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  1. #41
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    Wernher von Braun inventing the liquid-fueled rocket (and then being smuggled back into the US at the end of WWII to develop rocket technology for the US)

    Ever heard of Robert Goddard? He did it first.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Goddard

    "Goddard launched the first liquid-fueled rocket on March 16, 1926 at Auburn, Massachusetts.

    Wehrner von Braun relied on Goddard's plans when he developed the V-2 rockets during World War II [3]. Before 1939, German scientists would occasionally even contact Goddard directly with technical questions."

    Goddard might have been some help to the US during the Space Race but he died towards the end of WWII. You all might want to also read the criticism of Goddard's work by the New York Times.

    Even back then the "Gray Lady" didn't have its head and butt wired together.

    Gene

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    Funny, I have never heard anybody complain about a shortage of trial lawyers!

    Thermo1

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    William E Williams,
    While there are differences in efficiency between refrigerants, and R134a is not as efficient as R12, I do not think R 134a takes twice the power of R12.

    I am not even sure what refrigerant my GE refrigerator takes. It too had to be replaced. It was long enough ago that it might have taken R22 or R12.

    Thermo1

  4. #44
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    Some points:
    Mercedes these days are not the Mercedes of old, that survived being taxis in Africa. The ones made in the last 10-15 years are junk, and the tieup with Chrysler is a part of it. Example - ML430 SUV - bought brand new by my Mercedes fan Uncle. After 2 years, with the aid of lawyers and legal threats to Merc head office, they took it back. It was never running long enough to get to a major service - rust, leaks, black box electronic failures, wiring loom relaced, mechanical failures... In comparison, I recently sold our 1991 Nissan wagon, that spent every day outside in all weathers, and it didn't have any rust. I woudl never pay my own money for a new Merc. My inlaws said the same - their old C series goes and goes and is easy to fix.

    Second issue: Germany has had some bad econimic times of late, with unemployment of 10%, and a lot of their manufacturing to Eastern Europe (and China of course). It doesn't inspire anyone to do engineering when the jobs are going offshore. My wife and in laws come from there, and my FiL (and his father who is still there) are engineers and had a large company in Hamburg before they left. The cost structure of Germany is high, and the competition is getting better.

    More generally, engineering is a restrictive field - you do the hard work, and get expensive qualifications, and maybe post graduate registration in your field (more time and $$). If the work disappears in your area - tough luck, you have just become unemployable. Not only is accountancy cheaper to get qualified in, it pays more and is portable. Money is money, and you don't have to be in any particular geographical area or industry. Given the loyalty shown to employees by many companies, that is no small advantage.
    Geoff

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    Lazlo:

    The refracting telescope was invented by Gallileo.

    Gutenberg invented movable type in the 1400's, the printing press was old by that time. Our friends the Chinese are credited with the invention of paper and printing.

    Roentgen discovered x rays, he didn't invent the x ray machine, his apparatus was crude.

    Mr Peltz:

    You didn't mention where I went wrong in my posts in this topic, I thought I was doing all right and keeping pretty much to center.

  6. #46
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    Ummm....Levi Strauss did not come up with the idea copper rivet idea for the stress points on jeans. It was the american taylor that he partnered with.

    I still believe that Germany has been one of the last countries to cave in the area of craftsmanship. I believe that skill and invention are linked. I have seen Ideas for inventions/advancements not get proper consideration because the machinist couldn't achieve what the engineer needed to prove his concept.

    It is very tricky to ascribe specific skills to a race/nation. There are always incredibly talented exceptions that spoil the curve. The germans have done their fair share in coming up with new stuff. But humans from every place on the planet tend to amaze when you learn about what is being done in different cultures.My dad (a very creative guy) used to tell me that if a human's basic needs are not being met it is very difficult for them to be creative. Warzones and famine areas tend not to be a hotbed of invention.Posibbly much of a cultures creativity can be traced to political/cultural environment?

    Ted

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    The refracting telescope was invented by Gallileo.
    Nope. Hans Lippershey demonstrated his refracting telescope in 1608. In 1609, Galileo was the first person to use a telescope to observe the skies after hearing about Lippershey's newly-invented telescope.

    http://www.enchantedlearning.com/inv.../galileo.shtml

    Gutenberg invented movable type in the 1400's
    Sure, Gutenberg invented the first printing press with movable type in 1450. Gutenberg produced dies (molds) for easily producing individual pieces of metal type that could be made, assembled, and later reused. Gutenberg's press could print a page every three minutes, revolutionizing printing, and making it simpler and more affordable. This made printed material available to the masses for the first time in human history. Gutenberg's press also began the standardization of spelling.

