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Thread: Funding NASA, to create engineers

  1. #1 Funding NASA, to create engineers 
    Time Lord
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    I'm a physics student right now. But, to be honest I'd seriously consider studying engineering if I felt like it would give me a noble purpose in life. However, I'm really not inspired by the purpose that would be offered to me by most private corporations that hire engineers. That's just honestly how I feel.

    I know a fellow who got his degree in chemical engineering and went to work for a pharmaceutical company. There's no end to how disenfranchised he was after a year of that. Now he wants to work for a government regulatory department.

    Now, if NASA were still hiring (in bulk). If they were still big. If they had some highly credible space exploration project that was going to advance the cause of human existence, that would inspire me. I would definitely want to be an engineer then. I think a lot of other college students would feel the same. Not all of the new engineers would make the cut, and some would certainly be deflected into the private sector anyway, but we'd all feel like we had been trying to do something noble when we studied, not just doing it to make money. (Of course we would still.... make money.)

    Right now, I see a lot of students enrolling in programs to become social workers. It might be partly because they're easier degrees, but it doesn't discount the fact that government work has an allure. The trouble is: how is the private sector going to employ social workers if not all of them find government jobs?

    Engineering, on the other hand, is a job market that really can't easily become over crowded. It would be very difficult to have too many engineers, because they're a basic building block for industry. New jobs open up automatically when they decide to take part in the start of a new company.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Bachelors Degree 15uliane's Avatar
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    I agree- a giant us space program has always been an inspiration for kids and students. NASA toning down its efforts seems like a big discouragment to aspiring engineers. However, some private sector aerospace companies have a shade of the "nobleness" NASA once had in my opinion. Ex spacex, orbitol sciences, xcor aerospace and the giants like locheed martin and pratt & whitney's rocketdyne.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Now, if NASA were still hiring (in bulk). If they were still big. If they had some highly credible space exploration project that was going to advance the cause of human existence, that would inspire me. I would definitely want to be an engineer then.
    NASA contracts out to engineering firms. That's part of why NASA is smaller than it was. There's a firm I know of in Colorado that has a NASA contract to develop insulation. There must be dozens of others. The reality is that the inspiring projects to explore new worlds and boldly go, etc. at the nuts and bolts level involve thousands of engineers working on discrete parts of machines that each form a tiny part of the whole. So you could work for NASA but you still might not find it inspiring.

    Engineering, on the other hand, is a job market that really can't easily become over crowded. It would be very difficult to have too many engineers, because they're a basic building block for industry. New jobs open up automatically when they decide to take part in the start of a new company.
    Unfortunately not true. Engineering is a cyclical job market. Back in the 80s thousands of engineers were laid off and went to work at McDonald's or opened a liquor store. Now the market is very tight again. Some of those engineers did start new companies, but there's still only so much engineering work to go round. One bright spot is all the various alternative energy companies which are hiring, but the industry will shake out eventually as the winners and losers emerge.
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  5. #4  
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury

    Engineering, on the other hand, is a job market that really can't easily become over crowded. It would be very difficult to have too many engineers, because they're a basic building block for industry. New jobs open up automatically when they decide to take part in the start of a new company.
    Unfortunately not true. Engineering is a cyclical job market. Back in the 80s thousands of engineers were laid off and went to work at McDonald's or opened a liquor store. Now the market is very tight again. Some of those engineers did start new companies, but there's still only so much engineering work to go round. One bright spot is all the various alternative energy companies which are hiring, but the industry will shake out eventually as the winners and losers emerge.
    Oh. I didn't know that. I figured the formula for a good economy was to just train as many engineers as possible, and sit back and wait. What you're saying makes a lot of sense, though. I had wondered why people are trying to generate so much enthusiasm for alternative energy when none of the options look very promising.

    Does that mean it is easier to hire engineers right now?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Does that mean it is easier to hire engineers right now?
    You need engineers? I can send you a couple of dozen right now who need jobs.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Our economic and monetary system is at its very core archaic and inadequate. If everything could be made automatically tomorrow you could have more than in any time in history but most people would not have "jobs" to get the things that could technically be made.

    Imagine going back to a time where most people earn a living by working on a farm, you have a magic wand that can produce enough food for everyone on earth, but people dont have money to pay because you dont pay them to grow the food, but since you dont pay them they dont have the money with which to buy, its a circular problem, just use the magic wand and produce the food already, the money system was developped when humans thought the earth was flat and that bleeding a sick patient was good. I hope we dont have to wait to the 23rd century to figure this out.

    Old habits die hard, so I guess even though money is outdated there can be varisou patchwork systems to keep it on life support while automation is ongoing, like measures to reduce work ours and expand vacations as well as free money being granted like a universal unconditional basic income (along with changes on how money is issued and how banking operates).

    But to get back to the funding nasa, sure its a heck of a lot better than spending trillions on the military.
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