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Mechanical Engineering. 2013;135(07):32-39. doi:10.1115/1.2013-JUL-1.
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This article presents an overview of a discussion named ‘Decision Point Dialogues,’ which is intended to explore engineering leadership and other critical issues facing the profession. The inaugural dialogue addressed the question: ‘Will engineers be true global problem solvers?’ Using a format developed by Fred Friendly, the former president of CBS News, the seminar started with a story and a problem. Jackson challenged panelists to respond to issues involving specific people, places, and events. Richard Benson, Virginia Tech’s dean of engineering, believes the issue of retention is more complex. Benson said that half of all engineers leave the profession within five years after graduation, where some switch to medicine, law, or business and others receive promotions to management. However, some fail to maintain their skills in a profession that advances at a furious pace. Governments may direct projects to villages to buy votes rather than to meet community needs. For development to succeed, communities must have a stake in the project.

Topics: Engineers , Students
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2013;135(07):40-45. doi:10.1115/1.2013-JUL-2.
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This article focuses on works of various engineering units, which are working to design large wind turbines that can extract more power with greater efficiency. One of the biggest recent developments in wind energy is that grid operators have been successful in finding ways to integrate copious quantities of variable, location-constrained energy resources at reasonable costs, without compromising the overall requirements of a safe and reliable electricity supply system. While most of the wind power development in the United States is in onshore wind farms, internationally some big projects are being built offshore. The economics—and politics—of offshore wind allow for extraordinarily large turbines. Researchers are exploring the aerodynamic design of blades, advanced approaches to control the turbulent flow around the blades, and lighter and structurally more resilient materials for blades, gearbox technology, and power transmission systems. The integration of advanced computational approaches with laboratory and field-scale experimentation is helping researchers understand the very complex interaction between turbulence in the atmosphere and the machine.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2013;135(07):46-49. doi:10.1115/1.2013-JUL-3.
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This article discusses recent updates to standard codes for elevator safety and operation. This article gives a look at today’s ASME A17.1-2010/CSA B44-10, Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators. The standard jointly developed by ASME and the Canadian Standards Association shows how the original 1921 safety code has developed through the years. It now includes requirements for escalators and moving walkways as well as software and hardware requirements that did not exist 90 years ago. A group of organizations spearheaded by ASME held a symposium in December 2010 to look into elevator use during high-rise evacuations, which was a continuation of the earlier work started after 2001. Committee members spoke to experts on human factors and human conditioning when writing the requirements. The new provisions may better serve designers, manufacturers, contractors, and operators of wind turbine tower elevators by providing added confidence and consistency in the design and operation of such equipment, according to an ASME statement.

Topics: Safety , Elevators
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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