Author Archives: mathscinotes

Naked and Afraid – Who Taps Out More? Men or Women

I have been receiving quite a few questions about my database of Naked and Afraid information. I only track the shows with 2-person teams – I am not a big fan of the XL episodes. There recently has been a number of shows where women have been particularly strong leaders and finishers, and some big, tough-looking men struggled right from the start and failed to complete the challenge. In response to some of the recent shows, a number of people have asked "Who taps out more – men or women?" So I have updated my Excel Workbook with the data from recent episodes and went to work. I have also updated Figure 1, which shows where the episodes were filmed. Continue reading

 
Posted in Naked and Afraid | 2 Comments

Royal Navy Losses in WW2

I have been doing quite a bit of reading lately on WW2 naval actions, and I have been putting together tables that show me ship losses by year. This information gives me a feel for the tempo of battle during the war. I first looked at US naval losses (link) and am now looking at the Royal Navy losses (Figure 1). Continue reading

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

A Little Beer Data

I gave a seminar last week on the use of Python with Pandas using Jupyter notebooks. When I give a seminar, I always have a worked example to illustrate the points that I am trying to make. This attendance at this seminar had a number of young men in it, so I decided to focus on a topic near and dear to their hearts – beer. I was amazed at the amount of beer knowledge showed by some individuals in the audience. Clearly, beer is a major part of their lives. I myself know NOTHING about beer, so I had to educate myself. The data provide interesting to analyze, and I will probably be augmenting my seminar with additional data over time. Continue reading

 
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US Naval Losses in WW2

I have been putting together some information on US naval actions during WW2. Specifically, I wanted to look at US Naval losses by year during WW2 in order to get a feel for the change in battle tempo over time. The Wikipedia has an excellent page on all the US naval losses during WW2, so I simply downloaded this page, cleaned it, up and generated an Excel pivot table (Figure 1). The breakdown by combatant type is my own, everything else is from the Wikipedia. Continue reading

 
Posted in History Through Spreadsheets | 7 Comments

Word of the Day: Omphaloskepsis

I was sitting in a management meeting today that seemed to be rather unproductive. It ended up in a philosophical discussion that did not go anywhere. I commented that we seemed to be engaging in omphaloskepsis, which is the name for the ancient Greek practice of contemplating one's navel (Figure 1). I first heard this word at Orbital ATK, where it was used to describe some of the meetings there. Continue reading

 
Posted in Management | 2 Comments

Television Analogies to Working for a Startup

I was talking to an old friend the other night about the positives and negatives associated with working for a startup company. Overall, we both enjoyed working with startups enormously, and I would seriously consider joining another. However, both of us understand the special challenges that startups face. Continue reading

 
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Graphic Depicting the Need for Succession Planning

I recently had an employee retire in my group that caused me to look at the age distribution within our entire HW organization. After seeing the age of our engineering staff, I made a proposal to our management team for ensuring that the skills of our senior staff members were being transferred over time to our junior staff members. This post shows how I presented the age information to internal management. The presentation was successful, and I thought it would be useful to show here. Continue reading

 
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Optical Fiber Attenuation Specifications

I needed to estimate the loss on a fiber network today – something that I have done hundreds of times before. However, today was a bit different because I decided to look at how sensitive my results were to my assumptions on when the fiber was deployed. I was a bit surprised to see how much fiber has improved with respect to losses due to contamination by OH molecules, a problem often referred to as the water peak. Continue reading

 
Posted in optics | Leave a comment

Greek Mythology is Relevant to Engineering Management

The older I get, the more I see the relevance of the classics to modern life. As a boy, I read a children's version of Aesop's fables, which I loved and are still relevant to daily life. Later in school, I read about Greek mythology from a book called Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton. I still have a personal copy of this book that I refer to occasionally. It may seem odd, but the more time I spend in engineering management, the more relevant these myths seem to become. The last two weeks I have mentioned two Greek myths several times – the tales of Cassandra and Sisyphus. They seem particularly appropriate to modern management. Continue reading

 
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An Example of Cleaning Untidy Data with Tidyr

I recently decided to take some classes in data analysis at Datacamp, an online training site. My first classes were in dplyr and tidyr – two excellent R-based tools for manipulating files that not amenable to analysis because of inconsistencies and structure: tidyr provides many tools for cleaning up messy data, dplyr provides many tools for restructuring data. After completing the two classes, I decided that I needed to firm up my knowledge of these tools by applying them to a concrete example. Continue reading

 
Posted in Excel, History Through Spreadsheets | 2 Comments