Tag Archives: data

I happened to be scrounging through the supply cabinet at work and found this relic of the computing world, a 5.25″ floppy disk. Putting them in the cabinet may have just been someone’s idea of a joke, but it brings up the very real point of dealing with legacy data and compatibility. If there was anything on the floppy, it was probably so old that it couldn’t possibly be important to us anymore, but if it was, the chances of finding a computer on the premises that could read it would be slim to nil. Now as a mechanical engineer, I don’t typically encounter legacy operating systems (COBOL, anyone?), but I have had to dig up some very old technical drawings. I was working on a radar system upgrade and had to pull up technical drawings from the radar’s original construction in the 1960’s. The drawings were stored on¬†microfiche, and…

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A couple of days ago my colleague GEARS covered some STEM Employment Data that the US Department of Commerce recently released titled STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future. Regular readers of mine know I tend to be overly critical of these sorts of assessments. I tend to see them as optimistic and naive. On my own blog a couple weeks ago I talked about engineering jobs by discipline, then I looked at engineering employment over time and engineering pay, and then I broke down engineering employment and pay for mechanical, civil, and electrical engineers. One of the favorite myths the powers that be like to toss around is that a bunch of engineers and technical workers are going to suddenly retire and STEM jobs will be in demand. So in my eyes this report isn’t a whole lot different. Their two major claims: that a STEM degree leads…

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There’s been an interesting back and forth on here where Miss Outlier discussed the conflicts of the theoretical versus the experimental in the week where we discussed interdisciplinary engineering and our struggles therein. Miss Outlier expressed her own point of view¬†in working with theoreticians. Cherish then responded with her post the model engineer a sort of defense of simulations. This was on my mind lately as I had a few separate pieces of analyses that I had to complete this week. Last month I asked the question of whether a design can be too robust. I talked about the issues inherent where an engineer is expected to make predictions on the future. Sometimes predictions that have critical safety connotations. These can be terrifying, especially to an early career engineer. In my experience I’ve been asked to do analyses that fall into two separate categories. The first is a theoretical prediction…

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