i think there is a lot to re-examine about how and why we do things...
As someone who constantly buys the cheapest version of something possible, I am now rarely surprised when it turns out to be the "best" actual version of it.
"Designed to narrower tolerance" usually just means it's more expensive and accurate. For bearings it's great idea if you want longevity.
Allowance on the other hand is completely different matter.
Of course the fault tolerance (apologies for overloading the term tolerance) also isn't guaranteed in every domain. If a seal breaking would wreck the process it certainly wouldn't give /any/ reliability over a tight seal.
How do you service electric cars compared to ICE cars?
Will the move to electric cars fundamentally hurt the car repair industry and will you have to go back to school to learn about servicing electric engines?
This is going to be a problem for most dealerships, as repair and service is a large chunk of their profit.
A profit driven electric car company can decide that any minor damage to the car will mean they push out a firmware update to brick the car. You don't own the software that makes the vehicle function, hence your at the mercy of the manufacturer letting you use their software.
For now. It's an iron law of the market economy that once this sector becomes competitive, costs will get optimized to the point that - like currently with ICE cars - the reliability will be lowest possible that they can get away with. There's no law of physics saying EVs are built reliably; there just isn't enough economic incentive to start building low-reliability parts. That will change as EVs gain popularity.
Fords, on the other hand, have a consistent quality.
I'll never own a Mercedes.
In Asia they'll just do what they're told to do without questioning. You'll notice this immediately if you work with Asian people. They never discuss decisions with the management.
 My friend has complained that managers confuse him with the Indians on a H1B visas and get bent when he tells them their idea is stupid.
BMW handbrakes are notorious and have been for decades. Even when they're factory new they won't really bite.
I realize that these desires simply go against the shareholder mindset that a corporation must be constantly growing and releasing new products in order to be viable. So we aren't likely to see any shift anytime soon.
But the capital barriers to entry for new cars and smartphones are way too high. Elon and Tesla were the last true upstart to even come close to a semi-affordable premium option, and they burned through billions in startup capital to get there.
If the government can't reduce the barriers to entry for Smith's Invisible Hand to naturally produce competitors, then the government needs to regulate the natural oligopoly.
There is still R&D to be done to update for modern manufacturing techniques, but an upstart that simply built old classic designs and added a 30-year warranty would do well. Bonus points for standardized dimensions (for easy replacement years from now).
> There is still R&D to be done to update for modern manufacturing techniques, but an upstart that simply built old classic designs and added a 30-year warranty would do well. Bonus points for standardized dimensions (for easy replacement years from now).
Extra bonus points for publishing manuals and 3D printing plans for replacement parts and ensuring they remain available long term - eg, creating a web site and funding a foundation to keep it running + seeding torrents with the info.
Speed Queen has done this for Washers and Dryers. https://www.speedqueen.com/
Definately not heirlooms even at 125 bucks.
While Apple (as an example) try to tempt their customers each year with something new and new-featured, I'm not actually aware of people tossing out their old iPhones (or MacBooks for that matter) even if they do in fact spring for the latest. Instead they seem to get handed down or repurposed (media center, man-cave, etc.).
I don't feel the same way about my $150 plastic Chromebook.
I also tried an iPhone for a while, but couldn't get the hang of iOS. The physical device itself, though, was great, not just visually, but the tactile experience is spot on. I wish I lived in a world where Apple made Android phones.
Huh? It's a much more designed and coherent experience than Android.
It makes a lot of sense. iOS uses your Gmail credentials for more than just mail (it can also sync contacts, calendar items, and notes to your Google account). So it makes sense to not have it within the Mail app.
Besides, it's not "4 layers deep". It's directly under a top level Preferences heading called "Accounts & Passwords" in Preferences, which should be the first place to look for, well, Preferences.
Third, you could find it also by just typing "accounts", "gmail" etc on Spotlight search. Again, just a click away.
