Tag Archives | Engineering

Why do Engineers prefer to think unscientifically? Part 2 of 2

Last week I ended the post by stating my belief that Engineers’ tendency to think unscientifically is caused by 3 distinct factors: Education, Job Functions, and Career Advancement.

Today, I’ll dive into each of those areas in an attempt to support my own (admittedly biased) root-cause analysis.

Oh and while I’m at it, Ayn Rand still sucks, and it turns out she’s a hypocrite.

Oh the irony…

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Why do Engineers prefer to think unscientifically? Part 1 of 2

This is a topic I’ve been mulling over for quite some time.  It’s a hard concept to express, since it hits so close to home for me.  But after recently reading a discussion about the topic on Reddit, I felt I needed to use my “bully pulpit” and speak my mind.

So here’s the issue.  Engineers are, without a doubt, trained in hard science.  My education consisted of math topics up to Partial Differential Equations, and physics topics ranging from chemistry, thermodynamics, materials science, aerodynamics, and space physics.  I think it’s safe to say that most engineers understand Newton’s Laws of Motion, along with many other core scientific theories outside of their personal scientific discipline.

With that being said, why is it that engineers often fall into the logical traps of the un-scientific mainstream media and pseudo-scientific topics?  This is, in fact, a quantified effect, and has been given a name, “The Salem Hypothesis”, and is discussed in various forums online, including RationalWiki.

This is part 1 of 2 of my analysis of the assumptions in the Salem Hypothesis, and let me just begin by saying that I, for one, blame Ayn Rand.

FYI - She's batshit crazy

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The Long Tail of Hardware

Open source hardware is fun for a girl or a boy!

I just read an interesting dissertation by Leah Buechley and Benjamin Mako Hill from MIT about diy culture as it relates to electrical engineering.

“… when media is easy to create, publish and distribute, production and consumption decentralize. While the 20th century was dominated by large companies who mass produced media that was mass consumed by the public, the 21st century is emerging as a time where media is produced and consumed in an increasingly non-homogeneous fashion by niche groups. These niche groups… use the internet to construct, share, find, and consume material that fits their particular (sometimes very particular) interests.”

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Design of Experiment: AT&T vs. Verizon 3G Networks

Hey there PaleoPals.  Today’s article is a bit unorthodox, as it’s actually a quick summary of an experiment that I did with a friend for one of my graduate classes recently.  If you’re interested in engineering, statistics, testing, and scientific journals, you should enjoy it.  If none of those things interest you, I promise there will be a prize at the end if you read all the way through.

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In engineering, there exists a field of study known as Systems Engineering, which deals with managing extremely complicated systems (like a rocket or jet fighter) which comprise many different disciplines, and producing a product with the ease and efficiency of building a Lego set.

Inside of Systems Engineering, there is a study known as Design of Experiments (DoE), which deals with how to effectively “design an experiment” (engineers aren’t very creative, lexicologically.  Yes that’s a word.  I just made it up.)   DoE is an extremely important tool for complex projects where many thousands of things may need to be tested at once. You want to design the test such that the important results are readily apparent, so that we don’t have to dig too far through the data to give us the answer we need, and DoE allows us to do that.

So, in my DoE course for my Systems Engineering Master’s degree, I decided to design an experiment to test the 3G networks of AT&T and Verizon.  The results may surprise you…

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Stealth Tech!

powerball

Ahoy PaleoPosse!

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Jacob, and I’m here to learn you some science.  READY? GO!

Today I wanna talk to you about Stealth Technology.  And because the word “stealth” can mean anything from “quiet” to “camouflaged” to “reduced radar signature”, let me qualify that by saying that today’s topic will be about aircraft stealth technology.


They mostly come at night… mostly…

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