Tag Archive: engineering

Parking on the Grass

I firmly believe that people are naturally innovative – especially when they’ve been doing something for a long time (long enough to become habitual).

For example, why do manufacturing engineers insist that they can dictate how to properly assemble a device better than the folks who assemble said device day-in and day-out? Sure, the engineers have a better grasp on the technical aspects (e.g. which torque values are optimal), but they lack much of the common sense aspects (You can’t put this part on there yet, because this part gets in the way, etc…).

…by the way, I was once in this role, so I can vouch for the validity of the previous statements.

In the same sense, it seems like we waste an awful lot of  time yelling at folks for doing things differently, but we seldom question the reason for them doing something in the first place.

“Stop parking on the grass!!!”

Well…why are they parking on the grass in the first place? Are there too few parking spaces left in the lot? Or, perhaps, did folks just find a better place to park? Would we benefit from making that section of grass into a legitimate paved parking spot instead of just yelling?

Traffic Lights

Is there any rhyme or reason to the left turn lane?!?!

There is a light by my house that operates as follows:

  • Light turns green for both parallel directions (we’ll call them North and South)
  • Light turns red for North, but stays green for South.
  • Light turns red for South, and the green left turn arrow for North turns on.

I know it’s a little confusing, but stick with me…

This is what I experience every day in the left turn lane coming from the North:

  • Light turns green, car in the left-turn lane moves into the intersection
  • Light turns red, car that is in the middle of the intersection gets frantic and tries to turn left as quickly as possible
  • Cross traffic does not stop (since it is still a green light for them), collision almost happens!!!
  • Car in the middle of the intersection finally squeals their tires and makes a lightning fast left turn (I assume they’re perspiring profusely at this point),  then green arrow lights up, unbeknownst to the car that just raced through the left turn, and I proceed through the intersection calmly.

Now, since I make this trip daily, I’ve got it down:

  • Light turns green, stay put (and tolerate honking behind me, even though the oncoming traffic is unyielding)
  • Light turns red, continue to stay put
  • Green arrow lights up, continue through intersection safety.

Is there no safety standard for traffic lights? How is this intersection (where I witness multiple “near misses” everyday) allowed to exist?!?! Where is the consistency in how we handle the left turn lane?

Aside #2

Pulled this one out of my archives.

My apologies to those of you who are not engineers…


As an aside from my usual musings, I had to satisfy my ADD tendencies. Please just appease me, and this will go smoothly…

Recently, at work, they shrunk the size of our cubicles by 25-30%. You used to be able to fit two people comfortably in a cube if you wanted to have a conversation, but now only one person fits comfortably-ish in a cubicle (I see why management likes this so much).

Anyway, the following is my tribute to Dilbert (please forgive my poor illustration skills). I actually sent it to Scott Adams (I’ve always dreamed of sending him something), so I will hopefully hear if he liked it!!!

Without further adeau: