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Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/27/2010 5:00 AM

I think Ive posted this link before.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khyZI3RK2lE

the weapon was designed by clever engineers

as was the Titanic. (at the time it was state of the art)

K19

Challenger. That bridge in america that was destroyed by the wind,

and i am sure we could all come up with lots more designs that really should never of seen the light of day

The first jet passenger plane the Comet ( it had square windows, and fell apart because cracks appeared at the corner of the windows)

I am not suggesting all engineers are not very good, But there is an awfull lot that are really bad, But clever

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#1

Re: Are our engineers clever ?

04/27/2010 5:11 AM

Good post. Good investment of Tax money. People really are self- destructive?

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#2

Re: Are our engineers clever ?

04/27/2010 7:25 AM

What happened? Did an engineer kick sand in your face and steal your girl one day at the beach? Why such snarky animosity?

Millions of people got up this morning because their alarm clocks worked. Thousands made it through the night because their life support machines and systems worked. They drank from the water supply that didn't poison them. They got in cars that seldom explode in flames. They rode trains containing perhaps several hundred thousand parts, all of which contribute to the MTBF. They crossed bridges. They rode elevators. They breathed the air in the Holland Tunnel. They used their electric razors without being electrocuted.

All these were the result of engineering. And you're gonna bust our chops for a bad commercial decision in 1912?

Do you have any idea at all about failure mode analysis or value analysis? Do you know how weapon systems come about?

I recommend several pints of the local bitters, listen to some Chopin, walk beside a quiet river, and then thank your lucky stars that most engineers are clever.

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#5
In reply to #2

Re: Are our engineers clever ?

04/27/2010 8:53 AM

I don't blame the engineers for what happened to the Titanic.

It was the Captain's fault (also the owner).

The ship was not designed to ram into an iceberg at 22 knots.

Peter is frustrated because 1) he is not an engineer, and 2) he does not have a job.

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#8
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Re: Are our engineers clever ?

04/27/2010 10:47 AM

The third part is under the belt. If I give such a comment I would sign in. Engineering "experiments" should not be tested on the public. That is where Safety Engineering must fill up the voids. There is still a gap between "Civil Engineering" and reality to be filled up.

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#27
In reply to #8

Re: Are our engineers clever ?

04/28/2010 1:26 AM

As with every other aspect of human endeavor, it falls on a bell curve. The only thing that ever changes is the densities. There is no such thing as perfection and no such thing as zero probability. This is the frame of the engineering picture.

ps. I'm also not an engineer, and unemployed. I do not think there is anything dramatically wrong. There is always room for everyone to learn more. I grow concerned at decreases in educational quality and quantity. This is one area we can make a difference.

Chris

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#23
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Re: Are our engineers clever ?

04/27/2010 9:02 PM

GA for a restrained response to inflammatory noise. Real engineers know that millions of successful designs enrich all our lives daily AND they understand that the relatively small number of popularized failures were mostly caused by non-engineers short-cutting the original engineering design.

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#24
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Re: Are our engineers clever ?

04/27/2010 9:27 PM

Thanks. We do mess up, but it's usually because we just don't know everything. Yet, we try to do right. I'm a big fan of Henry Petroski who writes about great (and small) design failures. It's always easy after the fact to see what the solution to something should have been, but it's not so easy beforehand.

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#3

Re: Are our engineers clever ?

04/27/2010 7:35 AM

At least they didn't design it to shoot straight up.....and then drop.

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#4

Re: Are our engineers clever ?

04/27/2010 7:46 AM

This kind of post really really pisses me off, it shows either a lack of understanding of the way knowledge is extended and/or of the design process. It draws conclusions, unsupported by the facts.

The nuclear rifle design would have been managed by managers. One groups of engineers would have designed the rifle to throw the load. Another team, perhaps in a different location would have designed the weapon. These teams may not have been permitted to speak to each other because of "need to know". The managers may not have thought to have engineers look at the whole process.

Titanic was not a failure of engineering, it was a lack of knowledge of icebergs. Because of Titanic, ship design and the study if icebergs were improved; improvements not known to be required before Titanic.

I don't know much about K19.

Challenger was a management failure. Wiki

The Tacoma Narrows bridge is another example of failure because we entered unknown territory, but we learned to add new criteria to to the design requirements to avoid this situation in future. Same thing with Comet, we had no real knowledge of fatigue until then.

We will continue to design based on the knowledge that we have, and we will occasionally find we have crossed a boundary of safety, and gained valuable additional knowledge. We need seers, people who can look forward and see all of the real, as distinct from imagined, yet to be discovered hazards. Perhaps, since you are so critical, you would like to volunteer for the job.

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#7
In reply to #4

Re: Are our engineers clever ?

04/27/2010 10:15 AM

Please read the post properly

"I am not suggesting all engineers are not very good, But there is an awful lot that are really bad, But clever"

not all of you.

and yes i am an engineer, and out of work by choice.

Titanic sank because the watertight compartments didn't go all the way up so water filled first compartment then spilled over into the next and so on they designed it this way to save money.

And the capt was ordered to travel fast to save time.

there were no binoculars on the bridge because there were not enough to go round.

lots of mistakes that led to one big mistake

It was a light hearted stab. Don't take it to heart if your designs have always worked then obviously it doesn't apply to you.

But the point of the thread was to point out what most people know there are a number of clever people out there that have made monumental mistakes

Wasn't there a space mission not so long ago where the craft either missed its target or smashed into a planet because a decimal point was in the wrong place ?

all fairly non complex mistakes that were made by some of the many engineers.

your right the vast majority get it right.

remember the Mercedes a class that took 5 years to develop and when released it was rolled over by a reporter doing the moose test ( which is a standard test in Sweden designed to simulate avoiding a moose straying onto the road).

they had to recall all of the cars for modifications.

All the failures should have and in most cases where for cast but for what ever reason were not followed up.

challenger was i agree a management cock up but the question still holds why use rubber as a seal ? if it had been a fire proof seal it would not have ruptured.

don't take it to heart, if you are a good engineer then well done.

the comment was aimed at the lesser engineers

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#11
In reply to #4

Re: Are our engineers clever ?

04/27/2010 11:37 AM

All the disasters like Tacoma Narrows bridge is used in the class room. And reaping reward by turning out better engineers. At the time it was not due to poor engineering, just a lack of understanding of natural forces.

A better example other than that of the M65 would be the failure of the walkway at the Hyatt in Kansas City, That was an engineering failure. period.

I had to google K19, to see what the heck that is.

