Archive for the ‘Linkage’ category

Two insightful articles

March 14th, 2011

In the midst of all the idiots clamoring for every nuclear power plant in the world to be dismantled in favor of smoldering coal plants, I thought I’d post some sanity. Both of these articles were written by engineers. An engineer is a person who deals with fact and reason on a regular basis. Dealing with reality means that engineers have to understand and plan for Murphy’s Law, and in fact expect things to go wrong. Considering that all the people who actually plan for* and expect disasters are engineers, they’re much more qualified to talk about it than most people. When we say something, we’re trying to inform. Your garden-variety news hack, on the other hand, is motivated by a desire to stir up a mess of emotion, because that’s what draws eyeballs. A “news story” is designed to be read in a minute or two, which rules out anything resembling an intelligent explanation of the relevant facts. This leads to ignorant discussion from the peanut gallery. And that in turn leads to public policy written and voted on by people barely competent to pilot an automobile, let alone grasp the inner workings of a nuclear power plant.

Read, and be informed:

Why I am not worried about Japan’s nuclear reactors

Some Perspective On The Japan Earthquake

*Planning is a stage BEFORE the tragedy actually happens. Contrast with politicians, who react.

Human optics

April 23rd, 2010

I suspect this will only be of interest to a few of you, but if you work with photography or optics at all, it’s useful to correlate the performance of constructed optical systems with how the human eye works. What is the maximum resolution of the eye?

The following two links go over how human optical performance is measured, and the limitations in human optics. In a few ways, human eyes are superior to any CCD or CMOS sensor ever created; even in the presence of a very bright light source your eyes can detect a lot of detail in dark areas of the image. On the other hand, even a very basic consumer camera has a larger effective aperture than your eyes. It’s a very interesting read, and gives plenty of detail for jumping off into biology if you’re curious.

Chess Boxing

July 8th, 2008

I could not make something like this up.

Where the Hell is Matt?

June 21st, 2008

Now, Matt, I gotta say I had never heard of you before this afternoon. But, well…

Just take a look for yourself.

And here’s the newer one.

Really pretty inspirational if you think about it.

Helping Some Students May Harm High Achievers

June 20th, 2008

From the “No-Shit-Sherlock” department:

Helping Some Students May Harm High Achievers


June 16th, 2008

I think we really lucked out.

Building damage surprisingly low — Yomiuri Newspaper

Crash test

June 11th, 2008

Here’s a little something to make you think about the engineering that goes into controlling the destructive power of a traffic accident.

15 year old Volvo versus a modern subcompact

This work by Jeff Hiner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.