Best Computer Science School in Utah

Paul Seamons paul at
Wed Sep 26 13:29:36 MDT 2007

> The guys who build your house don't know much about mechanical
> engineering, either, but they're pretty good with nail guns and
> circular saws.  Just don't ask them to make any major deviations from
> the plan they were given, though, or you could end up with structural
> problems.

I'd say that goes double for the guys who built my house.

But it isn't true for all builders.  There are those with enough grasp of 
things to be able to make design decisions on their own.  But even then they 
can't make major structural changes without having the plans resubmitted to 
an engineering firm (at least in some cities).

> > It is the MacGyverism thing all over again.
> I have to admit I don't see how MacGuyver fits into this, either.

MacGyverism is the ability to identify the tools at hand, including those that 
are less than obvious, and make proper use of them to overcome the problem at 
hand.  The word juryrigged is sort of similar, but MacGyverism includes a bit 
of craft.  It is the idea of "just get things done," and not necessarily "do 
it formally right."  It is how we who don't know the CS theory improvise to 
solve the problem (though we don't always solve it right).

> Surely he's got a pretty deep knowledge of physics, chemistry, and
> mechanical engineering, or else he wouldn't know what bits of random
> stuff to throw together to get his desired results.

Those are the areas of knowledge which help him identify the non-obvious tools 
at hand.


More information about the PLUG mailing list