August 28, 2016
The following post is taken from information furnished by Mr. Rob Spiegel of Design News Daily.
We all are interested in how we stack up pay-wise relative to our peers. Most companies have policies prohibiting discussions about individual pay because every paycheck is somewhat different due to deductible amounts. The number of dependents, health care options, saving options all play a role in representations of the bottom line—take-home pay. That’s the reason it is very important to have a representative baseline for average working salaries for professional disciplines. That is what this post is about. Just how much should an engineering graduate expect upon graduation in the year 2016? Let’s take a very quick look.
The average salaries for engineering grads entering the job market range from $62,000 to $64,000 — except for one notable standout. According to the 2016 Salary Survey from The National Association of Colleges and Employers, petroleum engineering majors are expected to enter their field making around $98,000/year. Clearly, petroleum engineering majors are projected to earn the top salaries among engineering graduates this year.
Actually, I can understand this high salary for Petroleum engineers. Petroleum is a non-renewable resource with diminishing availability. Apparently, the “easy” deposits have been discovered—the tough ones, not so much. The locations for undiscovered petroleum deposits represent some of the most difficult conditions on Earth. They deserve the pay they get.
Dupont at one time had the slogan, “Better living through chemistry.” That fact remains true to this day. Chemical engineers provide value-added products from medical to material. From the drugs we take to the materials we use, chemistry plays a vital role in kicking the can down the road.
When I was a graduate, back in the dark ages, electrical engineers garnered the highest paying salaries. Transistors, relays, optical devices were new and gaining acceptance in diverse markets. Electrical engineers were on the cutting edge of this revolution. I still remember changing tubes in radios and even TV sets when their useful life was over. Transistor technology was absolutely earth-shattering and EEs were riding the crest of that technology wave.
Computer and software engineering are here to stay because computers have changed our lives in a remarkably dramatic fashion. We will NEVER go back to performing even the least tedious task with pencil and paper. We often talk about disruptive technology—game changers. Computer science is just that
I am a mechanical engineer and have enjoyed the benefits of ME technology since graduation fifty years ago. Now, we see a great combination of mechanical and electrical with the advent of mechatronics. This is a very specialized field providing the best of both worlds.
Material engineering is a fascinating field for a rising freshman and should be considered as a future path. Composite materials and additive manufacturing have broadened this field in a remarkable fashion. If I had to do it over again, I would certainly consider materials engineering.
Systems engineering involves putting it all together. A critical task considering “big data”, the cloud, internet exchanges, broadband developments, etc. Someone has to make sense of it all and that’s the job of the systems engineer.
Hope you enjoyed this one. I look forward to your comments.
August 27, 2016
I do not know if you have a “bucket list” but as you get older you probably will. At the tender age of seventy-four my list seems to grow and grow as the years go by. One thing on that list is a visit to the bi-annual Farnborough International Airshow held in the United Kingdom. As you probably know, I’m a card-carrying aviation enthusiast. I took my check ride when I was fifteen and had to wait one year to receive my pilot’s license. I LOVE heavier-than-air-devices and make every effort to keep up with the technology both commercial and military.
This marvelous event is a week-long extravaganza that combines major trade exhibitions for the aerospace and defense industries with a public airshow. The event is held in mid-July in even-numbered years at Farnborough Airport in Hampshire, England. The first four days (Monday to Thursday) are dedicated exclusively to trade, with the final three days open to the public.
The airshow is an important event in the international aerospace and defense industry calendar, providing an opportunity to demonstrate civilian and military aircraft to potential customers and investors. The show is also used for the announcement of new developments and orders, and to attract media coverage. It’s a great show that details potential mergers and acquisitions as well as rumors relative to pending developments in the aircraft industry, both commercial and military. The UK show is organized by Farnborough International Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of ADS Group Limited (ADS).
The Farnborough Airshow has its origins in the annual RAF Airshow at Hendon from 1920 to 1937. On 27 June 1932, the Society of British Aircraft Constructors held an exhibition of thirty-five (35) aircraft by sixteen (16) companies as a showpiece for the British aircraft industry. After World War II, the show recommenced at Radlett (the site of Handley Page‘s airfield) in 1946 and was held there until 1948, when the show moved to its present location of Farnborough, Hampshire, home of the Royal Aircraft Establishment, about thirty (30) miles south-west of central London.
In 1952, thirty-one (31) people were killed (twenty nine spectators, one pilot and one navigator) when a DH.110 jet fighter disintegrated in flight and crashed into the crowd.
At the 1958 show, the Black Arrows executed a 22-plane formation loop which was a world record for the greatest number of aircraft looped in formation, and remains unbroken to this day.
Initially an annual event, the show has been biennial since 1962. It has become an international event that attracts exhibitors from all over the world — with the exception, during the Cold War, of countries behind the Iron Curtain.