    Roentgen discovered x rays, he didn't invent the x ray machine, his apparatus was crude.
    Roentgen built a machine that took X-Rays. What more do you expect out of the inventor of the X-Ray machine? Did you want it to fax the X-Ray somewhere?

    In any event, the Germans have a long and proud history of outstanding scientists, engineers, inventors, and doctors. I don't know where you get this impression that they lack innovation?

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    Ever heard of Robert Goddard? He did it first.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Goddard

    "Goddard launched the first liquid-fueled rocket on March 16, 1926 at Auburn, Massachusetts."
    Wow, I stand corrected. Very interesting Wikipedia article.

    Wernher von Braun's Wikipedia entry is here:

    "He is generally regarded as the father of the United States space program"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wernher_von_Braun

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    Ummm....Levi Strauss did not come up with the idea copper rivet idea for the stress points on jeans. It was the american taylor that he partnered with.
    The Levi's comment was tongue-in-cheek [img]smile.gif[/img] Levi Strauss was in the US for many years before he patented the idea of using heavy canvas for pants, so he may very well have been a US citizen by that point. His partner, Jacob Davis, who invented the use of copper rivets to assemble clothing, was Latvian, but also had been in the 'States for many years at the time.

    It is very tricky to ascribe specific skills to a race/nation. There are always incredibly talented exceptions that spoil the curve. The germans have done their fair share in coming up with new stuff. But humans from every place on the planet tend to amaze when you learn about what is being done in different cultures.
    Very well put!

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    At best, this Levi Strauss suggestion is sheer and utter bunkum.
    As far as the history of sail cloth is known, the word 'denim' comes from Nimes in Southern France- hence 'de Nimes'. Like 'corduroy' is Cord du Roi which is the laying of tree trunks along a road. Cord being a length or lengths of wood and roi being King or Kings Highway.

    The rivet idea is not new and it will be found that materials such as leather and canvas were joined by rivets- usually bifurcated ones and metal washers. They are still to found in bellows for furnaces in blacksmiths shops.
    My father was a blacksmith, his father was and so was his. Did they invent rivetting? Certainly not. I suspect that the rivetting idea might go back to Ancient Spain or harnesses. So let's button up on this?

    Regarding jet engines or rocket engines, these date back to the Chinese and Ancient Greece.
    My sources go back to 1944 when I was trying to make the damned things but Hero was the first 'recorded' person. Later, the Italians were certainly in on the thing as well as Von Braun and the Brits. There were people like Lorin abd Babst who were doing or trying to do it on coal dust. Read it up, it is fascinating stuff.

    I recall American Rocket assisted take offs on flying boats but equally in recall Farnborough in 1949 with Meteor 8's with reheats doing 40,000 feet in 4 minutes.

    Even George Stephenson and Railways is doubted.
    He may have been born within pissing distance of where I was but many of us doubt it.

    I tend to romp to Da Vinci for most things but I suspect that he was an inventor who was capable of writng and illustrating as well. He simply could not have done so much in his life.

    I was following the Book of Hiram by Knight and Lomas and it suggests that the Ancient Brits did many things but brain surgery is the province of the Ancient Egypt.

    And- ahem- Germany is a very recent country!

    Norm

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    He simply could not have done so much in his life.
    Not true Norman. I've seen a couple of creative geniuses in action and they are quite prolific...almost driven in fact.

    Germany is only recent by the name "Germany", Though I think the establishment of guilds may make a nation prolific also?

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    smallshop,
    I think that the majority of inventions are developments from the association of people in- guilds or the like. I would not have refered to the guilds as such having traced the deveopment only into Trade Unionism, or the rise of Methodism or a lot of other deeply absorbing things way out of this topic- or the ability or interest of many of the readers. I feel sure that we could argue( happily) till the cows come home- or the crocodile with a chain around its neck leaves Nimes for even sunnier climes!

    Cheers

    Norm

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    The reason for a shortage of engineers is simple: most people who are smart enough to get though enginering school are smart enough to understand that it is not the best paying profession, especially when the uncertainty of continuous employment is added in. Many of them find other ways to make a living.

    A good portion of the people who are left are those who really want to be engineers. The way engineering is organized, there are not enough of them to meet the demand in peak years, and too many for the available jobs in lean years. I think the boom-bust cycle results in considerable attrition.

