No announcement yet.

To metal or not to metal?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • To metal or not to metal?

    During a recent conversation with a co-worker they made the following comments;

    "The discovery of metal and mankinds desire to use it for whatever reason was the start of the end of the world."

    "Metal allows mankind to do many things that in a closed system should not occur."

    They continued to explain that the "metal" age was the turning point. The silicone age was just an extension of the metal age and ultimately has no bearing on the final outcome.

    I tried to say that the key was human nature. Human nature explains mans desire to improve their conditions. Metal, wood or stone, we would always try to improve our lot in life. Even if the attempt proved to be a little shortsighted, we would still ultimately try to improve our conditions. The argument came back to metal allowing us to create objects that in a closed system should not be made.

    What do you think? As those with an interest in machining, are we the foot soldiers of destruction?

  • #2
    Aackk. It's too hot to think that hard. Too much time on your hands? The overwhelming majority of the elements on the periodic table are metals. Supernovas in the neighbourhood are also a really bad thing and they make metals. We may wipe ourselves out or the universe may do it for us. How about getting smacked with a all metal nickle-iron asteroid? I figure if I wasn't a machinist I would have been a flint knapper and would have made spear points, all the better to kill with.
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


    • #3
      Seems the metal age was just a part of the evolution of Mankind. Somehow, the first metal was made, most likely by accident, then forming, also probably by accident. Alloys by accident and probably experimentation, us hoomans are pesky curious beasts by nature. Heck discovered basic machines by accident or even instinct starting with leverage, wheels, using multiple wheels of different sizes and a string of vine for leverage, methods of movement of the wheels by "pedals" then belts, add a bit of fire, some water in a gourd then on and on, and you get steam emgines. some black stuff from the ground, wet and slick, or dry and powerdy or in rock form, fire added....on and on. a couple of slightly misformed wheels chipped out grinding against each other, and the eventuality of gears, add a few more screwed up wheels, then perfect the design.

      On and on, through curiosity, some general science being learned by trial and error, and now we have metal cutting machines that work with CAD/CAM many many years later. Evolution, curiosity, trial and error, gained and applied knowledge passed on and improved through each generation. Long Long time, but "Bing Bong, here we are!!!!"

      BUT in comparrison with how long dinosaurs inhabited the earth, and from the start of life itself, from a couple of little one cell doohickies in a pond, or perhaps the hand of God putting Adam and Eve in the forest, Adam eats the apple and gets curious about Eve (perhaps the apple was fermented), or the microbes on the other side of the religious spectrum getting curious about each other, our "humanity" and our growth in "metal" and manufacturing as a result.

      From the bored caveman with the two rocks beating a round object out by accident and having to run down the hill to get it back, by accident discovering his fate and lively hood is not in hunting, but making round rocks. Another really tired and irked caveman moving rocks figuring a big long stick could move a great big rock, to the guy sitting by the fire wondering why the rocks bleed off glowing red stuff that is real hard, and can be used by re-heating to make spear points to kill animals, and even his neighbor. NOW to the guy making incolel chips at unheard of speeds and feeds that now thrill and challenge our ideas and concepts five years back is but a "three hour tour" in comparrison to the span of things. And NOW, this morning, hearing of a 115,000 pound thrust jet engine, the most thrust in the world, and it uses 1/2 the fuel, and instead of being disabled by a few big old canadian geese running through it, purees them out the other end.

      Oh but if the microbobes had not met, had Adam not taken Eves invitation to taste the forbidden fruit. Had a couple of apes not met and had a better ape - perhaps the two best apes of the whole freaking heard, or maybe even the two "runt" apes for all I know, having this slightly more hairless ape than the rest of the tribe, and they forgot to kill it off, it mated, yet another less hairy ape, a runt, but now the "dominant runt" of the heard, and the girl apes dig him (or th guy apes dig her, and what...more even less hair apes, and a society of hairless apes is formed).......This is where the fault lies. Not in the "metal age", but in curiosity, mutation, and perhaps rebellion of what we are told can't or should not be done, but doing it anyway.

