Saturday, April 14, 2012


Thanks for reading everyone! I hope you enjoy it.

Continue to send your questions about anything engineering-related! :-)


Great Page to Check Out

Since you're all on Facebook anyways, I thought I'd post this. An amusing engineering page which regularly posts engineering related memes. Enjoy.

Trust Me, I'm an Engineer

-N. Riazi

Friday, April 13, 2012

What is your favorite thing about Davis?

"What is your favorite thing about Davis?"

I replied, "The squirrels."

These two guys were kinda surprised when I said that. But it's true. I love the squirrels, the ducks, the greenbelts, the bike riding, the crisp morning air, and the college town feel. 

It's important to love the college you go to. Make sure you feel like you belong. It'll make your college experience so much more exciting and worthwhile.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Great Magazines

So on top of all my girly magazines I have a slight addiction to my nerdy and technical magazines. Knowledge is power and if I can learn it on my own time and my way, great.
Some you should check out:

Maximum PC
For those of you who build your own PC’s my favorite is Max PC. They’ve also got a mini game review section and amusing rants from the testers.

Time not only has some interesting Tech reviews but discusses just about everything and keeps me from living in an oblivious hole while in school.

Consumer Reports
They test just about every product so you can compare it side by side with its competitors. Handy.

Lots of DIY tech projects.

Never actually read this one but I have friends who enjoy it. I personally feel that I’d rather go and pick up a real sci fi novel written by someone who knows how to write but that’s just me. But give it a shot, everyone has different preferences.

Popular Mechanics
For those of you who would like to learn how things work on top of how to use them.

LOVE this. If only because it’s all about new technology presented in a format that is both understandable and amusing. You don’t have to be a technological genius to understand it.

So yeah that's all I can think of right now. If you subscribe to any of these what do you think? Are there any others you would recommend?


N. Riazi

'How hands-on is the mechanical engineering program?"

I'm going to answer this question very truthfully. The mechanical engineering program at UC Davis is not particularly hands-on. However, it doesn't mean that other schools are "better" or "worse" based on the amount of hands-on you can get. I've heard that Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has more hands-on...but I'm not one to speak on the details. This is what UC Davis does have for it's undergraduates:

  • EME 50. A machine shop class where you get to be both the engineer and the machinist. You learn the basics of drill pressing, milling, and lathing.  You also get some experience with the automated processing and how to change 3D drawings into to cutting paths.
  • Student Design Teams. There are 7(?) student design teams where you are part of a team to create a racecar (hybrid or off-road), RC airplane, concrete canoe, human powered vehicle, or robots (multi-function) and compete against other teams.  It is, unfortunately, on your own time, but it is very worthwhile for those students who do see a project from idea to completion. 
  • Undergraduate Research. UC Davis is the biggest research UC, which means there are multiple opportunities for research. If you want tips on how to get a research gig, click here. If you need a reason why, click here.
  • Senior Design/Capstone Project. I am currently working on my senior design with 4 other mechanical engineers.  You pick a project (or one gets assigned to you), and you need to meet the requirements of  your customer...don't worry, this person isn't imaginary. It requires 2 quarters of designing, analyzing, and prototyping your project. It takes you from the beginning stages of a design to the end product. You also get to use the tools you use in EME 50.  At the end, you present your work to industry representatives...and could potentially get a job out of it. Pretty cool, huh? 
  • Miscellaneous Projects. Sometimes, you get really cool professors who have you work on a project. Such as for my EME 150 A and B classes. For my EME 150A class, my friend and I created a "Self Drying Towel Rack." It was pretty even had a timer. EME 150 B consisted of the Shigley Hauler Project which you can read about here, here, and here
See! UC Davis is a wonderful place to study and get hands-on experience. It just may not be incorporated directly into your degree program...which I think can sometimes be a good thing. :-)


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"What type of ballistics courses do you have?"

As many of you know, I volunteer for the Mechanical and Aerospace Science and Engineering department's table at Decision UC Davis. One of the questions I got was:

What type of ballistic courses do you have?

To be honest, I didn't know how to answer this question. What was going through my mind was
  • Does this guy want to work as a military contractor?
  • Does he want to create guns for a living (like that TV show)?
  • If the question wasn't for the two questions above...should I be worried?
With the above in mind, I attempted to divert from the question. 

"Well what is your interest in? The heat transfer? The chemical reaction? The trajectory? The materials? The design? The controls? The overall system? It honestly depends on which aspect.  However, you will take classes in each of those aspects which you can then apply to toward any problem that comes your way."

I asked my friend later in the day, and he said, "He's in the wrong school if he wants to do that!" I don't know if he was implying the military or just a different university, but I just laughed and left it at that.

Should I have answered this question any differently? I've been thinking about this question all weekend and cannot come up with something else.


Decision UC Davis

Last Friday was Decision UC Davis, where we try to convince future freshman that UC Davis is meant for them.

It was so marvelous to see so many people excited about the program and show them my past experiences.

Here are the most memorable questions:

  • What type of ballistics classes do you have?
  • How hands-on is the mechanical engineering program?
  • What is your favorite thing about Davis?
  • What is the male to female ratio really like?
  • What classes will I be taking in my freshman year? 
  • Mac or PC?
  • What do you deal with those guys that seem to know everything?
And one I got from an online search inquiry
  • What types of materials do I need for an engineering program?
Each of these questions will be answered in the following week or so. :-) As my one of my favorite professors says "I need to keep you in suspense." :-D


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Follow Directions

Can I just say that following directions is very importante? 

Following directions shows that you

  • care
  • are meticulous
  • think about the person reading the material.
I would argue it's one of the most important things...with EVERYTHING. It does not  matter how smart you are. 

The reason I bring this up: I applied for funding through the College of Engineering, and I was rewarded with a "thank you for following directions."  I can imagine that many other people did not. Did I mention that my funding got approved immediately? It might have been a consequence of me following the directions.

Here are consequences for not following directions:
  • Getting your application (job/scholarship/grant/etc.) thrown out immediately
  • Getting the reader angry and thereby creating a negative view toward you (which will cause your application to be thrown out)
  • Having to re-do the application...I hate doing things more than once...If you're going to do it, do it right the first time.
  • Being labeled as careless.
So as Nike says, "Just [following the directions]"...if you get my drift


Monday, April 9, 2012

"Pursuit of Happyness" Part II

What makes  you happy? Well, here's a list of what makes me happy
  • I love interacting with friends.
  • I love the equations systems evolve and networks develop. What about in our brains?
  • I love watching Modern Marvels, How it's Made and Mythbusters.
  • I love reading books that deal with living in New York City (although my latest visits tell me I probably wouldn't want to live there, personally). I think it's the drama, like in "The Devil Wears Prada."
  • I love that sense of accomplishment when I finish a book...especially if I finish it quickly (this often impresses my mother...Hi Mom!). 
  • I love reading about human interaction...See Malcom Gladwell's books
  • I love thinking about pre-concieved notions...and beating the stereotype with my everyday interactions.
  • I love learning about anything that will show me how to work more efficiently. 
  • I love meeting highly motivated people.
  • And I love telling others about my journeys and adventures...and the people I meet on the way...
Okay, where do I go from here? LOL


PS. If you don't know what your personality type is, you can take this test.  Have fun!