Author Archives: mathscinotes

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

 
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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

 
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A Math Error I Wish Were True

Quote of the Day Because Bushwacker, PBR Bucking Bull just isn't his spirit animal. His spirit animal is more of that of a millennial who works at his dad's law office after graduating with a bachelor of business in 6 … Continue reading

 
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Santa Rosa Fires And My Coworkers

I work for a company that is headquartered in Petaluma, California, which is just south of the Santa Rosa fire region. Six employees lost their homes in this fire. One employee, Danny Pomplun, and his wife, narrowly escaped the fire by sheltering in their pool. Their dramatic story is told very well in this Washington Post article. If you cannot gain access to the original news article, try this PDF of this story. Continue reading

 
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Thermoelectric Cooler Calculation Example

My team is work hard on Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) optical systems for communications applications. These systems put multiple wavelengths on a single fiber, and they provide our customers the opportunity to deliver significantly more bandwidth without needing to additional fiber optic cables. Continue reading

 
Posted in Electronics, Excel, optics | 1 Comment

Torpedo Engine Technology for a Venus Space Probe?

I just finished reading an interesting article on a NASA proposal for a Venus space probe that uses power generation technology developed for a US Navy torpedo program back in the 1980s. Like many spacecraft, torpedoes need power generation systems that are small, generate massive power for a short period, and must be storable for years with the ability to turn on almost instantly with high reliability. Continue reading

 
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One Drink Per Hour Can Get You Drunk

Back in 2011, I wrote a blog post that goes into the details on how the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) versus drinks/time/gender are computed (Figure 1). These charts tell people how much they can drink and still stay under the BAC limits for driving under the influence. These charts are for a typical drinker and the actual BAC value will vary by person. Continue reading

 
Posted in General Mathematics, Health | 3 Comments

Countries That Are Graying Fastest

I have been working hard to address the issues associated with an aging workforce (blog post). However, aging is problem for the entire world – the median age of the world is increasing. Aging populations put enormous strains on the infrastructure of country. I have been reading quite a few articles lately on the effect of aging populations on quite a few developed nations: South Korea, China, Germany, and Italy. Many nations are facing the problems associated with aging populations: high medical expenses, providing elder care, paying pensions, etc. Continue reading

 
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Old Naval Mines Still Floating Around

I just read a news article about an old moored training mine washing up on a North Carolina beach (Figure 1). I am amazed at the number of mines that still wash up on beaches around the world. Figure 1 shows the mine that washed up on a North Carolina beach recently. Stories like this seem to happen frequently after severe storms. Fortunately, this training unit (i.e. inert) did not pose a hazard to the people who came upon it, but some explosive-laden mines still wash up on beaches (example). Continue reading

 
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