Author Archives: mathscinotes

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 | 12 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

The Pacific War and Manufacturing Capacity

I was watched a particularly interesting lecture by Victor Davis Hanson on his new book The Second World Wars. While Hanson is generally thought of as an ancient Greek scholar, he does an excellent job of analyzing WW2 from a novel set of viewpoints: ideas, air, water, earth, fire, and people. Continue reading

Posted in History Through Spreadsheets, Military History | Leave a comment

Statistics of US Senate Disciplining Its Members

The controversial senate candidacy of Roy Moore has resulted in some discussion of how the US Senate would respond if he won the election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has mentioned the possibility of expulsion. I could not recall hearing of anyone being expelled from the Senate recently, so I decided to grab some data from the Senate web site and summarize it here. Continue reading

Posted in Civics Through Spreadsheets | 5 Comments

An Interstellar Visitor?

Astronomers are now working on determining if a recently discovered asteroid is an interstellar visitor. The first observations of this asteroid were made by a team of researchers at the University of Hawaii's Pan-STARRS 1 telescope on Haleakala in Hawaii (Figure 1). Continue reading

Posted in Astronomy | Leave a comment

Estimating Asteroid Sizes Using Excel 2D Data Table

I recently gave a seminar on how to design products using Thermoelectric Coolers (TECs). During this presentation, I showed the audience how to generate various tables and graphs using Excel data tables. I was surprised to learn that no one in the audience had ever seen an Excel data table in action. Since the middle of a seminar on TECs is probably not the best time to divert to some Excel training, I decided to prepare a simpler example the would be easier to understand on first exposure. Continue reading

Posted in Astronomy, Excel | 2 Comments

Great Lakes Shipwreck Statistics

I was driving home from my cabin construction project yesterday when I heard on the radio Gordon Lightfoot singing about the sinking of the Great Lakes freighter Edmund Fitzgerald (Figure 1). The sinking occurred when I was in high-school, and it was the first I had ever heard of a sinking on Lake Superior. Continue reading

Posted in History Through Spreadsheets | Leave a comment