November 21, 2015

One of the most gifted engineers in our nation’s history was Mr. Bill Lear.  Lear was born in Hannibal, Missouri on 26 June 1902 and over a forty-six (46) year time period produced one hundred and twenty (120) patents.  He founded the LearJet Corporation.  The Lear jet is without doubt one of the most beautiful aircraft ever conceived.  From one memorable life came one memorable quote, as follows:

“If an airplane looks like it will fly—it will fly”.

He was talking about profile, lines, curvature while imagining the “slip-stream” created by the leading edges and the flight surfaces.  One other airplane that fits that description is the Lockheed Constellation or “Connie” as the design came to be known.  A remarkably beautiful aircraft.

My very first flight was in 1969. My father, sister and I departed Lovell Field in Chattanooga, Tennessee heading to Atlanta.  We flew to Atlanta in a DC-3, twin engine propeller-driven aircraft.  (I’m sure after death I will have to change planes in Atlanta before arriving in heaven.  Some things never change.)  Moving from arrival gate to departure gate during the very early years of commercial aviation took a minimal amount of time.   The Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was not the city within a city that exists today.  Upon arriving at our departure gate, I saw for the very first time a marvelous aircraft meeting all of the descriptive points Mr. Lear had in mind. Let’s take a look.


Lockheel Constellation

The Lockheed Constellation (“Connie”) was a propeller-driven, four-engine airliner built by the Lockheed Corporation between 1943 and 1958 at the Burbank, California Lockheed facilities. The Constellation’s fuselage is shaped like an airfoil to add lift.   It curves upward at the rear to raise the triple tail out of the prop wash and slightly downward at the front so the nose-gear strut did not have to be impossibly long. Lockheed decided that the airplane’s admittedly large propellers needed even more ground clearance than did Douglas or Boeing on their competing transports, which resulted in the Connie’s long, spindly gear legs.

It was known as “the world’s best tri-motor” because it had so many engine failures it often flew on three.  There were large numbers of engine fires during the Constellation’s early development, but many airline pilots flew it for years without ever feathering an engine.

The Constellation was one of the first pressurized airliners with the Boeing 307 Stratoliner being the very first.  Cabin pressurization was absolutely required to improve the service ceiling of commercial aircraft and make flying above the “weather” a very welcome reality.  During WWII it was discovered that flying about 10,000 feet required oxygen to preclude issues with dizziness.  It was no different for commercial flying.

Lockheed built 856 aircraft using numerous model configurations—all with the same triple-tail design and dolphin-shaped fuselage. Most were powered by four 18-cylinder Wright R-3350s. The Constellation was used as a civil airliner and as a military and civil air transport, seeing service in the Berlin Airlift . It was also the presidential aircraft for Dwight D. Eisenhower.   At the present time President Eisenhower’s Air Force One is resting in a field at Marana Regional Airport.   Dubbed Columbine II in honor of the state flower of first lady Mamie Eisenhower’s native Colorado, the plane was state-of-the-art in its time.  It’s a real shame this early version of Air Force One is not on display.

The Constellation’s wing design was close to that of the P-38 Lightning, differing obviously in size.  The triple tail kept the aircraft’s height low enough to fit in existing hangars, while features included hydraulically boosted controls and a de-icing system used on wing and tail leading edges.  The aircraft had a maximum speed of over 375 mph (600 km/h), faster than that of a Japanese Zero fighter, a cruise speed of 340 mph (550 km/h), and a service ceiling of 24,000 ft (7,300 m).  At the time the service ceiling was a significant breakthrough in aviation technology.

According to Anthony Sampson in Empires of the Sky, Lockheed’s Skunk Factory and Kelly Johnson may have undertaken the intricate design, but Howard Hughes’ intercession in the design process drove the concept, shape, capabilities, appearance, and ethos.   These rumors were discredited by Kelly Johnson. Howard Hughes and Jack Frye confirmed that the rumors were not true in a letter in November 1941.

After World War II the Constellation came into its own as a very fast civil airliner. Aircraft already in production for the USAAF as C-69 transports were finished as civil airliners, with TWA receiving the first on 1 October 1945. TWA’s first transatlantic proving flight departed Washington, DC, on December 3, 1945, arriving in Paris on December 4 via Gander, Nova Scotia and Shannon, Ireland.

