back to article 'I feel violated': Engineer who pointed out traffic signals flaw fined for 'unlicensed engineering'

Last year, Mats Järlström was fined $500 for revealing troubling flaws in the mathematical formula used to govern the timing of US traffic lights. Järlström, a Swedish electronics engineer who has lived in America for more than two decades, realized there was a design fault in traffic systems after his wife got a ticket from …

  1. redpawn Silver badge

    Bureaucracy

    He shouldn't have used math. It makes governments nervous.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Bureaucracy

      Weapons of math destruction! That's terrrarism!

      Mine's the one with the terrorbyte disk in the pocket.

    2. Graybyrd
      Trollface

      Re: Bureaucracy

      No, it's American culture. Years ago I read a voyaging journal by a young French sailor of considerable renown. (Damn, I wish I could remember more... but anyway) He had encountered bureaucracy around the globe, and got along just fine. Until the Panama Canal, controlled by the Americans. I remember vividly his statement, "When it comes to bureaucratic hostility, pettiness, and obstruction, the Americans are without equal!" (Thats paraphrasing, as close as I can remember.) It stuck with me. I'm a Yank, and I've lived with our native-born bureaucrats.

      Oregon is NOT the exception. In all areas of bureaucratic practice at all levels in the U.S., it is more the rule. We pride ourselves in rigid, unbending enforcement of "the rules."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bureaucracy

        Oregon is NOT the exception. In all areas of bureaucratic practice at all levels in the U.S., it is more the rule. We pride ourselves in rigid, unbending enforcement of "the rules."

        Unless, apparently, it involves an orange billionaire who can break every rule on self enrichment, nepotism and active collusion with a foreign government to rig a vaguely democratic election process.

        Just out of interest, does Oregon have any DIY stores then, or are they reserved for people who can prove they're licensed engineers? Are ballpoints, or is it still strictly a goose feather and parchment environment? Do they check at the State border for contraband such as unlicensed wrenches and hammers with their serial numbers filed off?

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Bureaucracy

          Way back in the mists of time, Engineers were people (usually men) who designed bridges, roads, towers, etc. Then the industrial revolution came and suddenly those who designed cars, airplaines, etc. were getting engineering degrees. The "old line" Engineers just don't believe these upstarts are engineers.

          1. Nolveys Silver badge

            Re: Bureaucracy

            Engineers were people (usually men) who designed bridges, roads, towers, etc. Then the industrial revolution came and suddenly those who designed cars, airplaines, etc.

            Generally those are referred to as "civil engineering" and "savage engineering".

            1. imanidiot Silver badge

              Re: Bureaucracy

              What is the diffrrence between a civil engineer and a mechanical engineer?

              A mechanical engineer builds weapons. A civil engineer builds targets.

              1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

                Re: Bureaucracy

                "A mechanical engineer builds weapons. A civil engineer builds targets."

                I'm a civil engineer. Before that, I was an artillery man. I know how to build hard targets.

                ---

                SERGIUS [gravely, without moving] Captain Bluntschli.

                BLUNTSCHLI. Eh ?

                SERGIUS. You have deceived me. You are my rival. I brook no rivals. At six o'clock I shall be in the drilling- ground on the Klissoura road, alone, on horseback, with my sabre. Do you understand ?

                BLUNTSCHLI [staring, but sitting quite at his ease] Oh, thank you : thats a cavalry man's proposal. I'm in the artillery ; and I have the choice of weapons. If I go, I shall take a machine gun. And there shall be no mistake about the cartridges this time.

                (G.B. Shaw - Arms and the Man)

              2. FBiL

                Re: Bureaucracy

                Years ago, when spending some time as a draughtsman (pre CAD days too) I had it explained to me as

                A Mechanical Engineer designs to the nearest thousandth

                A Structural Engineer designs to the nearest 1/16th

                An Architect designs to the nearest field

            2. notowenwilson

              Re: Bureaucracy

              "Generally those are referred to as "civil engineering" and "savage engineering"."

              I prefer the term "parallel engineers". Since most of what they design involves straight, parallel lines.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bureaucracy

        ""When it comes to bureaucratic hostility, pettiness, and obstruction, the Americans are without equal!" "

        When I started work as a young R&D engineer* my boss had spent considerable time in both the Soviet Union and the US, and he warned me before I went to the US about the bureaucracy. He said that he had been astonished to discover that Soviet bureaucracy was a lot easier to negotiate than US bureaucracy. I found this hard to believe. And then I experienced US bureaucracy.

        *I don't live in Oregon so I couldn't be an engineer.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Bureaucracy

          "Soviet bureaucracy was a lot easier". Well perhaps, you give them something and in return they give you something. See the problem, what a topic, I think we all know when it starts to smell with or without gifts.

          And I think that as soon as we start this "they are all like that" and "those are all like this" then we are speaking a lot of "this" and "that", generally rubbish.

          1. cream wobbly

            Re: Bureaucracy

            Damned right, sir. US bureaucracy in my experience is a lot simpler to navigate than the French system. US bureaucracy is brutally up front & efficient with obtuse rules; French bureaucracy wonders why you think it shouldn't be so obstructive; and British bureaucracy would like you to come back tomorrow.

            For all its faults, at least the US government is all searchable. This "engineer" rule in Oregon was very much known about beforehand. I've read similar nonsense before. The only reason French and British bureaucracy can be navigated at all is because someone somewhere took pity on you and maybe bent the rules a little. It's because those countries' rules seem to be that the license is the law. Once you have something, it's yours to keep. In the US, the rules *always* apply. An improperly issued privilege can be revoked.

      3. JLV Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Bureaucracy

        Nice.

        I already knew one reason the French and Americans have a tetchy relationship with each other - an innate conviction that they are each the start and end of civilization and God's gift to others on the planet. Whom all others should emulate.

        You can now add they _both_ have head-up-the-rectum bureaucrats aplenty.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bureaucracy

          "They are each the start and end of civilization and God's gift to others". Only an Englishman could claim that, disturbed by competition.

      4. Oh Homer Silver badge
        Big Brother

        'rigid, unbending enforcement of "the rules"'

        It's not so much the rigidness as the rule itself that's so appalling.

        Suggesting a better traffic lights timing algorithm is a criminal offence?

        America is off-the-charts insane.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge
          Holmes

          @Oh Homer -- Re: 'rigid, unbending enforcement of "the rules"'

          "America is off-the-charts insane."

          You just now figured that out? Most of us that live in the States figured that out decades ago. See icon.....

      5. Willybee

        Re: Bureaucracy

        It seems French Culture involves making a Sport of mocking and criticizing anything American.

        At a Technical meeting Breakfast table in Germany, the French Delegate spent nearly half an hour criticizing Americans for their Inferior grasp of Logic. Much of his Tirade involved our failure to universally adopt the Metric System. He didn't know that I understand the French and German that he spoke exclusively in.

        As courtesy, all the German Host Delegates spoke English.

        When he decided to Shut Up and Eat, I gave my Host my card, and told him, "Tell Henri that they may ONLY call me AFTER they Make Their Verbs Regular".

        1. whileI'mhere

          Re: Bureaucracy

          An American? Talking about regular verbs?

          HINT: Dive is a regular verb whose past participle is dived, and dove is a type of bird

      6. motne

        Re: Bureaucracy

        Oregon is very much exceptional in this sort of abuse and misuse of authority.

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bureaucracy

        @Graybyrd - "Oregon is NOT the exception. In all areas of bureaucratic practice at all levels in the U.S., it is more the rule. We pride ourselves in rigid, unbending enforcement of "the rules."

        Not Texas. In Texas, we call Oregon the "Soviet Socialist Republic of Oregon" for a reason. And west coast companies and population are flocking to Texas for a reason.

      8. whileI'mhere

        Re: Bureaucracy

        You're saying a FRENCHMAN said that????? My experience is that French bureaucracy is the most rigid and petty of all.

    3. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Bureaucracy

      "If you are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive you but the bureaucracy won't." - Admiral Hyman Rickover

    4. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Bureaucracy

      And the US elites can not understand way the us lower life forms despise them. They wil use any means to stifle debate that shows they are incompetent monkeys.

    5. GrapeBunch

      Re: Bureaucracy

      (shamelessly lifting somebody's comment): "In Canada, he'd be considered a crank by some, a prophet by others. That would be his Free Speech. The difference seems to be that he backed up his arguments with Mathematics rather than bluster or bullster. Mathematics is Truth, so Free Speech is OK so long as it isn't true? Say it ain't so, Galileo."

    6. Infernoz Bronze badge
      Holmes

      Re: Bureaucracy

      r-types (Rabbit-like people) often can't perceive risk, and can suffer "triggering" mental pain when the risk becomes damage, K-type (Wolf-like people) can easily perceive risk, so prevent/avoid it, but the r-types blindly assume that everyone else is risk blind, so push redundant regulations instead of the more rational solution of having K-type people identify risky situations. This, gangster-like protectionism and other stupid/corrupt people is why there is so much harmful bureaucracy and harmful safety nets.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Bureaucracy

        Why are you constantly banging on about r-types and k-types in your comments?

  2. Joe Werner

    Not regulated?

    Actually you have to have studied engineering and get a degree in order to be allowed to call yourself an engineer. You know, like it should be. And in the civilised world it is.... ;)

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Not regulated?

      Not in UK and Ireland were any delivery person to living room, service technician, dish / aerial fitter etc is called an "engineer" even if they only did a H&S course and orientation course to know which is the pointy end of a drill.

      It's demeaning to real engineers that had to get a bunch of A Levels, do a 3 to 4 year University degree and in some cases nearly a year of work experience before they are called an Engineer.

      1. Random Handle

        Re: Not regulated?

        >in some cases nearly a year of work experience before they are called an Engineer.

        That's because engineer is a generic term - in the UK, Chartered Engineer is probably what you're looking for.

        1. handleoclast Silver badge

          He'd have been OK if he was a train driver

          'Tis true. What we describe as "train drivers" the Merkins call "engineers." So if he'd been a train driver he could call himself an engineer quite legitimately.

          Probably wouldn't pass Oregan's rules, but could still call himself an engineer.

          1. Kimo

            Re: He'd have been OK if he was a train driver

            Because steam engines really needed engineers to operate. On a steam train you could tell who the operator was by the whistle, as one of the first tasks that a new engineer was given was to design a train whistle, which they switched out every time they took over a train.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge

              Re: He'd have been OK if he was a train driver

              On a steam train you could tell who the operator was by the whistle, as one of the first tasks that a new engineer was given was to design a train whistle, which they switched out every time they took over a train.

              [citation needed].

              I can't find this with a quick Google. Further, every loco I've played with has had a whistle that a) would be inconvenient to swap out in a hurry when changing drivers (simply because of location and time taken to reach) and b) would be far to hot to deal with.

              I've spent some time around Steam Incorporated's yard, thought some years back. Have had a life-long interest in steam and this is the first time I've heard of this, though my exposure to steam loco's has been mainly NZ ones (due to our odd railway gauge, we don't see much else here). This could be something that didn't happen here.

              1. Stevie Silver badge

                Re: design a train whistle (4 Kiwi)

                You need to turn your "said while keeping a straight face" detector on.

              2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

                Re: He'd have been OK if he was a train driver

                "[citation needed].

                I can't find this with a quick Google."

