What is something electrical engineers know that others don't?

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So there I was sitting in a bar in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia when the crappy old-style tube TV with coat hangers as an aerial appeared to be playing up.

Weirdly, while watching the news every time the signal would go to a newsreader in the studio the TV image would be crystal clear, but every time they cut to the journalist in the field the screen would get fuzzy and the volume would be statickey.

How the hell was this possible? How could a television tell the difference between what was happening in a studio, and what content came from outside the studio? The issue did not seem to be the content, as I knew from watching other TVs that both the field footage and the newsreader footage were both fairly clear.

I asked the ferengi (Amharic for foreigners) at the bar and lo and behold one person there was an electrical engineer. Not only an electrical engineer, but one who taught electrical engineering at university in South Africa.

He laughed and told me that although he had never before considered such a conundrum, he in fact did know the answer. He liked the observation so much he was going to include it on a test to his students.

So there you go, that is something electrical engineers know that others don’t.

Your question didn’t ask me to explain how they know it, or what the answer was, so I won’t bother providing an explanation unless someone directly asks me to explain it. You see, I’m not an electrical engineer, but I know the answer too, so in one way if I give the answer I’ve proved myself wrong.

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