Trans World Airlines transatlantic service started on February 6, 1946 with a New York-Paris flight in a Constellation. On June 17, 1947 Pan American World Airways opened the first ever scheduled round-the-world service with their L-749 Clipper America. The famous flight “Pan Am 1” operated until 1982.

As the first pressurized airliner in widespread use, the Constellation helped to usher in affordable and comfortable air travel. Operators of Constellations included the following airlines:


For its time, the cabin represented the ultimate in luxury with comfort and room to spare.


Cabin (2)

Maybe someone can comment on a statement I have heard more than once.  In the early days of commercial aviation, all of the cabin crew had to be registered nurses.  Do you know if that is a fact?


Notice from the digital below, all of the flight systems were analogue. No digital in those days.  Also notice, the aircraft was meant to be managed by a three-man flight crew; i.e. pilot-in-command, co-pilot and flight engineer or navigator.  The right side of the cockpit was designed for a navigator.


Two fairly large fans, one left and one right, kept the flight crew reasonably comfortable.

Times have certainly changed from my first flight in 1969.  No more analogue or two-man flight crew and now air travel is the “new” Greyhound.  It’s affordable, at least to some degree.

As always, I welcome your comments.


November 14, 2015

I don’t really know when my love for aviation began but I am sure it was very early in life.  As a kid, I built tens of plastic airplane models.  My biggest challenge was the “Spruce Goose”; eight engines, four per wing.  I discovered that painting and decal “fixing” was my biggest and most time-consuming chore.   I’ve sniffed enough Testors glue to classify as a junkie.   I would then carefully display the models in my room either hanging from the ceiling, always in attack mode for the fighters, or positioned squarely on a shelf available for all to see.

Later on, I graduated to “U” controlled balsa wood models.   I realize this takes most of you way back so I’ve included a JPEG of a “U” controlled plane.  As you can see, the planes are tethered by two wires, each controlling the vertical climb/dive motion of the aircraft.  The control is a hand-held plastic or wooden “U” device shown by the second JPEG.

U-Controlled Airplane

U- Flight

As you can see, the wires are attached to the upper and lower “U”.  The “pilot” will rock the controller to facilitate climb and descent motion.

We loved to dog fight these balsa wood planes.  You do that by tying streamers to both wings, then have at it.  Both pilots stand back to back, crank the engines and have at it.  The first one to cut the streamer of the other is obviously the winner.

Then came remote-controlled model airplanes.  This was the third phase in the development of flying models.  By that time, I was attending my university so I missed out on this fun-filled activity.  Too little time and too little money.  After graduation, I was commissioned into the United States Air Force.  You get the picture.  I’m a real fan.

Several weeks ago, I attended the “Wings Over North Georgia” air show in Rome, Georgia.  It was a miserable, rainy, cold, muddy day but we enjoyed every minute of it.  The next slides will illustrate the day and the airplanes we saw.  The “feature” event was an F-22 Raptor.  This is one beautiful machine.  Let’s take a look at several “heavier-than-air-aircraft” on display that day.



I told you it was wet.  I had never seen an Osprey before and after seeing the cockpit, it’s the real deal. Let’s take a look.

The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is an American multi-mission, tilt-rotor military aircraft with both a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capability. It is designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.

The V-22 originated from the United States Department of Defense Joint-service Vertical take-off/landing Experimental (JVX) aircraft program started in 1981. The team of Bell Helicopter and Boeing Helicopters was awarded a development contract in 1983 for the tilt-rotor aircraft. The Bell Boeing team jointly produced the aircraft.  The V-22 first flew in 1989, and began flight testing and design alterations; the complexity and difficulties of being the first tilt-rotor intended for military service in the world led to many years of development.

The United States Marine Corps began crew training for the Osprey in 2000, and fielded it in 2007; it supplemented and then replaced their Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knights. The Osprey’s other operator, the U.S. Air Force, fielded their version of the tilt-rotor in 2009. Since entering service with the U.S. Marine Corps and Air Force, the Osprey has been deployed in transportation and medivac operations over Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Kuwait.  A better look with the aircraft going from VTOL to level flight is given as follows:



One other aircraft on display was the C-17 Globemaster transport.  The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a large military transport aircraft. It was developed for the United States Air Force (USAF) from the 1980s to the early 1990s by McDonnell Douglas. The C-17 carries forward the name of two previous piston-engine military cargo aircraft, the Douglas C-74 Globemaster and the Douglas C-124 Globemaster II. The C-17 commonly performs strategic airlift missions, transporting troops and cargo throughout the world; additional roles include tactical airlift, medical evacuation and airdrop duties.

