Newsletter 21

The Little Details

Mechanical engineering development projects can be difficult beasts. Whether the concept is straightforward or unintuitive, the difficulty is in the details. Successful projects marry a fundamental theoretical understanding with lessons learned from testing. You can’t beat data or a clear correlation, but you have to make sure the data is relevant. Happy reading.

The Little Gear That Could Reshape the Jet Engine

The Little Gear That Could Reshape the Jet Engine

The 30 year development of the geared turbofan engine shows the difference between a mechanical engineering development program and smartphone app development. This article tells why the new engine technology is beneficial, but difficult. Site includes video.

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Bloomberg Business, October 2015


Harnessing the Vortex

Harnessing the Vortex

A new style of wind turbine, shaped like a balanced baseball bat, was inspired by the failure of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. A design without blades eliminates many difficulties. Even in a developed field, there is scope for novel thinking.

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ASME, September 2015


Big Data Decision Making

Big Data Decision Making

“Is there room for intuition in the era of big data?” To be useful, data must be accurate and must include all the appropriate variables. Researchers provide 6 recommendations for decision-making by marrying data with intuition.

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Graziadio Business Review, October 2015


Graphs Prove That Correlation Isn’t Causation

Graphs Prove That Correlation Isn’t Causation

I don’t know if these graphs prove anything, but they suggest some trends that should be investigated. Why does the annual number of railway train collisions match so closely the amount of oil the USA imports from Norway?

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Fast Company, May 2014