bbtmn

Posts from October 2009

Reflection

Wednesday 28th October 2009

I had to give a talk today about my year out. All the placement students have to give a presentation in front of 2nd years who are thinking of doing the same thing, and we get 15 minutes to cover the year. I’d imagine in most cases it’s pretty difficult to sum it all up in 15 minutes, but in my case I found it particularly difficult because I worked in three places doing two very different jobs. There was a lot that I missed out, which is a pity.

This is my final year of University. I was worried that I’d find it all incredibly tedious but actually I’m rather enjoying it. Yes some of my lectures are truly tedious (I really can’t find it in me to care about geotechnical engineering, possibly because the lectures are really hard to follow), but equally some are really fascinating (as ever, the water module. Who would’ve thought that the design of water/sewage treatment works could be interesting?), so it’s all good. I think my attitude is very different to before I did my year out, which is something I didn’t think would happen. I find it less difficult to motivate myself to do work now, which is pretty good seeing how I’ve got a hell of a lot to do this year…

I’m halfway through week 5 of the final year (yes, Cardiff University starts back at a proper time, unlike some “institutions” I could mention that can’t be bothered to start the year until about halfway into October… :-p). I’ve already applied for one graduate job, my to-do list for the rest of the week includes finishing the form for another one, and I’m considering a couple of other things too. All that, and I think I’ve still got a fairly good chance of getting a job with the company I finished my year placement with, should I want it. But the thing I’ve just applied for is the one I really want.

Whilst I was writing the talk I gave today, looking through my diaries and photos from the past year and thinking about how to cram almost a year’s worth of experiences into 15 minutes (the answer: 37 slides in PowerPoint), I started to miss working. In fact, I went with one of my brothers to watch my other brother play rugby the other day (yup, both my younger brothers followed me to Cardiff when they went to university. Oddly, we’re still all at different unis), and there was a building site right next to the pitch. As we walked past, I couldnt help thinking to myself “yeah, it’d be a lovely day to be out on-site today”.

The thing I miss the most is the feeling of “I did that”. It’s the feeling of having done something, of having made a difference in some small way and having something tangible to show for it. You can go and see the work I’ve done in the last year, and it’ll be there for a while yet. That’s a great thought.

I pretty much stumbled into engineering. I’m not sure how, but now I’m here I’m really glad that I did. It’s a fabulous profession because We Do Stuff. In the Victorian era, engineers like Brunel, Telford and Stephenson were celebrities; people queued up to visit their latest marvels. Engineers built your house, designed the circuits to carry electricity to it and worked out how best to lay the cables that carried this writing to your computer, which yet another engineer designed. Civil engineers are the reason you have clean drinking water, and I think we’re fairly justified in arguing that we save more lives every year through that one thing that we all take utterly for granted, than the medical profession could ever hope to achieve.

And I guess that brings us back to sewage treatment. On which I have a lecture at 9am tomorrow morning, so I should go to bed.

Posted In: EngineeringSleep Tagged: | 17 Comments

Titles

Monday 19th October 2009

Twas the Brazilian Grand Prix a few hours ago, and some of you might know the result.

Interlagos usually makes for a good race, and this year’s was no different. It was really entertaining watching the different strategies play out over the race distance and trying to work out how it would pan out – and more importantly how it would affect the driver’s championship. There was plenty of overtaking (especially from Button, who drove an absolutely sublime race), a lot of drama and passion and the odd bit of fire. Basically, all the things that make F1 great were in abundance and it was an absolute joy to watch. Anyone who doesn’t get the attraction of motorsport and has never watched a race I implore you to get on iPlayer now and watch it (or the highlights if you’ve got the attention span of a newt), because you might find you enjoy it.

So what did one of my housemates say was the best bit? “When Kovalainen left the pit too early and showered fuel on Raikkonen and it caught fire!!!”. Dick. (Raikkonen finished 6th by the way, despite getting petrol in his eyes and – im not sure if this is true – burning his face slightly. Not a bad effort)

Most importantly, BrawnGP and Jenson Button won the constructor’s and driver’s championships respectively. So that’s 2 British world champion drivers in the field now, and another British champion team. As a country we’re very quick to denigrate ourselves when it comes to sport. People say we’re crap because we never win anything, but motorsport is the one thing that we absolutely dominate. As a country, we’ve won more F1 world titles than anyone else and most of the cars are built here. When a young driver wants to make a name for themselves, they come to Britain because our junior racing series are the best in the world, because most of the best teams are based here. Yet how many people know that much about it, compared to football say?

In Italy, Ferrari is as big as the football team is here. It’s a Big Deal when they launch their new F1 car; it makes the national news. Everything that goes on at the team is scrutinised by the Italian media, in the same way that everything to do with the England football team is scrutinised here. Ferrari isn’t just “an F1 team”, it’s basically the Italian F1 team and if you drive for them you’re driving for Italy.

My point is that we have the Williams, BrawnGP, McLaren, Force India, Renault and Red Bull teams all based in Britain. Why the lack of support? Meh.

Anyway! The real reason behind this post:

BRAWNGP AND JENSON BUTTON, F1 WORLD CHAMPIONS 2009! GET IN THERE!!!

:-)

Posted In: MotorsportRantSleep Tagged: | 3 Comments

Silly Library

Thursday 1st October 2009

While I had my year out, the engineering library at uni was done up. It’s very nice, and one thing they’ve introduced is a self-service thing, for borrowing and returning books. All the books have RFID tags, so you put them on a shelf and it identifies them. You swipe your uni card to id yourself, and all is done. Snazzy.

The thing I don’t get though is that the thing reads a barcode on the card, and like all barcodes it can take a few attempts. Our uni id cards (which double as library cards) have RFID, so why use the barcode, especially as the thing has an RFID reader anyway? Seems daft.

But I’m nitpicking, it’s a fairly good use of technology.

Posted In: EngineeringRantTechnology Tagged: | 7 Comments