And yes like with all the other professions, that are bad engineers as well as good engineers. We are not gods like some would like to think, but I like to think at least we belong to the human race.

p911

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#63
In reply to #11

Re: Are our engineers clever ?

04/28/2010 3:31 PM

Oscilations caused the Tacoma bridge to collapse

knowledge wasnt known that would cause the collapse

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broughton_Suspension_Bridge

http://www2.eng.cam.ac.uk/~den/ICSV9_04.htm

foot bridge in uk sways cause people walking on it it wasnt known people could do this to a bridge

really http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broughton_Suspension_Bridge

http://www.lightandmatter.com/html_books/3vw/ch02/ch02.html

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#67
In reply to #63

Re: Are our engineers clever ?

04/28/2010 4:19 PM

Its a thing called buiding up a Resonance to its natural frequency.

Then you look at Eiffel when he designed build that tower in France, it was very close to his wind calculations, of course that was an open frame construction.

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#75
In reply to #67

Re: Are our engineers clever ?

04/28/2010 6:37 PM

Actually, the underlying cause was air-foil lift that lead to the oscillation in the bridge at resonant frequencies. Up until that time bridges had no need to consider lift in their spans. However, as the design got more efficient and lighter, while covering greater spans, the effects of lift became relatively greater as a proportion of the loading on the bridges. The bridge was fairly unsafe long before it failed, just due to the amount of movement in the structure. The Tacoma Narrows bridge would move in waves higher than the cars crossing it. As long as the cyclic loading is insubstantial relative to the other loads, it really doesn't have much of an effect, except possibly some added longterm wear.

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#6

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/27/2010 10:07 AM

Dear Pete,

1. The weapon was designed by engineers, but the weapons have been in different shapes and forms since the Stone Age. The reasons are either protection from wild animals or by other human communities. As you know we are too selfish and greedy to restrain ourselves from looting others, we use them for invasion. If there are no weapons and no soldiers vigilant at borders, the old times of slavery will return soon to make your nights uncomfortable.

2. I think one reason for Titanic disaster was substitution of riveting by welding of the ship into an integral vessel. This might have failed to limit the tear caused by the icebergs. But for this, there is the theory of probability invented by engineers to help us console ourselves.

3. Engineers do their best to produce the perfect machines and spend their life to contribute in making all spheres of human life comfortable. There are people other than engineers who really misuse the things.

Regards.

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#9

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/27/2010 11:15 AM

Everyone is free to put his views so long the stick don't chop others nose. I am seeing many replies by members so degrading and cynical. I could not understand why? Last comment by peterg7lyq (I am not suggesting all engineers are not very good, But there is an awfull lot that are really bad, But clever) is good enough to say that his approach was quite balanced.

We should respect the right to post on the forum, I am sure this kind of comments are not encouraging, there are ways to have a polite disagreements.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/27/2010 11:33 AM

Thank you my friend,

i never really take anything seriously and yes i have made mistakes so real good ones like leaving wheel nuts loose, Wheel did come off no one hurt.

drilled hole in roof for Ariel only to find the was a reinforcing bar underneath whoops

Drilled holes into boot area from under neath car "" Whats that hissing noise "" well what a silly place to put a spare wheel.

designed a wiring loom for a air-con unit for Army ambulance ( isn't the fan supposed to go the other way round oops again in my case its what makes the job unpredictable.

sorry if any of you have taken it personally

Never take anything serious

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#13
In reply to #9

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/27/2010 11:45 AM

good response,

I look at Peters post as fodder. Look at the interest it took. just have to ignore to negative remarks.

As far as what I think, Peter is a member who has not so much as the courage to post but the confidence as a member.

p911

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/27/2010 11:53 AM

Neigh ( i think thats how its spelt) Lets stop horse ing about

No seriously thanks to all my readers, I am renowned for putting both feet in it.

Its one of my many failings.

sorry again if the comments upset anyone that was not my intention.

I dont rreally have any specific reason for posting it, It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Its a good job i dont work in Bomb disposal

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#15

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/27/2010 11:56 AM

this is a beauty the building was very very strong.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8179857.stm

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#16

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/27/2010 12:52 PM

The assumption, in the 60's, was that the US and USSR would fight WWIII in a mechanized, probably nuclear, fashion on the plains of Western Europe. The Russian tank forces were sitting up in the Fulda Gap and it was assumed the first attack would come from there, aimed at Rhein Main Airport. I don't know the exact timetable, but Rhein Main absolutely had to be held and it required at least a day or two to get reinforcements up from places like Bad Kruzenach. I think the timeframe was something like 2 days that the Soviets had to be stopped or the war would be lost before it ever started.

I believe the Davy Crockett yield was very lethal in a small radius, but non-lethal at more than a click. Thus, the rifle crew might have suffered later year cancer or had children with birth defects, but they were not gonna die within a few weeks. The Soviet infantry within a quarter click radius were gonna be too ill to fight within an hour or so.

That might sound like Lemnitzer wanted to use those crews as cannon fodder, and maybe he did, but the perceived alternative was nuclear annihilation for the West. Some bad radiation sickness for a couple hundred GI's was considered a whole lot better than mushroom clouds over Des Moines.

So, if you want to hammer anybody, go after the government officials (on both sides) who thought nuclear war might be a good policy, or the US Generals who were willing to sacrifice a few Spartans, but din't blame the engineers for the contract specs.

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#17
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Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/27/2010 1:40 PM
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#26
In reply to #16

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 12:22 AM

If they were waiting for re-inforcements from Bad Kreuznach, they were going to be pretty disappointed- there were very, very few military in Bad Kreuznach in 1968 when I served there with the US Army...I think the main unit was a communications unit, and 8th Division HQ, but no infantry or armor in sight...

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#35
In reply to #26

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 7:10 AM

The hot phase of the cold war was effectively over by '68, young'n. You need to back up a couple years to the spring of '64 when my new best friend Krushchev cut the Berlin autobahn and started idling the tank motors up in the gap.

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#80
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Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 7:42 PM

How very pleasant to be addressed as "young'n" once more!

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#18

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/27/2010 4:12 PM

I am not suggesting all engineers are not very good, But there is an awfull lot that are really bad, But clever

<cringe> I don't think you meant to write that erroneous, blanket statement so I will ignore it.

