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These items are an archive of past Topical Smorgasbord items that have appeared on the RF Cafe homepage. In keeping with the "cafe" genre, these tidbits of information are truly a smorgasbord of topics. They all pertain to topics that are related to the general engineering and science theme of RF Cafe.
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.
Toxic Air: Our Other
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>5-12-2011
The 10 Most Valuable
Top 10 Thriving IndustriesLinkedIn recently published a report on which industries thrived during the 2000-2010 decade. It compliments a list by IBIS World listing those that declined 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.
EE Life's 2011 Job
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-'11Here 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
You have seen the commercials for products like 5 Hour Energy, Reload, and 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 extremely productive overachievers, I would rather be a well-rested, rich, supergenius.5-26-2011
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
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