(disclaimer.. I are one..lol)
Nota Bene, when I say “Engineers” I of course am speaking of “Real Engineers”, which means mechanical engineers, marine engineers, aeronautical engineers, hydraulic engineers, electrical engineers, chemical engineers, nuclear engineers.
I am most certainly *not* talking about so called “software engineers” and the like, they are not engineers.
There is a saying that I like, a lot.
“The differences between Theory and Practice, are greater in practice, than in theory.”
The Real Engineers always, always, always, has to deal with practice, eg the real world.
Real Engineers cannot, for example, alter the modulus of elasticity of air, or the mass of a cubic foot of water, or the energy required to raise a load from point A to point B, etc etc etc etc.
99.99% of the problems the world faces right now, are down to the fact that there are no real engineers anywhere near any of the top levels of any group or organisation or sector in society.
BTW, even though my daily toil is connecting business to teh intertubes, the cisco kid, it isn’t engineering, I effectively retired from engineering over 20 years ago… not because there was no engineering work available, but because what there was, was so vastly undervalued, remuneration wise…. literally three days after telling their workshop manager (yours truly) that they can’t afford to increase my salary, which was already less than the fucking company secretary’s, the directors *literally* took delivery of a brand new fleet of Porsche 944’s, one each.
I just packed all my tools in my van and drove away. Fuck em.
Of course, these were the cunts singing that oh so familiar refrain, they’d ask me some stupid question, or to do something stupid, or to do something for 25% of what it cost to do it properly, or in 25% of the time it took to do it properly, and I’d tell them “Can’t be done“… to which they always wanted to know “why not“, and of course any explanation as to why not was dismissed, that is just something else that could be done, if only this lazy fucking incompetent workshop manager of ours was any fucking good, so I’d just look at them and say “OK smart-ass, *you* show *me* how it is fucking done….” but but but, that’s what we pay YOU for… make it so.
That business has changed hands about six times since then, of course the only reason it is still trading at all is location, it is literally the only one around, and the topology of the land means that isn’t going to change.
I’m at a fucking site today and I overhear a conversation about a customer, some cunt has bought a 4 kW 3-phase ice maker, only trouble is, he only has a single phase supply, which can deliver the power, just not the way this machine wants it, so the cunt goes to his supplier and asks them to price up a single phase to three phase inverter….
In reality, even though I ain’t a fucking sparky, this guy’s cheapest option would have been to get a 5 kW 3-phase alternator and direct couple it to a 6 kW single phase synchronous motor, well, second cheapest option.
Cheapest option would have been to buy a fucking single phase icemaker, or see about converting the 3 phase one to single phase, which may or may not have been viable.
So the site itself, just being a supplier / distributor, is looking for what the customer asked for, an “inverter” and what they are getting is loads of boat stuff, DC to AC, and a lot of motive power stuff, eg VFD stuff.
Blind leading the fucking blind.
Hey, what the fuck do I know, I’m there to fix teh intertubez, right…
My mind went straight back to old Bob Thomas, dead many a year now, but he was alive and still trading in the late seventies / very early eighties, and people would walk in and ask him how much that over there is and ask him if he has this in stock and ask him if he can get a such and such, and ask him if he could get a thing to do this, just so……..
He never greeted people who walked in, just did a sort of inverted nod, where he nodded up instead of down, and made a small grunt, so the only speaking done so far was by the prospective customer.
Bob would then speak.
and he’d just look at them, and ignore everything else they said, except maybe if they were still there a minute later “You still ‘ere boy? You deaf? No? Then Fuck Off.”
I nearly screwed my own personal relationship with Bob, if I bumped in to someone, especially some one from the cities, looking for what Bob sold, I take them to Bob’s, just to watch their faces.
If, however, you walked into Bob’s and put your wallet / chequebook on the counter, and said (and this is in the 1970’s mind ewe) “Hey, I’ve got a ’39 Jampot Norton and I need a gearbox output bearing, layshaft and 2nd and 3nd pinions, aset of bottom end shells and a pair of valve guides” he say ok, I can do all that for ee boy, but you shure you don’t want a 59 AMC gearbox, much better, got one ere somewhere, only fifty quid?
And yes, he would have everything on your list, some of it having been in stock since 1930 when his dad ran the place.
Bob may have looked like an old fart manning the store, but he was an engineer back in the day, and his standard approach to anyone who did not treat everything as an engineering problem at heart was to tell them to fuck off.
Earning £100 a week and spending £101 is an engineering problem at heart, yeah, there is some math in there, but the money is just a means, the truth is you are sinking, slowly…
To the engineer this is literally no different to saying I am extracting 100 litres of water a week from the well to the holding tank, but I am drawing 101 litres a week from the holding tank…. obviously this can continue only as long as there are any reserves in the holding tank…
To the engineer, there is no such concept as “nearly a virgin”, “nearly able to fly”, “nearly able to float” where “nearly” means anything other than “a miss is as good as a mile”.
Not a virgin, won’t fly, won’t float.
