and ye shall receive... at least sometimes. Last week I posted a request for an article by science fiction
Arthur C. Clarke, of 2001: A Space
Odyssey fame, describing a geostationary satellite system that was published in the October 1945 edition of
Wireless World magazine. Thanks to RF Cafe visitor Terry W., from the great state of Oklahoma, it is now
available for everyone to enjoy. Clarke was not just a sci-fi writer, but also an educated visionary and
card-carrying member of the British Interplanetary Society, who proposed many
technological solutions to issues of his day. In this instance, the challenge was developing an efficient
means to distribute TV signals across Europe and the world. Clarke's calculations for the necessary number of
repeater towers proved that concept impractical, so he proposed using modified surplus German V2 rockets to
launch Earth-orbiting "artificial satellites," powered by batteries or solar panels, to distribute signals
globally. He calculated power densities, orbit altitudes and periods, S/N ratios, and antenna sizes. You will
want to read this article; it only takes about 15-20 minutes.
What a Concept!
Top 20 Defense Contractors
Defense Systems recently published their list of the top 20 defense contractors. Topping the lineup are
the familiar stalwarts of the industry - Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, etc. Rankings are based on revenue, which
by nature, is your tax dollars at work. Sure, it is a lot of money, but they are performing a vital service
for the country, as opposed to the billion$ spent on social welfare programs that produce mainly votes for
politicians that dole it out.
||Booz Allen Ham.
Toxic Air: Our Other
for us. Our pollution production levels are way down compared to what they were in the middle of the last
century. Seriously, things were getting really bad. Pittsburgh was considered such a hopeless mess that famed
architect Frank Lloyd Wright, whose landmark
home sat nearby, when asked what to do about Pittsburg's terrible pollution responded, "Abandon
it." Lake Erie had been declared officially
Love Canal dominated
Los Angeles air
(and still is, BTW) unbreathable. After huge public awareness campaigns. cleanup
efforts, and stricter enforcement of pollution laws, the trend halted and has reversed. That is unquestionably
Import from China
The bad news is that as pollution control got better, companies found continuing manufacturing
operations in the U.S. was unprofitable based on what people were willing to pay for their products. Steel,
the literal <more>
The 10 Most Valuable
single largest source of intangible value in a company is its
trademark," says David Haigh, founder of Brand Finance, a brand-valuation consultancy. Believe it or not,
seemingly normal words can be trademarked, like "entrepreneur." Try using that one in your business name and
you will be sued by the magazine that purports to champion entrepreneurs. Even common family names, if you are
the first to do so, are trademark-able (think McDonald's and Sears).
You will not be surprised to learn that Google is the most valuable trademark with an estimated value of $44B.
Here is Forbes'
(another trademarked family name) list for 2011.
* OK, that's not on Forbes' list
|Bank of America
Top 10 Thriving Industries
LinkedIn recently published a report on which industries
thrived during the 2000-2010 decade. It compliments a list by IBIS World listing those that
during the same period. VOIP tops the thriving list while wired telecom tops the dying list (although VOIP on
cable is still wired). Eco consulting, insurance, and correctional facilities lead the growth list as well.
Unfortunately, the need for additional prisons does not include having to lock up those responsible for the
ruining of the economy. They still head the government.
||Media, Game Rent
EE Life's 2011 Job
According to EE Life's latest poll, the divide between engineering and management is widening. Here are the
major issues: Trust issues with management. Tend not to feel a part of a given company. Believe strongly that
there are not sufficient career opportunities at their companies. Poll results:
In all fairness, we really need to see the same survey taken from management's perspective of engineering.
Sure, management has the advantage of control over engineers, but part of their responsibility is to balance
company needs with personal needs. The battle is timeless. Engineering unions, anyone? Why should only hourly
workers have them?
| Trust Company Leadership
| Trust Team Leadership
| Mgt. Honest w/Each Other
might have noticed that I make a habit of posting headlines that report America's continuing decline as a
technological and financial leader in the world. It is meant as a wake-up call to readers, not an expression
of contentment. Our manufacturing and financial systems have been decimated, public schools teach the bad
aspects of the country's past rather than focusing on the immense good we have done, and as of today America
has no more manned space transportation system. Our government coddles the lazy while punishing producers. Its
actions relentlessly discourage innovation from those who historically have delivered it, and focuses on
making the perpetually useless feel good about themselves. The chart shown plots international patent filings
by the U.S., China, Germany, Japan, and S. Korea. Guess who has the only curve trending downward? American
universities (essentially gov't-run institutions due to controlling grants)
are the only place we're leading in patent filings. Sucks to be us.