    In the 40 years I have been in the profession, I have heard a lot of talk about "engineer shortages". To me, much of this is simply whining by coorprate executives too cheap to pay salaries high enough and provide steady enough employment to attract people to the engineering profession. Many companies make poor use of the engineers they do have, increasing the need for engineers. I think much of this talk of engineer shortages is industry trying to pass the buck to government and education to solve the problem for them, so they would not have to.

    Thermo1

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    I have to agree with thermo1's assesment.

    As for liquid-fueled rocket engines?

    Robert Goddard. The germans apparently were
    *amazed* that the US government had not funded
    his work to the hilt.

    If it hadn't been for some research grants that
    had been set up for him, by Lindbergh and
    Guggenheim, the man's work never would have
    gotten off the ground, just about.

    Jim

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    The topic started out with the word "engineering". Invention is not engineering.

    Reis's post concerns engineering. The German machines he mentioned were already invented and then carefuly engineered.

    What the Chinese and the Itaians that he mentioned did was to accept suggestions for improvement or other means of customization and then apply their engineering skills to change their machines in order to accomodate their customers' wishes.

    They didn't re invent their mechines, they performed the required analysis and then wrought acceptable changes to their devices.

    When we look at the topic straight on then we see that in the cases that Reis mentions, the German engineers have been at fault. In the case of the tea bag making machines, the engineers have put their company at peril.

    This is nothing new and it is nothing associated with a nationality, but in a topic associated with Gemany and engineering, Reis gave an excellant set of examples of what not ot do.

    Any shop in any nation that will not apply their engineering talents to bend to their customers' wants or requirements will eventually be short of business. A shoratge of students in engineering school then will not be of concern.

    Look at the posts in this topic, the key words when referring to Germany have been 'invention' and 'crftsmanship'. That the Germans have demonstrated both there is no doubt.

    Now, let's separate engineering from the other two. If the Germans have sufficient sales of highly crafted products then do the Germans need a large number of engineers?

    If the Germans decide that they do need a number of new engineers, then are they arranging to instruct those engineers in modern, flexible attitudes that enable the comapnies they work for to be sufficiently nimble in order to compete with the shops that are now out maneuvering them with their engineering skills?

    Lazlo:

    What are the specific engineering improvements that Gutenberg made to the printing press of the 1400's?

    Other than the fact that Gutenberg's type was more uniform in height, more easily took ink and made a cleaner impression with less pressure, what mechanical features of the press itself contributed to it's faster rate?

    Did the Gutenberg press have a better system of inking? Did the press have a better system of feeding the paper to the press and then delivering it? Did Gutenberg improve the mechanism for taking the impression, for example, flatter and stronger platens or a quicker acting press screw?

    Gutenberg's invention was the movable type. That system had other advantages than merely the ability to rearrange letters.

    How the movable type affected the press is not a matter of invention but a matter of engineering.

    Gutenberg or one of his pressmen was a good engineer. He realized the full advantage of one invention by systematically applying it to an already existant machine in order to improve both quality and rate of output.

    If ideed, Gutenberg improved his press he made engineering changes not inventions.

    This is an example of the analytical nature of engineering. Most engineers are not inventors they are analysts. If an engineer is fortunate in having inventive talents, then he invents and then tacks on the anaysis and thereby comes up with a more mature invention right from the start.

    In this post I have drawn attention to Reis's story and the effects of Gutenbergs's invention on the printing press.

    In both cases it is the analysis that is in the forground. An engineer analyses a system and makes it fit for the present. The engineer must at all times be ready to make subsequent analyses so that the system may be made fit for changing desires or requirements.

    The question now arises, is Germany prepared or willing to educate engineers in this form of critical but flexible analytical skills?

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    The reason for a shortage of engineers is simple: most people who are smart enough to get though enginering school are smart enough to understand that it is not the best paying profession, especially when the uncertainty of continuous employment is added in. Many of them find other ways to make a living.

    A good portion of the people who are left are those who really want to be engineers.
    That's exactly what I said in the first page of this thread:

    As a practicing engineer with 18 years in industry, let me assure you that it can be a very rewarding, and very lucrative career, if you really love it.

    The reason there are so few engineers graduating in the US and Europe is that the curriculum is so damn hard, and the field is so competitive, that many young collegians are deciding that other fields may provide the same or better salary for less work in college.

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    The topic started out with the word "engineering". Invention is not engineering.
    Jim, you are the one who started the invention discussion with this highly insulting, completely inaccurate comment:

    Historically the Germans are more developers than inventors.
    Your post above wanders all over the place and I really have no idea of what your point is.

