Advertisement
The Soapbox
Subscribe to The Soapbox
View Sample

FREE Email Newsletter

Please turn out the lights

April 24, 2013 9:18 am | by Krystal Gabert, Editor, Food Manufacturing | Blogs | Comments

When I was a child, my brother and I would play a little game, flipping on light switches and counting the minutes until my dad turned them off. He told us that someday we’d pay the electric bill and he’d have the last laugh, watching us pad around turning out lights just like he had.

Should engineers be licensed?

April 22, 2013 2:20 pm | by Karl Stephan, Consulting Engineer, Texas State University, San Marcos | Blogs | Comments

Not long after I chose electrical engineering as a major in college, someone asked me if I was planning to take the EIT exam. What was that? It stands for “engineer in training” and it is the customary first step in obtaining a Professional Engineer (PE) license. To the best of my recollection, it didn’t cost that much and I went ahead and took it....

Ubiquitous computing: A gadget for every body part

April 19, 2013 12:50 pm | by Stephanie Carmichael, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

As a culture, we’re obsessed with cool gadgets, and we’ve come a long way from the household coffeemaker. Now we’re creating motion-sense devices that can control others from afar with just a flick of the wrist. Enter the Myo armband, which shows how dependent on technology we’ve become. We want to do everything with one fancy gizmo.

Advertisement

We all need Google Fiber

April 15, 2013 1:16 pm | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net | Blogs | Comments

Almost a year ago, Google launched its first broadband internet network, Google Fiber, in Kansas City (the Kansas and Missouri versions both), with speeds that severely overshadowed currently-available cable and DSL providers for a fraction of the cost. Consumers were able to sign up for 1 gigabit download speeds for a mere $70 a month.

Silicon Valley has nothing on manufacturing

April 12, 2013 5:45 pm | by David Mantey, Executive Editor, PD&D | Blogs | Comments

Manufacturing floors don’t have Lego stations and pool tables — and yes, OSHA may take issue with throwing empty cans from the mini bar into the same bin as the scrap metal from the lathe, but that doesn’t mean that the industry has any fewer engineers flocking to it.

Who’s the fool? – Profound discoveries or elaborate pranks

April 11, 2013 9:44 am | by Chris Fox, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

We all know the old adage that surrounds the first day of April. We’ve all taken part in or fallen victim to an April Fools prank at some point. In the contemporary realm, April Fools has taken on an entirely different persona. April 1 used to be a day where the bully in school could yell out the hallmark and get away with tripping you in the hallway (kind of)....

BIL Gates and the BioBrick Foundation: A new paradigm for biotechnology?

April 2, 2013 11:15 am | by Karl Stephan, Consulting Engineer, Texas State University, San Marcos | Blogs | Comments

No, that’s not a typo in the headline. I’m not talking about the founder of Microsoft, though he is no doubt the reason that biotechnology researcher Drew Endy decided to name his new computer-in-a-cell devices Boolean Integrase Logic gates (BIL for short).  The technology, which I’ll get to in a minute, is fascinating on its own.

Looking forward on Ethernet's 40th anniversary

April 2, 2013 10:24 am | by John D’Ambrosia, Chairman and Board of Directors, Ethernet Alliance Chief Ethernet Evangelist, CTO Office, Dell | Blogs | Comments

Ethernet this year is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and anniversaries are typically the time to celebrate the past. But with so much innovation and development percolating across the global Ethernet ecosystem, there is little time for the technology’s vast array of stakeholders to look back on its successes.

Advertisement

Post-Sandy legislation: Backup generators would prevent long gas lines

March 28, 2013 4:12 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Five months have passed since Superstorm Sandy, and legislators are nipping around the edges of bolstering the fuel distribution system so more gas can get to the consumer in the case of a widespread power outage or other state of emergency.

Is re-industrialization the key?

March 28, 2013 2:27 pm | by Tom McNamara, Assistant Professor of Operations Management, Rennes School of Business | Blogs | Comments

Most economists agree that the “Great Recession” of 2008 ended sometime around August 2009, and while the economy has been slowly recovering, unemployment still appears to be a stubborn problem. The headline rate is just a shade under 8 percent, which translates into a little over 12 million Americans out of work.

Replenishing the “brain drain”

March 28, 2013 9:26 am | by Paul Michalicka, SKF USA Inc. | Blogs | Comments

It is a phenomenon that is referred to with a catchy rhyme: “the brain drain.” Older workers are leaving companies, taking their experience and knowledge with them. And, for various reasons, the reservoir is not being refilled at the same rate. Knowledge leaves, and the tank threatens to go dry.

Nuclear power: The future of human civilization

March 25, 2013 10:23 am | by Tom Ligon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

This is not an article about the environment. This is not an article about oil. This is an article about the long-term future of human civilization. Are you with me so far? Are you in favor of human civilization having a future, not just for another hundred years, but for thousands ... tens of thousands?

