Everyday Engineering

May 26, 2022#engineering🏛️

Everyday Engineering has been my faithful companion since last September, when I came across it by chance on the back alleys of the internet and quickly became obsessed. "Understanding the marvels of daily life" is its subtitle, and its scope is ambitious: the course walks the viewer through the construction of houses; the civil engineering involved in stormwater, wastewater, and freshwater; the mining and power generation of coaI, natural gas, uranium, solar, and wind power; the inner workings of an electrical power grid; telecommunications, satellites, and cell service; internal combustion engines; bridges and dams; trash disposal; sustainability design and permaculture...

Falling in love with this course led me to purchase a subscription with the lovely company Wondrium, and developing a daily studying habit I'm now carrying into spring.

Everyday Engineering is a masterclass in how to teach, the review below claims. I completely agree. Dr. Stephen Ressler, emeritus professor at West Point, has an uncommon genius for explaining complex things in simple ways.

He makes elaborate diagrams for each of the lessons. During home construction, these were simple enough: foot-tall plywood houses subjected to the forces of wind and frost heave. But as the course persists, the diagrams get wilder and wilder: detailed 3D models of HVAC systems, meticulous illustrations of nuclear reactors, even a live demo of a rudimentary transformer: a nail wrapped in copper wire getting rotated above a magnet, tiny light bulb flickering on the other end of the circuit like magic.

The course was one of the first learning efforts I supplemented with Anki flashcards, and now I'm completely hooked. I don't know why I ever settled for any thrills in life that did not come with the guarantee of life-long retention and a steady gain in power level.

If I would've had a flashcard system stay consistent through the year-ish span of time this course took me, I should share the cards here as a testament to spaced repetition's magic: I, an absolute doofus, now know basic concepts and terms of the entire world of modern engineering. I must insist I am not a handy person, and honestly somewhat mentally slow when it comes to doing common sensical physical stuff.

But I shuffled through a bunch of Obsidian plugins on my way to finding a workable Anki solution, and it's hard to figure out what goes where in the Anki crypts. So instead I'm still deciding how to "show my work" with this incredible set of lessons. I was thinking of reviewing everything in the style of Upgoer-5, XKCD-style. Tweet length ultra simplified explainers.

But I'm still not sure.

Update: on July 2, 2022 I finished this course, after starting it in September of the previous year. Feeling very accomplished and satisfied. I think I'm going to clean up my Anki cards and share them here.