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Did Bill Gates Steal the Heart of DOS? - IEEE Spectrum
"The big question: Was the operating system Gates sold to IBM his to sell? Or was a key part of it stolen from Kildall?"
IEEE-Spectrum  Bill-Gates  history  computing 
8 weeks ago by pierredv
Elizabeth Holmes: The hypnotic tale of the rise and fall of Theranos | New Scientist, Mar 2019
"Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes built a $10 billion company on the promise of a miracle blood test. But it didn’t work. A new film, The Inventor, follows the fallout"

"How could so many smart people have been duped for so long? "

"Eerily, Holmes named her prototype blood-testing machine “Edison”. The real Edison also pretended things worked when they didn’t."

"Ian Gibbons, Theranos’s chief scientist,was pushed out. Facing a legal battle involving the company, he took his own life."

"The film shows how Holmes and Balwani created a culture of paranoia. "
NewScientist  History  technology  biotech  tricksters  innovation 
9 weeks ago by pierredv
What do you want on your tombstone?
"I've come across a few mathematicians or scientists who have been so proud of their scholarly achievements that they've asked for them to be put on their headstone when they die (or have had their achievements placed on their headstones by someone else)."
history  obituary  physics  memory 
9 weeks ago by pierredv
Boltzmann's Grave
"Physicist’s epitaph provides final confirmation to a career of turmoil."
Vienna  physics  history  travel  Austria  people  stories 
10 weeks ago by pierredv
The HP Garage
"In 1938 David and Lucile Packard got married and rented the first floor of the house at 367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto. The simple one car garage became the HP workshop and the little shack out back became Bill Hewlett's home. In 1989 California named the garage "the birthplace of Silicon Valley" and made it a California Historical Landmark."
technology  mythology  stories  history 
10 weeks ago by pierredv
How Politicians Bend Time - The American Interest, Mar 2019
“As gravity bends light, so power bends time,” writes renowned historian Christopher Clark in his ambitious new book Time and Power: Visions of History in German Politics, from the Thirty Years’ War to the Third Reich.

Looking at four successive regimes in four successive epochs in one country, Clark describes how individual leaders are both shaped by their moment, and how their understanding of their circumstances allows them to sculpt their destiny and legacy.
AmericanInterest  podcasts  Germany  history  time  politics 
june 2019 by pierredv
government takeover of all telephone systems – purple motes
via Dale hatfield, Jun 2019

"On July 22, 1918, the U.S. government declared that it was taking possession and control of all U.S. telegraph and telephone systems"

"Under government control, telephone companies received rate increases that would have been difficult for them to achieve as private companies."
history  telephony  Communications  WWI 
june 2019 by pierredv
History, Differential Equations, and the Problem of Narration on JSTOR, Donald N. McCloskey, 1991
Donald N. McCloskey
History and Theory, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Feb., 1991), pp. 21-36
Stable URL:


… engineers specialize in metaphors and historians in stories. In the abstract it is a matter of definitions. Take the essence of the metaphor to be comparison and the essence of the story to be time.

The engineer and historian do not deal in mere comparison or mere time, no more than poets or novelists do. Aimless comparison is bad poetry and bad engineering; one damned thing after another is bad fiction and bad history.

Like the terms of most human histories, most solutions of differential equations in this explicit form (called "analytic solutions") cannot be achieved mechanically. They have to be guessed at, then confirmed by showing they correspond with the original equations, which is to say with the partially thematized chronologies that we call history. Even the ones that do not have analytic solutions often have approximate solutions in terms of what are called, alarmingly, "infinite series." The successive terms of such series are approximate themes. For instance, the large first term in an infinite series of themes for World War I might be "God favors the bigger battalions," to which might be added the somewhat less important second term (" . . . and the better generals"), to which might be added the third (" . . . and the British Empire"), and so on, out to the limit of the historian's or the engineer's need for thematization. (The engineer uses the thematization to characterize and predict, the historian to characterize and explain, but otherwise they are doing much the same job: one is predicting, the other postdicting.)

The analytic solutions correspond to simply predictable histories, that is, histories that can be reexpressed as equations. The differential equations embody what we think we know about societies as theory, such as a Marxist theory. The solution then characterizes a particular historical path. . . . Such talk undermines the claim that natural science and historical science have two separate modes of apprehension. The separation seems less consequential if it is viewed merely as the metaphor as against the story, and if in good metaphors and good stories the two are linked by a differential equation. The old question - Clio, Science or Muse? - loses its gripping interest if sciences use stories and art uses number.

