Akane was an early Japanese brass builder, best known for their
relatively inexpensive but good-running models. By modern standards
they don't have much fine detail, nor do most of them even have sprung
drivers, but there are still many of them running around out there
almost 50 years after they were originally built. "Strong" is probably
the word we're looking for here.
Akane built models of most of the USRA locomotives, including the
0-6-0, the Lt. 2-8-2, the Hvy. 2-8-2, the Lt, 2-10-2, the Hvy. 2-10-2,
the 2-6-6-2, the 2-8-8-2, a 4-6-2 Pacific, etcetera. (The "USRA" means
the locos were designed by the US government during WW1, and were
mostly built during that same time period. Perhaps surprisingly, they
were nearly all very successful designs, and soldiered on for decades
after they were -in theory- badly outdated; some lasting up until the
death of steam power in the mid-1950s.)
Akane's heavy USRA 2-8-2 *did* have sprung drivers and had better
detail than most models of that period, but was known for having a
poor motor; this according to "The Brown Book of Brass Locomotives".
Motors are replacable; most commonly without major investments of time
Not surprising at all IMO. The notion that gummints are somehow
incapable of doing a good job is weird, considering how many
counter-examples there were and are. Get good people together, give them
a doable task with the resources to do it, and they will do a good job.
It doesn't matter squat who signs their paycheques.
Actually, the USRA committee was drawn from the railroads that designed
the engines, with the mandate to design locos that were a) tough; and b)
cheap to build and maintain. IOW, the committee consisted of engineers
given a dream assignment. They went with tried and true design and
manufacturing principles, and fulfilled both mandates brilliantly.
The USRA designs were copied and adapted for decades afterwards. Matter
of fact, there were more USRA copies and adaptations than originals.
That's why Akane (or rather, the US importer) chose USRA locomotives.
That being said, I think your assessment of Akane is accurate.
On Sat, 14 Feb 2009 00:37:40 -0800 (PST), Twibil wrote:
Brought on by the concentration of power in huge centralized bureaucracies
- like GE, Ford, GM, Lehmann Brothers, Goldman-Sachs, J P Morgan-Chase, B
of A, etc., etc., ad nauseam.
The merger mania started with your beloved Ronnie Ray Gun.
Hobbes said in Leviathan that government - "the state" - is created to
protect us from concentrations of power. In his day the Barons. In ours
the self-proclaimed financial Masters of the Universe, our very own version
of clueless and incompetent 18h century French "nobility".
Where IS the guillotine now that we really need it? I'll settle for Teddy
When are you people going teo apologize for Iraq and Abramoff and Montana
* look it up - Mark Racicot and Goldman-Sachs ring a bell??
Never thought I'd think it, but where IS Gray Davis now that we really need
Idiot, to the best of my knowledge, Reagan wasn't "beloved" by anyone
other than Mrs. Reagan -who can be excused on grounds of filial
loyalty- and he *certainly* wasn't beloved by me.
But since those bothersome delusions of yours seem to be telling you
that you can read my mind (again) here's a sure-fire cure:
Sigh. You truly are the classic knee-jerk liberal: Rush Limbaugh in
You think that the whole world is composed only of "good guys" (your
side) and "you people" (everybody else), and that anyone who doesn't
swear allegiance to *your* belief system should apologise to you for
What a maroon.
There are actually -as you noted- two sets of cuprits in this case:
the businessmen all around the world who set the wheels of the present
international economic collapse in motion -largely through
rationalization and greed, and the governments who failed to supervise
them properly and let them get away with it until it was too late -
largely through greed and rationalization.
Neither group is 100% responsible for the current problems, but we've
long known that unsupervised and unregulated for-profit businesses
will frequently employ long-term self-destructive tactics in search of
short-term goals (higher profits), and we have attempted to regulate
those businesses through governmental actions to prevent just such
problems. Every nation on Earth does this to one extent or another.
That means that in terms of a hierarchy of responsibility it's the
world's governments that must bear the lion's share of the blame.
Because it was their job to watch the store *knowing full well* what
was likely to happen if they didn't; but they let themselves be
cozened into apathy by the fact that all that lovely tax money kept
rolling in in increasing amounts, which allowed the governments to
persue all of their own otherwise unaffordable plans.
The result is this: the businessmen did just exactly what we've
learned to expect them to do, I.E. act irresponsibly, and the
govermental watchdogs we set to keep an eye on them did just exactly
what we *didn't* elect them to do: look the other way while filling
their own tax coffers.