Boeing, which merged with McDonnell Douglas in the 1990s, continued to manufacture C-17s for export customers following the end of deliveries to the U.S. Air Force. Aside from the United States, the C-17 is in service with the United KingdomAustraliaCanadaQatarUnited Arab EmiratesNATO Heavy Airlift WingIndia, and Kuwait. The final C-17 was completed in May 2015. Let’s take a look.

C-17. Todd and Bob(3)

OK, so I’m not the HULK, but this thing is huge.  I’m the one in the yellow rain jacket and you can see how “petite” my buddy Todd and I are in comparison to this monster.   The following JPEG is courtesy of the USAF and will show the internal size of the C-17.

C-17 Internal

I told you it was big.

F-22 Raptor

I don’t have any JPEGs of the Raptor I took personally.  There was a four-hour delay due to weather and the Raptor made a low-level run to demonstrate maneuvering capabilities.  The JPEGs below were obtained (again) from the USAF.  I can tell you from witnessing the flight, it has impressive sharp-turn capabilities and deserves to be called state-of-the-art.

The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft developed for the United States Air Force (USAF). The result of the USAF’s Advanced Tactical Fighter program, the aircraft was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, but has additional capabilities including ground attackelectronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles.  Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor and was responsible for the majority of the airframe, weapon systems, and final assembly of the F-22, while program partner Boeing provided the wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and training systems.

The aircraft was variously designated F-22 and F/A-22 prior to formally entering service in December 2005 as the F-22A. Despite a protracted development as well as operational issues, the USAF considers the F-22 a critical component of its tactical air power, and states that the aircraft is unmatched by any known or projected fighter.  The Raptor’s combination of stealth, aerodynamic performance, and situational awareness gives the aircraft unprecedented air combat capabilities

The high cost of the aircraft, a lack of clear air-to-air missions due to delays in Russian and Chinese fighter programs, a ban on exports, and development of the more versatile and lower cost F-35 led to the end of F-22 production.   A final procurement tally of 187 operational production aircraft was established in 2009 and the last F-22 was delivered to the USAF in 2012.

F-22 Raptor

The Raptor cockpit is a digital marvel.  Please note the “heads-up” display.

F-22 Raptor Cockpit

There were other aircraft on display including several that would qualify as “oldies-but-goodies”.  The most impressive was the B-25 bomber.  It was in pristine condition and flew to the air show from its “home” in Arizona.  Unfortunately, it left the show before I had time to make a picture.  We frequently had to duck for cover during several periods of driving rain.  Good day—but wet day.

Hope you enjoy this one.  As always, I welcome your comments.


November 2, 2015

The holiday season is fast approaching and that means shopping for gifts and holiday buying.  It’s difficult to imagine another year is just about in the bag.

For the first time in history, the majority of holiday shopping will be accomplished on-line; shoppers turning to their mobile devices to browse and purchase items for family and friends.   According to the National Retail Federation, forty percent (40%) of consumers used their Smartphones to make purchasing decisions in 2014 during the holiday season.  This trend is now known as mobile commerce or m-commerce.  Smartphones will, for the most part, be their device of choice for this activity.  According to Adobe, one-third of the holiday sales will be consummated online.  This blows my mind but certainly follows trends solidly established in our country and over the world. People LOVE their Smartphones.   Let’s take a quick look:

  • Total online sales are up eleven percent (11%) from last year and e-commerce using mobile devices is projected to be eighty-three billion dollars ($83 billion) by the end of this year.
  • Cyber Monday is projected to produce three billion dollars ($3 billion) in sales alone.
  • The average Internet shopper will spend $305.00 in November and December alone. This is an all-time record for online mobile shopping.
  • Shopping by mobile device is estimated to be one trillion dollars ($1 trillion) by the year 2019. This represents a thirty-eight percent (38%) growth rate.
  • According to Master Card, more than one-quarter of the global community will use Smartphone in 2015 for browsing and on-line purchases.

