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Re: Non Professionals doing Engineering

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I starting working/playing with computers almost 40 years ago, and one of my early lessons has served me well over the years:

Never believe the computer unless you already know the answer.

Too many people, not just structural engineers, blindly trust this box full of melted sand and copper wire, without understanding it.  "I can't help you, the computer's down", "The computer must have made a mistake", Jim's quote, etc.

Computers, like many other tools over the years, do two things:  They allow us to accomplish more with the same amount of time; and/or they allow other less skilled people to do what we used to do.  And like any other change, that can be good or bad, depending how it is applied.  The art of calligraphy was largely lost when Gutenberg did his thing, but books became widely available.  People became weaker when the wheel was invented, but they could do more.  Much original design was lost when assembly lines were adapted to manufacture, but goods became more widely available.

We've learned, hopefully, that it is counter-productive to try to stand in the way of progress, all we can attempt to do is adapt and manage it.  Good luck to us all.

Phil Hodge
phil(--nospam--at)joistdesign.com