Nightmares about Shortages

A reader noted our recent editorial about shortages of CNC machinists contained complaints from people who lent a helping hand in creating the shortages. Other readers are concerned that fracking should be as safe as possible.

Self-inflicted shortage

I agree wholeheartedly with the letter writer who talked about the CNC machinist shortage (July 18, Letters). Most experienced CNC machinists are in China. Why not? After all, that is where the majority of production work is.

But why does machining and manufacturing as a whole go to China from the U. S.? In many instances, it is not the economic forces of capitalism, but shortsightedness and just doing what other companies seem to be doing. Managers decide to move the jobs offshore, but then there goes the experience, infrastructure, and “know-how.” Eventually, the managers who advocated the offshoring of manufacturing will see their own jobs being offshored. If striving to end your own relevance is not the definition of shortsightedness, I don’t know what is.

For those looking to become CNC operators, I would suggest setting up some sort of apprenticeship/internship with a CNC shop. They get you as inexpensive cheap manual labor for a time while you gain experience. Or you could lease a CNC machine and bid simple jobs at cost to get experience.

Charles Griswold

 

It’s a small world

I don’t consider myself much of an environmental activist, nor well informed about fracking, but your article (“Two Vital Resources: Water and Natural Gas,” June 6) well documented the environmental threats and how people are trying to solve those problems.

My personal concern is the world’s population explosion and that nobody wants to be the bad guy and say that we should stop or reduce growth. Earth now has twice the number of people as when Neil and Buzz walked on the Moon. No wonder we’re having resource problems. We all have to live with tourniquets on our resources — like eliminating incandescent bulbs to save electricity (so someone else can use it). This scenario is playing out with just about every consumable product we touch. At some point, we’ll run out of ways to improve efficiency and then rationing will start. All we need to do is reduce our growth. But that’s a touchy subject.

Kurt Sawitskas

 

Danger: Fracking ahead

I liked the editorial on fracking, however my position on it hasn’t changed. Here in Illinois they recently passed a fracking bill that basically nobody approved of except money-grubbing politicians. The opposition on this topic has been fierce to say the least and the bottom line is that those in favor of fracking should watch Gasland.

Water really is the most precious resource and because we effectively have underground rivers, fracking in one area affects other areas. Your piece brings to the forefront the special equipment needed to reclaim some of our most-precious resources. However, this is a “reaction” to opposition. Business will do anything they can to avoid any cost no matter what the impact to the environment. They market to politicians to get their bills passed and when something goes wrong, we are expected to prove they are in violation.

Meanwhile, the general public keeps having the deck staked against it. Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgia all have water issues, and until the legal system rules for “The People,” we will not see relief.

Mike Korkowski

 

It is urgent that the public and our political leaders understand that propane is a viable method of fracking that does not have any of the environmental burdens of water-based fracking. When it is made clear that gas production can continue without environmental damage, it will be easier to ban water-based fracking.

It seems to me that this article is about as good as it gets in explaining the issue. So perhaps Gannett could get permission from Machine Design to reprint the article.

Henry Keultjes

 

And the winners ARE …

John Meyer was the first to correctly name the Carter Copter as the Gadget in the July 18 issue. And Mark Rudolph was the first to calculate that supports for the round-the-world pipeline would need to be 5/2(pi) or 0.7958-m tall. Congratulations.