Strength through education

Regarding your mention of the new class called “Industrial Distribution” at a local college in Cleveland in your July 27 eNewsletter, it's nice to hear about a small local college doing something good for the community and themselves. Cleveland needs that for sure. Here in the Chicago area they could also benefit from a program like that.
Mike Korkowski
Antioch, Ill.

One thing leads to another

Regarding your article about global warming in your recent eNewsletter of July 11, I can see a day down the road when solar power really begins to become commonplace.

The headlines will probably say something like, “We are stealing so much of the sun's energy that the earth is cooling down. We are worried about the return of the Ice Age.” When we try to find a solution to that, it will probably be something like, “We must release more Freon into the atmosphere so the ozone layer will open up some more, and let more of the sun's power in.”
Bob Farley
Ashburnham, Mass
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Not our responsibility to govern use

Comments in our September 7 eNewsletter spurred a slew of thoughts about the responsibilities engineers have over their designs and their future uses. Read on to hear what other engineers say.

Your comments in your recent eNewsletter sound like thought control disguised as intellectual property rights ownership.

This idea proffers speech/mind control at a refined level. There is no solution for design theft. People are copycats.

Let me say, without reservation, if you show someone else your work, your engineering is out of your control already. Subsequent actions are merely damage control.

This is plainly evident with so called counterfeit goods that proliferate world markets. As you said, the Government Accountability Office can't keep track of weapons; IP courts can't keep IP safe either.

The fact is, thoughts like yours (and the current administration) spread these control laws like there is no end of ink and paper.

However, those who will follow the law, don't/won't break the law without more new laws.

Those that will not follow the (new or old) law don't usually care. They won't be inconvenienced in the least. They do what they do.

A few dummies will go to prison for appearing to spread controlled information, but the abusers will never pay or see a day in court.

It's not the theft, it's the system…In the US we now have a system of laws, not people that can't work (aren't working).

Sorry to quake your world with a heavy dose of reality; it doesn't mean you can't have fun in engineering!!

The joy is in the accomplishment — not controlling the copycats and subsequent fallout.

If you don't want to share/spread it — keep it to yourself. Good advice for the flu, too.
Allen Thomas
Alden, Ill.

I read your editorial. I don't think we can force our employers or our governments to make good “use” of our developments once they are out of our hands. Our responsibility should be like in some sports to raise a yellow flag!
M. Jocelyn Larocque,
Bathurst, N.B., Canada

Your editorial contains lots of inferences and little background or facts. So we should stop developing new technology and let the enemy catch up? Or better yet, put something in each that only lets those intended use it.
Norm Kopp
Wisc.

Regarding your article, unfortunately, it is a bit like trying to put the genie back in the bottle. Many engineering feats such as nuclear arms designs, formulae for explosives, means of surveillance, sophisticated computer programs, etc., are already in the public domain.

Over the years huge quantities of armaments have been sold and distributed all over the world by Russia, France, other European countries and by the USA. This year's “friend” is next year's enemy, e.g. the Taliban.

The engineering community does not have the power to prevent this dissemination. Indeed in this era of easy communication perhaps no one does. God help us all.
Janet Devine
West Chester, Pa.

The question must be: should we?

I appreciate your thoughts. Not only do we as engineers often fail to ponder the long term consequences of our activities, our society tends to approach technology with the question, “Can we?” and seldom do we ask, “Should we?”'
Harold Chaney
Wadesboro, N.C.