Featured Posts (29)

  • Eosinophilic disorders are a class of autoimmune conditions in which a type of white blood cell called eosinophil causes localized irritation, swelling, discomfort, and potentially serious complications in certain tissues. These are often gastrointestinal disorders (EGIDs) affecting the esophagus, stomach, and intestines, and are considered chronic once diagnosed. The incidence of these disorders is sharply on the rise with some estimates that approximately 1% of the developed world is affected, e.g. up to 3 million people in the United States. I'll be using this blog and some ones as a place to capture this design that has taken shape. The purpose here is to document where it came from, why it's relevant and useful, and how you might use it yourself or spread it out into the world for others.
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  • While having too few ideas is what most people complain about, it can also be difficult to keep on track when you have too many ideas floating around. If you're losing focus, try thinking less about things and just executing an idea.
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  • While I think there are some credible points here, he misses the mark for me. By prioritizing STEM education and promoting it, we get ahead of the advanced manufacturing curve. If we wait until there really IS a shortage, we are sunk and a generation behind our competitors. He makes a semantic argument that has no real world value, and in fact, by turning the alarm bells off, could actually be damaging to our economy in the long run. What do you think?
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  • DC circuit for automotive application

    I am building a vehicle called BIKAR(TM), a three wheel vehicle for one person (reverse trike) powered by a motorcycle engine.  To add reverse, I have built a drive train that incorporates a 4HP 12VDC motor linked to the driveshaft, so it will be turning all the time, like an alternator on your car.  I want the DC motor to provide reverse and limited forward movement for parking, but also charge the battery when the gas engine is moving the vehicle. There will be a deep cycle 12V battery on board to provide AC, which is why I need the heavy duty charging ability.

    If anybody out there is familiar with automotive DC circuits and could help by reviewing my proposed circuit, or proposing a better one,  I  would appreciate it.  For more info on the BIKAR project, visit my website mechanical-enterprises.com or the BIKAR project on InnoVenture or my LinkedIn Profile.  Thanks for your help.

    Mickey Dorsey

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  • Is your product idea a winner? Of course. Yeah, absolutely. Definitely. Why not? All answers you can expect from your local hobbyist inventor (and possibly yourself) when asked if anyone is sitting by the (smart)phone waiting for their latest, greatest product. But is there really such demand for a drone that delivers books or a pneumatic tube that shoots you across California? Some simple tests will tell you whether you should keep on down that road, or change direction.
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  • Generally speaking, one should assume a very low probability of failure for PLC controllers. Most of you who are looking for PLC controller failure rate estimates like MTBF statistics, the data is to be an ends to a means. What you are ultimately looking for are answers to questions, like what parts and how many should you stock, what are the weak areas, how to make your equipment more reliable, is a PLC controller more reliable than another form of control, etc
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  • The contest was a huge success in my estimation, and it has been quite fun launching this site. Are you ready for the winners?
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  • The best way to get a job is to have your network of friends and colleagues get you one. When that falls short though, it’s up to you to sell yourself. Given that literally hundreds of candidates might apply for each open position, it’s not necessarily the most qualified candidate that will get the job, but the candidate with the best sales ability.
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  • Featured Blogger

    Proposal Pro Tips

    So, I had the opportunity to review some proposals at work recently. Fun times (enter sarcasm here). At times it felt dull and tedious, but there was definitely some learning points in there. Regardless of how many years of experience one has with submitting proposals, proposals can be better. Trust me. I may not be a pro at much, but when I see folks with 15, 20+ years of experience making kinda silly mistakes on their proposals, it does really make me wonder. For real.

    My ad hoc list of tips:
    • Some Requests for Proposals (RFPs) have a page limit for certain areas, such as the capability statement, past performance, etc. If you get 2 pages for something, fill up two pages. Try to give enough information to the technical reviewer of your proposal. Sometimes, it's okay to go a bit over the limit, but don't go too crazy. If your max limit per the RFP is 2 pages, and you submit 3, you might not get penalized, but if you submit 10 pages, then that's another issue. Some organizations have regulations that allow reviewers to throw out (dismiss) for being non-responsive, and not adhering to page limits can be considered by some contract administrators as being non-responsive.
    • Try to show in your proposal that you can actually do what is required in the statement of work. Show valid examples. For example, if I am needing a pilot, don't tell me that you can drive a car, and since both have steering wheels, you can transfer what you do in the car easily to maneuvering a car. It don't work like that.
    • If I need x,y, and z to be done, and you can only do x and y, do tell how z is going to be handled. Do you have a sub in mind for z? Who's the sub? What's their qualifications? What's their past performance? This is kinda important.  
    • Grammar and spelling counts. Proof read and double check. Enough said.
    • Don't be arrogant. Arrogance is such a turn off. It's fine to say that you are the best in something, but don't shove the point past the reader's throats.
    • Follow the instructions. If multiple documents have to be submitted with your proposal, submit them all. Even missing just one is grounds for dismissing the proposal.
    • If a form is given to you to submit your price proposal and you can't figure out how to use it, well dang. Looks worse for you when it's an excel sheet with the explicit instructions to "put your price(s) in the highlighted cells." Just saying.

