A number of weeks ago, we introduced Tork, Caveman Engineer. He was the first engineer in history – make that pre-history. Later, we introduced Torkus, Medieval Engineer, who lived in the difficult time of the Dark Ages and tried as he could to make the world a better place to live, as engineers are made to do. This week, we will introduce yet another engineer from the past: Torkitus, Roman Engineer. Torkitus lived in the first century BC, when the Roman Empire was forming out of the Roman Republic.
Torkitus grew up calculating his odds of getting a beautiful women, or any woman, to be his wife. Roman culture highly prized two things: strength, in order to be a good soldier for the empire; and oratory skills, in order to be able to debate points of culture, history, arts, etc. before a group of people. At this time, brains (which Torkitus had) and braun (which he did not) frequently were not found in the same person. As for oratory skills, Torkitus was an engineer. ‘Nuff said.

Torkitus, viewing a beautiful woman in his city, figured out his chances of gaining her attention as:

P = (0.5*S + 0.5*PS) * 100


P = the percent chance that he will gain this woman’s attention and approval

S = Strength factor, from 0 to 1, how he compared to his male contemporaries

PS = Public Speaking, or oratory, skills, from 0 to 1

Needless to say, Torkitus’ odds, as he calculated, were not good. His equation told him he had between a 1.6 and 1.7% chance of marrying that woman. The interesting things is that engineers have been using equations like this, and far more complicated, often coded into computer programs, to this day in calculating the same thing – what are the odds of this girl I know to desire to date him (the engineer), with more a complicated equation for the odds of getting married.

And, as it is today, it was with Torkitus. Many engineers get married, as Torkitus did. They do not take into account in their equation the desire of the woman to have a stable, intelligent, consistent – albeit unromantic – man to marry.

Similar equation. Same wrong assumptions. Torkitus was definitely an engineer.