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Engineers, Take Notice

01/14/2009 11:18 AM

I've noticed a lot of persons calling themselves "engineers" asking questions that a college trained engineer would be expected to know. I suspect that these so called "engineers" are not what they claim to be, judging by the questions they ask. It is OK to ask the question, but be honest about who you are. Does anyone else wonder also?

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#1

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 12:08 PM

"Does anyone else wonder also?"

Yes, but I don't find these particularly irksome. They can call themselves anything they want, provided they don't try to get others here to do their work for them.

These folks really get under my skin, if the truth be told. There is one member here who does this habitually - and claims to have a PhD to boot! I'm not mentioning this fellow's name, but it seems that every time he gets an RFQ or an actual contract involving some technology he doesn't fully understand (which seems to occur frequently), he posts his query as a "challenge question" or some such bullsh!t that you can see right through. I am not referring here to the Newsletter Challenge, but to his own, self-styled ones.

What gives him away are the highly specific parameters of his "challenge," such as the requirement that a specific make & model of an oscilloscope be used in the "experimental" setup when any garden-variety oscilloscope would do just fine. I gather from this that he doesn't know oscilloscopes that well, either. Other parameters might include a certain make/model of PIN diode and so many meters.xxx of a specific type of coaxial cable connected to such-and-such pulse amplifier. Very suspicious, as this were some actual device he must build for a client but doesn't know diddly-squat about how to go about doing it. Nor, apparently, does this fellow know how to use Google.

In one thread I answered his every question as if I were some kind of expert even though I had little actual experience with the technology involved. I replied the whole time as "Guest," and only posted answers that I could find in fifteen seconds or less using Google alone. By the end of the thread I had answered all of his questions to his satisfaction (and more, learning a lot in the process) using info gleaned solely in this way.

Then I told him who I was, what I had done and that he could find this info on his own -- provided he got off his dead ass and actually tried doing some of his own work for once.

Thanks for this opportunity to rant. I have to go scream now.

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#47
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Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 7:50 AM

GA from me.

I feel the same about such people......lazy and ignorant.....

Good trick with Google too, was he pissed????

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#78
In reply to #1

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 8:16 PM

(and more, learning a lot in the process)

Interesting observation- same reason I don't mind helping some of these guys do their research for them, no matter what they call themselves...But I generally am not as willing to share what I'ver learned with the morons as you are. Good for you- you are a better man than I...

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#2

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 12:11 PM

I don't remember being required to state if I was an engineer or not. I came across this forum because I use Global Spec to search for products.

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 12:32 PM

You don't have to be an engineer to be a member here. That's the beauty of it, because CR4 has many many visitors who are looking for some engineering advice or a bit of help on a bona-fide engineering problem, and they come here. They don't have to be engineers. IMO such a requirement would severely constrain this forum's usefulness.

I would hope that those of us who are long-time members enjoy helping others; students, aspiring engineers, folks trying to solve a puzzling problem, hobbyists. I thoroughly enjoy doing this. I don't like questions from lazy folk who don't -- or won't -- research their problem a bit before coming here. There are people who do that, too. I mentioned one of them in my previous post, but most folks aren't that way.

CR4 is also a place where engineers & non/aspiring/Real engineers can vicariously meet like-minded folks over a virtual beer and have some fun, talk shop, or whatever. I like this aspect of CR4 a lot, even if I do get on people's nerves from time to time (who? me?). I've made quite a few friends here -- people I might never have met in any other setting. For this I give a hearty thanks to CR4 and its creators.

-e

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#6
In reply to #2

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 1:05 PM

I didn't say that you had to be an engineer to use this forum. I said that some who claim to be engineers are obviously not engineers and should not represent themselves as such.

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#48
In reply to #2

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 7:51 AM

You are not required to be an engineer, just honesty is more than enough!!!

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#3

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 12:20 PM

I follow your argument, but I'm not so sure that I've seen that many who seem like tinkerers, dreamers or blissful fools specifically call themselves engineers. Maybe I'm just hanging out in the wrong questions.

My peeve is seeing questions clearly from students (presumably of some engineering discipline) asking for what amounts to assignment answers. I don't mind giving someone who's stuck a nudge in the right direction. If asked politely and the OP demonstrates an effort was made to grasp the nudge, I don't even mind detailing how to arrive at the answer. But those who just demand an answer deserve none.

And just in case it matters, I myself was college trained (I took the train to college every day, until I flunked out).

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#5

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 12:48 PM

Yes, this is a pet peeve of mine. I suffered through a very rigorous major in college, then took a very challenging test afterwards to attain my license to actually (legally) call myself an Engineer. Technically you cannot call yourself an Engineer unless you have taken and passed the Professional Engineer's Examination and received your certification. I serve with the exam comittee and help prepare and evaluate the Chemical Engineer Exams and am licensed in several states.

It became very trendy for people to call themselves Engineers in the past, but it really bother's me because they 1) are not Engineers and 2) diminishes my profession by doing so. It may sound funny to say you are, say, a "Sanitation Engineer" (garbage man), but its not really funny to me. If you do not have an actual degree and haven't passed the PE exam, then you are not an "Engineer".

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#8
In reply to #5

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 2:01 PM

"If you do not have an actual degree and haven't passed the PE exam, then you are not an "Engineer"."

In over 30 years I have worked with engineers of all stripes. A great number of them are fabulous engineers, some are pretty darn good ones, and of course, a few managed to squeak through my doors who should've been data-entry clerks at an insurance agency. Only one of these folk was a PE, and a pretty ho-hum one at that.

I think it's great that you had the fortitude to wade through your education and that nasty PE exam, but degrees and certifications alone do not a great Engineer make. Neither one is any guarantee that the person who holds them is worth diddly-squat as an engineer. No guarantee at all, nor does the fact of having them entitle one to dismiss out-of-hand those who don't hold such certifications as being less than the great folk they are. What is evident to me from your post is not so much your professional qualifications as your haughtiness. I wouldn't hire you for that reason alone.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 2:29 PM

On the other hand (I have fingers too), I was a pretty good engineer even before I finished my degree or obtaining a professional engineering status by passing the PE exam (for which I celebrated much more heavily than when I graduated from college).