    Hope this helps. I know I'm looking forward to receiving and reading better proposals.

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  • I recently had the opportunity to share my thoughts on engineering leadership with EngineerJobs.com, the most-visited engineering career site online. It's a tricky and dare-I-say controversial topic, not the milquetoast subject you might imagine. The innate traits required to be a successful leader balanced against the learned ones, the nature vs the nurture, and the importance of technical skills in a role that traditionally is heavy on soft skills - I touch upon them all and more.
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  • Some of the concepts presented in the previous blog entry may seem somewhat abstract, so here is an example of how a fictional student, let’s call him Bob, put this plan of becoming an Engipreneur into action.
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  • An Engineer…Engineers

    Written by Adebola Oshomoji for MindSET Magazine

    Following on from Doja’s ‘Do You Have to be an Engineer to be an Engineer’, I thought it would be a good idea to look into a few stories of people that have engineered solutions to problems without necessarily having an engineering degree. The creation of accredited engineering courses has ensured that we have the highest standard of engineers working within the industry. However, I do not believe that what you can achieve is (and should be) limited to the type of degree you’ve completed nor do I believe it to be the deciding factor for who you are and can be. If you have a solution, do you wait until you have the required degree to solve that problem? If you have the means and desire to educate yourself now, do you wait until you’re old enough (or can afford to) go to university to do so?


    Are you still an engineer if you have no plans to use your engineering degree?

    Kelvin Doe (DJ Focus)


    Creativity is universal and can be found in places where one does not expect to find it. And perseverance and passionare essential to nurturing that creative ability” – Kelvin Doe

    Kelvin Doe (now 16) is the youngest of 5 children and was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Raised single-handedly by his mother, life wasn’t always easy for him and his family, but her resilience and self-belief ensured that none of them lived in suffering. From an early age, Kelvin was extremely creative and was a fan of taking electronics apart to see how they worked. For years, he had dreamt of creating solutions to many of his community’s problems, but could never afford to do so. From the age of 11, Kelvin felt that enough was enough and began collecting scrap electronic parts from trash yards on the way home from school. He was at times found building inventions in the early hours of the morning.

    Armed with his creativity and his newly found resources, Kelvin (by the age of 14) built an amp, a mixer, a mini generator and an FM radio transmitter to launch his own radio station. Under the name DJ Focus, Kelvin became the voice of his community and his inventions helped to empower the youth. He didn’t stop there however. With Sierra Leone’s constant power failures, Kelvin Doe was desperate to find a way to light up people’s homes. He created home-made batteries to power his community’s lights. He now has further plans to build a windmill to help power the homes of his Freetown neighbours.

    “It was tough and hard. I spent many frustrating nights trying and failing, but nevertheless, I persevered until I completed the project” – Kelvin Doe on making his own radio station

    Kelvin’s amazing story caught the attention of David Sengeh (founder of Global Minimum inc.), who flew him to MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)  to present his inventions to students and participated in hands-on research at MIT Media Lab. Kelvin Doe officially became MIT’s youngest visiting practitioner. He has also given lectures to undergraduate engineering students at Harvard College and presented at TEDxTeen 2013. He has long term aims to become a scientist so that he can improve the lives of his fellow Sierra Leoneans.

    For the full article, be sure to visit MindSET Magazine's Blog.


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  • Or Sis.

    Whichever works.

    For some reason, some people just love to ante up the drama in the workplace. And somehow, folks like to involve me in. Thanks, universe. Thanks.

    I like to think of things in this way: A typical work week, Monday through Friday, 8 hours a day plus an hour per day for lunch equals up to 45 hours a week. Yeah, I know we spend a whole lot more in the office, just play pretend with me for a while. If you’re lucky, which I’m not, you might get 7 hours a night of sleep. So, a 24 hour day becomes 17 hours of being awale. 9 hours of the 17 hours you are at work. And we haven’t even considered travel time to and from the office. And the reality is that many of us spend more than 8 hours a day in the field getting business done.

