Backtalk 11/19/2009

Nov. 17, 2009
Imagine this commute to work: A bumpy ride in a four-wheel-drive Jeep over a 7-mile washboard dirt road, and sometimes you’re stuck in deep mud or sugar sand.

World’s Worst Commute
Imagine this commute to work: A bumpy ride in a four-wheel-drive Jeep over a 7-mile washboard dirt road, and sometimes you’re stuck in deep mud or sugar sand. Then you take a tugboat ferry trip across the St. John’s River, which on some days you must wait at least 30 min for, and finally drive 11 more country miles until arriving at work.

Three-time NASCAR Spring Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson thought it was good enough to award Kimberly Hanson of Salt Springs, Fla., first place in Quaker State Co.’s World’s Worst Commute contest. Launched earlier this year, Quaker State, Houston, wanted to highlight its brands of wear-protection products. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends more than 100 hr/yr commuting to and from work. Since actual commute time is only a fraction of the time motorists spend driving. Quaker State says its important to protect vehicles from friction-related wear to help them continue to run at optimal performance under all driving conditions.

For having the worst commute in America, Hanson received a trip for two to the Oct. 17th Bank of America 500 race in Concord, N.C., where she went behind the scenes with Johnson at Hendrick Motorsports and at the track before the race.

The draftsman’s ballad
This item appeared in our Oct. 1, 1959, Backtalk column.

— Not Fit To Print

An article in our last issue offered improvements on current drafting standards, aimed to impart greatest clarity to engineering drawings which are used outside the company originating them. To temper the good ideas in that article, we now send along the suggestion that real engineersmanship can be displayed by making a simple drawing appear so difficult that no one else can read, let alone work from, it. The strategy has been immortalized by the classic draftsman’s ballad:

They gave me a job in the office today,
With a hole and a couple of grooves:
It’s only a cleat to go under a door
To restrain it whenever it moves.
To sketch it would take but a couple of lines,
Plus a working dimension or two,
But these wouldn’t show nearly how much I know,
So I’m sure that they never would do.
I’ll cut it all up into sections,
With a symbol beside every part.
I want to be sure that I make it obscure
As to where the machining will start.
It’s time to put on the dimensions and then,
That’s the spot where I really unload:
I’ll mark all the lines with mysterious signs
That an Einstein could never decode.
My drawing is finished and printed
at last,
And I’m proud of its hazy design.
I know they’ll have ulcers and chaos and such,
When at last it comes out on the line.
A feeling of pride starts a stirring inside
As my tracing is filed on the shelf:
My quest has been solved with a print so involved
That I can’t even read it myself.

Sponsored Recommendations

The entire spectrum of drive technology

June 5, 2024
Read exciting stories about all aspects of maxon drive technology in our magazine.


May 15, 2024
Production equipment is expensive and needs to be protected against input abnormalities such as voltage, current, frequency, and phase to stay online and in operation for the ...

Solenoid Valve Mechanics: Understanding Force Balance Equations

May 13, 2024
When evaluating a solenoid valve for a particular application, it is important to ensure that the valve can both remain in state and transition between its de-energized and fully...

Solenoid Valve Basics: What They Are, What They Do, and How They Work

May 13, 2024
A solenoid valve is an electromechanical device used to control the flow of a liquid or gas. It is comprised of two features: a solenoid and a valve. The solenoid is an electric...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!