This trend is producing significant identify theft and outright fraud.  Thieves hacking into mobile devices and scams being perpetrated against on-line users, but there are processes that can be accomplished to minimize and even eliminate mobile fraud.  The list may be somewhat commonsense but bears producing.

  • Look for indicators that a retailer’s website is secure, such as a lock icon on the status bar or a web address beginning with http://
  • Use caution when shopping on a Wi-Fe hot spot. If you are on an unsecured network, other users can see what you see and what you send.
  • Remember that if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Know the seller before you commit to purchase.
  • Do not click on pop-up ads or links in unsolicited e-mails.
  • Do not provide personal information via e-mail. Instead, call the business at the number given on their web site to confirm the request.
  • Consider checking your accounts on-line periodically to make sure you can spot any fraudulent activity. (Do this frequently.)
  • Make sure your phone is password protected. Use strong passwords, and change them frequently.
  • Make sure the virus scan detection software on your Smartphone is current.
  • Use a find-your-phone app to recover a lost Smartphone. There are several instances of Smartphones being recovered even due to theft.
  • Disable automatic connections from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
  • Be very careful of vendors you do not know or recognize. Before purchase, check them out.
  • Beware of the “package tracking scam.” The e-mail looks like it’s from the U.S. Postal Service — but it’s not. The email says you missed a delivery but, if you print the attached form and take it to your local post office; you can pick up your package and avoid penalties. The message might also include a link for more details. OK, here’s the truth: the email is bogus and there is no package. And if you download the attachment or click on a link, you’re likely to end up with a virus or malware on your device. Con artists often use the names and logos of familiar organizations to get under your guard. So how do you tell what’s legit and what’s a scam? Here are some ways to spot a bogus email:
    • It tells you to click on a link or download an attachment
    • It urges you to take immediate action
    • It asks you to “re-confirm” personal or financial information
    • Another sure sign an email is a scam? If you hover over the link in the email, it won’t show the official website of the supposed sender — in this case, the U.S. Postal Service website.
  • Only install trusted apps on your Smartphone and mobile device. Check them out prior to installation.
  • Stop advertisers from tracking you. Both Apple and Android have recently introduced new ways for advertisers to deliver targeted ads to us. This sounds like bad news, but the good part is that, given widespread consumer outrage on the issues, both companies have shown backbone and designed the new protocols to keep the data anonymous and to make it easier for individuals to opt out from tracking. If you’re an iPhone user, you need to go into Settings, then click Privacy, and then scroll all the way down to Advertising. You’ll see a button labeled says, “Limit ad tracking.” If it’s not showing a green color, click the button so that it shows green. This will stop ad companies from tracking what you do with your phone and serving up targeted ads.  Right underneath that, incidentally, you’ll see the “Reset Advertising Identifier.” Clicking on that will zero out the anonymous identifier as relates to your personal data. To trackers, you will then appear to be a new user. Now let’s go to Android. The new Google “AdID” system has similar intents – and is similarly difficult to find. Here, you don’t go to your Android phone settings, but your Google Settings app. Look for the Ads link. There, as with the iPhone, you’ll be able both to reset your advertising ID and click on a box to “opt out of interest based ads.”
  • Wipe your old phone before donating or selling. (This is big—don’t forget.)
  • None of the on-line vendors require your social security number or your birthdate to consummate a purchase. Don’t give it to them.

I certainly hope all of your shopping, holiday and otherwise, is less than challenging and you have no issues with identify theft and fraud.  Take care and as always, I welcome your comments.


October 27, 2015

We often hear about STEM professions and how important they are to our society.  With this being the case, I thought just how many non-STEM professionals know the meaning of the acronym and the disciplines within the STEM family.  I conducted a very unscientific survey and here is what I found.

  • CPA—“I’ve heard of STEM but don’t really know very much about what professions fall under that umbrella”. (His word.)
  • 7th Grade Student—“I have no idea what that means. Does it have something to do with plants?”
  • 23 Year Old Business Major—“Science and Technology.  I’m pretty sure it involves at least those two.”  (With a little coaching she remembered the engineering and mathematics.)
  • Switchboard Operator at Assisted Living Facility—Blank stare followed by: “I have a call coming in. I’ll get back with you on this one.”
  • 14 Year Old Boy Scout with 23 Merit Badges—Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. (He obviously nailed it.)
  • Registered Nurse—“Not too sure but I know it has to do with technology”. (I then ask what professions lie within the STEM block.)  “Everything technical—I think.”