Many (if not most) failures of a design or product that I have seen (including the ones mentioned above) can be traced to a lack of knowledge or experience in the product or area the product is used in, many more are due to design/function/economic/reduced-safety-margin/etc compromise that the engineer (or other key people) needed to make. The short-range battlefield nukes (such as the M65 nuclear rifle and the 'Davy Crockett') are classic examples but are based on the false military mentality and lack of understanding in the then new (and untested) field of nuclear theory that it would be quite safe for American troops to destroy an enemy outpost with a nuclear weapon and then walk in to secure the destroyed outpost.

http://defensetech.org/2006/11/22/deadlies-nominee-nuke-bazooka/#axzz0mKh73gZp

It is actually quite rare for an engineering design by proper and pear reviewed engineers to be dangerously or disastrously wrong. There are plenty of examples however of un-user friendly or economically impractical (or just plain unusable in the real world) products and designs made by engineers, and bad (and sometimes dangerous) designs made by people who were NOT actually engineers, perhaps this is what you were meaning.

In the end designs and products are only as good as the data and experience they are based on. Sometimes accidents happen but some are just bound to happen, for example the Comet was a revolutionary plane in a new and revolutionary field, but its failure helped rewrite our understanding of metal fatigue and our safety testing procedures, which in turn results in safe and speedy air travel for millions a day (when the god Vulcan isn't stirring up any volcanoes).

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#19

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/27/2010 5:05 PM
Re: Are our engineers clever ?
A lot of military hardware reflect quite an engineering feat however due their purpose they fail to mesmerize me.

It is a shear further evidence of waste of taxpayers' money that could otherwise be better spent on a nonexistent public health care system, especially in the US where even now the congress is still debating its support.

It is interesting though there's no reluctance to bail out failed businesses along with their pinheads. (Is this politically correct?)

It appears "man isn't civilised enough yet" to realise there's no longer a need to be destructive but rather constructive as the planet is too fragile already including us.

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#20
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Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/27/2010 5:39 PM

A lot of military hardware reflect quite an engineering feat however due their purpose they fail to mesmerize me.

Thats good, but if you do need medical care, (not pay for it but to cure or fix your ailment.) such as MRI, Cat Scan, surgeries, reattach limbs, therapy for other injuries, you still would not be memorized, but maybe a little thankful.

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#22
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Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/27/2010 6:17 PM

Engineering does always mesmerize me, especially the ones applied to serve constructive goals.

Defence uses the most advanced technology through out, but due to its destructive nature it does not appeal too me. It is used for wrecking lives rather than healing as does medical-science engineering that you wisely pointed out.

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#25
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Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/27/2010 9:55 PM

Defence uses the most advanced technology through out, but due to its destructive nature it does not appeal too me.

Fair enough to, but don't forget that although war has many bad points to it, it generally results in increased technological development that may or may not have come about (or at the very least slower than it would have) in peace time. Computers, radar, rocketry, the jet engine (and indirectly space travel) spring to mind when just considering world war 2. The American civil war and Vietnam are also two good examples which resulted in new ideas and techniques in the medical field that are still saving lives today.

Just a point.

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#28
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Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 1:32 AM

Dont you think its a shame the human race excells at producing engineering and medical advances by having a war that destroys all in its path.

If only we the human race could produce advances in both engineering and medical science, Without the need to Kill each other in the process.

Or the need to spend Billions in getting to the moon,Just to prove to the russians that we can. And then justify all the spin offs, like the non stick frying pan

surley if the amount spent on such things were set aside just for research the problems the human race faces, Like not enough clean drinking water. The human race could have invented a lot more usefull things without going to the moon

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/about/information/shuttle_faq.html

Q. How much does it cost to launch a Space Shuttle?
A. The average cost to launch a Space Shuttle is about $450 million per mission.

The US spent $20 to $25 billion US (in 1969 dollars) to fund all of the Apollo program activities. Certainly if we average the cost over the missions, we'd come up with a number, but the first mission to the moon was the most expensive. It included all the development costs to that point. The other five missions where we landed were built on the knowledge gained in the lunar landing. It should also be noted that there were a number of Apollo missions that tested equipment and logistics prior to the actual first landing on the moon itself. It is difficult to put a cost on a given mission.

Taken from http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_did_it_cost_to_go_to_the_moon_in_1969


http://disgruntledwogbeast.blogspot.com/2005/11/how-much-did-it-cost-to-go-to-moon.html

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#38
In reply to #28

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 9:55 AM

How I would put it, Its this way. Hypothetically.

Stop the space program. Take the cash and focus on solving an issue with humanity. Lets say a disease. Pick one. The focus will be with that one single disease, sure you may discovery a process for a secondary use that has no use for the primary. But money is spend and I sure wasted but progress is made. While other issues still exists, such as other diseases, cancers, housing, plant genetics (growing in adverse conditions, decease's of insect) new source energy/power,

Sure you get advances in that one area but the rest drag behind until it reaches the top of the list.

Space exploration or military, (Now this does not endorse military buildup though it sounds that way) This is address all of these problems at the same time, and is bringing solutions being develop concurrently.

But to say defense is a waste, is what I believe is foolish. Look at the past what feeble diplomacy and isolationism gained. Not everyone lives in a shan gri la world like some people would like it to be and/or that some people may even tolerate for strangers to cross over on their property and take from the rightful owners. But thats thier choice.

But the positive advance from defense is only a derivative, and I will agree with that. And issue is that I would have is that a strong defense is not abused for self fulfilment to the leaders.

And to keep on the track of the OP, when one is treading on virgin ground on implemented technology, there will be setbacks, learn from it and move on.

p911

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#48
In reply to #38

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 12:17 PM

Actually much of our current technology derives from US space programs. Yes it cost money, but for a period of time people were willing to devote large sums of money in the US to see that progress. People, en masse, don't, however, seem to be willing to devote money to these other endeavors as they don't see how they are part of the picture afflicted or the solution. In general people operate , as a group, much like herd animals. You see this in the exuberant irrational investment that creates financial bubbles and the herd fear response that creates crashes. Same with the space program, huge exuberance meant large sums of money devoted to developing new advancements in technologies. Everyone felt like they were invested in some small way in the programs success. The public can not really feel invested in the progression of curing diseases now, as it is very long and drawn out over many decades to show very little progress to solve one single issue, generally with no side benefits. Similarly, it is hard to be invested in solving hunger in the third world, when you see food being confiscated by the militias, people starving when they move to places with insufficient resources to grow food and then overpopulating the area because they lack any concept of controlling birth rates, they don't appear to be working in a manner and to a level that the public perceives as attempting to progress towards a better life situation and so many other problems that everyone outside sees and in part can identify some of the problems these people suffer as being related to their own innane actions. It is hard to finances something when the end product will consist of much more waste then the reward gained

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#78
In reply to #28

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 7:33 PM

You will have a very, very difficult time convincing me that the Search for Knowledge (i.e., the Space Program) is a waste of public resources- the benefits to mankind are obvious and have been listed (at least in part) elsewhere. Essentially, that is what we humans do. Search for knowledge. I would much rather see public resources dedicated to this than to social welfare programs that more often than not result in compounding the problem they are designed to fix, or to fighting wars with people you want to pretend are your enemies, or chasing pipe-dream energy or Climate Change solutions that have no hope of even coming close to solving the perceived problems. The Space Program has not bankrupted the United States- wasteful government spending has.