Engineering used to be done by clever mechanics before things got regulated by governments and people wanting to protect their professions to keep unqualified people in check, and rightly so. Engineers had to have four year degrees around the turn of the last century to be considered qualified to do the work, whereas doctors only had to have two year degrees, and lawyers did not have to have a degree at all.

And yes, it irks me too that some people call themselves engineers who ask some of the dumbest questions I have ever seen written.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 2:52 PM

"... I was a pretty good engineer even before I finished my degree or obtaining a professional engineering status by passing the PE exam (for which I celebrated much more heavily than when I graduated from college)."

One does not preclude the other. My point is in illustrating the fact that there are great engineers, including (and perhaps especially) those who do not necessarily have PE certifications.

If you were a pretty good engineer before you earned your PE, I'll wager you were still a pretty good engineer afterward. From this I'd conclude that the PE certification doesn't make the engineer, but quite the contrary. Good engineers make the PE certification respectable.

If the certificate holder is a lousy engineer, he/she'll be a lousy engineer regardless of holding a PE certification. If he/she is a good engineer, the same. I don't rely solely on degrees, certifications or titles when evaluating an engineer. Quite honestly, I couldn't care less. For someone to wave a sheepskin/certification under my nose and claim to be an Engineer is just so much noise in my ears; I want to see what they can do and what they have done. A sheepskin/certification is simply proof that one has a sheepskin/certification and that one has at least the fortitude to have weathered the training. It's a union card. But if one cannot do good engineering work, no amount of certification will redeem them. Call me a pragmatist.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 3:16 PM

I concur wholeheartily!

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 4:05 PM

Or should that be, "wholeheartedly?"

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#14
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Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 4:17 PM

No prob.

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#15
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Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 5:14 PM

Let relate a story. In the place I used to work(I'm retired)there was a guy who immigrated from Russia and claimed he was degreed. I asked him what university or college he graduated from. His reply was he graduated from(I don't recall the one) and couldn't produce a piece of paper, claiming he was forced out because of communists. He was hired(I wasn't doing the hiring). What really got me was he came in at about the same salary as I was making at the time. I was his supervisor and I knew he didn't know squat about the job. There's a bit more about the story that I can't repeat due to religious reasons. I could point out many instances where a poster who claimed to be an engineer and isn't(based on their questions), but I don't want to single any one person out. I'm sure you already know. I personally have an in-law who comes from a former iron curtain country who claims to have a degree in chemistry, but for a test, I asked some simple questions to see what she knew. Now I'm not a chemist, but there are many things basic to chemistry that most non-chemists know. Formulas for everyday items like NaCl, she didn't know.

I think the reason these people do it is to make themselves sound important and educated and also to get a bigger salary. It's called lying.

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#18
In reply to #15

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 6:17 PM

Behind the Iron Curtain (IC)...this is a subject in which I am master. Before 1989, when many East-European (EEC) countries separated them self from the communism, IC was a curtain difficult to penetrate. Some (from EEC) were able to get a tourist passport and stay in the first capitalistic country in their way. Some had to do the trip abroad due to work related training or negotiations etc and were doing the same. Some, less fortunate, had to sneak under the IC to escape. No information about such persons were allowed to be transmitted on the other side of IC, by the orders ot the leaders of the communist states. So, unless you had your papers with you and took the risk to be searched at the communist customs, there was no written proof of your degree.

Well, there was a way to prove that you are an engineer, by doing engineering work.

I am of those who jumped over the IC, with my papers wrapped in a plastic bag. In 25 years in US, I have been to several interviews, I had several engineering jobs but I wasn't asked to show my papers, not once. Ah, I was teaching in a vocational school, for some 4 years, and they wanted to know and see everything!

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#44
In reply to #15

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 6:10 AM

Is your problem that the person was from Russia and therefore you should be entitled to a higher salary - you just come across as a bigot

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#68
In reply to #15

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 1:22 PM

"Formulas for everyday items like NaCl, she didn't know". I would hesitate a guess that whatever high school she attended didn't do a very good job of basic science education. I have 2 sons in 3rd and 5th grade, and my 5th grade son is doing math and science level work that I didn't have in high school (in the 1940s). I recall a 9th grade science class where the teacher had us write down the heaviest element we knew of. Most kids wrote lead or iron. I wrote down uranium and plutonium, and the class was never the same agaim. The teacher boosted up the science info a bit higher! In Massachusetts, kids now have to pass a MCAS exam, including math and science, to graduate from high school.

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#87
In reply to #15

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/16/2009 12:26 AM

..It's called lying.

Actually it is called fraud. Lying for profit.

Brad

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#31
In reply to #10

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 11:54 PM

Hi Europium

A star and good from me too (oh and a GA).

In the UK we called people who built houses 'builders' and we also called people who worked in engineering 'engineers'. As a member of the latter, I was called an 'engineer' too. Sometimes I even had the audacity to refer to myself as an engineer while only holding a Full Technician Engineers Certificate! However, I have been employed in my discipline of engineering for 30 years and it has taken me around the world (with other people paying the tickets) six times at the last count! I would like to think that, perhaps, as it used to be all right to call myself an Engineer, I could claim 'Grandfathers Rights' to the title! But, if pushed, I really don't care!

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#363
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Re: Engineers, take notice

09/24/2009 12:04 PM

Full Technician Engineers Certificate

Is a MechEngin Associate's degree, which is comparable to end of sophmore year coursework for a 4 year degree, favourable or less favourable than the Full Technician Cert in the eyes of an employer ?

Is the Tech Cert coursework available in trade schools which issues them upon completion or is it a standardized scheme of skill meausurement governed by a regulatory board as in the case of PE?

