|home||24 April 2012|
Technology generation gaps|
- a disdainful old guy,
- a young adult clutching his phone trying to show he is really at one with technology,
- and a kid just accepting it.
"the artist had defiantly consisdered the space he just hadn't 'pushed' it and i think because of this the work was not as exciting, and did not comment of society/ culture as much as it could of."
A comment on an art exhibition by a student studying Fine Art (BA) at Chelsea College of Art London. Draw your own conclusions.
"One of the disadvantages of the large-scale glass façades used in modern architecture is that they cause indoor temperatures to rise sharply in the summer. Air-conditioning already devours 15 percent of the total energy consumed in Europe, and more in the US."
What a sad state of affairs these days when Architects design Follies and Engineers struggle to make them work.
What happened in the last hundred years or so that we allow architects to foist
us off with buildings where -
1. Vasari the 16th century author in his famous 'Lives of artists' describes him as one of the first great technicians.
Now that we can use a CAD program to draw a part and a CNC mill to cut it out people seem to have lost the ability to see.
What else could explain their inability to recognise that the part as it comes off
the mill rarely looks like the CAD drawing.
The photo is an example from Japan. Were they in such a hurry to use the
bracket they didn't have time to clean up the edges?
They say that engineering's biggest problem is its own PR, and that may be true. But when it comes to the negative PR created by technology not working, blame the management. How many engineers, scientists and technologists of any sort are, at any one time, working on something which they know should never have been commissioned in the first place? The most obvious culprits of all, of course, seem to be our political leaders, but worse still are the industrial management which leaps in to offer to meet the most hare-brained requests even when they've got "potential disaster" written all over them?
There's always a string of firms queueing up to tender for every bridge, stadium or airport required to be built way past any previous price-performance benchmarks. But what gets me is when there's a scramble to get a contract when the technology obviously hasn't even been developed yet. The thinking goes like this: the client (a government, say) has a problem which needs solving through technology, and decides that the best way to find out if the technology exists is to ask "industry". Not wanting to miss out, industry gets its development engineers to rig up a small-scale development project and make it work, and then says "yep, we can scale that up as you require". And the next thing you know, every nurse is apparently going to be doing ward rounds clutching a tablet PC, every passport-holder is going to get their irises scanned, and every journey you make in your car is going to be monitored so you can be charged for it.
Or not. That's the trouble with technology, it never works properly, does it?
The Independent Weekly Product Information Guide for Product Design and Automation Engineers
ISSN 1470-627X - Free subscription
AMERICA'S WILLTO DO IS UP AGAINST AMERICA'S WILL TO SUE.
"While U.S. corporations are hiring lawyers" we heard a prominent CEO grumble recently, "the Japanese are hiring engineers".
That CEO isn't the only one grumbling. If you've ever wondered what happened to good old Yankee ingenuity and competitiveness, look in court.
Litigation costs American industry an estimated $300 billion each year. And costs to our country in lost competitiveness and lost opportunities may be even more dramatic.
For example, product liability insurance costs for American manufacturers often are 20 to 50 times higher than those for foreign firms. 25% of U.S. manufacturers have discontinued product research, and 15% have laid off workers as a direct result of product liability. Yet, each year more new lawyers graduate from U.S. law schools than work in all of Japan. America now has 70% of all the world's lawyers, a federal caseload that has tripled during the last 20 years, and a Congress (45% lawyers) too paralyzed to act. What can you do about it? Join with us.
It's time to reconvince Americans that the best way to create wealth is to make something, not sue somebody.
In praise of freedom
When my father died earlier this year, I wondered what it was that helped create such a strong bond between us. Our bond went deeper than the love between a father and son. One of the things that I think contributed to that, and that I most thank my Dad for, is the freedom he gave me to try new things, to experiment, and to fail.
Once when I was eight or nine, some friends and I disassembled a large dry cell in the basement just to see what was inside. If we knew what was inside, maybe we could make our own batteries. The black powdery insides of the battery went all over the floor, permanently staining the concrete. When he discovered what we had done, Dad gave us a lecture about placing newspapers under experiments and then he showed us how to make a battery out of a lemon and a stack of coins.
At about the same time, Dad helped out when we had trouble setting up a telegraph from one bedroom to another. Dad let us run strands of thin wire salvaged from an old transformer to make the connection. When the telegraph didn't work and we didn't know why, Dad told us about the high resistance in the thin wire and suggested using heavier wire. He never said a word about how we had "neatly" stapled and taped the wires to the hall molding. Instead he suggested running the new wires out one window and in another to avoid tripping people in the hall. We got the point. The newly wired telegraph worked the first time.
Some years later, my brother Chris decided to build his own submarine with which he could explore the harbor near where we lived. Chris was about 12. Dad knew the submarine would sink, but he gave Chris the freedom to build it and to take over half the garage as he did. Dad drew the line at launching the sub from the town dock and instead took us to a shallow beach where the submarine dove into two feet of water and never surfaced on its own power — or ours. Even though the sub had failed, Chris had the opportunity to try it. He went on to take up scuba diving and enjoyed it for many years.
As I look at my own children, I hope that I've given them the freedom they need to develop their own personalities and interests. Although no parent likes to see a child fail, part of freedom is watching offspring try, fail, try something new, and eventually, we hope, succeed. Encouragement and praise play roles, too. Along with the enjoyment of freedom comes the responsibility to pass it on to others without condition. Then it's up to them to decide what to do with it.
Jon Titus, Editor - EDN May 21, 1992 p55