Let’s now take a very quick look at the “stats” for the air show this past July.
As you can see, there were a tremendous number of exhibitions for the air show representing fifty-two countries. Seventy-one (71%) of the exhibitors are international. $124 billion US dollars in aircraft ordered by various countries and companies. This show was deemed a remarkable success just by the sheer numbers of orders taken.
Once again, the interest shown demonstrates how successful Farnborough was this past July.
Now, the great success was the number of individuals in attendance at the show. These are people just like you and me, in other words, non-military or commercial. Let’s now take a look at the fly-bys and the static demonstrations.
This is an aerial view of the Farnborough site itself. You can see the demonstration aircraft parked by the airstrip.
This is a closer look at the aircraft and how they are aligned along the taxi ways of the airport.
THE AIRCRAFT ON DISPLAY—STATIC AND AIRBORNE:
Everyone by now must recognize the F-22 Raptor. One of the most remarkable air planes our country has ever designed and produced.
This is the British Red Arrows aerobatic team—equivalent to our Blue Angles or Air Force Thunderbird teams.
Airbus and the new A 380. One of the largest commercial passenger planes ever built. On display and looking good.
The country of France demonstrated their fighter aircraft as well.
You might expect Gulfstream to have a major exhibit at Farnborough.
There were several helicopters demonstrated at Farnborough also.
The entire event was about having fun and looking at the latest in aviation hardware.
Hope you enjoyed this one. I certainly hope to be at Farnborough two years from now to witness the latest in aviation. As always, I love hearing from you.
August 20, 2016
“Half a league half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of death
Rode the six hundred”.
This poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, was written to memorialize a suicidal charge by light cavalry over open terrain by British forces in the Battle of Balaclava (Ukraine) in the Crimean War (1854—1856). The charge was led by Lord Cardigan against Russian forces. Lord Cardigan had intended sending the light brigade to pursue retreating Russian artillery but due to a miscommunication error in the chain of command, the light brigade was instead sent on a frontal assault against a very well-prepared force with excellent defenses. Two hundred and forty-seven (247) men were killed or seriously wounded that day.
Well, there is another valley of death—a digital valley sometimes deep, sometimes wide. That valley occurs when your eight-year-old computer, running on MS Windows XP, crashes and burns. As you probably know, Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, quit supporting XP two years ago. XP was, in my opinion, the most robust software MS has produced to date. Oh by the way, GOOGLE Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Yahoo, and probably other browsers I know nothing about have stopped support also. Talk about the valley of death.
This post was written by hand with a great fear and trembling, hoping to back in business fairly quickly. How long oh how long until I get my new computer? I have over the years purchased my last three computers from Affordable Computers of Chattanooga. I get to specify each component used, the memory, and all of the “bells and whistles” my little heart can afford. They do a great job, provide a two-year warranty and all with great support. They are now, as I write, making considerable efforts to copy files from my old computer into the hard-drive of my new “machine”. I certainly wonder how much can be copied over. How far gone was the hard-drive in my old system?
I say fear and trembling because, I skipped Vista, MS 7, MS 8 and MS 10 because I was told they were unstable. XP was the system. Keep using it. Disregard the very frequent warnings of waning and nonexistent support. OK, I did and much to my discredit. I suppose if you are reading this now that change was successful.
BACK IN BUSINESS. I certainly hope to get caught up with my posting. Thank you for hanging in with me.
August 4, 2016
It is absolutely amazing as to the number of “hacks” perpetrated upon Federal agencies of the United States. This statement could also be made for non-Federal institutions such as banks, independent companies, and commercial establishments from Starbucks to Target to the DNC. Let’s see if we can quantify the extent by looking at just a few relative to our Federal government.
- Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), August 2014.
- White House, October 2014.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA), November 2014.
- United States Postal Service (USPS), November 2014.
- Department of State, November 2014.
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), April 2015.
- Department of Defense, April 2015.
- St. Louis Federal Reserve, May 2015.
- Internal Revenue Service May 2015.
- U.S. Army Web site, June 2015.
- Office of Personnel Management (OPM), June 2015.
- Census Bureau, July 2015.
- Pentagon, August 2015.
The list is very impressive but extremely troubling. QUESTION: Are top U.S. government leaders serious about cyber security and cyber warfare, or not? If the answer is a resounding YES, it’s time to prove it. Is cyber security high enough on the list of national defense priorities to warrant its own unified command? Clearly, the answer is YES.
Two major breaches last year of U.S. government databases holding personnel records and security-clearance files exposed sensitive information about at least twenty-two point one (22.1) million people, including not only federal employees and contractors but their families and friends, U.S. officials said Thursday.
