Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now
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I will take a stab at your last question: 'how traditional engineering is different from scientific study.' It's very hard to define exactly what science is (this is the problem of demarcation), but it's sometimes loosely defined as the empirical branch of knowledge, other times it's described as a method--but the important part is that science is an activity (or branch of knowledge) that is concerned with understanding how the world is. Engineering, on the other hand, is not concerned with how the world is, but rather how to solve technological problems (or advance technology). As a result, sometimes the distinction is not obvious. It's possible to have two people doing the exact same thing but one is trying to solve an engineering problem, while the other is trying to answer a fundamental question about nature. Thus the agent's intentions may be required to properly classify an activity. Furthermore, there is also a symbiotic relationship between science and technology, which sometimes causes people two confuse the two: science often leads directly to advances in technology and technology often leads directly to advances science.