An engineering student’s Blog

” …All of this. All of this was for nothing – unless we go to the stars.” – Infection, Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski

About me

Im an undergraduate engineering student in Miami with wife and 2 year-old son.  Have a recently developed interest in politics mostly coming from a sort of what the hell is wrong with my country moment after we were attacked on 9/11 and in my opinion got a lot of how to deal with this issue and others like our aged energy policy, unbalanced economy and foreign affairs wrong.  I felt I was severely under-informed 8 years ago.  Its like nothing grabs your attention like a disaster, and that’s, what I feel, has been our government’s response to 9/11 and the needs of our country since, a disaster.  So I’ve been paying a little more attention. I suppose if we had a competent president and government over the last 8 years I would’ve remained a half-ignorant, uninformed citizen so I owe a debt of gratitude to Bush, thanks.  My interest in the world and our country also comes from having the responsibility of raising my boy.  He’s growing up fast and I want to give him the best chance at the world that I can and of course can’t do that without informing myself. 

I must admit a certain appreciation and even some love for my country because in spite of the chaotic and threatening world we live in we have many opportunities and rights you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else on this planet.  And as a testament to such a solid form of government – in spite of being run by people who are poor at governing, IMHO – we continue to enjoy sufficient freedoms, opportunities and rights which many can and do describe as a blessing. 

So here I am:

In this blog I may occasionally update, ill mark down my opinion on current affairs and maybe something about my personal life with respect to my adventure in educating myself with an intention to leave a job that lets me get by for a career that interest me.  My plan was to earn a degree in Engineering with a focus on electromagnetic fields, antenna and power electronics design – then entering industry or considering graduate studies in areas of electrical engineering related to plasma physics and advanced space propulsion or energy.   But recently my interest in Aerospace and Astronautical Engineering was revived after reading the popular mechanics article on the Jupiter Direct proposal.  This started me off on – granted – a glossary – investigation of the problems and the current status of our ability to explore space.  

I’ve found a logical counter argument for preparing myself for a career in advanced space propulsion or interplanetary transportation , thru some Electrical Engineering & Physics course of study when – for the most part – we’re still stuck in LEO and the cost of getting there is prohibitively high.  So that not a single regular Joe can enjoy what a select few have – the perspective that allows you to look down on our small planet and appreciate what we have in one of the most profound ways.  The most pressing goal of anybody concerned with the current state of space exploration and developement should be to reduce cost and increase access to it, becuase it is still very much out of reach for just about everybody.  Then my immediate goal should be getting trained in the practical matter of how to make this work, how to enable lower cost, reliable systems that will enable more and better access to space.  This implies an academic preparation in aerospace or mechanical engineering.  So I signed up with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for a student membership and hope to continue investigating single-stage-to-orbit reusable-launch-vehicles and other next generation concepts as well as keeping an eye on aerospace companies with future goals to open up space exploration and developement commercially while pursuing my academic goals.  This is the closest I’ve come to declaring a major – it’s pretty much set now.  I can complete a Mechanical Engineering degree with an Aerospace Engineering track at FIU without disrupting my family with a move or any big changes, then things get interesting. 

I remain interested in aerospace and material science, clean & renewable energy, sustainable developement, advanced space propulsion, space exploration, human spaceflight, especially Mars Exploration and settlement & making sure my son has the opportunity to reach further for his goals than I.  I live, work and study here in Miami, Florida, USofA on a little blue planet called Earth.

4 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    This is weird. Most engineers I know are pretty conservative and mostly identify with the Republican Party. I know very few, and its very rare to see, liberals, progressives, or democrats work in the defense and space industry. And when I say rare, its because most of them end up getting laid off or end up quitting. That’s not to say that you’re not onto something though. But blaming Bush won’t get you anywhere—especially if you out looking for jobs in the private sector in a few years.

  2. engstudent says:

    Well I can’t concern myself with what the majority of us believe. I know what I believe, and I know what interest me – I have to take it from there. Appreciate the intel though.

    The thing is, on a personal, on principal, I consider myself conservative. Raised in a religious family, of a Christian flavor, this is where my ideals of ethics, right and wrong evolved. But when I look at the bigger picture, like macro-economics for example – I can’t help but view the issues thru a liberal or progressive lense. I can’t help it. And I don’t think I mind.

    I can understand both conservative and liberal arguments and prefer to or at least try to weigh them rationally on merit. On Twitter and facebook I follow both atheist and conservatives without much trouble. In America I believe both sides and everybody in between have something to contribute to our society with great benefit.

    About blaming Bush – Of course I don’t blame him for all of the issues and challenges our country faced this decade – I blame him for the, IMHO, the inadequate effort to address them while he held the executive office. And to be fair he did some good. But, presided over a great deal of harm is all I’m saying.

  3. Michael says:

    “I can’t help but view the issues thru a liberal or progressive lens. I can’t help it. And I don’t think I mind. ”

    And that’s exactly the problem. Most young people we hire, right out of college, have taken to the fact that the “liberal” or the “progressive” ideology is the way to “fix” things. And without given any doubt, they don’t question it at all. “Things must be done this way.”

    (BTW, full disclosure, I work for a space technology company in a Propulsion Development field.)

    If you go to college, you’re going to gain a skill so that you can make yourself more competitive in the market–you want something that others don’t have, didn’t bother to get, or were to lazy to complete. It’s a process of weeding out the non-productive part of society. After you graduate, you will be a “skilled” individual competing with different businesses to gain employment. Far too often what I see, is eradication and disturbance in this area, which mainly comes from left ideology. If everyone has the same outcome, it will no longer be competitive.

    That’s the difference between liberals and conservatives:

    Conservatives want equal opportunity—for everyone to be able to get to where they are going and to have the chance to do that. (This is harder on the individual but also makes the individual more resilient and ready for the job world)

    Liberals want equal outcomes—for everyone to get to somewhere…where everyone is. (This is easier on the individual since anything that the individual desires is available at any time).

    It’s easy to be a liberal because its easy to tackle government with a liberal philospshy: if something is broke—throw some money at it, start a new agency, and regulate the broken item.

    Anyway, it seems like I’m rambling…but keep up the good work up your blog.

  4. engstudent says:

    You’re right.

    On the difference between liberals and conservatives though you’ve over simplified the issue.

    “All models are false, but some are useful.”

    Both liberalism and conservatism are political-social philosophies that have uses and yet are counter productive and maybe even dangerous if either were solely applied to every societal issue for a long enough time.

    Your conservative view points are clearly articulated and I agree with most of it personally. But then you’re conservative slant is also plainly demonstrated in your comparison of the philosophies naming only positive aspects of conservatism and only the negatives of liberalism. I found this disapointing but I’m used to seeing it.

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