View Full Version : Engineers

4th May 2005, 10:20
You might be an engineer if . . .
. . . you have no life and can prove it mathematically.
. . . you enjoy pain.
. . . you know vector calculus but you can’t remember how to do long division.
. . . you chuckle whenever anyone says “centrifugal force.”
. . . you’ve actually ever used every single function on your graphing calculator.
. . . when you look in the mirror, you see an engineering major.
. . . it is sunny and 70 degrees outside, and you are working on a computer.
. . . you frequently whistle the theme song to “MacGyver.”
. . . you always do homework on Friday nights.
. . . you know how to integrate a chicken and can take the derivative of water.
. . . you think in “math.”
. . . you hesitate to look at something because you don’t want to break down its wave function.
. . . you have a pet named after a scientist.
. . . you laugh at jokes about mathematicians.
. . . the Humane Society has had you arrested because you actually performed the Schroedinger’s Cat Experiment.
. . . you can translate English into Binary.
. . . you can’t remember what’s behind the door in the science building which says "Exit.”
. . . you have to bring a jacket with you, in the middle of summer, because there’s a wind-chill factor in the lab.
. . . you are completely addicted to caffeine.
. . . you avoid doing anything because you don’t want to contribute to the eventual heat-death of the universe.
. . . you consider any non-science course “easy.”
. . . when your professor asks you where your homework is, you claim to have accidentally determined its momentum so precisely, that according to Heisenberg it could be anywhere in the universe.
. . . the “fun” center of your brain has deteriorated from lack of use.
. . . you’ll assume that a “horse” is a “sphere” in order to make the math easier.
. . . you understood more than five of these indicators.
. . . you make a hard copy of this list and post it on your office door.
. . . you think it might be a neat idea to send this message to all of your friends in the form of email.
. . . you know the glass is neither half full nor half empty; it's simply twice as big as it needs to be.

What are Engineers REALLY Like?

Social Skills
Engineers have different objectives when it comes to social interaction. "Normal" people expect to accomplish several unrealistic things from social interaction:
· Stimulating and thought-provoking conversation
· Making important social contacts
· A feeling of connectedness with the other human.

In contrast to "normal" people, engineers have rational objectives for social interactions:
· Get it over with as soon as possible.
· Avoid getting invited to something unpleasant.
· Demonstrate mental superiority and mastery of all subjects.

Fascination with Gadgets
To the engineer, all matter in the universe can be placed into one of two categories:
things that need to be fixed, and
things that will need to be fixed after you've had a few minutes to play with them.

Normal people do not understand this concept; they believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet. No engineer looks at a television remote control without wondering what it would take to turn it into a stun gun. No engineer can take a shower without wondering if some sort of Teflon coating would make showering unnecessary. To the engineer, the world is a toy box full of sub-optimized and feature poor toys.

Fashion and Appearance
Clothes are the lowest priority for an engineer, assuming that the basic thresholds for temperature and decency have been satisfied. If no appendages are freezing or sticking together, and if no genitalia or mammary glands are swinging around in plain view, then the objective of clothing has been met. Anything else is a waste.

Love of "Star Trek"
Engineers love all of the "Star Trek" television shows and movies. It's a small wonder, since the engineers on the starship Enterprise are portrayed as heroes, occasionally even having sex with aliens. This is much more glamorous than the real life of an engineer, which consists of hiding from the universe and having sex without the participation of other life forms.

Dating and Social Life
Dating is never easy for engineers. A normal person will employ various indirect and duplicitous methods to create a false impression of attractiveness. Engineers are incapable of placing appearance above function. Fortunately, engineers have an ace in the hole. They are widely recognized as superior marriage material: intelligent, dependable, employed, honest, and handy around the house. While it is true that normal people would prefer not to date an engineer, most normal people harbor an intense desire to mate with them, thus producing engineer-like children who will have high-paying jobs long before they lose their virginity. Male engineers reach their peak of sexual attractiveness later than normal men, becoming irresistible erotic dynamos in their mid-thirties to late forties. Just look at these examples for sexually irresistible men in technical professions:
· Bill Gates
· MacGyver
· Carl Sagan
Female engineers become irresistible at the age of consent and remain that way until about thirty minutes after their clinical death. Longer if it's a warm day.

Engineers are always honest in matters of technology and human relationships. That's why it's a good idea to keep engineers away from customers, romantic interests, and other people who can't handle the truth. Engineers sometimes bend the truth to avoid work. They say things that sound like lies but technically are not because nobody could be expected to believe them. The complete list of engineer lies is listed below:
"I won't change anything without asking you first."
"I'll return your hard-to-find cable tomorrow."
"I have to have new equipment to do my job."
"I'm not jealous of your new computer."

Engineers are notoriously frugal. This is not because of cheapness or mean spirit; it is simply because every spending situation is simply a problem in optimization, that is, "How can I escape this situation while retaining the greatest amount of cash?"