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#364
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Re: Engineers, take notice

09/24/2009 6:08 PM

Hi bett4haze

The simple answer is that I don't know!

Which qualification is most favourable (I think) depends on where in the world you live, economic climate and many other factors! Also, had you asked that question say, fifteen years ago, I would have said that an FT Eng was at least favourable but these days it seems that we sink or swim by the piece of paper we hold. The better the piece of paper, the more likely we get 'given a go'!

My qualification has provided me with the means to raise my family but now...........I'm going truck driving to get out of the rat race of young 'empire builders' !

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#39
In reply to #10

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 1:54 AM

the fact that there are great engineers, including (and perhaps especially) those who do not necessarily have PE certifications.

Thank you for this view.

Having had over 43 years of successfully working as an engineer (without a Degree in engineering), no certification or even a diploma, your view gives great comfort. Having had the good fortune of heading a "Time-bound" construction project of a very large minerological plant of complexity and new technology of total plant control through a 5-in-1 redundancy computer system (SCADA) as far back as 1977, completed ahead of schedule (using computerised PERT/CPM) and below budget, I wonder whether to call myself an "Engineer" or not, though I was designated as Senior Engineer-in-charge; primarily because of the chauvinistic attitude of Graduate engineers and Engineering College Professors.

Would you agree with me that there ought to be a system that rewards sustained engineering acievement with a PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER degree grade (N) for the number of years of practice > 4 years?

Incidentally, I am much sought after for "Guest" lectures in Robotics by engineering colleges and Universities even for Summer and Winter training camps for Professors of engineering at the national level.

Thanks and regards

D.Ramakrishna Naidu

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#54
In reply to #39

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 10:21 AM

Yes and there are people that excel in engineering fields without degrees.

A degree and PE certification is just a screening tool. Even if the person that has those credentials is worthless at least you as the employer can see that he has something to support this person's claims.

A person that has advanced from being an assistant to a chief engineer in some company without a degree. Who learned everything from hands on experience is also a valuable employee and has verifiable work experience. Sometimes this person is preferred over the degree holding engineer.

Someone that has learned his trade in his garage and reads a lot of engineering books probably does know what he's talking about and can hold his own against any engineering professional but for hiring purposes, he doesn't have anything substantial to support his claims.

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#58
In reply to #54

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 11:01 AM

And often will not have, nor use, the exact current phrase or term, or won't be familiar with the latest (<studly buzzword program here>(Lean 6 Sigma and ISO 9001 come to mind) or have experience with it, and will be turned away by the interviewing manager, who is not, himself or herself an engineer, and couldn't identify one by his/her engineering skills. Those who are good at book learning usually are also good at terms and terminology, while those who "learned by doing" may have "doohickey" in their vocabulary, and interviewers such as these, for whatever reason, hire based on words, rather than abilities. Maybe its just job overload, too many interviews, not enough time. Or maybe its stupid reliance on credentialling of one sort or another.

On the other hand, I have a friend who is very senior management for the US Navy (Civilian) who calls things doomaflotchies and therbiggles, in meetings, and most of her coworkers just say "yep, that's her, but we know what she's talking about, and so does she, so let's get on with it."

And she has two Masters in program management in engineering, and is working on her Doctorate. But she's also extremely intelligent AND smart (street smart, life smart, work smart, etc.) so she's probably not proof of anything we've said here.

Micah

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#60
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Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 11:07 AM

Yes she is, she is probably worth 10 "Engineers!"

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#62
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Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 11:11 AM

And manages them pretty well, too. Though I have to say from her stories, when she did the same for the USMC, they probably came closest to breaking her out of character. Drove her nuts, they did.

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#80
In reply to #10

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 8:34 PM

europium.

OK, as you ask, i hereby call you a pragmatist. And I did not need a psychic to decern that for me. GA from me...

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#84
In reply to #80

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 10:04 PM

That's 1-900-a-pragmatist. Pragmatic psychics are on the line now, knowing you'll call...

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#29
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Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 11:00 PM

Thank you. You have a GA from me, for that. An engineer is one who engineers a solution to a problem. Pure and simple. And a PE license does not make one able to do that, though it should, and most often does, prove ones ability. But so does a successful design, built to spec, which works.

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#51
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Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 9:30 AM

Might be a tad off topic, but this reminds me of the NDT Inspection Companies who cram a lot of Info into young kids in 80 hours, let them take a test right away and send them out to my world as CWIs and NDE Level IIs.

They either accept everything or put good stuff in abeyance creating grief for me, as I have to then interpret code for them and reinspect the stuff myself.

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#76
In reply to #8

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 7:06 PM

europium

I gave you a GA

With all the good ratings you received on this thread alone, Out of curiosity, I wonder how many that gave you a GA are a degreed engineer.

I for one am

phoenix911

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#77
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Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 7:37 PM

What is evident to me from your post is not so much your professional qualifications as your haughtiness. I wouldn't hire you for that reason alone.

You nailed that correctly. Quite frankly, I worked with a number of card carrying PEs and I have to say I have not been impressed.

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#85
In reply to #77

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 10:49 PM

I've probably worked with more than the ones that come immediately to mind, but two really strike a chord. One was an arrogant contractor who spent all his time talking about how much time he spent on his sailing yacht to work off his "tax liability". He didn't get much done, and he didn't impress me at all. Apparently he didn't impress my boss, either, as his contract was terminated very early.

The other was a former Army Artillery Officer, who had become a PE after earning his EE. Since he was ESL (English as a Second Language) and his military service was in another country's army, he had the double whammy of having to learn English while completing his EE. He was solid professional in everything he did, he was more than willing to work alongside of, advise, and accept advise from, anyone who was willing to treat him with respect, and he and I became exceptionally good friends, until we lost touch about 10 years ago. HE was a great example of an degreed professional engineer, and PE.

Pedro Faberlle, where are you? Stand up and take a bow.

