Tuesday, June 29, 2010

2010.06.29 Tuesday

yup. it's a Tuesday.

Work went by pretty smoothly. For lunch we took the interns out to Rudy's BBQ. Great food. I got a jalapeno and was taking bites from it directly instead of slicing it up into something. Yeah, that pretty much destroyed my mouth. I miss having my face burnt like that. Who's up for some plucker's fire-in-the-hole? That's a burn you get to enjoy twice ;-)

So I just want to point out something that struck a chord with me today. A guy posted online how he got something in the mail for a Weapons Systems Engineer position, and how he's learning to become an engineer to save lives, not destroy the less fortunate. He goes on to ramble about how we have always been the instigators of war, how we kill innocent people, and how our government is evil because of the insistence that we go to war illegally and immorally.


Ok, so I'm pretty sure we can all agree that war is pretty terrible. It is extremely unfortunate that things escalate to the point that somebody ends up dying for different beliefs. I think taking someone's life is an ultimate injustice. However, this guy kept rambling on in some delusional mindset. It is completely unreasonable to believe that there aren't people out there that want to kill us. Just as this doofus was coaxed into this mindset that the US is wrong for engaging military activity, other people in the world are coaxed into believing that killing Americans is the right thing to do. But this, unbeknownst to the original poster, was off topic and thusly creating a schism to which he could continue proclaiming something along the lines of "the US is killing innocents".

Ultimately, it seems like he was trying to pass the blame. To him, the government, congress, the military, people who sign up for the military, and engineers who design anything for the military... all are part of "the problem". This is where I disagree with what he is saying yet again. Living in America, you essentially are buying-in to the representative democracy system that is in place. Everybody pays taxes. Everybody (above voting age) has the ability to vote. You can't just pick on certain job positions to blame them for something that may or may not be the right thing to do. Everybody is in the same boat. Let's take for example, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With this guy's logic: the people who pushed the button to release the bomb are at fault because they made that choice, the person who designed the B-29 plane that delivered the bomb shouldn't have designed a plane to deliver such a load, the engineers and scientists that were making breakthroughs in nuclear science shouldn't have done that because it would end up killing people. Essentially, this guy was saying that anybody that did anything to support any aspect of the war is doing something morally wrong. The atomic bombings are also a good example of how many many innocent lives were taken. I have to be honest, the atomic bombings were pretty over-the-top.

But even today, the question still remains of whether or not such an act was necessary to end the war. I think the actions were justified at the time. What do you think would have happened if we DIDN'T involve ourselves in WWII? Sometimes the rest of the world needs our involvement, because heck, we need them too. We need to have imports and exports. We need there to be other great nations. Consumers want technology that isn't just American (think PS3 and Wii). Life isn't black and white, it is many many shades of grey. It is very hard to determine if we need to spend money and interest on other countries around the world, because as I said before, we need those other countries.

Technology is leagues beyond what it was back then. Today, we have the capability and communication systems in place to be pro-active in stopping injustices around the world. In addition to these newfound abilities, advances in technology have made it possible to deliver a missile with accuracy of something ridiculous like a square foot or so. This is an alternative to just bombing the crap out of an area that we think there might be an enemy. How is this not reducing the amount of innocent lives taken? Are we right in stepping up and policing the world? Maybe, maybe not. Is it the right thing to do? I'm leaning more towards a yes on that one. The fact of the matter is that we have a much better life than many others around the world, and there are people out there that hate us for it. So much that they are willing to kill or be killed to express that.

Another argument that I have, albeit a much weaker one, is that the global economy historically does better when money is spent on defense (a nice way of saying war stuff). It sure does look like a money sink, but I'm pretty sure many countries after WWI (most notably Germany) were having a hard time economically. Part of Hitler's rise to power was through science and defense budgeting, and promises of a great nation. Without this turn-around of slumped economy with government spending, modern rockets that we used in the 60's to reach the moon would not have existed. Much of the technology that reaches the consumer market started off as research from government spending.

So the real question here, would there still be any drive to push the economy and technology without this type of spending?

And ultimately, can you blame an engineer for designing something that could potentially kill someone? If you said yes, then I hope you never drive a car, fire any weapon, ride any roller coaster, use a computer, or step foot in any type of home or building.


I went home and took care of a lot of things. First, started laundry. Second, prepared music for mp3 player. Third, cooked some garlic chicken and potatoes in the slow cooker. Fourth, cooked a frozen pizza in the oven. Fifth, prepared a fruity topping of strawberries and plum. Sixth, watched an episode of smallville with Kelc.


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