pic: Graduation Present

A graduation present I received from a friend. Pretty much sums up engineering, all that left is some mountain dew and a laptop.

The 2 main things you need to fix anything in your house(dorm or apartment)

What’s that old saying… “If it moves and it shouldn’t use duct tape, if it doesn’t move and it should use WD-40”

I think they forgot the zip ties…

I always found a hammer to work better for things that don’t move and should. I guess mileage will vary.


Truth be told, a hammer can make things that shouldn’t move and do stop being so darn mobile.

I guess the perfect engineers solution is to replace the WD-40 and the duct tape with a hammer. No need for 2 things you have to keep replacing when you can use one that just keeps on hitting.


It’s funny to joke, but I think it’s also worth remembering that engineering IS serious business, and people’s lives will probably at some point depend upon your work. My lead likes to say, “We use a lot of engineering judgement. And in a lot of cases, we’ll never know we made the right call. But if we make the wrong one…”

(I’m doing commercial jet stability & control)

“If all else fails, get a bigger hammer.” - Killer Bees proverb

But a hammer doesn’t work in all cases, often, a hammer could also make things worse ::ouch::

Not to be a kill joy, but engineering is serious business.

There is a reason we have professional associations. If you screw up, you can, and will get people killed. Many jobs in this profession cause sleepless nights.

This is meant as a reminder for all graduating FIRSTers who intend on jumping into engineering. You will be doing some of the most important work in the world, and it is highly rewarding, but don’t forget your duty to protect society from the risks of invention.

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Not to sound like I’m blowing you off but I think most of us KNOW engineering is serious business. We also know that sometimes you have to laugh and joke around. The balance between the two is important to keeping yourself being productive and happy.

I hate to argue this point, but it really depends on what you’re doing. Most engineers won’t be working in truly life-critical applications. There are tons of engineers working on designing computer games, productivity apps, consumer PC’s, and consumer appliances that don’t risk killing someone. I really doubt the engineer that designed my blender at home worried about it killing someone. Taking off a finger maybe (and then only to protect the company from idiots who misuse the product), but not killing. Those that choose to do so knowing the stress involved. I work in an industry were, quite literally, a mistake in one of our products will kill our customer. But fortunately, our products save thousands of lives every day, and increase the quality of life for thousands, which is a rewarding experience all its own. I knew that when I started here. I knew the difference in stress and the affect I would have on people’s lives between taking a job here versus somewhere like Microsoft.

Lets try not to scare the kids away before they even know what market segment they want to work in.

Yes, engineering is serious business. There is potential danger involved with building a machine. That said, sometimes it is appropriate to joke about something that is serious as long as everyone knows it is a joke. Anybody that frequents this forum should know that an engineer needs more then a hammer so I suppose I’m making the assumption that anyone reading this should know I was joking. I’ve heard many professional engineers say something along the lines of “You only need two things. (blank) if it isn’t moving and should be. And (blank) if it is moving and shouldn’t”. In general, I’ve found engineers to have a good sense of humor that helps them deal with the stress that they go through every day. That said, this thread reminded me of a video I re-discovered recently when searching youtube for “chiefdelphi” by mistake. Some of you might remember it. I think its pretty clear what part of the video I was reminded of.


Just for the sake of argument, I’m relatively certain that someone thought about the effects of accidentally immersing a blender in the sink, while connected to mains power.

I dunno, plugs near water have those breakers that trip off if something plugged into them is in water don’t they?

I don’t believe all do, only the ones in my bathroom have breakers apart of the outlet itself.

Our kitchen has a few and we also have an outlet in our garage that is somehow connected to a ground fault breaker in the bathroom above it so you might be surprised.

That’s really not a concern for the engineers. Sure, dropping just about anything plugged into an outlet into the sink or bathtub is bad (and now that I said that, someone’s bound to give a counter example). However, at least here in the US, that’s completely covered by the National Electrical Code, which is reviewed/amended every 3 years, and is required to be followed by law in most states. GFI circuits have been required on all outlets serving counters near sinks in the kitchen since 1987, and in bathrooms since 1975.

Rather, the results of dropping your appliance in a body of water is usually something that a company’s marketing, legal, or compliance department worries about, and simply applies to the labeling materials that accompany the product - something the Engineer might never even see.