Category Archives: Mechanical Engineering

Chris hates working alone. Fluxor has suggestions for interview questions. And some people wonder why you should bother with a behavioral interview. My perspective on some of these this is different because I am working with an interdisciplinary team. In a lot of companies, electrical engineers are separated from mechanical engineers, even when working on the same project. They may approach projects in stages, or maybe they work on completely different things. The wonderful thing about where I work is that I inhabit a world full of electrical engineers, each of whom have a different specialization. There are also a smaller number of mechanical engineers and sometimes we deal with chemists and/or material scientists. Because of the nature of the projects we are working on, we work together relatively closely, probably far more than if we were working at a regular business. Interdisciplinary research has a lot of advantages, but…

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The above graph is from a Pew Research Center report on the American public’s global focus. More and more see China as the world’s leading economic power. David Leonhardt at the Economix thinks we have an irrational awe of China. He points out major innovation (GE, GM, Apple) has all occurred here and that 25% of Americans have college degrees compared to 5% of people in China. Several of the commenters tell Leonhardt where he’s missing the point: the reason for this “awe” is simple enough and is NOT irrational. jus as in the stock market, what matters is THE DIRECTION AND SIZE of growth, not simply the CURRENT situation. the world is moving very fast, and anyone who simply rests on their laurels or worse, goes backwards will not remain in a good spot for long.   in this case, china is VERY deserving of their “awe”. the ability of…

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When a major hardware component goes it can often fail in catastrophic and spectacular ways. If your serpentine belt in your engine breaks not only does it mean your crankshaft stops but then by extension your alternator will stop charging your batteries which could result in power loss pretty quickly. Then your water pump would stop and your engine would start overheating while  simultaneously your power steering pump would quit meaning you’d feel like you went from driving a modern car to some sort of fifty year old tractor. Serpentine belts are treaded on the inside for this reason. Wear can be measured much like on your tires where the depth of the tread tells you how long you have left to go on it and you can also visually inspect for cracks. But in more complicated assemblies, a single point of failure isn’t always as obvious. The result can be catastrophic system…

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