This is e-week or in the vernacular, Engineering Week. The purpose of this week is to celebrate engineers and all that they do for us. Being an engineer myself, this celebration is more than a little self-congratulatory. Still, it is a relatively arcane discipline, practiced by many of the most eccentric folks that I know. To non-engineers, my colleagues must appear as the very embodiment of geek-dom. The Fashionista would be appalled with our dress code. Our body images tend to segregate themselves into either pencil neck geeks or overweight fatties, with few of us in the happy middle. As a group, we are not even the most personable of people. If we were still in high school, we would all be trying on locker overcoats for size. So we are not much to look at or be around, but then we are not being paid for are good looks or personality anyway. We do things. We create things. We make our modern life possible. When you buy some new techno-bauble it is me you should thank. When your car starts it is me you should thank. When your toilet flushes it is me you should thank. You’re welcome!
This celebratory week was tinged with sadness with news of Leonard Nimoy’s death today. An actor that has been ambivalent about his role as Mr. Spock on Star Trek, he served as a lightning rod for my kind. I heard him speak once at a Star Trek convention in Dallas. My brother Chris and I went there together. Jewish, he spoke at length about his then upcoming series of Hanukkah stories that I later listened to on NPR. His talk was an interesting departure from the rest of that convention’s program, still he held the audience. I still hear his voice daily. I play a video game, Civilization that tracks humankind’s progress from the Stone Age to tomorrow. Every time a new technology is invented, Nimoy’s voice recites an appropriately famous quote. His spirit will be missed.