The commonest theme of battle history, the horseshoe nail, is a case of a non- linear differential equation: . . . Battle history is not held in high regard by historians precisely because it so obviously depends on tiny chances of this sort. . . . But the disdain for assigning large events small causes is not rational in a world partly nonlinear.

But the attraction of the chaotic is also the attraction of magic. The accident has the power of magic, a childish omnipotence of thought in which I can change the world with a word. . . . Tiny errors in a magical ceremony can make it go wrong. "If the Hindu magicians are to be believed, some of their rites could be practiced successfully only once every forty-five years." Naturally: if magic could be done on any day, in any place, it would not have the scarcity that protects its claim of efficacy. It would merely be engineering.

Chaos pleases us, then, by reintroducing a sense of magic, a sense of many possibilities.

. . . The Dogma of Large-Large. Large results, it says, must have large causes.

The butterfly can take flight either in the parameters (that is, in the confidence about the model imposed) or in the initial conditions (that is, in the confidence about the observations of the world's condition). Both yield large differences out of small differences. Only unreasonable dogmatism about the model or un- reasonable dogmatism about acuity can restore one's confidence in the Dogma of Large-Large.

What we can do is look for times that seem chaotic and be forewarned. That is what engineers do.

One does not avoid nonlinearities by not knowing what they are called. When success breeds success, when variables feed back into themselves, we have an exciting story to tell, but unless we know its metaphors already we have no way to tell it.
history  narration  stories  engineering  maths 
may 2019 by pierredv
Stories about economics and technology: The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought: Vol 17, No 5
Robert Solow


This essay offers an unsystematic sketch of seval ways in which economists have approached the need to represent and model changes in technology. It begins with the failures of Ricardo and Mill to respond adequately to the continueing increase of productivity after the Industrial Revolution, and ascribes it to the lack of appropriate analytical technique. It goes on to the question of classification of inventions posed by Hicks, with responses from other authors. It concludes with comments on the current intereste in endogenizing technical profress as a routine profit-seeking activity, with the thought that an uneasy compormise between exogeneous and endogeneous may be the best that can be done.
history  economics  technology  stories 
may 2019 by pierredv
Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) – An international learned society devoted to history of technology
Society for the History of Technology

The Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) was formed in 1958 to encourage the study of the development of technology and its relations with society and culture.

SHOT is an interdisciplinary organization concerned not only with the history of technological devices and processes but also with technology in history (the relationship of technology to politics, economics, science, the arts, and the organization of production) and with the role it plays in the differentiation of individuals in society.
history  technology 
may 2019 by pierredv
Technology's Stories - SHOT
Formed in 1958, The Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) encourages the historical study of technology in society and culture.
technology  stories  history 
may 2019 by pierredv
Modernity’s Spell - The New Atlantis, Clare Coffey, Winter 2019
Review of "Credulity: A Cultural History of US Mesmerism " by Emily Ogden

"Whatever beliefs the mesmerist professed, on the mesmeric stage his craft depended on performing the technique of mesmerism with seriousness and intent. With subjects selected for their predisposition to belief, mesmerist and subject constituted what Daniel O’Keefe, in Stolen Lightning: The Social Theory of Magic (1982), calls an “act-as-if group”: a social interaction that temporarily redraws the accepted borders of reality by mutual agreement.

O’Keefe believes that the act-as-if groups are the basis for magic. Mutual agreement overvalues a temporary subjective state, giving it new meaning, creating a framework around it. The agreement then allows the subjective state to be sustained. So, by Ogden’s account, you have an odd tension. By one light, the mesmerists who identified imagination as the active agent stand for greater enlightenment than those who believed in the non-existent magnetic fluid. And yet their attempts to control imagination in others hinged on encouraging and ritualizing false beliefs — exactly what some sociologists say magicians do."

"Ogden describes the process by which the debunking of mesmerism produced successor generations in terms of the “idol function” played by false beliefs. The destruction of an idol, the thinking goes, is not a closed and final process. When you destroy an idol, you must supply some account of the undeniable effect the idol had on the lives of its followers. Christians hewing down a tree sacred to the pagans, for example, might say that the boons received by worshippers of the tree were really the gifts of demons. In exploding the existence of animal magnetism — ostensibly a physical substance producing foreseeable effects — the debunkers imbued their subjects with much more powerful, protean, and elusive forces: credulity, credenciveness, imagination."

"Ogden’s animating insight — that irrational beliefs, at least in others, help one to build up a rational self — is probably true as individual psychology, unprovable as a universal law, and extremely plausible as a process of secularism in particular."

