Last night my friends and I were in a debate about products, and brands, and the question emerged. Are brands and products of the same quality everywhere, in every country, on every continent? I mean Coca Cola should have the same taste, color, and smell everywhere in the world, right? Well maybe it is the case with Coca Cola but we came to the conclusion that with many other things it is not.
I would call it pretty much subjective observation if so many different people did not notice it. So back to our story, we were discussing the quality of brands in different parts of the world and we came to that topic since someone mentioned that Gillette razor blades are the best example that there are worthy and less worthy human beings around the world and that hypocrisy spread around the globe like a plague. It was a pretty hard statement and it got everyone`s attention. People started arguing immediately and everyone wanted to contribute to the subject. So in one moment, we had a room full of people considered friends among each other, all stating that they noticed a big difference in the quality of Gillette razor blades purchased in different countries. I mean try to imagine how funny is the situation where you have bunch of doctors, engineers, economists, and writers all united in one observation and conclusion about subject that has nothing to do with their jobs, or fields of expertise, and it can be noticed only if you travel to a different countries and forget your shaving gear so you need to resupply. Someone asked: “how did we even come to talk about stupid razor blades after having a normal everyday conversation about Hyperloop One and 3 Tesla MRI scanner 🙂 “. We all started laughing and raised our glasses to that one! One guy said that he is quite sure that some companies are manufacturing their products in two or even more quality levels for different markets. He said that he has some relatives down in Bosnia and whenever he goes there they ask him to buy them some laundry detergent, dishwasher tablets and some stuff for the kids. We asked what is wrong in Bosnia, is it possible that there is no detergent there? He laughed, like crazy and said, no no, there is plenty of it, all kinds, markets are full of it, but it`s bad and it destroys washing machines. A few times his relatives washing machine was broken, and when they called a service a repair guy said gypsum is stuck allover appliance?! How did the Gypsum get into the washing machine? Well, it was in laundry detergent. The same type of detergent that you can buy anywhere in the world. There we needed another beer. To satisfy our curiosity we decided to use the scientific approach on this matter and since most of us tried, used, or were using Gillette Fusion razor blades we went to Gillette site to investigate a little bit, and here is what we learned about Fusion 5 series:
There are three types of them, Fusion 5, Fusion 5 ProGlide and Fusion 5 proshield . We will not discuss differences here since we know nothing about it, and it is not important for this story.
Fusion 5 Proglide picture from gillette.com
Fusion 5 Proshield picture from gillette.com
Fusion 5 picture from gillette.com
Don`t ask how but during the next hour and next round of beer we got our hands on two Fusion 5 blade refills each purchased in different countries.
Fusion 5 x purchased in Bosnia (left) Fusion 5 x purchased in Germany (right)
Fusion 5 x purchased in Bosnia (left) Fusion 5 x purchased in Germany (right)
We will not make a point by comparing them to each other since it would not be fair, it is obvious that they are different Fusion 5 models. But what about comparing them to their originals from the Gillette website? I think that difference can be seen. That also would not be a problem, and would not be worth mentioning if we did not reach the conclusion that sometimes the same type razor blades perform quite differently. So to make a statement we decided to write down 3 things that can be compared in the use of razor blades and here they are:
Life span – we will define it as a number of shaves that razor blade can be used for since no one is precise about this we will make it round I step of tens.
Quality of shaving – we will define it as a subjective value that someone gives to a razor blade. It can be 1 – 4, where bigger is better
Speed of shaving – we will define it as a dependency on a number of times that you need to repeat passing with a razor blade over the same place to get the desired result. It can be 1 – 4, and again bigger is better
We are now talking about the two most opposite cases that we noticed in a few years period of use of the same type of blades. Once more I repeat, these results are subjective, and we made this table in a try to visualize and quantify our discussion. So seven people filed out the table and here is what we came up with:
Final best and worst values compared in a chart
To summarize our theory, we all noticed that sometimes razor blades don`t last long and start cutting and scratching us almost at first use. Someone with good memory and observation skills stated that he thinks that it happens when you buy razor blades in some third world or developing or however called countries. So it is the same brand, the same packing even the price can be considered the same, but the quality is not. Simple logic suggests that if the same product is sold in different countries for the same price but with quite different quality something is wrong and only two options emerged. The first option is that human beings are also rated by quality so better people get better products for the same price. We could support this option by comparing some minimum wages by countries:
Minimal hourly wage in US $
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Central African Republic
Why do we even talk about this right now? Well, when we go to work, we sell our time for money. We can state that we can limited the number of hours for selling, right? Just to put a number on it let`s calculate how much we have to sell. There are 52 weeks in a year and if we take 40 working hours in a week we get to 2080 working hours in a year. We will not calculate holidays and vacations, sick leave and things like that. Lets say that you work just 30 years , in France you get by minimal wage 62.400 * 8 Hours * 11 $ = 5.491,200 $, but for example in Bosnia you would get 62.400 * 8 Hours * 1.05 $ = 524.160 $ or in Zambia you would get 62.400 * 8 Hours * 0.29 $ = 144.768 $ . So let’s summarize this:
By being born in France you get a chance to sell your entire working lifetime for 5.491,200 US $
Converted to a topic of our story you could purchase 1.568,914 pieces of Gillette Fusion 5 razor blades
By being born in Bosnia you get a chance to sell your entire working lifetime for 524.160 $ US $ (if you are lucky enough to have a job at the first place)
Converted to a topic of our story you could purchase 149.760 pieces of Gillette Fusion 5 razor blades
By being born in Zambia you get a chance to sell your entire working lifetime for 144.768 $ US $ (same as in the case above)
Converted to a topic of our story you could purchase 41.362 pieces of Gillette Fusion 5 razor blades
So we reached final questions, are people worth equally all around a world, or is there some weird kind of a stock exchange that sets up a value of a human being?