                I can offer you this, from the Ballad:

                "You could tell from the engine's moans

                That the hogger at the throttle was Casey Jones".

                It may or may not be relevant. But my grandfather had the turned and polished brass ball and the painted iron roses and leaves that he had to make to complete his apprenticeship.

        2. gerdesj Silver badge

          Re: Not regulated?

          "That's because engineer is a generic term - in the UK, Chartered Engineer is probably what you're looking for."

          Unofficially, the capital E is allowed for a shortened form of Chartered status - "Engineer", "engineer" is for the others.

          In IT, I generally think of people who call themselves engineers as those who have managed to stop themselves from licking the keyboard. Engineers will at least have had the presence of mind to initiate some sort of health and safety or HACCP investigation before they start licking the keyboard or they will go for the screen instead. Anyone licking the mouse is obviously a user and not an engineer.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not regulated?

            I would say anyone licking the mouse is a cat. Just saying.

      2. Smooth Newt Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Not regulated?

        Actually you have to have studied engineering and get a degree in order to be allowed to call yourself an engineer. You know, like it should be. And in the civilised world it is.... ;)

        I don't give a damn about job titles. It is what the person actually does that counts. There are plenty of people who don't have degrees in engineering, or degrees at all, who actually do real engineering. Generally by physically making stuff like boats or buildings or writing software.

        And if having the legally protected title of "engineer" stirs the same feelings of admiration, veneration and respect that it does for "solicitor" and "accountant", then I'll give it a miss.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not regulated?

        That's why there are European designations (EurIng?) and titles for qualified engineers, surely?

        Even in the UK, someone who doesn't have the formal qualifications used to have alternative routes to getting Chartered Engineer status. After a physics degree and thirty years engineering work I came very close to getting formal CEng status a few years back, but my then employers attitude to CPD made me think again.

        I'm sure the Institute of Engineering and Technology is looking after the interests of professional engineers in the UK. Not.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Not regulated?

          "I'm sure the Institute of Engineering and Technology is looking after the interests of professional engineers in the UK. Not."

          It's way, way too late for that, at least in terms of the use of "engineer". In the UK at least, "engineer" became the guy who operated the then static steam engines at the beginnings of the industrial revolution.

        2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Not regulated?

          In the US, the technical term is "Professional Engineer", or PE, for short. To be one, you have to pass a "Registered Professional Engineer" test and have some experience, and be licensed by the state.

          As an EE, there's very little reason to do this, because the test and certification is heavily biased towards Civil and Mechanical engineering (i.e.: those who stamp blueprints). However, at the end of my college career, I was encouraged to take the Engineer In Training (EIT) test. I saw no reason to, as I was going to be designing computers. A few did, and I know of two who went to work in the power industry, where the certificate would have been useful.

          Oregon, in my humble opinion, is full of what makes the grass grow green. It's sad to see the state that was home to Tektronix pulling this kind of stuff. Bureaucrats being bureaucrats, I guess (while seeing an opportunity to supplement their meager budget, while simultaneously smacking down someone who dares expose the state's moneymaking scheme)

      4. streaky Silver badge

        Re: Not regulated?

        It's demeaning to real engineers that had to get a bunch of A Levels, do a 3 to 4 year University degree and in some cases nearly a year of work experience before they are called an Engineer.

        I'm a qualified engineer and I could care less, I know the difference - and if I ever leave software and go back into engineering - employers know the difference; the rest is window dressing. It's certainly not demeaning.

        Most people who care are the sort of people who join trade bodies and shockingly those bodies are pay to play which is totally something to get excited about. If you pay your subs you're an engineer and if you don't you're not by their standards. I've built things and I've forgotten more about engineering that some of those guys will ever learn.

        On topic though: wat.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not regulated?

      So the E in an MCSE is bollocks?

      I always suspected.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: So the E in an MCSE is bollocks?

        Dug up from Ye Register archives:-

        https://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/11/12/microsoft_mcses_are_bogus_boffins/

        https://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/11/15/i_am_an_engineer_you/

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not regulated?

        The E in MCSE stands for "Experanced". The other letters stand for "Must", "Call", and "Someone".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not regulated?

          The E in MCSE stands for "Experanced"

          I thought it should for "Eradicated", as in "Microsoft Computing, Security Eradicated". Better update my dictionary then.

        2. keith_w

          Re: Not regulated?

          To quote Jimmy Hendrix "are you experienced?"

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not regulated?

          I always thought is was "Minesweeper Consultant and Solitaire Expert"

        4. Kubla Cant Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Not regulated?

          The E in MCSE stands for "Experanced". The other letters stand for "Must", "Call", and "Someone"

          This sounds like it might be funny if I knew what "Experanced" means.

      3. RobThBay

        Re: Not regulated?

        That's why many years ago when IBM and Novell software & network Engineers ran into the problem they changed the E to mean Expert.

      4. Dave Schofield

        Re: Not regulated?

        >So the E in an MCSE is bollocks?

        The E in MCSE is now for "Expert" for this very reason. I make no comment on the validity of that assertion.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Not regulated?

      "you have to have studied engineering and get a degree in order to be allowed to call yourself an engineer"

      From TFA "In Sweden, Järlström studied electrical engineering"

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not regulated?

      Well my company has given me the title 'Engineer' and I've got a music degree.

      Go figure.

      1. BongoJoe

        Re: Not regulated?

        Well my company has given me the title 'Engineer' and I've got a music degree.

        Well, it's better than being a DJ who thinks he's a musician (says I who is a drummer)

        1. Willybee

          Re: Not regulated?

          Doncha mean, "I bees a drummer" ??

    5. inmypjs Silver badge

      Re: Not regulated?

      "the civilised world it is"

      The civilised world doesn't let some professions hijack parts of their language never mind enforce it with legislation.

      Anyhow, just another twat who thinks the time and money they spent in university ought to be worth more than it is. Nowadays a degree only slightly over qualifies you to fill supermarket shelves.

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Not regulated?

        Next up: racket manufacturers jailed for racketeering!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not regulated?

        "The civilised world doesn't let some professions hijack parts of their language never mind enforce it with legislation."

        Precisely .... as my mother found out talking to an Academic in Cambridge, When she said her husband was a Doctor she was asked what his specialism was and she said he didn't realy have a specialism as he was a GP ... there was then a frosty silence followed by the comment "Oh, I see, you mean he's a Batchelor of Medicine"

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not regulated?

        > Nowadays a degree only slightly over qualifies you to fill supermarket shelves.

        And you would say that on the experience of having attained which qualifications, exactly?

        1. inmypjs Silver badge

          Re: Not regulated?

          "> Nowadays a degree only slightly over qualifies you to fill supermarket shelves."

          "And you would say that on the experience of having attained which qualifications, exactly"

          I say that on the basis of UK universities accepting 532k students in 2015, and it being about ten times more than when one accepted me.

          I quit half way through the course to be paid to do something more interesting and useful. I probably couldn't do that today because ironically degrees are so 2 a penny and worthless you won't be considered for anything much more demanding than stacking supermarket shelves without one.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not regulated?

        you misspelled "civilized"...

    6. Kimo

      Re: Not regulated?

      My father was employed as an Engineer in Oregon without a college degree (but with a few decades of experience in large plant automation).

    7. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Not regulated?

      The term 'Professional Engineer' over here means someone who passed a PE exam and is considered qualified to approve designs to a specific disciplines in most states. In many states one of the qualifications to sit for the exam is a technical degree; a BS in Chemistry or Physics qualifies. The entire point of the professional licensing is to insure the practitioners are competent enough to not routinely endanger human life. However, in many places, this has mutated into a guild scheme to limit the number of practitioners to increase the rates for those in the guild. Oregon's PE law seems to have gone to this extreme.

      In GA, if you do not have a PE license you can not call yourself a 'Professional Engineer' nor can approve certain designs as suitable for construction. However, you can call yourself an 'engineer' without any issues.

      1. KR Caddis

        Re: Not regulated?

        The title "Architect" in the US was/is strictly regulated throughout the US to describe one as professionally qualified to design, and to some extent, Engineer "structures" commonly known as "buildings". The qualifications for licensing that entitles one to be an Architect includes completion of a five year university degree in "Architecture" (briefly, the four year degree was sufficient), submission of proof of a minimum number of years of "Practice" under direct supervision of a registered "Architect", then passing a gruelling set of exams on specific areas of expertise taking a number of days. All very similar to the requirements to call oneself an "Engineer", either title is frequently preceded by, but not necessarily, the term "professional".

        Then somewhere along the line came computers - software and hardware, where those titles were adopted and "debased" to be included loosely in those "professions", where, I'm sure, some Great Minds took MIGHTY OFFENSE and litigation most probably ensued. However, not having authority like the seemingly ungoverned National Rifle Association, both titles have now been adopted into common use to describe the use of thought, numbers, letters, geometric shapes lines, effort, or any combination or application of those. So now there seems to be a sort of soft capital letters "A" and "E" describing unregistered peoples professing to being professionals of numerous and various endeavors, and the hard Legislated Terms "Architect" and "Engineer". Such is evolution and power of Language. So how do distinguish between the two? We don't but try (comma optional).

    8. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Not regulated?

      If you're engaged in engineering, by definition, you're an engineer. Formal study be damned.

      Caveat Emptor.

      Personally I adopt the term technician when dealing with telephone wiring and faults, because I did not complete the communications engineering exams. But I DID do the course, and passed the mocks. So... why would engineer be a restricted term?

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not regulated? @ Joe Werner

      Nonsense. My Father didn't have a degree, never went to college, but he was certified as both a manufacturing engineer and an industrial engineer by the respective engineering societies.

      In the semiconductor industry degrees were pretty rare for a long time.

  3. dbtx Bronze badge
    Trollface

    Jeopardy categories that weren't:

    States where it sucks to have to live whose names begin with O:

    -Ohio

    -Oregon

    1. JLV Silver badge

      The stupidity of the subject of this article aside, by most of their laws, Oregon is actually one of the saner and more liberal (in the old sense of the word) US states, esp for one that is fairly rural.

      Exhibit A, but by no means the only one: 46.1% Trump, 48.2% Clinton.

      ,, B: assisted dying law since 1997.

      ,, C: Portland is a cute, very walkable city, an early launcher of the microbrewery beer rennaissance and has a kick-ass Impressionist collection (many top-tier originals) in their main museum.

      I don't live there, rather 700k directly northwards and see no reason to single them out as esp stupid.

      1. dbtx Bronze badge

        IIRC they were one of the first few after Cali to fully decriminalize cannabis. That made them a tad bit more attractive, much more so in the past when I was keen to take advantage. Of course horrible things will happen anywhere and everywhere, and all you can really do is shop for the most acceptable flavour. That's why I recently said (yeah that was me) that IoT makes me want to go and be a relief worker in some no-tech 3rd world country and probably get tortured by warlords.

      2. JLV Silver badge

        To be clear: the _article_ is informative. The _stupidity_ is Oregon's engineering guild's.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's some classic pointing in the picture, belongs on "angry people in local newspapers". (https://apiln.blogspot.co.uk/)

    Back to the story, clearly if it is proven his formula is better and more accurate the state will be open to litigation on previous tickets issued which is probably why they have taken the stance they have.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      "Back to the story, clearly if it is proven his formula is better and more accurate the state will be open to litigation on previous tickets issued which is probably why they have taken the stance they have."