"Identifying primitive belief and calling it “enchantment” — the term for that state of the world before modernity when one is in awe but in error, like Max Weber’s propitiating savage — is a defining aspect of modern secular culture. Enchantment is a periodizing word, that is: The world used to be enchanted, and now it is not. In this way, enchantment and modernity are not opposing forces but belong together."
TheNewAtlantis  books  reviews  history  culture  magic  belief 
may 2019 by pierredv
Dialectics of Enlightenment | by Kwame Anthony Appiah | The New York Review of Books
via Pierre-Yves Saintoyant

Review of
Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of Reason
by Justin E.H. Smith
NYReviewOfBooks  reviews  books  TheEnlightenment  history 
may 2019 by pierredv
[pdf] Aris Lecture - Magic, Healing and Ethics in Tibetan Buddhism - Sam van Schaik
Magic, Healing and Ethics in Tibetan Buddhism
Sam van Schaik (The British Library)
Aris Lecture in Tibetan and Himalayan Studies
Wolfson College, Oxford, 16 November 2018

Podcast: * Published: 12/6/18 08:12:25
* Episode Download link (43 MB):

Tibet  magic  Buddhism  history  WolfsonCollegeOxford 
april 2019 by pierredv
early Tibet | Notes, thoughts and fragments of research on the history of Tibet
via Wolfson lecture podcast "Magic, Healing, and Ethics in Tibetan Buddhism" Dec 2018
Tibet  Buddhism  magic  history  WolfsonCollegeOxford  blogs 
april 2019 by pierredv
Letters to the Dead in Ancient Egypt - Ancient History Encyclopedia
"As Uziel points out, people with high self-control may doggedly pursue a goal even once it has stopped being personally meaningful. You might also make more effort to deliberately leave empty windows in your diary that allow greater spontaneity and indulgence (see “A lazy path to self-control”). . The gods had created a world of harmony, and all one needed to do in order to reach paradise in the next was to live a life worthy of eternity. If one made each day an exercise in creating a life one would wish to continue forever, founded on the concept of harmony and balance (which of course included consideration and kindness for one's neighbors), one could be confident of entry to paradise after death."

"Letters to the Dead date from the Old Kingdom (c. 2613 - 2181 BCE) through the Late Period of Ancient Egypt (525-332 BCE), essentially the entirety of Egyptian history. "

"Egyptologist Rosalie David notes how "requests found in the letters are varied: some sought help against dead or living enemies, particularly in family disputes; others asked for legal assistance in support of a petitioner who had to appear before the divine tribunal at the Day of Judgment; and some pleaded for special blessings or benefits" (282). The most often made requests, however, deal with fertility and birth through appeals for a healthy pregnancy and child, most often a son."

"Since the dead person retained their personal identity in the next world, one would write them using the same kinds of touches that had worked in life. If one had gotten their way through threats, then threats were used such as suggesting that, if one did not get one's wish, one would cut off offerings at the tomb. "
AncientEgypt  history  death  afterlife  letters  correspondence  Egypt  Egyptology  ethics 
april 2019 by pierredv
Native justice: How tribal values shape Judge Abby’s court - CSMonitor Mar 2019
"When Judge Abinanti joined the Yurok Tribal Court in 2007 it operated like a normal state court, albeit on a much smaller scale. When most Yuroks got into trouble with the law they went to local state courts, and they entered a system designed to be adversarial and punitive. Root causes often went ignored and unaddressed, and recidivism inevitably followed.

Judge Abinanti has taken the court in a different direction: one more communal and rehabilitative. It’s a judicial path followed by other tribes around the country. Personal responsibility and renewal – two pillars of the once nearly extinct Yurok culture – now permeate the court’s functions.

Incarceration has largely been replaced by supervised release combined with Yurok traditions such as dancing and wood carving. Lawyering up for family disputes and child custody battles has been replaced by mediation. Almost every case is resolved through mediation – victims and perpetrators talking with each other – even if it takes years. Tribal courts resemble the growing U.S. restorative justice movement, which emphasizes repairing the harm caused by criminal behavior and getting all stakeholders involved. Judge Abinanti says it just resembles the old Yurok values system."

"The Klamath River has always been at the center of Yurok life, and the tribe – the largest in California with about 5,000 members – is one of the few that still occupies its ancestral land. "

"Among the first laws the state legislature passed was the legalization of the “indenture” of “any Indian.” American Indians were also barred from voting, from giving evidence for or against whites, and from serving on juries. In combination, those laws “amounted to a virtual grant of impunity to those who attacked them,” writes Benjamin Madley, a history professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, in an email."