Level the playing field between retailers and e-tailers

March 20, 2013 9:38 am | by Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring | Blogs | Comments

As a former local elected official, I know that tax revenues need to come from somewhere and that they should be levied on as fair a basis as possible. It’s a delicate balance, one that does not come easily. Government must be responsible in its spending and should not abuse its authority to effect change in the marketplace....

Advertisement

Fighting to reclaim manufacturing in America

March 19, 2013 1:34 pm | by Kristopher Settle, Energy Curtailment Specialists | Blogs | Comments

American manufacturing is battling for its vitality right now. Yes, the industry is still a global juggernaut; producing 18.2 percent of all manufactured goods, which tops the list globally (still over half a percent more than China).

An itch for telecom reform

March 18, 2013 5:00 pm | by Brian Santo, Editor-in-Chief, CED magazine | Blogs | Comments

More than two decades after the Cable Act of 1992, and almost that long since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, it appears that the sentiment that it’s time for wide-ranging, substantive telecom reform is beginning to coalesce among legislators.

Unleashing engineering creativity: The Kano model

March 18, 2013 2:32 pm | by Joe Berk, Principal Member, Eogogics Engineering Faculty | Blogs | Comments

How do we decide which features to include in new products? That’s a great question. If we miss important features or include unnecessary features, customers will reject our products. If we include unexpected and exciting features, though, we can delight customers and jump ahead of the competition.

Is the Nobel Prize obsolete?

March 14, 2013 9:29 am | by Cynthia Fox, Bioscience Technology | Blogs | Comments

Over the last few months, the Nobel Prize has generated much controversy—again. More than 3,000 scientists contributed to the most high profile science event of 2012: the discovery of the Higgs boson subatomic particle. Yet the Nobel can only be split between three laureates. Was the Nobel Prize finally obsolete, the press fretted, in one angst-ridden blog after another?

Will future technology herald "the end of insight"?

March 11, 2013 9:08 am | by Chris Fox, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

We all know the cliché regarding the robot apocalypse – we’ve even taken a few stabs at it on the Engineering Newswire. As we broach the crest of technology that operates upon the barrier between autonomous and thinking, it is easy to see the inevitability of crossing over. Immersing ourselves in a world not far off from Futurama, where robots have personalities and rights (sort of).

Learn from success too

March 7, 2013 9:20 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Blogs | Comments

Too easily, we forget that we should also examine how we achieve those occasional perfect outcomes. As we immerse ourselves in continuous process improvement, we get in the habit of tearing down and examining everything that doesn’t meet expectations, go according to plan, or work efficiently enough.

USA claims dubious honor: World's top spammer

March 5, 2013 5:29 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

That slick email from the Nigerian prince promising fabulous riches just might originate from Peoria, USA. According to research from SophosLabs, the United States of America – home of baseball, apple pie, and spam, apparently – sent 18.3% of the world’s junk mail.

Marketing schemes through the Google [looking] glass

March 5, 2013 9:14 am | by Chris Fox, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Last June, Google announced a unique device that is supposed to incorporate their technology into your everyday life. In fact, their sights seem to be set on invading every moment your eyes are open with convenient updates, recording capabilities, and, of course, an easy-to-use search engine.

Obama’s brain project: A hall of mirrors?

March 5, 2013 9:04 am | by Karl Stephan, Consulting Engineer, Texas State University, San Marcos | Blogs | Comments

One of the famous line drawings of the artist M. C. Escher portrays a realistically drawn hand holding a pencil. The line drawn by the pen turns out to be the cuff of a shirt sleeve, from which emerges a second hand ... which grows out of the paper somehow and holds a pencil, whose line is the cuff of a shirt sleeve, from which emerges the first hand.

Pass the Marketplace Fairness Act

February 27, 2013 3:35 pm | by Rex Solomon, Houston Chronicle | Blogs | Comments

On July 1, 2012, online retail giant Amazon.com began collecting and remitting state sales taxes in Texas. As a small-business owner and president of Houston Jewelry, I can say from experience that this was cause for celebration in the Texas retail community.

Re-understanding “integrated” supply chain

February 19, 2013 1:08 pm | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Blogs | Comments

Somewhere along the way, it became the norm to give up control of component supply and call it “business improvement.” Re-think the standard mode of buying stuff from others if you can do it yourself.

Engineering the future: Do we know what we’re doing?

February 19, 2013 12:53 pm | by Karl Stephan, Consulting Engineer, Texas State University, San Marcos | Blogs | Comments

I assume many of my readers are either engineers or interested in engineering and its effects on society, so what I am about to say may surprise you. It is simply this: Engineers are playing a role in American society that may end American society as we have known it up to now. Let me explain.

X
You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.
Loading