project sponsored by DARPA gives a whole new meaning to the electronic surveillance "bug." In this case it
uses a real bug. A wireless controller stimulates the giant flower beetle's optical and muscle signaling
system to command takeoff, landing and left / right turns. The only power needed is a small battery for the
controller, and a little pollen. Heat sensors, microphones, and cameras will eventually be added.
is an excellent photo of the Planck satellite's 0.35 mm to 1.0 cm antenna farm. How many hours of simulation
went into designing the feed horns and array layout? Its mission is to study of the origin of the universe in
the sub-mm domain by mapping the cosmic microwave background. The CMB was discovered serendipitously by
Bell Labs scientists in
1962. More images of the installed configuration are on the
is a new way of looking at 10,000 pennies. Well, not exactly pennies. This image of a $100 bill is composed of
an effort by 10,000 people from 51 countries tasked with digitally rendering 1/10,000th of the picture -
without knowing what the overall subject would create. Participants were found on Amazon's
Mechanical Turk collaboration website (an
photo is as hilarious as it is poignant. It was in a magazine article I was reading that invoked the famous
Peter Principle. It made me laugh out loud. "The
Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong" is as valid today as it was 40 years ago when Laurence Peter
and Raymond Hull wrote it. Just read the headlines about the world's financial crisis brought on by government
geniuses and you will see what I mean.
season is upon us again, so I thought it would be a good idea to remind everybody of the hazard it presents. A
year or so after leaving a company where I designed and built the RF & analog portion of an S-band
surveillance radar system, I received word that the phased array antenna and equipment rack had been torched
by lightning. The site maintenance guy had unhooked the lightning protection cable during the winter to
facilitate snow plowing. He never reconnected it.
is an EM spectrum chart that you probably have not seen. It is one of many drawings, done by physicist Randall
Munroe on xkcd. He creates "webcomic[s] of romance, sarcasm,
math, and language." They are sort of like stick figure Dilbert comics. "Warning: this comic occasionally
contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for
adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)."
- Thanks to Ljube Babunski
from laser research, scientists are now working on using "twisted beams" in an attempt to cram more data into
the crowded frequency spectrum. Digital data is encoded based on the rate of twist. The downside is that a
phased array is required on both the transmit and receive side of the system, so it will be a while before
your cell phone is using the technology. However, fixed terrestrial and space communications can benefit
mightily from it.
Science is running a feature on the private labs and workshops of hobbyists. They encourage readers to submit
photos of their workbenches. The electronics bench shown here appeared in the magazine, and something hanging
on the pegboard wall immediately caught my eye - makes me wonder how old the owner of the bench is. Can you
find what I refer to? BTW, send me a photo of your bench and I'll post it.
maps have a great feature built in that allows companies to electronically insert a map tack at their physical
locations so that viewers automatically get notified. You can even create specialty maps for your particular
needs, like this map of electronics research & development companies in the UK. Click on the blue teardrops
for detail on the companies. You can add your company to the map. It would be a good idea to add your company
to Google's main map database like I have done for
things are as awesome as peering through a large telescope and witnessing the
Coma Custer of
galaxies in the constellation of Coma
Berenices (near Leo & Virgo). I had the opportunity to view it through a 14" Celestron. Although not
quite as vivid as this photo, the style variation is clearly discernable - spiral, barred, elliptical,
top-down, edge-on, the complete gamut. It seems as though you can reach out and touch them. Not until the
early 20th century did we even realize what those fuzzy patches of light were.
if it is not cool enough to inspect the insides of an old watch and be amazed at the precision of the
hand-formed gears, springs, and escapements, this particular watch is especially incredible. On March 10,
2009, permission was granted to open the case of Abraham Lincoln's pocket watch to verify or discredit rumors
of an inscription made by a repairman stating, "Fort Sumpter was attacked by the rebels..." Look at what was
you seen the map of the world's undersea and overland
Internet backbone routing?
It is amazing. This photo is of the Terremark headquarters in Miami, where undersea Internet cables emerge
from the Atlantic and connect to the rest of the country. Click on the Proxy Trace option for any
website on YouGetSignal.com site
to see how a webpage gets to you - it's a mess... and a wonder.
the good old days, back when a 4-inch diameter cable with 1,500 twisted pair of wires (3,000 total) carried
about 10% of the channels now handled by a single fiber optic cable. Those lightning-fast dial-up connections
were really great. Not. Have you ever seen the
punch-down termination panels for these monster cables? These old cables make for cool pictures, like old
newsroom typewriters, but give me modern equipment any day.
amateur astronomer Thierry Legault snapped this image of the Space Shuttle Atlantis silhouetted against the
sun using a five-inch telescope and a digital camera. The next day, he got the rendezvous with the Hubble
Space Telescope. High quality equipment at reasonable prices are readily available to amateurs. Even
hydrogen-alpha filters for directly observing sun spots and prominences fit the budget of many people - for as
little as a kilobuck.
World Games Stadium can generate up to 1.14 GWh of energy using 8,844 solar panels, which cover the 14,155 m^2
(162 kft^2) roof. The US$150M structure will be used to host events in July 2009. When not powering the
stadium, the panels pump energy back into the local grid, generating revenue. Construction photos showing the
open structure are equally cool.
Observable Universe - from Top to Bottom." Here is a very clever graphic that shows relative distances on a
log scale. It begins at ground level, works its way up past Mt. Everest, past the ISS, our Milky Way galaxy,
and all the way to the edge of the observable universe. (large graphic - 662x2647 pixels).