not often that you will see a full-page ad promoting a particular
element in the periodic table, but in 1950 that wasn't the case.
This advertisement for
Anaconda Copper Mining Company promoted the virtues of element
number 29 - copper (Cu , from the Latin "cuprum"). Aluminum
and iron were other popular topics of advertising. If you do
a search on the history of Anaconda, which is today owned by
the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), what dominates is the
harm done to workers and to the environment. The short video
below is one of the less vicious reports on the company's operations
in Butte, Montana and in Chile. As with many forms of mining
back in the day, miners were subject to very hazardous conditions,
lived in company towns in company houses, sent their kids to
company schools, and bought their groceries at company stores.
It was a rough life, and we who enjoy the abundant freedoms
and conveniences availed to us today owe...
Nelson is a User Experience Lead*
Solutions (business intelligence software) who likes to
graph various types of data in a visually meaningful way. One
of his latest projects is plotting the
paths of tornados in the U.S. for the past 56 years based
on data from NOAA as available on Data.gov. The storms are presented
according to the tornado F scale rating; the brighter lines
represent more violent storms. One commenter asked why all of
the tracks appear to be straight lines when we know that tornados
typically take circuitous paths as they wreak their havoc. The
answer is that the only the beginning and end points for the
storms were available.
what is a User Experience Lead? According to a job description
I located: "Senior User Experience (UX) Leads are responsible
for defining successful high-level strategies for client projects
including multimedia, desktop and mobile websites, web-based
applications, technology solutions, and other digital experiences.
Gather, define, and clarify clients’ business objectives, brands,
and audiences. Ttranslate this understanding into documentation
that defines the 'big idea' and guiding creative vision that
will shape the entire project." Qualifications include BS/BA
degree in psychology, human factors, interactive design, information
architecture, library science, anthropology, or related field.
might think I tend to dwell too much on the past because of
all the articles posted and references to vintage electronics
companies and their employees. Maybe I do. My motivation is
two-fold. First, I enjoy waxing nostalgic over the simpler,
less crowded days of yore that were the 1920s through 1940s,
and even into the 1950s. Things were not ideal by any means,
but America was a thriving bastion of national innovation and
manufacturing. A "wow" factor surrounded new discoveries and
deserving heroes were created. Our friends as well as our enemies
were well-defined and our schools put more effort into teaching
literature, mathematics, and science than into what "rights"
could be demanded without earning them. Second, which really
follows from the first, is that I hope by reminding people of,
or in some cases - especially younger website visitors - introducing
for the first time, the fact that being a country that is fundamentally
independent while at...
might call it artistic license. I call it epic failure. The
May 2012 edition of QST (p.79) had a photo from Bob Kernish,
KD2ADL, of an avant-garde-style public bench in Auckland, New
Zealand, that features a repeating string of Morse Code characters.
Bob was puzzled over the apparent message, "SPARKLAG WATERS."
After checking with some Aussie Hams, they believe it was intended
to say, "SPARKLING WATERS." I'm guessing it was a government
project, designed by committee, and no authority on Morse Code
was engaged during the process. The project was probably over
budget and late, so there was no more money to re-paint the
message. Per the poster's investigation, "The Port of Auckland
is part of the Waitemata Harbour ('sparkling waters' is the
translation of this Maori word)." Maybe the Maoris pronounce
"ing" an just "g." The original photo and a short description
of the phenomenon is available at
http://auckland-west.co.nz/?p=9153 . These benches are located
at the entrance to Queens Wharf. I did a search using
Street View on Google Maps, but could not locate the benches.
Maybe they were installed after the Google camera vehicle captured
their images. I cannot find a spot that looks like the other
photo on the page. There appears to be trolley or train track
embedded in the sidewalk, and I do not see them anywhere...
decision was made by the United Kingdom in 1994 to produce 2-pound
(£2) coins for general circulation. Public input was sought
regarding a theme for the design of the reverse face (back)
of the coins; the obverse (front) would feature the standard
bust of the Queen. Four year later, the British Royal Mint issued
its first coin. The bi-color coins all have a nickel-brass (dark)
inner component and a cupro-nickel (light) outer component.
