Don’t get your motor running
With apologies to Steppenwolf, the sixties rock band, not the book by Hermann Hesse, I marvel at the internal combustion engine. About a century-and-a-half ago the first internal combustion engine, co-invented by Nicholas Otto, has gone from a handful of primitive blocks to now being numbered in the billions. The count is amazing. Two-stroke and four-stroke gasoline engines along with their diesel counterpart have multiplied in spectacular fashion. They are virtually a new species invading every continent and niche imaginable.
Now, it’s not just cars and trucks that make use of this device. The internal combustion machine can also be found in leaf blowers, weed whackers, snow blowers and lawn mowers. Anything powered by liquid fossil fuels using the things. Power generators, chain saws, motorcycles, airplanes, construction vehicles, motor boats, seadoos, bull dozers even toys make use of the internal combustion machine.
The internal combustion machine is why, some historians think that we gave up slavery. Instead of people, unreliable and prone to revolt, we have the all powerful fossil fuel machines, that never complain and happily take whatever we dish out. They can do anything and have transformed us and our world, especially in the west, and allow democracy to flourish.
Back about 100 years ago there were about one-million horses that used to do the work in New York City. One-million horses need a lot of care and even more shoveling. They made about 20-million pounds of horse doo-doo every day and in the summer it was a source of typhoid, cholera, dysentery and a host of other diseases. The car, the internal combustion machine, and its ability to do work and aid in transportation was seen as a god send. But in just 20 years we had fatalities, air pollution, traffic jams and road rage. The city became clogged with Otto’s autos.
Now its everywhere. Billions of the gosh darn things, and their pollution, noise and over use. We have gotten lazy. Whatever happened to raking the leaves, shoveling the snow, walking or playing without the aid of the “infernal” combustion machine??
I just recently got an old fashioned push mower for my lawn, at the behest of my neighbour who has been using one for years. Why I have a lawn in the first place is another question, but let’s leave that for now. I discovered to much surprise, how easy it was, and quiet and simple. Good bye Otto. Now if I can only convince my other neighbours, or better yet get rid of the lawns….but as I said that for another day.
Sorry Johnny Kay, loved your music, but its time to shut down the motor!
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