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#33
In reply to #25

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 5:49 AM

I just knew it!!!

You people always say 'if it wasn't for those technological achievements in defence then a lot of advances would not have come about or may be much later'.

That is not true!

If you think how much financial effort any major government puts into a defence program, at any given moment as opposed to medical R&D, then you can see the reason why the civilian sector is lagging in so many areas and does such a little progress compared to defence.

It is why I sad before 'we ain't civilised enough yet' because our governments cannot decide what is more important, is it Death or Life?

Medical research begs for public donations (which often end up in the wrong hands anyway) just to make a little progress here and there.

If defence was getting the same sort of financial boost then its progress would also show a different indication. And had it not been for all those gigantic defence budgets many countries would have no crippling debts. They are simply non beneficial to the tax payer who always seem to pick up the final bill on behalf of Uncle Sam when things go wrong.

I don't think it's fair or is it?

As for the sake of argument, mankind was already experimenting with mechanical computers even before WW1, and it is also interesting to note that the most revolutionary electronic component, the semi conductor, came about after WW2 in a relatively peaceful era, minus the Koren war, after which medical science could progress also.

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#79
In reply to #33

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 7:38 PM

It should be noted that many of the great advances in medical sciences have been the result of military developments...Not all, granted, but many...

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#98
In reply to #79

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

05/03/2010 4:27 PM

The poster who I tried to answer to before had pointed out already how defence can have effects on medical science as well.

However, I also mentioned the kind of fund other than defence receives are often minuscule in other areas including medicine that otherwise would be more beneficial to the tax payer then the research in defence.

Defence sometimes does have direct influence in some areas of medical research but, they often injury related and so on which again relate to defence, if you like.

Defence medical research never or barely, if ever, relate to cancer, arthritis, blindness and so on, which on the other hand are ancient diseases, and are still waiting for permanent cure not just alleviation.

These and many other medical research areas could be much better founded than often through public donations.

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#99
In reply to #98

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

05/03/2010 10:12 PM

Looking at Government's record at actually solving problems they have addressed, are you sure you want them messing with your health?

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#100
In reply to #99

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

05/04/2010 3:12 AM

No, I wouldn't want the government messing with my health but I wouldn't mind it spending more generously on medical research and health care in general to benefit us. After all the governments are the ones with the largest funds and resources available and we all pay tax to them, don't we?

Therefore, to spend more generously on Medicare should not be regarded as unacceptable expectation from any government.

Maybe when they draw up their new defence budget we should remind them it's time to cut back on it and allocate more on Medicare that has been suffering all along.

Do you think it might work?

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#101
In reply to #100

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

05/04/2010 7:29 PM

First of all, social spending, including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and a whole lot of other "entitlement" programs make the defense budget look like peanuts. While I would like to see the defense budget cut simply because I would feel a lot safer living in a world with smaller armies, I do not see that as a way of freeing up a major amount of funds for something more "useful". Furthermore, defense is one of the very few areas where the constitution actually allocates the responsibility to the federal government. The original Bill of Rights included clauses (Amendments 9 and 10) specifically prohibiting the federal government from doing anything not spelled out clearly in the constitution. These amendments were abrogated in 1865. Most of the federal budget- most federal spending, actually, which includes "off-budget" items as well, is actually unconstitutional...Medical research is one of those things that are not delegated to the federal government.

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#97
In reply to #33

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

05/03/2010 11:21 AM

You do make a valid point that public research efforts do tend to be profoundly rife with corruption and fraud that funding devours all the funding with no real oversight and doesn't make leaps and bounds but rather small strides. This however, doesn't necessarily have to do with who is paying. Look at AT&T Bell Labs, for decades they were funded by a large corporations (which received some federal funding for research projects). AT&T stayed out of Bells Labs for the most part and let the scienitists and enginers run it, and they received technologies way ahead of their competitors, so far ahead that the business side of AT&T didn't ever conceive of ways to sell and apply the technologies to a new market (you know like the whole mouse/GUI fiasco in Xerox). So some "bright" business major at AT&T decided to let Bell Labs go with its technologies, it formed into a new bsuiness interest in an attempt to earn a fast profit off the half century of compiled technological advances and hasn't done anything since. Business and public NPOs don't promote long term advances, they like to talk and market as if they think in those terms, but as a rule they think on a time frame consistent with their clients, customers, and other users. The people who use the benefits of these businesses and NPOs, can not conceive of developments in terms of spending 30 years on research to develop stealth technologies or such. they think in terms of how to take the advncements of NASA and DOD, and apply them to a marketable product in the next quarter or year.

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#95
In reply to #25

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/30/2010 4:51 PM

And do not forget the huge amounts of medical technologies and medical advancements that have occurred because of warfare, particularly emergency medical care. Medicine practiced in war zones creates a huge rapid high demand environment in which to observe multiple severe wounds and conditions, that some Doctors might never see except in one traffic incident their entire lives outside of a war zone. It also presents some of the worst conditions for surgeries and medical care that has allowed substantial advancement in creating a environment far more healthy for medical aid to be provided and identifying potential source causes of probelms in medicine such as infections. One person dies in some place under a doctors care it used to be just natural causes, but when soldiers werre falling dead after surgeries on the battle field and there were numerous doctors around, they began to see differences in technique and due to the numbers they could see trends between the different techniques.

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#96
In reply to #95

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/30/2010 7:14 PM

I noted a bit earlier that some very significant medical advances have been made due to the demands of war- or other military operations (i.e., cure for Yellow Fever, etc. in Panama). While it is important to recognize how military medical advances have significantly improved everyone's chance of survival, I still don't think that is a strong enough argument to justify making war in the first place...

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#21

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/27/2010 5:52 PM

this is off topic, way off, but after a post on medical on this thread (which I posted as a response). I saw yesterday that a fellow went price shopping in the US for a surgery to remove nodes,>>? in his nasal passage.

It was about $1,000.00 difference between the highest and lowest quote, with the cheapest, at $33,000.00.

He ended up going to Britain for the same surgery for a total of 3,600.00 total I believe that was with airfare and accommodations.? But lets just say its for the surgery alone.

