March 2012

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Weekend Journal — Continuing Education And The Role of College

Weekend Journal — Continuing Education And The Role of College

This week we’ve been inadvertantly talking about education on Engineer Blogs. It’s a large gap to cross from student to engineer, one that many people say you can never truly cross over, due to the demands of an engineering job. But in the midst of this debate, we’ve hit upon a little bit of controversy, which I’d like to analyze (hey, I’m an engineer!). If you’d like some context, feel free to read Miss MSE’s initial article about  story telling, GEARS insistence that the humanities majors are asked to take STEM classes and Sam’s followup about things he’s learned since school. I’ve now written about 1000 words on this subject, taking both sides of the debate, none of which you’ll be seeing. I’m really torn and I tried taking comments to heart from people on Twitter and the comments sections of those other articles. The question is whether an education should be […]

Old Technology That’s Still Surprisingly Useful

Old Technology That’s Still Surprisingly Useful

At my old job, when one of the engineers retired, he would ceremonially dump everything they had in their office onto a table in the hallway for the rest of us to pick over like vultures.  The coolest thing I ever found was something called a Gerber Variable Scale. The variable scale is a stretchable spring with markings at regular intervals. When you stretch the spring, the markings change size. The tool is made for transferring markings off graphs without well laid out axes. You can also draw neatly delineated tick marks with it as well, at any size you want! Pretty cool! In the picture below the spring for the scale is compressed all the way.  The little disks are numbers, but most of them seem to have fallen off over the years. In this picture though, the little silver colored block (the slider) has been moved all the […]