It became obvious greater detail is needed in defining just what are we talking about when we use the term:





In this post, we will briefly look at STEM “makeup” and projections for employment through the year 2022.  First, let us define a few terms in a very broad sense.

Drilling down a little deeper, we may list the following for each broad category:




Drilling down a little deeper, we may list the following for each detailed category:








As you might suspect, these professions require post-secondary training. If you want to earn the “big bucks” you have to prepare yourself.  This is definitely not easy and will require focus and intensity on your part, but the rewards are definitely there.  Let’s take a look.



Earlier in this week, I posted the results of a survey taken by Machine Design Magazine.  This post is “engineering specific” and details information relative to the field of engineering and the engineering profession.  You can find information of this nature for job-related professions.  It’s out there.

Hope you enjoy this one.


October 21, 2015

The following information was taken from the 2015 Salary Survey conducted by the Machine Design Magazine and The U.S. Science and Engineering Workforce by the Congressional Research Service Recent, Current, and Projected Employment, Wages, and Unemployment.  The text and descriptions are mine.

The engineering field is an ever-changing environ­ment. To better understand the world we live in—and to help you better understand the state of the industry—Machine Design recently published its 2015 Salary Survey. More than 2,000 engineers responded to the annual survey regarding salary, work environment, benefits, and their views on where the field of engineering is going next.  This sample size is statistically significant and gives a snapshot of the engineering profession as it exists in the United States today.  The digital photographs given below, plus text, will aid your efforts in understanding the “state of engineering” in the 2014/2015 years.

Let’s first look at the breakdown of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) professions.


As you can see, the engineering profession represents approximately twenty-five percent (25%) of the STEM categories. Quite frankly, I was very surprised to see the fifty-six percent (56%) number for the computer occupations.  This definitely shows how greatly this profession has grown in the last decade.

According to the ASME survey, 54.3% of the respondents are fifty-five (55) years old or over and predominantly male. Just over three-quarters are college graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher. The most common principal job function is design and develop­mental engineering at 61.7%.  A much smaller percentage (11.8%) work in engineering management. The most common job title is design/project/R&D engineer at 24.7%. Others include manufacturing/product engineer and chief/senior/ lead/principal engineer at 6.0% and 12.9%, respectively.  Fifty-five years of age will indicate a looming shortage of engineering talent for our country.  A situation that will see companies relocating to other countries or our “importing” qualified foreign nationals to work as engineers for state-side companies.  Greater numbers are entering the profession but those entry-level positions do not equal or exceed the number retiring.



Also very surprised that the number of MS degrees is just about the same as BS degrees.  This is also an ongoing trend occurring just in the last decade or so.  As technology advances, the need for a higher level of education becomes necessary for some engineering disciplines.



The chart above also indicates a significant change in demographics.  Generally, engineers stay at one company for a lengthy period of time.  This apparently is no longer the case unless there was a significant influx of new graduates in 2015.  Trust me on this one—this is not the case.  Engineers are moving around to find higher salaries and better working conditions.  The possibility for advancement must not be ignored either.


I definitely agree with the graphic above.  Generally, engineers enjoy the work they do so they stay in the profession for a lengthily period of time.  This chart reflects that fact.


The chart above indicates approximately thirty-eight percent (38%) of engineering professionals are over the age of sixty and contemplating retirement sometime in the very near future.  Their positions are not being filled quickly enough.  Many engineering jobs remain open seeking candidates with the proper skill sets.



The chart above speaks for itself.  Engineering is a rewarding profession not only relative to project work but also compensation.  Engineering positions represent one of the highest paid professions available to an individual and entry level salaries can be quite impressive.


Due to economic conditions, sixty percent (60%) of the companies indicate hiring will be reduced or remain stagnant.  Our economy and tax structure is forcing more and more companies to locate abroad.  This is extremely detrimental to engineers during job searches.


As you can see from the above graphic, the computer science field provides the greatest salary level.  This is due to the skill set necessary for the design of hardware.


Once again, the New England and West Coast areas provide the greatest salary levels.  This has been the case for over two decades and will probably not change soon although very high taxes may cause companies to relocate to other states.


The next three slides speak for themselves and indicate job satisfaction.  By and large, we are a content group of professionals.  There is definitely an indication as to “off-shoring” and the effect that has on job markets in the “states”.