"Massacres, slavery, and disease reduced California’s native population to about 30,000 within 23 years of statehood. Some tribes lost 95 percent of their population. The Yurok Tribe says three-quarters of its population died in this period, and the tribe faded into obscurity."

"Whether a higher caseload would affect results is unclear. Critics of restorative justice say it’s naive and lacks effective consequences for wrongdoers."
CSMonitor  Justice  law  courts  Native-American  tribes  California  History 
april 2019 by pierredv
NASA's first 60 years, in pictures - CNN Style
Some 400 of the best, including a selection of lesser-known images, have been collected in the book "The NASA Archives: 60 Years in Space," a visual celebration of NASA from its inception to its near future.
Time  NASA  photography  photojournalism  history  books 
march 2019 by pierredv
The Route of a Text Message – the scottbot irregular
"This is the third post in my full-stack dev (f-s d) series on the secret life of data. This installment is about a single text message: how it was typed, stored, sent, received, and displayed. I sprinkle in some history and context to break up the alphabet soup of protocols, but though the piece gets technical, it should all be easily understood."
code  infrastructure  security  cybersecurity  history  SS7 
january 2019 by pierredv
Nextel Communications | Wiki | Everipedia
Nextel towers in the United States have caused radio interference with commercial and public safety trunked and conventional 800 MHz two-way radio systems. To resolve the problems, Nextel and the Federal Communications Commission developed a plan, approved by the FCC in August 2004, to relocate Nextel systems elsewhere in the 800 MHz band in order to reduce the potential for interference.
Nextel  history  spectrum  800MHz 
january 2019 by pierredv
BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Automata, Sep 2018
"Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of ideas about machines imitating living creatures, and the questions they raise about the differences between machinery and humanity."
BBC  automation  robotics  robots  history 
january 2019 by pierredv
(18) Explaining Pitch | Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment - YouTube
Around 5:17

"… and throat doctor called George Cathcart he gave money to finance the 1896 Proms at the Queen's Hall on condition that the organ was retuned down to something around 440 and to stop the wind players complaining he went out and bought a complete set of wind instruments which he gave to the wind players so they didn't they weren't out of pocket playing at this new pitch and that was one of the big events in fixing pitch around 440 where it stayed pretty much since then "
music  history  pitch  video  OAE  YouTube 
december 2018 by pierredv
Let's Call it Danish Gymnastics: The Yoga Body - Mere Orthodoxy | Christianity, Politics, and Culture
Essay recounting Mark Singleton’s "The Yoga Body"

"Singleton sets out his thesis early: “The primacy of asana [or posture based] performance in transnational yoga today is a new phenomenon that has no parallel in premodern times.”"

" Whatever connection there is (and Singleton hedges at the last second against disavowing a connection altogether), contemporary posture based yoga is developed and appropriated the ancient texts for its own purposes in response to the introduction of new discourses into India–namely, the “physical culture” of seeking social transformation through bodily health that the YMCA brought to India."

"Singleton’s story is a complex one, but the simplified version goes something like this: starting the mid 1800s, Per Henrik Ling’s system of Swedish gymnatics was adopted throughout England and Europe. Ling’s approach was similar to the YMCA’s–it was oriented toward the development of the “whole person,” not just the body. ... It was this system, along with Dane Niels Bukh’s rhythmic exercises, that framed the YMCA’s approach in India. Singleton highlights the fact that when the organization took its message of social transformation through bodily transformation to India, they found “no “system” or “brand” of physicalized yoga that could satisfactorily meet India’s need.” So they created it, coopting the few posture-based practices that were in use at the time and fusing them with medical gymnastics, calisthentics, and body building."

"At the same time, Singleton’s analysis complicates the “anti-yoga” argument for Christians. If the postures of contemporary yoga were developed in response to Scandinavian stretching systems, then they may be more easily extricated from the problematic ideologies that often accompany them (which Mohler reluctantly grants in the followup)."
yoga  asana  history 
december 2018 by pierredv
The Legend of Pope Joan - Footnoting History, Sep 2018
Fantastic commentary at the end about why conspiracy theories occur

"One of the most famous stories about the medieval papacy is that, supposedly sometime in the 9th or 11th century, there was a woman named Joan who disguised herself as a man and became Pope John. While it might sound like a modern, anti-Catholic creation, this story was actually invented in the Middle Ages. In this episode, Nathan returns to the realm of medieval conspiracy theories to talk about the medieval origins and development of the myth of Joan, as well as the social role of conspiracy theory."
FootnotingHistory  history  podcasts  conspiracy-theories  religion  MiddleAges 
october 2018 by pierredv
Labor Day: Where does it come from? -
Labor Day dates back to 1882, when New York labor unions established a September parade. The first participants were heckled, but within 12 years, they'd won a national holiday.
CSMonitor  history  employment  holidays  labor 
september 2018 by pierredv
Chad Jones on Paul Romer's Contribution to Growth Theory
"The essential contribution of Romer (1990) is its clear understanding of the economics of ideas and how the discovery of new ideas lies at the heart of economic growth. The history behind that paper is fascinating."

