Engineering

Adventures in Ethics and Science

Category archives for Engineering

Eugenie Samuel Reich is a reporter whose work in the Boston Globe, Nature, and New Scientist will be well-known to those with an interest in scientific conduct (and misconduct). In Plastic Fantastic: How the Biggest Fraud in Physics Shook the Scientific World, she turns her skills as an investigative reporter to writing a book-length exploration…

Plastic Fantastic: How the Biggest Fraud in Physics Shook the Scientific World by Eugenie Samuel Reich New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2009 The scientific enterprise is built on trust and accountability. Scientists are accountable both to the world they are trying to describe and to their fellow scientists, with whom they are working to build a…

On Saturday, the Free-Ride family went to the Maker Faire. The place was abuzz with things to do and see and hear (and taste and feel), so we’ll just give you the snapshot.

I’ve mentioned before that I grew up in a family that was fairly captivated by the U.S. space program, especially the Apollo program that brought humans to the Moon. But as impressive as those manned missions to the Moon were, what did the Apollo program accomplish? Where are our moon-bases? Orphans of Apollo, a documentary…

Today is Ada Lovelace Day. Regular readers of this blog may recall that I am a tremendous Luddite. Obviously, this should not be taken to mean I am against all technological advances across the board (as here I am, typing on a computer, preparing a post that will be published using blogging software on the…

Book review: Wired for War.

Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P.W. Singer New York: Penguin 2009 For some reason, collectively humans seem to have a hard time seeing around corners to anticipate the shape our future will take. Of those of us who remember email as a newish thing, I suspect most…

You may remember that last year we were inspired by Bake for a Change to dabble in “green” gingerbread construction. As 2008 draws to a close, the challenge has been issued once again to make a house both good enough to eat and eco-friendly enough to heat (or cool, etc.). The rules are the same…

Once again, I’m teaching the relatively new ethics module in “Introduction to Engineering”. Today was the discussion of what kinds of ethics might reasonably govern an engineering student’s behavior, and how these might be important on the road to becoming a competent grown-up engineer. So of course, we talked about cheating.

Speaking of science fairs, if you know of kids (grades 5-12) in the San Francisco Bay Area who are looking for a challenge, this one might be of interest: It is not too late to participate in this year’s Tech Challenge. The Tech Museum of Innovation’s 21st annual Tech Challenge is designed to get at…

Green gingerbread construction.

As I mentioned earlier, the sprogs and I decided to try our hands at building an entry for the contest to build a gingerbread house using sustainable building design practices. We read up on principles of sustainable design and stocked up on unsulfured molasses and powdered sugar. Here’s what we did and what we learned.