Education... how is this possible?

Discussion in 'Chat' started by K4TQF, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. K4TQF

    K4TQF Member

    I was called by a friend yesterday to settle an argument between his son and himself. The son is a 4th year student at RIT in Rochester, NY. He is pursuing a double major in electrical & mechanical engineering. The son believes the power coming into a house is DC. He took his father outside
    and pointed to the transformer on the pole and said: "see.. that changes the AC to DC". I remember making that same mistake when I was about 10 years old. My elmer quickly straightened me out and then explained what rectifiers do.

    My question is, how can a person who is brilliant in math go thru 4 years of electrical engineering and not know such a basic fact? It looks like he would be screwing up a lot of calculations, yet, he maintains a 3.5+ GPA. His previous experience was at our local high school EAST program where his team won the state robotics competition and a trip to MIT. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EAST_Initiative . It seems as though there would have been some sort of basic education there.

    I have a feeling that this is not going to be a fun afternoon.
    MD
     
  2. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    It's all Edison's fault :icon_lolno:

    Anyway, that's the reason companies here in Silicon Valley bring engineers over from India and Asia in general now instead. It's not because the labor is cheaper, they passed laws where companies can't do that anymore. They bring them here because the ones coming from our U.S. college's don't know shit and often cannot answer simple questions like what is the base-emitter voltage drop of an NPN transistor.

    Another example is our company interviewed someone recently with a 4-year electrical engineering degree and they made the comment they were not comfortable with capacitors when asked to solve a simple beginners level circuit question. It's that bad and all due to the dumbing down of technical people here in America. Nothing is made here anymore so why would anyone here need to know anything about it?
     
  3. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    You know Mike maybe they are not really teaching basic DC and AC electronics in schools anymore just like analog. That could be part of it, but at the same time I think a lot of college courses today don't really require learning anything. As long as you show up for the classes and get a little of it you can get a degree. It's probably just too easy to get an engineering degree today. Before you had to use a slide rule to pass any engineering course. Remember, before electronic calculators and computers? The thing that is really unbelievable though (like you were implying) is how could any electronics person, even today, not know that what's coming out of your home wall outlets is AC? It just doesn't seem possible ::)

    I think it goes hand-in-hand with how easy it is to get a ham radio license today. This last weekend I was listening on 40-meter SSB like I do early in the evening hours before switching to 75 AM and there were a group of guys talking about some of the old CB's they had back in the 1970's. I looked on QRZ and two of them held extra class tickets. Yet in their QSO they were using the same misuse of terms like how their radio's carrier use to forward modulate up to 15 watts, etc. After a few minutes it became obvious they didn't have any real technical knowledge at all. They were basically nothing more than upgraded CB'ers and there were even jammers transmitting on top of them horsing around. Unfortunately the HF bands are full of those Maynards today. So I guess it's not surprising that people getting engineering degrees here in the U.S. today really don't know anything either.
     
  4. K4TQF

    K4TQF Member

    Makes you wonder what the kid is thinking when he reads 110VAC 60 HZ on a wall wart ? One would think he would have absorbed something by osmosis... working with robotics, microprocessors, etc... I have tried to mentor this kid over the years, but he lives in the world of computer games and doesn't know anything else. He is interested in antique electronics, but only for the "steampunk" factor.
    Back when I took my FCC 1st, over 40 years ago, it was basically just like the ham test... just more questions. I think some of the ham and commercial elements overlapped at the time. I was only a few years out of a technical high school and it was easy at the time. ( back when I still had a functioning brain ) I had worked in AM broadcast and fooled around with ham stuff for almost 10 years when I took the FCC test. I never used it until I went to work for the CN Railroad comm dept, which was basically a Motorola VHF shop. When I left that job and retired to Arkansas, my son was just getting out of the USAF (SATCOM). He did a year of technical school at Eglin AFB before being deployed for 5 years. I suggested he take the FCC test and try for my old job. WOW ! The GROL test is nothing like the FCC 1st phone I took way back when. He never got above 50%. I couldn't pass that thing if I wanted to. I guess the USAF just taught them to be board changers and how to point the dish at the right bird. When I went thru USAF aircraft maintenance school in the 60's we learned everything from nose to tail. ( back when they had 28 cylinders X four and propellers... C-124 )
    When I when back to re-take my ham ticket, I studied the on-line question pools for a few weeks and was making 90% from the git-go... with a 50 year old education! I wrote the FCC and was grandfathered for one of the elements and only had to take part of the test for General. I met with our local ham group once. They are just appliance operators on repeaters. Which is OK, in times of need. I guess I have lived long enough to be obsolete!
     
  5. WD5JKO

    WD5JKO Member

    Some years ago I was working with this really cocky engineer. The guy had a serious attitude, and the subject was power supplies. He had a Masters in EE which seemed to make him all the more cockier. I realized quickly that he knew absolutely nothing about the subject and was covering that up with arrogance and threats. When you are confronted by this type of person, you better watch your back. If you don't they will say convincing things to bosses that are untrue about you.

    The two of us eventually made peace, and we got through a project. A little cooperation goes a long way. Then he wanted to be my friend, and to make it interesting he invited me to his place. It was all staged, he was an Amway salesman, and was trying to sucker me into it. I moved on, and stayed away from the man. In Amway he was surrounded by folks just like him.. :redface:

    Jim
    Wd5JKO
     
  6. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    So you didn't want to get caught up in their "Pyramid Scheme"? :icon_shh:

    Amway has been under investigation for a few years now and hopefully they will be shut down someday.