Designs would tell the story, through symbolic devices, of technological
development from the Iron Age to the Industrial Revolution and
from the Computer Age to the Internet. An edge inscription was
included to identify the object or event being commemorated.
Designed by Robert Evans, the third coin in the yearly series
pays tribute to the contributions of Guglielmo Marconi. Per
the British Royal Mint's website: "100th
Anniversary of Marconi's 1st Wireless Transmission across the
Atlantic. Radio waves decorating centre and outer border
while a spark of electricity linking the zeros of the date represents
the generation of the signal designed by Robert Evans." The
chosen design contains a rendition of Guglielmo...
the last few years, IEEE's International Symposium on the Physical
and Failure Analysis of Integrated Circuits has held an "Art
of Failure Analysis" photo contest. Familiar shapes and pattern
occur regularly in nature at the macro level that can be seen
and recognized by almost anyone; e.g., the Nautilus spiral,
the Fibonacci series in plant life, and fractal structures.
It takes a high power optical microscope or even a scanning
electron microscope (SEM) to see those familiar sights in the
realm of the very small. Sometimes, though, the images are downright
bazaar and look eerily familiar. This first-place winner from
the 2012 "Art of Failure Analysis" is a good example. Titled,
"People on the Beach," this first-prize-winning SEM image by
Infineon's Lim Saw Sing. It is an exposed a polyimide surface
that was etched by reactive ions. Is that cool or what? "The
Hope Terrace" is another familiar sight. It looks just like
a formation of tiered cliffs with wind-blown snow or sand upon
them. "Silver Leaves" appears to be an infrared type image of
a cluster of plants. We have seen a lot plant-like SEM images.
"Big Nose" reminds me of Mr. Bill yelling "Oh, nooo...." while
pleading for mercy from Sluggo. "Lunar Eclipse" looks more to
me like an annular solar eclipse, but I suppose artistic license
permits the photographer to name it anything he wants...
Science magazine ran a short feature titled "Outer Space,
Indoors," in the January 2013 edition. The main photo is a shot
of the inside of the
RF anechoic chamber at the Technical University of Denmark
(DTU). Its thousands of RF absorbing
pyramids are painted a dark, electric blue with black tips,
which makes for a very stunningly artistic image. Narcotics-inspired
sculptors of sculptures could scarcely improve on the visual
impact of this imminently and supremely functional structure.
Interestingly, I could not find a single picture of the anechoic
chamber on the DTU website other than a small section of it
from before the new paint job. According to my search for the
original, the one in PopSci appears to have originated
on the website of photographer Alastair Philip Wiper, where
many high resolution views of the anechoic chamber's inside
are posted. A steel Faraday cage encloses the chamber, but I
could not find any photos of it. A picture of the power, data,
and RF cabling interface(s) would
have been interesting to see.
the recent epic patent-related court battle that resulted in
Samsung being ordered to pay Apple one billion dollars in damages?
Well, Samsung paid payed up - with 30 truckloads of 5-cent coins!
Per the article: "This morning more than 30 trucks filled with
5-cent coins arrived at Apple’s headquarters in California.
Initially, the security company that protects the facility said
the trucks were in the wrong place, but minutes later, Tim Cook
(Apple CEO) received a call from Samsung CEO explaining that
they will pay $1 billion dollars for the fine recently ruled
against the South Korean company in this way." While this certainly
is hilarious, the fact is that it must have cost Samsung a significant
amount of money to have 30 trucks filled with coins and to pay
for the security for having it transported to Apple. Sure, it'll
cost Apple some amount to process the exchange (no pun intended
on the "change" part of "exchange"), but Steve's ghost and Apple
shareholders are doing the real laughing as they deposit an
additional $1,000,000,000 into the coffers and then collect