‘Azimuth’ via Wikipedia

via: Azimuth – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

An azimuth i/ˈæzɪməθ/; from Arabic السمت as‑samt, meaning “a way, a part, or quarter” is an angular measurement in a spherical coordinate system. The vector from an observer origin to a point of interest is projected perpendicularly onto a reference plane; the angle between the projected vector and a reference vector on the reference plane is called the azimuth.An example is the position of a star in the sky. The star is the point of interest, the reference plane is the horizon or the surface of the sea, and the reference vector points north. The azimuth is the angle between the north vector and the perpendicular projection of the star down onto the horizon. Azimuth is usually measured in degrees °. The concept is used in navigation, astronomy, engineering, mapping, mining and artillery.

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Guinness World Record for largest kinetic tension experiment

Indianapolis teens Andre Jefferson and Miles Parnell set a world record Saturday, March 24, for the largest stick bomb, which is a mechanical spring-loaded device constructed out of flat sticks woven together under tension. A stick bomb works similarly to a line of dominoes; setting off the kinetic tension of the woven sticks causes them to pop in a line and tumble. Their attempt took place at Developer Town, a web development shop in Indianapolis. Their official count was 6,900 sticks, which beat the previous world record.

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Ada Lovelace Day – Blogging About Women in Technology

Ada Lovelace
Ada Lovelace
Who is Ada Lovelace?

She is mainly known for having written a description of Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the analytical engine. She is today appreciated as the “first programmer” since she was writing programs–that is, manipulating symbols according to rules–for a machine that Babbage had not yet built. She also foresaw the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching while others, including Babbage himself, focused only on these capabilities.

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology – entrepreneurs, innovators, sysadmins, programmers, designers, games developers, hardware experts, tech journalists, tech consultants.

There are lots of women who are extraordinary in their fields. Here are just a few…

  • Frances Allen, IBM Fellow Emerita, the first woman to win the Turing Award, the highest honor in computing (and a member of ABI’s Board of Trustees)
  • Karen Banks, who pioneered the use of ICTs for the empowerment of women around the world, 2004 Anita Borg Social Impact Award
  • Helen Greiner, whose iRobot products save lives and clean floors, 2008 Women of Vision Award for Innovation
  • Susan Landau, whose work at Sun Microsystems on encryption, surveillance, and digital rights management has influenced both corporate and public policy, 2008 Women of Vision Award for Social Impact
  • Duy-Loan T. Le, the first woman and first Asian to be named a Fellow at Texas Instruments, 2007 Women of Vision Award for Leadership, and whose inspiring acceptance speech has had thousands of viewings on YouTube

And on a Personal Level…

Lisa Linn – Web geek extraordinare and interface designer at SAS. I met Lisa through my wife Stephanie – they became friends through an online community of New Beetle enthusiasts. Lisa created an innovative website All Pods Go To Roswell – that documented the annual caravan trek to a New Beetle car show in Roswell, New Mexico by broadcasting the cross-country roadtrip live in real time, through streaming webcams attached to her Beetle. What a geek.

Melissa McEwan – Veteran blogger and champion of feminist ideals. She runs the online community blog Shakesville, where she is an intelligent, witty and insightful leader of an ever-growing social network that comments on current events, cultural norms and issues of gender and equality.

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The Secret, Oprah, and the idea of “magical thinking”

Somewaterytart at Shakespeare’s Sister tackles the subject of the new DVD/Book “The Secret” that Oprah’s been touting. I’m inclined to agree with much of what she says.
I first heard about the book from my mom, who works for Barnes and Noble, where the book is apparently flying off the shelves, so I resisted blurting out “That sounds nuts!” but that’s pretty much what crossed my mind when I heard it described. Then later Stephanie watched the DVD with some friends. She thought it was over the top, but an interesting exercise in positive-thinking.
I’m in favor of optimism, but as tart points out, there’s also quite a bit of blame that gets thrown at people who don’t come from privileged backgrounds for their less than desirable circumstances, and this book does seem to play into that – it outright says that if something bad happens to you, it’s because you attracted it into your life. That’s quite a case of blaming the victim, there.
And the anti-intellectualism/anti-science is pretty annoying, too:
“”I don’t know how electricity works, do you?” Uh, yes, I do, thanks. That’s what science fair was for.

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Nature cannot be fooled

Richard Feynman’s famous conclusion to his report on the shuttle Challenger accident, which arose again in the Columbia accident, is “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”
[cribbed from Edward Tufte.]
Yeah, no shit. Someone should point this out to Bush, tout de suite.

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