More in Editorial Comment

  • Dec 16, 2013

    RIP Charles Vest

  • Dec 4, 2013

    How to build lab equipment with open-source hardware 4

    Joshua Pearce, an associate professor at Michigan Technological University, bemoans the "often extreme prices we pay for scientific equipment" and relates this anecdote:...More
  • Nov 19, 2013

    Does this $59 3D-printed figurine make me look fat?

    Artec Group now offers an online service at the website that lets you make accurate figurines of yourself and others. It uses a commercial 3D body sensor sold for use with the popular Xbox 360 gaming console to scope out your body and make a virtual 3D model of you....More
  • Nov 19, 2013

    More science & engineering degrees granted, but look behind the figures

    The number of students earning science and engineering (S&E) degrees is growing. According to a study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, between 2009 and 2013, students over the age of 26 showed a 25% growth rate in S&E bachelor’s degree completion. There was a 19% growth rate in S&E degrees among traditional-age students (those age 26 or under)....More
  • Nov 6, 2013

    Telepresence robot gives me wicked case of the giggles 6

    Yesterday I took a test drive of a remote-presence device made by Suitable Technologies, and met my esteemed colleague and fellow editor, Bill Wong, of Electronic Design. Here's what happened....More
  • Nov 5, 2013

    Who needs a calculator watch when you can get an oscilloscope on your wrist 5

    First came an oscilloscope small enough to fit in your hand. Now, from the same inventor, comes an oscilloscope built into an ordinary-sized wrist watch. Gabriel Anzziani in Sarasota, Fla. is trying to fund his 'wrist scope' project on Kickstarter. The gizmo is based on the same design as a palm-sized scope he has already devised....More
  • Oct 23, 2013

    Now you can own Batman's motorcycle

    For those who are both bike and Batman fans, a welder in Reno has put up on eBay a replica of Batman's motorcycle he's create. This custom bike is 100% electric, and is built around a modified 2002 Harley Davidson V-Rod frame....More
  • Oct 11, 2013

    Too many high achievers? 12

    There's a big push to promote college education among young people in the U.S. But is there such a thing as too many college graduates?...More
  • 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 6

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