The total vastly exceeds all previous estimates, and marks the most detailed accounting by the Office of Personnel Management of how many people were affected by cyber intrusions that U.S. officials have privately said were traced to the Chinese government.
Think twenty-two (22.1) million names, Social Security numbers, telephone numbers, and addresses being held by the Chinese government. So again, clearly the time for an independent Cyber Security Command is upon us or approaching quickly.
DoD COMMAND STRUCTURE:
At the present time, there are nine (9) unified combatant commands that exist today in the United States Department of Defense. These are as follows:
- U.S. Africa Command based in Stuttgart, Germany
- U.S. Central Command based at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida
- U.S. European Command based in Stuttgart, Germany
- U.S. Northern Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
- U.S. Pacific Command at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii
- U.S. Southern Command in Doral, Florida
- U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill, Florida
- U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska
- U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois
Placing Cyber Command among these organizations would take it from under the U.S. Strategic Command where it resides today as an armed forces sub-unified command.
PRECIDENT FOR CHANGE:
Over our history there have been two major structural changes to our Federal Government certainly needed for added security and safety.
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE:
World War II had been over for two years and the Korean War lay three years ahead when the Air Force ended a 40-year association with the U.S. Army to become a separate service. The U.S. Air Force thus entered a new era in which airpower became firmly established as a major element of the nation’s defense and one of its chief hopes for deterring war. The Department of the Air Force was created when President Harry S Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947.
Lawmakers explained why they felt the U.S. needed to evolve the Army Air Corps into an independent branch in a Declaration of Policy at the beginning of the National Security Act of 1947: To provide a comprehensive program for the future security of the United States; to provide three military departments: the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force; to provide for their coordination and unified direction under civilian control and to provide for the effective strategic direction and operation of the armed forces under unified control.
General Carl A. Spaatz became the first Chief of Staff of the Air Force on 26 September 1947. When General Spaatz assumed his new position, the first Secretary of the Air Force, W. Stuart Symington, was already on the job, having been sworn in on 18 September 1947. He had been Assistant Secretary of War for Air and had already worked closely with General Spaatz. The new Air Force was fortunate to have these two men as its first leaders. They regarded air power as an instrument of national policy and of great importance to national defense. Both men also knew how to promote air power and win public support for the Air Force.
Eleven days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush announced that he would create an Office of Homeland Security in the White House and appoint Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge as the director. The office would oversee and coordinate a comprehensive national strategy to safeguard the country against terrorism, and respond to any future attacks.
Executive Order 13228, issued on October 8, 2001, established two entities within the White House to determine homeland security policy: the Office of Homeland Security (OHS) within the Executive Office of the President, tasked to develop and implement a national strategy to coordinate federal, state, and local counter-terrorism efforts to secure the country from and respond to terrorist threats or attacks, and the Homeland Security Council (HSC), composed of Cabinet members responsible for homeland security-related activities, was to advise the President on homeland security matters, mirroring the role the National Security Council (NSC) plays in national security.
Before the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, homeland security activities were spread across more than forty (40) federal agencies and an estimated 2,000 separate Congressional appropriations accounts. In February 2001, the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century (Hart-Rudman Commission) issued its Phase III Report, recommending significant and comprehensive institutional and procedural changes throughout the executive and legislative branches in order to meet future national security challenges. Among these recommendations was the creation of a new National Homeland Security Agency to consolidate and refine the missions of the different departments and agencies that had a role in U.S. homeland security.
In March 2001, Representative Mac Thornberry (R-TX) proposed a bill to create a National Homeland Security Agency, following the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century (Hart-Rudman Commission). The bill combined FEMA, Customs, the Border Patrol, and several infrastructure offices into one agency responsible for homeland security-related activities. Hearings were held, but Congress took no further action on the bill.
From the two examples above: i.e. Formation of the USAF and Homeland Security, we see there is precedent for separating Federal activities and making those activities stand-alone entities. This is what needs to be accomplished here. I know the arguments about increasing the size of government and these are very valid but, if done properly, the size could possibly be reduced by improving efficiency and consolidation of activities. Now is the time for CYBER COMMAND.
August 2, 2016
On 13 October 2014 at 9:32 A.M. my ninety-two (92) year old mother died of Alzheimer’s. It was a very peaceful passing but as her only son it was very painful to witness her gradual memory loss and the demise of all cognitive skills. Even though there is no cure, there are certain medications that can arrest progression to a point. None were effective in her case.
Her condition once again piqued my interest in intelligence (I.Q.), smarts, intellect. Are we born with an I. Q. we cannot improve? How do cultural and family environment affect intelligence? What activities diminish I.Q., if any? Just how much of our brain’s abilities does the average working-class person need and use each day? Obviously, some professions require greater intellect than others. How is I.Q. distributed over our species in general?