Continuing education for the engineering profession has always been a requirement for maintaining a PE license.  There are thirty-six (36) states that require at least twelve (12) hours per year of continuing education.  The next two slides indicate how engineers obtain that education and where they go for it.



I certainly hope you have enjoyed this write-up and it will be beneficial to you.  As always, I welcome your comments.

Two years ago I joined Facebook.  I did so to hoping to keep up with our two oldest granddaughters living in Atlanta.  Two years plus two months, I dropped out of Facebook.  I decided there are some things a grandfather does not need to know.

One more reason–Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Buzznet, Twitter, Flickr, Yelp, and many, many others can be black holes relative to time: time consumed and probably wasted.   I can demonstrate this fact with the following graphic.


Please note:  the chart represents EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY. EVERY MINUTE.

We have become a world in which Social Media has taken over our lives and created an addicted culture—at least for some.  As more and more people devote themselves to Social Media, our ability to effectively communicate becomes infected with “bleed-over” from acronyms use.  I’m not saying we can’t adjust but really, but do we need to?  Have you ever tried reading an e-mail written by a millennial?  Some are worse that others but most individuals are not into guessing games when time is a precious commodity, and in the business world that seems to be always.  We need a modern day Rosetta Stone to decipher the “lingo” and abbreviations used by some.  As you recall, the Rosetta Stone is an obelisk with three different scripts, hieroglyphic, demotic and Greek.  It was the first bilingual text recovered in modern times showing translations between languages.  There is a code that prevails in Social Media and only frequent users are privy to the secret.   Given below are examples of modern-day Social Media group-speak.  Please keep in mind; this is only a smattering of what’s out there.


  • OOTD—Outfit of the day
  • KOTD—Kicks of the day (I have no idea as to what “kicks” refers to.)
  • HMU—Hit me up. (That means give me a call or send me a text.)
  • SMASH—I would love to have sex with you. (Really crude but a part of the teenage vernacular.)
  • TBH—To be honest.
  • TBR—To be rude
  • OOMF—One of my followers (I suppose if you follow an individual on Twitter or Facebook you are a follower.)
  • BMS—Broke my scale (Scale of one to ten—I’m guessing here.)
  • IDK—I don’t know
  • RN—Right now
  • FML—F*** my life (Sorry about this one but it is said frequently.)
  • WTF—What the F***. (Also a frequent saying that’s becoming more popular with the late-night crowd. I also see this abbreviation in blogs written by want-to-be journalist. )
  • LMAO—Laughing my ass off.
  • CWD—Comment when done.
  • PIR—Parent in room
  • POS—Parent over shoulder
  • BFF—Best friend for life
  • BRB—Be right back
  • FOMO—Fear of missing out.
  • IMHO—In my humble opinion
  • ROFL—Rolling on the floor laughing (This is by far my favorite.)

The kids are not the only ones with their abbreviations.


  • B2B—Bussiness to business
  • B2C—Bussiness to client
  • CMGR—Community manager
  • CMS—Content management specialists
  • CPC—Cost per click (I love this one.)
  • CR—Conversion rate.
  • CTA—Call to action
  • KPI—Key performance Indicator
  • PPC—Pay per click
  • PV—Page views
  • UGC—User generated content
  • ROI-Return on investment (Old as the hill.)


  • API- Application Programming Interface
  • ESP—E-mail service provider
  • HTML—Hypertext markup language
  • ISP—Internet service provider
  • RSS—Really simple syndication
  • SaaS—Software as a Service
  • SEM—Search engine marketing
  • SEO—Search engine optimization
  • TOS—Terms of service
  • UI—User interface
  • UX—User expense.

Social Media is definitely here to stay.  It will not go away anytime soon and I am not saying it should.  I am saying time spent with social media is, for the most part wasted time.   If you appreciate a little privacy, you will not “park” day-after-day on the SS websites.  There are some who feel the days of free social media are coming to a close.  This will possibly lessen the number of “hits” per minute.   Only time will tell.

As always, I welcome your comments.


October 3, 2015

Data for each university was taken from Wikipedia.  I checked information for each school relative to authenticity and found Wikipedia to be correct in every case.