Micah

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#359
In reply to #8

Re: Engineers, take notice

03/10/2009 11:07 AM

I went through 95% of my engineering degree before my job became too demanding and too much of an opportunity to pass up. I took the EIT years ago but not the PE. So under healybj8's criteria I am not an engineer. However, I can guarantee that my employer considers me an engineer and one of the best she has. A test does not an engineer make. The ability to solve problems, research answers, teach yourself, and have confidence in your abilities to come to a feasible solution is what makes an engineer. This is exactly the reason a degree is not required to take the PE exam.

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#21
In reply to #5

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 7:19 PM

Many years ago there were certain jobs where the person did not have a degree but was called an engineer; for example, Radio Engineer, Railroad Engineer. I worked with a person who was called an engineer when he worked on developing the drives for the first Univac computers, but was called a technician thirtysome years later, when we worked together. I think it was the particular discipline in earlier times whether an engineer was required to have a degree.

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#23
In reply to #5

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 8:24 PM

I too suffered greatly going though college. pre-exam axiety, things not setting in or registering for me. tough exams and tests both written as well as projects. But even then, as tough as it was, I knew that school was going to be easy as compared to getting a job after. Because making a mistake or not doing well in school as long as you were serious and work hard. . . . . you learned, you graduated.

the people that thought that the tough part was over after recieving thier degree, whether it a BS, or PE, and relaxed. actually peaked early before landing a job.

And its usually the same people that live in the past, that keep talking about their college daze........days.

phoenix911

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#50
In reply to #5

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 8:42 AM

I do take a little offense at the "haven't passed the PE exam, then you are not an "Engineer". I myself have worked in the field for over 25 years, have multiple patents, I got my undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering. I do consisder myself an Engineer even though I have never taken the PE exam.

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#66
In reply to #50

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 12:26 PM

Then you have your stay at home housewives who are called "Domestic Engineers."

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#69
In reply to #66

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 1:23 PM

I call mine the "Domestic Goddess". She laughs and goes on doing her job. Which is a full-time, never-ending, fairly thankless (except for mine and the kids, anyway) job.

I couldn't do it.

Micah

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#71
In reply to #66

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 3:04 PM

Gee that sounds a lot like my position......go in and clean up everyone elses stuff because they choose not to.

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#73
In reply to #71

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 3:32 PM

ssshhhh, not so loud. I have to sleep here tonight, too!

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#83
In reply to #73

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 9:33 PM

No contingency plan, eh? Well, just in case she hears, throw an electric blanket in that doghouse along with a couple of beers and a good book. You'd be amazed at the difference it makes.

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#86
In reply to #83

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 10:52 PM

Books always in my back pocket. The dog is shaggy. I'll be warm enough. Just smelly come daybreak. Maybe she'll let me in to take a shower.

Micah

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#188
In reply to #50

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/21/2009 1:21 PM

Unfortunately, most public works projects require the "approval" of a PE to take the heat in case of a failure.

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#79
In reply to #5

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 8:26 PM

A historical note. When I earned my PE in Texas, the exam was not required. College degree, four years of documented apprenticeship under a Registered PE, and, I don't remember exactly how many, but some peer recommendations. The Texas PE was then transferable to many other states (California excluded for sure, maybe some others). All the PE ever did for me was put me in line for law suits. A couple of the best people doing engineering level work that I have ever had the pleasure to work with had no degree, but many years of experience and self-study- these are the ones I would prefer to consult when I faced a mental block to a solution I was seeking...

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#155
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Re: Engineers, take notice

01/18/2009 9:38 PM

Was Thomas Edison worthy of the title?

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#197
In reply to #155

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/21/2009 9:09 PM

Was Thomas Edison worthy of the title?

Last I checked Thomas Edison should really be known as an 'Engineering Promoter'... while I wouldn't want to suggest he was a fraud, many of the inventions he is credited with were conceived and developed by his staff and then he did the selling/credit taking... not unlike Microsquish, 3M, Pfizer... hell, name a company that does R&D (my grandfather was involved in developing several patents that belong to Standard Oil, because he worked for them, and I promise you you won't find his name anywhere on the patent, if he worked for Edison they would be Edisons patents)

Of course I expect most of you know this since we're all engineers here... except me, I'm an uneducated buffoon... no really... or maybe that should be baboon...

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#239
In reply to #197

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/22/2009 11:25 PM

He was a marketing genius but was not very moral.

Like he told Tesla, You don't understand an American joke. He never paid him and acquired another enemy.

He took the credit regardless of merit, now who knows what he did or not.

Having never met the man I can only compile what others thought of him and make my own conclusions. Not many that knew him and wrote about him in his day had nice things to say. He had many fans but his peers were not as enamored.

Brad

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#184
In reply to #5

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/21/2009 10:54 AM

"Haven't passed the PE exam, then you are not an "Engineer".

Is this your definition of an engineer? You are a phony hiding behind a bunch crony associations. No group really produced anything. It has always been the individual. Even in a large project it is the sum total of individual efforts in harmony with each other that produces the result and not meetings or committees or associations or what is known as pseudo team work.

Anyone who belongs to a group is a mobster. All groups are a bunch of mediocre chaps who know that their numbers can possibly intimidate a brilliant individual.

Read Ayn Rand. Might open your eyes.

If you do not have an actual degree and haven't passed the PE exam, then you are not an "Engineer".

Another example of breaking wind in public. Many great breakthroughs in engineering were achieved by ones who had no qualifications.

I qualified as an engineer from one of the finest engineering schools in the world yet when I hit the actual workplace I was scared of my ignorance. The school gave me some strengths. Tons of inapplicable Math and Physics, app mech, SOM etc but that gave me a logical mind and a capacity to learn new things quickly.

An engineering school only gives you the potential to become an engineer AND A CHANCE TO GET HIRED. It is only the individual's efforts and the love of what he is doing that will make him one.

I was lucky, for the company I first joined had two of finest machine designers of the day. I dug my heels in and started to learn the real world of engineering and the ecstasy of creating something, however small that did not exist yesterday. You design something and if it works true to the intent that is an orgasm. The company might make profits but that product is your own and no one can take that away. I soon fell in love with engineering and never looked back.