"Here is the key insight: ideas are different from essentially every other good in that they are nonrival. ... The key is that nonrivalry gives rise to increasing returns to scale."

"Once you've got increasing returns, growth follows naturally. Output per person then depends on the total stock of knowledge; the stock doesn't need to be divided up among all the people in the economy. Contrast this with capital in a Solow model. ... It is very easy to get growth in an aggregate in any model, even in Solow, because of population growth. More autoworkers mean that more cars are produced. In Solow, this cannot sustain per capita growth because we need growth in cars per autoworker. But in Romer, this is not the case: more researchers produce more ideas, which makes everyone better off because of nonrivalry."
economics  history  Paul-Romer  growth 
july 2018 by pierredv
Legal Legacies: Milestones In Satellite History - From our Archive - Via Satellite -
Communications Satellite Act
Domestic Satellites - "Open Skies"
Earth Stations
Reduced Orbital Spacing
The Transponder Sales Decision
Separate (from Intelsat) Systems
Satellite Radio
ViaSatellite  history  satellite  regulations  FCC  Comsat  Echostar  Hughes  Intelsat 
june 2018 by pierredv
Bijlmer, City of the Future, Part 1, 99% Invisible
a team headed by an architect named Siegfried Nassuth

Pruitt Igoe in St Louis, had also been an experiment in the modernist principles of CIAM
99percentinvisible  architecture  cities  history  modernism  urbanism 
may 2018 by pierredv
(6) A Town Called Asbestos - YouTube
In Quebec, Canada, there's a town called Asbestos. It's an alarming name, one that conjures up images of lung disease and mesothelioma. So now that the town's asbestos mine, once the largest asbestos mine in the world, has closed... why haven't they changed the name?
history  Tom-Scott  video  YouTube 
may 2018 by pierredv
E-Band Technology - E-Band Communications, LLC
"The 71-76 and 81-86 GHz bands (widely known as "e-band") are permitted worldwide for ultra high capacity point-to-point communications."

"A novel "light licensing" scheme was introduced in 2005 and the first commercial e-band radios were installed soon after."

"... the FCC permits e-band radios to operate with up to 3W of output power. This is significantly higher than available at other millimeter-wave bands (for example, 25 dB higher than the 10 mW limit at 60 GHz)."


mmWave  E-band  history  spectrum-licensing  light-licensing 
march 2018 by pierredv
Matt Bengtson's fortepiano - YouTube
Introduction to fortepianos especially Viennese 5-octave types with some musical examples
music  history  YouTube  video  fortepiano 
march 2018 by pierredv
Fourier’s transformational thinking - Nature Mar 2018
Via Dale Hatfield

"The mathematics of Joseph Fourier, born 250 years ago this week, shows the value of intellectual boldness."
physics  history  profile  NatureJournal  maths 
march 2018 by pierredv
The Grisly Origins of Madame Tussaud’s Wax Empire - Artsy Mar 2018
"As an entrepreneur ahead of his time, Curtius intuitively grasped that wax modeling offered a unique way to stage current events for a novelty-hungry populace. It also offered customers a titillating (if illusory) brush with celebrity. "

"Though Tussaud would forever claim she was forced by the National Assembly to model the beheaded busts of Robespierre, Jean-Paul Marat, Marie Antoinette, and Louis XVI as a brutal chronicle of the Revolution, her motivation was likely financial."
Artsy  history 
march 2018 by pierredv
LED Streetlights Are Giving Neighborhoods the Blues - IEEE Spectrum, sep 2016
"For some, those first LED lights have been a fiasco. The harsh glare of certain blue-rich designs is now thought to disrupt people’s sleep patterns and harm nocturnal animals. And these concerns have been heaped on the complaints of astronomers, who as far back as 2009 have criticized the new lights. That’s the year the International Dark-Sky Association, a coalition that opposes light pollution, started worrying that blue-rich LEDs could be “a disaster for dark skies and the environment,” says Chris Monrad, a director of IDA and a lighting consultant in Tucson."