IQ tests are the most reliable (e.g. consistent) and valid (e.g. accurate and meaningful) type of psychometric test that psychologists make use of. They are well-established as a good measure of a general intelligence or G. IQ tests are widely used in many contexts – educational, professional and for leisure. Universities use IQ tests (e.g. SAT entrance exams) to select students, companies use IQ tests (job aptitude tests) to screen applicants, and high IQ societies such as Mensa use IQ test scores as membership criteria.
The following bell-shaped curve will demonstrate approximate distribution of intellect for our species.
The area under the curve between scores corresponds to the percentage (%) in the population. The scores on this IQ bell curve are color-coded in ‘standard deviation units’. A standard deviation is a measure of the spread of the distribution with fifteen (15) points representing one standard deviation for most IQ tests. Nearly seventy percent (70%) of the population score between eighty-five (85) and one hundred and fifteen (115) – i.e. plus and minus one standard deviation. A very small percentage of the population (about 0.1% or 1 in 1000) have scores less than fifty-five (55) or greater than one hundred and forty-five (145) – that is, more than three (3 )standard deviations out!
As you can see, the mean I.Q. is approximately one hundred, with ninety-five percent (95%) of the general population lying between seventy (70) and one hundred and fifteen percent (115%). Only two percent (2%) of the population score greater than one hundred and thirty (130) and a tremendously small 0.01% score in the genius range, greater than one hundred forty-five percent (145%).
OK, who’s smart? Let’s look.
PRESENT AND LIVING:
- Gary Kasparov—190. Born in 1963 in Baku, in what is now Azerbaijan, Garry Kasparov is arguably the most famous chess player of all time. When he was seven, Kasparov enrolled at Baku’s Young Pioneer Palace; then at ten he started to train at the school of legendary Soviet chess player Mikhail Botvinnik. In 1980 Kasparov qualified as a grandmaster, and five years later he became the then youngest-ever outright world champion. He retained the championship title until 1993, and has held the position of world number one-ranked player for three times longer than anyone else. In 1996 he famously took on IBM computer Deep Blue, winning with a score of 4–2 – although he lost to a much upgraded version of the machine the following year. In 2005 Kasparov retired from chess to focus on politics and writing. He has a reported IQ of 190.
- Philip Emeagwali-190. Dr. Philip Emeagwali, who has been called the “Bill Gates of Africa,” was born in Nigeria in 1954. Like many African schoolchildren, he dropped out of school at age 14 because his father could not continue paying Emeagwali’s school fees. However, his father continued teaching him at home, and everyday Emeagwali performed mental exercises such as solving 100 math problems in one hour. His father taught him until Philip “knew more than he did.”
- Marlyn vos Savant—228. Marilyn vos Savant’s intelligence quotient (I.Q.) score of 228, is certainly one of the highest ever recorded. This very high I.Q. gave the St. Louis-born writer instant celebrity and earned her the sobriquet “the smartest person in the world.” Although vos Savant’s family was aware of her exceptionally high I.Q. scores on the Stanford-Benet test when she was ten (10) years old (she is also recognized as having the highest I.Q. score ever recorded by a child), her parents decided to withhold the information from the public in order to avoid commercial exploitation and assure her a normal childhood.
- Mislav Predavec—192. Mislav Predavec is a Croatian mathematics professor with a reported IQ of 190. “I always felt I was a step ahead of others. As material in school increased, I just solved the problems faster and better,” he has explained. Predavec was born in Zagreb in 1967, and his unique abilities were obvious from a young age. As for his adult achievements, since 2009 Predavec has taught at Zagreb’s Schola Medica Zagrabiensis. In addition, he runs trading company Preminis, having done so since 1989. And in 2002 Predavec founded exclusive IQ society GenerIQ, which forms part of his wider IQ society network. “Very difficult intelligence tests are my favorite hobby,” he has said. In 2012 the World Genius Directory ranked Predavec as the third smartest person in the world.
- Rick Rosner—191. U.S. television writer and pseudo-celebrity Richard Rosner is an unusual case. Born in 1960, he has led a somewhat checkered professional life: as well as writing for Jimmy Kimmel Live! and other TV shows, Rosner has, he says, been employed as a stripper, doorman, male model and waiter. In 2000 he infamously appeared on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? answering a question about the altitude of capital cities incorrectly and reacting by suing the show, albeit unsuccessfully. Rosner placed second in the World Genius Directory’s 2013 Genius of the Year Awards; the site lists his IQ at 192, which places him just behind Greek psychiatrist Evangelos Katsioulis. Rosner reportedly hit the books for 20 hours a day to try and outdo Katsioulis, but to no avail.
