Monday, January 05, 2009

Easter Island, Judgment, and Mechanical Tools

Gwydion asks, "Are there hotels on Easter Island? Can you travel there as a tourist and spend a night or two? How expensive is it?"

Easter Island with its famous stone heads is one of the most remote places on Earth, requiring a 5 1/2 hour flight from Santiago, Chile. There is a small airport on the island and about a dozen hotels, the nicest of which seems to be the Vai Moana which wouldn't set you back much more than a low to mid-range room in an American city. Apparently, many locals open their homes as b&b's. The flight will cost about a grand, but all in all, for such an incredibly beautiful and monumental location, it seems quite reasonable.

Gwydion also asks "Why is it against your better judgment?"

Because Q&A requires the Q part and this week is traditionally one of the weakest of the year in terms of blog traffic. People tend to read at school or work and with folks still enjoying the tail-end of the holidays, I thought it less likely that we'd get the number of questions that make it fun. I humbly apologize for doubting my dear friends here at the Playground.

Hanno asks, "Why is it mechanical tools break down faster when you do not use them?"

For mechanical tools that have moving parts, parts that rub, rubbing causes friction, friction causes wear. If tools are used regularly, parts run past each other well. However, if left to the elements, a couple of things happen -- lubricated joints dry out and moisture in the air causes rust, both of which hamper the functioning of the tool. For tools with no moving parts, like a saw, the answer is similar -- the elements affect the surface of the metal which makes the saw less easy to use even if still sharp.

More tomorrow.