Marvels of Engineering Number 61


When confronted with a problem, the human mind is capable of amazing things.  From the great Pyramids of Egypt to the Great Wall of China to the Hoover Dam to landing men on the moon, engineers of all disciplines have looked humankind’s biggest challenges in the eye and without blinking created solutions that stretch the boundaries of imagination.  These amazing innovations have been the primary reason the human race has advanced from our cave dwelling ancestors to the dominant species of the planet that we are today.  

It is in this spirit that we need to recognize the most recent incredible achievement in engineering, apparently from the engineers at Nabisco.  Thanks to the brilliant work of these brave and tireless pioneers, we are now able to open a package of Oreos by simply peeling back an adhesive on the front of the package.  To contemplate what this means makes the head spin.  No more trying to pry open the plastic ends of the package, no more using a fork to puncture the thin layer of cellophane that separates the cookies from the atmosphere.  Now all you need do is peel back the sticker and there you are, with fresh Oreos waiting to be removed, and once removed, you simply re apply the sticker and on-going freshness is ensured.

Okay, as far as problems that need a solution, this isn’t a cure for cancer, a perpetual motion machine, or a device that would muzzle Donald Trump, but it is an accomplishment none the less.  I imagine the CEO of Nabisco, at a gathering of the company’s engineers, pounding his fist on the table, demanding “Gentlemen, I am tired of Oreos getting stale before I consume the entire bag.  We need a way to preserve freshness longer!”    As a result of this, teams were formed, budgets were approved, and thousands of hours at Nabisco were spent on the reseal-able Oreo package project, with sub-teams dedicated to design, manufacturing, marketing, and advertising.   And who says the free market system isn’t efficient?

I think of the lead engineer of the project (who we shall name “Jeffrey” for our purposes) attending his 10 year engineering school class reunion.  There he meets up with the old gang, and they describe where their careers have landed them.

 “I designed the Venice Tide Barrier, which will be the largest flood prevention project in history”,  Harold opens.

 “I designed the Millau Viaduct in France, the world’s highest bridge”,  offers Toby.

“I designed the reseal-able Oreo package”, Jeffrey proudly adds.

Let’s raise glasses to all the Jeffreys out there, who are working tirelessly to make the trivial slightly less trivial.

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