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Engineer/scientist 68 56.67%
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:32 PM   #61
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Lordy, lordy...

I don't see how these geeky people can ever retire. In fact, it sounds like some of them are ready to head back to work, the way they talk about it.
Don't be surprised if yours truly gets into designing (at home, relax everyone) and inventing again.
I still have songs to sing. And I loved getting 2 patents issued. It was a major head trip and a great source of joy.
I may take a look at the current state of the art of ability aids for folks with physical problems with respect to computer accessibility. I helped a lady with MS learn to use a speech dictation system years ago. That was cool!
The invitation to serve on an advisory committee from my alma mater, starting this fall, has a lot of potential. I'll be rubbing elbows with students and academics again. Who knows....
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:51 PM   #62
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I'm not an engineer, but one time I sat close to one.....
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:17 PM   #63
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It seems like the others are catching up with the engineers . So I do not think you need an analytic mind to amass a decent fortune just LBYM or have an inheritance .I lived below my means and amassed a decent portfolio on a R.N's salary while putting two children through private colleges .
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:42 PM   #64
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Two computer engineers here - geeky enough.

You would not believe how much software code my husband still writes every day! But now it's to automate his fancy photography web pages.

Me! Delighted to not write code anymore, although some of my spreadsheet work has come pretty close! But I still am on the computer a great deal of time doing stuff. Totally different tools though - photoshop, web authoring, graphic design, video editing. Love it!

I had to fill a liberal arts requirement my college engineering program (but no language - apparently a software programming course was considered to fulfill the language requirement - LOl!), so after a "music appreciation" course, I ended up taking 2 semesters of electronic music composition! LOL!

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Old 08-16-2009, 02:10 PM   #65
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I may take a look at the current state of the art of ability aids for folks with physical problems with respect to computer accessibility.
Have you read Stephen Baker's "The Numerati"? Imagine what you could do by taking your tech in that direction...
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Old 08-16-2009, 02:20 PM   #66
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I wonder what the rest of the forum members are thinking about this thread. Something along these lines?
Pretty much.

Then again, I am a finance/accounting type who is actually bad at math (usually have to call DW if I have to do simple algebra), so I have very little idea about what you guys are talking about.
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Old 08-16-2009, 04:33 PM   #67
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No engineer here.

Did an awful lot of techie work for seismologists and oceanographers.

Used to be fun to explain 3 axis Strong Motion earthquake film recorders to new grad students though. Or trickery involved in tuning Long Period Seismographs and the release mechanisms of ocean bottom seismometers. The finer points of radio telemetry got them totally.
It was always fun to enlist a newly minted oeanographers to help pull a string of hydrophones into an 800' long plastic tube aboard ship, mind you this was a 202 foot long ship with 35' beam. One or two "eels"-hydrophone strings- lost, usually when a submarine snagged the "eel" towed a mile or two behind the ship) then have them help filling it with castor oil. Can you say messy?

Hey if they wanted data, we had to build a hydrophone string. Involved hoisting the open end up of the tube up the 85' mast to the crows nest, hoisting up 5 gallon cans of oil, filling a funnel inserted into end of the 2" plastic tube, all the while ship is rolling 15 to 25 degrees even in calm seas, plus pitching about 5 or 10.

Quick math whizzes: 85' mast top moving how many feet when the ship rolls 15 degrees, port and starboard? And the compound directions that includes 5 degrees pitch in random motion? Rate of roll typically from 70 to 130 seconds. If the weather sucked we rolled 30 degrees in each direction easily. Interesting task to try and fill a funnel.

Subs were easy to pick up and distinguish from whales.

Math, what math.

Fun story: when a bunch of us went out to dinner after Friday afternoon record readings, it was always the secretaries who figured out the tab and the tip.

