The Reality of the Philosophers’ Stone

Over the years there have been dozens of philosophies on how to live. The bottom line however is no matter how you dress it up,  if you want to have choice in your life, you must first earn it.

What distinguishes engineering (which I regard as both art and science)  specifically from art is the requirement for the engineer to know how his/her work will perform. The engineer must be accountable up front  because engineering predictions are life altering. Engineering influences cultures and entire nations, for example,  Egyptians – Pyramids, Romans – The Coliseum, Greek Temples, the architecture of South American Mayans, Chinese Tang Dynasty architecture  and so on. It is such an identifier.  One of the main issues with engineering has been the scars left in its wake. Whereas the need to predict is obvious, less obvious is the mess left behind and the destructive consequences are too often forgotten in the race to put the meal on the table and the dishes get left to pile up for someone else to clean up.

The reality of the philosophers’ stone (to make gold)  was that they just heated up materials to see what happened.  The goal was not attainable through the chosen method which was to create rare metals out of iron and lead. It was however a step on to the first rung of metallurgy. Perhaps if they had tried to make hydrogen or at least avoided creating Co2, the world would have enjoyed a less toxic outcome.

Real Engineering Gold Mines

If you want to create gold from base materials, then perhaps David Beckham’s talents with golden balls is a good place to start.  It is not just an engineering thing, life is full of consequences.  Let’s take football for example, since we are also talking about goals. Is there something obscene about one human being on a take home pay of less than £500 a week watching another human being, with maybe fewer skill sets, on £150,000 per week take home pay?  Who thought that psychology through? Let’s not get this wrong, clubs do a lot for the young players and they do have to work hard too but that doesn’t get away from the fact that the higher paid person is accepting the money from one who can barely afford to be at the match so what is the trade off ?  Few international top football players or miners started out rich.

 

10 Things Engineers Have Done for Football

Here are some things we take for granted, all provided by engineers of the last 200 years or so, so that we can enjoy football:

  1. Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb in 1879, otherwise we would be watching football in the dark – not so much fun.
  2. Archibald Leitch is credited with mastering modern football stadiums’ construction in the 20s, but it wasn’t without disaster, born out of the failure of timber components, which resulted in major design changes being adopted. A resulting patent for safer terracing along with a tubular barrier system to help protect crowds, were down to him too. He never got over the disaster. He died virtually unknown, no doubt due to the failure of the stadium he built.
  3. John Rennie the Elder – Founder of modern mechanical piling techniques. You can enjoy the game and have a drink in the bar and be relatively certain it is not going to collapse thanks to him.
  4. Wallace Carother is generally accredited with discovering polyester. A hybrid of this material is in the sports strips your favourite team is wearing, however back in the 1800’s  …….
  5. James Walton produced a viable carding machine undoubtedly used to turn it into a useable textile.
  6. Charles Walton – Electrical Engineer [Radio Frequency Identification Technology] RFID inventor will be in the boots of some of the players to track their movements on the pitch to help improve their game, or latest variation of it.
  7. Edwin Budding is the inventor of the lawnmower so you can thank him for the grass looking so nice.  He also invented a five-shot percussion revolver.
  8. Football was once an imprisonable offence
  9. Mr J C Perkins is responsible for the current goal shape.  He devised it in 1920, prior to that it had been the source of arguments over the years.
  10. Of 20 listed football disasters since 1902 only Ibrox was due to mechanical failure in the U.K., thanks to the work of Archi Leitch

Mental health issues undoubtedly affected some of these people and their drive to improve our lives.