How 'Bout Some Levity in the Technical World
Things Every Engineer Should Know
Your problem is another person's solution; your solution will be their problem.
The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them -- Albert Einstein
One test is worth a thousand opinions.
If you think good engineering is costly and time consuming, try bad engineering.
Abraham Lincoln reportedly said that given eight hours to chop down a tree, he'd spend six sharpening his ax.
A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
A good scientist has original ideas. A good engineer makes a design that works with as few original ideas as possible.
One student replied: "You tie a long piece of string to the neck of the barometer, then lower the barometer from the roof of the skyscraper to the ground. The length of the string plus the length of the barometer will equal the height of the building." This highly original answer so incensed the examiner that the student was failed immediately. He appealed on the grounds that his answer was indisputably correct, and the university appointed an independent arbiter to decide the case. The arbiter judged that the answer was indeed correct but didn’t display any noticeable knowledge of physics.
To resolve the problem it was decided to call the student in and allow him six minutes in which to provide a verbal answer that showed at least a minimal familiarity with the basic principles of physics. For five minutes, the student sat in silence, forehead creased in thought. The arbiter reminded him that time was running out, and the student replied that he had several extremely relevant answers but couldn't make up his mind which to one use.
On being advised to hurry up, the student replied as follows: "First, you could take the barometer up to the roof of the skyscraper, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then be worked out from the formula H = 0.5g x t squared. But bad luck on the barometer. Or, if the sun is shining, you could measure the height of the barometer, then set it on end and measure the length of its shadow. Then you measure the length of the skyscraper's shadow, and thereafter it’s a simple matter of proportional arithmetic to work out the height of the skyscraper. But if you wanted to be highly scientific about it, you could tie a short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like a pendulum, first at ground level and then on the roof of the skyscraper. The height is worked out by the difference in the gravitational restoring force T = 2 pi square root(l/g). Or, if the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the skyscraper in barometer lengths, then add them up.”
"If you merely wanted to be boring and orthodox about it, of course, you could use the barometer to measure the air pressure on the roof of the skyscraper and on the ground, and convert the difference in millibars into feet to give the height of the building. But since we’re constantly being exhorted to exercise independence of mind and apply scientific methods, undoubtedly the best way would be to knock on the janitor's door and say to him, 'If you would like a nice new barometer, I will give you this one if you tell me the height of this skyscraper'."
The student was Niels Bohr, the only Dane to win the Nobel prize for Physics.
Send Him Up
“Hey, you got Richard the Engineer down there?”
Sexual Encounter Between a Capacitor and an Inductor
Micro Farad was very much stimulated by Millie's characteristic curve. Being attractive himself, he soon had her field fully excited. He set her on the ground potential, raised his frequency, lowered her resistance, and pulled out his high voltage probe. When he inserted it in parallel, he short-circuited her shunt. Fully excited, Millie cried out, "ohm, ohm, give me mho". As he increased his tube to maximum output, her coil vibrated from the current flow. It did not take long for her shunt to reach maximum heat. Now with the excessive current shortening her shunt, Micro's capacity rapidly discharged – every electron was drained off. But that was not the end of it. Indeed, they fluxed all night, tried various connections and hookings until his bar magnet weakened, and he could no longer generate enough voltage to sustain his collapsing field. With his battery fully discharged, Micro was unable to excite his tickler, so they went home. A few weeks later, they were merged forever and oscillated happily ever after.
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