Monthly Archives: May 2013

Star Visual Magnitude Math

Introduction I have been reading a number of interesting astronomy articles lately. These articles often refer to the apparent and absolute magnitude of a celestial object or event (example). I thought I would work through a bit of the math … Continue reading

Posted in Astronomy, General Science | 1 Comment

Tornado Frequency Math

Introduction I was watching Global Public Square on CNN when they presented a trivia question that seemed interesting. Which nation has the most tornadoes relative to its land area? (a) Britain, (b) Bangladesh, (C) Belgium, (D) United States. The answer … Continue reading

Posted in General Science | 2 Comments

Computing Useful Customer Analogies

Introduction Communicating scientific concepts to the public is a tough problem. One of the major issues is that people have a difficult time imagining the relative scale of things -- just try to think of 1000 of something versus 10 … Continue reading

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Lightning Protection Math

Quote of the Day In the eyes of those for whom you care, beware of valuing good things they might be but aren't, more than those good things that they are already. - A. Orcim Namuh (1997) Introduction I get … Continue reading

Posted in Electronics | 3 Comments

Mothers and Sons

I had to laugh yesterday. We live next to a mom with two boys -- a 4-year old and a newborn. As I went out for my nightly walk, this rather haggard-looking mom told me that her 4-year boy is defiant and difficult to handle. She knows that my wife and I raised two sons, so she asked me if it gets any easier as they get older. My answer was simple. I told her that, last weekend, my mother (79 years old ) accused me of being defiant and difficult to handle. I am 56 years old. So it does not get any easier. Continue reading

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Superman, Chicken Little, and Knowable Unknowables

Quote of the Day Who does not grow, declines. — Rabbi Hillel. This statement is true for almost any human activity. If you are not improving, you are declining. I was having a discussion with other managers about the difficulty … Continue reading

Posted in Management | 2 Comments

Exoplanet Orbit Example

This is an exciting time for astronomy -- we are just now beginning to obtain spectra from exoplanets. It seems as if new exoplanet discoveries are being announced every week.

I was reading an article on about some great work on obtaining the spectra from planets orbiting HR 8799 (Figure 1). While looking at the image, I thought it would be interesting to see if I can duplicate some of their orbital calculations. Continue reading

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Goldilocks Problems

Quote of the Day Take calculated risks. That is quite different than being rash. — General George S. Patton I have been working on a simple optical deployment problem that is all too common. A customer has put together an … Continue reading

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Standards of Readability

Quote of the Day Do not forget what is being a sailor when you become a captain. — African proverb I had a discussion with one of my engineers this morning about documentation and our company's standard of readability. When … Continue reading

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How Big is Phobos When Seen from the Surface of Mars?

The thought of alien worlds with multiple moons has always intrigued me. I am listening to the audio book "A Princess of Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I downloaded the audio book from Libravox, which provides free downloads of readings from classic works. Normally, I do not listen to much science fiction, but I watched the movie "John Carter" and there was something I liked about the story. Continue reading

Posted in Astronomy | Tagged | 2 Comments