Note from the editor: Alex is back, and he has a test for you this time. I won’t leave you in suspense. Good luck!
This week I will be giving you a test. Don’t worry, you can’t fail it, you don’t need to study, and it’s also open-book. This test is my foolproof way of testing whether you’re made to be an engineer. Take 5 minutes to prepare yourself, do some jumping jacks or something, stretch out your arms and get ready.
What do you do when your TV doesn’t respond to the remote?
- Get new batteries
- Smack it around a bit and hope it starts working again
- Call your sibling/roommate over to come fix it
- Write poetry about the woes of technology
How would you solve the following problem: how many pennies can fit on the Golden Gate Bridge?
- Go to the Golden Gate Bridge with a few thousand dollars in pennies and hope it’s enough
- Measure the size of a penny and then find the dimensions of the bridge and divide
- Estimate the number pennies that fit on a car, estimate how many cars fit on the bridge, then multiply
- Ask if that’s the bridge that Hart Crane was talking about
What is your style of playing Tetris?
- Mash the keys and hope it all works out
- Fit each piece as best as you can
- Strategize by saving certain spaces for specific spots and situations
- The root of “Tetris” is the Greek word “tetra”, plural “tetrakis”, and… wait, what was the question again?
- A lemon
- You really should use “one” instead of “1” when writing
If 5 Gizmos can make 5 Gadgets in 5 minutes, how long does it take 100 Gizmos to make 100 Gadgets?
- Are they working co-dependently or individually?
- 5 minutes
- Doesn’t matter, it will never be fast enough. We must make Gizmos faster.
- You don’t get it do you? You’re supposed to use “five” not “5.” This is unacceptable and therefore I won’t answer.
If you answered “D” for every question… You may not be an engineer, but regardless of what you chose out of “A,” “B,” or “C,” all of those answers, in every question, are some sort of solution to a problem. No matter how obscure they were, coming up with them is what it means to be an engineer.
There is no right answer. That isn’t what engineering is about. It’s about questioning the methods of the world, changing them and tweaking them. They can be anything from as small as explaining how 1+1 could be a lemon to designing a bridge the size of the Golden Gate Bridge with recycled pennies. There are opportunities everywhere to just question the world. Take those chances to make a difference.
Never be afraid to speak your mind about an idea. Unless we make mistakes and explain why they might not work, we will never find solutions to new problems that arise every day. Be prepared to fall, but be even more prepared to pick yourself back up.
Until next time,