Powers of Concentration
If there is one trait that best defines an engineer, it is the ability to concentrate on one subject to the complete exclusion of everything else in the environment. This sometimes causes engineers to be pronounced dead prematurely. Some funeral homes in high-tech areas have started checking resumes before processing the bodies. Anybody with a degree in electrical engineering or experience in computer programming is propped up in the lounge for a few days, just to see if he or she snaps out of it.

Engineers hate risk. They try to eliminate it whenever they can. This is understandable, given that when an engineer makes one little mistake, the media will treat it like it's a big deal or something.
Examples of bad press for engineers;
Space Shuttle Challenger
SPANet ©
Hubble space telescope
Apollo 13
Ford Pinto
Tacoma Narrows Bridge

The risk/reward calculation for engineers looks something like this:
RISK: Public humiliation and the death of thousands of innocent people.
REWARD: A certificate of appreciation in a handsome plastic frame.

Being practical people, engineers evaluate this balance of risks and rewards and decide that risk is not a good thing. The best way to avoid risk is by advising that any activity is technically impossible for reasons that are too complicated to explain. If that approach is not sufficient to halt a project, then the engineer will fall back to a second line of defensive: "It's technically possible but it will cost too much."

Ego-wise, two things are important to engineers:
How smart they are.
How many cool devices they own.

The fastest way to get an engineer to solve a problem is to declare that the problem is unsolvable. No engineer can walk away from an unsolvable problem until it is solved. No illness or distraction is sufficient to get the engineer off the case. These types of challenges quickly become personal - a battle between the engineer and the laws of nature. Engineers will go without food and hygiene for days to solve a problem. (other times just because they forgot.) And when they succeed in solving the problem, they experience an ego rush that is better than sex - and I'm including the kind of sex where other people are involved.

Nothing is more threatening to the engineer than the suggestion that somebody has more technical skill. Normal people sometimes use the knowledge as a lever to extract more work from the engineer. When an engineer says that something can't be done (a code phrase that means it's not fun to do), some clever normal people learned to glance at the engineer with a look of compassion and pity and say something along these lines: "I'll ask Bob to figure it out. He knows how to solve tough technical problems." At this point it is a good idea for the normal person to not stand between the engineer and the problem. The engineer will set upon the problem like a starved chihuahua on a pork chop
Things Engineers Learn in School
You can study hard and still fail
You can not study and pass
Multiple choice does not mean easy
There are no trains here
Six exams can be written in 4 days, but it hurts
You can skip all the classes, study for 15 minutes before the final and still do better than an arts student in any arts class
Pi to six decimal places
Judging by my fellow students, engineers are either drunks or geeks
Everyone is someone else's weirdo
Front Row people are weird
Those who can, do, those who can't, teach
A 95.75% can be an A
An 80.1% can be an A+
You can kill your neighbors with a 9 volt battery
You NEED an HP

4th May 2005, 11:07
I know an engineer who that describes PERFECTLY:E

Evening Star
4th May 2005, 11:07
Naughty, naughty, you really should reference this extract from 'The Dilbert Principle' by Scott Adams.

ES <-- a scientist for whom much of the above applies ... well except the bits about not having any social skills or sex appeal (IMHO) :8

4th May 2005, 11:31
The most complete, detailed and accurate article posted by aircrew. Must have got an engineer to do it for him. :8

Darth Nigel
4th May 2005, 13:28
This reminds me of the joke about Schroedinger's Cat...

4th May 2005, 15:21
You might be an engineer......

If you were one of the Oxford students that followed your mates off the brigde into not much water :E

4th May 2005, 16:00
You might also be an engineer...

off the brigde

If you knew to spell:rolleyes:

4th May 2005, 16:01
You might not be an engineer if you don't even know how to spellbrigde:rolleyes:

Damn... beat me to it.

Okay...... hats off to ya :ok:

4th May 2005, 16:23
The Dilbert DVD box set is hilarious. If you found that bit on engineers funny, buy it................... dang, I'm laughing at myself. Oh well, either that or I could cry :p

4th May 2005, 16:25

You might also be an engineer if you type with your elbows.

4th May 2005, 18:08
That last post makes it The Forth Brigde.

4th May 2005, 18:12
close the door........:=

4th May 2005, 18:14
Going back to my youth (as an "aprentace ingeneer" ;) )

"An Engineer is someone who uses a slide-rule to multiply 2 by 2, and gets the answer 3.95"

(and now, I suppose, the next poster is going to ask "what's a slide-rule" :* )

4th May 2005, 18:26
I know what that is. We were shown one when my class visited a place called "Scotland Street school" where we had a full day of "what it used to be like" back in the day, even got to play with one of those steel hula hoop things and a stick. :} ........and that trip was at least 13 years ago

4th May 2005, 18:56
So go on then...just what is a slide rule? :confused:

4th May 2005, 18:58
Isn't that when the biggest kid in the playground claims sole rights to it?(kinda like Microsoft :E :E)

