Travel Halfway Across the World with A Bunch of Weirdos

Selling travel and tourism online is nothing new. Heck, last time I checked there are about 63,422 websites out there whose sole purpose is to score people “the lowest prices” on plane tickets. But then I can across a site that’s shucking “small group China tours.” This seems like one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard of.

Don’t get me wrong, traveling to/in China actually sounds like a lot of fun. There’s a ton of interesting culture to see and some pretty amazing scenery. I would love to go there with two or three friends, maybe. It’s the “small group” part that gets me.

Taking a three-hour road trip with just your family is bad enough. Would you really want to travel halfway across the world with a bunch of weirdos you’ve never met before? (As the chances of rounding up a sufficient amount of people you do know who also want to travel to China seem pretty slim.) My mother-in-law once flew to Shanghai with a Jackie Chan fan club group–people whose love of Jackie Chan gave them all at least something in common. She reported that  it was one of the worst travel experiences of her life. Now imagine traveling all that way with people you have nothing in common with (except that you’re all stuck on the same 8-10 hour flight).

Then imagine having to spend like a week or so with these weirdos. In China. It’s not like you could just duck out from the group and go site-seeing on your own, because it’s a guided tour. And if you get left behind or lost on a guided tour in China, I’m pretty sure you’re forced to stay there for the rest of your life.

A Plethora of Battery Packs

I should point out that there’s nothing inherently weird about selling lithium ion batteries or lithium ion battery packs. They’re quite useful, really, considering pretty much everything in the world now needs a battery, and, from what I’ve heard, lithium ion batteries last a lot longer than old-school alkaline batteries. That part’s all well and good.

But check this out:

Is it really possible that there are that many different kinds of lithium ion battery packs in the world? I get that there are different sizes and voltages and such, but the screencap above is honestly only about a fifth of the list. Is there no such thing as cross-compatibility anymore?

And, on top of that, check out the left side of the screencap. That’s a list of nothing but different kinds of batteries that this site sells. How many variations of batteries could there possibly be?

I’ll give you AA, AAA, 9V, C, and D (why is there no single “A” battery?), and a few different sizes of watch battery, no problem. But some of the batteries listed on the side there seem like they should be used to power Iron Man’s suit or something.

And “Nickel Cadmium”? Isn’t he a relief pitcher for the Oakland A’s?

Open Die Forging is Ideal for Low Volume & Custom Production

Open die forging is one of several ways to shape metal materials. It is a variation of drop forging, where “hammers” or other hard, heavy, flat-edged or shaped implements are used to press red hot metals into the desired shape. Open die forging, sometimes called “smith forging,” is unique in that it does not fully enclose the materials during the process. Rather, the metal being forged is placed on a stationary anvil and rotated and oriented as needed to achieve the desired shape when pressed.

Because open die forging does not use fully enclosed dies, it requires far greater skill from the forge operator. The superheated metal material must be handled carefully and quickly to position it correctly on the anvil in order to create the intended shape. In this way, open die forging lends itself to custom work, short production runs, and so-called “art smithing.

Creating standard, fully-enclosed dies for forging can be time consuming, difficult, and very expensive, factors which can be prohibitive when the item(s) to be forged are not going to be produced in large quantities. Unique shapes that would be difficult or impossible to achieve with traditional dies can be forged successfully by a talented open die forge operator, putting even the most unusual designs within the realm of possibility.

You can read more about the open die forging process at Great Lakes Forge.