[ExI] The Magpie Whisperer

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Tue Jun 22 18:41:44 UTC 2021



From: extropy-chat <extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org> On Behalf Of Adrian Tymes via extropy-chat


>…They are not a clue that kittens are made by injection molding.  ;)


That depends on the breed.  The rare show-quality Abyssinian Bobtail Moldcat is made that way. 



>>…There’s a point to all this, which I will reveal if anyone is still reading about something as apparently simple as a used tire (which isn’t simple at all) and asks what is the point of all this, because it has everything to do with used RVs.


>…Go on, you want to tell us anyway.  :)  Adrian


Adrian, you know me well sir.  I spend all these years looking carefully at everything around me, gobbling up arcane info in places like ExI-chat where most of us have interesting thoughts and observations.  It is such a tragedy to not pass along our arcane wisdom to you young fellers.


Lockheed Sunnyvale where I worked for many years offered a little perk to the employees: we could park an RVs back in the back lot where it was free, fenced, gated and perfectly safe.  Lots of proles put boats, campers back there along with old cars (which they dreamed of restoring someday (but we know that for most of us, someday never comes.))


Boats and campers are two good examples of a toy that people buy when they are young, but quickly discover are far more complicated and expensive to operate than they thought, because their friends who had a boat or camper didn’t really explain that part.  Boats take a loooootta lotta effort to haul to the site and launch, then one quickly realizes that once the boat is out in the lake or at sea… there’s nothing to do.  Catch some fish (maybe.)  Go fast.  Check out the shoreline.  Dive off the side and swim.  Get back in.  Get a horrifying sunburn.  Copulate if the conditions are agreeable.  OK did all that, now what?  Discovery: boating isn’t as fun as you thought.  Boat falls into disuse.


Camper: go camping, discover the commercial campground is more crowded, more dangerous, with far less to do and with far worse air quality (from campfires), more noisy at night than one’s own neighborhood, but still worse… the family’s individual enthusiasm for camping varies widely.  Result: one or more family members finds whiney excuses to not go, camper falls into disuse (except for the classic use for many of them parked back there: employees would sneak out into the back lot and use the RV as a secret meeting place (details not available (and unnecessary (clarification: I never used mine for that purpose (not kidding, I didn’t go there (but plenty of RV owners did.))))))


Very well.  Prole wants a camper, wonders which one would be best, so he checks out a key, goes out to the back parking area, discovers thousands of these things have accumulated over the decades, very literally thousands.  That lot back there is an RV graveyard.  Many haven’t had new tags in 20 years, which is not an exaggeration at all, for busy young people bought them, then discovered camping wasn’t their thing, or the spouse at the time didn’t like it much, so it was only kept for… well, that, and even then, people get busier in their middle years and don’t even have all that much time for… that.


Result: camper is bought, falls into disuse after a year or two.  Campers have a plastic vent cover or two (mine has three.)  Those translucent covers are plastic, so they degrade in the sun over time, and after a few years, a decade or less the once-flexible plastic is UV degraded and is as brittle and delicate as a potato chip.  Wind comes, they break off, rain comes in, rots whatever below the vent, which is usually a bed.  The front vent is over the dining/cooking area, so the wood floor rots there too.  After 15 years of non-use, a typical RV needs so much refurbishment, its value is near zero.


What has all this to do with mold vent sprues, the young people asked.


Glad you should ask.  If you go to the RV lot, you can find 40 year old RVs with the most recent tag 20 yrs ago.  So you already know it has been out of service a long time, and the original owner has likely passed on, but examining the tires will tell an interesting story.  On some of those 40 year old RVs, the tires are flat (all of them) the tread is unworn and the outboard mold vent sprues are still present.  They snap right off if you bend them.  That indicates two things: unworn tread means the RV was never driven far.  The presence of outboard sprues indicates that after the RV was older than just a few years.  Other than its use for…that… it was seldom used for anything.  It was a total waste of money.


This can all be discovered with a little knowledge of how rubber ages and a careful examination of a tire’s mold vent sprues, which is actually fascinating.


Result: before I agreed to buy one 14 yrs ago, I made dang sure I would use it.  My camper is on its third set of tires, 4th set of vent covers, has 436 camping nights in it and has traveled 84000 miles.  So… we get our money’s worth out of that camper.  But many, if not most RVs are almost a total waste.


Now Billw of course can get revenge on me for all the trash I gave that lad for reading a book about… cod.  (About cod!  (oh mercy, cod he reads books about.)) Well, cod just don’t interest me much.  But about those little rubber whiskers on tires he waxes eloquent.  Those are more fascinating to me than the real purpose for which a lotta Lockheed people really used those RVs.  Tragic.






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