"The result is that at night the blue-rich light from an LED streetlamp looks brighter to the eye than the orangish light from a high-pressure sodium lamp—even if the two emit the same number of lumens, which are measured on a scale based on the eyes’ daytime response."
IEEE-Spectrum  astronomy  LED-lighting  history  illumination  lighting 
march 2018 by pierredv
Why Ancient Greek Sculptures Have Small Penises - Artsy Jan 2018
In his play The Clouds (c. 419–423 BC), ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes summed up the ideal traits of his male peers as “a gleaming chest, bright skin, broad shoulders, tiny tongue, strong buttocks, and a little prick.”
Artsy  Greece  sculpture  history  art  sex 
january 2018 by pierredv
Legal Legacies: Milestones In Satellite History - From our Archive - Via Satellite - Dec 2017
" the end of 1958 the tenuous principle of ‘freedom of space’ had been established. By allowing the Soviet Union to lead in this area, the Russian space program had established the U.S.-backed precedent for free access,” Launius explained.

" Half of the shares would be sold to the general public, and the other half to established international carriers. Comsat would be the U.S. member of Intelsat, which would operate the international satellite system."

"The United States was the third country, after Canada (Telesat) and Russia (Molniya), to launch domestic satellites."
ViaSatellite  history  satellite  surveillance  reconnaissance  Sputnik  Comsat  Intelsat  Panamsat 
december 2017 by pierredv
In Praise of the Humble Knot - The New York Times
They’re as old as humankind and used by practically every person on the planet every day, so how come they’re so underappreciated?
NYTimes  knots  history 
december 2017 by pierredv
New documentary highlights film star’s WWII spectrum invention | PolicyTracker, Nov 2017
"As a documentary about Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr premieres in London, PolicyTracker takes a look at her work on spread spectrum. This helped to pave the way for frequency hopping, and ultimately, technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi."

"in 1942 patented the concept of “frequency hopping” that now underlies the spread spectrum radio systems used in products ranging from mobile phones to wireless networking systems ... It’s difficult, however, to draw a link from it to the PN used in CDMA cellular, GPS and early generations of Wi-Fi. It’s more likely that the roots of PN are Second World War cryptography and work by Paul Green at MIT Lincoln Lab"
PolicyTracker  spectrum  spread-spectrum  history  Bluetooth 
november 2017 by pierredv
High-Altitude Platforms — Present Situation and Technology Trends, J. Aerosp. Technol. Manag. vol.8 no.3 , Jul/Sep 2016

High-altitude platforms (HAPs) are aircraft, usually unmanned airships or airplanes positioned above 20 km, in the stratosphere, in order to compose a telecommunications network or perform remote sensing. In the 1990 and 2000 decades, several projects were launched, but very few had continued. In 2014, 2 major Internet companies (Google and Facebook) announced investments in new HAP projects to provide Internet access in regions without communication infrastructure (terrestrial or satellite), bringing back attention to the development of HAP. This article aims to survey the history of HAPs, the current state-of-the-art (April 2016), technology trends and challenges. The main focus of this review will be on technologies directly related to the aerial platform, inserted in the aeronautical engineering field of knowledge, not detailing aspects of the telecommunications area.
HAPS  HALE  aviation  history 
november 2017 by pierredv
That Time When Intelsat, Inmarsat and SES Joined to Defend Spectrum - From our Archive - Via Satellite -Via Satellite
"In 2007, Via Satellite awarded its Satellite Executive of the Year honors to three leading spectrum executives from operators Intelsat, Inmarsat and SES for crafting a unified message that helped preserve C-band spectrum access for the industry. Ten years later, Intelsat and Intel have made waves with a joint FCC proposition that opens the door to sharing C-band spectrum with mobile operators. Looking back to our 2007 SEOTY award winners explains some of the history behind the strong response to the proposal."

"The satellite industry’s use of C-band spectrum faced a serious threat in 2007, but a well-organized effort involving satellite players around the globe fended off terrestrial companies seeking a foothold in the band."

"The scope and complexity of this effort involved representatives from companies around the globe, and the task of keeping the different satellite-related companies unified in their message and organized through the months leading up to WRC-07 and throughout the meeting was a gargantuan one."

"We were aware of the WRC agenda item since WRC-03. However, the responsibility for this issue had been placed in ITU Working Group 8F, which was dominated by supporters of IMT."

