Making It Work

“Alright, this is experimental trial…One hundred thirty eight…B.”
Derek spoke to the camera, hands trembling as he moved to press the ‘on’ switch. The array lit up almost immediately and the whole thing started to hum.
“Phase one appears to be operating normally…” He picked up one of his instruments. “Phase two power generation appears to be as expected…” There was a long pause and suddenly the needle shot upwards. “Oh…oh no…Not again. Please, not this again.” He dove for the power button, but it didn’t matter. The machine was already smoking. He jumped for the camera instead and dove behind the protective paneling just before it blew. “Well, that was the same malfunction from trial…um…seventy three, I think. So…”
“Derek, are you alright in here?”
He looked up into the face of Professor McKenna and sighed.
“Yes, Professor…I just had a malfunction. I’m alright.”
“You nearly blew yourself up, Derek. Grab your notes, check the prototype for flames and come get some dinner. You need to take a break and redesign or you’re going to kill yourself with one of these `malfunctions.’”

Derek sat down in the cafeteria, spreading his designs out while he tried to simultaneously shove a chicken tender into his mouth.
“You’re still working on that? You know it’s never gonna work, right?”
He didn’t even need to look up to know that was Alexis. Little miss perfect Alexis with her grants and stipends and published papers and all that. She dropped into the seat opposite him and scoffed.
“I mean, seriously, you can’t just pull energy out of nowhere, Derek, that goes against all the laws of physics.”
“As we know them…” was his only response.
“Ugh…whatever. Continue to wallow in your failure while I’m putting an astronaut on Mars.”
She strode away, heels clicking on the tiled floor, and he returned his full attention to finding the flaw in his design.

Hours turned into days and days into weeks and Derek still didn’t have a new prototype. The flaw was there, he knew it was, he just had to find it. Weeks into months and the snow fell hard around the campus as Derek burst into the lab with a tiny box in his hands. He set up his camera, hands shaking and set the little cardboard box on the counter. It was only a few inches high, not the giant bulk of lights and switches and diodes he’d had before. No, this one was simple, sleek and elegant. And most importantly of all, just as Alexis walked in to demand to know what he was doing, the little chrome sphere started to glow and lifted into the air.
“Making it work.”

The Love Song of the Engineer

My hands speak volumes
As they trace the curves of your body
And ponder the integrals of those curves
Using my fingers to mark out the derivatives

Let us assume that you are a rigid body
But existing in a frictionless environment is no fun
So let us instead consider a constant friction called f
A glorious friction, offset with lubrication as necessary

And let us consider a second rigid body
Did I forget to mention that we shall assume that all bodies are spheres?
No, scratch that, that assumption upsets the tangent planes
And negates those glorious curves

I wish I was DNA heliocase so that I could unzip your genes
Hypothesis proven, biological humor is not my forte
Would you prefer something that involves compiling your object files?
Then again, perhaps not.

Back to that second rigid body I mentioned
Its here in my hand, for demonstration purposes, of course
I chose the smooth one so we can maintain our constant f of friction
But if you’d prefer more variables, that’s fine with me

Now, would you be so kind as to lie back and collect data for me?
I will measure the efficacy of my application of F=MA
By the waveforms you produce in the air.
Experimental procedure says that you get to reproduce my test next

An object at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by an outside force
And I can be a very enthusiastic outside force, if you would like me to
Where this experiment proceeds is based entirely on the data you provide,
But I for one, would love to do an in depth study of fluid dynamics.