A Bit of Engineering & Science Trivia
Kirt's Cogitations™ #1
- 2000 was the first year that there were more cellular subscribers than landline
subscribers in Japan.
- FR-4 is a Fire Retardant
version of G10 fiberglass substrate laminate.
- When asked if he ever got any exercise, Thomas Edison replied, "I only use my
body to carry my brain around."
- The DIN connector designation comes from Deutsche
- The smallest anything can possibly be is the Planck length, or about 10-35
- $93,100 - that's the median base salary for EE's in the U.S. according to IEEE's
new study. Total compensation median is $99,000.
- A blank 300-mm silicon wafer costs about $40,000 to manufacture.
- More than 100 million miles of optical fiber has been laid in the last two years,
but today only 5% of it is "lit."
- The cell phone industry made about 400,000,000 phones last year - about 60,000,000
more than needed. How's that for excess inventory?
- Some SMT capacitor vendors are moving away from the use of palladium. The cost
has tripled over the past two years - to about $1,000 per ounce. Gold sells for
about $270 per ounce.
- The calibrated sweep time for a spectrum analyzer is proportional to the square
of the RBW ratios, due to the settling time of the IF filter.
- The recognized rule-of-thumb for test accuracy/uncertainty ratio (TA/UR) is
4:1 per Mil-Std 45662A, ANSI/NCSL-Z540; and 3:1 per ISO10012. This relates the accuracy
of successive instruments when one is used to calibrate the other.
- "Journal of the American Medical Association" (JAMA) targets guns as a top priority
safety issue, when the medical profession has the highest number of accidental deaths
in the nation.
- WD-40 literally
stands for Water Displacement,
40th attempt. No kidding! That's the name straight out
of the lab book used by the chemist who developed WD-40 back in 1953.
- The "Dog Days of Summer"
are so named not due to the oppressive heat, rather, it describes the 20 days before
and after the conjunction of Sirius with the sun, around July 23rd.
- VersaModule Eurocard (VME) bus and its subset, the VME
- August 12, 2001, marks the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the IBM PC
- it listed for a $3,005 base price. Windows™ first appeared in 1983.
- The direct flight that American Airline operates between Austin, TX, and San
Jose, CA, (four each weekday) is nicknamed the "Nerd Bird," because nearly everyone
that flies on it works in high-tech.
- The Pony Express was only in service from April 1860 to November 1861. Mr. Morse's
telegraph put it out of business (-2G superseded by -1G?)
- Aluminum used to manufacture airplane wings is capable of withstanding loads
of more than 90,000 pounds per square inch. Aluminum can be spun into a filament
so fine that 1.5 pounds of it could encircle the world.
- The human race as we know it has existed for approximately 50,000 years. This
makes it approximately 800 lifetimes old. Of these 800 lifetimes, about 650 were
passed by cave dwellers. Nearly all the manufactured products, luxury items, and
technological conveniences we enjoy today were invented or perfected within only
the past 5 to 7 lifetimes. Nearly all came from civilizations north of the Equator.
- Alexander Graham Bell thought that controllable, powered flight might be possible
with a kite composed of thousands of tetrahedral shaped cells.
- As of August, 2001, the Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative White (ASCI
White) is the world's most powerful computer, containing 8,192 microprocessors,
160 TBytes of disk drive and using 1.3 MW of power. Built by IBM and located at
the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, it is being used to run 3-D nuclear weapon
fusion simulations. For just 900 atoms, it will take 3-4 months. In 1994, the simulations
would have taken 60,000 years!
- The number of U.S. Internet users skyrocketed to an all-time high, rising 15
percent from 100.3 million surfers in October 2000 to more than 115.2 million in
October 2001, according to a report released by Nielsen/NetRatings. The Internet
measurement service said people accessing the Web from home contributed significantly
to the increase, rising 14 percent from the previous year to more than 103.7 million
- Each month in the UK, approximately 15,000 mobile phones are stolen. The monthly
average for London is 1,600. In London's Westminster borough, about half of all
street robberies concern theft of mobile phones.
- Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis (SPICE) was developed in
the early 1970's at the University of California at Berkeley. SPICE software was
originally written in FORTRAN. PSPICE, developed by MicroSim, was the first commercial
PC-based SPICE program to gain wide acceptance in both industry and academia.
- Code-named "MetaPad", IBM unveiled a micro PC that features 128 MB of DRAM,
a 10 GB hard drive and a 800 MHz CPU. The module is 5" long, 3" wide and about
3/4" thick. The module fits into a larger accessory piece that includes a small,
flat screen on front and is about 6 " long, 4" wide and 1".
- The IEEE publishes nearly 30% of the world's literature in electrical, electronics
and computer engineering and science.
- When a candle burns on the space shuttle, the heat radiates evenly in all directions,
so the flame forms a small blue sphere around the wick. The candle burns more slowly
and coolly than it would on Earth, but it melts faster because an updraft isn't
carrying away the heat.
- In 1955, then Soviet Premier, Nikita Krushchev, ordered that April 22nd be designated
a day to celebrate Communism. In 1970, it was chosen to be designated Earth Day
by Gaylord Nelson, one of the founders of the event. Those founders had 365 days
from which to choose. They chose Lenin's birthday.
- A company called Power Paper has developed a power source technology that, at
just 0.5 mm thick, allows ultra-thin flexible batteries to be embedded into labels,
paper, fabric, and many other materials. Composed of zinc and magnesium oxide pastes,
it can be screened on, pasted or laminated, and is environmentally friendly.