      What? To fine him for talking about maths? I would have thought that was obviously unconstitutional, but what do I know?

      1. BizmanUSA

        Engineer Violated

        Ahh, Oregon's 1959 governing law must have been based on the early version of the "New Math" while developing the Common Core structure of teaching. Now that there is evidence what better thing to do other than to bury it instead of incorporating a kind gesture of trying to help correct a flawed regulation.

        Which constitution . . . the U.S. Constitution or the more common Liberal Constitution?

      2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Here's the way it plays out:

        1. The state of Oregon hires a red light camera company to "increase safety" on their roads.

        2. Red light camera company installs cameras and splits the take with Oregon...

        3. ...while casually mentioning that reducing yellow light time would be profitable for both of them.

        4. Oregon reduces yellow light time (perhaps against the advice of their professional traffic engineers, who are told to keep quiet, or find a new job)

        5. Everyone's happy, until Mr Järlström comes along and points out something which Oregon would rather not have pointed out.

        6. Oregon looks for a way to shut Mr. Järlström up...and instructs the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying to, as they say, "do the needful"

        ...and here we are.

        Now, we get to find out just how objectively the Oregon courts will apply the law. I'm not expecting vindication for Mr. Järlström, but maybe there will be an outbreak of common sense, or a sympathetic jury of fellow motorists.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >the state will be open to litigation on previous tickets issued which is probably why they have taken the stance they have.

      If it's like in the UK then probably not - there was a case where a GATSO camera was proven inaccurate [incorrect road markings IIRC] but the many thousands of wrongful convictions stood because all the convicted drivers had plead guilty.

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        In the US red light cameras are operated by a third party. For long time this tickets were not revived by a police or even a government body. it has found that these deals often cost the cites more money then if there were to have a dedicated trafffice cops. now lets talk about the issues with red light cameras, They are treated like they are infallible . Lets take DC the nation's capitol. Marked cop cars with seirns and lights on were getting red light tickets. Once again no government or police over site.(hey what police agency is goingto give it's self a ticket.) There has been cases were people got tickets for going through yellow lights.

        1. Korev Silver badge

          20k UK Ambulances on "blue light" calls got speeding tickets from cameras. Some of the "trusts" were fined £160k a year and had had someone spend a week per month appealing the tickets. An enormous waste of time and money that could be better spent on caring for patients.

          1. BongoJoe

            An enormous waste of time and money that could be better spent on caring for patients.

            ...better spent on furniture for hospital management. FTFY

          2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

            Part of the problem there are the modern discharge tube or LED strobe lights. With the old rotating mirror lights, it was easy to see on the photo if the lamp was on and hence the vehicle was exempt* from the normal rules. With the strobe or LED lights, what they were finding is that there's nothing to show during the "off" periods which are considerably longer than the "on" periods. Round this way, I;ve notticed that the ambulances now have static blue LEDs on their rear number plate lights - which means there's an indication on the photos that they are on a blue lights call.

            * Technically not exempt, but subject to different rules.

            1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
              Meh

              Blue flashing lights

              Part of the problem there are the modern discharge tube or LED strobe lights. With the old rotating mirror lights, it was easy to see on the photo if the lamp was on and hence the vehicle was exempt* from the normal rules. With the strobe or LED lights, what they were finding is that there's nothing to show during the "off" periods which are considerably longer than the "on" periods. Round this way, I;ve notticed that the ambulances now have static blue LEDs on their rear number plate lights - which means there's an indication on the photos that they are on a blue lights call.

              I think I would characterise the problem as "not buying equipment that is fit for purpose". If a speed camera is unable to produce an image which shows the blue flashing lights of an emergency services vehicle, then it is a problem with the camera rather than with the emergency services. The camera should never have been granted type approval by the Home Office.

              1. Kiwi Silver badge
                Boffin

                Re: Blue flashing lights

                If a speed camera is unable to produce an image which shows the blue flashing lights of an emergency services vehicle, then it is a problem with the camera rather than with the emergency services.

                Do you know anything about how cameras work? To catch the number plate of a moving vehicle with enough detail that it can be read (rather than all detail lost to motion blur) means the shutter of the camera needs to fire fairly quickly. Also speed cameras have a fixed focal length and are intended to capture stuff in a relatively small area. To wait long enough for a) to detect if the vehicle is an emergency vehicle by related flashing lights and b) have said lights "on" at the time of taking the photograph (or deciding NOT to take the photograph) means that the vehicle will no longer be visible to the camera. Maybe fixable, but you'd have to do what Scotty complained he couldn't do - change the laws of physics. That or set up a complex rig of detectors and camera so that the system has time to decide whether or not to take the picture.

                And if a "detect flashing blue/red lights" system was developed, wouldn't take long for n'er do wells to adapt it to their own cars to avoid detection.

                That said, there is the "Safety Warning System" that is or was fitted to some radar units, from what I understand the idea being that when emergency vehicles had their lights on they transmitted a signal these units would detect, meaning they could alert the driver to emergency vehicles active in the area. If that system still exists today (or if ever was as I was told it was) then it could perhaps be fitted to speed camera systems so that while they still take the picture, they put a "flag" on the photo to say that such a signal could be detected. This way when the photo is processed then if the vehicle is an emergency vehicle the ticket doesn't get issued.

                Oh, here in NZ some of the speed camera systems used on multi-lane roads apparently take a short video when the camera is fired. This is if they don't have a system which would tell which lane the triggering vehicle is in, so a reviewer could see which vehicle was going faster. Such a process could also let someone see if any emergency vehicle is under lights.

                1. Stoneshop Silver badge

                  Re: Blue flashing lights

                  And if a "detect flashing blue/red lights" system was developed, wouldn't take long for n'er do wells to adapt it to their own cars to avoid detection.

                  I would expect such a system to snap a pic regardless, only marking it as "emergency vehicle in bells and whistles mode". If, on examination, the pic then shows a non-emergency vehicle using emergency signalling, the driver should be looking at a fine for running a red light plus whatever the punishment is for using illegitimate vehicle markings.

            2. patrickstar

              These cameras tend to be IR so they work in the dark without having a flash distracting/blinding the driver.

              Thus the color of any light is irrelevant.

              1. Stoneshop Silver badge
                FAIL

                Thus the color of any light is irrelevant.

                It is not. The camera will register that there are blue lights on around the license plate; this is entirely independent from what light is used to illuminate the rear of the vehicle when taking the photo

                1. patrickstar
                  WTF?

                  Re: Thus the color of any light is irrelevant.

                  For your information, ANPR cameras are typically IR.

  5. MiguelC Silver badge

    There are several countries where it is mandatory to be part of the engineers guild (a paying member, that is) to be able to call yourself one. Having an engineering degree only allows you to say exactly that, not that you're an engineer. And the same is true for other professions; lawyers and medical doctors need more than their degrees to officialy practise.

    But I don't know of any other regulation, law or by-law that restricts your right to talk about what you did study. That's crazy!

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      > There are several countries where it is mandatory to be part of the engineers guild (a paying member, that is) to be able to call yourself one.

      Is that true for any nation where the Bologna system of studies is used? Here in GrumpenLand you get a degree document that in effect says "You are now an engineer." (subject obviously has to be some kind of engineering, of course). Being a member of any of the engineering associations does not affect this in any way.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        ianae, but the dictionary provides plenty of examples of how you can be one without having an actual degree to that effect.

        For example, someone 'engineers' something if it is built according to scientific principles. The person doing so is therefore, by definition, an engineer.

        However, protected job titles, such as Engineer, should be protected and venerated, because the persons achieving that status are likely to have to much broader set of skills than someone who just 'engineers' stuff in their garage (nothing wrong with that mind).

        For example, I design secure networks for large corporations. It requires a large number of skills to accomplish (not just technical), but I'm not an Architect, I'm an architect. I still get paid :)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > Is that true for any nation where the Bologna system of studies is used?

        Spain, for example, where you cannot officially practise engineering (or a bunch of other stuff, like architecture, etc.) without being a member of such a guild. You are supposed to pay a yearly amount *and* a fee for each item of work done. Supposedly, they check the quality of the member's work before it is released to the public--in practice, they just spend the money in luncheons and wine tasting courses.

        I believe membership of such a guild is no longer legally enforceable following the Bologna accords, but I don't know of any Spaniards who have tested the theory.

        1. HwBoffin
          Boffin

          Nowadays isn't mandatory anymore.

          Of course, if the engineer is part of the *guild* this both provides protection to the engineer ( his/her work is reviewed, has civil responsibility insurance ), and the customer ( the overall design is validated by a third party, has legal protection from lawsuits in case of faulty design ).

          Most public services demanded that any project must be signed by an engineer/architect, so they had at least a minimum level of competence, but now is not longer the case.

          From a few years ago, anybody can create its own designs and present them to be approved ( public concurrence venues, vehicles and its modifications, buildings, chemical plants, bridges ....), but unless they've done the same amount ( or better) than a true specialist, it won't get approved.

          I'm glad I don't have to battle with that anymore.

      3. Stork Bronze badge

        Engineering titles

        In DK everybody can call themselves engineers. But Civilingeniør* (M.Sc.Eng) and Teknikumingeniør (B.Eng) are protected titles.

        Titles are not much used in DK (outside job applications), but here in PT I am often senhor enginheiro even if I have not worked with it for ages.

        *) Civilian engineer as opposed to military engineer.

    2. Orv Silver badge

      In some cases giving legal advice without a law license is also an offense. Attorneys, Doctors, Realtors, Electricians, and Engineers are all protected professions in many states.

      Licensing of Engineers I believe came partly from a series of deadly accidents in the late 1800s when bridges designed by fraudulent "engineers" collapsed under the weight of trains.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        "Licensing of Engineers I believe came partly from a series of deadly accidents in the late 1800s when bridges designed by fraudulent "engineers" collapsed under the weight of trains."

        The Tay Bridge disaster was caused by one of the best engineers of the day taking the best available professional advice on wind loading. From the Astronomer Royal no less.

        I suspect licensing of engineers couldn't happen until there was an agreed body of engineering knowledge, and that had to be found out somehow. I have an 1889 textbook of steam engine design which is fascinating because, in the absence of professional bodies, it cites formulae by different experts, and even shows the different results that they arrive at. But in those days the safety factor of the connecting rod of a double acting engine was no less than 18*, showing that ignorance of materials was a dominant factor. It would be interesting to know how many of those bridge collapses were due to inferior materials - especially as the book (which is American) notes that British steels of the period were superior to US ones. Perhaps in some cases it was crooked suppliers rather than fraudulent engineers. As still happens today.

        *Because the loading on a D/A con rod includes full load tension, and the materials of the time often had casting faults that made them weak in tension.

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Realtors?

        Attorneys, Doctors, Realtors, Electricians, and Engineers are all protected professions in many states

        I can see the need for regulation of Attorneys, Doctors, Electricians, and Engineers. But Realtors? Are they not just what we call estate agents? The qualifications for that profession being a slimy disposition and an untrustworthy moral compass.

    3. fruitoftheloon
      Happy

      @MiguelC

      Miguel,

      quite, here in the UK wifey has a Masters in Nuclear Medicine & Astrophysics, but has to pay the annual fees to be a member of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine before she can actually treat cancer patients.

