Tag Archives: ethics

Editors note: I (Chris) gave up my usual weekend slot to Seb because he had an intriguing article about a touchy and recurring subject within the field of engineering. This post will discuss working in the defense industry (possibly on deadly weapons), a topic which we know can set off some emotions. We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section, but we won’t hesitate to squash any hateful or unduly harsh words. Engineer Blogs has maintained civil discourse and we hope to continue doing so. Enjoy Seb’s article! One think leads to another, as they say. This particular though journey started whilst I was drafting my post about the SULSA 3D printed aircraft. The process of writing about the subject gave me pause. I had to stop staring at the keyboard as I did my usual hunt-and-peck routine; I gazed thoughtfully out the window at the forest hills around Heidelberg. A memory…

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Do you have any moral issues about your work? I have, off and on. I consider myself a pacifist, and yet I’ve found myself working through the years for projects that were funded by the Department of Defense. About a decade ago, I would’ve said it would never happened…but things change. The first project didn’t strike me as anything to be concerned about: we were studying magnetic fields originating in the ionosphere. While the defense wing we were working with needed this information, it was fundamental science that could be used for a lot of things. Lately, a lot of the work I’ve done has involved sensors or communication devices. While I initially worried that working on these items was hypocritical, I have realized that it isn’t. Much of what we work on is also being developed for commercial markets. Maybe working on RFID, for example, enables item tracking for the military, but…

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This week’s theme is our biggest mistake. I couldn’t boil it all down to a single moment but I know what’s been the problem in the past and what will finally get me in the future: my big mouth. It’s not that I talk a lot it’s that I’m not great about saying the right things. Especially to the right people. I have a tendency to talk to my coworkers the same as I talk to the big boss. And I’ve noticed the big boss doesn’t like that. My coworkers are, for the most part, accepting of my frankness and perhaps occasional sarcasm. I’ve had superiors as well as college professors turn on me in an instant when they think I’m not showing them the proper respect due to them. The problem is I’m not really good at kissing up. I don’t know what to say, it comes across as…

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