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View Diary: America isn't Falling Apart. It's Being Reborn. (261 comments)

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  •  I like that (10+ / 0-)

    One very un-noticed thing about poor old Michigan is the amazing number of little job shops,  machine shops and labs, 5 people or less, who can make anything you can dream up.
    The skills and creativity are amazing, if American turns it's back on them yet again, it'll be a loss.
    "Don't forget the Motor City"
    I run into tech innovation types who couldn't run a drill press at gunpoint.
    Go Lansing and make the things that we need.

    I buy and sell well trained riding mules and American Mammoth Jack Stock.

    by old mule on Sun May 26, 2013 at 07:37:18 AM PDT

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    •  and (7+ / 0-)

      There is a interesting motorbike scene in Lansing and as  I type this, some creative, under-educated kid there is making an "unobtainable" part for a half-century-old Triumph or harley, doing it with self taught skills, making it fit and work perfectly to fulfill his (or her) own vision, and only the net for research....
      just think what he could do at MIT! or with a fuckin' break of some kind.

      I buy and sell well trained riding mules and American Mammoth Jack Stock.

      by old mule on Sun May 26, 2013 at 07:53:05 AM PDT

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    •  Deserves a photoed article or at least a (0+ / 0-)

      diary on this site. Very interesting!

      Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

      by the fan man on Sun May 26, 2013 at 08:29:07 AM PDT

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    •  I'm giving you a rec (0+ / 0-)

      For the "Dancing In The Street" reference, nicely done.

      "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

      by US Blues on Sun May 26, 2013 at 08:36:26 AM PDT

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    •  Well said, old mule, well said! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, annan

      A lot of us here in Michigan have steel in our bones and cutting oil in our blood.  My father was a tool and die maker at Chrysler, as was his father.  None of our family were ever proficient woodmakers, but we all learned how to cut, drill, and grind metal from an early age.  My grandpa had an entire machine shop in his basement that we grew up around. 3D printers are all cool and high-tech and such, but I'd rather putz around with the Bridgeport Mill in my garage than watch a plastic do-dad get burped out by a 3D printer in my office any day.  That being said, I'll probably get one when the price really comes down and they can 3D print polystyrene patterns that can be cast in the shop foundry I hope to assemble someday.

      Oh, and thanks for the song reminder - - I hadn't listened to that tune in years - - and so appropriate for the tenor of this thread!

      Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

      by lehman scott on Sun May 26, 2013 at 08:42:38 AM PDT

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      •  I need (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lehman scott, KenBee, annan

        a aluminum or magnesium brake plate cast for the Gilera drum brake on my race bike, wish I was in Michigan now!
        Texas might have jobs, but they are all bad, and there are no die sinkers or patternmakers within 600 miles of here.

        It takes education and experience to make the part I need...

        I buy and sell well trained riding mules and American Mammoth Jack Stock.

        by old mule on Sun May 26, 2013 at 08:46:13 AM PDT

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        •  and dammit, I could walk into (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lehman scott, offgrid, KenBee, annan

          some garage or basement job shop in any city in Michigan and hand my wood pattern to the guy at the milling machine...he'd say "add 3/8s of an inch there for shrinkage and build up the lever boss a bit, bring it back Monday and I'll make it for you".
          These are the kind of skills that we cannot afford to throw away.
          The rest of America thinks we are ridding ourselves of corruption and inefficiency and the old ways by throwing away Detroit...they don't know what they stand to lose.

          I buy and sell well trained riding mules and American Mammoth Jack Stock.

          by old mule on Sun May 26, 2013 at 08:56:07 AM PDT

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          •  No kidding... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KenBee, annan

            I remember when I had the resources to start assembling my own machine shop 15 years back a lot of the stuff I bought was from small-medium shops that were selling off their assets to try to stay in business.  It was heartbreaking to talk to the owners and hear them lament the loss of skilled manufacturing tradespeeps.  Those are skills that we just cannot afford to lose in a future economy that is increasingly going to have to depend on the capability to keep all our essential stuff running.

            Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

            by lehman scott on Sun May 26, 2013 at 09:20:35 AM PDT

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            •  oops, there i go (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              annan

              into Debbie-Downer mode...

              Sometimes you have to work at maintaining one's optimism...

              Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

              by lehman scott on Sun May 26, 2013 at 09:28:27 AM PDT

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              •  some years ago (5+ / 0-)

                I met  22 year old girl in Detroit who was making a stainless steel sculpture like a Mobius strip, only tall and skinney.
                I said "Those are beautiful welds, where'd you go to school?"
                "Oh I never did, I just picked it up"
                "You should get certified to be a bridge welder, make some good money there".
                She said "I couldn't do that, I'm not good enough".

                Just the kind of kid that our country should take in hand and have her building wind machine blades or fixing that bridge up in Washington.

                I buy and sell well trained riding mules and American Mammoth Jack Stock.

                by old mule on Sun May 26, 2013 at 09:37:35 AM PDT

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                •  Exactly, Sir! :) n/t (0+ / 0-)

                  Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

                  by lehman scott on Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:50:13 AM PDT

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                  •  I knew it was (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    lehman scott, Paul Ferguson, annan

                    all going to hell when that gun on the battleship Iowa blew up. If you look at pictures of it today, you will see only two guns on that turret.
                    When the navy considered replacing the giant lined rifled gun, they came to the conclusion that it could not be done.
                    paraphrasing what I remember, it went like this:

                    "We would have to re-open a manganese mine that's been closed for fifty years. We'd have to train, starting with elementary school math, a group of stress analysts, metallurgists, steelmakers, and mechanical engineers. We'd have to find old retired machinists, or train new ones, to do the actual hands on work, and train a cadre of foundrymen and their backup scientists to actually turn the ores into suitable metal.
                    America can't do that any more."

                    The ancient saying, "What man hath made, man can make again" has been disproven by unregulated post-industrial consumer capitalism.

                    Don't blame the working class of Michigan for their state's decine.

                    I buy and sell well trained riding mules and American Mammoth Jack Stock.

                    by old mule on Sun May 26, 2013 at 11:45:07 AM PDT

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                    •  Indeed, Sir... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      annan

                      and your observation that

                      The ancient saying, "What man hath made, man can make again" has been disproven by unregulated post-industrial consumer capitalism.
                      unfortunately will be ultimately and totally accurate in the long term regardless of how we reorganize and manage our industrial economy.  

                      If we confine our energy and mineral resource base to only what lies within our finite biosphere the unavoidable Laws of Thermodynamics dictate that most of our descendants will eventually be planting and harvesting their food behind draft animals and iron plows.

                      One vitally important dimension of renewable energy technologies that I all too often see neglected in most discussions of transitioning away from fossil fuels is the not-so-obvious fact that all those windmills and solar panels, not to mention the storage and distribution systems required to utilize them, currently all require fossil fuels to fabricate and maintain.   And although market forces work really well in some areas of the economy, infrastructure development and maintenance is not one of them; build-out is enormously expensive and can take decades of planning.

                      Transitioning from cheap energy-intensive liquid fossil fuels to pure electricity is not going to be fast, easy, or cheap and I dearly wish more renewable energy advocates understood better how difficult and challenging that transition is going to be.

                      Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

                      by lehman scott on Sun May 26, 2013 at 12:58:54 PM PDT

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