many years I posted a weekly "Cool Pic" item derived from articles I read in magazines and websites. I'm not
sure why I stopped doing so - probably due to lack of time - but seeing this über-cool-looking
16-element antenna array that operates
at 83 GHz. At initial inspection it appears to be a 16-port switch unit because unless you are familiar
with how small an 83 GHz antenna can be, those devices hanging off each port look like push-on coaxial
connectors, but they're not. This work is being done by engineers at the NIST in a project researching how to
best increase available wireless channel frequencies and bandwidth
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* for
IDV 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.
*So, 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 dividend checks.