We have all heard of Warp or other Faster Than Light (FTL) drives in science fiction, but are they really possible?
This short (11:54) video goes into the details of the Alcubierre Drive. While so far this drive is just theoretical, there is a strong technical basis for the drive. Certainly there are several barriers to building one of these today, but there are new achievements and discoveries every day that may break down some of these.
There has been some experimental results out of NASA that tends to support some of the aspects of the Alcubierre Drive, but at this point the Alcubierre Drive is mostly theory.
I finished putting the August issue of the Central Texas Section newsletter together and you can read it on-line here.
We have several Technical Society Chapter meetings planned for August, all of which are open to the public. If you are interested in technology, please join us.
I finished putting together the June issue of the IEEE Central Texas Section newsletter, The Analog, earlier this week. It contains information of interest to engineers and those interested in technology in the Central Texas Area. Included are a list of the scheduled technical meetings to be held in the area. All of the IEEE technical meetings are open to the public.
Check out the June issue for yourself.
The Maker Faire is happening again in Austin this weekend (May 13-14) at the Palmer Event Center. I attended the first two held in Austin, but have missed the past 6 events. I do hope to drop in this weekend.
The article “Austin Is on a Mission to Keep Maker Faire Weird” gives you a little insight to what you might see there. If you have the free time, these are great events to visit. Kids who are interested in STEM careers or just tinkering will find the event fascinating. Likewise, us older ‘kids’ who like to create new gadgets or inventions will find the event equally interesting.
I finished putting together the May issue of the IEEE Central Texas Section newsletter, The Analog, earlier this week. It lists many events coming up in Central Texas. IEEE meetings are always open to the public, so please come join us to learn and to expand your professional network.
You can read the May Analog here.
If you are interested in space, you may have tried to get away from the city lights and look up at the night sky. One of the bright objects in orbit is the International Space Station (ISS).
The ISS is in a fast orbit of the Earth, traveling at over 17,000 mile per hour. This means that the ISS completes an orbit about every 90 minutes. If you are in a spot that is relatively free of light pollution, seeing the ISS is easy.
To plan ahead for such an excursion you can use the “Spot the Station” site from NASA. You can enter where you will be into the site and it will then give you a list of the dates and times the ISS will be visible from that location. The site also gives you directions as to where to look for the ISS in the evening sky.
You can even sign up for alerts for when the ISS will be passing within view of your location. Taking advantage of this would be a great way to involve kids in STEM activities. For me the current closest location with a list of sighting opportunities is for Georgetown, TX, just a few miles north of where I live. The next viewing opportunities will be at:
|Tue May 2, 5:42 AM
||11° above S
||21° above E
|Wed May 3, 4:52 AM
||11° above SE
||10° above ESE
|Thu May 4, 5:35 AM
||30° above SW
||28° above NE
I came across the article “There Are 7 Types of Learners: Which One Are You?” recently. Those of us in technology and engineering face life long Continuing Education (CE) to keep current with the state of the art. However as we consider the various means of satisfying our CE needs, we need to understand that there are different styles of learning, and what works well for one person, may not for you.
The styles that have been identified are (from learning-styles-online.com: The Seven Learning Styles):
- Visual (spatial): You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
- Aural (auditory, musical): You prefer using sound and music.
- Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
- Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands.
- Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning, and systems.
- Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
- Solitary (Intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.
We each probably have an idea of which styles are best for us, but we can find out for sure by taking an easy on-line test at Memletics Learning Styles Questionnaire. The results can then guide you to the most effective types of CE content for your learning style.
The documentary “Fight for Space” will arrive May 19. In it Neil deGrasse Tyson and Jim Lovell, among others, talk about NASA’s past achievements and where it is headed. If you are interested in space exploration, this looks to be a video you will want to see.
Predictions are that Robots, Automation and Artificial Intelligence will have an increasing role in our lives.
This week is National Robotics Week. This has been an annual recognition since 2010. Events are going on all over the country this week, most aimed at K-12 STEM. The list can be found here.
WWII – This video was produced in 2012 to celebrate the 100th birthday of Alan Turing. Turing is a well known and accomplished Mathematician. He was also an early contributor to the field that we now call Computer Science. He invented the ‘Turing Machine‘ in 1936. The Turing Machine is an abstract machine that reads and writes symbols on an infinite tape. Turing also played a key role in the rapidly developing fields of Artificial Intelligence and modern electronic computers.
However Turing is probably best known to the world at large for his work during World War II. He, and the other scientists in the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park in Britain, took on the German Enigma Machine. They were successful at breaking the coded messages that it produced allowing the Allies to gather much critical intelligence.
According to Professor Jack Copeland of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, “Thanks to Turing and his fellow codebreakers, much of this information [coded messages] ended up in allied hands – sometimes within an hour or two of it being transmitted.” It is estimated that the code breaking effort, while unknown to the world for nearly 30 years after the war, is credited with shortening the war in Europe by as much as two years and saving over 14 million lives.