    In short, what I’m trying to say is that you see your work family more than your own family. Think about that.

    Did you?


    When you see your coworkers more than your spouses, children, pets, etc., wouldn't you want your work environment to be more comfortable? I know I do. You don't have to like everyone, but you should be able to be cordial and able to work with others to achieve the missions of your organization.

    So why have drama? I don’t get it. 

    Can someone explain it to me?

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  • The Big Bang Theory and Popular Science

    Written by Jenny Simpson for MindSET Magazine.

    When it comes to the science-orientated CBS comedy show The Big Bang Theory there have been mixed reviews from ‘real-life’ scientists, resulting in various blog entries on why they love or hate the show. Some believe  that it gives a negative view on scientists, others simply enjoy the comedic approach to topics they identify with. Nevertheless, when disregarding personal opinions on the jokes and the characters, there is no denying that the show has brought science into our homes and popular culture.

    Popular culture is often viewed as being something trivial, reflecting the tastes of the general public, but it’s also a way of introducing new ideas to the masses. I’ll use my sister as an example…

    My sister Rosie is 12 years old and The Big Bang Theory is undoubtedly her favourite programme on TV. So of course she knows the theme song by heart, and can often be heard quoting Sheldon Cooper (bazinga!) Yet, I am also aware that it has inspired her to pursue new interests. Although she has always been interested in animals, since watching The Big Bang Theory this has developed into an interest in biology, with particular fascination in how animals live. In the show, a potential source of inspiration for this could be Bernadette. Bernadette is a microbiologist, and as well as achieving in her field is also considered to be one of the more socially accepted characters. Rosie says:

    “The Big Bang Theory has made science more interesting to me. It’s a funny show that makes you take notice of the science facts – they are included in the stories and are shown in a fun way! My favourite character is Sheldon.”

    At the moment she is into creepy crawlies – she has bought a Spider World kit, and can sit for hours analysing the ants living on our tree in the garden under a magnifying glass!

    Television has always been considered a good way of capturing children’s attention, and if done in the right way can educate as well as entertain. It’s a way of making science accessible. For Rosie, The Big Bang Theory seems to be doing something right! After all, I never thought I would overhear my little sister discussing the Large Hadron Collider (true story), or be answering some of the science questions whilst watching The Chase. “Where did you learn that?” I asked. “The Big Bang Theory,” she said.

    For the full article, be sure to visit MindSET Magazine's Blog.

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  • Admin

    5 Reasons Your Project is Going Nowhere

    I get it. You're busy. Maybe you have a family, maybe you don't. Maybe you spend too many hours at the office, and volunteer for those extra projects that end up with thankless overtime, forgetting (or likely, not) that you're on salary and not by the hour. And then you get home and the last thing you want to think about is being productive. But you feel guilty and mad at yourself. How am I ever going to finish these projects when I'm tired, busy, unmotivated...? I get it.
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  • Master Member

    Youtube Easter Egg

    Too good not to share:

    1. Go to Youtube.
    2. Pause any video (not an ad).
    3. Click outside the video pane and type 1980.
    4. Remember how awesome Atari was!

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  • Welcome to The ELFS List, a weekly digest with the latest trending topics on ELFS and in the engineering world, whether naughty or nice. Have you seen the viral vid of the GA Tech engineering convocation speech set to epic theme music, and with its own epic theme to match? The kids in this class are due for great things, or this guy will be really disappointed. I wish my entering class got motivated by this guy!
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  • Interested in some free subscriptions? Of course you are, my stingy engineer friend! We all are. Our friends over at Mechanical Engineers Network have arranged for over 14 premium publications to be available to engineers for free upon request, and here are my top 5 of the bunch.
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  • Since I've been making them lately in preparation for the Cookie Dunker (that's the working name, at least, but maybe I should come up with a code name....) I thought I'd talk a little about what a Bill of Materials (B.O.M. or BOM) is, why they're important, and how they're used. Basically, the best analogy for a B.O.M. is that it is the complete and total recipe for making a product, all the way from the tiniest little screw, to the last little piece of Scotch tape on the outside of the box. It is important to include everything in the B.O.M., because by Murphy's law, if it's not on the B.O.M., something will inevitably be forgotten or misplaced until it's discovered at the least opportune moment.
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  • Will getting a Masters Degree in an engineering discipline be worthwhile? After all, it's more years in school, more late nights studying, and a delayed entry to the job market and officially kicking off your career.
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