It was discussed about the quality, and there is an organization the rates quality with hospitals across the US and is begin to go international. And insurance companies is starting to look into foreign care as an alternative.

Considering in the last 10 years we had quite a few new hospitals (3) built in our town of about 122,000 people, not to mention big additions to the existing hospitals (3), and the clinics and emergency care, I stopped counting at 12. And a proposed 3,000 bed VA hospital going up. \

should have started a new thread with this.

p911

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#29

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 2:56 AM

peterg7lyq,

Interesting post. Now in the cold light of day perhaps it would be valuable to look back on what has been written so far. For those of use that can't be bothered to read all of the posts I will give a short summary of the general responses:-

  • When everything goes well then this is down to the engineers
  • When something goes wrong then this is down to the budget/ managers / company etc.

A lot of the responses are, at best childish, but quite predictable.

Now before some of you start off ranting and raving again I would like to add that I am an engineer and I am proud to call myself an engineer. However I do not let this pride blind my view of the real world - I would like to consider myself a good/ clever engineer but looking back at some of the stupid things that I have done I would find it hard to justify that title.

I am sure if Peter had written "Are Accountants/Lawyers clever?" then he would have got an overwhelming positive response. It is so easy to look at ourselves and think we are great.

I suppose one could argue that accountants/ lawyers are cleverer than engineers since they get 3 times the salary for 1/3 of the work .

Mr W.A Snow

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#30
In reply to #29

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 3:13 AM

Thanks for putting a different perspective on the thread.

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#31

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 3:36 AM

First of all youtube have blocked access to the video, and I was just looking forward to seeing a great gaff in progress . Anyway, if we can't learn from other peoples mistakes then we end up making them ourselves over and over again. I found the examples of gaffes very interesting and educative and at no time took any personal offence, lets just face it, we have all been there at some level. Lets learn from it and become even better engineers than we already are!

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 3:42 AM

Oh, I forgot. Do we all remember the film Appollo 13 where the lead engineer was being told that this was the worst day in the history of NASA where he replied that instead this was the day they were showing their greatness!!!

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#39
In reply to #32

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 9:59 AM

Did that really happen, remember, that is a movie.

But it is a good line, and the engineers (not the actors) performance was great.

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#43
In reply to #39

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 10:31 AM

yes it really happend so they made a film about it

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#44
In reply to #43

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 10:35 AM

I mean't did this conversation actually happen if the lead engineer actually said this;

Do we all remember the film Appollo 13 where the lead engineer was being told that this was the worst day in the history of NASA where he replied that instead this was the day they were showing their greatness!!!

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#45
In reply to #44

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 10:41 AM

Oh yes he really did taking advantage of a realy bad situation.

the part about the scrubbing C02 filters gets me there were two and they were different shapes.

syrley it would have been a good idea to make as many parts interchangable as possible so if a spare was needed it would be there ready.

NO

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#46
In reply to #45

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 10:53 AM

Then that would be Deke Slayton, a fellow Wisconsinite.

And are our engineers clever?

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#49
In reply to #45

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 12:44 PM

"NO"

I think you should explain this as it is counterintuitive.

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#50
In reply to #49

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 12:48 PM

I read it as, NO?

Those punctuation marks can mean so much.

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#55
In reply to #50

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 1:18 PM

True!

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#51
In reply to #49

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 12:57 PM

Sorry re

surley it would have been a good idea to make as many parts interchangable as possible so if a spare was needed it would be there ready.

NO

NO It would appear a good idea at the time to make as many parts interchangeable.

As well as building into the whole system the ability to move parts around in an emergency, It mus surely make sense from a cost point of view, and ordering , storing and fitting.

for instance if you have two or more projects on the go and one project becomes more urgent, And needs to be completed but cant because of lack of parts the parts could be used from one of the other projects.

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#82
In reply to #51

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 7:52 PM

But.

If you have a project with a critical need, and you have some concerns that the various proposed solutions may not meet the mission requirements, would it not be better to have two similar systems that may experience different failure modes at different times? If everything is a cookie-cutter replication of everything else, a glitch can kill the entire system...

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#37
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Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 8:12 AM

Truly GA.

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#42
In reply to #31

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 10:29 AM

IF you mean the davy crockett recoiless rifle its not utube it works fine here in uk

which one was blocked and i will try it

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#34

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 6:21 AM

As an engineer I would speculate that if you have not had the opportunity to make a mistake, you most likely have never been given / or taken, the opportunity to design something new. The high rate of success I have enjoyed with NEW developments is only there because of the astute observation, evaluation and correction of a bunch of really great engineers who have been willing to share the responsibility of getting new products through the mill and into operation.

What I have enjoyed a lot in a lifetime of invention and innovation has surely been the raccus bouts of laughter during some of the reviews of initial notes & drawings made when projects started up. But it is those "what the heck were you thinking" moments that are so valuable to all of us if you can get past self and do just that.....work out what you were thinking! Then friends I believe we are becoming better engineers.

So, yes Peter, I agree at face value of failed projects often engineers do not look so clever. And what's more if an engineer has not had plenty dumb-ass moments, he/she likely never stretched themselves much either. The professionalism comes in spotting error before someone gets hurt or it costs a bucket of money. The wisdom in engineering seldom comes from an individual, but from a teams corporate efforts.

Unfortunately the public at large are seldom very understanding of the limitations placed on engineers by the fact that in any new development there are no proven sets of data, if there were, it would not be new!

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#40
In reply to #34

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 10:02 AM

When I was at the ship yard, I prided myself on not making a mistake. And when I did, the yard workers that knew me, told me something. And that was, "If the people here didn't screw up, then your not working"

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#41
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Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 10:25 AM

Agreed

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#36

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 7:35 AM

I saw this somewhat related article in Engineering News today, if anyone's interested - Microsoft Imagine Cup 2010: Students Take On Big Problems With Tech

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#47

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 11:55 AM

I would just like to toss in my two cents on one of the side topics that has been mentioned here. The enormous amounts of money spent on defense that could be spent elsewhere.

I'm torn on that particular expenditure, while yes it seems such a waste I know that there are those out there who are trying to kill me and I appreciate that people are working their butts off to make sure that doesn't happen. So while the defense budget may be an evil it is unfortunatley a necessary evil.

Now to veer off on different tangent, how much does the world spend on cosmetics and reasearch in the cosmetics industry? Judging by all the "new and advanced, scientific anti-aging, wrinkle removing, skin toning and enhancing products hitting the markets every day, it must be in the trillions of dollars a year. Now here is an industry the world would be just fine without. Lets use that money for something useful.