- Christopher Langan—210. Born in San Francisco in 1952, self-educated Christopher Langan is a special kind of genius. By the time he turned four, he’d already taught himself how to read. At high school, according to Langan, he tutored himself in “advanced math, physics, philosophy, Latin and Greek, all that.” What’s more, he allegedly got 100 percent on his SAT test, even though he slept through some of it. Langan attended Montana State University but dropped out. Rather like the titular character in 1997 movie Good Will Hunting, Langan didn’t choose an academic career; instead, he worked as a doorman and developed his Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe during his downtime. In 1999, on TV newsmagazine 20/20, neuropsychologist Robert Novelly stated that Langan’s IQ – said to be between 195 and 210 – was the highest he’d ever measured. Langan has been dubbed “the smartest man in America.”
- Evangelos Katsioulis—198. Katsioulis is known for his high intelligence test scores. There are several reports that he has achieved the highest scores ever recorded on IQ tests designed to measure exceptional intelligence. Katsioulis has a reported IQ 205 on the Stanford-Binet scale with standard deviation of 16, which is equivalent to an IQ 198.4.
- Kim Ung-Young—210. Before The Guinness Book of World Records withdrew its Highest IQ category in 1990, South Korean former child prodigy Kim Ung-Yong made the list with a score of 210. Kim was born in Seoul in 1963, and by the time he turned three, he could already read Korean, Japanese, English and German. When he was just eight years old, Kim moved to America to work at NASA. “At that time, I led my life like a machine. I woke up, solved the daily assigned equation, ate, slept, and so forth,” he has explained. “I was lonely and had no friends.” While he was in the States, Kim allegedly obtained a doctorate degree in physics, although this is unconfirmed. In any case, in 1978 he moved back to South Korea and went on to earn a Ph.D. in civil engineering.
- Christopher Hirata—225. Astrophysicist Chris Hirata was born in Michigan in 1982, and at the age of 13 he became the youngest U.S. citizen to receive an International Physics Olympiad gold medal. When he turned 14, Hirata apparently began studying at the California Institute of Technology, and he would go on to earn a bachelor’s degree in physics from the school in 2001. At 16 – with a reported IQ of 225 – he started doing work for NASA, investigating whether it would be feasible for humans to settle on Mars. Then in 2005 he went on to obtain a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton. Hirata is currently a physics and astronomy professor at The Ohio State University. His specialist fields include dark energy, gravitational lensing, the cosmic microwave background, galaxy clustering, and general relativity. “If I were to say Chris Hirata is one in a million, that would understate his intellectual ability,” said a member of staff at his high school in 1997.
- Terrance Tao—230. Born in Adelaide in 1975, Australian former child prodigy Terence Tao didn’t waste any time flexing his educational muscles. When he was two years old, he was able to perform simple arithmetic. By the time he was nine, he was studying college-level math courses. And in 1988, aged just 13, he became the youngest gold medal recipient in International Mathematical Olympiad history – a record that still stands today. In 1992 Tao achieved a master’s degree in mathematics from Flinders University in Adelaide, the institution from which he’d attained his B.Sc. the year before. Then in 1996, aged 20, he earned a Ph.D. from Princeton, turning in a thesis entitled “Three Regularity Results in Harmonic Analysis.” Tao’s long list of awards includes a 2006 Fields Medal, and he is currently a mathematics professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
- Stephen Hawkin—235. Guest appearances on TV shows such as The Simpsons, Futurama and Star Trek: The Next Generation have helped cement English astrophysicist Stephen Hawking’s place in the pop cultural domain. Hawking was born in 1942; and in 1959, when he was 17 years old; he received a scholarship to read physics and chemistry at Oxford University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1962 and then moved on to Cambridge to study cosmology. Diagnosed with motor neuron disease at the age of 21, Hawking became depressed and almost gave up on his studies. However, inspired by his relationship with his fiancé – and soon to be first wife – Jane Wilde, he returned to his academic pursuits and obtained his Ph.D. in 1965. Hawking is perhaps best known for his pioneering theories on black holes and his bestselling 1988 book A Brief History of Time.
The individuals above are living. Let’s take a very quick look at several past geniuses. I’m sure you know the names.
- Johann Goethe—210-225
- Albert Einstein—205-225
- Leonardo da vinci-180-220
- Isaac Newton-190-200
- James Maxwell-190-205
- Gottfried Leibniz—182-205
- William Sidis—200-300
- Carl Gauss—250-300
As you can see, these guys are heavy hitters. I strongly suspect there are many that we have not mentioned. Individuals, who have achieved but never gotten the opportunity to, let’s just say, shine. OK, where does that leave the rest of us? There is GOOD news. Calvin Coolidge said it best with the following quote:
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. “
President Calvin Coolidge.
I think this says it all. As always, I welcome your comments.
