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An Engineer Examines Engineering

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vimalkumarp
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Book
vimalkumarp   7/12/2013 6:29:23 AM
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Thanks a lot Rob for sharing info about this book. These insights on engineering will definitely boost the feeling of pride of being an engineer.

 

a.saji
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Silver
Re: Book
a.saji   7/12/2013 7:04:25 AM
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@vimal: Exactly, it is something that we all should be proud of. I think its just another factor which adds to our pride.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Book
Nancy Golden   7/12/2013 11:58:15 PM
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This looks like a very interesting read - I am on my way to Amazon now (Click Click). I think it will really fascinate my teenage son and engineer husband too. I appreciated the quote:

Early on, Kuprenas also wanted to be an artist. "It might seem odd, but in both professions you use your imagination and create new things," he said.

I believe engineering is extremely creative - that is one of the most fun aspects of it...

Debera Harward
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Re: Book
Debera Harward   7/13/2013 4:31:09 AM
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Thanks Rob for sharing such good information i usually collect two to three books and then decide which to read first . After reading your post i have decided that this is going to be my next book . Its aboslutely not strange that Kuprenas wanted to become artist as well because like artist engineers are also creative people they should also think out of the box , both artist and engineer should have knowledge of material, they have imaginary skills ,they have great vision and so on.

taimoortariq
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Re: Book
taimoortariq   7/16/2013 8:40:59 AM
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Quite an interesting article rob, it is almost nostalgic to me. With all the information shared, we engineers have gone through the same thing, it would be nice to read something we can relate to directly, it always adds interest. And to read both the engineers perspective with an artistic touch seems very interesting. Looking forward to reading it.

Charles Murray
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Re: Book
Charles Murray   7/16/2013 8:00:30 PM
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If you like books that offer an engineer's perspective with an artistic touch, taimoortariq, look for a book called, "To Engineer Is Human." It was written by Henry Petroski, who also wrote a blog for Design News a couple of years ago. One of my favorite engineering books.

taimoortariq
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Re: Book
taimoortariq   7/21/2013 8:06:52 AM
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Thats great, I am already in the need of reading a new book, just finished reading the Alchemist. Thanks for suggesting it.

Charles Murray
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Re: Book
Charles Murray   7/23/2013 5:09:59 PM
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I believe many Design News readers woiuld share your feelings about this book, taimoortariq. It seems to be targeted directly at our readers.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Book
Rob Spiegel   8/14/2013 11:55:56 AM
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Thanks for the tip on the book, Chuck. Nice that DN was able to get the author to blog.

esb
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Iron
Re: Book
esb   7/15/2013 3:51:41 PM
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Of course there is a connection between art and engineering.  Well engineered objects tend to be esthetically pleasing.  Consider the Golden Gate bridge or the Spitfire fighter plane.  Many civil engineers are quite consciously architects, too, which was especially true in the 19th century. 

Shelly
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Iron
Re: Book
Shelly   7/15/2013 4:07:18 PM
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Speaking of bridge resonance, look up the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.  There are videos online where wind resonance completely damaged a relatively new structure.  Resonance in all forms can be very damaging.  I do a lot of vibration-specific work, and have seen resonances of structures, big and small, that amplify the load by 100x.  That can be very bad when a structure is rated for a safety factor of 2x.

Thanks for the info on the book!  I will definitely have this as 'coffee table' reading material.

Charles Murray
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Re: Book
Charles Murray   7/15/2013 6:50:41 PM
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Sixty years after the fact, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge video remains the best visual in physics education, Shelly.

Charles Murray
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Great stuff
Charles Murray   7/12/2013 6:09:10 PM
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This is great stuff and I'd love to read this book. The story about the soldiers on the bridge is particularly intriguing. About thirty years ago, there was a similar story about a Big Ten football stadium that had to be beefed up because students in the upper deck would sway back and forth to a cheer that happened to be very close to the the natural frequency of the structure.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Great stuff
Rob Spiegel   7/14/2013 6:32:07 PM
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Yes, this is a very peculiar phenomenon, Chuck, I wonder of the washboard affect on dirt roads is related.

ratkinsonjr
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Gold
Re: Great stuff
ratkinsonjr   7/15/2013 9:53:38 AM
Absolutely correct. Do you remember the Ford truck commercial from the 1960's, touting the benefits of "Twin I-Beam" front suspensions? The one where the truck is driven over railroad ties with long poles attached to the cab and the front wheels with two rows of light bulbs bracketing each pole. As the truck is driven over the equally spaced ties, the pole attached to the wheels is smashing lightbulbs like crazy, but the pole attached to the cab rides absolutely level and not a single lightbulb breaks, showing how smooth the ride is. Lee Iococca mentions it in his autobiography, where he asked a Ford engineer how they did it. The engineer's reply was simple: they drove the truck at the speed required to get the suspension to resonate in order to keep the cab of the truck level. If the truck's speed was above or below resonance, the rod attached to the cab also smashed the lightbulbs with abandon. This is analogous to "valve float" where the valves in an internal combustion engine don't fully close when the valve springs reach their resonant frequency.

Debera Harward
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Silver
Re: Great stuff
Debera Harward   8/17/2013 4:55:07 AM
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Basically engineering skills are god gifted one cant develop those skills but he or she can polish the existing skills. According to me Engineering is a passion only those who just get into things and want to explore new and new things can be good engineers . According to me good engineers are  those who ask many questions because this is an indication that there brain is working and they are not just grasping the things which taught but understanding as well.

