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Tech Smorgasbord Archives - 4

RF Cafe University"Factoids," "Kirt's Cogitations," and "Tech Topics Smorgasbord" are all manifestations of my ranting on various subjects relevant (usually) to the overall RF Cafe theme. All may be accessed on these pages:

 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37

Gold foil is used on spacecraft because it is such a good reflector of both visible light and infrared energy (up to 99%). Silver and aluminum do not reflect infrared wavelengths nearly as well. In space the only form of heat dissipation is via radiation into cold space - no conduction or convection is available in a vacuum. Spacecraft gold foil is composed of a very thin layer of gold deposited on a Mylar substrate for flexibility and durability.


EEs That Work 45 Or More Hours Per Week

EE Times Research 2006

Country %
Japan 81
India 69
United States 52
Europe 48

EEs That Are Satisfied

With Their Work

Country %
India 90.4
Europe 87.0
United States 86.7
Japan 84.5


If You Are Like Me, You Almost Never Get Anywhere Near 8 Hours of Sleep Per Night

Discover Research 2006

Some Sleep Fact
Mattresses have an average life span of 8-10 years. They harbor some really nasty bacteria.
>100,000 car crashes are caused each year due to drowsiness.
17-year-old Randy Gardner stayed awake a record 264 hours and 12 minutes, then slept for 15 hours.
Somniphobia is the fear of sleep.
An adult bedbug can live for a year without feeding.
People who only sleep 6-7 hours per night  have a lower death rate than those who get 8 hours.

         ? ! Vindication ! ?


Who Gets Stock Options?

(within next 3 years)

EE Times Research 2006

Senior Executives 96
Executives 92
Senior Managers 88
Supervisors 80
Middle Managers 80
Salaried Technical 70
Salaried Nontechnical 62
Sales 58
Hourly 44


  Some Rocket Belt Facts

             (Jet Pack)

* Only 12 people have

  ever flown an

  untethered rocket belt

* Most rocket belts

  weight around 150

  pounds, including its

  hydrogen peroxide


* No rocket belt flight

  has ever lasted more

  than 30 second

* The first untethered

  rocket belt flight

  occurred on April 20,


* The Bell rocket belt


* It's harder than it


Average Patent

Processing Time

EE Times Research 2006

Patent Type

2001 2005
Computer Architecture


Communications 44 32
Biotech & Organic Chem. 26 34
Chemical & Material Eng. 26 30
Transportation, Construction 22 28
Mechanical Eng. & Manufacturing 31 21
Semiconductors, Optical Systems 25 23


First Ever Patent Auction

 April 5, 2006

Sponsor: Ocean Tomo
Patents on Auction: 400
Patents Submitted: 1,200
Patent Dates: 1897-2002
Suggested Values:

                   $100k to $2M

Ticket Price: $500
Bidder Registration:


Next Auction: Oct 25-26

Patent Types

# Lots


Wireless 11
Barcode/RFID 9
Medical/Biotech 9
Semiconductors 5
Multimedia 5
Power 3
Memory 1


The Air Force accounts for more than half of all the fuel the United States government uses each year. Go Air Force!

Visit the USAF website


Whence Cometh c?

"c, that is the speed of light in vacuum, and if you ask why c, the answer is that it is the initial letter of celeritas, the Latin word meaning speed." Isaac Asimov in "C for Celeritas (1959)"


According to Isaac Asimov in "C for Celeritas (1959)":

"c, that is the speed of light in vacuum, and if you ask why c, the answer is that it is the initial letter of celeritas, the Latin word meaning speed."


"Is Nerdis Americanus Endangered?"