If that's the sort of "problem" iOS has, it's pretty solid.
After finding out that you have to add the account via settings it kinda makes sense, but the first thought is: you have an email account, you have an email app, of course you add the account in the app, why would it be anywhere else? The account and the app could not possibly be more directly related to each other.
If you already know how accounts are managed in iOS you will think this is fine, but it is absolutely not intuitive, let alone easy to understand for people who do not know about sso and shared accounts.
Anyhow, this is becoming circular. I guess if you've used an iOS device forever you get used to its quirks, but it makes no damn sense if you use other OSes. Gmail, you can manage accounts within the app. Apple's app, you can't. Makes no sense.
HUH?? This is exactly why Accounts are a global setting.
What you are describing it literally EXACTLY HOW IT WORKS on iOS. Set it up once and it will work in Mail and Calendar
Same for apple goods which tend to depreciate in value slower than a generic brand PC or Android phone.
However, if you research carefully you can often find a long-lasting high-quality product from a smaller company. For example: Unicomp keyboards,the Docter Monocular, Kaweco pens, the Fisher "bullet" space pen, saddlebackleather, Beyerdynamic and Grado earphones. Despite all the marketing hype, you can sometimes still sometimes spot when a company takes real pride in their products.
What bothers me that it's hard to find good consumer electronics, though. That market seems to be flooded with crap.
it makes me really sad that these companies (and sennheiser) are not more well known. I get that not everyone can be an audio enthusiast, but what kills me is that people will actually spend more money on skullcandy or beats and never know how badly they are getting shafted.
I mean, most people are listening to pop music, heavily-crunched podcasts, and 32 kbps audiobooks; there aren't any subtle nuances they're missing that are worth spending money for.
Even when people do go for things like AirPods instead of some nice, high-quality Grados as you own, you have to weigh up the complete difference in experience outside of audio quality, so that if people do happen to drop money on headphones that aren't to your taste, you still understand that their preferences are different to yours.
Except Beats, those are rubbish. ;-)
Just look at the massive price increases for flagships in the smartphone industry, but people are still buying them since they have been convinced that they are still acceptable value. The problem I have with this in particular is that Android smartphones have incredibly poor update support, so there is built in obsolescence to convince users to upgrade every 2 years even though a device from 2014 is still plenty for most people today.
Buying a flagship is pretty much a guarantee that you won't have to suffer through this, and will have a device that's reliable for years. I used my Galaxy S4 for years (replaced broken screen two times, and broken camera once; had luck of doing that when I was in Shenzhen, so it wasn't even expensive). When I switched, the device was still better in use than a new mid-range phone, so I gave it to a family member, who used it until it died of mechanical damage. I'm on S7 now, and it still doesn't show signs of age - and I expect it to live and perform for couple more years still.
Flagships may seem overpriced, though if you calculate in their longevity and mostly-frustration-less experience over whole lifetime, I'm not sure if the price is really that bad. So I prefer to save up for one, instead of going for mid-range phones that magically tend to start breaking after couple months of use (P8 Lite, I'm looking at you).
For the luxury market, that probably means the customer pays someone to do that work. Maybe it's just cheaper to put in disposable parts that are replaced, since labour costs are pretty high these days.
Huffy bikes were only ridden for 50 cumulative miles over their lifetime and were designed for just that.
However, they use notoriously non-standard parts. So, if you want to fix your $100 bike, you’re looking at paying for someone to custom machine the replacement part.
You can’t even just find an old huffy and scavenge parts off those, since the geomoetries / threads / etc change constantly, so you’d need to find one made in the same production run as the one you are repairing.
They are disposable kid bikes. They don’t even make frames big enough for 6’ tall men. (and it is not even close; not sure what the cutoff is. 5’9”, maybe?)
The OP noted that these cars need major service after just a few thousand miles. It doesn't seem reasonable to expect to drive less than 5,000 miles in three years.