"It has been a wake-up call in the sense that the message is now loud and clear — we are fighting for spectrum in competition with emerging terrestrial wireless services, both to keep our existing operations intact as well as to grow our own new services including mobile and broadband."
ViaSatellite  Intelsat  Inmarsat  SES  satellite  history  C-band  IMT  WRC-07  cellular  lobbying  ITU 
october 2017 by pierredv
Coase’s theory of the firm, Economics brief, Economist Jul 2017
"why are some activities directed by market forces and others by firms? His answer was that firms are a response to the high cost of using markets. It is often cheaper to direct tasks by fiat than to negotiate and enforce separate contracts for every transaction. Such “exchange costs” are low in markets for standardised goods, wrote Coase. A well-defined task can easily be put out to the market, where a contractor is paid a fixed sum for doing it. The firm comes into its own when simple contracts of this kind will not suffice."

-- what about regulation of spectrum?

"But a second paper, “The problem of social cost”, ... argued that private bargaining could resolve social problems, such as pollution, as long as property rights are well defined and transaction costs are low (they rarely are)."

"a body of more rigorous research on such questions began to flourish. Central to it was the idea that it is difficult to specify all that is required of a business relationship, so some contracts are necessarily “incomplete”. "

"pot markets are thus largely self-policing. They are well suited to simple, low-value transactions, such as buying a newspaper or taking a taxi.

Things become trickier when the parties are locked into a deal that is costly to get out of."

"Where it becomes costly for a company to specify all that it wants from a supplier, it might make sense to acquire it in order to claim the residual rights (and the profits) from ownership. But, as Messrs Grossman and Hart noted, something is also lost through the merger. The supplier’s incentive to innovate and to control costs vanishes, because he no longer owns the residual rights."

"Mr Holmstrom and Paul Milgrom established that where important tasks are hard to monitor, and where a balance of activities is needed, then a contract should shun strong incentives tied to any one task. The best approach is to pay a fixed salary and to leave the balance of tasks unspecified."
TheEconomist  economics  history  Coase  people  profile  contracting 
october 2017 by pierredv
Inventor hero was a one-man environmental disaster | New Scientist
"From poisonous cars to the destruction of the ozone layer, Thomas Midgley almost single-handedly invented a global environmental crisis"

"Midgley came up with no fewer than 143 fuel additives to deal with knock. The initial front runner was ethyl alcohol [but he backed] tetraethyl lead (TEL), a compound first discovered in the 1850s and known to be highly poisonous. So why choose it? ... It was cheap ... And there was a key difference between the two: TEL was patentable."

"From the start, medical researchers warned that it could poison the nation."

Also found freon, the first CFC.

"As legacies go, environmental historian John McNeill offered one of the most chilling epitaphs: Midgley had “more impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in Earth’s history”. Nothing to envy there."
innovation  invention  IPR  intellectual-property  history  people  regulation  chemistry  precautionary-principle  transportation  NewScientist 
october 2017 by pierredv
Orbital ATK Sale To Northrop Marks Turning Point | Aviation Week, Sep 2017
"Orbital ATK is known for being ahead of its time, but for once it might be right on the money. Iconoclastic, visionary, sober, failed, successful—these and many other adjectives have aptly described the Dulles, Virginia-based aerospace and defense company founded 35 years ago. And for its stakeholders, including cofounder and CEO David Thompson, another will be added to the list: valuable. On Sept. 18, Northrop Grumman and Orbital announced that the former will buy the latter in a $9.2 billion deal. "

"Thompson and two Harvard Business School classmates founded Orbital Sciences Corp. on April 2, 1982, with the goal of making space technology more affordable and accessible. ... But during the late-1990s, big bets made on space-based imagery and data communications proved disastrous. Orbital-backed Orbimage and Orbcomm ventures were forced to seek bankruptcy protection ..."
AviationWeek  space  launch  people  stories  history 
october 2017 by pierredv
Geskiedenis - Laerskool Stellenbosch
"Hulle het die [nuwe] skool in Augustus 1967 begin bou en op 31 Oktober 1969 het almal oorgetrek na die nuwe skoolgeboue wat ons vandag nog gebruik."

Ek was 11 jaar en een dag oud.
history  South-Africa  childhood 
august 2017 by pierredv
The Loyal Engineers Steering NASA’s Voyager Probes Across the Universe - The New York Times
Via Brad Bernthal

"As the Voyager mission is winding down, so, too, are the careers of the aging explorers who expanded our sense of home in the galaxy"
NASA  NYTimes  space  astronomy  science  History  ageing  engineering 
august 2017 by pierredv
The Chaos Computer Club Is Fighting to Save Democracy - Bloomberg
"All this has made CCC into something that sounds alien to American ears: a popular, powerful, tech-focused watchdog group, one whose counsel has been sought by both WikiLeaks and Deutsche Telekom AG."
Bloomberg  hacking  cybersecurity  Germany  history 
july 2017 by pierredv
Free exchange: William Baumol, a great economist, died on May 4th | The Economist
"He helped move economics beyond the narrow ideal of perfect competition by introducing the idea of contestable markets, in which competitive pressure comes from the worry that rivals will swoop in to vie for a market if incumbents are anything other than ruthlessly efficient. Perfectly contestable markets should be just as efficient as perfectly competitive ones, even if only a handful of firms dominate a business."

