Our guest blogger today is Jess DeLand. She’s the protagonist of Driven and Redline, and as you might have figured out from the last post, Cody’s girlfriend. Jess loves cars and she’s a damn good mechanic, but she’s had trouble getting anybody to take her seriously because she’s a girl.
Jess: Hi everyone. I’m so happy to have this opportunity to step forward through time and talk to all of you. The technology you have here is amazing. I can hardly wait until the year 2011, but on the other hand, by your time I’ll be pushing 40, and that seems really old. No offense, Lisa.
Lisa: None taken. So what racing terms have you come up with for us today?
Jess: Well, Cody tells me I’m obligated to tell you about marbles. Those are the little black balls that form on the track when the tires scrub off rubber in the corners. But what I’d really like to talk about is magnafluxing. It’s this service machine shops provide to check for hairline cracks in parts made of ferrous metals like cast iron and steel. That kind of damage isn’t easy to detect just by looking, and it’s important to catch it because the failure of something like a crankshaft or a spindle can result in costly repairs or serious injuries. The term “magnaflux” is short for “magnetic particle—
Lisa: Uh, Jess?
Jess: —inspection. It’s done by applying a magnetic powder to the part then—
Lisa: Jess? Excuse me, but that’s a little too much detail. Most of my readers aren’t engineers. How about if we move on to “N?”
Jess: Sure thing. “N” is for Nomex. It’s a fire-resistant material that some firesuits are made of. Of course most of the drivers at Eugene, as least in the lower classes, still wear fire-resistant cotton. That’s a lot cheaper, but it doesn’t have the durability of Nomex, and since the fire-retardant quality comes from it being chemically treated, rather than being an inherent part of the fabric, it eventually washes out in the laundry. Another thing about Nomex is—
Lisa: Uh, Jess?
Jess: Yeah? Oh, I’m sorry. Was I doing it again? I’ll move on to “O.” “O” is for oversteer. That’s the same thing as being loose, which Alex told you about, it’s just a more scientific term. It means exactly what it sounds like. The car wants to steer more than you want it to, so it cuts a sharper turn radius, which causes the rear tires to come out from underneath you. Basically what’s happening is the tires are exceeding the limit of adhesion to the track, and—
Lisa: Jess …
Jess: Okay, sorry. It’s just so easy to get carried away, you know? If I don’t understand something completely, I can look it up on this computer. It’s amazing how much information is right here at my fingertips. For example, there’s this website How Stuff Works.com. You can look up practically anything there. Like hybrid cars. How cool are those? Regenerative braking? That is such a no-brainer. If I could just take this technology back to the early ’90s—
Lisa: You know I can’t allow you to mess around with the space-time continuum.
Jess. Yeah, I figured you were going to say that. Well, this high-speed Internet was nice while it lasted. I guess I’ll just mosey off to the land of 386 processors, pin printers and floppy disks.
Thanks for letting me do a guest post for you. All your readers should feel free to come back and visit me in my time. We might be a little behind in the technology department, but the gas is a lot cheaper.