I often think that even as late as 20 years ago, you could go to your local tofu maker here in Japan with a container and they would put tofu in it for you. If you imagine that you would only need 1 tofu container for your whole life, you could afford to have a really nice tofu container.
Out of stubbornness (and the fact that I live in a country that is hot most of the time), I wash all of my containers before I throw them out. I get sad, though, that I have all this stuff which is perfectly usable, but if I'm honest I don't want to use because it is crappy. I want that lovely $100 tofu container rather than the $0.00001 plastic wrapping. I want to look at and touch and enjoy nice stuff every day. It seems to me that it's kind of what it's like to be super rich, where you never see the garbage -- everything is repackaged into lovely containers for you.
Of course, in reality, the Andy Warhol-esq lifestyle we live, where everything is commoditised and you can't buy a $10,000 bottle of Coke that tastes different from a $1 bottle of coke is built upon the efficiencies of being able to dispose of these transitory containers. I wonder how much we lose as a society for running virtually every price to the lowest possible level.
 - There is a small family run tofu maker in my town and I'm always tempted just to show up with a tofu container that I could buy at an antique shop just to see what they would say. Maybe they would sell me tofu... That would be awesome.
You should absolutely try that at the tofu maker.
I know in SF, Rainbow Groceries require/allows you to use your own contaners for many things. spices, gains, nuts, pickled things, ... The only part I hate is I don't trust the other patrons to use each dispenser in a clean way.
> I wonder how much we lose as a society for running virtually every price to the lowest possible level.
We're losing the habitability of our planet.
I thought long about this in the past, and honestly - disposable packaging wouldn't be a bad thing iff it was efficiently (and actually) reused or recycled after being disposed of, and if we didn't have problems with energy security and fossil-fuel-induced climate change. 24ᵗʰ century humanity from Star Trek would be able to use disposable packaging to their heart's content (and note that in the show, they didn't). Our Earth can't afford this. And yet we do, and it's a market failure.
Market externality now internalised.
Imagine garbage bins gone from streets, only green/recycable bins. Yes, consumers have to return garbage. Otherwise, those with long term goods have to subsidise those that throw out garbage (rates/taxes for gatbage trucks/landfill).
Don't talk about it, be about it. It sounds like your assumption that you can no longer buy tofu in bulk or your own container is just that–an assumption. I've seen health-food stores in north america that buy tofu in buckets so you can pick what you want out bulk-bin style. Don't assume things are as bad as they seem! Be the change etc.
I've noticed a trend here in Tokyo of some supermarkets (notably the Summit chain) not even selling the trays anymore -- a lot of meat just comes vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag branded as "eco."
His utopian perspective only works if a designer of his caliber is balanced with a visionary CEO. He had a chance to work with such a CEO at Braun. The last time we had such a magic duo was with Steve Jobs & Jony Ive.
He is a good designer but needs to prioritize reliability/longevity a bit more.
It wasn’t too cheap, but it was obviously meant to last. Nikon has since made cheaper, junkier consumer cameras (basically anything without the sub-command/aperture dial, which is under the shutter button), but the slightly higher-end models have stayed very similarly long-lasting and well-designed as my old D80.
The question is: will any smartphone ever begin to compete with that kind of longevity?
It takes multiple images at different exposures, detects edges/objects, and automatically composes the images to deal with backlight: https://i.imgur.com/01kVB3O.jpg
It simulates portrait photography by detecting which objects are close and which are further away, applying various levels of blur to several composed layers: https://i.imgur.com/M5h2q3r.jpg
In hindsight, I have no regrets using my phone rather than dragging along my DSLR on my vacation, particularly because I'm one of those ultralight "take only a 19-liter backpack" types. I just don't see the marginal benefit of whatever that bulky 15-year-old technology has over today's ML-enhanced technology.