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#53
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Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 1:03 PM

Well the current US defense budget is not likely a necessary evil. Could probably get it down to maybe the cumulative budgets of China, France and England, instead of the cumulative defense spending budgets of all the other first world nations. Maybe let the UN fend for itself a little bit more and handle the issues around the world utilizing other forces, rather than the US being so involved in world affair that have relatively little direct impact on the US. Cosmetics, well an obvious scheme designed to play to women's vanity. However, it is a private industry, unlike the defense budget or any other government funded programs. So I guess there is a the conflict of infringing on women's rights to be excessively vain. Plus I am not sure I want another women's rights activist group running around fighting for the freedom to use cosmetics. You know all those reality TV women from NJ would become armed and violent over that.

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#52

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 1:00 PM

Re The Comet for people who havent heard of it

Initial examination and reconstruction of the wreckage of G-ALYP revealed several signs of inflight break-up:

  • Shreds of cabin carpet were found trapped in the remains of the Comet's tail section
  • The imprint of a coin was found on a fuselage panel from the rear of the aircraft
  • Smears and scoring on the rear fuselage were tested and found to be consistent to the paint applied to the passenger seats of the Comet

When most of the wreckage was recovered, investigators found that fractures started on the roof, a window then smashed into the back elevators, the back fuselage then tore away, the outer wing structure fell, then the outer wing tips and finally the cockpit broke away and fuel from the wings set the debris on fire.

To find out what caused the first failure, BOAC donated G-ALYU ("Yoke Uncle") for testing. The airframe was put in a large water tank, the tank was filled, and water was pumped into the plane to simulate flight conditions. The experiment occurred 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. It could possibly have taken as long as five months. A Seconds From Disaster documentary episode described this task as "grueling." If the hypothesis was tested in the 2000s, investigators would have used computer technology to determine the effect of pressurization.[2]

After the equivalent of 3,000 flights investigators at the RAE were able to conclude that the crash had been due to failure of the pressure cabin at the forward ADF window in the roof. This 'window' was in fact one of two apertures for the aerials of an electronic navigation system in which opaque fibreglass panels took the place of the window 'glass.' The failure was a result of metal fatigue caused by the repeated pressurisation and de-pressurisation of the aircraft cabin. Another fact was that the supports around the windows were riveted, not glued, as the original specifications for the aircraft had called for. The problem was exacerbated by the punch rivet construction technique employed. Unlike drill riveting, the imperfect nature of the hole created by punch riveting caused manufacturing defect cracks which may have caused the start of fatigue cracks around the rivet. The investigators examined the final piece of wreckage with a regular microscope.[2]

The Comet's pressure cabin had been designed to a safety factor comfortably in excess of that required by British Civil Airworthiness Requirements (2.5x P as opposed to the requirement of 1.33x P and an ultimate load of 2x P, P being the cabin 'Proof' pressure) and the accident caused a revision in the estimates of the safe loading strength requirements of airliner pressure cabins.

The fuselage fragment of G-ALYP on display in the Science Museum in London.[3]

In addition, it was discovered that the stresses around pressure cabin apertures were considerably higher than had been anticipated, especially around sharp-cornered cut-outs, such as windows. As a result, future jet airliners would feature windows with rounded corners, the curve eliminating a stress concentration. This was a noticeable distinguishing feature of all later models of the Comet.

52 years after the incident, Paul Withey, an aviation expert, went to the Science Museum in London to examine the aircraft parts with 2000s technology. The aircraft piece was mounted on a plate. Withey received an impression of the aircraft part using a silicone-based putty. At Imperial College London in London Withey used an electron microscope to examine the putty impression of the fatigue crack. He found a manufacturing defect when zooming to 800 times and confirmed that Sir Arnold Hall's investigation was correct.[2]

Taken from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BOAC_Flight_781

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#54
In reply to #52

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 1:18 PM

Stress fatigue analysis was in its infancy, so some design blame can be assigned to lack of knowledge. The changes in construction, contrary to the original engineering specification, and the manufacturing defects found are good examples of why the engineers were NOT to blame for this problem. If you are going to trash engineers (supposedly your own profession??) you could at least try to find better examples.

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#58
In reply to #54

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 1:43 PM

OK YOU ASKED FOR IT ?

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#59
In reply to #54

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 2:11 PM

the best example is the crosswalk failure at the Hyatt in Kansas City.

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#60
In reply to #59

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 2:51 PM

The Hyatt disaster IS a good example of a bad engineering decision. While the original design would have been safe, the steel supplier was able to able to convince the engineers to change their original design. This change should NOT have been allowed or approved, but for some reason the design engineers approved it and have to shoulder the blame for the subsequent failure. Unfortunately this error caused significant loss of life and property.

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#61
In reply to #60

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 3:01 PM

For those of us who have no idea about the hyatt thingy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyatt_Regency_walkway_collapse

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#66
In reply to #60

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 4:12 PM

Going just from memory, It came down to a suspension cabling joint. simple. too simple that it was over looked? but it that would still be poor engineering.

Priority of an engineer is not creating something clever, or imaginative, but making it safe.

The rest follows, economical, functionalm profitable....

p911

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#76
In reply to #66

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 6:41 PM

It is a good example to show contractors in the field why engineers won't just take them at their word when they say they can make some change in the field they want work just as well as the design.

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#56

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 1:24 PM

I don't think that was designed by Engineers! It was designed by Politicians and Generals.

Have you read The Day We Bombed Utah ?

Chris

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#57

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 1:25 PM

re another space disaster that i didnt explain

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariner_1

And some more made by the most intelligent people on the planet

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/456450.stm

http://www.iasa.com.au/folders/Safety_Issues/RiskManagement/prudence.html

http://www.usnewslink.com/shuttlecolumbia.htm

http://ti.arc.nasa.gov/projects/ishem/Papers/Binkley_Fail_Stat.doc

the below taken from http://www.century-of-flight.net/Aviation%20history/space/Columbia%20accident.htm

Boeing-developed damage prediction software was used to evaluate possible tile and reinforced carbon/carbon (RCC) damage. The software predicted severe penetration of multiple tiles by the impact, but Boeing engineers downplayed this. They believed that results showing that the software overstated damage from small projectiles meant that the same would be true of larger foam (SOFI) impacts. The program used to predict RCC damage was based on small ice impacts, not larger SOFI impacts. Under 1 of 15 predicted SOFI impact paths, the software predicted an ice impact would completely penetrate the RCC panel. Engineers downplayed this, too, believing that impacts of the less dense SOFI material would result in less damage than ice impacts. In an e-mail exchange, NASA managers questioned whether the density of the SOFI could be used as justification for reducing predicted damage. Despite engineering concerns about the energy imparted by the SOFI material, NASA managers ultimately accepted the rational to reduce predicted damage of the RCC panels from complete penetration to slight damage to the panel's thin coating.

the below taken from http://www.spacedaily.com/news/mars-mco-99f.html

Washington - October 10, 1999 - The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, predictably, has been the subject of considerable public ridicule since the revelation that the Mars Climate Orbiter was accidentally sent into a fatal plunge through the Martian atmosphere as the result of an elementary measurement error.

