Category Archives: engineering

I, civil servant II

Although I don’t think I had mentioned it, but can’t remember (which shows what comes of leaving your blog alone for too long), I had been for some time looking for a new posting in the State service. To my enjoyment, last Thursday it came true.

I am now posted to the Health Department as an engineer, environmental. This difference is quite significant for me, as the old one (civil) wasn’t what I went to school for and made me feel out of place.1

In this case, good things did come to those who waited, since I was passed over for one position further north, but made a good enough impression to be recommended by those interviewers for a new position open closer to where I was working already. An interview and some paper shuffling on their part and I was offered the position!

Now I get to go through another year long probational period, but all told I think it will be a nice one. I no longer have a half-office but a full cubicle in the back of the back of a building that houses another State function. Not bad, only there is no way to open the windows and get fresh air, but I can survive I think (:

Your author.


  1. Note that my co workers and supervision did not contribute to this problem, only the my self. 
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A new paper game for engineers

Here is a new game for science and engineering, to determine between two people:

Supply:

  • Two pairs of scissors. If someone is left-handed, they should have left-handed scissors.
  • A large sheet of paper with perfect 90° corners
  • Some witnesses
  • A planimeter or something like it

Instructions:

  1. Select by mutual agreement the distance in from the edge to cut. For an A4 or 8½ × 11, maybe 3 cm or 1 in.
  2. At the same time, start each person starts cutting a strip off their side of the paper by using the scissors.
  3. When complete, the witnesses use the planimeter to determine the variation from a true straight line of each of the two cuts. The person with the smallest total area above and below the perfect line wins.
  4. If both are identical, the person who did it using fewer cuts wins.
  5. If both are identical, the person who did it more quickly wins.

This is best done with waste or scrap paper that is blank on one side, to prevent paper waste.

As an advantage over the other paper based game, rock-paper-scissors, it is based on skill and not chance.

Put that in your car and smoke it!

Browzing the backfile tuned up this gem from July 2, 1921:

11152017

For smokers

A little searching turns up the founder of the firm as a Charles Cuno, originally of Berlin. Further, his company, Cuno Engineering Corporation, was involved in a patent law case than ended up at the Supreme Court (!) and was decided in 1941, seen in raw text here.

Essentially, and as far as I can understand the Court’s writing, not being lawyerly, the dispute was over a reel-less version that superseded this one. Someone who knows the law or doesn’t fall asleep reading it is welcome to comment here.

Unfortunately, the ad does not list the names of the “seventeen well known makes of cars” that use this, but does encourage distracted driving!

 

Further grand motherly adventures

I am slowly cleaning out my grand mother’s attic and outbuildings. One of these outbuildings has always been storage for old things, and the other was supposed to store a riding lawn mower, but never did. Found this (Columbus day) time:

  • The wooden shell of an old television console that had belonged to her… niece? Anyway, it was full of old irons and was otherwise crapped up.
  • Three bags of completely set up concrete.
  • One unopened bag of rock salt for ice melting.
  • Two old 1 room school house desks.
  • A hole in the roof.
  • Ten t0ns of stink bugs.
  • Suprizingly few wasps and bees.
  • Miscellaneous wood scraps of no value.
  • Empty boxes and old styrophoam packaging inserts.

I am sure I’ve forgotten some things, but a good deal of trash was taken out and discarded. One of the outbuildings can now be walked into maybe 3 meters. The one with the hole in the roof still has to be torn down, as there is a large tree taking the roof off.

As an aside, one of the buildings is wired for electricity, and back in 2008 when a new roof was installed, the contractor unknowingly nailgunned through the Greenfield cable that ran the lights. This resulted in endless blown fuses until I was able to figure it out during a visit there. You can still see the writing on the cieling where I warn future users to not reconnect the wire. I should take that out someday.

New street light

Not a huge event, but the distribution company that serves my town replaced the street light across from my apartment building.

The old one was a probably 40+ year old HPS cobra head affair that had a bad lamp or ballast and kept turning on and off all night. I put in a work order for it, and in a surprizingly short time, they not only fixed it, but replaced it with a new LED full cutoff fixture.

I like the new white light cast. To my mind, sodium yellow I always associated with ugly neighborhoods you didn’t want to be in after dark. I have no idea if there is actually any correlation or not.

Sun day in the Park with Gibbs; or, I have no life and it’s all CarnotCycle’s fault

There are many data tables out there, that are unfortunately not transcribed into usable form, but are stuck as images that cannot be searched. A thermodynamical blog, CarnotCycle, has provided some of these here.

Having no entertainments of any lasting value, I’ve decided to transcribe that one into a common format, Microsoft Excel (2007+ file format). They are here: CarnotCycle-Thermodata.

Although he claims they are in SI, they aren’t. SI does not use the calorie as a unit of energy, instead using the joule. Similarly with degree centigrade and kelvin. I have added a tab to convert the semi-SI to full SI. Digit significance has been maintained while doing this.

I do not know what book he got them out of, so I have to request you cite them as coming from his blog, for now. If you want to credit me with the transcription, that is fine. Use your preferred/recommended/required citation style to do this.

Some notes:

  • Some values were given in parenthesis. In Excel, parentheses are used to indicate a negative number in accounting. I changed this format to gray background with center-aligned numbers.
  • One value was given with a question mark. This is marked with a red background.
  • One value is suspiciously positive, I have marked this with a yellow background.
  • Where needed, scientific notation is use to maintain the correct number of significant digits.