Charles Murray
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Re: Great stuff
Charles Murray   7/15/2013 6:48:32 PM
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Rob, I think you've brought up some material for another book.

TJ McDermott
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Going for a paper book this time
TJ McDermott   7/13/2013 2:36:01 AM
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Rob, thanks for showing a fun read.  I'll, for the first time in a long time, be reaching for a real paper book.  Once I read it, I want to share it with other engineers in my office.

This is the one failing of Amazon's Kindle.  They artificially place a time limit on sharing something I purchase, and I can't GIVE it to anyone the way I can a real one.

Baen Books has no DRM - they are my favorite publisher for this reason.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Going for a paper book this time
Rob Spiegel   7/14/2013 6:40:12 PM
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TJ, for that reason and a bunch of others, I still prefer paper books. I'm a book lover. Have been since I was a kid. Loved books and magazines. My first library card was a beautiful thing. My first magazine subscription was just as wonderous -- Boy's Life, followed by The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

vimalkumarp
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Gold
Re: Going for a paper book this time
vimalkumarp   7/15/2013 2:20:40 AM
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This book is worth just for the clear explanation on Accuracy and Precision. These fundamental definitions are very important as it is important to differentiate between accuracy, precision, resolution etc. Thanks Rob for the info on this book.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Going for a paper book this time
Rob Spiegel   7/19/2013 10:58:34 AM
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Yes, vimalkumarp, iut's an intewrwsting little book. There are 101 tiny tidbits, but they're all interesting.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Going for a paper book this time
Ann R. Thryft   7/17/2013 1:51:56 PM
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I'm a paper book lover too, Rob. I don't thin k this is just generational: I know several people older than me who really like Kindle. But they read mostly popular fiction and are happy they don't need to keep copies of the books since they don't plan to re-read them. Most of my books are non-fiction, plus some fiction I definitely want to read again.

Charles Murray
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Re: Going for a paper book this time
Charles Murray   7/18/2013 6:25:39 PM
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I've been given two e-book readers as presents, Ann. I lost the first and have gone seven months without reading a book on the second. Maybe it's just a matter of cultivating a new habit, but I still like my paper books.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Going for a paper book this time
Ann R. Thryft   7/18/2013 7:32:16 PM
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That's a funny story, Chuck. Maybe you will lose the second one, too :) I like the way books look, feel and smell--I love the smell of new print, especially aggregated in a book store. It beats the heck out of the smell of new electronics.

Charles Murray
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Re: Going for a paper book this time
Charles Murray   7/19/2013 6:34:47 PM
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I agree about the look, feel and smell of a printed book, Ann. I have a favorite chair with a reading lamp where I read books. Electronic books could probably work just as well in that chair and under that lamp, but it wouldn't feel the same.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Going for a paper book this time
Ann R. Thryft   7/22/2013 12:18:59 PM
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Chuck, I've got a favorite corner of the small couch with a reading lamp and a stack of books I'm currently reading. One of my friends who likes her e-book for fiction says it's easier to read in bed than a book, especially anything larger than a mass market paperback. She's got a point--I don't even try to read hardbound books in bed.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Going for a paper book this time
Rob Spiegel   8/15/2013 10:47:58 AM
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So, Chuck, during the time you didn't read anything on a e-book reader, did you indeed read paper books? I've toyed with the idea of getting an e-book reader -- I like the cost of e-books -- but I just keep ordering paper books.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Going for a paper book this time
Rob Spiegel   8/9/2013 1:28:18 PM
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I still find the book to be pleasing as a physical thing. It's very efficient. and while the tablet can contain more books, I believe bookshelves are an esthetically pleasing object (collection of objects?) in the home.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Going for a paper book this time
Ann R. Thryft   8/12/2013 12:58:58 PM
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I agree Rob--I think bookshelves with books in them are esthetically pleasing also. Plus, they're excellent insulation if you've got lots and lots of them. Years ago I had friends living off the grid in northern California who specifically built bookshelves into the walls for insulation.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Going for a paper book this time
Rob Spiegel   8/12/2013 1:25:30 PM
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Wow. I hadn't heard about books for insulation, but it makes sense. I used to have tons and tons of books (I was an English major). At a certain ploint I decided I didn't need all of these things. So I shipped them off to my little brother who wanted to build a home library. I still have tons and tons of books. They keep rebuilding.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Going for a paper book this time
Ann R. Thryft   8/16/2013 12:57:26 PM
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Rob, that was one of the coolest things I'd seen. In this case, they opened up the inside walls and put in bookshelves in between the studs. The books, most of them paperback, work as insulation. Don't know what the R-value is, but it worked and it cut down on the amount of insulation they needed elsewhere. One of so many simple, useful, inventive hippie-style solutions.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Going for a paper book this time
Rob Spiegel   8/21/2013 6:11:44 PM
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That is a great solution for insulation. If I know how useful they were, I would have kept all my books.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Going for a paper book this time
Ann R. Thryft   8/21/2013 7:24:39 PM
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I thought it was a nifty idea too, Rob. These were mostly paperbacks, and the small wood-frame buildings were heated with woodstoves, which give out radiant heat. I'm pretty sure this would not be useful in climates colder than Northern California, since the books-in-between-the-studs design disallows more powerful insulation with higher R-values.

shahalam
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Iron
Great
shahalam   5/14/2014 3:02:37 PM
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Engineers can do a lot for this project, So far they did an appreciated job!! I did enjoy reading articles posted on this site. They are impressive and has a lot of useful information.

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