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Monday, Nov. 24, 1997.

You and I Are 'The Experts"

by Ted Mooney

When there are fire hazards, we expect knowledgeable experts to tell us about it. We expect food experts to tell us about sanitary practices in the food industry, doctors to keep us posted on medical matters, automotive engineers to keep us abreast of vehicle matters, and environmentalists to warn us about risks to the water we drink and the air we breathe.

Now, it's fine to have government agencies to tune the policies and then enforce them. But to expect pro-activism from bureaucrats is a bit unrealistic; it is nearly always outside experts, not government agencies, who focus attention on matters. We have an EPA because of Rachel Carson, not vice versa.

Most things are just fine in the finishing industry, but a few things are wrong. If it is not to be you and I who will focus the necessary attention to right them, then who?

Finishes designed to obfuscate and mislead --
For example, brass tinting of aluminum hose nozzles; and brass and tin tinting of aluminum light bulb ferrules. For applications where lubricity is required, brass and tin are wonderful materials, and aluminum is frankly a lousy one -- and you & I know it. So if a consumer wants to buy brass, and is trying her hardest to do so, why are we cooperating in the effort to try to deceive her?
 
Letting the bean counters dictate the specs --

All of us are aware of the relentless pressure to, for example, keep reducing the thickness of gold when it's already too thin. Who is supposed to say something if not us?! This, while not an heirloom quality watch, is not a $9.95 special either, it's a $75-$100 model. Note that the gold is completely worn off the four raised 'knobs'-- from occasional wear in less than a year. Is this what we want the public to think of our art and science?

What are you and I, 'the experts', going to do about it?


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