Author Archives: mathscinotes

Electrical Conduit Math

As I have mentioned in other posts, I am building a large garage in northern Minnesota (Figure 1). I would show you some pictures of the interior, but I have promised my son that I will not post anything that could ruin his surprise when he sees it in April.  As part of this construction effort, I am using quite a bit of electrical conduit. Conduit consists of metal pipes (often called EMT) through which the wires pass and it must be bent to go around any barriers it encounters. Conduit is a very efficient way to wire a working area because it directly attaches to the wall and does requires opening holes in drywall and  repairing the damage. Conduit can also be updated and modified easily by running new/additional wires through it. Continue reading

 
Posted in Construction | Leave a comment

Minor Planet Eccentricity versus Perihelion Chart

While searching the web for information on the outer solar system, I encountered the graph shown in Figure 1. This graph is made using eccentricity and perihelion data for ~1000 outer solar system objects. As I looked at it, I though I could generate a similar chart using data from the JPL Small Body Database Search Engine – a wonderful tool for solar system data exploration efforts. Continue reading

 
Posted in Astronomy, Excel | Leave a comment

A Funny Stock Photo Error

We have been laughing at some stock photos of people soldering. An engineer was looking for a stock photo of a person soldering, so she went out to Shutterstock to find something. The first photo she found was Figure 1, which she immediately passed around to the group. It turns out that she found a number of photos that were equally bad. Apparently, a lot of people have never soldered. I was raised with a soldering iron in my hand, so I was a bit stunned to see this. Continue reading

 
Posted in Humor | 1 Comment

Using Excel to View US Pre-School Attendance Rate

Jeffery Sachs was on CSPAN this weekend giving a talk on the competitive challenges the US faces with other nations. During his presentation, he showed a chart (Figure 1) that ranks the US as 30th among reporting OECD countries with respect to preschool participation rates for 4-year-old children. The discussion was interesting, but I found myself focusing on the technical aspects of the graphs he was using. I am always looking for good Excel examples for use in training my staff, and the y-axis in Figure 1 contains formatted text, which is something I have not shown my staff how to do. Continue reading

 
Posted in Excel | Leave a comment

Dealing with Furnace Condensate At Low Temperatures

While working on my retirement home and workshop in northern Minnesota, I have noticed that my furnace is generating between five and seven gallons of condensate per day. The furnace is on quite often this time of year because the outside temperature is running about -30°F (-35°C). I currently pipe the condensate over to a floor drain, which is connected to my septic system. Continue reading

 
Posted in Construction, General Science | 6 Comments

Audie Murphy's Rifle and the Power of Databases

When I was a boy, I read the memoir To Hell and Back by Audie Murphy and was very impressed with his accomplishments as an infantry soldier during WW2 (Figure 1). It is a very American tale – a dirt poor teenager from family with a dead mother and missing father accomplishes amazing feats through sheer determination and force of will. He later starred in a movie version of his book that is well worth watching. I should mention that the book tells a better tale than the movie. Continue reading

 
Posted in Military History, software | 4 Comments

Earth's Curvature and Battleship Gunnery

I must admit that I am a bit of a battleship junkie. I have been reading some old US Navy manuals on battleship fire control, which discuss the various effects that must be corrected for to ensure accurate fire (Figure 1). In this post, I want to examine how the curvature of the Earth affected the gunnery direction. Curvature corrections are only needed for very long-range artillery. Continue reading

 
Posted in Ballistics, Naval History | 3 Comments

Super Bowl Winners and Losers Using Power Query

I was reading a post on Statista showing the NFL teams with the most Super Bowl wins. Since my staff includes a number of football fans — mainly Viking and Packer supporters — I decided it would be a good training exercise to show them how to gather the football statistics and present them in the same manner as shown on Statista. I should mention that I do not follow football at all; this is purely a data analysis exercise for me. Continue reading

 
Posted in Excel, Statistics | Leave a comment

My Star Trek TOS Database

The people on my team frequently chide me for using management analogies drawn from the original Star Trek television series, which fans refer to as Star Trek TOS. Because of these analogies, I need to provide exact references for the younger folks on our team who have not memorized every episode. I decided that it was time for me to put together an online list that I could search and sort as the need arises. I grabbed the data from the Internet Movie Database (IMBD), including their overall reviews of each episode. Continue reading

 
Posted in Science Fiction | 5 Comments

Cannon Bore Measured in Pounds

I have been pulling together some WW2 data for an article that I want to publish in the next year or two. During my research, I have noticed that the British specified the caliber of their artillery by the nominal mass of the projectile (lbm or pound mass) and not by the bore diameter. I was curious as to how the British came to this particular system and decided to investigate further. As with many military standards, it traces its history back hundreds of years. Continue reading

 
Posted in Military History | Leave a comment