    I work with several German engineers, and they are every bit as talented, and flexible as any Western engineer. The shortage of German engineers is for the exact same reason there's a shortage of US engineers, and I'm sure British engineers as well: it's a very complex field requiring a lot of education, and a lot of youngsters think they'll make more money with less effort in college being lawyers.

    This is an example of the analytical nature of engineering. Most engineers are not inventors they are analysts.
    Agree completely. In fact, I wished you would have said this in the monthly "Engineers are worthless" thread.

  18. #58
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    lazlo,
    With all due respect, you did state that engineering can be very rewarding and lucrative field if you really love it.

    Maybe it can be lucrative, if you happen to pick the right field. My experience has been that picking the wrong field, even if you love it, will make you will wish you had been an accountant.

    I happen to love thermodyanics, and I seem to be pretty good at it. But, there hasn't been a lot of money in innovative energy engineering. I have tried to make living in building HVAC engineering, and have been subject to the cyclical nature of building industry.

    Sorry if you think I copied your post. Those are my own words, and an opinion I have held for some years.

    My son is going into his Junior year in electrical engineering. He has the makings of an excellent engineer, and loves what he does. While I am proud that he wants to be an engineer, I am apprehensive that he won't make a good living in engineering.

    Thermo1

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    Lazlo:

    My comment was not intended to be insulting. It is not inaccurate since I gave some examples of non German inventions that preceeded the establishment of Germany itself. I am NOT cutting down the Germans here.

    By giving examples of non German inventions I am trying to point out that Germany is more inclined to development than raw invention. That leans toward the idea that they are engineering oriented.

    There is one other situation that I didn't mention in my first post. The English and the Americans had patent systems in place for quite some time before any nation in Europe did. Why would an inventor choose to stay in Europe when he could get a patent in England or America. Wouldn't that favor the developer over the inventor?

    That puts my post on topic from the start.

    Read my above post carefully, it does not wander all over the place. In fact it is pretty tightly composed

    It shows by two examples the analytic responsibilities of an engineer and cites clearly how in one case, an invention was incorporated into a system and in the other case how a failure to re-analyise and reconfigure a system cost the parent companies sales of their product.

    Yes, the examples were widely divergent in time and scope, but the central idea is clear and cogently presented.

    When I asked what improvements Gutenberg made to his printing press, I was not taking you unfairly to task. You mentioned that he invented the printing press. I maintion that he made engineering changes to it. My question still is what did Gutenberg do to the printing press that would qualify him as the inventor of it?

    In my post mentioning Koenig, I stated that he invented the cylinder press. There was no flat bed press that used a cylinder to take the impression before Keonig's in 1811. Keonig was from Thuringia.

    Koenig's first customers were British and notwithstanding the state of the mechanical arts in Thuringia at the time, Keonig, himself, make it clear that he moved to England because of it's system of patents that didn't exist in europe at that time. Whose fault was it that Koenig's native land was so resistant to both invention and development?

    In one of the first "engineers are worthless" topics I posted my first iterration of my statements concerning the analytic nature of the profession. I have tried to stay away from subsequent rehashes of that topic. although I amy make a smart remark now and then.

    Engineers can be the people you love to hate. Many times they do that to themselves.

  20. #60
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    Maybe it can be lucrative, if you happen to pick the right field. My experience has been that picking the wrong field, even if you love it, will make you will wish you had been an accountant.
    Fair enough [img]smile.gif[/img] I should have clarified that "my experience as an electrical engineer has been..."

    You make a good point that several engineering disciplines have gone through violent up/down cycles, such as the aeorospace engineering depression after the Apollo missions ended, the petroleum engineering depression after the 70's oil crisis,...

    I happen to love thermodyanics
    You're a masochist [img]smile.gif[/img] Thermo kicked my butt in school -- one of the reasons I chose EE: I was a lot fonder of EMag

    I didn't realize that things were so bad in energy engineering. Especially ironic considering the energy crisis we're in...

    While I am proud that he wants to be an engineer, I am apprehensive that he won't make a good living in engineering.
    If you read my post to Adam, I really do believe that you can have a rewarding carreer in EE (or several other engineering fields). More importantly, if your son has the predilection for an engineer, he's probably not going to be happy as a lawyer or accountant.

    Maybe I'm in a minority, but I'd rather have a relatively low-paying job that I love than a high-paying job that I hate.


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