All the physicists and mathematicians abstained from figuring. Saying: we do mathematics, we don't do arithmetic. Go figure.
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Old 08-16-2009, 04:54 PM   #68
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The vast majority of ERs I know never even went to college. They just held steady jobs with benefits like a pension, saved a good chunk of their income and invested in real estate. Most would not even know how to use a spreadsheet, but they can wield a pencil like champs! With all my knowledge, I am certain that my uncle could still teach me a trick or too... He retired at 55, was a mailman all his life (his wife never worked) yet he has accumulated an impressive, multi-million dollar real estate fortune.
When I was in college I worked as a substitute janitor in the Chicago Public Schools so I worked in a lot of different schools and met a lot of janitors and stationary engineers. I was amazed at how many of them were well on their way to FI if not FIRE. Quite of few of the African American janitors on the south side held two regular jobs and managed apartment buildings they had purchased. A couple of the guys I worked with owned several large buildings they had bought on contract (to my understanding, not a great way to buy buildings but possibly the only route open to them) and were generating a small positive cash flow while maintaining the buildings and progressing toward free and clear ownership. With the civil service pension and the real estate holdings I suspect they did pretty well over the long haul.
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Old 08-16-2009, 05:09 PM   #69
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I am an "Other". I have little aptitude for the technical. I don't care about the mechanics of something, I just want it to work when I flip the switch. Got a bachelor's in English and a master's in Library Service. Worked as a librarian in a corporate library, public library cataloger and head of a circulation desk, university reference librarian, Army Corps of Engineers librarian. Was on the Mommy track for about a decade before resuming paid employment as a pencil pusher for state government. I am trying to get all my ducks in a row for eventual retirement in a couple of years.
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:56 PM   #70
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I'm amazed at the high proportion of engineers and scientists on this board. I expected artist/writer to be low, but 2?. I actually thought "other" would be the highest as that should catch the business, management, medical, teachers etc. I wonder why more people from the finance industry aren't on here?
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Old 08-16-2009, 08:01 PM   #71
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I'm amazed at the high proportion of engineers and scientists on this board...
Worse than rabbits, I'm telling ya.
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Old 08-16-2009, 08:16 PM   #72
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It seems like the others are catching up with the engineers . So I do not think you need an analytic mind to amass a decent fortune just LBYM or have an inheritance. I lived below my means and amassed a decent portfolio on a R.N's salary while putting two children through private colleges.
As a geek, I cannot agree with you more. There are different types of geeks, but the engineering geeks tend to get higher starting salaries. However, their pays tend to top out too early, compared to doctors or lawyers. To make more, they have to go up the management ladder, but then they would cease to be geeks. They become businessmen, who have a different kind of analytic mind.

In my circle of "true" geeks, dare I say, a high percentage does not know much about investing. What helps them is that they tend to be LBYM'ers and good savers. Why are they not savvy investors? May I propose this theory based on my observation of cohorts.

Engineers, like scientists or mathematicians, like things to be precise. Duh! How else can you get things to work reliably? You have a certain idealistic model of the things you like to build, and you want the real things to be as close to your ideal model as possible. Luckily, they usually have things "under control". They can conduct experiments and controlled tests, and they can refine the manufacturing process to make things better and better. The price for the degree of perfection goes up exponentially of course, but usually things can be improved to a satisfactory level. You can't sell your things otherwise!

But the technical geeks are dealing with inanimate objects. Economists do not have the same luxury. We are dealing with humans who make willy-nilly decisions here. We are also dealing with politicians, for crying out loud. Engineers run Monte Carlo simulations all the time. However, their simulation end results, right or wrong, look nothing like that of FireCalc. The engineer's job is to make sure that the thing he works on will converge to a happy ending, and not end up as a scattered plot. Not acceptable! You are fired!

As an example I am now making up, suppose you show an astronaut a state variable plot that looks like a FireCalc plot. The astronaut would immediately get interested, and try to understand what the heck that is that looks so helter-skelter before he climbs into that capsule again.

Some geeky minds just cannot deal with the chaotic and unmodelable aspects of society. They called it illogical, irrational, and tend to flock to something they falsely perceive as safe and tangible. They mistrust the stock market, and do not believe that the game favor is on the investor's side. So, the geeks tend to have a comfortable life due to their reasonable income, but do not do as well as they could have.
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Old 08-16-2009, 08:59 PM   #73
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My own explanation as to why so many engineers/scientists seek and achieve FIRE:

1) They make good money. 2) They are immersed in their work and have little time to go shopping and spend money - unless it's computer related . 3) They have no interest in fashion, home decor, jewelry, hot cars or anything frivolous like that. 4) They are independent-minded people. They might love their work, but I think that most cannot stand the corporate world. It's too rigid, require interactions with business- and management-type people (brrrr...), and corporate BS is a huge drain on them. They just want to be left alone dammit!

To summarize, they make good money, spend little of it and have a huge incentive to get out of the rat race.