Another facet was the curiosity to know things and the questioning attitude of "why, why not, what if". I would then go chew the heads off my bosses till they convinced me. But soon I was also convincing them.

It is a high point in my life when these two greats left they would call me to work with them again some place else. I did this for fifteen years. I knew then that this was recognition of my work. No PEE can substitute that.

There is another strength that a true engineer should acquire which is to have the humility to learn from anyone , especially the unqulified, who have taken the real knocks of of the real world without any conceit of one's achievements. You will be surprised how much there is out there. I was once told my a master craftsman, "Everything is right on paper but we work with steel. A cow in a book does not eat grass"

Finally I will end this with a personal example. I met a fellow engineer in Bombay, India who was outsourcing conversions (2D to 3D etc). I asked him why you don't outsource design. He said there was a nearly hundred year old big custom gear drive maker in the U.S. supplying to the steel mills there who wanted them to design, do all the calculations, build layouts and part details with BOMs, who they had refused as they did not have the resources. I was leaving back to North America where I was working earlier but decided to stay back and give it a try.

Made contact with this company who does not know me from Adam.

They did not ask me for my degree or whether I was a PEEE.

They just wanted know if I could do the job. They gave me the specifications of a job they had done in the past with the initial and boundary conditions. The design I submitted was more compact and with better Power ratings.

They approved and till today I have designed twenty gearboxes which they made in the US and sold it all over the world. Please note that these are big drives ranging from 500 to 6,500 HP. Very expensive to make and failure suicidal. It was only the quality and integrity of my work that encourages them to give me work and not a rubber stamp peeee.

Today they want me to join them in the US as I can contribute better. I do not know whether I want to move again out of India and start life all over again and overcome family pressure not to move out. Heart of hearts that opportunity to do work that I love is certainly preying on my mind.

I have never met them, never been to their company. Only telephones, E-mail, FTP, AND MY WORK.

I will crack your peeeeee dead blotto with my eyes rotating in opposite directions but who cares. Long live the Roarks and Galts. They made and run this world and not you know who

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#185
In reply to #184

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/21/2009 11:16 AM

Fabulous post, Dedaelus. I would encourage every one here to read this. Regretably I'm limited by CR4 to giving you only one GA.

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#186
In reply to #184

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/21/2009 11:49 AM

Excellent post.

I like to add that the PE's that I had work with in the past, when I difficult decision had to be made. They made themselves very unavailable or nowhere to be found . And that was on purpose, why because they could be wrong.

And when they were cornered, their answers were very mousy and indecisive.

phoenix911

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#187
In reply to #184

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/21/2009 12:20 PM

"An engineering school only gives you the potential to become an engineer ..."

Exactly.

I worked for a number of years with a fellow who held a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University. At one point we were writing a program to simulate the ion source for an ion implanter used in the fabrication of microchips. We tested the simulator against measurements made from an actual, operational source. This guy was modelling the filament portion and did not understand why his model did not reflect the values of filament voltage and current he had measured. Not even close.

The reason was simple, he'd never learned that the resistivity of metals changes with temperature! A tungsten filament has a much higher electrical resistance at operating temperature than it does at ambient, and he failed to accommodate this fact in his model. An MSee (from Cornell no less) not knowing about temperature coefficients in metals? I was stunned! But on paper he sure looked good.

Years later I worked a contract with Texas Instruments to develop DSP software. T.I. hired engineering interns from various universities around the world, and one summer we had a gaggle of interns from MIT. One day one of them - a very bright girl entering her final year - asked me how color was reproduced by a CRT. "Surely the electrons don't have color! How do they know which color to produce?" She didn't know about the phosphor triads you find on a color CRT face, nor about shadow masks.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor I sprayed a light mist of Windex on the screen, sprinkling it, basically, with a whole bunch of little lenses that magnified the phosphor dots beneath (I assume she never sneezed suddenly while seated at her computer!). She was amazed at what she saw, and so were the other interns with her.

I ended up bringing things into work to show them some (rather basic) physics in order to fill in some of the blanks in their engineering education. For example, one day I brought in one of those little pill-shaped samarium-cobalt super-magnets you can find in Edmund Scientific's catalog. In the lab was a large piece of 1/8" aluminum sheet and I set this against the wall so that the sheet made a 45-degree angle with the desktop. I found a metal plug about the same size and weight as the magnet and placed them both near the top of the sheet. "Which one will make it to the bottom first?" I asked them.

"I dunno. I guess they'll both reach the bottom at the same time. That's aluminum, right? I don't see that it matters!"

"Okay, let's see whether it does or not!"

The magnet crept down the sheet (inducing eddy currents along the way, creating a secondary magnetic field that countered the magnet's motion). The plug raced to the bottom.

"Why'd the magnet go so slowly?"

Questions from senior MIT engineering undergrads. Go figure.

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#189
In reply to #184

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/21/2009 1:34 PM

A GA from me too.

I have found that the ones that want to be called "Doctor" and who put their "Qualifications" on visiting cards in big letters under their name etc etc etc. Are in fact the "problem" engineers, loud but useless.......

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#192
In reply to #184

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/21/2009 2:30 PM

Welcome to CR4!

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#193
In reply to #192

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/21/2009 2:45 PM

speaking of good answers..... 2 posts and 1 good answer. . ...pretty good stats.

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#203
In reply to #184

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/22/2009 2:40 AM

That's a brilliant outstanding post, Dedaelous. GA from me to help more people find/ead it. May the Keatings of the world drown in their own mediocrity.

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#235
In reply to #184

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/22/2009 10:54 PM

Hello Dedaelus,

...a true engineer should acquire which is to have the humility to learn from anyone...

I totally agree. A saying I like to go by is:

Geniuses make mistakes and even a fool can have a good idea. My discernment of the knowledge is my limitation. Knowledge like advice is not a take it all or leave it all proposition. So it is my ability to sift the grain of truth and knowledge from the piles of emotional sand.

