Where are all the girl engineers?
By Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor
Irecently went to a “Pumpkin Sling” (aka Punkin’ Chunkin’) where participants designed trebuchets to see who could get their machine to throw a pumpkin the farthest. A lot of the teams were made up of kids, who all did an incredible job building the machines. I was particularly inspired by a young man from a Cub Scout troop who very clearly outlined how the
machine worked and how they had built it.
Then I realized out of the 10 or so teams, there was not a single girl. There were high school
teams and teams from the community, but absolutely no women. This is an amazing way to
educate young kids and inspire them (like the little Cub Scout) by how fun engineering can
be, so where were all the girls?
After seeing a recent commercial, I think I found them doing something as equally awesome
as the boys.
The first robot suicide
By Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor
At least that’s what hysterical media reports would have you believe. The standard account goes something like this: tired of doing
its master’s bidding (er, cleaning), an iRobot Roomba 760 made
history by committing the first robot suicide. The poor guy chose
an especially gruesome way to kick the bucket, committing self-immolation by driving onto a kitchen hotplate, and in a final act of
revenge, the resultant smoke damage rendered the house uninhabitable. Was it suicide or malfunction?
Engineering Update #34:
The world’s fastest jet luge
Welcome to Engineering Update, in this week’s episode:
➤ A record-breaking jet luge
Daz Fellows has a custom jet luge, which features twin-turbines with
a combined output of 537 pounds of thrust and a custom board made
from carbon fiber, and, next year, he will attempt to reach a speed of
➤ Japan’s largest solar power plant
Japan recently launched their largest solar plant with the capability
of powering 22,000 homes. The 70 megawatt facility is located at the
southern tip of japan and is run by Kyocera, a Japanese electronics
➤ NASAs newest Mars explorer
Last month, NASA launched its unmanned Mars Atmosphere and
Volatile Evolution (aka MAVEN), from the Launch Complex 41 at
Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida.
@ecnonline NYC: Turning the
world’s largest landfill into a #solar
power plant!! - bit.ly/1cvwoiL
PeterLoPR: Hoping that
Goldieblox becomes more mainstream. #feminism. RT @ecnonline: Where are all the girl engineers? ow.ly/rcQXN ^PL
Bear TekGloves: Cool #tech review from
@ecnonline. BearTek wireless gloves & Hirobo’s
unmanned helicopter ow.ly/r5tqK #engineering
Is solar power a viable energy option?
We threw this question out to the readers. The offical answers will
be featured in January, but here’s a few comments from the story.
I believe solar power will only be a major player in our global
energy plan when the solar collectors are moved outside the atmosphere.
Why the either/or mentality? We do not live in a binary
Don’t even know why you are asking this question. Of course it
is viable. It is used for road signs, off the grid in Africa, power at
many sites in the USA and abroad.
It is mainly a question of costs. Currently the PV solution is VERY
expensive, compared to traditional power generation. That’s why
solar energy production is absolutely, and it is made at cost of
contributors. Without incentives, there is no economic meaning to
create a solar farm.