Golden Gate Bridge, and Beyond


A month or so ago, I mentioned that I not only visited the Golden Gate Bridge, I also heard from an engineer I met that his favorite toy as a kid was a model of that bridge.

Another story from this engineer was that when he was a child, he and his brother would talk their dad into visiting really cool sites on vacations. But, remember, this kid’s favorite toy was a model of a bridge. So, on their vacations, they planned around stops to power plants, dams, landmark bridges, and maybe even a really neat wastewater treatment facility.

Some kids would love to plan their vacations so they could visit zoos, circuses, amusement parks, or some other temporarily fun-filled adventure. But a future engineer understands that a good vacation is one where the fun lasts for a lifetime, or at least a career.

If you have a child with engineering leanings, I will share this fact with you. Factory tours and visits to water treatment facilities are fascinating.

You Might Be an Engineer If…

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– most anyone in your family, if asked to describe you using one word, would take no time to think about it and say, “Engineer”, and consider the response all that is needed.


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A couple weeks ago, we learned that there are three basic questions that an engineer asks, either to himself, or to the family member spending family money, when considering the purchase of an item. The three are:

1. How much does it cost?

2. How long will it last?

3. Will it cause me to socialize with people?

Those, however, are simply the screening questions. A more complete list contains at least 8 questions when considering to purchase an item, the first three, plus five more (therefore, 8 – done without, but checked by, using a calculator):

4. What is the likelihood of the it breaking before the normal useful life?

5. What are the maintenance costs?

6. What are the costs to run or use the item? (like gas in a car or electricity in an electric toothbrush)

7. Will it help in any way to understand my wife (or girlfriend, or any female) better?

8. Will I ever have to make a presentation in front of people because I bought this item?

To go through all the answers favorable to purchase:

The answer to 1. should be very little.

The answer to 2. should be very long.

The answer to 3. should be, “No.”

The answer to 4. should be very low.

The answer to 5. should be very low.

The answer to 6. should be very low.

The answer to 7. should be yes, but skepticism to this answer means the weight of the answer is low.

The answer to 8. should be “No.” That’s a deal-breaker.


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