But I guess your point was about longevity. For me, my phone serves many more functions than just photography, and so I feel that I get so much more out of it than just that one thing. In that sense, it's hard for me to tease apart the camera from the rest of what the phone does when I make the decision to upgrade it. I suppose I can give some signal there, in that I haven't found any reason to replace my Pixel 2 yet.
A good sensor will let you pull detail from things you can't even see. The average person doesn't need anything better than a phone (and I've taken many of my best photos with a phone because I didn't have my camera with me), but a good camera will make the photographer's life much, much easier.
It was with some sadness that I recently sold my trusty Canon 450D and Sigma long-range lens - my wife and I travelled the world with that kit, so it held sentimental value beyond the intrinsic. It did me proud for almost 10 years, and I still got a decent percentage of the original purchase price on eBay.
to be sure, I'm not trying to knock phone photography; it just for me personally achieves a different outcome than what I'm looking for.
I'm sure larger lenses with higher resolution sensors will always have a place in photography. Just not on my vacations.
This attitude is part of the problem. Maybe you're right -- although there are 450 listings for used men's Braun electric razors on eBay right now so it's a bit stark to claim that "no one wants a used razor" -- but being squeamish about stuff like this is a silly attitude that we should change. "Eww skin cells and hair" is not a valid excuse to throw away functioning things. We have running water, dishwashers and disinfectants.
I don't mean this as an attack on you, but on this prevalent attitude in society that makes you feel like your used razor is worthless.
For classical razors you could have a culture of getting a high quality one when you start needing it and then keep it for a lifetime if possible (through you have to sharpen it from time to time).
But we don't need to nitpick one tree, and miss the forest of products can be designed better for reuse. The central issue in my mind is that companies are usually incentivized for obsolescence.
You have exceptions like Patagonia with strong DNA for societal good, but companies generally need some extrinsic motivation. What could be effective here? I can see service models working, as the company providing hardware would want longevity to save costs, but I don't want my stuff's lifespan to be connected to its manufacturer.
I have an alert for whenever Amazon's algo goes wacky and the price drops, but it's only happened twice in three years.
What I mean is, Japan might be special and not necessarily generalizable.
It doesn't appear that you're reducing your use of boxes, and you aren't reusing the box as a box.
Recycling it as cardboard would seem to be better than using it as mulch, but using it as mulch would seem to be better than putting it in landfill.
By using cardboard as mulch, I'm also not buying wood mulch. Some people do use wood mulch on top of their cardboard to give it a better look, but I just use grass clippings and raked leaves, which people typically also discard. So things that would end up being useless to me instead go back into my own yard.
Now, I suppose one could argue that the grass clippings could be used in a bioreactor to create methane fuel, but that's just more carbon in the air, when really we should be trapping it in soil and plants.
It's also a hell of a lot easier than bagging all that shit and hauling to the street.
I’m not sure if the incremental energy to turn the cardboard into new cardboard (and transport it twice) is more or less than that of growing, mulching and transporting some scrap wood.
Anyway, that is probably the right computation to run.
Where it does get marginal is with all the extra transportation and packaging.
"I then avoid the additional spend in energy, time, dollars, and effort on wood mulch.
Agreed, that's as good a reason as any. Plus if we get to the point where our biggest problem is recycling or mulching cardboard I'll be happy.
It seems to me you're recycling the nutrients and biological matter back into the soil. This is a 'lower level' recycling than recycling the cardboard back to cardboard, and so less preferable.
Cardboard is excellent substraight for saprophytic mushrooms, which are dominant in certain desirable types of forest soil. It’s a common trick in permaculture circles for simulating second growth forest succession without having to wait forty years (takes about six to twelve month).
I believe there are actually quite some people who would take it.
But along with sex toys, yes usually a razor is something not for reuse. But actually I cannot think of much more conventionel products who outlive their usefulnes.
Except allmost everything with a computer today.. will it connect to other services in 5 years, when the ones from today die out?