      It's just a bullshit tax that puts actual/virtual gold chains around the neck of some 'dignitary'

      Cheers,

      Jay

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        @fruitoftheloon

        Professional standards bodies help ensure professional standards. I'm glad the roads that I use are designed by a MICE, that my GP is regulated by the GMC, my hospital consultant an MRCP, my surgeon is a FRCS...

        1. fruitoftheloon
          Stop

          @Tom 38 Re: @fruitoftheloon

          Tom,

          indeed, sometimes they do, so what say you about the latest scandal of an NHS surgeon thaw has been butchering patients for years....

          Did the BMA or any others DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT?

          Re wifeys job, the IPEM doesn't actually DO anything, aside from remove several hundred pounds from our pockets each year...

          Thanks for your input.

  6. Alister Silver badge

    So did they prosecute him for saying "I'm an engineer", or for actually working out a better method of controlling traffic-light cameras?

    What I'm getting from this is that if an American hobbyist inventor (think Trevor Bayliss) lived in Oregon, he would be prosecuted for his "unlicensed engineering" if he tried to turn a great idea into a commercial product.

    Unlicensed thinking, it appears, is frowned upon!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Unlicensed thinking, it appears, is frowned upon!

      And, as usual, the logical consequences of this approach have been explored by science fiction writers: See "Profession" by Isaac Isimov.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Unlicensed thinking, it appears, is frowned upon!

      FTFY

    4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      All the more perverse when you consider that the maths in the diagram is secondary school level, at most.

      Does that mean that Oregon schools are festering holes of criminality, pouring illegal ideas into the minds of the young, at the taxpayers expense?

    5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Well, he SHOULD have obtained the paper saying "me be engineer", if possible (one would probably have to submit a request, and attach the swedish diploma). He probably SHOULD have written an article for IEEE Spectrum only instead of waking sleeping boards. It's the standard story of modern, never-receding state control. That and making taxeaters look bad, which is completely unacceptable.

      From the order:

      "On September 3, 2014, Jarlstrom emailed the [Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying] alleging that the City of Beaverton engineers were misapplying well-known traffic engineering formulas and asked the Board to investigate the City of Beaverton. In his email to the Board, Jarlstrom indicated that he was perfonning engineering work. The Board has no jurisdiction over the timing of traffic lights in the City of Beaverton. Jarlstrom was informed of this lack of jurisdiction. Jarlstrom was also cautioned by the Board against practicing engineering without being registered and was provided with copies of ORS 672.005(1) and ORS 672.007(1 ), which define the practice of engineering as including both engineering work and use of the engineering title. Jarlstrom agreed to comply with the law.

      ...

      On January 15, 2015, J arlstrom sent an email to the Board stating, "And yes, I'm an excellent engineer" contradicting his earlier statement of being willing to comply with the law. Included with the January 15 email to the Board was an email Jarlstrom wrote to KOIN 6 in which he introduced himself as a Swedish engineer, and presented traffic change interval timing calculations.

      ...

      By indicating to the Board that he was perfonning engineering work, Jarlstrom purported to be able to perform engineering services or work and represented that he was authorized to perform engineering work. By purporting to be able to perform engineering services or work, Jarlstrom engaged in the practice of engineering under ORS 672.007(1)(c). By engaging in the practice of engineering and representing that he was authorized to perform engineering work, without registration, Jarlstrom violated ORS 672.020(1 ), 672.045(1) and (2), and OAR 820-010-0730(3)(c).

  7. Curtis

    It's not that he called himself an engineer

    To understand the issue here, you have to understand where the problem lies. It's not that he's called himself an engineer. It's that he's gone and proved the State is issuing tickets that it shouldn't be. Given the makeup of the State, and it's lackeys, it's no surprise that this occurred.

    1. Wade Burchette

      Re: It's not that he called himself an engineer

      Exactly right. Traffic cameras have absolutely nothing to do with safety and everything to do with revenue generation. This is why most of them (in the US, at least) are run by for-profit corporations who issue tickets and give a cut to the government. These business have been caught shortening the yellow light to increase revenue and the fact that more wrecks occurred at those intersections was not their concern. Some states changed these tickets from misdemeanors to civil fines to avoid pesky things like courts and due process.

  8. Red Bren

    In the land of the free

    You can be who you want to be. Unless you can't afford the fees to join a state sponsored cartel.

  9. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Casey Jones (1863–1900)

    Was he licensed as an engineer, or should he have been fined?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Casey Jones (1863–1900)

      With all things, there's a long story behind this.

      The whole business goes back to Latin. In this case, ingenium, from which we get the modern English word "genius", which both makes a good synonym and applies to a person with said mental acuity.

      We basically have two origins for the word "engineer", both valid but both different. One is the "design" engineer, where the definition comes from the application of genius in designs (in these days of a practical nature). The other comes from the operating of the machines we call engines (the word uses the root word in a different way—engine as in "a work of genius").

      So they can both apply, so they really need to be qualified for clarification.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Casey Jones (1863–1900)

        @ Charles 9

        To be more precise.

        The word engineer (from the Latin ingeniator[3]) is derived from the Latin words ingeniare ("to contrive, devise") and ingenium ("cleverness").

        It then entered English through the French word "ingénieur".

    2. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: Casey Jones (1863–1900)

      Dunno. All I know is, he'd better watch his speed.

    3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Casey Jones (1863–1900)

      More importantly, was he licensed in every state that he worked? in Every city for that matter.

      The USA gets sillier each and every day.

      But in this case, his rights of free speech were violated. That 'Trumps' any local laws but the burgers in Oregon don't think so. Anyway, been there twice and given the parking ticket I got in ****, Or, I really have no willingness to go back. I was parked with my tyre (note the correct spelling) on the white line. Local laws (and how as a tourist am I supposed to know that) dictate that in this zone, i must be parked inside the lines. Even the locals laughed when I told them.

      Shame really, the coast of Oregon is beautiful.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: Casey Jones (1863–1900)

        I was parked with my tyre (note the correct spelling) on the white line. Local laws (and how as a tourist am I supposed to know that) dictate that in this zone, i must be parked inside the lines. Even the locals laughed when I told them.

        I thought that was much the same the world over, unless I'm missing a trick somewhere? Here in NZ "white lines" generally denote the parking space (a few locales use yellow, and yellow is also used for the likes of disability spaces or certain other special spots). If you're outside the lines for any reason then you're not legally parked and (in public spaces) subject to fines. You could be outside as in you're encroaching on the road space (for roadside parks), or too close to a vehicle entry/exit, street, pedestrian crossing and so on - things that have laws about how close you can park to them. And of course if you're over the white line of another space, then you're taking up someone else's space. Unless you have a good reason (many traffic wardens turn a blind eye to a non-SUV that is over the lines, SUV's however rightly get targeted for extra tickets in some places).

        If I've missed a trick, I apologise and would love to understand more.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Casey Jones (1863–1900)

        > I was parked with my tyre (note the correct spelling) on the white line.

        Why couldn't you just have parked *within* the lines like everyone else?

        > Local laws (and how as a tourist am I supposed to know that)

        Because nemo legem censetur ignorare, as the Romans¹ used to say.

        ¹ And my teacher in primary school.

  10. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Oregon are twats. This is the same state that's so nanny they don't let you pump your own gas.

    You have to be specially trained to put "class 1 flammable liquids" into cars. $500 if you do it yourself.

    Yeah, did I mention they're twats? There's a reason nobody lives there if they can help it.

    1. Adrian Harvey
      Headmaster

      <quote>This is the same state that's so nanny they don't let you pump your own gas.</quote>

      Of course where I live you can't pump your own gas, but you can pump your own petrol. :-) LPG has high safety requirements...

      One chain of service stations has re-introduced actual service and named they "forecourt concierges"

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Of course where I live you can't pump your own gas, but you can pump your own petrol. :-) LPG has high safety requirements..."

        Many UK forecourts have self-service LPG "pumps".

    2. aaronj2906_01

      Just the blue area

      Just Portland and Eugene have the twat (absurdly inept) governments areas... The rest of of the state can grasp reality.

    3. aaronj2906_01

      Gas

      I pump my own gas all the time in Oregon...

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Gas

        "I pump my own gas all the time in Oregon"

        How do you stop it escaping?

      2. Robert Baker
        Joke

        Re: Gas

        I too pump my own gas all the time — especially if I've eaten baked beans.

    4. Charles 9 Silver badge

      "This is the same state that's so nanny they don't let you pump your own gas."

      What about New Jersey? Aren't they Full Service by law as well?

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        It's even worse in Massachusetts. It varies by town. You are considered competent to fill your own gas tank in some towns, but prohibited from doing it in others.

    5. JLV Silver badge

      >nanny

      I was gonna write a stinging rebuke... but you are right. Learned something

      (missed it cuz my car will easily cross the state on a full tank).

      I still rather like Oregon, from afar, but this makes it seem that, regrettably, common-sense economic liberalism isn't high on their menu.

  11. Lord-a-miytee

    Hold up ...

    ... isn't that the land where toilet cleaners are called "sanitation engineers"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hold up ...

      No thats for people who want to make them self's feel. That's not their job tittle. In the US real sanitation engineers design sewage systems and is a sub set of civil engineering.

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Hold up ...

      Whoah, hold on there for a minute. Shouldn't that be "sanitation managers"?!?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      sanitation engineers

      Those are the missing telephone sanitizers!

    4. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Hold up ...

      No, that was a HHGTTG thing.

      Also, it wasn't Descartes who said "I am what I am". That was Popeye the Sailorman.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

        Re: Hold up ...

        As Lister so wisely remarked, it is very easy to confuse them.

        1. Toni the terrible

          Re: Hold up ...

          Yes, you shouldn't put decart before the horse

  12. Iain 15

    Self description

    Reading the court order it seems that he was prosecuted fir describing himself as an engineer. If he had written exactly the same email with the same work but described himself as a mathematician there would be no case. So the issue is not so much free speech but the use of a badly drafted regulation to try to obfuscate and prevent the exposure of revenue-generating

    1. CanadianMacFan

      Re: Self description

      He could have even said that he was trained as an engineer or had a degree in engineering and would have been fine as those don't make the claim he is acting as an engineer. Though he didn't really need to say anything about his profession and let the math speak for itself.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Self description

      Given the way things are these days, if he done as you suggest, they would have found something else to charge him with. Messing with the good old boys in government is not something one should do on a whim.... They will kill to protect their status.

    3. Smooth Newt Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Self description

      Reading the court order it seems that he was prosecuted fir describing himself as an engineer. If he had written exactly the same email with the same work but described himself as a mathematician there would be no case.

      No, he was also being fined for doing the maths without a licence. The Order confirming the fine says things like:

      "Jarlstrom applied special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences to such creative work as investigation, evaluation, and design in connection with public equipment, processes, and works. Jarlstrom thereby engaged in the practice of engineering under ORS 672.005(1)(b). By doing so through the use of algorithms for the operation of traffic control systems, and through the use of the science of analysis, review, and application of traffic data systems to advise members of the public on the treatment of the functional characteristics of traffic signal timing, Jarlstrom engaged, specifically, in traffic engineering under OAR 820-040-0030(1 )(b) and (2)."