My take of the Vedic Art of Wealth from about 275BC

Brad

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#237
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Re: Engineers, take notice

01/22/2009 11:00 PM

I like the entire view. And one of the best things about it is that, as I commented to my wife today, learning something new by researching and reading is never about only the one subject it starts with. It always expands into many more fields and much more knowledge. I didn't consider it then, but the sifting process is probably the most important reason for that expansion. You have to broaden the knowledge you have to find the necessary cross-checks for the sifting and validation processes.

Pity the person who suffers no curiosity.

Micah

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#244
In reply to #237

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/22/2009 11:52 PM

Pity the person who suffers no curiosity.

Sorry, I can not pity the dead. I treat them with the respect of the living but an automated meat popsicle does not serve any purpose but to be someone else's tool because they question not. The problem is the morel don't use people(even mindless) as tools.

Pandora may have opened the box but they of no curiosity only complained then continued with the mob to pee in our pool.

Must be in a cynical mood.

Brad

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#245
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Re: Engineers, take notice

01/22/2009 11:55 PM

Might come from swimming in the mob's pool, no?

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#248
In reply to #245

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/23/2009 12:06 AM

Sad but true, I see no constant improvement as a whole and das tut mir Leit (that makes me sad).

Or the pool just burns my eyes.

Brad

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#249
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Re: Engineers, take notice

01/23/2009 12:14 AM

Pity the person who suffers no curiosity.

Pity them indeed! The really sad fact is that schools and a society that increasingly exalts ignorance and conformity drums it out of kids until there's nothing left.

Yet, every child is born with an intense curiosity about the world around him. Look at your typical toddler: exploring, prodding, poking, opening, tearing apart, tasting anything he can get his little mitts on. Then look at him 15 or 16 years later: Chances are he/she'll wonder what planet you came from when you show your own curiosity about something. Where'd it all go? Down the tubes of conformity. We are becoming a nation of ignorant, conformist, compliant, gullible little sheep incapable of critical thinking and ready to be led by the first wolf out the gate. That's what we're churning out. Call me cynical, but I'll bet my bottom dollar we've all seen it.

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#252
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Re: Engineers, take notice

01/23/2009 12:23 AM

I've seen it, for certain. It is why I spend a good deal of my spare time (and plan to spend a good deal more, when I retire in the next few years) tutoring students in applied science, and starting as young as I can get my hands on them. I also try to tutor teachers in how to get their students to stay curious. I tell all who'll listen that I want to see kids walk around the real world muttering to themselves, saying things like "Why did that happen? I wonder if its because ...? How wold I test that?" If I, and their regular teachers, can get them to see their world through those kinds of wondering eyes, they'll never lose their curiosity. Another way to help them, and any of us can do this, is to be interested in the musings of the youngest kids we can find, and to speak enthusiatically to them about what they wonder about, encouraging them with snippets of information that fit their current curiosity, and push them to question more.

Unfortunately, my parents did not understand science. But, fortunately, I had two teachers who did, and I had a thick, stubborn hide, so that being different from others never bothered me. Thus I pursued science when others didn't, and never stopped learning. I'm trying to pass on the legacy of those two teachers.

Micah

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#365
In reply to #5

Re: Engineers, take notice

08/11/2010 2:45 AM

If it is about being honest then also... degree should not matter..

you may be aware of the fact that Mr.J.R.D.TATA was not a qualified engineer. Though he always regretted for this fact but still we all know that really does not matter.. He is the pioneer of AIR INDIA, Chairman of TATA STEELS ..... list can go on and on...

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#7

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 1:46 PM

It happens from time to time. Many of the ones I have dealt with were obviously backyard tinkerers who called themselves engineers but had no formal training (self-taught). Others have been scammers who like to give themselves fancy titles like "doctor of engineering". The PC age of adding technician or engineer to someone's title to make them sound more important doesn't help (I know a "nail technician", she cuts and colours peoples nails).

In the end we can rant and what not, but it's like someone here posting lots of comments so they can get the CR4 "Guru" status. It doesn't make them a "Guru".

In the end it is all about the content. If you talk BS or ask BS questions then people are quickly going to figure out that person is full of BS. Sort of self-regulating if people bother to look at the previous threads that person has participated in and commented on, which should be mandatory if someone is asking a rather important question that they really need a "correct" answer for (not some BS that 6 other "Guests" agree with).

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#12
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Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 3:58 PM

"... it's like someone here posting lots of comments so they can get the CR4 "Guru" status."

And now for the fast-sell: For anyone wanting instant Guru status, I have here in my hot little hands a Perl script that'll synthesize and post inane bullshit to CR4 until the counter hits '500.'

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Orders made within 24 hours include a free Member ID Generator so folks can see your name in ALL CAPS (my fave). For a small additional fee, we'll include a personalized avatar signed by Eddie Murphy free!

[automated reply generated 2008.14.01.14:58:59 by ophtopik rev 2.2.3b beta]

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#16
In reply to #12

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 5:22 PM

You forgot one

8. "How to size busbar?"

Arguably the most commonly asked question, and one that the poster should know if they are to perform the work him/herself professionally.

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 6:06 PM

My personal favorites:

  • I need to design a pressure vessel for 3000 psi. What thickness should I use?
  • I have a piping system - how much flow do I have?
  • I need to perform a very critical pressure weld - which filler should I use?
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#22
In reply to #16

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 7:47 PM

9. I don't care what you say, HHO works for me.

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#24
In reply to #22

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 8:48 PM

Which makes me wonder what CR4/GlobalSpec's legal liability is when members/guests suggest a course of action that ends up with the OP's design blowing to smithereens; possibly causing loss of life and property.

Any poster who consults an informal forum (like CR4) for critical design information is asking for trouble. There is no way to qualify the individuals making recommendations and the OP, by the mere fact of asking the question here in the first place, is clearly unqualified to evaluate the merits of such recommendations. Yet, that OP is in the position of implementing such recommendations to someone's harm.

