Engineering

As many of you almost most certainly do not know, October 1st was IEEE Day! I waited to post this blog entry until some of the excitement died down from the event – I don’t want people to feel overwhelmed (note from Everett: are you using sarcasm?). If you take a moment to read through the website for this big day, you might have the same reaction I did: What are you talking about? What is IEEE, and why might tomorrow be better, as the website suggests, as a result of IEEE Day? I’ll offer what I can in the way of explanation: IEEE is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, of which Chris is a member. It has been in existence for almost 130 years, and it is safe to say that the work of IEEE has touched the daily lives of almost every person in the world. A significant part of IEEE is concerned with communications (satellite, computer, network, radio, optical, tin can + string, etc), and yet ironically IEEE has a reputation for being not very good at communicating, at least to non-engineers. This problem is not unique to IEEE – for years there has been a perception that scientists could do a much better job of communicating to non-scientists. Other events designed to increase awareness of engineering: a website was setup for Thank an Engineer Day (now defunct, but you can search those terms and find some‚Ķinteresting videos on Youtube); Engineer Week (the next one is February 16-22, 2014). Until these organizations get a clearer idea about the message they are trying to get across, I think it would be more fun to highlight what engineers do in their spare time. With that in mind, a few weeks ago I posted a blog entry about the cockamamie schemes I sometimes get talked into by Sean, and I alluded to the fact that engineers often come up with absurdly complex solutions to non-existent problems. Along those lines, here are a couple of spectacular examples, both of which are timely for Halloween. First, a way to give candy to trick or treaters using a garage door opener with an embedded controller; second, a pumpkin chucking festival (pumpkins seem to be popular for air cannons and trebuchets). I can only hope that when our children are older we will dream up similar projects. And to encourage the inclusion of women in engineering we are considering Goldie Blox for Gwen’s birthday list.

Comments (2)

2 thoughts on “Engineering

  1. OK, this all reminds me of my little brother. He and Chris would have a field day putting their heads together and inventing anything and everything! Halloween at Boy’s house was always special.

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