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Self description

        Which effectively designates "engineering" there as a legally sanctioned "closed shop" rather than as an accepted qualification. Like working in "the print" or a Belfast docker used to be.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Self description

        "...Jarlstrom thereby engaged in the practice of engineering under ORS 672.005(1)(b)..."

        I hope the person who decided that was a properly registered Professional Twat.

  13. Trollslayer Silver badge

    First amendment

    So their precious constitution doesn't apply to those in power (btw hair dressers are even worse off).

    So much for the land of the free.

  14. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    Landgrab again

    The original engineers did not have degrees or official titles. It was a generic term. Unlike, say, doctor which meant someone had passed a specific degree at a university.

    I know it irritates "real" engineers when technicians are called engineers, but at least in this country and the EU we have the specifics of chartered status. Oregon seems to have gone in for landgrab. The position that only a chartered engineer is allowed to sign off on projects seems to me entirely reasonable, but this is a ridiculous extension.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Landgrab again

      In Canada, we have three levels of designation:

      1) Technician - one year certificate, possibly followed by further classes and apprenticeship.

      2) Technologist - two or three year college diploma - course will include calculus and design

      3) Engineer - four or five year university degree

      The first two are often confused by the populace and mostly noone cares much, but only those in the third category are allowed to call themselves Engineers and this is because they are the only ones who are Engineers.

      No, I'm not and Engineer, I'm a Technologist.

      1. CanadianMacFan

        Re: Landgrab again

        But in Canada engineer isn't a protected designation. That's why we have domestic engineers, sanitation engineers, etc. The equivalent to the engineer in Oregon is Professional Engineer and every province has an organization that enforces the rules, as like for medical doctors. Having a degree from university isn't enough to call yourself a professional engineer. You need to sit a test that challenges your technical, legal, and ethical knowledge.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Landgrab again

          In parts of Canada, the provincial organization will interpret the regulations as meaning that their legally protected title "Professional Engineer" also includes anything similar, such as "Engineer".

          They dare not take on those that drive locomotives, nor those that operate large engines in ships, as they'd be clubbed to death with a 50lb wrench.

          1. keith_w

            Re: Landgrab again

            My father was an operating engineer for Trans-Canada Pipelines for many years operating the pumps that pushed natural gas across Canada.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Landgrab again

        In Canada, we have three levels of designation:

        1) Technician - one year certificate, possibly followed by further classes and apprenticeship.

        2) Technologist - two or three year college diploma - course will include calculus and design

        3) Engineer - four or five year university degree

        Well, there's your problem. In the US they have a level that precedes that:

        0) Utter moron whose only goal in life is to find something to be offended or upset about.

        Unfortunately, it is self evident that the majority of the people in charge never get past that first level.

    2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Re: Landgrab again

      "Unlike, say, doctor which meant someone had passed a specific degree at a university."

      You mean a DThM? Or a PhD? Or DMA? Or DDSc? Not very specific, really.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Landgrab again

        If you're talking a MEDICAL Doctor, that means M.D. usually, and those are only available at post-graduate medical institutions like certain universities. There's also the requirement to pass a state-mandated test to be able to practice your trade in that state (Lawyers have the same issues, their law degrees are also post-grad and lawyers must pass a Bar exam in order to practice law in a state, thus the term "passing the Bar").

        PS. D.D.Sc (or just D.D.S.) actually qualifies as one of those specific degrees. It's the one you need to become a professional dentist.

    3. Timbo

      Re: Landgrab again

      By sheer coincidence, I saw this on Facebook@

      https://www.teezily.com/engine3r

      It's a T-shirt that says:

      [quote]

      Engineer

      noun.[en-juh-neer]

      Someone who does precision guesswork based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge, See also: Wizard, Magician

      [end quote]

      Think I'll get me one of them :-)

  15. Phil Endecott Silver badge

    I thought that in America an "egnineer" was a train driver.

    1. aaronj2906_01

      Nope... We make things like Windows/Mac/Linux ... so morons like you can vomit your ineptitude on a website...

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Yeah, right. Linux being made in the US state of Finland.

        1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

          Actually, Oregon, remarkably appropriate given the subject!

          Or had you missed the fact that Linus moved?

          (Also, worth noting that Linus was explicitly and deliberately cloning a thing created in New Jersey and significantly refined in California, in case you've forgotten about AT&T Bell Labs and UCB).

        2. kain preacher Silver badge

          You do know that Linus is a US citizen living in Dunthorpe, Oregon ? Oh wait you didn't and just made a stupid assumption with no research.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "US state of Finland"

          Don't tell the Orange One that it's president is someone else, not him, or he might try to do something about it ...

    2. Amos1

      I wonder how all of the Sanitary Engineers will feel about this. They might go on strike if we start calling them "janitors" again.

  16. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Engineering?

    Looks like Applied Maths to me. It's hardly "engineering" by any sane standard.

    Start with a simple d = vt equation, take safe-braking distances and reaction times from the Rules of the Road (or US equivalent) to find the deceleration curve, graph it out in t and v, then do piecewise-integration (calculate area of some rectangles and a triangle and add them up) to find total distance travelled dT. Calculate the length of the journey between passing the traffic light and leaving the intersection as one quarter of the circumference of the intersection dI (or consider it to be two legs at a right angle, to be on the safe side) and show that dT - dI, which is the furthest you can be from the intersection in order to safely traverse it, is greater than 0.

    The only "engineery" thing here is measuring how big the intersection is, but he could do that with OS maps.

    Disclaimer: I am not an engineer!

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: Engineering?

      Addendum: The above assumes that you want to be at a full stop immediately after leaving the intersection. Not very practical, but at least you shouldn't get a ticket for breaking a red light.

      Yer man's argument may be just that, from what I gather from a re-read of the article. If you don't aim to have v=0 at the exit point, but instead decelerate down to some minimum speed and then maintain that through the intersection, you obviously travel further in the same amount of time. Same idea, just different piecewise integration:

      ◼◣

      ◼◼◼

      Columns are for reaction time, constant deceleration and constant exit speed. There are a couple of extra variables (final speed and how long you will travel at this speed, the product of which tells you the distance from the exit to where you will stop your deceleration), but if you set that product to be half the distance through the intersection, then you should be safely in control of the car and not trying to brake and turn at the same time.

      As before, calculating dT is simply adding up the areas of the rectangles and the triangle, so it's still basic trigonometry.

  17. Ian Emery Silver badge
    Pint

    Oregon, where Pi = 3.0

    Barkeep, why is there a huge chunk missing out of the side of my glass??

    Sorry sir, it was made in Oregon.

    Nuff said.

  18. aaronj2906_01

    Heard about this....

    This is NORMAL for Oregon State... Spend any time in Portland and Eugene (home of the inept Leftist/Liberals), and you will KNOW that there is something wrong here...

    PDX in particular has homeless tents decorating the I-84 corridor close to I-5 and drunks asking for money around the MODA CENTER... this is tolerated.

    But when someone with a brain steps up to cite a flaw in a traffic signal design from the 1950's... Get fined. Typical.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Heard about this....

      I quite agree being in deep southern Oregon myself... unfortunately close that down state haven for wackos of all ilks, Ashland. Go to Eugene and points north and it's la-la land for sure. I keep hoping that the Feds will allow downstate Oregon and upstate Caliornia to secede from their states and merge as many people want. They even have a name planned.. the State of Jefferson.

      Addendum... the panhandlers are a "protected" species it seems. I can't remember not seeing them at every intersection in the state.

  19. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Any certified Oregon Engineers out there?

    Step up and file this on his behalf?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Any certified Oregon Engineers out there?

      Dont worry - Trump will probably realise that those doing the chartering are in fact running a union and build a wall round them, If he can get someone qualified to build a wall. They'd need to be chartered by a union too..

  20. Kiwi Silver badge
    WTF?

    Would I be wrong..

    In assuming that Oregon are a state that largely voted for Trump?

    (And yes, it is totally an assumption on my part based on the stupidity of the law/application thereof)

    1. AdamWill

      Re: Would I be wrong..

      Actually, yeah, you would. Oregon is in the Pacific Northwest (just south of Washington state), typically one of the most 'liberal' (in US parlance) parts of the country. Its major city is Portland - the one that Portlandia is about.

      It's not *quite* so simple because if you get out east into inland areas of any PNW region, things can get a bit bible-bash-y. But I doubt those folks have a lot do with the state's board of engineers or whatever they call themselves.

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Would I be wrong..

      @Kiwi - The left coast (CA, OR, WA) voted for Hildafelon not Blowhard.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Would I be wrong..

        "Hildafelon"

        Look: you may not like her, or what she stands for, but she is not a felon, and has not been charged with any felonies.

        I'm extremely tired of hearing this crap. She's a politician. They're not paragons of virtue. But I suggest to you that our current President is in far more jeopardy of wearing that label then Mrs. Clinton ever was.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Huge mistake on his part to pay the fine

    Unless there was actually something he did wrong, such as signing his emails with a protected title, then he was dumb dumb dumb to pay the fine levied by the Engineering organization.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    America, land of the free...

    ...to STFU and do as you're told.

  23. Scoured Frisbee

    I'm registered as a Professional Engineer in a US state that nominally restricts the term - not that it matters in our field, all of my colleagues advertise themselves as engineers but the reality is I do not work in a regulated field (software) so the state board leaves us alone. I only got the license because I wanted to have it for personal, family legacy reasons.

    However, I do think prior comments have incorrectly trivialized what it means to be a registered Engineer. This is my state but throughout the US it is similar. Getting a PE certificate involves:

    - having an accredited engineering degree, non-engineering degree plus some years of experience, or no degree and ~20 years of experience;

    - taking a general knowledge-based exam covering general topics like physics, math, materials, civil engineering, electrical generation, and so on;

    - working as an engineer-in-training for at least four years, with consistently increasing responsibility;

    - getting personal and character references from other professional engineers and community members;

    - taking an experience-based exam that covers a variety of topics across disciplines (when I took it about half the applicants passed);

    - paying your fees, nominally the board has to approve but I think it is rubber stamped once you've met the above.

    - renewing annually, which includes recording at least 15 hours of continuing education directly related to your field of discipline.

    Finally, professional engineers sign off that they swear to protect the health and welfare of the community above their own gain or corporate interests, and are subject to discipline by the engineering board for a variety of offenses above and beyond legal issues.

    Professional engineers started getting licensed around the country because unqualified people started building bridges, mostly. People literally died, politicians contracting for roads and buildings started asking "how can I be sure this builder knows what he is doing, takes his work seriously, is more interested in my safety than his bottom line?"

    For several reasons I don't want software engineering to require registration, but I suspect that these questions will resurface after a few more Toyota brake incidents, or to put it another way as software starts to kill people more frequently.

    1. dmacleo

      paying your fees

      *****************

      key words there

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        paying your fees

        Fees paid to professional organisations both in the UK and America go towards all sorts of things besides coffee and donuts for the admin staff.

        I'd talk about lobbying efforts and legal work to defend the rights and roles of the membership but I'd be wasting my breath.

        I mean, how do you think old boy's get networked FFS?

    2. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

      "- getting personal and character references from other professional engineers..."

      I have to wonder... How did the first engineer get his certification with this requirement in place?

      1. Uffish

        Re: "the first engineer"

        The first Engineers got their references from their p.e. colleagues, after that you had to ask your P.E. colleagues.

