Letters 3/04/2010

March 2, 2010
Several people took our editor up on his invitation to send in humorous names used to befuddle telemarketers and others invading our privacy.

Time for silly names
Several people took our editor up on his invitation to send in humorous names used to befuddle telemarketers and others invading our privacy. And a female engineer took the time to vent her opinions on her male counterparts.

Women engineers get no respect?
Recently you published an article about why women leave engineering positions (“Women leave engineering, but earn degrees at the same rate,” Dec. 9). I am a female mechanical engineer and I also want to quit because women are paid less and treated worse than men. The male mentality is that women should stay at home and cook and clean. And honestly speaking, I would not be surprised if other women engineers are tired of the severe sexual harassment. I guess no further explanation is necessary. Besides, you already know this. I’m curious why companies waste time and money to “study” something they should already know. We should stop being politically correct and face the truth.


Should have ditched the stainless
The article on stainless steel (“Should You Stick with Stainless?” Dec. 10), reminded me of an incident that happened about 20 years ago. Seems a gentleman was building an ultralight aircraft at home and happened to work at IBM. Now IBMers around here are known to be a little “tight” with their money. So he decided to help himself to the stainless-steel hardware at work and also figured it would prevent corrosion. Now, as mentioned in the article, the shear strength of a stainless bolt can be less than half that of alloy-steel fasteners, and when ultralights are designed with a safety factor of 1.5, this is not a good thing. Needless to say, the ultralight came apart in flight and during the investigation they found sheared stainless bolts throughout.

Dan Lagrange

Funny names
I hope you are still accepting funny names (Take back your privacy” Dec. 10). A few years back there was a comedy series on TV titled Arrested Development. A minor character in the series, a lawyer, was named “Bob Laublaw”. Say it to yourself a couple of times. I still get a chuckle when I think about it.

Charles Gray

How about the name of my company — C.A. Badger. I made up this name because we originally started business in 2006 to build and sell a concrete-floor polisher. I wanted to use the Badger name, but it is being used by so many other companies, I thought I would have some fun and name my company something people would remember.


I almost miss the telemarketing calls I used to get before I signed on to the “do-not-call” list. If I had a little time, it was always fun to engage the caller. I would ask them about the company they worked for (they usually didn’t know anything). Or if they had put their Christmas tree up yet. Then after letting them sell a little more, without giving up any of my personal information, I would maybe ask them if their company had a 401k or a defined benefit pension plan. Eventually I would try to sell them my 1961 Ford Falcon. I would tell them it needed a little work but could become collector car. No need to get angry or rude with the caller, usually they were all too happy to give up on me and end the call.

Roger Risch

How about Mayflower Van Lines? Rhonda Bout? Eunice Eichel?

Joe Wilmes

Here are a few: King Singh and Hard Kaur.

Baljinder Singh

Here’s a few favorites: Bernt Black, Al Mos Dunn, and Narly Dunn.

Bruce L. Black

My favorite tactic is designed for when I get a spam e-mail from someone silly enough to include their fax number. I send back a three-page computer-generated fax asking them to please not spam me any more .... done in small white letters on a black background. Think of the ink.

Come to think of it, I don’t get such spam any more.

David Stonier-Gibson

Then there’s C. N. Red.

Mike Kolb
Electrical Engineer

Rifle misfire
I was looking at the article on the carbine competition (“A 21st Century Rifle,” Dec. 10) and noticed a problem with a photo. It is not showing the gas tube. What it does show is the back of the firing pin. You must remove the bolt carrier group to see the end of the gas tube.

David Green

Reader Green is correct. Disassembling the bolt-carrier group was more than we wanted to get into for the photo. —Leland Teschler

A case of PE envy
Over the past 40 years, I’ve worked in dozens of engineering disciplines designing mechanical, electrical, electronic, and fluidic components, systems, and subsystems. I’ve also worked in different industries including agricultural, automotive, aeronautical, medical, military, material handling, industrial, and commercial. But I’ve always been too busy working and raising a family, to make time to earn an engineering degree. However I did accumulate over 125 engineering-related units at four colleges and universities.

I did get my EIT license in 1988 and had intended to work on getting my PE, but still haven’t. The requirements are geared toward civil engineering, which is not my area of expertise. (Though I did ace the CAL-Trans engineering exam when applying for a position there in 1982.) And the requirement that applicants work under a PE for a number of years is almost impossible to attain for most mechanical-electronic-fluidic engineers.

I’ve managed people and projects, authored papers and taught others how to master various CAD platforms. I have also invented plenty of parts, assemblies, and systems. I’m proud of my professionalism, inventiveness, efficiency, and what I have produced. I’ve never (knock on wood) had any of “my” components or systems fail, break, hurt anybody, or do anything other than fulfill their design intent.

In all, I have been successfully operating independently now for 7 years, but I still can’t attach the word “engineer” to my business name. There’s definitely something wrong with this.

Brian A Lentz

The item in Scanning for Ideas, Jan.14 titled, “Actuator lets solenoids go pneumatic,” contained a couple of errors. The life cycle for the actuator from PneuMagnetic LLC is 7 million cycles, not 2 million, and the actuator has the same performance characteristics as an ac solenoid.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!