Sunday, April 22, 2012

Not Feeling Aroused - - Making Engineering Sexy

This is an interesting letter to the Economist in the April 21, 2012 issue under the header "Not feeling aroused" - -

SIR - I have noticed a tendency in your pages to overuse the word "sexy" to describe things of interest, such as in a book review about an author who is "making physics sexy again" ("House of dreams," March 3rd).  Might I suggest alluring, fascinating, interesting, fetching, sleek, seductive, provocative, sensual, racy, slinky, to name just a few alternatives.

I have seen the strangest things described as sexy and I confess to being less than turned on.

Leslie Kingsley
Rubik, Albania

But what about engineering - - "making engineering sexy again".  Granted the word "again" seems out of place.  Designing castles for Louie VIII was probably the last time we had a "sexy" project.  What about the other alternatives that Ms. Kingsley suggested - -
  • Making engineering alluring.  It works for me.
  • Making engineering fascinating.  I like alluring better.
  • Making engineering interesting.  I just fell asleep.
  • Making engineering fetching.  EE no, but maybe petroleum engineering - - this JR kind of thing.
  • Making engineering sleek.  I think the automotive engineering people could pull this off.
  • Making engineering seductive.  This one is important - - our future depends on the seductive nature of STEM careers.
  • Making engineering provocative.  I like this one - - from climate change to sustainability to engineering for social justice to engineering to eliminate poverty - - we can and must be more provocative. 
  • Making engineering sensual.  This is problematic.
  • Making engineering racy.  This is really problematic.
  • Making engineering slinky.  This is impossible.
I'll be thinking about this as I watch Mad Men tonight.

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