You Might Be an Engineer If…

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– you have ever taken a date to a great view of a landmark bridge, not to make out, but to impress her by pointing out and explaining the structural elements included in the design.

70

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This number, 70, is very important to any engineer that wants, or, dare I say, needs to get their PE license. It has caused untold angst to many an engineer down through the decades. The reason is that 70 is the number that represents a passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam. Well, sort of.

From reading a fair amount about the scoring process of the PE exam, 70 at least used to be the scaled score that an engineer would have to get to pass. I remember being told this and reading this when I took the PE exam. Now, with equating, the different structure of the exam, the differing approaches of the states that designate passing scores, and numerous other reasons, one thing is extremely clear – no one knows what passing really is and what that 70 represents any more.

So, while an engineer may take the PE exam and desire to score at least a 70, that might mean that the engineer has passed the exam, or it might not. To confuse matters more, the 70 does not necessarily represent 70%, as many might think. With typically 80 points, that would mean getting at least 56 correct to pass the exam, but again, though many believe this to be the case, it is apparently not. The score one receives on the PE exam is a scaled number that is derived, from best accounts of it, by a group of experts locking themselves in a room with the exam and challenging each other to feats of engineering. I’ve never seen it, but I don’t think it is for the faint of heart.

Remember that 70 is the number. What it means, what it represents, how it is derived – who cares? As long the number in the end is at least – 70. Or possibly higher. When success on the PE exam is obtained, then the engineer can then achieve the life-long ambition of seeing one’s own name immortalized on a rubber stamp.

To an engineer, the closest thing to a perfect number is 70. Even if it doesn’t mean 70 any more.

Brain Analysis

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For a person who just happens to fall for an engineer, with all that love stuff involved, it is helpful to realize the following graph that depicts where on the left-brained/right-brained continuum engineers tend to fall.

Engineer                                      left     center     right

←—————————————————————————→

One can see that the engineer would be considered left-brained he was more emotional. Put another way, Spock was too emotional to be an engineer.

If a person has hung around an engineer long, this is likely a known fact. However, it is always good to recall the truism for engineers: Engineers don’t feel, they think.

So, remember the continuum. This will help a great deal when interactions are necessary or desired.

A Wonderful Expert to Follow

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EngineeringDaze is all about fun, but at times, we will also inform.

If you are not following the work of David Pogue, you are missing a fun, informative, and imaginative take on all thing technology. Engineers will love Pogue as he educates on the newest gadgets, latest tech trends, and whackiest technology around. His writing and videos will definitely satisfy the techno-geek side of any engineer.

Pogue writes the tech column for the New York Times, a somewhat respectable newspaper on the east coast somewhere. He also has done a miniseries for PBS, writes for Scientific American, and does a weekly video for CNBC. His is all about fun and information – much like we are. Therefore, the recommendation is to check out David Pogue.

Purchasing a Car – What Color?

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We will leave the act of looking for a car, analyzing which car to buy, what options, financing, etc. all to future posts. For now, we want only to discuss one of the final decisions – the color. I have gone to a dealership and when we get to that point, the salesperson asks, “And what color would you like your car to be?” They might as well be speaking Swahili. Color? Do I look like an architect?

As an engineer, I am all about function, not form. My mantra is, “Engineers don’t feel, they think.”  Colors are feeling. Is there a price difference? No? Then ask my wife. I may consider keeping away from dark cars in a southern state to compensate for the direct sunlight, but other than that, I really don’t care. Some engineers might. I consider them meandering toward architecture.

OK – One caveat, but it fits in with the function over form issue. Studies have shown that one is more likely to get pulled over and/or given a ticket if one is driving a car of certain colors. Red, I believe, is the worst by far. And although I don’t drive (excessively) over the speed limit, any advantage in not being stopped by the police is gladly taken. So I tell my wife, any color – except red.

You Might Be an Engineer If…

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– At any time in your life you would have said that your longest lasting relationship was with Ohura, 7 of 9, or T’pol.

4

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According to a friend of mine, 4 is an important number for engineers. This statement is at first strange since my friend, we will call him “Wade”, is not an engineer. How can he know?

But according to “Wade”, one can have a flock of birds, a gaggle of geese, a herd of elephants, a school of fish, but when it comes to engineers:

The set E of a number n of engineers, when gathered together and n is greater than or equal to 4, will create a “Yawning” of engineers.

{E: n>=4} = Yawning

Something tells me “Wade” is making fun of engineers, but I’m still working on that.

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