Professors worry that engineering students don't tinker enough...

From: Mark Gregory <>
Date: Sun Dec 10 12:26:20 2000

Extremely OT, but hopefully of interest to many, so I hope I'll be forgiven

One show that provides some hope for the future of tinkering in England and
the US is the excellent Scrapheap Wars (called Junkyard Wars in the US and
Canada). The premise: two teams of 4 people (3 ordinary joes and 1 expert)
are turned loose in a junkyard and given 10 hours to build a device, such as
an amphibian, a glider, or a cannon, with which they compete the next day.
The teams don't know what they'll have to build in advance. The junkyard has
been mildly salted with useful items (hydraulic rams, propellors, etc) but
for the most part, the teams have to adapt their design to use whatever they
can find or build in the allotted time. Among the projects tackled so far
(other than the three mentioned above): a walking machine, a submarine, a
radio controlled bomber, a "deep-sea" recovery barge, demolition equipment,
a land yacht, and others that I'm forgetting.

In Canada and the US, the Learning Channel has been airing the first two
seasons from the UK in "marathons" of 4 per night for the last several
weeks. A US version of the show is coming. Check your local listings. It's
great fun, and an interesting look at some hands on, real time engineering
in the original sense of the word.

Received on Sun Dec 10 2000 - 12:26:20 GMT

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