Elon Musk’s visions for the future

Elon Musk discussed his work to date, between Tesla, SpaceX and the Boring Company, what he’s currently working on and how he sees the future (spoiler alert: your house will have a solar roof and you may know someone living on Mars)

I see and read a lot about Elon Musk, between his appearances in the news and the technology and engineering articles that I tend to gravitate towards, but I don’t recall having ever seen an interview with him.

My love of Wait But Why has given me a very thorough run-down of Elon’s projects over the last few years between Tesla, Hyperloop, SpaceX and more recently Neuralink, and it has always been clear from the sheer scale of his vision that he’s a brilliant mind that is thinking decades ahead of us. However, reading about him and his projects doesn’t make you appreciate his genius quite like seeing him talk about them.

Elon recently did an interview at TED2017 and for 40 minutes, he and Chris Anderson talked about all of the projects that Elon is juggling. What is most captivating is the way in which Elon thinks about the future and rationally asserts how things are going to change in the future. Continue reading “Elon Musk’s visions for the future”

Mechanical music

Using 2000 marbles and a hand-crafted machine, Wintergatan has made an enormous music box that is mesmerising to watch

My wife happened upon this YouTube video today and I was just blown away by how creative it was.

Wintergatan is a Swedish folktronica band that have spent the last two years ago building a giant music box out of wood, metal and LEGO that uses steel marbles to play instruments including a bass guitar, vibraphone and drums.

I have watched this several times, in awe at how each marble is lifted into place and rhythmically fired towards an instrument to hit the right note at the right time. So creative. Continue reading “Mechanical music”

A Photoshop template for Florida PE seal

As FBPE starts to allow digital seals and their use becomes more widespread, I needed to create a digital replica of my seal so that I could start applying it to documents and then signing them digitally, so I made this Photoshop template

As digital seals become more and more prevalent and permissible in the engineering industry, the need for a digital representation of our rubber stamps and embossing seals is greater than ever.

With FBPE recently overhauling its statutes and rules on seals to explicitly allow for digital seals, I wanted to get on board so that I could stamp PDFs and other documents and then apply my digital signature. Continue reading “A Photoshop template for Florida PE seal”

A brief history of fossil fuels, climate, cars, batteries and Tesla

A Wait But Why article explains how millions of years of history have resulted in our current petrol-burning car situation and how Tesla is going to change the world with their dedication to seeing the rise of the far superior electric vehicle

This extremely in-depth article (it’s more like a short book) from Wait But Why is a fascinating and in-depth look at what energy is, where it comes from, how cars were invented, how far they have (or have not) come in the past century and the company that is trying to change the world.

Seriously, set aide an hour of your time and get ready to learn a thing or two about energy, the world, cars and the future. You won’t regret it.

The importance of a contingency

HGTV drives me batty with the way they go into projects having spent every penny of the budget without leaving a contingency. This is simply irresponsible.

My wife loves her some HGTV. Home & Garden TV makes home makeovers, renovations and purchasing look easier than putting up a shelf in the garage.

As an engineer, I’m used to putting cost opinions for large construction projects together. It would be considered foolish to not include a contingency in your cost opinion: you may start off with a 30-40% contingency during preliminary design and reduce it to 10-15% when design is complete.

The contingency accounts for the unknowns. It’s not a safety net if something goes wrong; it’s a fund to cover the things that will come up that aren’t specifically accounted for in the design. Continue reading “The importance of a contingency”

Engineering on a whole new level

Engineering geekery ahead. You’ve been warned.

Been watching The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway about building CrossRail through London and it just puts my job and my perception of “difficult” to shame. The whole manner of undertaking civil engineering in London with its tiny streets, non-stop and uninterruptible traffic, its myriad subterranean utilities and tunnels, and historic buildings and infrastructure makes me embarrassed to put myself in the same category as them. Continue reading “Engineering on a whole new level”

My long road to becoming a licensed Professional Engineer

Becoming a Professional Engineer in the States is quite difficult for foreigners, particularly in Florida. Thanks to the state of Texas, I was able to become a PE in Florida and this is my story of how I did it.

I studied Civil Engineering at the University of Brighton having been born and bred in Brighton. As is standard in the UK I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in three years.

While I was at university I met and fell in love with an American who lived in Florida (her name is Marti by the way). Since I was a little more easy-going than her I made the trek to the US rather than the other way around so I now found myself, recently graduated, living in the States.

Work permit and green card issues aside I finally got a job working as a Civil Engineer with Black & Veatch. It wasn’t long before I started investigating what needed to be done to become a professional engineer in Florida. After all, in order to get anywhere in your career it’s somewhat expected/required (as is becoming Chartered in the UK).

As I have a foreign degree the Florida Board of Professional Engineers makes you get your education evaluated, which as I recall, cost about $250. It required getting my university and even my A-level exam boards to send transcripts of all my results directly to the evaluator (they cannot come through you). Several weeks later, I got a letter from them describing all the courses I had taken and how they compare to an ABET degree, which requires 32 credit hours in higher mathematics and basic sciences, 48 credit hours in engineering science and engineering design, and 16 hours in humanities and social sciences. Continue reading “My long road to becoming a licensed Professional Engineer”