More in Editorial Comment

  • May 2, 2014
    Commentary

    How to get an engineering job at SpaceX

    SpaceX, the company founded to revolutionize space technology, has been making headlines recently with its successful test of the reusable Falcon 9 rocket, along with some pretty impressive video footage. In the latest test of its capabilities, the reusable rocket flies up to 3,280 ft and then lands safely....More
  • patents, patent war, google, apple, samsung, new zealand, innovation
    Apr 28, 2014
    Commentary

    New Zealand abolishes patents, and U.S. also gets it wrong 4

    Patent-infringement fights abound at a time when the winning strategy is to foster innovation....More
  • Apr 8, 2014
    Commentary

    No brats here: FIRST students smart and earnest 2

    A couple weeks ago at Cleveland's FIRST Robotics event, I got to meet about 250 high-school kids from about 30 out of the 57 school teams competing. They had great attitudes....More
  • Apr 2, 2014
    blog

    What's inside GM's recalled ignition switch 3

    We recently took a quick trip to a junk yard to get a steering column from a 2007 Chevy Cobalt. The steering column, of course, also comes with the ignition switch that is the source of GM's recent 1.5 million vehicle recall. We dissassembled the switch so you can see the source of the controversy....More
  • Mar 31, 2014
    blog

    The Art of Product Design

    An interesting book crossed my desk recently. Called "The Art of Product Design," by Hardi Meybaum, its title is perhaps a bit misleading. The phrase "art of design," for most engineers, might bring to mind discussions of blended curves and managing the product development process. But that's not at all what you'll find in Meybaum's book....More
  • Mar 19, 2014
    blog

    Infiniti searches for a few good Formula 1 engineers

    I continue to be amazed at the cool opportunties available for today's engineering school grads. The latest example comes from the Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy. In a quest to find the world’s best and brightest emerging engineering talent, the Academy is giving graduating engineering students the chance to apply for a one year assignment at Infiniti Red Bull Racing, the four-time Formula One World Championship-winning team (Milton Keynes, UK)....More
  • Mar 13, 2014
    blog

    Not buying it: Walmart Manufacturing Fund too cheap 2

    Today I got a press release from Walmart announcing a new program to fund innovations in U.S. manufacturing. It says the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund is focused on the development and growth of U.S. But I don't think Walmart is....More
  • Mar 12, 2014
    Commentary

    The state of R&D

    The consulting and market research firm Goldense Group, Inc. began researching industry practices in the areas of product creation, development, commercialization, and metrics in 1998. The firm recently completed the 2014 installment on research practices. The point of the exercise is to identify emerging practices likely to spread across industry....More
  • Mar 10, 2014
    Commentary

    Beware 3D printing? 5

    The warning in my headline comes from the financial publication Barron's magazine which, in its 3-10-14 issue, warns that 3D printing stocks are wildly overvalued....More
  • Feb 26, 2014
    Commentary

    Will it ever get warm enough to ride roller coasters? 1

    Our feature on wooden roller coasters in the February issue seems to rather popular. We owe the folks at the Gravity Group thanks for talking to us about their work. And we have heard a rumor that it may warm up enough to actually ride coasters again someday instead of just reading about them....More
  • Feb 14, 2014
    blog

    Engineers as TV stars: Here's how 1

    Here is one of the more interesting emails I've received in the past few days. These people are looking for engineers who can host a TV show. The casting director, Jennifer Cipperly, writes that they are "looking for three charismatic hosts for a new major-network series following boys building some serious toys. The three expert hosts will get to travel the country helping passionate amateurs make their machine dreams a reality....More
  • Jan 24, 2014
    blog

    Suit claims Silicon Valley firms conspired to hold down wages of techies 1

    Well, this is interesting. There is a lot of chatter this morning about a class action suit scheduled to come to trial in May which claims tech giants in Silicon Valley informally avoided hiring each other's tech employees. Over on pando.com, author Mark Ames relates that...More
  • Jan 23, 2014
    blog

    Are "weed-out" courses a good idea for engineering school? 27

    Most of use who have gone through engineering school have not-so-fond memories of "weed out" courses. These are classes set up to be so hard that they convince people who are not sufficiently stubborn to get out engineering and into some other less strenuous major. ...More
  • Jan 22, 2014
    Commentary

    Good for GM is good for Detroit: Separating wheat from chaff

    What's good for General Motors is good for the country, as they say. In this case, it was essential for survival that GM separated the wheat from the chaff — in the 2009 OldCo-NewCo restructuring — which kept moneymaking brands and divested stinker products losing money. Now, the people of Detroit could do the same thing for their city....More
  • Jan 17, 2014
    blog

    U.S. EE jobs decline --- Should we still encourage kids to pursue STEM? 3

    A recent article in the IT journal Computerworld has fanned the flames of the ongoing debate about the advisability of pursuing careers in engineering. The CW article doesn't bring to light any new data, but it shines a spotlight on the fact that the number of people working as electrical engineers in U.S. declined by 10.4% last year. CW figures that's a loss of about 35,000 jobs. ...More

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