Tag Archives: Science

Happy “Ada Lovelace Day”

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It is the second Tuesday of October and that means that it is again Ada Lovelace Day. The day has been identified (per The Guardian) to:

. . . celebrate inspirational women in science, technology, maths and engineering, in the hope that by shining a light on such people and increasing their visibility, they can inspire future generations.

Ada Lovelace Day was founded in 2009 by Suw Charman-Anderson, and part of her reason for doing this was a worry that women in tech were invisible. The idea was a positive one – rather than highlighting the problem, highlight the unseen women and shout from the rooftops about all the amazing things they’ve achieved. Ada Lovelace was an obvious choice of mascot for such an endeavour.

Take this opportunity and join in some activity to recognize the contributions of women in technology. This would also be a good time to introduce or encourage a girl you know in STEM careers.

CapMac – In Austin, our local Capital Macintosh User Group is having a special program this evening. The featured speaker will be Rhonda Childress, the only Female IBM Fellow in Austin, the CTO of Security Services, a Sr. Certified I/T Architect, and an IBM Master Inventor.

Documentary – While not available today, there will soon be a documentary series, the Chasing Grace Project, about women in Tech.

The Chasing Grace Project is a documentary series about women in tech. It includes six episodes, each focused on a different topic within the women in tech narrative. From the pay gap, online harassment and female entrepreneurship to access to the best jobs, the decision to leave or stay in tech and the role of male allies, the series illustrate how we pave the way forward. Through story we can call out the adversities women face and illustrate how they’re navigating their own paths. The result? A series of blueprints for other women to find their paths, their way.

This may be something you will want to stay aware of

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Review of “4th Rock from the Sun”

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Book Reviews – “4th Rock from the Sun” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Nicky Jenner (http://www.nickyjenner.com). This is Ms. Jenner’s first book.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The book covers all things about and related to the planet Mars.

While there is some scientific data, most of the book deals with side stores related to Mars. I feel like it just rambles on about topics associated with Mars.

Sigh . . . I had higher expectations for this book. I read about 20%, but at that point I just had to give up on it. I won’t call a Rule of 50 on it, but it just isn’t a book of interesest to me. I think there will be many who like this book, but I am not one of them.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

An Overview of the New space Race

Space – I came across the article “Private companies are launching a new space race – here’s what to expect” this morning. it gives a very good overview of the companies and governments that are currently pursuing space programs.

If you are interested in space exploration, as I am, you will find this article of interest. The next decade will see many significant events if todays forecasts can be believed.

IEEE Central Texas Section Newsletter Published

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IEEE – I finished putting together the October issue of the IEEE Central Texas Section newsletter, The Analog, and posted it to the Section web site where you can read it now.

Included in the newsletter is items of interest to area engineers and others interested in technology. Technical meetings for the various Chapters are open to the public. Please join us to learn and network.

Attendance at technical meetings qualifies as Continuing Education credit required for the annual renewal of the Professional Engineer License.

In-depth Crytography Book Available for FREE!

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As I have mentioned before, I routinely listen to the Security Now podcast. In episode #600 Steve Gibson talked about the book “A Graduate Course in Applied Cryptography“. This book is being compiled by noted Cyber Security researchers Stanford University Professor Dan Boney and New York University Professor Victor Shoup.

While the book is still in development, you can download the most recent version (December 9, 2016 version 0.3) as  PDF file. The book provides high level overviews of many cryptography subject areas, as well as a deep-dive into the technology. As the authors say in their Preface:

A beginning reader can read though the book to learn how cryptographic systems work and why they are secure. Every security theorem in the book is followed by a proof idea that explains at a high level why the scheme is secure. On a first read one can skip over the detailed proofs without losing continuity. A beginning reader may also skip over the mathematical details sections that explore nuances of certain definitions.

An advanced reader may enjoy reading the detailed proofs to learn how to do proofs in cryptog- raphy. At the end of every chapter you will find many exercises that explore additional aspects of the material covered in the chapter. Some exercises rehearse what was learned, but many exercises expand on the material and discuss topics not covered in the chapter.

If you are interested in computer security, you may want to add this 710 page book to add to your library.


See my other Cyber Security articles


 

September Issue of the IEEE Central Texas Section Newsletter Has Been Posted

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IEEE – I completed the September issue of the IEEE Central Texas Section newsletter, The Analog this morning and posted it to the Section website. You can read it here.

Meetings of interest to the engineer or technologist, both IEEE and other, are listed. IEEE technical meetings are open to the public and visitors are encouraged to attend.

Future of Interstellar Travel

Space – I came across the article “Here Is the Future of Interstellar Spacecraft” yesterday and thought it was a good overview of the propulsion technologies that are likely to take future spacecraft beyond the Solar System.

In short the alternatives that are covered are:

  1. Thermonuclear propulsion
  2. Lightsail
  3. Bussard ramjet
  4. Antimatter rockets
  5. NASA’s Eagleworks Lab “Warp bubble” drive

None of these are really going to be ready in the near future, with possibly the exception of the Lightsail. I am glad to see though that the ideas are being kept in front of people, particularly those budding STEM students who will lead the way over the next few decades.

Web Tool – National Weather Service

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Web Tools – While looking at Apps to track Hurricane Harvey, I found some very good on-line tracking through the National Weather Service. The screen shot of the home page above gives an overview of the entire US. Clicking on an area of the map gives you a more detailed view. In my case I am intersested in South Texas.

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While the screen shot is fixed, the actual site provides an animated view of what has been appearing on radar over the past hour or so. This is another great tool to add to your collection to keep appraised of weather events near you if you are in the US.


See my other Web Tool articles


 

Web Tool – Unisys Hurricane Tracker

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Web Tools – In my search for Hurricane Trackers I came across the site Unisys Hurricane/Tropical Data.  As with the other tool I mentioned previously, this site has historical data on storms and covers both the Atlantic and Pacific. I like that this tool shows all of the storms in the current season to date alone with their tracks. I also like that the track of each storm is color coded to show the severity of the storm over its course. I only wish that it included a prediction of the landfall for the current storm and the ability to zoom in for a closer look.


See my other Web Tool articles


 

Web Tool – Accuweather Interactive Hurricane Tracker

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Web Tools – Those of us living in Texas or the other South Eastern states grow concerned this time of the year (June 1 to November 30) when Atlantic Hurricane Season is at it’s height. This year there have been 9 storms that have been tracked thus far.

Along the Gulf Coast hurricanes can be devastating when they come ashore. Even where I live Central Texas, we have felt the affects of hurricanes more than once. As it stands now, we likely will be experiencing the remnants of ‘Harvey’ as it moves through Texas. I went searching for sites to track hurricanes and one that I found that I like is the Accuweather Interactive Hurricane Tracker. As you can see from the screen shot above, not only is the hurricane’s historical path shown, but a prediction of where it is headed is given as well. You can also look at historical data on other hurricanes.

If you live in a region where you are subject to hurricanes, you may find this website useful.