4th May 2005, 19:02

It's what we Ancients used in maths class VTOL; a nifty calculator without batteries or solar panels. :}

4th May 2005, 19:11
Hey! Phlaps actually HAS one (mine went to a museum years ago :( )

I'll let some other "oldie" explain that one ;)

4th May 2005, 19:20
"The slide rule is a portable, mechanical, analog computer usually consisting of three interlocking calibrated strips and a sliding cursor used to record intermediate results. It was once widely used for rapid, approximate scientific and engineering calculations. It was invented in 1622 by William Oughtred and was very commonly used until the 1970s when it was made obsolete for most purposes by electronic scientific/engineering calculators. "

4th May 2005, 19:22
I've got a 12" one.

It's even longer when you pull it.

It's been used many times, but it still operates super-smoothly, even without lubricant.

It's important to keep it clean, especially in all the little corners.

It sometimes gets very sticky, but a quick wipe solves that.

It has shown itself to be excellent at multiplying.

I even factorise with it just for the pleasure.

The only problems occur when the missus has to do menstruation.

On a scale of 1 to 10.....it's a 10.

4th May 2005, 19:28
ACBus- showing your age (like me ;) ) but I can reccommend a light application of Shell Tellus 46 (or, my preference, Tellus 68 for hot climates

Okay - 10:30 here and time I staggered off to bed as my keybraad scills are slippping)

Evening Star
4th May 2005, 19:29
All about slide rules. Enjoy! (http://www.sliderules.clara.net/a-to-z/a-to-z.htm)

Burnt Fishtrousers
4th May 2005, 20:30
Yesterday I couldnt spell "engineer"...today I are one:E

4th May 2005, 22:01
Shell Tellus 46 :uhoh::uhoh::uhoh:


The granularity of your calculations will be considerably reduced if you pull the centre out and take a soft bleak pencil and run it up and down it.

4th May 2005, 22:43
Very Old Engineer Joke (er… that’s a very old joke about Engineers…):

A Mathematician, a Scientist and an Engineer were each asked the question “What is 2 plus 2?”.

The Mathematician replied “2 plus 2 equals 4”, whilst the Scientist replied “The bulk of the evidence would support the hypothesis that 2 plus 2 equals 4”…

The Engineer replied “2 plus 2 is 4….but for safety’s sake we’ll call it 8!”

[Good eh… two negative stereotypes for the price of one!]

Slide Rule Cheat #247

Try removing the centre slide and replacing it upside down (ie with the ‘square’ scale against a ‘linear scale’). You can then just read off one scale against the other to do inverse square law calculations.

Despite my previous post, this is not a joke (although I might be for knowing it!).

Night night.

5th May 2005, 03:23
To add a Zed to that A to Z link: We had a Nigerian maths teacher - Flight Lieutenant Zegu - who was a wizard with a slide rule. Most Trenchard Brats from his time still refer to a slide rule as a Ziggy Stick.

Those who sneer at the humble slide rule should remember that Concorde was designed by Ziggy Stick weilding engineers. I didn't get my first electronic calculator until 1974 when I built a Sinclair Cambridge from a kit to avoid tax - it was designed by Clive Sinclair and operated in reverse Polish logic. (Well it would, wouldn't it? ;) ) Despite the tax avoidance the kit still cost two week's pay and I still have my trusty Ziggy Stick.

As you can tell, I'm one of those engineering saddos... :(

Edited to add a BTW...

BTW, I first experienced sex with another person at the age of thirteen...

... but I wasn't an engineer then ;)

5th May 2005, 09:07
Used to use log tables at school, didn't use a Guessin Stick till in the RAF.

henry crun
5th May 2005, 09:07
Cheerio: That looks similar to the HP 42S I bought for my son when he started uni, is there much difference ?

5th May 2005, 11:36
I found both my old school log tables book (bit dog-eared, cover missing) and my slide rule (complete with the wooden case my dad made when the cheapo plastic one it came with fell apart) last weekend while tidying up my desk. And THEY STILL WORK !! no batteries to corrode, nothing to break, no fading display, 'kin hell they could build things back in the 60s.

Blacksheep, did your Sinclair spontaneously combust? a couple of my friends both had that problem with theirs - one poor chap was driving home with his calculator in his trouser-pocket I'll bet he still has the scars, physical and mental, to this day!
-and we discussed your 12 incher a couple of years back, IIRC.


Mac the Knife
5th May 2005, 18:03
Kipling once said that an engineer was someone who could do for 7/6d what any fool could do for 5 pounds.

[7/6d is how seven shillings and sixpence was written in the fine old days before decimalisation]

As I See It
5th May 2005, 21:33
Slide rules, calculators, pah! A good engineer would never be without:

The Book (http://www.axminster.co.uk/products/Zeus-Reference-Book-20633.html)

6th May 2005, 00:37
I helped to write that...

...how sad :(