N.B.: I, engineer; DW, scientist and the corporate world is killing our souls...
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:21 PM   #74
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My own explanation as to why so many engineers/scientists seek and achieve FIRE:

1) They make good money.
Well, adequate, anyway, in my case. I wouldn't say it's lavish.
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2) They are immersed in their work and have little time to go shopping and spend money - unless it's computer related .
Exactly! No time to shop (but computers related items are necessities!).
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3) They have no interest in fashion, home decor, jewelry, hot cars or anything frivolous like that.
Well, gee, I like home decor! But see 2) above. I'll have more time to look for antiques, art, and nice things for my home after ER.
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4) They are independent-minded people. They might love their work, but I think that most cannot stand the corporate world. It's too rigid, require interactions with business- and management-type people (brrrr...), and corporate BS is a huge drain on them. They just want to be left alone dammit!
Yes! You can say that again.
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To summarize, they make good money, spend little of it and have a huge incentive to get out of the rat race.

N.B.: I, engineer; DW, scientist and the corporate world is killing our souls...
Believe me, I can relate to that... government work has its drawbacks as well.
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:30 PM   #75
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Also when lawyers and business people have to keep up appearances (luxury car, expensive suits and large houses are marketing tools proving their success), engineers and scientists can get away with old clothes and cheap cars... It's almost expected for us lab rats, he he he...
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:34 PM   #76
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One or two "eels"-hydrophone strings- lost, usually when a submarine snagged the "eel" towed a mile or two behind the ship)...
Hey, if the oceanographic ship was putting out its Notices to Mariners then I'd expect that those were not U.S. submarines!

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Subs were easy to pick up and distinguish from whales.
Whales don't give off 60-hertz tonals & harmonics, either... or were those 50-hertz tonals?
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Old 08-17-2009, 09:26 AM   #77
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Hey, if the oceanographic ship was putting out its Notices to Mariners then I'd expect that those were not U.S. submarines!

Sometimes those notices were useless. Like a leg from Cape Town to the edges of Antartica and back. The storms and resulting waves made the projected track mythical. The indicated water speed 8 Kts, actual ground speed at times -17 Kts. Actual track 25 degrees into prevailing swells and waves of 30' +. Lucky we got back alive. The Albatrosses would just hover over a wave, when it hit them in the a$$ they just fold wings and float. Takeoffs involved waiting for the wave to crest, at the top just open wings and soar away.


Whales don't give off 60-hertz tonals & harmonics, either... or were those 50-hertz tonals?
We noted both. An early giveaway was the proton precession magnetometer towed behind the eel going bonkers. We were mapping the earth's magnetic field. Anomalies were like sore thumbs. Sometimes even the gravimeters showed anomalies. Plus both low an high frequency sonars pinging away. Though I'm sure they knew where we were long before picked them up. Also had air guns at 6000 psi blasting at 20 sec intervals for sub-bottom profiling. We usually were not trying to be quiet.

It was more fun just drifting a few days without noisemakers, just for localised magnetic and gravity mapping, and when one got close, hit the 5 Kilowatt low frequency sonar button a few times.

Dropping a bathythermograph probe gave good thermal calibration for ranging. Followed by a few sonobuoys.

It was all in good jest.
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Old 08-17-2009, 09:29 AM   #78
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My own explanation as to why so many engineers/scientists seek and achieve FIRE:
1) They make good money.
I did OK, but never broke the bank. It all looked good on paper, but income taxes were murder for DINKS. Pumping a lot of bucks into my TSP helped immensely.

2) They are immersed in their work and have little time to go shopping and spend money - unless it's computer related .
Guilty as charged, but I do have a creative side and always liked non-techie pursuits.

3) They have no interest in fashion, home decor, jewelry, hot cars or anything frivolous like that.
Partially not guilty. My midlife crisis car is proof of that.
I do tend to decorate my home, um, in an orderly way.
Guilty of not being a fashion plate, but I wasn't not too bad. I could put on the Ritz when required, but always outside of w*rk. I usually wore suit type dress outfits for formal briefings and got the fake eye-pop and teased with "Freebird's a girl?" by fellow techies.
Post FIRE, I clean up well. Nice to be able to be a girl again.

4) They are independent-minded people.
Guilty to the nth power.
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Old 08-17-2009, 10:19 AM   #79
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It was more fun just drifting a few days without noisemakers, just for localised magnetic and gravity mapping, and when one got close, hit the 5 Kilowatt low frequency sonar button a few times.
Dropping a bathythermograph probe gave good thermal calibration for ranging. Followed by a few sonobuoys.
It was all in good jest.
Yeah, I can visualize the submarine's sonar watchstanders squealing in agony as they ripped off their headphones...

We used to refer to vessels behaving like that as "targets"!
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Old 08-17-2009, 10:28 AM   #80
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We were considerate.

The high frequency sonar was far more powerful, steerable and painful. This way they just got a boooong. From an omnidirectional transducer.
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