More in Editorial Comment

  • small change, big gains
    Oct 9, 2013

    Small change, big gains

    A recently released paperback from energy entrepreneur Thomas In Small Change, Big Gains, Stoner both gives a thorough background in the economics of energy production and floats a few ideas for developing business plans around climate change....More
  • Oct 3, 2013

    What Steve Jobs' biographer got right

    If you haven't already seen the movie about Steve Jobs' life, my advice would be not to bother. I lived through the early history of Jobs and Apple as an industry observer, and I found the movie to be pretty weak. I believe the creators were faced with a problem in bringing drama to the screen in that many of the important events in Jobs' life were basically business meetings. They were about as dramatic as most of the meetings you've undoubtedly taken part in yourself....More
  • Sep 16, 2013

    How a Mongolian 15-year-old aced an MIT circuits course 3

    The New York Times recently carried an interesting item about a 15-year-old Mongolian who, among other things, attended a pretty difficult circuits course given by MIT which was offered via MOOC (massively open online course)....More
  • Sep 3, 2013

    Why some degrees may be worthless 16

    Many of us who have been in the corporate world for awhile have encountered  a situation or two like this: You run into recent grads who don't seem to actually know much about subjects they were supposed to have mastered in school....More
  • Aug 16, 2013

    A logic lapse emerges in New York

    Alan Tonelson, a long-time source of topics for Machine Design commentaries, recently noticed a lapse in logic in a letter to the New York Times justifying the purchase of Chinese, rather than American, steel for refurbishing a bridge in New York....More
  • Aug 15, 2013

    Engineers, employers differ on availability of qualified job candidates 4

    Engineers and engineering employers have different opinions about whether not there are qualified candidates available for engineering jobs on offer....More
  • Aug 13, 2013

    Case study: Artist 3D prints tiny hammers

    Nimer Aleck comments on our culture of consumption through the juxtaposition of 3D printer technologies and handmade craftsmanship....More
  • Jul 31, 2013

    My visit with Manufacturing Revival Radio

    I was recently a guest on Manufacturing Revival Radio, a podcast that celebrates the resurgance of manufacturing. I hit on a variety of topics that include 3D printing, engineering employment, and STEM education. For those who are curious about my silly opinions, the podcast can be found here:
  • Jul 30, 2013

    Flying car takes flight

    The Terrafugia flying car recently got off the ground at the EAA AirVenture event in Oshkosh, Wis. It was the first time the car flew in public and the online publication AVweb was there shooting video. We've been covering Terrafugia's efforts for awhile so it's good to see them have some success....More
  • Jul 24, 2013

    Racing and 3D printing inspire superfast e-bike

    Performance motorcycles abound but all-electric versions could be coming to a dealership near you. Italian manufacturer CRP Group has plans to sell all-electric bikes starting in 2015. Billed the Energica, they integrate an array of 3D-printed and cutting-edge CNC-machined parts....More
  • Jul 19, 2013

    Apollo 11 landing site as tourist attraction? Homer Hickam thinks so

    Former NASA engineer Homer Hickam gained notoriety when his autobiography Rocket Boys was made into the movie October Skies (which is an anagram of the words ‘rocket boys’).  He has also gotten a lot of press for his criticisms of NASA, particularly those pointing out the poor design of the Space Shuttle propulsion configuration. Since his retirement from NASA, Hickam has become an accomplished novelist....More
  • Jul 19, 2013

    Rejected patents and recalls cost $9,364,401,650

    There's no doubt that bad product designs waste money. Now, design-software company Autodesk has assembled the hard data on just how much. Lost Opportunities Without 3D Product Design Software...More
  • Jul 15, 2013

    Understanding Smart Sensors

    The third edition of Understanding Smart Sensors recently came out. It is authored by Randy Frank, who I got to know back when he was an engineer working at Motorola's old Semiconductor Products division, which later became Freescale Semiconductor....More
  • Jul 10, 2013

    Pow! Wind turbine takes out rare bird

    Wind turbine promoters are fond of saying that modern turbines don't pose the same danger to birds as faster spinning versions of the 1980s. Try telling that to bird watchers gazing at a white-throated needletail in the UK recently. The bird had been seen only eight times there since 1846. A group of 40 enthusiasts in the Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland had gathered to take in the brown, black and blue bird, when it flew too close to a utility-scale wind turbine and ended up going kersplat on one of its blades....More
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