      Had Martin Luther not posted his challenge to the church on the door way way back, Had Guttenburg not invented the pringing press, Had nobody had the courage to say "The king has no clothes". Had columbus not sailed and proved we would not fall off the edge of the earth (though the PC'ers challenge this, just a quick example, don't even bite on this), Had medicine not still had us sitting in chairs with leaches all over us to bleed off our ails, and had not some bread molded to give us penecillin because some guy decided not to throw it away as asked, but "hey, forget the boss, I am going to test this stuff". This is the closed society, ideas not formed and challenged, curiosity quelled, testing, not blind allegience or blind "facts is facts". No hand tools or machines can conquer a closed idea society, it is the ideas and the challenge to do better, the challenge of the status quo, the challenge that "Hey I can do it better" combined with "what I hear is not the truth" that changed the world.

      Oh gawd, it is hot here as well......

      [This message has been edited by spope14 (edited 07-31-2003).]

      [This message has been edited by spope14 (edited 07-31-2003).]
      CCBW, MAH


      • #4
        Actually it was Farming that scewed everything up way before metal.


        • #5
          kenb....Interesting point. Can you explain a wee bit more?


          • #6
            To metal or not to metal, that is, shun the quest.

            [This message has been edited by Evan (edited 07-31-2003).]
            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


            • #7
              Antibiotics and "modern medicine" (however crude much of it is) have altered the check and balance sytems so prevalent in nature, indirectly creating demand for metal and its evil relatives through population growth.
              A good ol' fashioned plague or nickel ateroid could help nature catch up pretty quickly!


              • #8
                Actually the avalibility of free time lead to all of it.
                As far as a reset button did any of you see the report about China and India's birth control plans?They have found that even though they have been trying to control their populations they are finding that many more girls are being born than males which is offseting their efforts at controlling population numbers,they are still trying to figure this one out.
                I just need one more tool,just one!


                • #9
                  One of the great questions is then, should we (mankind) make use of the materials we find at hand, or at our disposal somehow, or not? How would we know when or where to end an activity that would be harmful in the future? Our very nature is to make do with what is at hand. So, we build with and burn wood, and slowly but surely, even with reforestation, away goes that resource. In north america the problems aren't so bad, but look at the situation in other countries. There's entire populations feeding off the destruction of the forestation. When it's gone, as it seems it soon will be, then what of the populations, they die off as well? We use oil, and with that comes metal use, plastics, even foodstuffs, the combined total of which causes untold problems with the environment and health, not to mention the fact that it is essentially not renewable. So we continue to build a major industry around a non-renewable resource. When that's gone, what of the billions of people who live off this resource in one way or another? We farm, using the latest and greatest in pest control, and by doing so, are strengthening the various bugs, to the point where there will be nothing we can do to prevent them from taking over our food supplies. What then, do we starve to death? We are able nowadays to peel the skin off an atom, and selectively withdraw a massless particle spinning around at the speed of light, yet we continue on our destructive path, knowing full well that it's not sustainable, and must crash. How smart is that? We mess around with bio-mechanics, and now antibiotics aren't effective anymore. In essence we have created huge populations of future victims. Plague, viruses, etc., will have the upper hand and may kill us all, but, gee, if you go to a doctor, what does he say? Take this antibiotic, see me in 2 weeks. This huge destructive ball is rolling, and now how can we stop it? So many businesses, and peoples' livelihoods rely on it that there's no way we can stop this manmade killer. Now if we were to go way back and try to determine just where our practices turned into our enemies, could we find such a point? Remember, we are just beings following a survival tactic, a very natural activity. Generally, no individual will curb their activities that lead to the aforementioned doomsday scenarios, so what if we did know ahead of time what we shouldn't play with? Would we curtail our rapage of the earth, to ensure future survival? Nothing has come to light yet to show that we would. No, we're going to go on doing that which we feel to do, or are compelled to do, naturely. Guys like us will still pick up that funny looking chunck of whatever, and think, what could I do with this- maybe a nickel iron rock- hey, mayve my great grandson will eventually be able to build a chassis for a transportation device from this. Others will cut those trees down and learn to build, others will explore chemicals, others will-- etc. Who's to say at what point do we not follow this human 'bend'? We are born opportunists, and therefore we must actively use what we find, to live and thrive. If we do not, then we die right now, so we take advantage of what is available to us. Naturally. So I say, yes, we continue to work with metal, and get our sustenance from it, and so should the woodworker, so should the rest of the world's people, do what you do, follow a few simple guidelines for living together peacefully, help each other in any way that presents itself, and go on living until 'natural' forces put an end to it all.
                  Now maybe I've just gone and written a long pointless rant here (it's hot here, too) but there it is, my input to the whole conundrum.
                  I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                  • #10
                    The question that begs asking is; would these poor benighted souls prefer to live in the Stone Age?
                    Pleny of unused caves about.