Δ Employment '01-'11
is a sobering - and enraging - chart of how employment in key sectors has changed in the last decade. The top
chart is change in number of jobs; bottom chart is % change. Health care, educational services, and real
estate are among the clear winners. The Biggest Loser? No surprise - Manufacturing. That's the pitifully
lonely line heading in the wrong direction in the top chart. The manufacturing line covers everything from
electronics to furniture to clothing to planes, trains, and automobiles. In one form or another, engineers and
technicians have lost opportunity in every one of those industries. A look at thriving sectors - mostly
services - reveals they are largely ones that have received government subsidization and policy support. You
might conclude that our government has purposely damaged manufacturing since policies have hamstringed
manufacturers by discouraging and/or penalizing cheap energy production, imposing crippling environmental
restrictions, denying permits, and regulating small businesses to death.
Sleep Less, Do More
have seen the commercials for products like 5 Hour Energy,
Screaming Energy, that promise that essential
pick-me-up needed to start the day, continue the day, or finish the day, or all three. Mere mortals like the
majority of us might need such assistance occasionally (I personally only use
strong coffee). There is a small percentage of the world's population that does just fine - and in fact
often excels - on just a handful of hours of sleep each night, aka the
Sleepless Elite. According to research, only about 5% of people who claim to be members of the short
sleepers club actually are. The other 95% either get by with the help of drugs
(caffeine is a drug)
or are chronically sleep deprived - I lived like that for decades. Winston Churchill, Jay Leno, Madonna
(yep), Nikola Tesla, Florence Nightingale, Michelangelo, and Thomas
Edison are a few of the most well-known short sleepers. While nappers often are
productive overachievers, I would rather be a well-rested, rich, supergenius.
smartphone sales surged 888.8% in 2010 according to a Gartner report referenced by
Beta News. Manufacturers shipped 67.2M Android smartphones last year, up from 6.8M in 2009. That works out
to an average 184k Android smartphones sold per day. By comparison, Apple sold 46.6M for the year an average
127k iOS smartphones per day. The numbers are amazing. Overall, there were 1.6B smartphones sold. That number
does not even seem possible given that there were approximately
people on Earth in 2010, meaning nearly ¼ of the population, including the young, the old, the rich, the
destitute, the healthy, the infirm, the civilized and the uncivilized, bought a new smartphone. There must be
a huge amount of them in warehouses.
Arthur C. Clarke
other things, futurist / author Arthur C. Clarke was one of the first - if not the first - to propose a
geostationary communications satellite system. The concept appeared in print in the October 1945 edition of
Wireless World magazine. An original copy of that edition just happens to have come up for auction on
eBay; I have had a saved search for it set for a long time. The starting bid is £100
($160). The seller is locating in the UK since, after all, Wireless
World was a British publication. I would love to procure that magazine and scan and publish the Arthur C.
Clarke article along with a few others. The problem is that the final price will probably be beyond my
budgetary allowance. So, since I am letting everyone know about it, I would be eternally grateful if some
richer-than-me person would win the auction and then magnanimously either donate or lend it to RF Cafe.
Thousands of website visitors would love you for it as well. Seriously, we would actually love you. How about
Wireless World Oct. 1945
Component Engineering Website
in my days of working in the defense electronics industry, when COTS
was the plural of what you slept on in a tent, every component - screws, resistors, ICs, gaskets, knobs, PCBs,
etc. - that went into a system required an accompanying specification document. One time while at Westinghouse
(Oceanic Division, Annapolis, MD), we needed a video recording system
for capturing images from a towed sonar array. Standard modus operandi for the era was to design and build a
system from piece parts, but the schedule did not for allow that. Systems engineers instead chose to integrate
a commercially available Beta recorder in the rack. A nightmare of testing and documentation ensued for the
Component Engineers as they
worked to qualify the unit. We even ended up replacing the manufacturer's markings
(logo, S/N, P/N, etc.) with Westinghouse markings. Fortunately, a lot has changed, but
Component Engineering is still a big part
of the design cycle for industrial, commercial, aerospace, and defense products. Thanks to 30-year veteran
Douglas Alexander's new website, Component
Engineering, heretofore hard to find documents instructing on how to fill out required forms,
qualification procedures, derating components, generating part number, and much more, are now available...
with many more are in the queue to be written. Do your friends in the CE department a favor and send them this