has been a while since EMP (electromagnetic pulse) has been in the news. With
Venezuela having nuclear capability, there is a renewed emphasis on investigating
the issue. An organization named EMPACT produced this video highlighting research on survivability
of products and systems subject to an EMP. One demo is of a car being disabled by
an EMP generator frying its computer. Too bad a lot of the cars that might survive
a real EMP event have been destroyed in the government's Cash for Clunkers program.
Wave Research launched their AWR.TV
service earlier in the year, and just announced the addition of a broad array of
content related to electromagnetics (see "Applications" channel under "Electromagnetic").
Other enhancements to AWR.TV include applications tracks for MMICs, printed circuit
boards, and signal integrity, along with the option to download all material as
iPod and iPhone-compatible podcasts. Even if you do not do EM modeling, the videos
are a great learning tool.
If you are fortunate
enough to be in the great circle path from the Gulf of Khambhat to Biratnagar to
Beijing, you have the opportunity to witness the longest total solar eclipse of
the 21st century. It begins tonight at 8:24 pm EDT (Wednesday morning in China).
A full 6 minutes and 39 seconds of totality is predicted. The
Shadow & Substance
website has some really cool animations.
Griffith Observatory will be showing a live webcast.
Baylis, inventor of the wind-up radio (Clockwork Radio,
now marketed by
Freeplay), is advocating for making patent theft a criminal offense
rather than just statutory. His argument is that if offenders faced the threat of
jail time rather than just a fine, it might serve as more of a deterrent. Patent
lawyers say the long, drawn-out nature of the prosecution makes doing so unlikely.
Note in the video that Mr. Baylis is using his lathe w/o proper eye protection.
computer simulation of water flow past a ship's hull is one of nine that made Wired's
"Best Science Visualization Videos of 2009." No EM simulations are included, but
I can overlook that lapse of judgment after viewing the amazing capabilities
of what was chosen. Dynamic supernova explosions, earthquake propagation, human
body modeling, and other physical events require equation derivation and software
coding skills that are utterly unimaginable by most mortal beings.
Printed flexible circuits have been around for a while, but the process
has been hampered by high temperatures needed to sinter the deposited copper ink.
Substrate materials like paper and low grade plastic can be impossible to use with
standard techniques. This new method developed by PulseForge uses a system that
pulses μs-long wideband spectral blasts that evaporate the copper ink volatile carriers
and leave the conductor behind, firmly adhered to the unscathed substrate.
find electronics in the most unexpected places. Here, Freddie "Boom-Boom" Washington
is standing in front of a blackboard in Buchannan HS's radio broadcast studio that
has a basic AM transmitter schematic drawn on it - triodes and all. It is from the
Welcome Back Kotter episode titled, "Sweatwork."
A while back I posted an episode where the Sweathogs employed
principles in shock therapy to help Juan stop smoking.
A controversially graphic PSA video has been produced in the UK that
addresses the growing problem of texting while driving. Even in the modern realm
of senses desensitized to acts of intense violence, this video manages to invoke
a shocked reaction. My sister's daughter was killed last year in a texting while
driving incident late at night, where she ran off the road in a moment of inattention
- phone records cooberated the suspected cause. The car was unrecognizable. Her
father delivered a eulogy at the funeral that included an admonition against using
a cellphone while driving.
Gyroscopes have always fascinated me. Even after taking engineer
physics classes and learning the principles, I still find it amazing that the momentum
of a spinning, stationary object will resist an attitudinal perturbance. This video
demonstrates the ability of a gyro to hold up a relatively heavy mass, and the resulting
precession. It is the same phenomenon that causes the Earth's 26k-year cycle of
precession of the equinoxes.
Results are in from
the 2009 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest at
The task: Replace an incandescent light bulb with a more energy-efficient bulb.
This year's winners harkened from a liberal arts college rather than from an engineering
college - how shameful! For those not familiar with Rube Goldberg, he was an engineer-turned-cartoonist
who drew crazy contraptions to perform mundane chores. The rendition style is recognizable
as what was used in U.S. patents up through the mid 20th century.
Guitar Hero has gained a following that its inventors never imagined.
Every time I go into Best Buy there is a line of kids waiting for a chance to show
everyone how good they are. Boxes of the product are stacked high on the floor.
The connection speed between my fingers and my brain is measured in seconds, whereas
Guitar Hero requires milliseconds, so I do not bother embarrassing myself. This
video shows a robotic player that fingers the guitar by actuating solenoids after
visually reading the colors off the display as they rush by.
NI software drives the system.
First we had the humorous
Will it Blend™ type of product abuse test, now we have guys at
Popular Mechanics dropping phones phones in toilets to see how
well they withstand "normal" abuse. In this instance, they test commercial cellphones
designed to comply with MIL-STD-810F for ruggedness. Of course, in the real world the
willingness to retrieve the phone is a trade-off which contrasts the value of the
phone with the contents of the loo - yuk!