JPL's assumed that a calibration table sent to them from MCO's manufacturer Lockheed Martin, and used in JPL's navigation calculations, listed the thrust of the spacecraft's small maneuvering thrusters in Newtons (less than 1/4 pound), when in reality it listed the thrust in pounds.

The result of the mix up was that JPL's navigation software miscalculated the spacecraft's position, and so JPL ended up inadvertently ordering MCO to carry out a final TCM (or Trajectory Correction Maneuver) eight days before its arrival at Mars that actually caused it to fly over Mars as low as 57 km. This was deep enough into the Martian atmosphere for air friction to impact the probe adverserly - causing it to either crash or left it drifting in Martian orbit as a charred and crippled wreck.

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Copyright Violation: Reduced copied text according to copyright law. Please see Section 13 of the CR4 FAQ about posting copyrighted material.

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#62
In reply to #57

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 3:07 PM

A data transcription error...
Questionable trajectory data dismissed by overconfident project management...
A launch accident (ice damage) where concerns were once again dismissed by overconfident management...
Assembly, construction, or testing errors outside the control or specification of the original designers...

This evidence does not really support the premise of many bad engineers. It does support the premise that many engineering disasters occur because of non-engineering mistakes. Human errors based on pride, ignorance, arrogance, greed, fear, and just plain stupidity.

Of course engineers do make mistakes, but to proclaim that there are many bad (but clever) engineers is specious.
Part of the problem (that I see on a daily basis) is that there far too many people "claiming" to be engineers who truly don't have the education, knowledge, or skills to justify the title.

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#81
In reply to #62

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 7:50 PM

I think there may be in part an issue of semantics here. As Peter is in England, and England does not regulate the usage of the word engineer in any form, and thus anybody can claim to be some type of engineer (they regulate the term charter engineer). This differs from many other places, e.g. France, Canada, US, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Australia, etc., where there are fairly strict regulations on the usage of the term Engineer (or equivalent in the appropriate language) that typically mandate some higher education and licensure to the usage of the term (Though, admittedly, it is not necessarily regulated equally in all States of the US or fully regulated or enforced in all). So from his perspective plumbers or welders may be found using the term engineer to describe themselves where he lives, without any expectation of inappropriateness or illegality in usage and thus you should expect to see that more commonly when it is beneficial to their business interested to be perceived in the light of a more core definition engineer.

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#89
In reply to #81

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/29/2010 1:27 PM

I admit I made an erroneous assumption (there's one engineering error for the OP). Although many here in the US try to misuse the label, standard acceptable practice requires a minimum 4 year B.S. degree from a REAL university to be called an Engineer. Additional experience, testing , and licensure are require to legally become a P.E. and be allowed to work on Civil projects. I didn't realize the acceptable definition of engineer was so nebulous in other countries. The variable definition explains the tone of this thread.

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#93
In reply to #89

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/29/2010 8:03 PM

Not just Civil, but also public electrical and mechanical projects as both are also practice protected in nearly all States. Also, in some states chemical, industrial, possibly agricultural, fire, nuclear, petroleum, and others are protected at a minimum (as is case in california) are at least title protected. Thus it is illegal to use the term professional engineer, consulting engineer, or any of the protected titles. Additionally, in any function in those fields that are practice protected, it is illegal to use the term engineer to describe yourself, if it may be misconstrued to mean you are any one of the titles that are protected. Thus, if you are working on a Civil Engineering project and visit the project site claiming to be an engineer, you could be fined if it was reasonable for those in discussion with you to interpret your meaning to be one of those protected engineering fields. Admittedly, in the computer industry, the use of engineer gets ambiguous. However, because of the broad spectrum of protections and limitations on the use without appropriate licensure and education, it is at least highly frowned on, except in the computer industry. Canada is way stricter than that even, and explicitly legally restricts the use of just the term engineer specifically. Thus, claiming to be an engineer because of an MCSE certification is strictly illegal in Canada.

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#64

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 3:41 PM

Going back to the original post about the Davy Crockett (M65) portable nuke, I bet the conversation went something like this:

General: We need a portable nuke for the ground troops. Design something small and light enough for 2-3 men to carry in the field.

Weapon Designers: The best we can do within those limits is a 10-20 ton yield device with a 3 mile range. There will be significant risk of radiation and fallout hazards to the men deploying the weapon.

General: Did that order sound like a request? If I wanted an opinion, I'd give it to you first.

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#65
In reply to #64

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 3:47 PM

Weapon Designers: The best we can do within those limits is a 10-20 ton yield device with a 3 mile range. There will be significant risk of radiation and fallout hazards to the men deploying the weapon.

General: Did that order sound like a request? If I wanted an opinion, I'd give it to you first.

And so knowing it would be a dangerous weapon to friendly forces.

They just built it and handed it over.

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#69
In reply to #65

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 4:35 PM

Seriously? Do you have any experience dealing with the military? Different countries of course, but a similar mind-set pervades all of them.

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#71
In reply to #69

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 4:53 PM

and that makes it even, for decision making that is.

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#72
In reply to #65

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 5:55 PM

Seriously, you have got to find out what you're talking about. The damn thing was built for the Fulda Gap and similar areas (like the north plain). Almost everyone between the Rhine and Fulda assumed that, if the Russians moved, we should stop our jeeps, kneel on the ground, put our heads between our legs and kiss our butts good-bye. They were not likely to be singing Kumbaya and tossing out chocolate bars as they came.

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#73
In reply to #72

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 6:05 PM

I'm at work and don't have access to my library but if I recall that is about exactly what happens in a book called The Third World War that was written by the NATO commander in that area. There were no battle field nukes and there was no stopping the Russian tanks as they came through the gap. It took full sized nukes and the vaporization of Moscow I think to turn the tide back. (in the book of course)

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#68
In reply to #64

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 4:30 PM

I was just watching a show discussing the Korean War, and when you realize that some mountains can protect you, and there are 50,000+ enemy on the other side of the mountain, it would begin to make more sense.