August 1, 2016
Does anyone remember books? We tend to take for granted the notion that people of the world can or should be taught to read. In the early history of our country, books were somewhat a rarity. Most children were first taught to read from the Bible because that was sometimes all they had to read. If we go to the CIA Factbook for countries of the world, we see the ability to read is used as an indicator of poverty and development. In 1998, the UN defined eighty percent (80%) of the world population as literate, defined as the ability to read and write a simple sentence in a language.
Reading was not always the universal goal for powerful rulers and kings, and in ancient times, literacy was the trade secret of professional scribes. A few centuries later, in Europe, literacy was defined as the ability to read and write in Latin. Later still, the bar was lowered, and people were considered literate if they could sign their names. In 1841, thirty-three percent (33%) of all Englishmen and forty-four percent (44%) of Englishwomen signed marriage certificates with their mark.
We are now in the “information society” where access to the internet, books, magazines, newspapers, and other written documents seem to be readily available to just about everyone, at least in the United States. Unfortunately, regardless of the literacy programs already initiated in many of our public schools by our government, illiteracy continues to grow at an alarming rate. According to a study conducted in late April 2015 by the US Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, thirty-two ( 32) million adults in the United States can’t read above a fifth grade level, and nineteen percent (19%) of high school graduates can’t read. NOTE: THAT’S GRADUATES BY THE WAY!!!!!!
According to the Department of Justice, “The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is tied to reading failure.” Statistics back up this claim: eighty-five percent (85%) of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, and over seventy percent (70%) of inmates in America’s prisons cannot read beyond a fourth grade level. As you can see, literacy rates represent a real problem in our country.
As a species, our thirst for knowledge is evident by recognizing the great libraries that existed in ancient times as well as those existing today.
Why don’t we all get in Mr. Peabody’s Way-back machine and take a look at the great libraries in history. Then we will examine the great libraries of today.
- ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT— History tells us that the first ‘universal’ library was the Great Library & Mouseion in Alexandria, Egypt. Hungry for conquest and knowledge, Alexander the Great spent the last eleven (11) years of his life (334 to 333 B.C.) exploring the world. To broaden the enterprise, he dispatched scholars to unexplored regions to gather knowledge and map their journeys. After the death of Alexander the Great, the pharaoh Ptolemy I commissioned the Great Library project, appointing his adviser, Demetrius of Phaleron, to build the library and become its first director. It is said that the Great Library of Alexandria even had an intricate system of registration and classification.
- THE CELSUS LIBRARY— Another early library was the Celsus Library in Ephesus, built in 110 A.D. by the Council Gaius Julius Aquila. The library became one of the largest collections of antiquity, storing an estimated 12,000 hand-written books. Books could not be taken out of the library, but were handed to readers by library officials and read in the reading room. The scrolls of the manuscripts were kept in cupboards in niches on the walls. There were double walls behind the bookcases to prevent them from the extremes of temperature and humidity. The capacity of the library was more than 12,000 scrolls. It was the third richest library in ancient times after the Alexandra and Pergamum. The facade of the library has two-stories, with Corinthian style columns on the ground floor and three entrances to the building. There are three windows openings in the upper story. They used an optical trick that the columns at the sides of the facade are shorter than those at the center, giving the illusion of the building being greater in size.
- THE UNIVERSITY OF SANKORE— The University of Sankore in Timbuktu employed an army of scribes, who earned their living copying the manuscripts. As a result, Timbuktu became a repository of an extensive collection of manuscripts. What were scribes paid? A papyrus of the second century AD gives rates “for 10,000 lines, twenty-eight (28) drachmae for 6,300 lines, thirteen (13) drachmae.” The Emperor Diocletian tried to standardize the pay scribes received throughout the Roman Empire: “to a scribe for the best writing, one hundred (100) lines, twenty-five (25) denarii; for second quality writing one hundred (100) lines twenty )(20) denarii; to a notary for writing a petition or legal document, one hundred (100)lines, ten (10) denarii.”
- THE BODLEIN LIBRARY—This library is the oldest surviving library and is located in Oxford, England. The Bodleian collection consisted not only of books and manuscripts; it housed pictures, sculptures, coins and medals, and ‘curiosities’: objects of scientific, exotic or historical interest. There’s even a stuffed crocodile from Jamaica! Today’s Bodleian claims to hold eleven (11) million volumes, and to offer fuller access to online publications and databases than any other academic institution in the UK.
- CHETHAM’S LIBRARY (Manchester, England) — Chetham’s library is said to be Britain’s oldest surviving public library. Karl Marx visited the library in 1846, at the invitation of his friend Frederick Engels. In the bay of the library’s reading room, they carried out the research for Das Kapital. Over the years, water seeping into the masonry of the building has threatened the structure. Fortunately though, English Heritage has provided grants that will be used to restore this beautiful and significant national treasure.
