Monthly Archives: April 2011

Measuring Power with A Logarithmic Amplifier

One of our young engineers asked me why all of us old-timers like to use logarithmic amplifiers when we need to measure input signal power. The answer is simple -- power expressed in dB is a linear function of the … Continue reading

 
Posted in Electronics | Leave a comment

Learning How Electronic Parts Work

Introduction A few years ago, I gave a lunch time talk on Mathcad to my hardware engineers. During the talk, one of the engineers mentioned that he starts a Mathcad worksheet when he is reading a part datasheet. While he … Continue reading

 
Posted in Electronics | 2 Comments

Bad Business Decisions

During a hallway discussion, the topic of bad business decisions came up. I was asked to relate the dumbest business decision that I had ever seen. This one was very easy. Because I do not wish to receive hate mail, … Continue reading

 
Posted in Management | Leave a comment

Air Conditioning Math

Introduction I get some strange phone calls. I recently received one from a customer who wanted to know how many "tons of air conditioning" he needed to cool some equipment he had purchased from my company. After I assisted this … Continue reading

 
Posted in Construction, History of Science and Technology | 1 Comment

Oxygen on Earth

As my regular readers can tell, I do not passively sit and watch television. While I am watching a program (history or science-oriented, nothing else), I have my computer right there and I actively research what is being said during the program. Last weekend, I was watching an interesting program on the History channel called "How the Earth was Made". This particular program was about the formation of the Earth and it contained an excellent section on the generation of atmospheric oxygen (transcript of program). In my opinion, the star of the show was a little rocky structure called a stromatolite (Figure 1). A stromatolite is a layered, rock-like structure formed when shallow-water sediments are trapped in films of microorganisms. Continue reading

 
Posted in General Science, History of Science and Technology | 8 Comments