USA Today recently published an article from the London-based “Times Higher Education World University Rankings”.  This organization was founded in 2004 for the sole purpose of evaluating universities across the world.  Evaluations are accomplished using the following areas of university life:

  • Teaching ability and qualification of individual teachers
  • International outlook
  • Reputation of university
  • Research initiatives
  • Student-staff ratios
  • Income from industries
  • Female-male ratios
  • Quality of student body
  • Citations

There were thirteen (13) performance criteria in the total evaluation.  The nine (9) above give an indication as to the depth of the investigation. Eight hundred (800) universities from seventy (70) countries were evaluated.  This year, there were only sixty-three (63) out of two hundred (200) schools that made the “best in the world” list. Let’s take a look at the top fifteen (15).  These are in order.

  1. California Institute of Technology–The California Institute of Technologyor Caltech is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States.   The school was founded as a preparatory and vocational institution by Amos G. Throop in 1891.  Even from the early years, the college attracted influential scientists such as George Ellery HaleArthur Amos Noyes, and Robert Andrews Millikan. The vocational and preparatory schools were disbanded and spun off in 1910, and the college assumed its present name in 1921. In 1934, Caltech was elected to the Association, and the antecedents of NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which Caltech continues to manage and operate, were established between 1936 and 1943 under Theodore von Kármán. The university is one among a small group of Institutes of Technology in the United States which tends to be primarily devoted to the instruction of technical arts and applied sciences.
  2. Oxford University–The University of Oxford(informally Oxford University or simply Oxford) is a collegiate research university located in Oxford, England. While having no known date of foundation, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s second-oldest surviving university.  It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.  After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled northeast to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two “ancient universities” are frequently jointly referred to as “Oxbridge“.
  3. Stanford University–Stanford University(officially Leland Stanford Junior University) is a private research university in StanfordCalifornia.  It is definitely one of the world’s most prestigious institutions, with the top position in numerous rankings and measures in the United States. Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland Stanford, former Governor and S. Senator from California.  Mr. Stanford was a railroad tycoon.  He and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford, started the school in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford, Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford was opened on October 1, 1891 as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Tuition was free until 1920. The university struggled financially after Leland Stanford’s 1893 death and after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, Provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates’ entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley. By 1970, Stanford was home to a linear accelerator, and was one of the original four ARPANET nodes (precursor to the Internet).
  4. Cambridge University–The University of Cambridge (abbreviated as Cantabin post-nominal letters, sometimes referred to as Cambridge University) is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, England. Founded in 1209, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s fourth-oldest surviving university.   It grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with townsfolk. The two ancient universities share many common features and are often jointly referred to as “Oxbridge“.
  5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology–The Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, MIT adopted a European polytechnic  university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. Researchers worked on computersradar, and inertial guidance during World War II and the Cold War. Post-war defense research contributed to the rapid expansion of the faculty and campus.  The current 168-acre campus opened in 1916 and now covers over one (1) mile along the northern bank of the Charles River basin.
  6. Harvard University–Harvard Universityis a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was established in 1636. Its history, influence and wealth have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Established originally by the Massachusetts legislature and soon thereafter named for John Harvard, its first benefactor.  Harvard is the  oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.  The Harvard Corporation (formally, the President and Fellows of Harvard College) is its first chartered corporation. Although never formally affiliated with any denomination, the early College primarily trained Congregation­alist and Unitarian Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century Harvard had emerged as the central cultural establishment among Boston elites.  Following the American Civil War, President Charles W. Eliot‘s long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard was a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.   James Bryant Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II and began to reform the curriculum and liberalize admissions after the war. The undergraduate college became coeducational after its 1977 merger with Radcliffe College.
  7. Princeton University–Princeton Universityis a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey.  It was founded in 1746 as the College of New Jersey. Princeton was the fourth chartered institution of higher education in the Thirteen Colonies and thus one of the nine Colleges established before the American Revolution. The institution moved to Newark in 1747, then to the current site nine years later, where it was renamed Princeton University in 1896.
