My sister in-law needed the gas tank on her Camry replaced and my wife found a compatible Lexus tank from a junk yard. Lexus is the luxury brand of Toyota so it made sense they would share components but I never thought about a fuel tank. It is just the gas tank. On the other hand there is an expense connected with the engineering of things as mundane as gas tanks and that expense is non-zero, greater than zero. It took time to design it, insure the safety aspects of it, design how it connects to everything else and design how to build it reliably and economically. That adds up.

Modern cars are complex and lots of engineering have gone into them. There has been just over one hundred years of know-how put into getting cars to where they are today.

Rocket engines are more complex. They are some of the most complex things made today and most all the engineering has been done. Over with. The Germans in World War II did the calculations and design work and really there isn’t much that could be said bad about their work. The Russians poured tons of engineering into the design and manufacturing of the RS-180; decades of R&D have culminated in what is arguably the best rocket engine design. They are so good the US uses them in the Atlas rockets. Other rocket engines can be optimized for one aspect or another but for the job they do the design has been tweaked to death. We’ve figured this stuff out.

I love autogyros; helicopter like aircraft that are on the far end of the spectrum from helicopters in safety, ease of flying and cost. Anyway, I was looking at all the different ones at a fly-in. Some were home-made others on an assembly line. None of them hit me as ‘that is exactly what I want” but they were all very close. I now realize, when taking into account the work it takes to get from idea to paper to plane, they were all close enough.

Same with software; there is an expense associated with the building of components.

<to be continued>