83 votes

Are toasters really electrified inside of the "slots"?

I have actually stuck a knife into a toaster, and I can confirm that yes, it is very definitely electrified. Please, Please, Please, don't do this. The only reason I'm still alive is because of a good ...
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  • 751
59 votes

Are toasters really electrified inside of the "slots"?

The toaster is going to have heating elements of a type of wire that has very high resistance, usually nichrome wire. When electricity is applied to the wire, it becomes hot enough to toast bread. You'...
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  • 6,082
43 votes
Accepted

How did mechanical engineers work before SolidWorks?

At the beginning of my career (1979) as a design engineer at HP, the mechanical engineer created the part design and then rendered it in pencil on paper, and then transferred it onto sheets of vellum ...
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27 votes

What would "wired houses" refer to in 1928?

See this article: Digital History: The Rise of Hollywood and the Arrival of Sound. It refers repeatedly to "movie houses", and uses the term "wired for sound". these are certainly ...
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18 votes

Why do we pave roads instead of making them from removable parts?

This is very common misunderstanding. When we look a a road, we see few centimeters thick layer of bituminous surface, and we think about "the road" as "the asphalt/tarmac." It's not. When you look ...
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  • 416
18 votes
Accepted

What made bronze the first widely used (non-ornamental) metal in human civilization?

The first thing to remember is that the naming of eras such as the Stone Age or the Bronze Age is never done by those living during the period. It was always done by others much later. To a certain ...
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  • 9,382
17 votes

How did mechanical engineers work before SolidWorks?

In the offices I worked in, drafters were also expected to have a grasp of the trades required to build the thing they were drawing. They'd have some background in welding, fitting, and fabrication. ...
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  • 271
16 votes
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Could a gold/{second metal} crown be created that would pass the Archimedes test cost effectively?

Yes. Especially considering gold and platinum prices as of today, Pt costs less than Au. - but let's earn much more with more modern solution and simultaneously slowly murder the king in a very ...
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  • 6,113
16 votes
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How was surveying for maps done before lasers?

The device for taking horizontal and vertical angles that you mention is called a theodolite. Theodolites only started being phased out as the main surveying tool in the 1980s when total stations ...
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  • 9,382
13 votes

Are toasters really electrified inside of the "slots"?

How could they possibly sell a consumer-oriented product like that which zaps its users if they happen to touch the interior slightly as they stick a knife into the piece of toast bread to get it out ...
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13 votes

What would "wired houses" refer to in 1928?

they mean wired for sound. Previously movies were accompanied by a pianist or organ player.
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  • 4,374
12 votes

Why aren't screens round instead of rectangular?

The earliest CRT displays were in fact round. However, that was more due to manufacturing tradeoffs of making large glass envelopes with vacuum inside than a desire for the display area to be round. ...
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  • 11.2k
10 votes
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Is systems engineer an IT profession or an interdisciplinary field of engineering?

Yes, you are correct that there are different definitions of Systems Engineer that vary by company. In fact, different business units of the same company may even use the term differently. A job ...
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10 votes
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In a reinforced concrete detail drawing what does 'reinforcement to be GK 60' mean?

Check this book out; it seems to be talking about that particular grade of steel used for reinforcement. The choice of main bonded reinforcement is based on its high tensile strength and interaction ...
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  • 402
10 votes

Are toasters really electrified inside of the "slots"?

Why would they have the metal parts responsible for pressing against the bread and keep it in place be having electricity going through it? They don't. The metal parts responsible for pressing ...
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  • 201
9 votes
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What engineering advances paved the way for "modern" computers?

The transistor The transistor was the revolutionary replacement of the vacuum tube, which had been at the heart of computers for the first half of the 20th century. Vacuum tubes themselves had only ...
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  • 2,485
8 votes

Why do we pave roads instead of making them from removable parts?

You mean going back to cobblestone roads? Many sidewalks are often paved with pavers. One of the challenges is maintaining a level surface. Asphalt holds itself together like a sheet and a dip in the ...
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8 votes

What engineering advances paved the way for "modern" computers?

I'm still confused about what you mean by "engineering advances". To me, things like vacuum tubes, transistors and ICs are technologies, and engineering is all about applying those technologies to ...
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  • 6,719
8 votes
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Why are hyperboloid towers not popular anymore?

Meet Vladimir Shukhov, a Russian architect who first developed hyperboloid structures. He was born in 1853, died in 1939, and created over 200 hyperboloid structures in the intervening years. He was ...
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  • 2,485
8 votes

Could a gold/{second metal} crown be created that would pass the Archimedes test cost effectively?

Using the values of metals in 287 BCE – 212 BCE, could it be cost effective for the crown maker? Of the metals known and used in antiquity (copper, gold, silver, lead, iron, tin, mercury, zinc), gold ...
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  • 335
7 votes

Why have thorium fueled nuclear reactors not been more fully developed?

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory had an experimental thorium reactor in the 1960s, but the program was terminated in the 1970s. This can be partially be attributed to the needs of both the military ...
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  • 9,382
7 votes

How are increasingly accurate machines made?

Before the extremely accurate machines were made, they first had extremely accurate measuring devices. I'll use the "first lathe" as an example. The bed of the lathe needs to be very flat, as the ...
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  • 1,054
7 votes

Why do we pave roads instead of making them from removable parts?

I think that there are a few things that you aren't considering. Subgrade Most roads have at least 12 in (300 mm) of compacted aggregate (rock) under the actual pavement. If the existing soil is very ...
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  • 10.6k
7 votes

Is systems engineer an IT profession or an interdisciplinary field of engineering?

I don't believe there is any conflict but variation in how Human Resource choose to define system engineer positions within specific organizations. It is my opinion that System Engineer has a broad ...
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6 votes

Why are so many things around us rectilinear?

In ancient times roundhouses were constructed and are still constructed in predominantly lesser developed countries. One issue with roundhouses is, once constructed they can't be extended laterally ...
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  • 9,382
6 votes

Is systems engineer an IT profession or an interdisciplinary field of engineering?

Systems Engineering pre-dates IT. The classical Systems Engineering has roots in aerospace industry (for better, or for worse). Projects were were getting multidisciplinary, and complex, and ...
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  • 1,045
6 votes

How are increasingly accurate machines made?

This was an actual thought process that was spoken out loud by Feynman in his famous paper There's plenty of room at the bottom, in 1959. Here's the related part: A hundred tiny hands When I make my ...
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6 votes

Would not a telephone call (from the late 1950s) auto-disconnect if one of the parties "closes the handle"?

If you could truly indefinitely keep a line open for anyone who calls you, by simply not hanging up on your end, the potential for abuse is endless. That's the way the POTS (plain old telephone ...
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  • 7,499
6 votes

Are toasters really electrified inside of the "slots"?

Yes, and no. When the toaster is actually toasting, then obviously there's electricity running through the elements, which need to get hot (and will be seen to glow). Once it's turned off, but still ...
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  • 209
5 votes
Accepted

Did Otto Lilienthal ever experiment with non-human-powered aircraft?

I'm going to answer my own question because just before posting it I found an answer. The Otto Lilienthal Museum has a comprehensive list of Lilienthal's designs. One is listed as the "small wing-...
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  • 2,485

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