- LIBRARY OF CONGRESS— The Library of Congress, founded in 1800, is said to be the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. However, like the libraries of Ephesus and Alexandria, it became a victim of fire. During the War for Independence in 1814, British troops burned the Capitol building and destroyed the Library’s core collection of 3,000 volumes. One year later, however, Congress approved the purchase of Thomas Jefferson’s personal library of 6,487 books for $23,950 and the Library was restored. Today the Library of Congress claims to be the largest library in the world, with nearly 142 million items on approximately 650 miles of bookshelves. The collections include more than 32 million books and other print materials, 3 million recordings, 12.5 million photographs, 5.3 million maps, 5.6 million pieces of sheet music and 62 million manuscripts.
- THE BRITISH LIBRARY(LONDON, ENGLAND)– Compared to many other significant libraries, the British Library is relatively young having been brought into existence in 1972 by the British Library Act. The 1971 White Paper recognized that the constituent bodies of the proposed British Library (principally the British Museum Library) were seriously short of space and that re-housing the various collections was a top priority. The new library combines various components, the best known of which were the library departments of the British Museum, then one of the largest libraries in the world. Lenin had been impressed. It held, he said, a more comprehensive collection of Russian books than the libraries of Moscow and St Petersburg. Other famous visitors to the reading room included Marx, Charles Dickens, George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf. As is so often de rigueur with projects of such vast scale, the St Pancras building became mired in delays and spiraling costs, but was finally opened by the Queen in June 1998.
We have taken a very brief look at libraries of ancient times, so let’s look at contemporary libraries in modern times.
MODERN DAY LIBRARIES (THE TOP TEN IN THE WORLD):
- LIBRARY OF CONTRESS
- BODLEIAN LIBRARY
- READING ROOM AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM,LONDON, ENGLAND
- YALE UNIVERSITY BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
- VATICAN LIBRARY, VATICAN, ROME
- NATIONAL LIBRARY OF ST.MARK’S,VENICE,ITALY
- BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
- LIBRARY OF PARLIAMENT, OTTAWA, CANADA
- NEW YOUR PUBLIC LIBRARY, NEW YORK, NEW YORK
- THOMAS FISHER RARE BOOK LIBRARY, TORONTO, CANADA
A most impressive fact about modern-day libraries is the architecture of the building the books are housed in. The top ten (10) in the world are architectural marvels, not to mention the number of volumes, magazines, tapes, movies, newspapers, microfiche, etc etc contained within the buildings.
To demonstrate this fact, let us now look at several digital photographs at the architecture of several modern-day libraries.
THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
THE BODLEIAN LIBRARY
THE VATICAN LIBRARY
THE BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF ST. MARK’S, VENICE, ITALY
I certainly hope the internet does not cannibalize our desire to read books. To me, picking up a written manuscript is far preferable to reading online. It is just not the same.
As always, I welcome your comments.
July 21, 2016
The following information was taken from the NASA web site and the Machine Design Magazine.
After an almost five-year journey to the solar system’s largest planet, NASA’s Juno spacecraft successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit during a thirty-five (35) minute engine burn. Confirmation the burn was successful was received on Earth at 8:53 p.m. PDT (11:53 p.m. EDT) Monday, July 4. A message from NASA is as follows:
“Independence Day always is something to celebrate, but today we can add to America’s birthday another reason to cheer — Juno is at Jupiter,” said NASA administrator Charlie Bolden. “And what is more American than a NASA mission going boldly where no spacecraft has gone before? With Juno, we will investigate the unknowns of Jupiter’s massive radiation belts to delve deep into not only the planet’s interior, but into how Jupiter was born and how our entire solar system evolved.”
Confirmation of a successful orbit insertion was received from Juno tracking data monitored at the navigation facility at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, as well as at the Lockheed Martin Juno operations center in Littleton, Colorado. The telemetry and tracking data were received by NASA’s Deep Space Network antennas in Goldstone, California, and Canberra, Australia.
“This is the one time I don’t mind being stuck in a windowless room on the night of the 4th of July,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “The mission team did great. The spacecraft did great. We are looking great. It’s a great day.”
Preplanned events leading up to the orbital insertion engine burn included changing the spacecraft’s attitude to point the main engine in the desired direction and then increasing the spacecraft’s rotation rate from 2 to 5 revolutions per minute (RPM) to help stabilize it..
The burn of Juno’s 645-Newton Leros-1b main engine began on time at 8:18 p.m. PDT (11:18 p.m. EDT), decreasing the spacecraft’s velocity by 1,212 miles per hour (542 meters per second) and allowing Juno to be captured in orbit around Jupiter. Soon after the burn was completed, Juno turned so that the sun’s rays could once again reach the 18,698 individual solar cells that give Juno its energy.