      2. keith_w

        His bridges didn't fall down within a reasonable period of time.

      3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

        "How did the first engineer get his certification with this requirement in place?"

        His reputation was enough.

        Also, he wrote the requirements.

    3. Barry Rueger Silver badge

      People literally died, politicians contracting for roads and buildings started asking "how can I be sure this builder knows what he is doing, takes his work seriously, is more interested in my safety than his bottom line?"

      Surely we can trust that market forces will take of this without burdensome red tape? What's next? Government telling me that I have to follow some "Code" when I build a house, or need to remove my sewage to somewhere other than the next town's water supply?

      The Oregon story is idiotic, but it's also pretty imbecilic to argue against the idea that only qualified Engineers should be trusted to build bridges and dams.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        @Barry Rueger - The idea behind building codes and PE licensing is without them it is too easy for an incompetent to design and build a structure that is not capable of withstanding the loads it will see in normal service. With both, there are standards of a sort to verify either it is built correctly or the person signing off on the design has the knowledge and competence to do so. Remember, if building, bridge, or dam collapses often there are many innocent dead.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I have to say, it pisses me off that any workman with a spanner seems to be called an engineer in the U.K. Apparently SKY has a whole team of engineers to install your modem.

        1. Toni the terrible

          Again, they are not Chartered Engineers who pay a fair bit to call themselves that. Sky engineers are at best technicians and there is nothing wrong with that.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I only got the license because I wanted to have it for personal, family legacy reasons.

      That's all OK, and I do understand the reasoning behind this: it is to assure that you don't get unqualified idiots taking on projects beyond their competence (unlike, say, running the country as its president). That is not the issue.

      The issue is that the State decides to attempt a Donald Trump on the problem by focusing on an irrelevant side show in a fairly transparent and desperate attempt to divert the attention from a potentially rather large liability.

      The fun part is that that specific action shows just how dumb these people are. The way they tried to divert the attention has instead sent up Streisand Effect size flare as this fine will be fought in court, thus drawing more attention rather than less. I am willing to bet that there is already a large circle of lawyers converging on the place like vultures circling an unmoving carcass.

      Pardon me, be right back, I have to stock up on snacks for this one..

    5. Kiwi Silver badge

      but I suspect that these questions will resurface after a few more Toyota brake incidents, or to put it another way as software starts to kill people more frequently.

      I had not heard of this. However, if it's as I expect it's not a software engineering fault but a mechanical engineering/design fault. IF it is a matter of the brakes not coming on when they should, even when the pedal is pressed, because some idiot thought it'd be fun to remove the mechanical linkages from the system, then that is NOT software. That is sheer stupidity. Have "assist" and automatic braking etc, sure, that's fine. But make sure that the brake pedal/steering wheel etc DIRECTLY link up to the device they're supposed to, and have the driver's controls have final say (realise that if the driver falls asleep or has a medical problem and is slumped over the wheel this could be an issue, but it seems more common for the computer to make a mistake that causes a problem then for this to happen!).

      Course, I could be wrong on this having not heard of the Toyota brake issues.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Toyota? Brakes, or "uncommanded acceleration"?

      "professional engineers sign off that they swear to protect the health and welfare of the community above their own gain or corporate interests, and are subject to discipline by the engineering board for a variety of offenses above and beyond legal issues."

      And exactly what effect does that have?

      Three decades of IEE/IET membership here, regular reader of the monthly news, and this month I have for the first time seen a report of a complaint against a member who had an alleged conflict of interest. No real details were provided about the complaint, and I can't remember the result. It involved fracking.

      "these questions will resurface after a few more Toyota brake incidents, or to put it another way as software starts to kill people more frequently"

      Re Toyota specifically: Do you mean braking, or do you mean "uncommanded acceleration" or, as it is sometimes known, "unintended acceleration"?

      Either way, some of the following may be enlightening:

      There was a $1billion penalty payable by Toyota US in order to shut down a criminal investigation into the design of their engine control (and related) systems. NB this wasn't a penalty for criminally bad design (of hardware AND software), it was a payment to shut down a criminal investigation:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/toyota-reaches-12-billion-settlement-to-end-criminal-probe/2014/03/19/5738a3c4-af69-11e3-9627-c65021d6d572_story.html

      In the court case which ultimately led to the $billion settlement (Bookout v Toyota Motor), evidence emerged to suggest that Toyota's design practices (hardware and software) for safety critical control systems left a great deal to be desired.

      Short version: http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1319903

      More detailed version from Prof Phil Koopman at CMU who was an expert witness at the trial:

      https://users.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/pubs/koopman14_toyota_ua_slides.pdf

      Share and enjoy. Plenty more where those two came from.

      I used to work in safety critical software and systems for what in recent decades has been a very safe form of public transport. I don't work there any more. The safety record of the last few decades is so good that 'management' are using the 'overengineered' excuse to justify massively reducing money spent on methods, analysis and testing, which is bad enough in itself, and also using it to justify the use of inappropriate design practices. It'll end in tears.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Toyota? Brakes, or "uncommanded acceleration"?

        Yeah, I remember these stories, along with the elaborate, cruiser-wrecking "rescues" the NY police forces enacted.

        I always found myself asking "Why didn't anyone suggest turning off the ignition?" but then realized that in some cars that can cause the steering lock to be engaged (some cars have the "aux power" key position AFTER the "lock steering" one - something which should have been fixed by engineers or by law years ago).

        Superdeluxemobiles have a push-button ignition switch so that is no longer a concern (or is it? I dunno).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Toyota? Brakes, or "uncommanded acceleration"?

          "I remember these stories,"

          Not properly, you don't.

          There may be issues with individual drivers, and there may even be issues with floor mats in some reported cases, but if you look at the engineering source material, e.g. as reported in EE Times with plenty of references elsewhere as time went by (but obviously not *enough* references), there were *defective by design* safety-critical issues with the hardware and software in the cars involved. Toyota paid $1bn or so to stop the criminal investigation.

          Reminder:

          http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1319903

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/toyota-reaches-12-billion-settlement-to-end-criminal-probe/2014/03/19/5738a3c4-af69-11e3-9627-c65021d6d572_story.html

  24. AdamWill

    Optional

    So I read the legal decision, not just the article.

    There's a reasonable argument, at least, for regulating some specific status like "chartered engineer", as several other commenters have claimed. But indeed Oregon doesn't seem to do that - the bits of the code cited can be read as covering just the word "engineer", and the judgment actually seems to do so (by finding that he was in violation of it by calling himself a "Swedish engineer" and an "excellent engineer"). Which is pretty ballsy and difficult to defend in a world where most places don't do that.

    But that's not even the worst part. The worst part (to me) is the definition of engineering itself:

    "( 1) "Practice of engineering" or "practice of professional engineering" means

    doing any of the following:

    (a) Performing any professional service or creative work requiring

    engineering education, training and experience.

    (b) Applying special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and

    engineering sciences to such professional services or creative work as

    consultation, investigation, testimony, evaluation, planning, design and

    services during construction, manufacture or fabrication for the purpose of

    ensuring compliance with specifications and design, in connection with any

    public or private utilities, structures, buildings, machines, equipment,

    processes, works or projects * * * *."

    That seems to be stating - and the board certainly seems to be interpreting it as stating - that you don't actually have to be performing any practical *work* to be 'practicing engineering'. You just have to be involved in some sort of "creative work", i.e., thinking about stuff and writing it down.

    There's an exemption mentioned later on which exempts you if you don't offer your work to the public, but that's still patently absurd. It seems like basically anyone who thinks about traffic light timings and writes their thoughts on a comment thread, or forum, or Facebook post or something, would be in violation of this ridiculous rule. And it's pretty hard to see how *that's* not a clear violation of the First Amendment.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Optional

      >And it's pretty hard to see how *that's* not a clear violation of the First Amendment.

      The reason why this law still exists is because nobody's seen fit (or stumped up the cash) to challenge it. That's the way the US works -- people pass all sorts of outrageous legislation which eventually gets trimmed by the courts. If you're lucky.

      They're not the only place that has this sort of stuff in place (apparently being a 'software engineer' in Texas is a no-no). The best thing to do is to move somewhere which is a bit more enlightened.

  25. ashdav

    Technical Definition of job title

    Technician - Knows what to do.

    Engineer - Knows why you're doing it.

    1. MrDamage

      Re: Technical Definition of job title

      Gadgeteer: Sorta knows what they're doing, sorta knows why they're doing it, and more than familiar with the thrilling kiss of 110/220 volts from when they overstepped their boundaries.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: Technical Definition of job title

        and more than familiar with the thrilling kiss of 110/220 volts from when they overstepped their boundaries.

        [channelling Apu]Ahh, the sweet kiss of hot leadvolts!

        Have taken a few bolts in the KV ranges. Highest I think from a CRT of IIRC a Philips K9; I was quite sick with a 'flu, reached in and grabbed the anode cap on the back of the tube - only due to head being stuffed with cold I forgot to discharge it! (May not've been a K9, 21" or 26" older CRT TV, had a metal chassis that gave a nice "exit" for the volts about the area of my wrist). Have had plenty of shocking experiences while working with electric fences.

        But my most memorable was my first "housecall" TV repair.. My own home. Was sitting down working on the tv (with it unplugged) while Mum was cooking dinner. Got up, went to the toilet. Came back, reached in to unplug a cable, got thrown. Mum had gone in to the lounge seen the TV unplugged, plugged it back in, realised the potatoes were boiling over (or something like that) so went back into the kitchen. I didn't even think to re-check the mains plug. Now, some 30 years later, I visually check the plug before handling something I expect to NOT be live, and always treat it as live anyway.

  26. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Career...

    So, over forty years, I've:

    - started as a trainee engineer with three years of on-the-job and formal training

    - held the posts of engineer, senior engineer, and engineer-in-charge

    - been a project manager

    - and for the last few years I've been doing embedded hardware and software engineering

    Yes, I've got graduate and post-graduate degrees (in maths and computing) - but none of those posts relied on them; most of my career was in broadcasting. And I was never a chartered engineer, though a number of previous bosses have offered to sponsor me.

    When I started out, I couldn't even spell 'enginner' and now I are one. Except in Oregon, it seems.

  27. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    So I guess he's been on

    Beaverton Patrol

  28. Dwarf Silver badge

    Fined for pointing out someone else's mistakes.

    Quick - find something to fine him for in the vain hope that he will stop and go away.

    Rather than the way it should be - OK, so you think something is wrong, lets investigate and make things better.

    Except, in this case, presumably they make a big pile of money from the traffic fines that are made from the dodgy logic, so using some more dodgy logic to fine him fits in just perfectly with their thinking.

    Add my vote to the mandatory opening up of all algorithms so that people can spot the logic errors.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Fined for pointing out someone else's mistakes.

      Add my vote to the mandatory opening up of all algorithms so that people can spot the logic errors.

      There's one "logic error" with your idea. I bet that people would see how much their algorithms are geared towards generating revenue rather than towards saving lives. Those who survive the shock would probably be lynching the contents of shcity hall within a few minutes.

      Hence they'd much rather you didn't know. And if you were to see the algorithms, so would you.

  29. TheRealRoland

    You know another shitty part? If he's a Permanent Resident, this kinda crap even can get him expelled due to the rules on Permanent Residency in the US of A. So don't count out Malice at this point either.

