The long-winded "diary" by engineering student Francys Scott (see Jan. 23, page 20) was an inexcusable waste of space. EE Times is fast becoming a tiresome propaganda sheet for progressives who evidently believe that today's U.S. engineers are the cause of all ills.
Ms. Scott's claim that "minorities"--an insulting, oppressive term--are key to supposedly necessary disruptive innovation is doubly insulting in its implication that nonminority engineers are the problem. Her suggestion that teaching be tailored to specific classes is racist and sexist in the extreme.
I had to laugh when she described what innovation means to her: prepare, innovate, adopt. Then I became alarmed when I realized that Dilbert's clueless pointy-haired boss could not have put it better. Apparently Ms. Scott never heard the adage "necessity is the mother of invention"; maybe she thinks it refers to Frank Zappa's old band.
Far from being inspired by her fresh face, I just got depressed by her oh-so-PC blather and attacks on the status quo, namely me and my fellow engineers.
I hope to see EE Times get off its high horse and stop drawing a bead on the career engineer by publishing such harmful drivel. Can you please get back to serving "the creators of technology"?
Alexander S. Templeton
Chief Innovator, Brown Crow Inc., Seattle
If the intent of Francys Scott's article, "Let's reignite the zeal to invent," was to raise my ire, then it succeeded. My initial reaction was, "Where does she get off"? She hasn't even graduated; she has no professional work experience; what has she worked on? Her "albeit brief life experience" doesn't afford her the background to imply that there is a "slowdown in the pace of innovation," nor does it provide her with the ability to redefine the word "innovation" to include any use by society.
In my opinion, innovation has been accelerating over my 20 years in the engineering profession. I can name numerous examples, but I won't here for lack of space. Real-life developments don't happen in TV time. The TV show CSI crams months of [police forensic] work into an hour episode, so perhaps that has warped the time expectations of some. Taking advantage of real innovation takes time and money. Most changes happen on an evolutionary, not revolutionary, time scale, for which we can give thanks.
If Ms. Scott wants to study ways to improve innovation, then she should be sure to have her lawyer look at the first employment agreement that she is asked to sign. She will then see why many employees have little incentive to innovate; they don't own anything they develop. If companies want to spur innovation, they should give their employees partial ownership of everything they develop.
If Ms. Scott wants to cover her experiences in preparing to innovate in college, fine. She'll certainly have the background for that. And while I practice continuing education, I've not been in a classroom for 19 years, so I might learn something new. And if Ms. Scott would like to reanalyze this topic [of innovation] in 10 years, it would be interesting to see if time has changed her perspective. But unless she is going to preface all her statements "in my opinion," then she shouldn't write about things without having sufficient background--unless your goal is to generate negative feedback.
Sampled Systems LLC
Years ago, I came to realize the unique contributions that women can provide to the development side of engineering. Our specialty is a broad field called photonics. When we approach a new design or handle customer relations, women can be counted on to suggest a unique view to the work that is beneficial. We learned to take advantage of this at every opportunity. Francys Scott expressed it better that I have ever read before. I wish to encourage her to never give up, and I hope we can follow her career in school and beyond.
Robert Woltz Associates Inc.
Laguna Beach, Calif.