    This topic also reminds me of the Vietnamese gal I dated right after my divorce who had a Masters degree from San Jose University in Psychology. Throughout the relationship she sent me long emails late at night while I was sleeping explaining what was wrong with me, etc. It was one of those situations where she let her occupation get into and screw up her relationships. The bad thing was her spelling and grammar contained within the emails were so horrific that I don't see how she ever passed any college level English or writing composition classes. What that tells me is anyone can get a degree today with little effort and the standards for one have been lowered dramatically. My spelling and grammar are not the greatest anymore, but someone's just out of college and with a Masters degree should be, right?

    The funny (and sad) final end of the story was that she contacted me about a year ago, 3 years later and after my daughter was born and wanted to know if there was anyway she could get me back ::)
     
  7. KM1H

    KM1H Guest

    My #2 son got his BSEE thru the USAF at UNH with a 3.96 GPA and then his Masters at the USAF Technical School at Wright Patterson AFB with a 3.94. After living with me for all those years with various ham and engineering books to absorb he had a better handle on the subject than most. While at WP as a lowly 2nd Looie he wound up tutoring other officers up to Majors that received their BSEE from places like MIT, UMass, UMich, Georgia Tech, and others that never even covered the subjects. At the time UNH was very highly rated in their EE program.

    After several years of working with and for complete EE idiots he got the USAF to send him to school again where he got a Masters in International Relations from the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey CA with an emphasis on anti terroism plus cooperation with other militaries, and was assigned to DTRA (Defense Threat Reduction Agency) reporting to a US Army Colonel in Moscow while assigned to various posts in Europe. An earlier trip to Monterey at the US Army Language School taught him German and he later learned Russian on his own. He retired 6 months ago and quickly was hired by a civilian outfit in Germany doing the same thing and located in the mountain resort town of Garmisch. He currently has no desire to move back to the US....possibly due to an affection for German and Russian women!

    Carl
     
  8. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    It's probably all the great lager beer :mrgreen:
     
  9. K4TQF

    K4TQF Member

    This just in from Mike Rowe of "Dirty Jobs".

    "... I think a trillion dollars of student loans and a massive skills gap are precisely what happens to a society that actively promotes one form of education as the best course for the most people. I think the stigmas and stereotypes that keep so many people from pursuing a truly useful skill, begin with the mistaken belief that a four-year degree is somehow superior to all other forms of learning. And I think that making elected office contingent on a college degree is maybe the worst idea I’ve ever heard...."
     
  10. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    The problem is that a 4-year college degree is what gets you a job now-a-days even if you don't know or learn anything in the process. That's why so many of the on-line degrees are available today. Companies just want people who have that insignificant piece of paper. I have one too, but it doesn't really mean anything except for more money.

    I think the real problem with electronics people today though is that since most everything is being made overseas and is slowly becoming disposable there really isn't the need for anyone here in the U.S. to know anything about it or know how to repair it, etc. That's really why there has been the slow dumbing down of technical people in America today. The problem and real danger now is even engineers here in America don't really know enough to be able to design anything so what's going to happen when they start outsourcing that too? It's scary because it may get to the point where some other country say like China for example may become the dominate world technological power and we may be powerless to do anything about it by then.

    The other side of the coin and part of it is that most Americans have become really complacent today and believe nothing bad can happen and that life will be just hunky dory now and forever. Most are brainwashed and are living in the fantasy world slowly created by the communist infiltration into our government and society after World War II. Some day I'm afraid they will be in for a really rude awakening and by then it will probably be too late.
     
  11. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    You know, I hadn't seen it in years, but they ran the old Patton movie with George C. Scott from 1970 the other night on the TCM channel. This sort of goes with my last comment, but if Roosevelt hadn't been such a retard and/or Eisenhower hadn't been such a pussy due to his political ambitions and had let Patton roll into Russia like he wanted to after Germany then our society may have turned out much different today.

    1. The Cold War would have never started.

    2. The Korean War would have never happened.

    3. The Bay of Pigs would have never happened.

    4. The Vietnam War would have never happened.

    America probably wouldn't be full of such bleeding heart communist crybabies today who continue to screw up every aspect of why this country was originally founded in the first place. It really makes you wonder...
     
  12. K4TQF

    K4TQF Member

    That is my all time favorite movie. Makes you wonder about his fatal "accident" at the end of the war...
     
  13. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    I think it was the biggest key mistake made in our history over the past 100 years. Patton wanted to use all of the German solders who were either captured or surrendered and use them as allies and march into Russia to eliminate Stalin, etc. At that point he knew we were fighting the wrong people after Hitler and the SS had been eliminated. Most of the German soldiers were only doing what they were told and it would have been a real moral booster for them to march back into Russia with our troops and start succeeding where they originally failed.

    Anyway, you can blame it on FDR for not appointing Marshall instead or you can just blame Eisenhower for being a chicken shit. Thinking Russia was going to be our allie was ignorant. They should have known better, but politics always has a really bad habit of screwing things up and often with irreversible consequences.

    By the way there are some inaccuracies in that movie, but it's still good and very very long...

    P.S. I'm not getting into Patton's assassination. There are a billion different stories out there and most are written by authors who just want to sell books or it's the news media who only want people to watch to improve their ratings.