Popular Science Research 2006

% of 4th graders performing < math proficiency levels for their grade


Rank of 15-yr-olds in math, out of 30 industrialized countries 21
Rank of 15-yr-olds in science performance, out of 29 industrialized nations 19
% of public middle school science teachers lacking certification in their field 42
% of undergrad degrees awarded in science, technology, and engineering in USA 32
% of undergrad degrees awarded in science, technology, and engineering in Japan 64

Value of Fabs Built Worldwide 1995-2006

Semicon Int'l Research

Country $Billion
United States 74
Taiwan 72
Japan 66
South Korea 40
China 26
Europe 18
Southeast Asia 17

Total 313


Top 10 Companies

for Patent Awards

in the Year 2004

EE Times Research 2006

Company Patents
IBM 3,248
Matsushita 1,934
Canon 1,805
Hewlett-Packard 1,775
Micron 1,760
Samsung 1,604
Intel 1,601
Hitachi 1,514
Toshiba 1,311
Sony 1,305


Vocation Ranking

According to

"Prestige Power"

Harris Interactive 2003

Adults Surveyed %
Scientist 57%
Fireman 55%
Doctor 52%
Teacher 49%
Nurse 47%
Military Officer 46%
Police Officer 42%
Clergy 38%
Member of Congress 30%
Engineer 30%

What's wrong with

this picture?


U.S. Visa Allocations

Fiscal Year 2007

Type Quantity
H-1B 58,200
H-1B* 20,000
H-1B1 6,800
H-2B 66,000
H-3 50
E-3 10,500
F-1, F-4, L-1
H-1B: Professional workers

    *: Advanced degree


H-1B1: Special for Chile & Singapore

H-2B: Special for meeting peak loads, seasonal & intermittent needs

H-3: Non-immigrant receiving training

E-3: Special for Australian workers

F-1: Practical training

F-4: STEM grad students

L-1: Multinational company

       temp assignaments

Get it Right from the Source

U.S. Department of Labor

U.S. Citizenship & Immigrations Services


The name "eBay" comes from the domain founder Pierre Omidyar used for his site. The company name was Echo Bay, and the "eBay AuctionWeb" was originally just one part of Echo Bay's website at ebay.com.

The first item ever sold on eBay was Pierre's broken laser pointer, for $14.00.

MITEQ is an acronym for

Microwave Information Transmission EQuipment

M/A-COM is an acronym for

Microwave Associates

- COMmunications


Japan is facing a "brain drain" problem due to forced retirement of its baby boom generation (born 1947-49). Japan's Stabilization of Employment of the Aged stipulates a minimum retirement age of 60, and most companies use that age for mandatory retirement. Those born in 1947 would retire next year. An emergency amendment passed in April 2006 extended the age to 65, but the problem looms.


Hybrid Car Mileage

Scientific American Research

Make & Model MPG
Honda Insight 56
Toyota Prius 55

Honda Civic

Ford Escape 31
Mercury Mariner 31
Lexus RX 400H 29
Toyota Highlander 29
Honda Accord* 28
Chevy Silverado 19
GMC Sierra 19
* Not sure how a car gets worse mileage than a couple SUVs. New EPA rating system expected to greatly reduce ratings for 50+ MPG models.


Wage Comparison by Profession

EE Times Research 2006

Job Title 50th






Computer Hardware Engineer 84.4k 128.3k
Electronics Engineer 78.0k 114.6k
Accountant or Auditor 52.2k 89.6k
Dental Hygienist 60.9k 85.7k
Electrical Engineer 73.5k 110.6k
Purchasing Manager 76.3k 127.0k
Mathematician 80.9k 121.8k
Sales Engineer 74.2k 121.7k


10 Cellphones with the

Highest Radiation Levels

CNET Research 2006

Model SAR
Max Allowable 1.60
Motorola Slvr L6 1.58
Motorola V120c 1.55
Motorola V265 1.55
Motorola V70 1.54
Motorola C290 1.53
Motorola P8767 1.53
Motorola ST7868 1.53
Motorola ST7868W 1.53
Motorola A845 1.51
Palm Treo 650 GSM 1.51
Panasonic Allure 1.51
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