Maybe it's just a lesson demonstrating that on a scale of one to ten -
ranging from devils to angels- your average human being falls a lot
closer to one than he does to ten -irrespective of whether he's in
private industry or government, but we don't elect our businessmen to
protect us, and we *do* elect our governments for that reason.
Agreed, but keep in mind that electorates everywhere in the West were
told that "big government" was equivalent to communism, and elected
oligarchies that wanted to reduce government's role in the economy (but
had no qualms about running up fantastic public debts to pay for wars of
one kind or another.)
Most people pay attention to politics only during elections, and then
they generally vote on issues that have no relation to effective
government. This is a universal phenomenon. I don't see a single
democracy, whether of the left or the right, in which voters understand
that they are ultimately responsible for what their governments do.
And what I will never understand is why people want "a strong leader."
But then I have a reflexive aversion to Authority. ;-)
Ah, but the governments of countries such as China -where elections
mean less than nothing- fell into the trap just as readily as did
their democratically elected opposite numbers in the west. The
attraction of that seemingly limitless income and endless growth -all
based on shaky investments- has clobbbered them just as certainly as
it did us.
Somebody needs to tattoo the old phrase "If it sounds too good to be
true, it *IS* too good to be true" across the foreheads of the world's
leaders (backwards) so they'll be able to read it each morning as they
peer into their bathroom mirrors.
There are two reasons: (A) it saves them the trouble of taking
responsibility for their own lives, and (B) it gives them a fall-guy
to blame when things go to Hell.
Yup, me too. And that extends to all sorts of authority.
As Robert Heinlein once quoth: "Democracy is based on the assumption
that a million men are wiser than one man. How's that again? I missed
something." and "Autocracy is based on the assumption that one man is
wiser than a million men. Let's play that one over again too. Who
What he's telling us, of course, is that *we* are basically
responsible for our own decisions, no matter what sort of government
you live with. And that it's just as well that that's so, because
there's *nobody on Earth* better qualified to run your life than
It's the "Daddy State" mentality that's so popular with the Right
Wing mind set.
"Daddy" will protect you from the monsters under the bed.
"Daddy" will protect you from the mean, ugly, brown bad man with the
beard and the towel on his head.
"Daddy" will protect you from things you shouldn't read, see or hear
by censoring them.
"Daddy" will decide for you...etc., etc.
It's the Right Wing's version of the Left Wing's "Nanny" state.
How about if we just specify that both wings are equally willing to
protect us out of our rights (all "for our own good", of course) and
let it go at that?
At least neither side has yet tried to tell us that model railroading
is fattening, polluting, or immoral.
At least neither side has yet tried to tell us that model railroading
is fattening, polluting, or immoral.
Not so sure about that... wait until all of this stuff about lead in
products that children might come into contact with reaches our hobby.
There have been threads on the MR forum recently about this very sopic. I
don't know much about it but it "sounds like" it could create a real mess...
I'm hesitant to say much here because I simply don't know. But there was a
gentleman on the radio the other day who was saying that his company that
makes parts for mini-bikes is going to get really clobbered with this new
stuff. And... because they supply parts to other companies, there will be a
trickle down effect as well.
It sounds really weird... There was even some discussion that many
children's books printed prior to 1985 may have to be pulled from libraries,
etc because of the lead content in them. It doesn't matter that
"reasonable" use wouldn't create a hazard. I guess it is reasonable to
expect a kid to chew on a book so it needs to be compliant.
Someone cited an example of a person who may make doll clothes for resale
using materials that they purchase from a craft store. They need to have
the material, the thread, the zippers, Velcro & everything else tested in
order to comply with the new regulations. AGAIN: I don't know if this is
true as it will all have to be worked out in courts some day but that is an
example cited of an extreme case that "could" happen.
It just begs the question of when is enough? When do we as individuals step
up and take responsibility for our kids instead of expecting some "higher
authority" to protect them? When I was a kid, I built model airplanes. Mom
& Dad bought me the glue and then made sure that I understood that it was
dangerous to get it in your eyes or to excessively breath the vapors, etc.
But today, we will probably see the glue banned because society thinks that
it neede to protect people from everything... (long
Paranoia at work. Plus amazing ignorance. I say amazing, because the
"advocates" who squeak the loudest are college trained. Many of them
have graduate degrees - in everything except a relevant science.
Fact is, kids already have loads of lead in their blood. A kid would
have to eat a whole book to add a detectable increment -- and if (s)he
did so, all the other stuff in the paper would make him or her very,
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