  30. Florida1920 Silver badge

    Oregon is weird

    You can't pump your own gas in Oregon, it must be pumped by an attendant. Except between certain hours at gas stations a certain distance from populated areas civilization. The attendants don't clean your windshield or check your oil, and they hold down the lever 'til the gas runs down your fender, trying to get your purchase up to the next full dollar. New Jersey has the same stupid law, but they elected Chris ("Donuts") Christie, so what can you expect?

  31. earplugs

    $5000 fine for former Inst of Engineers Ontario

    Let's say you graduate from an engineering program, become licensed with Inst of Engineers Ontario for a few years, then change occupation and let membership lapse, If you say you were a member that's a $5,000 fine.

  32. jimdandy
    Windows

    I'll skip the rant about Engineering certification and licensing that this story fairly raves about. Where does "Sanitation Engineer" and "Custodial Engineer" fall on this spectrum of Engineering? I use those terms just to point out that calling someone an engineer does not mean they can "engineer" a product, a process, or even a piece of equipment.

    Even with a degree, the title itself does not confer power or wisdom. As in any other field of endeavor, Engineering has a long history and tradition of getting things done. However, over the last 30 years that has become just a little bit different, especially in large organizations. What do you call an "engineer" who neither designs nor specs designs for or by a contractor? What do you call an engineer who never actually visits a job site wherein the product designs specified or approved by that engineer are being installed?

    I'd like to call that person a deadbeat, but if that is all they have to do to meet the employer's requirements, then that would not be fair.

    So I will just call them a Tool.

    Funny, isn't it that a person who should be designing tools and equipment will end up being both a useless tool and a waste of company money and time.

    With very few repercussions.

    Oops, I said I'd skip that rant.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A title is ... required but misleading

      Two of the most dangerous (in any sense of the word) managers I have ever worked near worked for the same well known company and had for some reason been awarded the title Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology.

      If anyone is aware of a way to challenge such a title, based on *engineering* matters, I'd be delighted to hear of it.

      "What do you call an engineer who never actually visits a job site wherein the product designs specified or approved by that engineer are being installed?"

      Senior management? "Thought leader"? Risk to public safety?

      I've seen all three (in one person :().

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A title is ... required but misleading

        To make a complaint against a member of the Institute of Engineering & Technology follow their handy guide

        http://www.theiet.org/about/governance/rules-conduct/complaints.cfm

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kind of ironic when you consider it's the HQ of Tektronix...

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From the description it sounds like the fundemental problem is the law penalizes a driver from being in the junction on a red light (hence the discussion on needing extra time if turning to allow for slowing down) as opposed to the UK rule where the offence is crossing the stop line on a red light - that way there's only one calculation - time to stop at the line.

    1. Orv Silver badge

      In most states it's crossing the stop line. I don't know about Oregon specifically. What really catches people is red light cameras will nail you for making a right-on-red without stopping first - which is legally required, important for pedestrian safety, but rarely enforced by cops.

  35. Uncle Siggy

    Some heroes don't wear capes.

  36. -tim

    What does the term mean?

    My father is a Professional Computer Engineer. An Analog(ue) Computer Engineer.

    I looked into getting my PE in Computer Engineering and all I needed was to apprentice for one for a year under a PE Computer Engineer. That was combined with 5 years of other apprenticeship for not having the right Analog Computer Engineering Degree. At the time there were about 6 people I could work for in the entire USA to meet the requirements.

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Analog(ue) Computer Engineer

      That's a very specialised field now, so that doesn't surprise me of the difficulties of gaining experience.

      When I was an apprentice I briefly did some training with London Underground's driver training centre where they had a simulator which consisted of hundred's of Op Amps to perform computations. As the day progressed the settings would drift due to temperature fluctuations and this made the system unreliable. I think D/A and A/D converters have taken over for this reason. Doing a quick search shows MIT touting Analog as the best thing for bio-simulation, so it looks as if there is still demand out there.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Analog(ue) Computer Engineer

        "As the day progressed the settings would drift due to temperature fluctuations and this made the system unreliable. I think D/A and A/D converters have taken over for this reason."

        Er no, because those D/A and A/D converters still need analogue amplifiers - and A/D converters need sample and hold as well.

        Modern analogue circuitry can be extremely temperature stable - but digital circuitry can do useful tricks like short inputs to ground and measure offset, thus becoming self calibrating. The reason we don't build circuits with hundreds of op amps is because they are a complete pig to rewire to change function, versus a software change, recompile, download to flash and continue.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Utter twunts

  38. Pu02

    Why is the US having trouble?

    They have to throw him in prison before he does something really dangerous (sic. subversive).

    However all this hoo-hah (and even his math) is uncalled for and unnecessary, if the road rules were made sensible so that lawyers were not needed to interpret them:

    Green = OK to Go

    Orange = Stop* (if you can)*

    Red = Stop

    * Red on the other side is ok, but passing through the first red, then the second is required for a violation.

    Stopping in the junction after an orange is allowed. it is proceeding through the other side (whilst red) is not. This allows people to stop safely, reverse or turn (they are still required to do so safely), so long as they are not proceeding through a second red light.

    This is the norm in Australia and many other countries. Even the most useless drivers get it.

    Why is such a simple law so complicated in the US?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Why is the US having trouble?

      Two main reasons:

      1) Each state and each locality gets to make the call. There is no uniform federal requirement for roads unless the road has a federal designation (either a U.S. Route or an Interstate), and even then federal proceeds for them go through the states, since it's their respective Departments of Transportation (or equivalent) that actually do the work. Traffic violations and such are normally handled by the municipality in which it occurred and they get the proceeds. For small towns and such, "bear traps" (bear is trucker's slang for police) are about the only things keeping their budgets afloat.

      2) The general public attitude towards such laws is not considered very respectable. As far as they're concerned, the rules are made to be broken, and it's hard to make them change their minds (I recently saw a case of a man with at least TEN DUI convictions, and I'm told such repeat offenders are distressingly common; plus it's hard to just throw them in jail because they're the breadwinners, as in spouses and children depend on them). Night racing even gets it's appeal BECAUSE part of the aim is to outrun the cops. To give you a counter-example, here's how a supposedly-typical Bostonian views the traffic lights:

      Green = Go as quickly as you can.

      Yellow = Go FASTER!

      Red = Room for one more!

  39. martinusher Silver badge

    Drivin' that train....

    Oregon is not alone in having licenses for professional engineers. Where they seem to be a little out of sync with real-world practice is that those PEs are typically licensed to design and inspect large scale structures. If they insist on everyone being licensed then I suppose they don't want any engineering companies in their state -- its a lot of work and unnecessary bureaucracy.

    Incidentally, the guys (they're mostly guys) who drive the trains through Portland are known as 'engineers'. Train operators exist but they're usually driving light rail vehicles.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Engineering test

    We had a clearly marked "push / pull" entrance door on our Engineering shop.

    You could always tell that a visiting stranger was an Engineer by their lack of ability to push / pull in the right order....

    True story.

  41. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Oregon revenue

    Anyone who has driven through Oregon a few times knows that a good number of cities have nothing but traffic fines supporting them. The speed limits are exceptionally low, there's a kid holding a radar gun in a Dodge Charger police car every two miles, and good luck finding a fair traffic judge.

    Were the installers of the traffic cameras proper "Engineers" as required by Oregon? Doubt it. Better lock them up per local redneck law.

  42. Captain Boing

    "land of the free"

    nuff said

  43. Jeff Cook

    When Cameras Areinvloved, It's not about safety.

    He forgot the main reason traffic light cameras are there. To make money. Pure and simple. There have been studies that have show that the yellow light times are shortened when red light cameras are put in place here in the States. Several different entries on Google for those really bored or didn't know that. In Columbus, Ohio there were a couple of city council members who had to resign due to taking bribes from a red light camera company and all the cameras were removed.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It really is time people started saying "No!"

    There is a difference between "engineer" and "Engineer". One describes the work, the other a professional status. I can understand wanting to regulate someone acting in a professional capacity, but not describing what they do.

    For example, is a retired lawyer (who doesn't maintain their professional registration / money for the boys) allowed to say "I am a retired lawyer"?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As pointed out previously in comments, in the UK engineering is not a licensed profession. Engineers here bang on about the fact that doctors and lawyers are licensed while engineering is not. I think that generally engineers being licensed and regulated is A Good Thing given the fact that in many cases engineering failures can cause loss of life, life-changing injuries, massive property damage etc.

    If engineering is licensed in the states then surely this licensing must be enforceable. In this particular case it seems to be slightly pernickerty, but as is given in the court notes the 'engineer' in question, whilst having studied electronics (and evidently able to do mathematics), he falsely presented himself as an (implicit) professional engineer whilst he is not licensed by any body.

    The solution to the problem he has derived seems to be very smart and I am sure motorist all over may rejoice. However I would say that if he wants to submit the solution to the board 'as an engineer' then surely he should follow the rules of the jurisdiction in the place in which he is working, or it demeans the status of all engineers in the profession.

    In other words, in the UK any old toad can say they are 'an engineer' and it doesn't carry any weight to an argument, precisely because this sort of thing doesn't exist.

    As such, as an outsider to the US (and 'engineer') I personally support the ruling as is.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      As pointed out previously in comments, in the UK engineering is not a licensed profession. Engineers here bang on about the fact that doctors and lawyers are licensed while engineering is not.

      Not licensed? If you want to build many things in the UK, the design must be approved by someone who is a Certified Engineer in order to not fall foul of Building Standards

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        As pointed out previously in comments, in the UK engineering is not a licensed profession. Engineers here bang on about the fact that doctors and lawyers are licensed while engineering is not.

        Not licensed? If you want to build many things in the UK, the design must be approved by someone who is a Certified Engineer in order to not fall foul of Building Standards

        Different fields of engineering have rather different requirements and, necessary, restrictions and controls. Therefore if you want to work in the field of nuclear engineering in the UK you had better be up to date and a member of the Nuclear Institute, or a recognised international equivalent - it starts to get messy at this point. Likewise working with dams and resevoirs and many other construction projects. Having somebody who is demonstrably competent (to a level of testing as such as is possible - the hard bit is having a test that is as objective as possible) sign off on projects that could adversely affect, or just kill, members of the public is a good thing.

  46. motne

    I know more than most doctors do about my conditions and how my body works and why. Does that mean I am practicing medicine without a license?

    There is no surprise here. Oregon would be better named Orabama or Moronogon. The people are insecure and xenophobic in the extreme. They have no problem being corrupt or doing the nastiest of things to anyone whom they imagine bad things about. They all imagine stuff all the time, objective reality is not something they are friendly with.

    My favorite story is of the guy at the hardware store telling me how bad Californians are when I complained to him about not being able to find competent or honest workmen. He went on to describe his time there as a worker and told me how he and his mates had done some really slipshod work. He clearly intended for me to think that this is how Californians behave and utterly unaware of the fact that he had just told me about himself and his own standards for work, not about Californians.

    That in a nutshell is what most Oregonians are like. They like to think the best of themselves regardless of the objective reality and the worst of anyone else. Imagination and dissociation play a large role in this.

