If You Want A Liar, Don’t Hire An Engineer

In 2002 I did a short stint as a technology director for a computing company in Bristol, UK. I was working to sell their product to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (Trenberth’s organization) in Boulder, when I did some analysis and realized the product would not meet NCAR’s needs.

I told my boss about this, and he told me to not say anything. He was the #1 salesman in Silicon Valley during the dotcom boom, and would say anything to get a product sold.

So I called up NCAR, told them the whole story, and quit my job. Engineers can’t lie. People die if they do. My only regret is that I helped the company get a big grant from the UK government. Taxpayer money down the toilet.

About stevengoddard

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21 Responses to If You Want A Liar, Don’t Hire An Engineer

  1. dom says:

    The opposite of honor is “killing” us; government officials & employees in policy-making positions, passing laws to require “widgets”, then going to work for the “widget-making” corporations.

    We have to find a way to stop these revolving doors.

  2. DakotaKid says:

    I agree. As an engineer on the Ospery I told them the transition speed from helicopter to airplane at 45 knots was too low for the airplane and no even optimum for helicopter forward flight. I pushed for 80 knots the powers that be on the project overruled me and we had several osprey crashes and a bout 40 people dead until they found out they needed a higher transition speed.

  3. Disillusioned says:

    Tony, you don’t make a very good specimen for someone who has been “trained” to spew “fossil fuel talking points”.

    Good man. Without integrity, we have nothing.

  4. Bill S says:

    teaching young engineers not to fabricate the answer desired by management is getting difficult. But the ones you meet with a severe honesty streak – – – they are the ones you concentrate on. They make good engineers.

  5. TomE says:

    Good engineers who do not put promotion at the top of their agenda are not always appreciated by management nor do they make the jury members that lawyers want to see. I was pre-emptied off several juries as soon as I stated my profession. Lawyers do not want people who are trained to analyze at the data, or the facts rather than emotions.

    • Shazaam says:

      I got drafted into grand jury service and that was an eye-opener to the current state of the justice system.

      When the grand jury caught a cop testilying under oath (he didn’t need to lie, the evidence was sufficient), we inquired about how the prosecutor would hypothetically handle the grand jury indicting that cop for his blatant perjury.

      The response was quite revealing.

      “Hypothetically, the prosecutors office would have no resources to devote to prosecuting such an indictment.”

      Translated into English that meant they would take advantage of the speedy trial law (in this state), and by failing to prosecute the felony within 270 days the indictment would be voided an all records of it expunged.

      Unfortunately I was overruled on no-billing the crook’s indictment as the proper response to the blatant perjury attempt due to the rest of the evidence being sufficient to the grand jury standard “He probably did it”.

      My defiant vote against was based on a desire to punish the lying cop in the only way left. In all likelihood the stupid crook (was a possession charge) would get caught again at some later date.

      I do not intend to serve such a travesty of justice again.

      Engineers do not make good jurors for the government. Great for the accused however.

  6. gregole says:

    Integrity. Professionalism. Honesty.

    Good on you. It is easy to go along to get along but you are absolutely correct; if you are an engineer, get used to be an outsider because telling lies isn’t part of the profession.

  7. D. Self says:

    I work for a company that relies on my data analysis being honest and right. If I am wrong the company quality suffers, profits are lost, and my merit raise is lower, etc. You work for the government you fabricate the data to match the headline needed, you get a hefty raise or bonus. Our Government is out of control and bloated. AND THESE SOB’s ARE SUPPOSED TO WORK FOR US!!!

  8. Anthony S says:

    I was part of my school’s team that entered into the ASCE Concrete Canoe competition(yes, we can make concrete float). Part of the competition was presenting a paper on engineering ethics. Unfortunately, my team arrived late and missed the submission deadline, which should have disqualified us. Before the presentations began, the organizers were openingly discussing in front of a crowded auditorium of engineering students whether they should bend the rules and allow my team to compete. Right then is when I have the temerity to shout out “That wouldn’t be very ethical!”

    That sure got the auditorium roaring with laughter.

    It also stunned my teammates. Anyway we were allowed to compete, and delightfully, our canoe was not the one that broke clean in half during the heats.

  9. Me says:

    Couldn’t agree more, Engineers have to work with knowns, and base their models on those knowns, it’s their name at stake based on those knowns. If it is falsified then follow the info and money.

    • Me says:

      And a reminder to all engineers out there, keep a hard copy of your correspondance of your engineering projects with everything involved. Don’t do nothing less, it will be your due dilligenance and save your ass in the end.

  10. Fallon says:

    Isn’t Bill Nye an engineer?

    • dave g says:

      Maybe he was at one point. Now he’s just a brainless celeb.

      • AndyG55 says:

        Unfortunately, despite his indescribable ineptitude and ignorance, he probably gets paid more.
        If people like him got paid what they are really worth to society, he’d be living in a dumpy trailer at the back of scrap yard.

  11. markstoval says:

    ” My only regret is that I helped the company get a big grant from the UK government. Taxpayer money down the toilet.”

    Well, the silver lining in that cloud is that the money would have gone to some horrific purpose anyway. At least they did not use it to buy even more weapons of destruction or to further destroy the family.

  12. AndyG55 says:

    “So I called up NCAR, told them the whole story, ”

    Did NCAR buy the product anyway ??

  13. gator69 says:

    Unless it’s a railroad engineer…

    Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the railroad engineer.

  14. Disillusioned says:

    Mathematician: “Climate change advocates are going to have to “get over the fact that they lost the scientific argument.”

    He and a group of scientists published a paper which methodically critiqued the Royal Society’s position on climate change, emphasizing areas that were “weak, limited, and flimsy.”

    “The science is weak. The political energy pouring into this subject has completely destroyed any kind of collegial scientific atmosphere. The claims that the science is settled is pure nonsense. It’s a completely empty statement. It doesn’t mean anything at all.”

    Read more: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/03/16/mathematician-tells-climate-change-advocates-time-to-get-over-they-lost-the-scientific-argument/

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