Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lessons in Engineering

As a licensed civil engineer, I have to acrue a certain number of continuing education hours in order to maintain my shiny new license.  To gain some of those hours, I spent Monday at a Soil Mechanics and Slope Stability seminar.

Jealous?  I know you are.

Actually most of you are wondering, "A whole day talking about dirt... How did you stay awake?"

The answer... Copious amounts of coffee.

Here is something I learned from the seminar:  Geotechnical Engineers really have no way of knowing all that much about the soil on a particular site.  The best they can do it take lots of sample and gather a decent amount of information to make an educated guess.

Isn't that comforting?  Basically, your house is sitting on dirt that someone made some assumptions about and decided it was probably good enough.

That piece of information goes along quite well this quote I read a while ago by James Amrhein:

"[Structural engineering can be defined as] the art and science of molding Materials we do not fully understand, into Shapes we cannot precisely analyze, to resist Forces we cannot accurately predict--all in such a way that the society at large is given no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance."
Comforting, no?

Alright, I am off to work now.  :)

Don't worry people... I am smart.

Today I am evaluating proposed stormwater quality standards.  So if I mess it, it really only harms the environment.  No big deal.

Kind of wishing I would have been a music major.

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