Chris Leonard?

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/14/2009 9:06 PM

Ah, you edited your post, very good.

"Please note that all messages express the views of the author, and neither the owners of CR4 nor its administrators are responsible for the content of any message."*

*From the FAQ disclaimer.

Of course, asking a question here, that could blow yourself up, makes you automatically in the running for a Darwin_Award.

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#40
In reply to #16

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 2:16 AM

very carefully

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#81
In reply to #7

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 8:47 PM

We all know what "BS" stands for. Now for the follow-on- "MS" = more of the same; "PhD"- piled higher and deeper...

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#82
In reply to #81

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/15/2009 9:26 PM

Now don't forget "post doc," i.e., "fence mender."

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#89
In reply to #81

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/16/2009 6:00 AM

Love the humor!! Great.

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#172
In reply to #7

Re: Engineers, take notice

01/19/2009 1:04 PM

Jack of all trades, I have to agree, there is one inparticular that makes the best darn BS pump in the world and his hand full of elfs that back up everything he says like an echo. For any one to follow anouther so loyaly and brag and boast about so loudly I have to suspect of not being able to stand on their own.

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#19

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/14/2009 6:20 PM

Anyone who has looked at my profile will know that I am a Student working towards an Electrical Engineering Diploma.

I have also noticed this little querk and find it very amusing and scary at the same time.

Amusing, because these engineers do succeed very well at looking very foolish by asking such basic questions.

Scary, because some of the questions that they ask are Entry Level Trade Apprentice level questions I see in my Homework, yet they are working on serious design\build scenarios.

To those who are Real Engineers at Heart, I appreciate and respect your Knowledge and Patience I see at\on CR4, some of the answers to my posts and other have clarified stuff that I have had trouble getting a grip on or given an alternative solution.

I don't know why these guys want CR4 to do thier home work for them, it belittles CR4 and themselves and lessons learned by wrote cause more problems than they resolve.

The "look here" answers are my favorite because they let me learn more in application, not just the theory.

Regards,
Sapper

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#30
In reply to #19

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/14/2009 11:07 PM

If you use the name " Sapper " then I would presume that you , like me , are an Enginer with the prefix " Royal " Engineers

Best REgards

Sapper 788

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#43
In reply to #30

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/15/2009 2:47 AM

Yup, ex-RAE ...Down here we put an "A" between the "R" & "Engineer"..

That's why "It's all about the Boom"

Regards,
Sapper.

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#20

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/14/2009 6:57 PM

Admittedly some of the questions are not ones expected from college-trained engineers, but then it is also true that some of the people on this forum are not engineers who simply need help in the performance of their hobbies and what have you, and then there are also those who are simply engineering students.

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#26

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/14/2009 9:49 PM

I might also add that a lot of the questions are from offshore.

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#27

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/14/2009 9:59 PM

I agree with OP

Yes though it is not an engineer's exclusive, anybody can come to us for help, and we are willing to. But we have to know their capabilities to answer.

We are finding too many of the questions that are primary level (what is a swivel joint , faradays law etc what no egineer worth his salt will ask)

If we know that the kid is a std 5 or 6 well he could have asked his teacher isn't it ?

Just since he has a net access , and his dad/mom is on the site (else how could he get the address) , he just logs in and asks -

what is 2+5

And he has to mpersonate.

And other sickening aspect is to make us complete their homework/class work/project work

Even for project work (we too had to do once) - I always feel it better to not search these blogs- we are grey haired practicing engineers (most of us with due respect and apologies to black haired (and unhaired ) - and though we take pride, we are not exactly updated to latest in the field.

It is far better if they consult their project guides/ scan through papers and journals (as I remember to have done of course blogs,forums and PCs were non-existence- we worked with punched cards and Fortran, of course the papers were all in papers - not papyrus)

We are- most of us are - ready to help with technical difficulties - but not - how to design a heat exchanger

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/14/2009 10:42 PM

"and though we take pride, we are not exactly updated to latest in the field."

I spend a lot of time and effort staying current in my respective fields, (instrumentation, combustion, documentation). I've never turned to this forum for help in what I do. I'm fully capable of doing my own research, and don't need much help. However, sometimes, I have to stray from my fields of expertise, and have asked for help here. For the most part, I've been flooded with a wealth of information from the participants in this forum. But I do my homework first, before I ask.

If someone comes here and asked about things that I know about, I go way out of my way to help them out.

So, so, many questions asked here can be answered with a quick google/web search. Actually, with much less effort than posting a question here. Perhaps, people in some country's are blocked from full access to the web, and this forum is their only recourse. But probably more often, posters seek a more personal connection, wishing to connect to the more privileged members of the world community. In many ways, it empowers them.

Yes, we get the lazy, we get the student trying the easy way out. Often, the language challenged. You just really never know. Yup, you get a poster, throwing out a line, with a quick, simple, vague question. If he gets a bite, then he puts the whole details about the question out there. That's fine.

However, the correct answer is in the details of the question.

And if a student is forthright, and states his research, and is stuck, everyone here will be willing to help.

I guess it comes down to the OP being honest.

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#52
In reply to #28

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/15/2009 10:06 AM

I have notice, when wrong or incorrect information is given for what ever reasons, ignorance, being exhausted, too late at night, rushed, one of the positive items on this site, is that it is more times than not almost self correcting, by other CR4 Members.

phoenix911

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#32

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/14/2009 11:58 PM

I know what you mean, I once met a "mechanical engineer" who wasn't able to calculate the volume of a rectangular water tank.

Unfortunately, no one else cares about the subject.

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#42
In reply to #32

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/15/2009 2:28 AM

I can't resist here throwing out my story about the time I was in working in the disc drive company 20 years ago. They had this "hot shot" young "phd" attitude about two years out of Stanford (big California, USA, university) with what they called an "Engineer degree". 30 credits in Mechanical Engineering beyond the Master's level; but with just a technical paper published in some journal rather than the lengthy research requirements of a thesis.