People know how to clean their sex toys, which as a bonus are designed to be very easy to clean completely. (And when you do it the right way, it's feels obvious that you haven't missed anything. You don't have any lingering doubt.) With somebody else's sex toys, we have a feeling of contamination, but it's not physical, hygienic contamination. It's palpable, but intangible.
Razors are much more physically complicated, and many people never disassemble and clean their razor in its whole lifetime. They might know how to open it and shake out the hair that's inside it, but very few people bother to figure out how to clean every nook and cranny and wash out the oils that can accumulate in dark corners. With razors, I think people would be happy to buy a used razor if they knew how to clean it. But they don't, so someone else's razor will always feel dirty to them, in the hygienic sense.
Even if people did know how to clean a razor thoroughly, or had confidence that they could learn, they still might rather buy a new one for twice the price rather than put in the effort, but that's a judgement that can be influenced by the ethic of sustainability, if it was standard for manufacturers to design razors that could be cleaned with high confidence and a minimum of skill.
Have you seen a Braun razor? There are no corners. The product is as ergonomic as can be and since it's entirely waterproof, I don't know how you can say that "hidden oils" accumulate anywhere. The company even sells a station that cleans it for you. You've unwittingly fallen victim to the same effect you just mentioned: a feeling of contamination that is not actually there.
Ultimately, there is little reason for companies to design repairable products when most consumers disdain repair and even used items. I know many people that turn up their nose at buying used items such as cameras or headphones. "Certified pre-owned" is the magic dust that car dealerships need to sprinkle on their cars to make a used car seem new again, along with some vague incantations about inspections. Amazon even sells "expert assembly" packages for products as simple as a bookcase !
If it was really built to last (and not just some plasticky thing that happens to still work), then someone would very much want it. What's the problem with a "used razor"? People buy all kinds of used things...
More so, if it was built to last, any part that could be problematic (e.g. the blade being damaged by the use of the original owner), would be easily replaced, and the rest would be as good as new.
Some items simply can't last a lifetime like shoe soles. You can buy a shoe that can be re-soled but even that will eventually wear down.
Tech products that outlast their usefulness or any product for that matter, should be made from more sustainable materials. Whenever I throw something out I get the mental image of that item sitting in a landfill for eternity and it upsets me. Moreso if it's mostly plastic and contains electronics. This disposable mentality is not sustainable.
My heavy socks last forever because I only wear them when I put on my boots, which is maybe twenty days a year. Eventually the moths will get them.
Old Braun vs new razor is like nice laser printer vs. ink jet.
I bought a cheap Li-Rechargeable (Philips OneBlade). They charge you half the price of the whole razor for a single blade (15€) which sometimes breaks just when you fumble the long hair trimmer off of it.
I feel sometimes bad hiring someone to do something i can do. I do know that a professional painter can paint my walls better and quicker than i can and thats probably okay but it still feels weird.
I also visited a 1 Dollar Store in US because we were looking for some tweezers and found them there. Those have been so bad, they couldn't hold onto anything.
I also saw a cable adapter thingy which was 100% not functional as i was very aware of both plugs.This broken shit made it half around the world to be thrown away by me.
We should stop producing shit just because we can.
The ones we buy at work last about 6 months before the tips get ruined. Why because it's cheaper to make them out of soft stainless. And there is no competition they are all crap.
It is like someone forgot how to make proper file steel. Real shame. You'd maybe expect them to get a little bit better, for them to last longer, because more modern steels and better process controls for heat treating etc. may be used, but evidently this isn't the case.
Replying in case others may benefit from the brief explanation. JKCalhoun is describing the degree to which he, JKCalhoun, is cosmopolitan--based on the amount of knowledge he had about Rams. It's missing an implicit "I'm".
The sentences can be fully formed as this:
"I'm just cosmopolitan enough to know who he is, not cosmopolitan enough to know he is still alive."
