0.0010342%

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This week, we take a look at the engineer and entertainment. Today’s post is about the number 0.0010342%. This represents the percent of movies in which an engineer plays a major role. Notice that this is a percent and it means that in a little more than one out of 10,000 movies, an engineer is given significant billing. Not top billing, of course. That percent is much, much lower. But, there you have it. Engineers provide Hollywood with electricity, clean water, wastewater disposal, engines, sound expertise, computer wizardry, and the list goes on. What does Hollywood give to the engineer in return? A few lines in every 10,000 movies. And most of the movies with engineers are science fiction, so the engineer is usually “out there” socially.

I guess it could be worse. At least not too many engineers are the bad guys.

Quote

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In a recent post, I mentioned that at times engineering publications turn to very non-engineering people for very non-engineering quotes as supposed motivation for engineers.

At engineeringdaze.com, we are here to change that. We will be supplying the engineering world with quotes from and/or about engineers, if only we can find any. Ha, just kidding. Engineers throughout history have made many noteworthy statements. The first one we will tell you about comes not actually from an engineer, but from a person who talked so positively about engineers they named a great engineering masterpiece after – Herbert Hoover. In speaking about engineers, Hoover stated:

“Engineering is a great profession. There is the satisfaction of watching a figment of the imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan on paper. Then it moves to realization in stone or metal or energy. Then it brings homes to men or women. Then it elevates the standard of living and adds to the comforts of life. This is the engineer’s high privilege.”

Hoover also is rumored to be the person the vacuum is named for, and, possibly, a president of the United States.

Read the quote again. It glows with enlightenment of what engineers do, and who engineers are. Now that is motivating. A little wordy, but motivating.  We have high privilege.

Yet Another True WWTF Story

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Recently, I got talking to a non-engineer wife of an engineer that I know. He is involved in an engineering association and she frequently goes along with him to conferences and meetings in order to visit places, but also, I believe, to commiserate with other non-engineer wives.

She told me that she was not going with her husband on the next trip and that this had some fascinating repercussions. Because she was not there, another engineer who was bringing his wife along, a friend of the woman with whom I was talking, signed his wife up for the conference field trip. He wouldn’t have signed her up if other non-engineer wives were at the conference, but this engineer was a thoughtful type, not wanting his wife to be without friends and left out. The field trip was, you guessed it, to the local Waste Water Treatment Facility!

As for this wife who was forced, make that, given the opportunity to tour the WWTF, I am uncertain how long she will hold a grudge against the wife who did not go, but likely it will be at least as long as the memory of the sludge drying beds lingers.

You Might Be an Engineer If…

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– you have kept your New Year’s resolution by proving that you have made your relationship with your wife more efficient.

12

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12 represents a fascinating number for engineers, particularly ones whose efforts provide electricity to our homes.

The average price of one kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity is 12 cents. Think about that. One can turn on a 100-watt light bulb and leave it on all day, for 10 hours, and it costs 12 cents. And with CFLs and LEDs, this cost will go way down. The engineer’s wife could dry her hair with a a 1000-watt hair dryer for an hour – if her hair is really wet – and it would cost 12 cents.

I realize that there are many factors that go into the cost of electricity and I certainly do not want to get involved in debates over subsidies, energy sources, environmental impacts, etc. (at least not now). What I wish to do is marvel at a system of creating and distributing electricity that engineers designed and built that contribute greatly to the ability for us to buy one kWh of electricity for 12 cents.

I am sure I don’t have to repeat it here, but engineers are amazing.

Equilibrium

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For an engineer, equilibrium is something to be attained – at home, at work, on travel. Equilibrium means things are equal. At peace. Not changing or frenzied. One equilibrium issue which is always running through my mind in winter is thermal equilibrium of our home.

ΔHeat = 0

Or, put another way,

Heat In = Heat Out

It seems simple enough. The more heat is transferred out of the house, the more the heating unit will need to transfer heat in to the house if equilibrium of the home temperature is to be maintained. I sit there and see the heat transfers take place and plot how I can affect this equation. How can I prevent heat from transferring out of the house, therefore reducing the need for more money being spent to add heat to the other side of the equation.

This is why we insulate our homes, seal the cracks around our windows, and yell at the kids to “Shut the door!”

Equilibrium.

Quotes – What’s with them?

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Where are all the inspirational quotes from engineers? I was reading an email newsletter from an engineering organization recently. They have a new quote in each day’s email. This particular day finally broke the camel’s back, adding that last non-engineering quote in an attempt to inspire the engineer readers. This was it:

People who lean on logic and philosophy and rational exposition end by starving the best part of the mind.”
–William Butler Yeats,
Irish poet and playwright

Another quote a few days before this one was as follows:

Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them.”

–Rose Kennedy,
American philanthropist

Who do these people think are reading this? It is a newsletter for ENGINEERS! We don’t want read about not leaning on logic and birds singing after storms. And we particularly don’t want hear from poets!

The publisher must give this part of the newsletter over to a non-engineer who has some dirt and is blackmailing the engineering organization that produces this newsletter. That is the only (logical and rational) explanation that would explain this behavior.

I may have to start producing some great inspirational engineering quotes for use in these newsletters. Look for them in future engineeringdaze posts.

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