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  • Jul 31, 2014
    blog

    The 7 Warning Signs of B(ogus) S(cience)

    For the past 17 years, Dr. Robert Park has been the leading force behind Quackwatch, a popular website that explores medical myths ranging from acupuncture to weight control gimmicks. He is also a professor of physics at the University of Maryland and director of public information for the American Physical Society. He developed a list of seven warning signs that indicate a claim is outside the bounds of scientific discourse and a good candidate for being a scam....More
  • Jul 28, 2014
    Commentary

    Boeing discriminating against older engineers? 1

    One union claims that Boeing is dismantling and disbursing their experienced commercial-engineering workforce for what seem to be “laughably superficial” business reasons … but the real reason it’s moving work to Russia, India, and domestic ‘centers of excellence’ — mostly non-union locations — is for the “wholesale purge of Boeing’s older workforce.”...More
  • Jul 25, 2014
    Commentary

    How to boost U.S. manufacturing jobs: Fake them 2

    Sometimes news coming out of Washington D.C. seems to defy common sense. At least that was my reaction to word about a proposal to call American firms that send production offshore “factoryless goods” producers. The problem is that if this idea gets implemented,  the value of U.S. brand-name products made elsewhere and imported here would be counted as manufacturing “services” imports, not imported goods. In other words, it would inflate figures for goods manufactured in the U.S....More
  • Jul 21, 2014
    Commentary

    Nine hardware pitches at San Francisco ‘Maker’ Startup Weekend 2

    Startup Weekend events are now pumping out hardware devices such as a NEST for pools and just-in-time liquor delivery systems....More
  • Jul 17, 2014
    Commentary

    Drones learn to observe environment and steer clear

    Late in 2012, maker-tinkerer and technical writer Paul Wallich created a buzz when he wrote about the drone he built to walk his son to the bus stop each morning. Fast-forward to 2014: Now researchers think they have a new way to make such UAVs and other vehicles more nimble in the face of environmental variables. The design uses neuromorphic sensors (that get triggered by sudden events) instead of the standard inertia-measuring sensors (such as accelerometers and gyroscopes) to track motion....More
  • Jul 17, 2014
    Commentary

    Today's STEM students are lucky

    Back in the age of dinosaurs when I was an engineering undergrad, the lab work generally ranged between uninspiring and discouraging....More
  • Jul 14, 2014
    Commentary

    Movie shows how Vermeer used engineering to paint perfection

    A movie is by inventor Tim Jenison and his friend Penn Jillette (the Vegas magician) documents eight years of work to recreate art by 17th-Century artist Johannes Vermeer. The art was most likely created through the use of a camera obscura....More
  • Jul 8, 2014
    Commentary

    Taking the window seats (and windows) from pilots and co-pilots

    Who would’ve thought that the glass-cockpit concept – the use of programmable displays to replace radar screens, dials, and navigational instruments – would lead to airline cockpits with no windows? It seems it has as Airbus, the European consortium that designs and builds airliners, filed last year for a patent on its windowless-cockpit concept....More
  • Jul 8, 2014
    News

    3D Printing for Hire: The Case of the Persnickety Prop 2

    Metrology and 3D-printing distributor Burton Precision helped University of Michigan researchers solve three major CAD problems, so they could make a plastic propeller for a human-powered submarine....More
  • Jul 8, 2014
    Commentary

    When a liberal arts degree isn't enough, bring on “experiential learning”

    There are unavoidable constants in life that usually are said to include death and taxes. To this list we should add old people complaining about younger generations. But when the complainers are business executives, a few entrepreneurial-minded educators sense an opportunity....More
  • Jul 3, 2014
    Commentary

    More automakers going with fiberglass springs 1

    Audi is in the news this week because it plans to start using suspension springs made of glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) in one of its cars before the end of the year. Audi says it developed the spring in collaboration with an Italian supplier....More
  • Jun 27, 2014
    Commentary

    Ten for STEM - Ten developments promoting science & technology learning

    Education in the area of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has been in the headlines as employers find it tough to uncover potential employees having STEM backgrounds. Efforts are underway to rectify perceived shortages in STEM fields. Notice of several such initiatives recently crossed our desk. Here is a quick update on what's going on:...More
  • Jun 24, 2014
    Commentary

    6 engineering challenge web sites 3

    Global collaboration is now in full swing as open innovation network challenges appear all over the web. Have you stepped up to solve an online engineering challenge?...More
  • Jun 23, 2014
    Commentary

    In a world ... without harnessed electricity ... TESLA

    Nikola Tesla was the greatest inventor of the 19th and 20th centuries, and some aim to give him his due credit at last....More

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