17 October 2007

Careful or I'll Puncture You with My Slide Rule

In case you haven't noticed, I've found myself questioning the meanings of terms quite bit lately...

I am an engineer. A fellow engineer friend of mine recently made the observation that, for the most part, engineers are pricks. He did this less as an attempt at self-deprication and more to objectively explain the tactless behavior of many engineers, particularly in social situations.

The definition of an engineer from one source I have is, "A person who uses scientific knowledge to solve practical problems." From the same source, the definition of a prick is, "term of address for people who are stupid or irritating or ridiculous." Another prick definition (same source) is, "The act of puncturing with a small point."


I am thinking of a new definition for engineer in light of this recent discussion:

engineer, n, a person who uses scientific knowledge to solve the practical problems of others by making small points to puncture their flawed logic.

Another alternative is:

engineer, n, an irritating* person who makes small points to puncture the ideas of others; often involving (over)use of scientific knowledge.

*Because real engineers are rarely "stupid" or "ridiculous," of course.

Then again, there is a third definition of prick which could be melded with that of engineer: "Obscene term for penis."

I'd rather stick with my definitions, though, thank you very much.


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