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.
IEEE – I finished up the April issue of The Analog and got it sent out to our email distribution list yesterday. It contains a list of the meeting and events that will be coming up in the next month. If you live in Central Texas and are interested in Tech, you. may find one of our meetings of interest. All of the technical meetings are open to the public.
If you do not receive the newsletter directly, you can read it on-line here. There are also instruction on how to request to be added to the mailing list.
Beer – I saw in the article “HEALTHHEALTH NEWSCan Drinking Beer Actually Boost Your Memory?” today that there has been a study that shows that drinking beer can actually improve memory.
You may not remember things as well after you consume alcohol, but may improve recall of what you experience before consumption. I’m not sure there is anything really practical in this. I wouldn’t recommend downing a beer before going in to an exam at school.
It is time to celebrate once again that incredible number Pi or 3.14159… I had a post that included some of the history last year. Take a few moments today and participate in the 29th annual celebration of Pi!
This is a great opportunity to introduce kids to Pi. They learn a little history, learn some math and it can be capped with a nice slice of yummy pie.
As I suggested last year, try these methods of celebration.
- One of the easiest and most fun is to simply eat pie!
- Wear or display the Pi symbol
- Plan your recognition event for 1:59 PM (i.e. 3.14159)
And of course mark your calendars for next year so you can plan something in advance.
I finished editing the March issue of the Central Texas Section newsletter, The Analog, earlier this week and posted it. Among other items, it contains a list of both IEEE and non-IEEE events that will be held over the next 45 days. All of the IEEE technical events are open to the public.
If you live in Central Texas and are interested in technology, join us at one of the meetings.
Space – This video is a great, 38+ minute story of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWT) which is scheduled for launch in 2018. The video has a good explanation of why the infrared capabilities of the JWT will vastly extend our view into the universe. It is also hoped that by identifying the gasses in exoplanet atmospheres it will be able to discover any exoplanets that support life.