  8. Imperial College of London— Imperial College Londonis a public research university, located in London, United Kingdom. The Imperial College of Science and Technology was founded in 1907, as a constituent college of the federal University of London, by merging the City and Guilds College, the Royal School of Mines and the Royal College of Science. The college grew through mergers including with St Mary’s Hospital Medical SchoolCharing Cross and Westminster Medical School, the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and the National Heart and Lung Institute to be known as The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. The college established the Imperial College Business School in 2005, thus covering subjects in science, engineering, medicine and business. Imperial College London became an independent university in 2007 during its centennial celebration.
  9. ETH Zurich— ETH Zürich(Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, German:Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich) is an engineering, science, technology, mathematics and management university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Like its sister institution EPFL, it is an integral part of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain) that is directly subordinate to Switzerland’s Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research.
  10. University of Chicago— The University of Chicago(U of C, Chicago, or U Chicago) is a private research university in ChicagoIllinois. Established in 1890, the University of Chicago consists of The College, various graduate programs, interdisciplinary committees organized into four academic research divisions and seven professional schools. Beyond the arts and sciences, Chicago is also well known for its professional schools, which include the Pritzker  School of Medicine, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the Law School, the School of Social Service Administration, the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies and the Divinity School. The university currently enrolls approximately 5,000 students in the College and around 15,000 students overall.
  11. Johns Hopkins— The Johns Hopkins University(commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins) is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, the university was named after its first benefactor, the American entrepreneur, abolitionist, and philanthropist Johns Hopkins.   His $7 million bequest—of which half financed the establishment of The Johns Hopkins Hospital—was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the United States at the time.   Daniel Coit Gilman, who was inaugurated as the institution’s first president on February 22, 1876,led the university to revolutionize higher education in the U.S. by integrating teaching and research.
  12. Yale University Yale Universityis a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 in Saybrook Colony as the Collegiate School, the University is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. In 1718, the school was renamed Yale College in recognition of a gift from Elihu Yale, a governor of the British East India Company and in 1731 received a further gift of land and slaves from Bishop Berkeley.   Established to train Congregationalist ministers in theology and sacred languages, by 1777 the school’s curriculum began to incorporate humanities and sciences and in the 19th century gradually incorporated graduate and professional instruction, awarding the first D. in the United States in 1861 and organizing as a university in 1887.
  13. University of California Berkeley— The University of California, Berkeley(also referred to as Berkeley, UC Berkeley, California or simply Cal) is a public research university located in BerkeleyCalifornia. It is the flagship campus of the University of California system, one of three parts in the state’s public higher education plan, which also includes the California State University system and the California Community Colleges System.
  14. University College of London— University College London(UCL) is a public research university in London, England and a constituent college of the federal University of London. Recognized as one of the leading multidisciplinary research universities in the world, UCL is the largest higher education institution in London and the largest postgraduate institution in the UK by enrollment.  Founded in 1826 as London University, UCL was the first university institution established in London and the earliest in England to be entirely secular, to admit students regardless of their religion and to admit women on equal terms with men. The philosopher Jeremy Bentham is commonly regarded as the spiritual father of UCL, as his radical ideas on education and society were the inspiration to its founders, although his direct involvement in its foundation was limited. UCL became one of the two founding colleges of the University of London in 1836. It has grown through mergers, including with the Institute of Neurology (in 1997), the Eastman Dental Institute (in 1999), the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (in 1999), the School of Pharmacy (in 2012) and the Institute of Education (in 2014).
  15. Columbia University— Columbia University(officially Columbia University in the City of New York) is a private Ivy League research university in Upper ManhattanNew York City. Originally established in 1754 as King’s College by royal charter of George II of Great Britain, it is the oldest institution of higher learning in New York State, as well as one of the country’s nine colonial colleges.   After the revolutionary war, King’s College briefly became a state entity, and was renamed Columbia College in 1784. A 1787 charter placed the institution under a private board of trustees before it was further renamed Columbia University in 1896 when the campus was moved from Madison Avenue to its current location in Morningside Heights occupying land of 32 acres (13 ha). Columbia is one of the fourteen founding members of the Association of American Universities, and was the first school in the United States to grant the D. degree.


As you can see, individuals in leadership positions across the world consider formal education as being one the great assets to an individual, a country and our species in general.  Higher education can, but not always, drives us to discover, invent, and commercialize technology that advances our way of life and promotes health.  The entire university experience is remarkably beneficial to an individual’s understanding of the world and world events.

It is very safe to assume the faculty of each school is top-notch and attending students are serious over-achievers. (Then again, maybe not.)  I would invite your attention to the web site listing the two hundred schools considered—the top two hundred.  Maybe your school is on the list.  As always, I invite your comments.


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