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The Engineers Journal
The Engineers Journal   Journal of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland

September 2001

Hi-tech Hiccup or Hari Kari

IEI Conference 2001 Preview

New President Prepares for Conference

Salary Survey

Getting to Grips with Sludge

Options Abound for the Discerning Driver

Intellectual Property Strategy

CPD & Training


Regional Report - Into the West

Irish Computer Society

IT Bytes

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Opinion - Proposals playing with fire

Letters to the Editor

IEI News

Facing Inside Back

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Facing inside back


Invention Corner

Here at invention corner, where Isambard casts his sceptical yet discerning eye over the attempts of engineers to re-invent the wheel, I was particularly interested and slightly bemused by an email regarding ‘Dan Pestana's "Gyrospoke Hovercraft" Disclosure’.

“I am writing here to disclose and showcase my simple gyroscope levitation or hovercraft invention called the "Gyrospoke." Illustrations are located at my website - www.prowsales.com/gyrospoke/gyrospoke.html”

Dubbed by Pestana as a flying car engine, the device consists of two sets of four levers, strategically and symmetrically connected at eight hinged fulcrums, which are fixed pivot points. These fulcrums support the load surface and are connected to two hub planes supporting the two sets of spoke levers. Each of the eight spoke levers is equipped with its own motorized gyroscope on the outer end of the rimless spoke.

Pestana gives his permission to any person wishing to construct the device to test his theory, so if you’re brave enough and have time to spare why not give it a go. Beware Pestana has been working on the project for 15 years!

Engineers Go to Sweden

Isambard heard a story recently that reinforced my belief in the engineer/ normal people divide. Five young male engineers went to Stockholm for a weekend with three ‘normal people’ friends. The whole gang went to visit the world famous warship Vasa, built and lost within minute’s of its maiden voyage in 1628, it was salvaged 40 years ago and now is a tourist highlight in Stockholm’s Vasa museum.

The trip was going well, really well until the normal people finished their tour after 90 minutes or so. Looking around the exit, they found the engineers were nowhere to be found. Three hours later the engineers stumbled out ooohhing and ahhhhing about the wonders of the magnificent ship.

Although the normal people had enjoyed the tour, they just couldn’t understand why over four hours were necessary. One of the normal people quipped, “For Christ sake, it sank minutes into its first voyage.” The engineers resigned to the bewilderment of normal people just shook their heads in disbelief. Normal people will just never get it will they?

Dilbert's Salary Theorem

Dilbert's “Salary Theorem” states that “Engineers and scientists can never earn as much as business executives, sales people, accountants and especially liberal arts majors.” This theorem can now be supported by a mathematical equation based on the following two well-known postulates:

Postulate 1: Knowledge is Power.

Postulate 2: Time is Money.

As every engineer knows: Power = Work / Time. Since: Knowledge = Power, then Knowledge = Work / Time, and Time = Money, then Knowledge = Work / Money. Solving for Money, we get: Money = Work / Knowledge. Thus, as

Knowledge approaches zero, money approaches infinity, regardless of the amount of work done.

Wisdom from Above

A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts, "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"

The man below says, "Yes, you're in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet above this field." "You must be an engineer," says the balloonist. "I am," replies the man. "How did you know?" "Well," says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically correct, but it's of no use to anyone."

The man below says, "You must be in management." "I am," replies the balloonist, "but how did you know?" "Well," says the man, "you don't know where you are, or where you're going, but you expect me to be able to help. You're in the same position you were before we met, but now it's my fault."

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