We got into a disagreement on just how much would be the theoretical pressure rise in a air vent between the centerline of a 1-1/4" diameter shaft turning 3600 rpm and its OD. I calculated the amount I recall something on the order of fractions of an inch water column and he shouted me down in a meeting with his position that the pressure would be several hundred psi. He was strongly supported by his manager (who hired him). A couple of days later he circulates this 4 page white paper full of calculations supporting his conclusion. I might have been the only one who actually read it all the way through but somewhere around page 3 he described how he took the maximum power output from the 2 hp driving motor (this was a 14" disc drive -- remember them?) and back calculated that number to determine the theoretical pressure of the "tiny air pump" in the drive shaft to be 372psi. Every time his name got mentioned I couldn't resist asking if he ever applied for a patent on the new air compressor technology he invented. He never admitted he was wrong and was still around 3 years later when we all got laid off during the plant shutdown.

I guess the points here are that it is possible for some highly educated technical type to be completely ignorant about something out of his field. Oh yeah, and that it pays to be judicious in your criticism of corporate politicians.

Ed Weldon

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#49
In reply to #42

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/15/2009 8:07 AM

I had to give you a GA.

This sort of thing happens far too often, I was lucky in that each time some "Wanker" tried to do it to me, I was able to prove otherwise. Being with the company for nearly 30 years and having fixed literally 1000s of problems already, of course helped....

Several of these "Wankers" found themselves looking for a new job within 6 months, so they hadn't just pissed me off, they had also pissed off people with more clout too!!

I have found that I rarely had to wait long before such people had "shot their bolt" and were disconnected!

God works in mysterious ways......

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#53
In reply to #42

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/15/2009 10:18 AM

Ed,

I gave you a GA also, because it reenforced my experience, Only difference it is, this guy was the same age as me, and he graduated from Berkley. After being out of school for close to 30 years, he's still talking about his college daze, he was as they say book smart, but was practical stupid.

I believe I mentioned this in an earlier post

And how he talked I have a feeling he only took a course at Berkley, and gave the impression the he got his degree there.

If thats what he did, he should have just taken a course at MIT

phoenix911

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#59
In reply to #53

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/15/2009 11:03 AM

You rate a GA too for some neat comments about your experiences, thanks.

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#138
In reply to #42

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/18/2009 1:58 PM

For what it is worth I gave you a GA as well.

My turn for a story about a PE who I was unfortunate to have to work for, more on that part at the end.

He was tasked with a study of the electrical demand for a section of our city, and came up with a design to save money, by reducing the number of vaults and replacing many of the transformers with dry core units of a smaller value. This particular utility had problem with 'the PE knows' and things tended to get rubber stamped without much scrutiny. The project went ahead and the system energized, without any problems, until the first day that we had heavy freezing rain. The area was almost exclusively heated by electrical heating, retrofitted since it is a very old section of the city. His calculation was based on the residential users not being present during the day time when commercial load was high, with the inclement weather the system was over loaded and the whole area shut down. Our city is know for swings in weather conditions, warm to bitterly cold and cool to nasty hot, this of course was never taken into account. As a punishment he was assigned to fill in pot holes in the utility storage yard, one would figure a couple of truckloads of gravel? Hundreds of truck loads of gravel later, a weeks worth of heavy equipment time, not to mention surveying to ensure that the drainage was perfect he was finished. He was again demoted to supervise the design drafting section, my world at the time. I hit the road soon after, but he is still there screwing up their GIS system, still not fully implemented almost 20 years down the road. Oh, his director was let go when the city amalgamated.

Shame really, I really loved doing what I was doing, but staying was not an option.

Things are good, I am an editor for an off road magazine, I get to design and build custom vehicles, I just wish I could make it pay....

Great reading this string.

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#139
In reply to #138

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/18/2009 3:09 PM

So what's the name of your mag and where is it available?

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#141
In reply to #139

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/18/2009 4:17 PM

I write for Difflock magazine, available at www.difflock.com and it is free to the subscriber. Just select the magazine, and then download a PDF. We went green because it is almost impossible to get recognition in magazine stores and you have to pay for the honor of being stuck on the top shelf in the back. You can pay more for front of the shelf, but it really isn't worth the money in the long run. So we give it away and circulation has gone through the roof.

I am very pasionate about all things automotive, some times I get the feeling I was born with a gear in my hand.

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#142
In reply to #141

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/18/2009 4:26 PM

Rats!!! Forgot to sign in again, never make guru at this rate lol

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#147
In reply to #142

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/18/2009 6:48 PM

I just bought an old Jeep a few months ago. Thanks for the info!

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#152
In reply to #142

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/18/2009 8:15 PM

"Rats!!! Forgot to sign in again, never make guru at this rate lol "

--

Aren't you the guy who's racked up over 100 GAs as "Guest?"

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#144
In reply to #141

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/18/2009 5:09 PM

...some times I get the feeling I was born with a gear in my hand.

Here we call that a Gear Head

Nice mag. I'll turn my gearhead 4X4 climbing and bogging friends onto it here across the pond.

Brad

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#149
In reply to #144

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/18/2009 7:45 PM

UV, Shadetree, thank you Good bunch to work with or else I may not have left the previous magazine I was with. Gear Head indeedie, you bet, and proud of it too.

So many projects so little patients from my wife, seems she doesn't appreciate the spare parts stored in the house, and all the associated stuff. Seems I have a rather large collection of automotive related items as well. Funny she does not mind the 1959 Series II Land Rover on the second floor, to be perfectly honest it is only the front half, bolted to the wall, as a television stand.

have a great week

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#151
In reply to #149

Re: Engineers, Take Notice

01/18/2009 8:03 PM

Funny she does not mind the 1959 Series II Land Rover on the second floor, to be perfectly honest it is only the front half, bolted to the wall, as a television stand.

Can you upload the pic?

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