Most of the things that I own that are more durable are low-tech, like kitchen items. Yes, you can buy cheap, semi-disposable frying pans, and budget appliances, but that's always been the case, even back in Rams's day. I've owned and used the same cast iron pans, ceramic coffee mugs, drinking glasses, silverware, etc. for in some cases decades. They work and there's no reason to upgrade them.
I've got tools that I've been using for decades. Some were inherited from my father. Some I purchased myself. Manual tools can last nearly forever. Plenty of power tools last decades (decent brand drills, circular saws, etc). This hasn't changed. You can also buy cheap, poorly-built versions of many of these things, if you either can't afford or don't need better quality. Again, this has always been the case, even 50 years ago.
There's a lot more stuff now, and a lot more cheap stuff to be sure. This creates a disposable culture, but it's not that high-quality, repairable items have disappeared completely; it's just that now people who don't need or want them have more cheap alternatives to choose from.
Electronics are an exception to this. Computers and phones in particular are semi-disposable, over a few years. This isn't because they're shoddily-built and unrepairable, it's because they become obsolete. I still have 15-year-old computers that work fine, and have some components that are 20+ years old. They're sturdy, they function just as well as when they were made, but they're obsolete. My primary gaming desktop is nearly 10 years old, though, and it's still going strong. I've upgraded the video card and storage a few times, but other than that, it's almost all original 2011 equipment, and it still plays all modern games. That's totally repairable and self-serviceable.
I've heard people bemoan modern quality and disposability before, but I really don't see it as the modern plague it's described as. Plenty of junk was manufactured 75 years ago, but the things that have survived were the items that were built well and had timeless value. I bet Rams has thrown out his old black & white TV, and that photo of him sitting on his cheap, disposable plastic patio furniture shows that he's prone to the same price-vs-quality decisions as the rest of us.
Electronic control boards on ovens is a terrible idea. Guess what usually breaks on one (like mine, we don't use it so it's been broken for 4 years).
I like his message, though. We should throw away a lot less stuff.
- Saves natural resources
- Reduces landfills
- Provides jobs (the repair technicians)
Seems like a good future trend.
Anyway I agree with you. It's a pity that open source hardware is still in the infancy. Software shows us that open source can be unbeatable and even corporations have to comply if they want to survive.
The only way we are going to get beyond this is to make sure they have to pay for their externalities.
Any particular communists you have in mind, there are few extent groups, kibbutz dwellers appear to be reasonably environmentally conscious.
You first. What does capitalism have to do with it? You're the one who brought an unrelated sociopolitical agenda to the thread, it seems.
kibbutz dwellers appear to be reasonably environmentally conscious.
Says someone with their own 3 GHz personal computer that was decidedly not built by kibbutz-dwellers.
Why does the dominant financial ideology relate? Because it prefers profit above everything, so externalised costs aren't considered if they'll provide a return on capital -- impoverish your workers, fine if that leads to profit; wreck the environment, fine if that leads to private financial profit.
Changing to a more communist ideology, eg all workers owning the companies they work in, restricting ownership that massively exceeds needs, democratising the benefits of automation. These sorts of things might restrict technological development, but if they can help to save the environment, and reduce the massive wealth inequalities (some of which hark back to feudalism) then that's good.
The FOSS movement seems to have made good advances despite being communistic, perhaps not as great as private software development, but certainly not without progress.
The main problem is that capitalism calls out to greed, which everyone feels and falls to. Communism calls to selflessness, which requires us to rise above our base natures.
The problem of externalities, ie of costs that are unaccounted for, is a side product of an economic system that fragment economic interest into many small actors, and where, as a consequence, the larger picture is only partially taken into account, leaving void areas (unsolvable, unfulfilled needs) and cracks (externalities).
It can be argued that another economic system would do better, but claiming it has nothing to do with it just reveals how taboo it is to challenge the dominant view, even in our times when that dominant view is really not threatened at all in principle nor in practice. Interesting.