If a so stupid thing like a shaving razor is not the same in the USA, Germany, and Bosnia what else is wrong in this world? What about the food? Is “Nutella” the same in Germany and in Croatia? I mentioned Croatia since people there started the initiative and it looks like an agency will be formed to compare products that are being sold in the rest of the European Union by-products sold there locally. Good thing for Croatia and it`s people, but meanwhile in some other “developing” countries, corrupt politicians, teamed up with CEOs, Chairman’s, and local thugs are selling their countries, their citizens health and wealth and children’s futures for razor blades.
Word of the author:
Well, it is time to end this story, but an explanation needs to be offered since it may look like this is not a story for a technology-related site. Well, maybe it is not but it had to be told somewhere and I promised my friends that I will write it down. Maybe we wasted some time, maybe the things we figured were wrong, but we had a great time, and used technology to try to make our lives better.
Our last night`s conclusion was to advise everyone not to buy razor blades or laundry detergents in countries with a minimum hourly wage below 7 US $. It may seem funny or stupid but it` free advice so take it or don`t :).
I don`t have anything against Gillette or any other company, this brand and product came into this story by series of chained unplanned events, and it could be any other brand or product, but then again maybe they could do something about this.
One more thing to add, we tried to peek in with a digital microscope, so here is the result of magnified razor blades, the same ones from pictures above, one purchased in Bosnia and other in Germany :
Gillette razor blade purchased in Bosnia. Brand new, and yet blades are not straight. That explains why it lasts less and scratches the skin.
Gillette razor blade purchased in Germany. Brand new never used straight blades for a perfect shave.
I hope you find it useful, interesting, and if you have any comments, thoughts, or simply want us to test something, please leave a comment and we will get in touch.
After Paypal, Hyperloop One, Tesla, and many other projects behind, Elon Musk`s empire united in a joint venture with Lockheed, Roscosmos and some other companies and organizations, they just announced the “Solar Ride“. Mission to Mars as of today is not a Sci-Fi movie, but reality. As pieces of Elon Musk`s final plan are coming together and getting reviled to the public, this man`s futuristic ideas are looking more and more real. This bold plan has a mission to send people to great distances in a time frame, small enough, not to consume an entire part of human life. For example, if travel to Mars is going to take half of your life than you have nothing to return for or no time to do it. But if you are able to go to Mars in a week, days, or even hours, then we are not talking about just one time visit, but something more like a regular traffic line. To put some numbers in, distance to Mars is 225 Million Kilometers, and if one would travel there at Mach 2 constant speed (that is near the speed of Concorde supersonic airplane for example), it would take 10.4 years to come to Mars. We can all agree that it is too long. But let’s take another example and consider traveling at speeds more close to the speed of light than the speed of sound. If we would ride at 1/10 of the speed of light, it would take 125 ………. minutes to come to Mars. Sounds better?
Now back to Musk`s project, and it`s terminology.
Photon Cannon – Initial starting device, like a catapult for an airplane, but involved in space travel. The device, or better-called facility located in geostationary orbit of our planet that will launch “S-Rider” spacecraft and give it a “Photon push” to its 1/10 of the light speed.
“S-Rider SCC” – spacecraft carrier, capable of harvesting photon energy or in a simple way using light like sailing ship uses the wind. This huge ship is designed to carry Dragon spacecraft from one planet`s orbit to another. For now, it looks like the problem of a human`s body fragile structure will be solved by the “Liquid compartment”, meaning that human passengers will be in the “breathing liquid” environment that will overcome rough speed up from 0 to 1/10 of the light speed.
