Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Mathematics of Rafter and Collar Ties

Introduction As a boy, I remember seeing a dilapidated farm building that had a set of rafter ties in its attic. I noticed that the rafter ties had pulled away from the rafters they were nailed to. The rafter ties … Continue reading

 
Posted in Construction | Tagged , , , | 31 Comments

Carpentry Math – Drawing a Circular Arch

I must admit that I find a certain satisfaction in the geometry that pops up in general carpentry. Fine Homebuilding has a nice video on drawing a circular arch that uses a basic geometric construction. This is something that I … Continue reading

 
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Similarity Between Writing and Designing

I have always been interested in the actual process of design and its similarity to other tasks. I was reading an interesting blog post this morning on the process of writing. Continue reading

 
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Straight, Level, and the Curvature of the Earth

The statement about the curvature of Earth got me thinking. How much does the Earth's surface deviate from a horizontal line over a distance of 100 feet? The contractor's number intuitively seemed wrong because the Earth is round and the deviation from horizontal should be a function of distance. A little math will give me the answer. For consistency's sake, I will perform all computations in US customary units. Continue reading

 
Posted in Construction | 105 Comments

The Importance of Role Models

My story is about Frank Schiebe, the university professor of engineering. Frank died a couple of year ago and his high school recently posthumously gave him their 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award. I happened to be flipping through the local television channels recently when I saw that the local educational channel was playing a ceremony honoring Frank's life. Boy did that story bring back memories … Continue reading

 
Posted in Management, Osseo, Personal | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Carpentry Math - Drawing an Ellipse

Quote of the Day I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us. — Calvin and Hobbes Today, I received an issue of Fine … Continue reading

 
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The Case of the Mysterious Radio Interference

Quote of the Day I mean the word proof not in the sense of the lawyers, who set two half proofs equal to a whole one, but in the sense of a mathematician, where half a proof is zero, and … Continue reading

 
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Measuring the Ring Voltage on a Telephone

Quote of the Day Money can't buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you're being miserable. — Clare Boothe Luce Introduction I received an email yesterday from a sales engineer who was having difficulty measuring the ring … Continue reading

 
Posted in Electronics | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Personality Characteristics of a Great Engineering Hire

Quote of the Day Acting was fun, but my grandfather would always tell me, "It's never too late to be an engineer." You were supposed to get a "job" and do acting on weekends or at school. — Jon Hamm … Continue reading

 
Posted in Management | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

GPS and Relativity

A friend just sent me some viewgraphs from a presentation that he recently attended on the history of the Global Positioning System (GPS). The presentation was given by Hugo Fruehauf, one of the key GPS developers. In this presentation, he … Continue reading

 
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