Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Love My Job

Today I had to modify Yaesu FT60R ham radios for Emergency Management. Now our first responders can transmit on Police, Fire, Marine & amateur bands. This makes inter-agency operations possible in an emergency situation.
I only had to remove this one smt resistor.
I used Kapton tape to protect the circuit board in case my hand slipped, that is the yellow bits in the photo.  NASA has been using Kapton tape since the Apollo missions because of its excellent thermal properties.

To get an idea of the size of the resistor, I photographed it against a metric ruler. The resistor is about 1.0 mm in length and 0.5 mm wide. It is so small I had to use a 10x magnifying lamp while wearing 4x magnifying glasses. This also shows the beauty of digital electronics. Converting an analog radio would be more time consuming, would have required replacing some parts, re-tuning some others & would have required expensive test equipment.

Did I mention, I love my job?   8^)

Friday, June 24, 2011

T-Hawk down!

Honeywell T-Hawk Micro Air Vehicle
TOKYO -A small 8.2 kilogram drone aircraft gathering data from heavily damaged areas of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant lost control Friday and landed on the roof of the No. 2 reactor building, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.
The vehicle, known as a T-Hawk, is about 50 centimeters in diameter and looks like a small jet pack. It is used primarily by the military for reconnaissance work in dangerous areas. It has been used at Fukushima Daiichi since mid-April to assist in damage assessment.
The company said there didn't appear to be any damage from the impact of the vehicle, with no fire or smoke observed following the accident. It wasn't known if the vehicle was damaged in any way.

So what is a T-Hawk? 
It looks like my kind of toy!! With all the new 3-axis accelerometers and microchips available this should be easy for a hobbyist to build. 

For more info about T-Hawks and their use look at some of these links:

T-Hawk data sheet

T-Hawk Sales Brochure

What the aircraft industry is saying:

Avionics - Aug 2010

Aviation Week & Space Technology - June 14/21 2010

Unmanned Vehicles - Oct/Nov 2009

These links and more info (& video too) can be found at Honeywell T-Hawk

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gamma ray flash still ongoing

This artist's image provided by the
University of Warwick  shows a
star being distorted by its close
passage  to a supermassive
black hole at the  center of a galaxy.
  A monster black hole devoured a Sun-like star, producing a long-lasting gamma ray flash.  The star was likely destroyed because it wandered too close to its galaxy’s central black hole, located in the constellation Draco 4 billion light years away.  Earth just happened to get in the way of this stream of gamma rays produced 4 billon years ago.  That 'flash' lasted for months and is still going on now. Gamma ray bursts usually flare up and end in a matter of seconds or milliseconds.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Alpocalypse is coming

The Alpocalypse is Coming!

Weird Al Yankovics new album is about to drop. 
Tomorrow the latest album from the Master in 5 years!

[here is a sneak peek of the most talked about video of the year]

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Idiot finds life on Mars bad he can't find one on Earth.

Armchair Astronomer David Martines has claimed to have proven
there is a space station on Mars via the use of “Google Mars

71 49' 19.73" N
29 33' 06.53" W

There are all sorts of anomalies that take place in photography.  My father was a photographer and cartographer and he taught me a lot and very well.  I have even exploited some of those things in my own photographic work. Even digital photography is susceptible. The age of digital cameras has killed film and darkrooms and all the fun that went with them.  It is a shame that more people haven't had their hands on real film and photo paper, or in developer, stop bath and fixer solutions. But that is their loss.

"It looks like a linear streak artifact produced by a cosmic ray," said Alfred McEwen, a planetary geologist at the Lunar and Planetary Lab at the University of Arizona and the director of the Planetary Imaging Research Laboratory. McEwen is the principal investigator of the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), a powerful telescope currently orbiting Mars. "With space images that are taken outside our magnetosphere, such as those taken by orbiting telescopes, it's very common to see these cosmic ray hits. You see them on optical images and a lot of the infrared images too."

Here is the 'discovery' video on You-Tube -> Bio Station Alpha

Monday, June 6, 2011

antimatter captured for 16 minutes

Artist's conception of an anithydrogen
atom being released from the trap after
1000 seconds.
Scientists have created and captured antimatter for study for 16 minutes.
They created the antihydrogen inside a stainless steel cylinder roughly 5 cm in diameter and 25 cm in length. They created a vacuum inside the bottle and chilled it to minus 269 C. The extreme cold slowed the newly formed antihydrogen, making it hard for it to speed away. And an extremely powerful magnet helped keep the anti-atoms in place.
The Universe is Asymmetrical
After the Big Bang some 13.7 billion years ago there were almost equal amounts of matter and antimatter.  After the matter - antimatter collisions and subsequent annihilation, there was probably slightly more matter left over, that's were the universe comes from.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hog Happenin'

The Hog Happenin’ is a regional bike fest and Kansas City Barbeque Society Sanctioned North Carolina State Championship Barbeque Cook-off that brings motorcycle owners and Barbeque teams together in downtown Lincolnton. 
This is a unique event that draws visitors from across the Charlotte Region and the Southeast. While there are many hog events throughout North Carolina, Lincolnton was the first to combine the animal with the mechanical.
The 2001 event was the winner of the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s award for Best Downtown Special Event in North Carolina.

visit  Hog Happenin'  website

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Apple vs. Microsoft

 Steve Jobs -  
  • the man that thinks Motorola processors* and one button mice are neat.
  • the man who frivolously sues competitors in order to delay their products release dates.
  • the man who avoided changing the light bulb by redefining darkness as the standard.
*[Jobs eventually had to relent on this one after 2 decades.]

Bill Gates -