Hyper maneuvering – when traveling at 1/10 of the speed of light maneuvering itself is a challenge. Just keep in mind that you would make a circle around the Earth in 1.33 seconds. Hyper maneuvering would be done by hybrid ASIC – Neuralink device that would overcome slow human reflexes or to say remove not only the delay between thought and action taken by a muscle but the limited number of thoughts and actions that can be performed simultaneously. It would also simplify delivering commands to spacecraft since most of the traditional human input devices like pedals, switches, sticks, etc. would not be necessary.
Solar brakes – combined with retrorockets will aid in maneuvering and stopping the spacecraft. They together with some other parts of spacecraft use reversed Cherenkov radiation for flipping photons backward, and “catching” photons from desired angles.
Micronova – smaller and controlled artificially created supernova.
High yield photon burst or HYPB – it can be looked as a photon projectile, created by triggering micronova in Photon Cannon.
Dragon spacecraft – free-flying spacecraft designed to deliver both cargo and people to orbiting destinations.
In this project there are 6 major phases regarding Earth-Mars travel :
Go to geostationary orbit facility aka Photon Cannon
Fire Photon Cannon, releasing HYPB to get the initial speed of the “S-Rider”
Harvest photon energy for initial speedup, up to speeds near the speed of light
Solar travel or photon sailing to a destination
Engaging photon brakes and retrorockets for positioning into the geostationary orbit of Mars
Separating a Dragon spacecraft from S-Rider and landing it on Mars
As a first step, it is planned to be one way trip for cargo and research drones that would be stockpiled or used remotely in Mars`s orbit.
Photon Cannon part of the containment field generator
It is obvious that for returning journey one more Photon Cannon would be needed in at the Mars side to ensure initial speedup. For now, there are some options considered, like sending unmanned automated cargo ships with preassembled parts so at the final point Photon Cannon would be built in Marse’s orbit and used for sending S-Riders back to Earth. This would add a huge amount of lag time to end phase of the project and skyrocket the price of entire endeavor, but in a long term, it would make the travel Earth-Mars – Earth almost like ping pong. The final decision has still not been reached but most of the blueprints and proof of concept solutions have been already made.
Photon Cannon part of “Micronova igniter”
It`s not a secret that Musk`s companies are digging beneath LA, and part of the story is resolving a 2D roads and 3D Buildings problem, by transforming 2D road network to 3D using multi-layer tunnels. Another part is that those underground digging sites, can be used as great and hidden testing facilities for other purposes, and we got few leaked images of the smaller test version of the Photon Cannon. It is truly a remarkable piece of machinery and we are still hoping that Musk will soon shed some light on a subject.
Now, to share some info about project progress and time schedule…
Photon Cannon is already in the successful testing phase, not in orbit but below Earth’s surface. Manufacturing of SFV (Satellite Facility Version) starts as of this day. It`s planned to be finished by October 2018. It is proprietary technology and it will be built “in-house” by Musk`s companies.
“S-Rider SCC” is going to be built in the next two years, and contracts are signed with Lockheed Martin one of the leaders in the Aerospace & Defense industries and Roscosmos, Russian State Corporation for Space Activities. Hypermaneuvering part of the SCC will be done in-house by Neuralink and for the Liquid compartment part, GUE is contracted as consultant for underwater survival and University of Medical Sciences of Havana for breathing liquid technology as a leader on this field. You see, Elon Musk once again did what was considered impossible, and so to say got Yin and Yang to work together, all for the same and better cause.
Dragon Spacecraft is already there and in use, so only some modifications need to be made for it to be carried by S-Rider SCC. It is a finish to start a task and its predecessor task is S-Rider.
One more aspect of this story emerges after thinking this thru. Some questions need to be asked: Will someone try to claim Mars? Will UN have to enforce The Outer Space Treaty in the near future? Is it possible to own a planet? Will Mars get its owner, and will it be a person, state or company? Is there gonna be a monopoly on space travel since technology could be locked? More and more questions can be asked, but since this is a story that has an Elon Musk as a protagonist, that kind of question can be forgotten.
Summa summarum, by all pointers, test ride to Mars could be happening in the middle of 2020, and we can only conclude that we live in such an exciting time, and be grateful to have people like Elon Musk living and creating among us since he is one of the very few real intellectuals in this world.
Once again, thank you for reading.
P.S. This all went pretty well considering the publishing date 🙂
“Even with all our technology and the inventions that make modern life so much easier than it once was, it takes just one big natural disaster to wipe all that away and remind us that, here on Earth, we’re still at the mercy of nature.”