Go over to the Bad Astronomer’s site and take a look at this video that somebody took of the shuttle launch. It was taken from airliner through the window and shows a spectacular and different viewpoint of the launch. Great stuff.
Unfortunately this isn’t the movie War Games. The video link below (WordPress won’t let me embed it) is an amazing animations of all the nuclear explosions that took place up to 1998. It is a bit slow until the 50′s, then it really does look like the scenarios that WOPR simulated in the movie. I had no idea that that many warheads were set off and I find it a bit amazing that all those had to be detonated. Was this research or were we just showing off?
Too much can be indistinguishable from arrogance, too little and you are pegged as needing hand-holding. A good engineer needs to find a balance that matches the needs of the company–or more important, the supervisor–while keeping within his ability.
I’ve seen both extremes fail miserably and in most cases they never understood what they were doing wrong. The know-it-all seems to know everything except his job and the fact that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. He certainly doesn’t know that he’s alienating those more seasoned engineers around him who really do know what they’re doing.
The engineer lacking initiative comes off as needing constant supervision and pushing to get anything done. And he does need those things. So the burden is put on the supervisor or the senior engineer to get any solid product out of the timid engineer.
Though much of both sorts comes from personality, both can improve and move to some middle ground where there is enough initiative to get stuff done but not so much that they go off half-cocked. Unfortunately both entail close supervision with appropriate corrections. The real trick is to couch those corrections in a way that encourages rather than initiates their defenses.
So… If anybody knows how to pull off this trick, drop us a comment. Cuz I don’t seem to be having much luck.
This is a little off-topic, but take a look at this link: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/begin/cells/scale/ A visual way to understand scale and the size of small things without having to use analogies.
Since I’m already off topic, here is another thing that I came upon that is quite amazing: I had heard about Caledonia crows before, where they use the road and cars to crack nuts, but these rooks are creepy smart. Tool-using and a bit of Archimedes in there as well.
This is another of those situations where I don’t know whether I’m just being an old fogey engineer (with poor memory of my engineering youth) or whether the new breed really are as clueless as they seem. I do know that I’m not alone in my opinion.
We have some three hundred bright young interns in our organization and maybe ten wandering around the office in their short sleeves, flip-flops (the girls), work boots or sneakers (the boys), and seemingly unaware of the tie and suit clad professionals around them.
Yeah, I know, they weren’t hired for their looks. But part of their job is to represent the very large corporation or the government. And as pragmatic as some of our management is about dress, first impressions do still count and for the younger engineer who has yet to build a good reputation, it is best to make that first impression a good one.
I guess I shouldn’t just pick on the younger generation. One of our own actually went to an interview for a promotion wearing an old sweater, no tie, and old pants. The rating official took this to mean that the guy didn’t give a shit. He didn’t get the job.
So what is going on? Do these people just not give a shit? Are they just oblivious to the obvious standards being displayed all around them? Or do they just think it doesn’t apply to them?
I don’t have the answer, but I do have a bit of advice for these people. If you want to be an unprofessional slob, just make sure you’re a first class engineer first. That will buy you some rights to wander around like a hungover frat boy.
Oh, and if a senior engineer or supervisor jokes about you not wearing a tie, he isn’t joking.