                    • #11
                      The availability of free time started with farming – trace everything back far enough and it started when that first woman (it wasn’t a man!) decided to stay put and wait for them tuber seeds to grow. That required a house to live in, and then since you were not following the herds you had to plan for winter so you needed a barn. Somebody who also couldn’t hunt had the remaining hunters catch him goat so he could eat meat too and he turned into a rancher then the neighbors decided you had a good thing going and moved in next door, pretty soon you had cities, that meant some of the kids couldn’t farm so they started making things every house wife needed (the first machinist?). The next city down the road decided you had better dirt than they did so they invented war. The discovery of metal was still in the future here maybe… It all goes back to farming so unless you want to live pure and be a hunter/gather – deal with it.<g>


                      • #12
                        Economics was the start of the end of the world. No war is or ever has been waged for a reason other than economics. If we were perfect enough to take only what we need and leave the rest, then we'd end war.

                        What is meant by: "Metal allows mankind to do many things that in a closed system should not occur."? Either the metal is part of the closed system, or we are not in a closed system. That's kind of like "If God had meant for us to fly, he would have given us wings." If God did not mean for us to fly, he would have taken away our lathes.


                        • #13
                          Greed will be the death of us all.

                          If not for greed, we would do things the way they should be done. When we built something it would last forever, and the process of making it would not impact the environment, because we would take great pains to ensure it did not effect the environment.

                          Greed is killing us and the utopian society of "Star Trek" is impossible with greed running the show.


                          • #14
                            Metal, definitely. If you consider what exists in the earth with us, elements of metals are already here. Man has developed processes to make these raw materials into usable goods. That's innovation, not destruction. People were made to conquer the earth and make it serve mankind. Farming is an example (and we started with wooden plows). If you tell your friend the Bible instructs us to do this (and I'm pretty sure it does), you'll really ruin their day.

                            One thing that hasn't always existed is consideration for working with nature. Contour plowing, for example, wasn't practiced on farms until the dust bowls of the 1930s existed. Conservation needs to be a consideration, but not in the extreme that environmentalists would have us believe.

                            For my money, good or bad usage depends on the user. A knife, a sledge hammer and an automobile are all useful metal tools in their own right. All three are also very effective weapons, not necessarily designed as such. Yes, soldiers carry knives specifically as weapons. Most men I know who are civilians and carry knives like them as tools, not because they want to kill somebody. This is why personal responsibility matters.

                            Can't accept that we need to be primitive because we're too destructive for our own good. Look at it that way and the world's been dying for thousands of years. The Chinese invented gunpowder when? And the Chinese have been around for how many years? If we follow your friend's line of logic, we shouldn't be building anything of wood, either.

                            Nearly got on a soapbox there. Pardon me, folks.


                            • #15
                              Without getting off into astronomy and the life of the Sun, the "world" isn't going to end. Our "world" will grow to encompass our solar system and beyond. Then we can have wars with those evil bastards over on Mars who keep taking more metal out of the asteroid belts than Intergalactic law allows. Obviously we need more optimists on this board.