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Tech Smorgasbord Archives - 7

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

Corporate Censorship

A couple years ago, technicians working for a well-known defense / aerospace firm managed to tip over a very expensive satellite by forgetting to replace a few 'borrowed' bolts from its transport platform. I included a thumbnail of it in the Cool Pic spot on the RF Cafe homepage. Recently, a former employee of a Midwest company that built one of the electronics packages on the satellite told me that enraged managers there had their IT department block access to rfcafe.com because of it. I wonder if they also blocked access to the website where I found the story?


Reverse Polish Notation RPN

This notation system was named in honor of a Polish mathematician and logician named Jan Łukasiewicz. Polish notation (PN) places the operators in an expression before the numbers. RPN places them after the numbers (which is why it is called Reverse Polish Notation).

HP50g Graphing RPN Calculator (Reverse Polish Notation)The new HP50g calculator is one of the remaining holdouts for using RPN. They are quickly becoming an extinct species.


Mean 2006 Salaries H-1B vs. U.S. Citizen EE Times Research

Electronics Engineers

H-1B $69,851
Citizen $77,450

Electrical Engineers

H-1B $63,268
Citizen $74,220

Computer Hdw Engineers

H-1B $64,426
Citizen $84,010

H-1B = Labor Condition Application (LCA)

Citizen =  Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

Computer & Electronic Products R&D Spending

Science & Engineering Indicators Research

State $x106 %
California 15,604 32.0
Massach. 5,247 10.8
Texas 5,053 10.4
Illinois 2,862 5.9
New York 2,019 4.1
Pennsylvania 645 1.3
New Jersey 331 0.7
Ohio 288 0.6
Michigan 259 0.5
Other States 16,449 33.7
All States 48,757 100
Note that 53% of all R&D spending is concentrated in just 3 states.


Ways That Engineers Continue Their Educations

Electronic Design Research

Source %
Tech Pubs 84
Seminars 63
Textbooks 62
White Papers 55
Conferences 48
Webinars 45
E-Books 30
In-House Training 26
Prof. Assns. 25
User Groups 18
College Courses 13
Chat Rooms 9


Scott Adams Finds His Voice Again

Did you know that Dilbert creator Scott Adams seemingly inexplicably lost the ability to speak? It began with a tremor in a finger (causing him to have to draw on a digitizing table rather than with a pencil) and ended with a diagnosis of Spasmodic Dysphonia. Strangely, he could only speak in rhymes (or singing) or while pinching his nose. Of the 30k people afflicted, few recover as remarkably as Scott has. Out of nowhere, his voice miraculously returned in 2006.

Search for Your Name in π

Dr. Michael Hartley, at one time of the University of Western Australia School of Mathematics and Statistics, has written a script to search for your name in the first 31,415,929 digits of Pi. How? "I converted pi to base 27." Why base 27 and not 26? "Base 27 is the neatest way which allows me to represent the digit 1 as A, 2 as B, ..., and 26 as Z." It found KIRT 57 times, but could not find RFCAFE. Lots of interesting π facts there, too. He will search in the first 27,182,818 digits of e as well.


Mandelbrot Sets (Fractals)

Benoît Mandelbrot fractal patternBenoît Mandelbrot discovered and named "fractals" in 1961 when studying fluctuations in the cotton market, of all things. He noticed a plot of the seemingly random price variations over the course of a month looked just like a plot of the variations over a decade. Further investigations revealed such patterns in many natural and human-influenced situations; e.g., a graph of the rise and fall of the Nile over a week resembled the graph over a century. The word "fractals" comes from from the Latin word for "broken" or "irregular," which describes the self-similarity of his patterns.


Spotting a Lie in E-Mails

According to Cornell University professor's Study, here is how to tell if someone is lying to you in an e-mail:

- More third-person references than first-person references (they, them vs. me, I)

- More words associated with negative emotions (bummer, sucks vs. great, wonderful)

- When people know they are being lied TO, they often use shorter sentences and ask more questions

- When people lie in e-mail or in IMs, they tend to use 28% more words than normal.

NASA's Watch

Omega Speedmaster Professional - NASA's Watch1965, the Omega Speedmaster Professional chronograph was "flight-qualified by NASA for all manned space missions." It remains the only watch qualified for extravehicular activities - digital watches need not apply.  On July 20, 1969 at 02:56 GMT, it recorded man's first steps on the Moon's surface as part of the Apollo 11 mission. Price: $2,200.


Ph.Ds Awarded in Engineering & Science (in thousands)

Year U.S. EU Asia
2000 18.0 23.0 18.0
1995 19.2 20.1 14.2
1990 16.2 19.1 9.9
1985 12.6 8.7 7.7
1980 11.2 7.7 5.8
1975 12.2 6.9 4.0
If you're an American, what's

wrong with this picture?

2006 Richest People Forbes' Billionaires

1 William Gates III
2 Warren Buffett
3 Carlos Slim Helú
4 Ingvar Kamprad
5 Lakshmi Mittal
6 Sheldon Adelson
7 Bernard Arnault
8 Amancio Ortega
9 Li Ka-shing
10 David Thomson
:    :
890 Faruk Yalcin
891 Kostyantin Zhevago
See their homes.
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