“The spacecraft worked perfectly, which is always nice when you’re driving a vehicle with 1.7 billion miles on the odometer,” said Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager from JPL. “Jupiter orbit insertion was a big step and the most challenging remaining in our mission plan, but there are others that have to occur before we can give the science team the mission they are looking for.”
Can you imagine a 1.7 billion (yes that’s with a “B”) mile journey AND the ability to monitor the process? This is truly an engineering feat that should make history. (Too bad our politicians are busy getting themselves elected and reelected.)
Over the next few months, Juno’s mission and science teams will perform final testing on the spacecraft’s subsystems, final calibration of science instruments and some science collection.
“Our official science collection phase begins in October, but we’ve figured out a way to collect data a lot earlier than that,” said Bolton. “Which when you’re talking about the single biggest planetary body in the solar system is a really good thing. There is a lot to see and do here.”
Juno’s principal goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter. With its suite of nine science instruments, Juno will investigate the existence of a solid planetary core, map Jupiter’s intense magnetic field, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observe the planet’s auroras. The mission also will let us take a giant step forward in our understanding of how giant planets form and the role these titans played in putting together the rest of the solar system. As our primary example of a giant planet, Jupiter also can provide critical knowledge for understanding the planetary systems being discovered around other stars.
The Juno spacecraft launched on Aug. 5, 2011 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. JPL manages the Juno mission for NASA. Juno is part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver built the spacecraft. The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.
Before we list the systems, let’s take a look at the physical “machine”.
As you can see, the design is truly remarkable and includes the following modules:
- SOLAR PANELS—Juno requires 18,000 solar cells to gather enough energy for it’s journey, 508 million miles from our sun. In January, Juno broke the record as the first solar-powered spacecraft to fly further than 493 million miles from the sun.
- RADIATION VAULT—During its polar orbit, Juno will repeatedly pass through the intense radiation belt that surrounds Jupiter’s equator, charged by ions and particles from Jupiter’s atmosphere and moons suspended in Juno’s colossal magnetic field. The magnetic belt, which measures 1,000 times the human toxicity level, has a radio frequency that can be detected from Earth and extends into earth’s orbit.
- GRAVITY SCIENCE EXPERIMENT—Using advanced gravity science tools; Juno will create a detailed map of Jupiter’s gravitational field to infer Jupiter’s mass distribution and internal structure.
- VECTOR MAGNETOMETER (MAG)—Juno’s next mission is to map Jupiter’s massive magnetic field, which extends approximately two (2) million miles toward the sun, shielding Jupiter from solar flares. It also tails out for more than six hundred (600) million miles in solar orbit. The dynamo is more than 20,000 times greater than that of the Earth.
- MICROWAVE RADIOMETERS–Microwave radiomometers (MWR) will detect six (6) microwave and radio frequencies generated by the atmosphere’s thermal emissions. This will aid in determining the depths of various cloud forms.
- DETAILED MAPPING OF AURORA BOREALIS AND PLASMA CONTENT—As Juno passes Jupiter’s poles, cameral will capture high-resolution images of aurora borealis, and particle detectors will analyze the plasmas responsible for them. Not only are Jupiter’s auroras much larger than those of Earth, they are also much more frequent because they are created by atmospheric plasma rather than solar flares.
- JEDI MEASURES HIGH-ENERGY PARTICLES–Three Jupiter energetic particle detector instruments (JEDIs) will measure the angular distribution of high-energy particles as they interact with Jupiter’s upper atmospheres and inner magnetospheres to contribute to Jupiter’s northern and southern lights.
- JADE MEASURE OF LOW-ENERGY PARTICLES—JADE, the Jovian Aurora Distributions Experiment, works in conjunction with DEDI to measure the angular distribution of lower-energy electrons and ions ranging from zero (0) to thirty (30) electron volts.
- WAVES MEASURES PLASMA MOVEMENT—The radio/plasma wave experiment, called WAVES, will be used to measure radio frequencies (50 Hz to 40 MHz) generated by the plasma in the magnetospheres.
- UVS,JIRAM CAPTURE NORTHERN/SOUTHERN LIGHTS—By capturing wavelength of seventy (70) to two hundred and five (205) nm, an ultraviolet imager/spectrometer (UVS) will generate images of the auroras UV spectrum to view the auroras during the Jovian day.
- HIGH-RESOLUTION CAMERA—JunoCam, a high-resolution color camera, will capture red, green and blue wavelengths photos of Jupiter’s atmosphere and aurora. The NASA team expects the camera to last about seven orbits before being destroyed by radiation.
This technology is truly amazing to me. Think of the planning, the engineering design, the testing, the computer programming needed to bring this program to fruition. Amazing!