Embracing Disposability

Americans who lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s – which lasted into the 1940s – learned through hard necessity about the value of frugality. About not wasting money on things they didn’t need. Especially things that caused them to waste more money.

What is styled “keyless” ignition (and door unlocking) is a modern-times example of this. One of many, unfortunately.

Until circa the late 1990s, you unlocked the door of a car by inserting a key into a slot and turning the lock open by hand. Similarly, you would start the car’s engine by doing essentially the same. Insert key into lock, turn – and hold, completing a simple electrical circuit that caused the starter to rotate the engine. When the engine fired up, you released the key – which remained in the lock – and drove until you reached wherever you were going. Then you turned the key to shut off the engine and removed the key from the switch, which locked the steering column to deter theft. The Broken Window Newman, Jonathan R Buy New $9.99 (as of 05:43 UTC - Details)

Simple. Easy.

Then along came gimmicky. The physical key was replaced by an electronic fob – and electronic push-buttons. The door unlocked automatically, just by touching the handle (the electronic lock recognizing the signal emitted by the fob). The engine was started by pushing a button – which registered the signal emitted by the fob and sent a signal to the computer to turn the starter, which turned off automatically once the engine started.

What has been gained? And what has been lost?

One no longer needs to reach into his pants pocket (or her purse) to find the key to unlock the door to the car. One no longer needs to exert the effort of putting a key into the ignition lock and turning it.

Outlive: The Science a... Attia MD, Peter Best Price: $9.60 Buy New $15.06 (as of 11:43 UTC - Details) Then along came gimmicky. The physical key was replaced by an electronic fob – and electronic push-buttons. The door unlocked automatically, just by touching the handle (the electronic lock recognizing the signal emitted by the fob). The engine was started by pushing a button – which registered the signal emitted by the fob and sent a signal to the computer to turn the starter, which turned off automatically once the engine started.

What has been gained? And what has been lost?

One no longer needs to reach into his pants pocket (or her purse) to find the key to unlock the door to the car. One no longer needs to exert the effort of putting a key into the ignition lock and turning it.

Are you not entertained? 

As result of this entertainment,  it is no longer possible – if you own a new or late model car with “keyless” ignition/locks – to replace what’s no longer a key for about $10. A key that could be run through the wash and just be clean when it came out that  would likely last the life of the vehicle – because it is not electronic. It emits nothing. It contains no transistors or resistors or anything at all. It is a roughly serrated piece of metal, that’s all.

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