Letters from engineers

Oct. 1, 2012
Motor map now available The “Brushing Up” section of the August issue has a very nice graphic of motor and drive technologies. Is a digital version of this map available? Chris Janus The following letters are in response to a recent editorial column in ...

Motor map now available

The “Brushing Up” section of the August issue has a very nice graphic of motor and drive technologies. Is a digital version of this map available?

Chris Janus

[The Motor Map can be downloaded as a PDF at motionsystemdesign.com/news/map-motors-available.—Ed.]

The following letters are in response to a recent editorial column in which we pondered whether or not an “engineering mentality” exists.

Right vs. wrong

In my experience, engineers like things done a certain way, meaning the “right” way. I believe there are ways to do things such as folding clothes, making a bed, driving and parking a car, cooking, spelling, behaving, and so on that are “right” and some that are “wrong.” Seeing people do things the wrong way is very exasperating to me, as these people just don’t seem to get it. So, are engineers control freaks or rigid in our thinking, or do we just have higher standards for things that most people couldn’t care less about?

In Silicon Valley, where I live and work, there’s been discussion that the characteristics that make people good engineers (intelligent, creative, attentive to detail, good with math, enhanced spatial skills, ability to concentrate) may be amplified, possibly because engineers intermarry here more often than in other places. Some of the children of these engineering couples have a double-dose of these characteristics, yielding uber-engineers. These twice or thrice-distilled techies can have stereotypically bad social skills, possibly due to a touch of Asperger’s syndrome. This is also a possible explanation for why there is a statistically greater ratio of Asperger’s cases in the Bay Area than elsewhere. I believe this unintended genetic experiment helps prove there is a “type” that fits many good technical people in general, not only engineers.

Chris N., via Disqus

Cornhole design iteration

The idea of a technical personality type is very funny. I hear this all the time from my family and I’m the only one in an engineering field. I am now designing a way to make cornhole boards lighter weight and foldable so they are easy to transport. An engineering mentality is not just a stereotype.

C. Billman, via Disqus

In 2008, President Obama promoted cap-and-trade legislation to curb U.S. industrial carbon emissions, but it failed to pass in the Senate. California lawmakers are taking the matter into their own hands, and considering a cap-and-trade proposal that could affect manufacturers in that state. Following are letters in response to an editorial in MSD’s Motion Monitor newsletter covering the issue.

Readers share opinions on cap-and-trade

Cap-and-trade was formed to bail out the bankers and traders who would set up the process to buy and sell the carbon emission rights and take a cut off of every trade. Cap-and-trade is an incredibly stupid idea that would put the U.S. in a competitive disadvantage with the rest of the world.

Scott J. Sliter

When boiled down to simple terms, cap-and-trade is all about money and control—another tax as well as a way to control energy and business.

Donald Dillard

CO2 is great for plants (green plants), and cap-and-trade is bad for plants (industrial). If CO2 were a problematic greenhouse gas and a danger to the future, then as the gas increased in the atmosphere over the last 15 years, the temperature would have continued to increase per the belief of AGW or CAGW. It did not. See the many articles on this great skeptic website, WUWT: wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/02/why-cagw-theory-is-not-settled-science.

James Barker

I don’t think that cap-and-trade is the total solution to carbon emissions, but we owe it to our children and grandchildren to come up with ideas to address climate change. It will take government action to make meaningful progress and having knowledgeable people in place to steer development of needed technologies is essential. There are too many influential people who make their fortunes in polluting industries to allow clean alternative energy sources to evolve on their own. We need the equivalent of a NASA for the environment.

Mike Harrington

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