Engineering a Song: A Lighter Way to Start the Weekend
March 25, 2005
No politics. No religion. No NASCAR. Just a lighter topic to ease into Spring after enduring the frozen tundra that, this year, had been the East Coast.
I've been kind of fried after the last several blog items. Yeah, I like to push buttons. That's part of what they're paying me to do. It seems some buttons have been pushed, and that's heartening. The best a writer (and I use the term loosely) can hope for is not so much even to be noticed as to help prompt a dialogue, even if that dialogue occasionally involves tempers and accusations. The occasional team cheer is nice, of course, but even the negative is a good thing since negativityor, perhaps more accurately, the will to debateindicates both passion and humanity. So, it all comes back to sacred elements.
Enough of that. Back to IEEE. I don't think there's a more prolific engineering organization on the face of the planet. So much wisdom there, so little time to learn more from it. The folks over at IEEE, though, don't just crank out publications for dweebs like me who want to burn the midnight oil and learn things. Case in point: the IEEE Virtual Museum. Every virtual museum I've ever visited has been unbearably, exceedingly painful, as though they're designed by 10 year-olds for 10 year-olds. (No, I don't have anything against 10 year-olds.) Not so with this one.
Try the first exhibit: Small Beginnings, from Tubes to Transistors. Anything that talks about ENIAC, vacuum tubes, and germanium transistors is just good, clean fun. Even the atmosphere in the 'museum' portion of the site is like a museum. Great photos; some old, some new. Substance. It's very well researched and presented in such a way that my blood pressure drops 10 pointsas it does a real museum. Songs in the Key of E is their latest exhibit. Combining engineering with electricity to create music is fascinating. (With one exception: While I'm old enough to remember George Harrison's Electronic Sound album, I'd really rather not.) It's warming to see just one of countless forms of engineering that is so very human.
Take a break. Take a click through a museum, a virtual one that you might enjoy. Thanks, IEEE, for sometimes not taking things too seriously.