Design Con 2015
Breaking News
Blog

Dulcinea

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
ReneCardenas
User Rank
Rookie
re: Dulcinea
ReneCardenas   1/1/2011 11:56:37 PM
NO RATINGS
Rich, I agree with the sentiment expressed earlier: When I see the massive highway infrastructure in any major metropolitan city, or the power grid and repeater antennas, or medical devices as self-evident samples of noble intent of engineers, which benefit the masses by the effort and dedication of each engineer that designed and help build those human achievements. However, there are many examples that stand in dark contrast, IMHO of questionable honorable cause: the design weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons, bioagents: such as nerve agents, Agent Orange, DDT. Although I read strong arguments as deterrents. In my opinion, these are any more noble than the oppression displayed by oligarchies around the globe that push engineering projects with ill intent. My point is: there are plenty of self-evident cases of noble intent in the engineering profession, however there are plenty of gray areas and arguable human value.

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
re: Dulcinea
David Ashton   12/31/2010 10:13:43 AM
NO RATINGS
We'll have to agree to disagree here Rich, but only slightly. In broad terms I'd agree that Engineering is a noble profession, and that Engineers are noble people. So your bashing is not going to come from me!! All the best for 2011!

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
re: Dulcinea
David Ashton   12/30/2010 11:02:22 AM
NO RATINGS
One example that comes to mind is the AK-47 rifle, hardly a noble thing to have designed; it's caused untold human misery and loss of life. And yet Mikhail Kalashnikov did a superb job. As a piece of engineering the AK-47 is great. It does its job under all extremes of conditions. You can bury it or leave it in water for a year and within a few minutes of being retrieved it is ready for use with minimum maintenance. It's superbly reliable, easy to use and yet cheap to produce. And Kalashnikov probably performed a great service for his country by designing it. It's certainly true to Duane's requirements for elegance and quality in design. How about land mines? Or SAM-7 missiles? The above is a very specific example but to my mind muddies the waters a bit. Getting back to my generalisations above - in general Engineers are a lot more noble a bunch than some of the other professions I cited. Engineers usually work hard, are not the best paid or the most famous people, and yet the world is a hugely better place for their efforts. So yeah, OK, I'll go along with Noble....it does fit, generally, pretty well.

Duane Benson
User Rank
Blogger
re: Dulcinea
Duane Benson   12/29/2010 10:36:52 PM
NO RATINGS
I think the biggest question really is the definition of "noble." My experience tells me that, in general, engineering types tend to lean toward operating from noble principles. The definition of that term has many different versions though. One engineer may feel that working on green energy related products is noble. One may feel that working on national defense is noble. One may feel that working on anything but national defense is noble. Overriding that all, what I've seen is that a good engineer will try to be true to elegance and quality in design and that, from a technical perspective is one very important definition of "noble."

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
re: Dulcinea
David Ashton   12/29/2010 9:37:53 PM
NO RATINGS
I'm not sure Noble is the word I would use, it's maybe a bit strong, but most engineers I know seem to have more of a sense of the consequences of their work than the average say shop assistant or admin person or accountant or (certainly) politician. (Disclaimer - These are all generalisations and like all generalisations they are only generally true. :-) It's maybe more of a "do as you would be done by" attitude - engineers usually make things work the way they'd want things to work for themselves. As I remarked in a previous comment, people like accountants and politicians will say "No, we can't do that" or "Well, if we do that it's going to cost you a lot." An engineer will think for a minute and say "Yes, we can do that." The "Can-do" attitude is what makes them great people to work with.

David Ashton
User Rank
Blogger
re: Dulcinea
David Ashton   12/28/2010 11:11:33 PM
NO RATINGS
Hi Rich and compliments of the seaon... "...but which eventually transforms her into what Don Quixote envisions her to be." There's another quote on this subject that I am fond of: "Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe A fact that a lot of managers never seem to grasp. As to your question: "So, the question is, for whom do you work? For yourself, or for others? Do you better only your own condition, or the condition of society?" You get by far the greatest satisfaction in life by contributing to the welfare of others. Whether it is actively helping someone or just making sure that the little wheels you look after are turning properly, the knowledge that you've done the best you can is one of the greatest contributors to personal satisfaction that I know. So yes, you do work for yourself, but only in that striving to meet your own personal standards contributes to a well functioning society. My experience is that engineers in general set themselves pretty high standards, and it is a pity more of them don't end up in public life. If they did, methinks the world would be a better place.

Luis Sanchez
User Rank
Rookie
re: Dulcinea
Luis Sanchez   12/28/2010 10:27:40 PM
NO RATINGS
Great portion Rich! I think you've succeded in lifting to an interesting level of debate a predicament that otherwise would pass un-noticed. I didn't know that about the 'invisible hand' but I really identify the term when it regards to China. about your last question, I think the answer is sometimes we'll pick Aldonza and some others we'll pick Dulcinea. I think that reflects the operation of most of todays big companies and this can go all the way down to the individual. The fact is that sometimes you have to work for the profit and sometimes you can harvest the fruits from helping others. And the order I think is to first help you and later help others because if you're not OK, you can't help others. right?

More Blogs
Creating an 8x8x8 3D tri-color LED cube from the ground up involves a variety of tasks, including designing the base PCB on which the cube will be mounted.
When you need a new MCU and new I/O for a project, how do you choose among the many and confusing alternatives?
Early next year, AMD will ship Carrizo, its most integrated x86 processor to date, combining I/O with -- in some versions -- new x86 and GPU cores.
Better design and test procedures will lead to much lower maintenance costs than for systems where those precautions have not been taken.
How do we inspire the next generation to be creators, not just consumers, of technology?
Radio
LATEST ARCHIVED BROADCAST
EE Times Senior Technical Editor Martin Rowe will interview EMC engineer Kenneth Wyatt.
Top Comments of the Week
Like Us on Facebook

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed
Flash Poll