Vernor Vinge's SciFi novel, Rainbow's End, is very different from my usual reading selection. In fact, I honestly didn't love it. It was okay, but I am not a SciFi convert by any means. As I was reading, I tried to take Dr. Burton's advice and apply it to my life. This was hard; however, yesterday I found an application!
Yesterday I drove up to Kayesville Utah to help my family with spring branding. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this, spring branding is where we go round up the cattle from their winter pasture and give them vaccinations and a brand. On a normal basis I wouldn't say this process runs as smooth as butter, but yesterday went about as smooth as Jiffy Chunky Peanut Butter. Why? Because of technology! Maybe Tommie Parker isn't so crazy for sticking with his "ancient laptop" in the early chapters of Vinge's SciFi creation.
It all started with the generator. The practice of branding animals can be dated back to the ancient Egyptians. Surprisingly, not much has changed since then. My family uses an electric brand that is powered by a generator that we haul out to the corrals. We had our first calf all stretched out and ready to brand, but the generator would only work as long as somebody continuously sprayed starter fluid in it. As we were all sitting on the fence waiting, I sent a text to my boyfriend saying the brand was broken! He replied with, "You just put it in the fire till it's hot, Carlie, what's the breakdown?" Technology is the breakdown. Fire branding was foolproof. Just put it in the fire, wait till it's hot and stick it on the calf! Since then we have created "easier" ways to brand, but sometimes easier is not always the best route.