Plus, if it only takes 2 men in a jeep to fire the thing, all it takes is a crazy volunteer to pull the trigger, while everyone else retreats, it begins to be a more sensible weapon against overwhelming odds. and if one or two guys can tip the balance like that, I'm sure there would be a lot of military minds that would think it is 'acceptable losses'.

The problem is to make sure that the other guys don't also have nuclear weapons.

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#70
In reply to #68

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 4:51 PM

Plus, if it only takes 2 men in a jeep to fire the thing, all it takes is a crazy volunteer to pull the trigger, while everyone else retreats,

well, a suicide bomber doesn't need to even fire it, and they are here today.

And acceptable losses, usually would not include those military minds.

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#74

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 6:11 PM

In reading the following Wiki, it says that an Engine'er (literally, one who operates an engine) originally referred to "a constructor of military engines"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineering#History
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_engineering

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#77
In reply to #74

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/28/2010 7:25 PM

As I understood the etymology that was correct, siege engines (or technologies) and the defensive structures to resist sieges. It greatly predates our modern (last 200 years) concepts of an engine.

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#83

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/29/2010 6:11 AM

Peter,

Congratulations, you single handedly managed to upset most of the registered members on CR4. That's what you get for expressing an opinion in an open forum on the internet - maybe you will learn to actually toe the line in future . How dare you ask us engineers to have a look at ourselves and point out our shortcommings.

May I kindly suggest that your next thread does not promote over unity machines or the like - otherwise I would fear for your safety (You might get your GA's taken away)

Perhaps a good suggestion for your next thread might be "My 94 Vauxhaull (Opel to the rest of us) won't start" - this type of thread seem to be the norm nowadays.

Regards

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#84
In reply to #83

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/29/2010 6:20 AM

thanks for that

i dont post questions like this to be helpfull.

It does show the mentallity that is rampant in this industry. " ITS NOT MY FAULT IT BROKE, ITS THE MANAGEMENT, THE END USER, THE PUBLIC, THE RAIN, WRONG LEAVES ON THE TRACK. WRONG SORT OF SNOW ( EURO TUNNEL TRAIN) THE WEATHER. IN FACT ANY BODY AND ANYTHING BUT US"

have a nice day

This is my last post on this.

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#94
In reply to #84

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/30/2010 1:14 PM

I'm reminded of Steve Squires' Roving Mars, that I read some years ago. If I remember correctly, the rocket was on the launch pad and Boeing was scrambling to replace the adhesive for the heat sheathing. Much of the story was of 'back to the drawing board', reworking, making do, and doing things that weren't thought of in the first place - which those marvelous little robots, Spirit and Opportunity are still doing. (I feel that they're alive; after all they've done, having become 'real boys/girls'.)

It may be a story of serendipity, except I got the feeling it wasn't so much luck as that the persons involved, overall maintained good humor, were willing to work with and give credit where credit was due. That's the basis of motivation.

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#85
In reply to #83

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/29/2010 8:08 AM

No, I would go that far, I believe the group were more upset that Peter used some bad examples of poor engineering with nothing to back it up.

I.E., data, a good engineer uses data as a tool.

I do not know of any engineer who will intentionally compromise safety.

The Challenger accident, The design was risky enough above 60 degrees, but was acceptable, the decision was made to launch below 60 degrees. Who made that decision? What was that persons responsibility in the mission. No data presented so far.

And other engineers addressed the Comet and Tacoma Narrows, bad engineering at the time, no.

If it were to happen today, yes.

There isn't an engineer here that has not made mistakes, but I do know the engineer that one has to be concerned about is the engineer that tries to separate himself from the rest. Usually done by talking down to other engineers.

p911

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#86
In reply to #83

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/29/2010 8:10 AM

Mr. Snow,

I shall answer you since I possibly reacted the most strongly of anyone. I should like to try to tell you why.

I have been an engineer since about the age of nine or ten. By that I mean that I have spent my life:

  • being curious about stuff;
  • trying to figure out how stuff works;
  • trying to improve stuff;
  • making new stuff;
  • making mistakes;
  • fixing my mistakes;
  • never apologizing for my mistakes.

Some will find me arrogant for the last point above. But, to paraphrase Ali McGraw, "Cleaning up your own mess means never having to say you're sorry." I've no time for regrets or wearing of hair shirts; I'm getting old and I have a ton of projects that I want to try yet. Let the slow and incurious rub their hands and gnash their teeth.

I am always open to fair criticism, and I am my own biggest critic. I have stood before PDR panels and been savaged for hours about a design they thought faulty, and then gotten together with the same people later that day to see what guidance they might provide for my next attempt. Sometimes other engineers have used words about my work that I wouldn't repeat in a steel-mill bar, and I took that without flinching or becoming angry.

But, those describe fair criticism, criticism that I either deserve or ask for. To blame me (metaphorically me, since I didn't do any of the designs mentioned) for meeting a spec is to either denigrate my job or else to completely misunderstand the nature of project contracts.

I mean Peter no animosity. I generally enjoy his posts. Yet, in this case, he is completely out of line, and I suspect that is because he either doesn't know about the "conventional thinking" during the cold war of the early 60s or else because he's never worked on a weapons system.

So, please, criticize me anytime you want. Just make sure you're on firm ground when you do so. Then, when you're right, I'll offer to buy you a beer and tell everybody else what a clever fellow you are and what a stupid oaf I am.

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#87
In reply to #86

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/29/2010 8:25 AM

I know i said in last post it was my last post.

But i didn't name or suggest it was YOU.

If YOU took it personally thats your fault not mine.

Why the need to take it Personally ?

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#91
In reply to #86

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/29/2010 3:01 PM

no one is going to believe you when you tell them that I am a clever fellow. However you can still buy me a beer

Mr W.A Snow

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#88
In reply to #83

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/29/2010 8:32 AM

May I kindly suggest that your next thread does not promote over unity machines or the like - otherwise I would fear for your safety (You might get your GA's taken away)

Fine go ahead take them away. I do not put answers here to show how clever i am.

or for reward, I answer the Posts to help the person asking and to learn from their questions as i look up the information.

Please Cut my wages, and remove my holiday entitlement.

Oh you cant I don't get paid.

Life is a Joke And the last Laugh is on YOU !

And Me of Course !

DO NOT TAKE IT SO SERIOUSLY

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#90
In reply to #88

Re: Are Our Engineers Clever?

04/29/2010 2:56 PM

I am not really sure how to take that post, so I will just let it slide - You did realise that I was being sarcastic?

Mr W.A Snow

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