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Engineers are bad communicators: 6 ways to fix this, part 2

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This is a continuation of the previous post about how to improve communication amongst engineers, their teams, and their managers. Read the rest of this entry »

Engineers are bad communicators: six ways to fix this (part 1)

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Awhile back, I posted about “Best Practices for Communicating between Engineers“.  This time around, I wanted to be a little more specific about how basic communication blunders can be avoided.  I’ve seen countless violations of these rules, and they always seem so easy to fix.

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Are Engineers Good at Fixing Things?

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Are engineers good at fixing things?  Or, more specifically, do the skills acquired from en engineering degree / engineering job lend themselves to the basic household issues that always seem to pop up?  The reason I pose the question is that I’m often asked, “Why don’t you know how to fix a leaky faucet, you’re an engineer?”  Or, since many of my acquaintances know the discipline in which I received my degree (Electrical Engineering), the question might be, “Why don’t you know how to install a new overhead light?”  My responses are always short and to the point: “I don’t know because I was never taught,” and the questioner always walks away decidedly unimpressed.

I draw two main conclusions from these mock conversations: Read the rest of this entry »

Finding Better Ways To Pour Coffee

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courtesy: David Yanko of Virtual Saskatchewan

This blog is about “finding better ways to pour coffee.”  At the risk of sounding like a bureaucratically-generated cliche, it’s a little like a more focused “think outside the box,” which I hate.  Allow me to explain what I mean, starting with a quick story.

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Best Practices for Communication Between Technical Groups

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Working with others is easy for some, difficult for others.  Engineers, in particular, often have a difficult time communicating clearly.  For many firms, the end goal (a finished product) isn’t finished until many, many engineers get their hands on the design.  Naturally, in the corporate world, this mandates that teams of technical gurus are created under the glorious umbrella of hierarchical chain of command. Read the rest of this entry »

Sustainable Energy: Best. Infographic. Ever.

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wind-turbine

Scientific American has created a ridiculously interesting infographic on sustainable energy sources.  The article outlines a plan to get the world off of fossil fuels in 20 years.  That’s 100% clean, sustainable energy by 2030.  Although not feasible for a number of economic and political reasons, it is still damn interesting to see how the authors (Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi) plan this out.  Give it a good read, there are a few surprises in there, particularly re: wind vs. solar.

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General Atomics Makes a Very, Very Large Gun

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railgun-8

Above is how a basic info graphic explaining how a railgun works.  Below is the General Atomic’s new Blitzer Railgun’s test apparatus.

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One of the most important machines ever. The IBM 1401.

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While not as huge as some of the vacuum tube-based mainframes of the 1940′s, it was still pretty damn large for an accounting calculator.

Here are some still-shots of the revolutionary machine:

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