@Dave Bravo! Your concluding paragraph about stereotypes should be mandatory reading for everybody. My personal difficulty is not with the EPA, per se, but with the "writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress."
Too often the Representatives in Congress are responding to demands from their constituents that are based on the cartoonish representations -- or at least those representations that emerge from short talking points and themes in the popular culture.
Your "...all of us have an interest in both environmental protection and economic prosperity. Scientists and engineers in government and industry can work together to guarantee both." is beautifully said. My hope is that scientists and engineers in both government and industry can continue to provide the honest feedback to Congress that is required of all amplification systems. =]
There is no reason why the relationship between the EPA and industry needs to be adversarial - and as a matter of fact, it often isn't. A good example is the collaboration between the EPA and the American Foundry Society on foundry sand recycling. This collaboration has been going on for many years, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, and has helped foundries save money while protecting the environment and creating new economic opportunities. This is just one example of collaboration between EPA scientists and engineers and scientists and engineers in private industry.
The cartoonish representation of technically illiterate government bureaucrats cackling evilly as they squeltch private enterprise and innovation might contain a grain of truth sometimes, but for the most part, it's an ideological fantasy promoted by extremists. It's no more accurate than the cartoonish representation of corporate executives cackling evilly as they willfully destroy the environment, which is the fantasy which extremists on the opposite end of the ideological spectrum would have us believe. In reality, all of us have an interest in both environmental protection and economic prosperity. Scientists and engineers in government and industry can work together to guarantee both.
@Dave Palmer Yes. The EPA employs fantasticlly talented scientists and engineers. It is a matter of purpose. The purpose of Science is to discover the truth. The purpose of Engineering is to integrate these discoveries into useful tools. The useful tools are then used by Scientists to discover additional truth. It is a symbiotic relationship.
The purpose of the Environmental Protection Agency is, as stated in its name, to Protect the Environment. Since its formation in 1970 its charge has been the protection of human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress.[EPA Website]
The EPA Mission Statement does not contain any language that states the EPA will work "with" Scientists and Engineers. The EPA will Protect, Reduce Risk, Enforce Laws, Manage Risk, Increase Diversity, and Protect the Global Environment. It is an adversarial relationship that is formed around Enforcement and Compliance.
As a Government entity, the EPA is concerned with the distribution of Political Power. In the United States, Political Power is derived by the consent of the governed. Scientist and Engineers have an obligation as citizens to dissent when government agencies overstep their bounds.
William, the EPA actually does employ a fair number of scientists and, yes, even engineers. As a matter of fact, the EPA developed a number of life cycle analysis tools which can be used to perform exactly the kind of analysis described in this article.
To me the exciting part is to see how steel and different alloys can be combined with plastics and other materials to really optimize the final product. i often think of cars and how it basically has 4 wheels and goes. And yet their is innovation in so many areas to make it go farther, run cheaper, and cost less. It's neat to see how steel can be used where it is needed but other materials can be used in other areas to allow their properities to help the overall function of the machine.
As someone who has spent his entire adult life earning a living in the steel stamping industry, I am thrilled to see designers rediscovering the versatility of steel. However, I must admit some of the more exotic alloys have required a complete re-education concerning things I have done for years. This is not your father's steel we are using today. Innovation is cool.
Note:Not only does the government subsidize the production of ethenal they actually pay people not to grow corn. Yep, that's right. We have so much lland right now that thegovernment actually pays people to leave it dormant in some cases for years.
So one one hand the government pays people to not grow corn and that raises the price of corn. We then pay to artificially raise the price of corn through subsidies and then we subsidize ethanol.
Now from the engineering standpoint I think it is worth noting the dead zone at the end of the Mississippi River. These tend to come from artificial fertilizers. One area of potential is for the developement of in the area of fertilizer development.
Also there are so many other opportunities to improve the use of natural fertilizers, (pig poop) and it's application to the land to replinish the soil without having to apply artificial fertilizers.
These are just a few of the opportunities for engineers to help advance the development and production of renewable resources.
Also currently, fertilizer is made from natural gas. Does not have to be though.
Somebody should run down the entire list of pro and cons then put numbers next to them. Every discussion especially in the news are always partial facts. Discussions are never complete so you can never draw an educated conclusion. All the facts should be well laid out organized so one quick look can see them all neatly arranged. That way, there are no argument. None of this somebody did not mention yet another pro or yet another con that is partially true. Then discussion starts all over again. Now many people are misled by partial facts. Would think somebody would have done this by now in this great nation.
Rob, has anyone taken a look at what RoHS as far as solder goes means to the carbon footprint of E manufacturing? Solder temps are some 20% higher and also rework and repair is almost impossible resulting in more land fill.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.