    The most common thing you hear in Oregon is "No you can't do that." And when dealing with them as an employee or hired workman, everything they say is constructed in such a way as to remove their part in it and by that they hope to be made immune from responsibility for anything they do. Oh yea they like to ask alot of questions then after they have screwed you try to use the answers to remove their responsibility by being able to say "you said..." or "you agreed to". State regulators such as the Engineers board discussed here are no different.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vendors are the source

    Mess with a vendor's government contract and you will run into a stifulling bureaucracy and, as a last resort, a fine/lawsuit. The government employees could care less who the vendor is. Most would support the change. But individually they are no match for the political influence the a vendor can bring to bear. Is loosing your retirement pension really worth fighting for a different widget? Only new govt employees and those on the way out would say so.

  48. Balcom

    Ah ha! I smell a rat.

    It's amazing how many tales we hear about traffic-light violations in America. I suspect the lights are set up deliberately to catch out lots of people. That way they can generate vast amounts of money in fines to run the local police services and possibly even run a profit. That's just was happening in that state (Mississippi?) where they had riots last year.

    Balcom.

  49. Flashfox

    The use of "engineer"

    Like it or not, the use of "engineer" has been broadened over the years. Today you have "sanitation engineers", "system engineers", "applications engineers", "sales engineers", "insert your own" and none of these persons need to have "engineering" degrees.

    Many companies give these pseudo-engineering titles to their employees and the latter have no choice. However, none of these persons can perform "engineering tasks that require certification" (aka civil engineers, electrical engineers, etc.).

    This guy in Oregon should not have paid the fine if he didn't commit anything illegal. Did he state we was a degreed engineer?

    Pointing out the flaw and supporting it with data is commendable and definitely not illegal. Seems to me that the REAL reason was the city/state wanting to bury this study as it would affect their bottom line and open them to lawsuits.

  50. jcwconsult

    RE: Bureaucrats run amok

    This email want to that Board and its key executives.

    To All the OSBEELS Executives:

    The Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying is desperately trying to protect the ability of their engineers to deliberately set too-short of yellow intervals on traffic lights so the cities that employ those engineers can rob safe drivers with red light camera fines that are very profitable. If Mr. Järlström can get a discussion of why the yellows are often set too short into the official records, then the money grab racketeering with too-short of yellow intervals might have to be shut down in Oregon.

    In reality, any engineer that sets too-short of yellow intervals on the lights at camera intersections should lose their license to practice.

    Putting camera revenue above safety is criminally wrong.

    James C. Walker

    National Motorists Association

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quebec and Oregon have something in common

    In Quebec, you may not call yourself an Engineer unless you've done a university degree in Engineering and you are a member of the Order of Quebec Engineers.

    You may however substitute the word Expert for engineer.

  52. Dave 15 Silver badge

    USA is THE place to avoid

    Stupid stupid stupid people

    Ridiculous idiots given power over all sorts of things

    Loud and think they know it all and are best at everything (to prove they aren't just look at the F35)

    Getting into the country is a nightmare, idiots who read the immigration documents take 20 minute each and read all the stupid questions.... are you a member of a terrorist organisation? I mean really?

    This sort of thing, their litigation over everything?Nope, would rather go to north korea.

  53. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Actually...

    Even worse, the guy didn't make anything, didn't change anything, how can it be said he engineered? So all he did was present some mathematics, if that is illegal no wonder their education sucks and their products are crap

    1. DaleL

      Re: Actually...

      Dave15: You are actually quite correct! The Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering misinterpreted its own rules in finding that his math was evidence of "engineering." Because Mr. Jarstrom was not working to create red light cameras or to write the code that operates them, his math was not engineering. Oregon law exempts what he did:

      See: ORS 672.005(1)(b).

      (b) Applying special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences to such professional services or creative work as consultation, investigation, testimony, evaluation, planning, design and services during construction, manufacture or fabrication for the purpose of ensuring compliance with specifications and design, in connection with any public or private utilities, structures, buildings, machines, equipment, processes, works or projects.

      ORS 672.005(1)(b) defines "the practice of engineering" in a much more limited way than the Oregon Board claimed. Such "practice of engineering" only occurs when both:

      1. special knowledge is applied, and

      2. when that application of knowledge occurs, as relevant here, during manufacturer or use of red light cameras for the purpose of ensuring compliance with specifications (i.e. traffic laws).

      Both conditions must be present in that definition of the practice of engineering.

      He will win his lawsuit, I'm betting, because the State of Oregon overstepped reasonable bounds in its zeal to insulate its professional Engineers from criticism and competition, and to cover up its unreasonable red light ticketing profits. His work is protected by free speech rights.

      It's also protected by the Federal law called the "Noerr-Pennington doctrine," which does not allow punishment by the government against "petitions" to the government (which is any form of requesting relief, from testimony to court filings)-- the highest forms of protected speech & assembly.

      Mr. Jarstrom's comment letters were clearly exactly such protected attempts to petition the local city and the Board to fix Oregon traffic light ticketing cameras' operation. The right of petition is one of the freedoms protected by the U.S. Bill of Rights. The primary principle upon which the Noerr doctrine appears to rest is the right of citizens under the First Amendment to urge government action. An interest in preserving the proper functioning of government at all levels serves as an additional basis for the Noerr doctrine. The U.S. Supreme Court has expressed concern that a rule limiting citizens’ right to petition their government for anti-competitive rules may hinder governmental decision-making. Specifically, in Noerr the Court noted that “to a very large extent, the whole concept of representation depends upon the ability of the people to make their wishes known to their representatives.”

  54. Tank boy

    This has only one simple explanation.

    As an American that has lived in other parts of the world, every country has it's own amounts of bureaucratic fuckery. We know it's bad in the states, we live here, there's no need to remind us and air your superiority over us poor colonists. By and large unliked laws and regulations are ignored and we just do what we want, say sorry if we get caught and carry on.

    This is all about one simple thing, and it applies everywhere: money. Whatever town/city that operates this camera (and others) prints it's own money by sticking it somewhere that it likely will generate cash, other than the initial cost outlay for the hardware, some costs for maintenance and postage to mail the tickets. After that, pure profit. They don't have to train a police officer, provide a paycheck, healthcare insurance, a vehicle to operate while on duty, nope. Stick a camera on a pole and let it do it's thing. If it gets destroyed, replace it with another exactly like it. It won't call out sick. It won't sprain it's ankle shooting hoops with his buddies. It doesn't need time off. 24/7 it's on duty, making money. By extension the state profits as well. It's in the best interests of the State to protect their little cash cows from well intentioned citizens that have improved on their ATM's by simply applying some math.That would level the playing field to the drivers advantage. That's akin to a casino changing the rules of Blackjack so the player wins more. Never going to happen.

    The best thing to do is just not pay the fine. There's no officer that can contend in court that the diver broke any laws. A picture alone is not proof. The town/city/state won't bother fighting it in court, and it would cost money to hire a company to hassle you to pay. Somewhere in the puzzle palace they might send it over to someone to take it out of your state taxes. Trusting a civic servant to do the bare minimum of what might be considered actual work is usually a tall task at best, so nothing to worry about.

  55. Andromeda451

    Only in Oregon

    Oregon gave us violent snowflakes and now the socialist experiment in the great white north fines an engineer for doing good work. Figures.

  56. Craig100

    Engineer = Ingenuity

    My understanding has always been that the term "Engineer" has nothing to do with engines. It's merely a corruption of the French for "Ingenuity" or a genius (un génie). So an engineer is just someone that uses their ingenuity to solve problems and is a clever dick. I'm an Ieng with the MIET myself in the UK :)

  57. sisk Silver badge

    W T Absolute F?

    Fines for doing a little math and sharing the results publically??? Since when do you need a license to do math? And, ya know, we've got this little thing called free speech in the US. No way the fines stand up in court. Not a freaking chance.

  58. Dieter Haussmann

    In the NWO, a man can say he is a woman and is lauded and fawned upon by the goblin elite.

    An engineer says he is an Engineer and BOOM!

  59. Paul Cooper

    PE status

    It's easy enough to get PE status, and I guess anyone posting here would easily qualify - membership of the IEEE confers PE status, or at least it did when I was a senior member! As I'm on the right side of the pond, it was always irrelevant to me, but a source of amusement in that my main qualification is in Geology!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: PE status

      "I guess anyone posting here would easily qualify - membership of the IEEE confers PE status, or at least it did when I was a senior member!"

      In the UK the equivalent is arguably Chartered Engineer status. It don't come easy.

      Rather than describe it myself, I'll quote this:

      "In the United Kingdom, a Chartered Engineer is an Engineer registered with the Engineering Council (the British regulatory body for engineers). Contemporary Chartered Engineers are degree-qualified and have gained professional competencies through training and monitored professional practice experience. This is a peer reviewed process. The formation process of a Chartered Engineer consists of obtaining an accredited Master of Engineering (MEng) degree, or BEng plus MSc or City and Guilds Post Graduate Diploma in an engineering discipline, and a minimum of four years of professional post graduate peer reviewed experience."

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chartered_Engineer_(UK)

      So a degree in Geology doesn't make anyone a "Chartered Engineer" these days. Nor, as far as I'm aware, does a degree in (e.g.) Physics. Which seems fair, surely?

    2. DaleL

      Re: PE status

      Oregon also fined a geologist who was not registered but complained about faulty geological engineering that posed risks to his neighborhood. That geologist, Mark Reed, fought back and won. The Oregon State Attorney General folded immediately and repealed the offending rule when presented with the brief by Art Johnson, Garrett Epps, et al., wherein they argued the free speech case. See the following web page for details:

      http://faculty.fgcu.edu/ndemers/Mining/Reed%20Free%20speech.htm

  60. Frank Cullinane

    Police are 148 years investigating road crashes since 1869. There were 5 road user fatalities every hour with 600 injuries in the USA in 2016. This is almost 7,000 more fatalities and 777,000 more injuries than recorded in 2009.

    Mats Jarlstrom attempted to correct the mistake which remained in the Engineering Manual for over 50 years which led to many of these fatalities and injuries. In addition, this mistake resulted in many drivers unnecessarily receiving penalty points and fines.

    On 29 07 2015 Alexei A. Maradudin, (Was he a registered Engineer)

    Research Professor of Physics,

    Department of Physics and Astronomy, wrote to

    Mr Douglas Noble,

    Institute of Transportation Engineers ITE,

    Washington, DC 20006,

    The work that I and my fellow researchers, Denos Gazis and Robert Herman did on the yellow change interval time more than 50 years ago in 1959 was designed for straight through traffic only and at or above the speed limit. We did not allow for traffic approaching the junction at slower speed or turning left or right.

    In 2005, I discovered while using VBOX, that the Highway Code stopping distance formula used in Ireland, the UK and USA is incorrect for 71 years since 1946 and is unknown as it has passed into history.

    I was a Police Officer, not an Engineer. I am unable to discover the name of the person who wrote in 1946 the incorrect Highway Code stopping distance formula used in the USA in 2017, or if Alexei A. Maradudin who wrote the incorrect yellow light formula in 1959 was an Engineer as required by the ITE?

    He described himself as; http://redlightrobber.com/red/links_pdf/Maradudin-to-ITE-2015.pdf

    Research Professor, Physics & Astronomy

    School of Physical Sciences

    PH.D., University of Bristol, 1957

    B.S. 1953, Stanford University

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    welcome to Oregon

    where weed is legal but engineering is not.

    Keep em stupid!

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