Sure, two of those three, all other things being equal, can probably be worked on enough that we can change nearly to barely, but the emphasis is on “worked on”, it will no longer be the same thing as it was previously.
Which is why engineers love and use concepts like prototypes and versions, eg Mk1 and Mk2 when in productions, and EP1, EP2, etc PP1, PP2 etc when in engineering and production prototype stage.
If EP1 does not float, and EP2 does float, to the engineer, floating or sinking are not the only differences, to the engineer, EP1 and EP2 are completely different beasts, and floating or sinking is merely one of many possible ways of categorising these differences.
No engineer will exhibit the least surprise at a statement such as the Mk1 and Mk2 Ford Escort both have 77,000 individual components, but only 37,000 in common, eg you can’t take a “wiper motor mount” from a Mk1 and fit it to a Mk2, or vice versa.
I doubt that there are more than 1,000 components from the Mk1 VW Golf that are in common with a Mk7 VW Golf, and I’ll lay long odds that 99% of them are fungible super generic things like fasteners (nuts and bolts), not even generic things likes electrical fuses or lamps.
Prototypes are also beloved by engineers because the models and designs never, ever, ever, ever, tell the whole story, or even the truth.. see one of my favourite sayings that this started out with.
Another truism is that the less competent you are at something, the more likely you are to over-estimate your actual level of competence.
EG, the worse your fucking model, the closer to the real world you probably fucking think it is.
In my days at sea I learned all the basic “knots”, which come in three varieties, stays knotted, un-knots easily on demand, modified or adapts something.
An splice stays joined/knotted.
A reef knot is stays knotted until you want to undo it, but it undoes easy, no matter the load (that was) on it.
A carrick bend joins two different sizes of rope.
The guy who taught me knots would ask, have you got that down pat?
If you said yes, he would tell you to use that knot, and then risk your life on it, if you balked, you went back to learning it better…. his attitude was simple, other guys will have their safety affected by your knots, why shouldn’t you put your own body on the line first?
It all becomes much more “interesting” after you have demonstrated a 500lb test line lifting 5 cwt, then an identical piece from the same line breaking when trying to lift 3cwt, just by having a knot tied in it.
Rigging was the same thing, lift a big object like a piece of pipe with two chains joining into one lift chain, and the angle of the two chains determines how much of their original SWL they could carry, cutting it (SWL) by 70% or 80% wasn’t hard.
Again, you find guys who have worked with this shit for years have all seen ropes / cables and chains part at 10% of the load theory said they should have at that particular application.
Ditto fasteners, a 5/16″ steel bolt will carry a ton under tension easy, *most* of the time, I have seen 5/16″ steel bolts break in practice just under 1 cwt of load, you only gotta see it once to get real leery.
A six inch chain (anchor type, not drive type) link weighs around 350 Kg per link, a four incher about 90 Kg per link, a three incher is around 39 Kg per link, which just happens to also be about 39 Kg per foot, and 3″ is used quite a lot of 250 ton cranes on board (3 inch chain will test to 340 ton) for the final stage, so you will get 30 foot sections of this shit, you’re looking at 12,000 Kg there, all ready to accelerate at 9.81 metres per second squared downwards, and trust me, I have seen it drop 25 metres to a heavy steel cargo deck, it makes one FUCK of a racket, and the guys below wearing hard hats, they weren’t hit, but two of them literally shit themselves, and I don’t blame them one bit, and the whole crew walked off, straight into the bar, and not only do I not blame them, I joined them, even though I wasn’t responsible in any way for the cranes or lifting, even though I happened to be up on the main deck at the time.
You see a common theme here, the real engineers are always / regularly in contact with the real world, the ones who don’t get it, aren’t….
The REAL world is if you need to take home 250 a week to eat, keep a roof over your head and so on, and if you don’t take home 250 then nobody and nothing helps you, you go without, progressively all the way down to nothing, eg death through starvation or exposure or something.
The other world is where the Fed prints moar money, the State effectively pays you to churn out womb turds, your “home” becomes an ATM, cars and things are stuff you get by signing bits of paper, business and economy is something that doesn’t involve any manufacturing, just shuffling and taking a percentage, and the beat goes on.
Let’s look at Space-X for an example, credit where it is due, shit gets off the landing pad and so on and so forth, all good stuff.
But compared to an actual Russian heavy lift vehicle that can put your 3,000 Kg satellite into geo-stationary orbit NOW, it’s back to the old miss is as good as a mile, nearly a virgin, nearly flies, nearly floats.
Only a real engineer can understand just how *vastly* everyone else under estimates the significance of the old NASA / Apollo programme, Apollo was a fucking God, and so were all of those guys, least of all the astronauts themselves, who put a working fucking 4WD electric car on the fucking moon for fucks sake, over forty fucking years ago.
Now I am supposed to be impressed by a fucking Tesla or Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf? Give me a fucking break.
This is a classic example of how things have changed, even though the original story was fictional..
But fictional though it was, it *could* have been a true story..
Not *too* dissimilar, this was a true story.
Just imagine a 2014 remake of Ice Cold In Alex…. which was a true story..