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Bernie Ziebart

The Engineering Perspective

The blog is a view of life, science, politics and education from an engineering perspective. As engineers, we are taught to view the world objectively. We can hope, believe and calculate a particular outcome, but natural laws are inflexible and pay no heed to who we are or what we believe. We must approach the objective dispassionately, while compensating for our own distorted perceptions. Balance is also a key element; balancing between the ideal and the pragmatic, balancing cost and functionality, balancing analysis with action, etc.

Scheduling routine critical self-analysis is the foundation to objectivity. If we do not fully understand and compensate for our own failures, tendencies, habits and skewed thought processes, we will not see the world as it is. Without a regular critical self-analysis we will see the world as we are and then fall prey to self-delusion.

Failure is a great teacher. When failure is coupled with perseverance, it produces the fruit of patience and humility. An engineer, fresh out of engineering school is typically set up for failure early and often. The failure breaks the new engineer of any ideas of self-importance, arrogance and book smarts. Only then can the new engineer be formed and molded into a productive element in the industry.


Hawaii College campus

Hawaii in the news

“Two University of Hawaii at Hilo students say the school violated their right to free speech by stopping them from distributing copies of the U.S. constitution outside a designated free-speech zone.

A federal lawsuit filed Thursday alleges the school excessively restricts the rights of student organizations and limits student speech in open areas of campus.

It says Hilo undergraduate Merritt Burch expressed concerns the free-speech zone was in an area with minimal pedestrian traffic.

The lawsuit says a university staff member replied, "'This isn't really the '60s anymore'" and "'people can't really protest like that anymore.'"

At first I thought that this news story was a joke. 

  1. There is no real free speech allowed on the campus of a public university in the US.  
  2. The designated ‘Free speech zone’ is in a far-off corner of the campus in a swampy area. In other words, the university officials are not interested in a free debate of ideas; they are only interested in indoctrination and propaganda.   Students are not allowed to have an independent thought. Their only reason for even having a forsaken postage-stamp area of land designated as a free speech zone is to create the illusion that they allow free speech on campus.
  3. Free speech and protest is considered to be a relic of the ‘60s. It was fine and good to protest when conservatives ran the university. But now that the progressives are in charge, the diversity of thought is no longer tolerated. Everyone must march in lockstep with dear leader. He knows what is best and is so much smarter than everyone else. 
  4. Handing out a copy of the constitution IS NOT A PROTEST. How could the school officials think that this is anything remotely close to be a protest?   The protests in the 60’s included a bomb being set off in a UW Madison building and killing people.   The protests in the 60’s left a trail of burning cars and smashed store windows.   But yet, the 60’s protest was fine, handing out a copy of the constitution isn’t fine.  
  5. The US constitution is considered to be just too offensive to allow its public consumption; it’s a threat to life as we know it. You can be arrested for having a copy of the constitution by those who have sworn to uphold the constitution. 

Sometimes when I get up in the morning and read the news, I wonder how I ended up in North Korea.  No, it’s not far-fetched.   We are more similar to North Korea than we were 10 years ago.

How is the University of Hawaii similar to the University of Pyongyang?

  1. No free speech
  2. Arrest is the consequence for having a thought contrary to the will of university officials
  3. Independent thought is a threat and must be forcefully stamped out
  4. Operates a sham organization
  5. Uses fear and intimidation to maintain power and control
  6. Image is carefully crafted with the help of the media
  7. More than happy to tell you what to think, how to think and when to think it
  8. Information is controlled. The educators and students can not say a word that might express information/thoughts contrary to ‘conventional’ wisdom.
  9. Both love Dennis Rodman and view him as the virtue of goodness
  10. Promotes 60's style protest as long as it results in the destruction of capitalism
  11. Upholds communism and authoritarian control as political ideals

How is the University of Hawaii different from the University of Pyongyang?

  1. Climate (Hawaii doesn't have much competition)
  2. Pictures of dear leader not posted in every room
  3. All students don’t have the state mandated ‘dear leader’ haircut 
  4. I am guessing that Hawaii has a better cafeteria
  5. There might be more beer, pot and pornography on the Hawaii campus
  6. Condoms are free on the Hawaii campus. Students are forced to pay for them in North Korea.
  7. The student in Pyongyang wouldn’t vote for their corrupt leadership if they had a choice

Is the University of Hawaii unique among public US universities? Hardly. The only reason this type of news article did not come out of Madison is that there may be no one brave enough to hand out a copy of the US constitution on the UW Madison campus.

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