Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘engineering’

Happy birthday, transistor!

Posted by Richard on December 2, 2007

This month, the transistor turns 60. In a mere six decades, it's transformed the world, and it's showing no signs of slowing down. The Sydney Morning Herald has an excellent article by Beverly Head about the past and future of transistors:

IN DECEMBER 1947, Bells Labs scientists John Bardeen and Walter Brattain first revealed what would come to be known as the transistor.

They held the future in their hands – a device that would replace vacuum tubes in 10 years, and 60 years later has transformed electronics.

Inventions change things; great inventions change everything.

That first device was the size of a modern mobile phone. Right now, 2 million transistors could fit in the full stop at the end of this sentence. Intel has just released its new Penryn processors, which have up to 820 million transistors, and soon the standard inch-wide microprocessor will have 1 billion transistors.

At The Speculist, Stephen Gordon quoted from the above story regarding the continuing flood of innovation in computing, and then neatly captured how important and far-reaching this little electronics invention has been:

But here's the too obvious example of how transistors have changed things: I'm a guy sitting in Louisiana commenting on an article in The Sydney Morning Herald to a worldwide audience. And I'm not Walter Cronkite.

I pass it along to you, wherever you are (my last 10 visitors include Montreal, London, Cairo, and Kaoshiung, Taiwan) from a cluttered home office in Denver. And I'm not Eric Severeid.

Here's another mind-numbing factoid from the article: They're making a billion billion (1018) transistors a year now — 10 to 100 times the number of ants on Earth.

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Cooking for engineers

Posted by Richard on June 20, 2007

This past weekend, I bought some fresh Copper River salmon and was searching for an interesting recipe. I ran across this one. I didn't use it (decided just to bake it with a little dill, pepper, and butter on top; delicious), but I've bookmarked the Cooking for Engineers site.

If you're an engineer, or think like an engineer (all analytical and such), and you like to cook, this is the site for you. The recipes I've looked at sound good and are very clearly presented, with lots of pictures. There are also lots of articles with thorough descriptions of various cooking techniques, kitchen equipment, ingredients, etc. Check it out.

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