Saturday, February 11, 2023

Death of the Firing Order

 Quick, off the top of your head, can you tell me the cylinder firing order of the pre-LS Chevrolet V-8? I have the inkling that only the older generation of gear heads can recite this numerical order by memory. Having worked in the parts industry for decades I knew the cylinder firing orders of GM, Ford, and Chrysler engines by heart, but that was long before a certain device was invented. What is this device that I speak of? None other then the "smartphone" you are holding right now or the PC in your house. Back in the day auto parts stores had catalog racks, not computers like today. To prevent having to look up the same part number time after time, we memorized things, lots of things. One of the most famous examples of auto related memorized data was in the 1992 movie My Cousin Vinny, where Mona Lisa Vito says: "Chevy didn't make a 327 in '55, the 327 didn't come out till '62. And it wasn't offered in the Bel Air with a four-barrel carb till '64. However, in 1964, the correct ignition timing would be four degrees before top-dead-center." Given the fact that this movie was released prior to the availability of search engines like Google,Yahoo, and even AltaVista, plus during the infancy of the internet itself, the writers really did their research and provided an accurate line for the movie. 

Years ago I remember reading this quote by some self-proclaimed expert: "Why memorize when I can Google it?" In reality it was probably an ad hoc created by Google, much like the very early subliminal message in the 2002 movie Maid in Manhattan, starring Jennifer Lopez as Marisa Ventura. In that movie her characters son, Ty, asks her why Simon and Garfunkel broke up. Marisa responds with "You got me, you can Google it at school." In under one generation society has been conditioned to "Google it", or the equivalent, to find the answers to their questions. The aforementioned smartphone is now actually smarter and growing more intelligent with each new version that is released. Remember the CRAY-2 super computer from the 80's? Well your Apple iPhone 12 is 5000 times faster then the CRAY-2 and 5500 pounds lighter! Think about that for a second, or Google it.