Thoughts on the Engineering Industry

A blog covering engineering, technology and business topics

Archive for the tag “structural engineer”

Incorporating Engineering into Government to Improve National Programs

Hello everyone, I hope y’all have been doing well.  Today I would like discuss ways to improve our country by involving engineers and engineering concepts in the management of our national systems.  I have narrowed it down what I believe to be the 5 basic ideas.  As a reference, I have used data and assertions made by Evan Twarog in an article describing the role technocracy in China.

1) Become more technocratic in regards to politics

Data shows that the government is mostly run by engineers in China and in the government in the US is mostly run by lawyers.  In addition, Chinese people believe that knowledgeable elite should run the government which led to a technocracy being a part of the political system.  Based on the way government seems to operate in the US, I could see a shift towards the concept technocracy being beneficial for the U.S. as well.  Especially considering some of the issues that confront us, such the deterioration of the infrastructure, climate change, drought in various areas through out the country, and the production of energy in regards oil, wind, solar, etc.  A technocracy provides the critical knowledge and skill sets to properly deal with these issues.

2) Any problem can be solved with an engineering mindset

Engineers have a unique skill set that allows them to solve problems through a standard process.  On a personal level, I apply this mindset to difficult decisions in my life.  I bet you a lot of engineers say the same thing.  I don’t know about them but it works well for me.  And when considering the successes and failures of both China and the U.S., a correlation between the application of technology and the engineering mindset can be observed.  A good example of that in the U.S. is the space program and national arms race in general.  It is this correlation that leads to believe that the engineering problem solving mindset would be a good framework to apply to struggling government processes and programs.

3) An education in a technological field is more respected by society

For years, the culture in China has valued being technologically informed.  This means that changes in the direction of the country are more easily understood and communicated to the masses.  This is not to say there aren’t people capable of doing that here in the U.S., but there still seems to be a large portion of the political system that caters to the lowest common denominator instead of embracing the intelligence of the U.S. population.

4) Some projects need support from the government to succeed

A lot of the great engineering accomplishments require a large amount resources to back them up.  There are very few people and companies that can fully implement these systems.  This means that if there is some technology or engineering program that would improve our country and it is sufficiently large enough that it would be difficult for private organizations, government should not be afraid to step in and help.  If applied with an engineering problem solving mindset and backed by an informed public, these projects should benefit the country overall.

5) Export your technology for economic profit

This is where the practicality of investing money in solving these problems is realized.  In a perfect world, providing infrastructure and services to improve the lives of people is enough.  But government cannot be expected keeping doing so if it cannot be maintained as far as resources are concerned.  This means that sharing the technology nets the government money which can be used to further improve in other areas.  Business concepts like public-private partnerships were designed to improve profits and gains for the country through the development of these infrastructure and service ideas.  If we can keep this end goal in mind, it can ensure that all government systems improve the country socially and economically.

What is your opinion on these 5 concepts?  Is there anything you would add or take away and why?  If you enjoyed reading the blog post, be sure to like the post and share it with your friends.  Thanks for your time and have a good week!

Source

“The Three Gorges Dam, Why China is Run by Engineers”, Twarog, Evan, Atomic Insights, April 13, 2015, http://goo.gl/sZf3Zn

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Design Purpose: Abstract vs. Practical

Hello everyone, I hope your week has gone well.  I’ve spent most of the week researching summer work and engineering opportunities so I feel like I know where I want to start looking for work leads.  Now I’m just going to relax this weekend and get to the job hunting Monday.

Today I wanted to talk about something that I am sure a lot of engineers have thought about over the course of their career and that is design purpose.  Every engineer knows a joke or two poking fun at architects not making practical designs and stuff like that.  But the truth is that architects are important when incorporating aesthetics into the design process, because most engineers wouldn’t be so good at that.  I like to think that I’m good at embracing both elements and even dabble in the “idea” of architecture by sketching ideas I have for cool building concepts.  That being said, I know that I wouldn’t be any good as an architect because that’s clearly not what I’m skilled at; but it is fun way for me to stretch my brain muscles a bit.

I was wondering what the general opinion was on applying this in practice though.  For me, I feel like a little creativity is good.  If it were up to most engineers, I believe it would simple, safe and sturdy designs.  And that abstract concept in the design makes our structures more enjoyable.  I believe that’s an important part of it because the enjoyment factor for the end user needs to be considered.  But then there are some things I see that take it a bit too far.  For example, I saw a concept for a carbon production unit in CE Magazine.  The idea was that it would be a platform that floated off shore and would serve as a self-sustaining underwater and above water plant growing structure.  I just couldn’t help thinking that there a dozen more efficient ways of accomplishing that.  It looked really cool though; and along with that, I could see it being cool to an architect because it had a great aesthetic too it.  For the most part though, I feel like I lean slightly towards the abstract side in comparison to the common practice in structural engineering right now.  And my opinion about the industry aligns with that accordingly; so if I had any influence I would be pushing for innovations that use an abstract concept, but I would also make sure there is a practical application or purpose for it.

What is your opinion on this?  Do you have a preference or are you indifferent on the subject?  If so, is it just a personal preference or are there changes that need to be made in the industry right now?  Have a good weekend.

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