Sunday, April 6, 2008

"Watch out for engineers...

...they start out with sewing machines and end up with the atomic bomb."
- Marcel Pagnol
Critiques des Critiques

Fridge that operates without electricity. Great example of seat of the pants engineering . Uses evaporative cooling to keep fruit fresh for weeks.

There's been a major breakthrough in energy efficiency that you might not have heard of. EnergyStar (governmental body that writes efficiency standards) has, for the first time, written new standards for hot water heaters, one of the most energy hogging home appliances. A little less than 20% of your Entergy bill comes from your water heater. Here's what General Electric has come up with. The on-demand heaters are extremely efficient, but they draw a lot of amperage, so wiring them up demands special attention. The simplest way to improve your heater efficiency is install a programmable remote for your water heater that turns it off when you aren't likely to use it (like in the middle of the night and middle of the day during weekdays).

Peer Reviewers Raise Questions [about Corps' Cat 5 Plans]. First off, hats off to Mark Schleifstein. He wrote a technical article that's both understandable and factually correct. Not an easy task. Secondly, the article scares me. It sounds like the "plan" the Corps is coming up with is going to be inferior to something I could cook up in a weekend. None of the technical problems will be addressed, the operating assumptions will be false, and the organizational issues will doom their plan to failure from the start. And the report isn't anywhere near finished yet! The last deadline they missed was January and they're now saying they might not have the plan finished by December. Here's my suggestion: get the head of Boh Brothers in a room with the presidents of all the local engineering companies, give them a dozen staff engineers, give them 3 weeks, and watch what they cook up. The results from that experienced, local group would astound you.

Also, Bob Bea rails against "100-year protection."

SPR expansion on Gulf Coast concerns residents. I've helped design solution mining facilities and the numbers in this article are concerning. The disposal method is also an ecological disaster waiting to happen.

Top 10 Paying College Majors. The top 5: Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Civil Engineering. They don't even go into the smaller majors like Industrial Engineering (Lee Iacocca's major).

One final, random observation from my recent personal observations about engineering:
* Filtration. There's no information in most undergraduate curricula about filtration, but it's one of the fastest growing fields of work for mechanical engineers. Nobody has specialists in filtration, but everyone is starting to run into it. Also, filtration is more complicated than just "stick a filter in there and that'll do it."

1 comment:

LatinTeacher said...

It's a good thing Tulane decided to do away with its engineering school. (Not only would students come out of there prepared to rock the world, they would have tons of things to work on in New Orleans.)