It has been five years and literally tens of thousands of man-hours of work. Finally, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F-24 technical committee has wrestled a new standard for the amusement park industry from the clutches of a variety of task forces evaluating everything from appropriate restraint devices to—for the first time—g-force limits. High g-forces have been thought to pose the risk of brain injuries. This standard is unique not only for its comprehensiveness, but also its global reach (not to mention that consensus building always takes time.) "It was a huge effort, really the biggest single standard that the amusement ride and device committee has worked on in its 25 years," says Greg Hale, chief of safety at Walt Disney World Resort and an outspoken advocate of safety standards. Hale and co-workers devoted hundreds of hours of their own time to this effort. Known as the Standard Practice for the Design of Amusement Rides and Devices—Z9591Z to those in the know—the standard piggybacks on an existing ASTM standard, but is unique in that it addresses detailed design criteria intended to assist engineers in designing rides that make people only feel like they are in peril. Active committee members hail from Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, the U.K., and the U.S.—making for a truly global effort and ensuring that the best design practices from around the world made their way into the standard. Guess it's a small world, after all.
In many engineering workplaces, there’s a generational conflict between recent engineering graduates and older, more experienced engineers. However, a recent study published in the psychology journal Cognition suggests that both may have something to learn from another group: 4 year olds.
Conventional wisdom holds that MIT, Cal Tech, and Stanford are three of the country’s best undergraduate engineering schools. Unfortunately, when conventional wisdom visits the topic of best engineering schools, it too often leaves out some of the most distinguished programs that don’t happen to offer PhD-level degrees.
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