"Yet Mr Baumol will be remembered best for his cost disease."

"The analysis bore relevance outside the arts, he quickly realised. Technological progress in some industries implies that in services with relatively low rates of productivity growth—like health care, education and government—swelling costs will outstrip growth in productivity. Costlier public services are a necessary side-effect of long-run growth."

"Cost disease also provides a vision of a world of large-scale automation. As machines become better at doing things, the human role in generating faster productivity growth will converge towards zero. At that point, so long as society expects everyone to work, all spending in the economy will go towards services for which it is crucial that productivity not grow, in order to provide jobs for everyone. Society could seemingly be both characterised by technological abundance and paralysed by cost disease."
TheEconomist  obituary  economics  history  profile  people  biography  competition  automation 
june 2017 by pierredv
Cambridge economists: The art and science of economics at Cambridge | The Economist Dec 2016
"The history of a famous faculty shows that the way economics is taught depends on what you think economists are for"

“Disciplines are now defined too much by methods rather than by questions”, Low says.
TheEconomist  economics  history  quotations 
march 2017 by pierredv
'Millennium' is full of gratitude for the staggering advances of 1,000 years - Dec 2016
The four core changes he identifies in his book, the “four primary sources underlying change over the last millennium,” are a) the weather in terms of how it affected food supply, the need for security, the fear of sickness, and the “desire for personal enrichment." And the method Mortimer uses to track the fluctuating fortunes of these four core items (and plenty more) is at once thought-provoking and self-evidently artificial: He looks at each of the last 10 centuries as discreet, watertight eras and tries to assess the predominant changes each century saw that the others didn't see, prefacing the whole exercise with a smile-inducing bit of understatement: “Many of the important developments in Western culture do not fit neatly within the borders of a single century.”
change  trends  books  reviews  history  toread 
march 2017 by pierredv
Vectors Journal: The Roaring 'Twenties - Author's Statement
via 99 percent invisible

an interactive exploration of the historical soundscape of New York City
By Emily Thompson

The goal is to recover the meaning of sound, to undertake a historicized mode of listening that tunes our modern ears to the pitch of the past. Simply clicking a "play" button will not do.
- Emily Thompson, Author's Statement
audio  sound  history  NewYork 
january 2017 by pierredv
Darwin's discovery: The remarkable history of evolution | New Scientist
"The story of the uncovering of this great revelation has been retold countless times since the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in 1859. In the process, the assumptions and guesses of one generation became accepted as fact by the next – with some spawning widespread myths. "
NewScientist  evolution  History  mythology 
january 2017 by pierredv
Darwin and DNA: How genetics spurred the evolution of a theory | New Scientist
"Although Gregor Mendel and Charles Darwin were alive at the same time, they never met and Darwin wasn’t aware of Mendel’s work. With hindsight, the union of the two men’s work seems like a marriage made in heaven (or hell, if you’re a creationist). In fact, for many years, it wasn’t obvious that Mendel’s studies of heredity had any relevance to Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. It would take nearly 60 years for this jigsaw to be pieced together and give rise to the “modern synthesis” of evolution, which framed Darwin’s idea in terms of genetics."
NewScientist  evolution  History 
january 2017 by pierredv
IoT security attacks: A timeline of the internet of things' darkest hours
"While it isn’t possible to know every single breach that has occurred within the IoT security space (either they haven’t been found, or enterprises are wanting to keep them a secret) we have compiled a troubling timeline of some of IoT’s darkest hours."
IoT  RCRWireless  history  hacking 
november 2016 by pierredv
Utility hack led to security overhaul | Computerworld - Feb 2006
Apprehending a notorious hacker rarely involves a car chase or a team of dedicated private investigators, but in the case of Vitek Boden, life imitated a Hollywood script.

Boden had waged a three-month war against the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system of Maroochy Water Services in Australia beginning in January 2000, which saw millions of gallons of sewage spill into waterways, hotel grounds and canals around the Sunshine Coast suburb. He was caught only after a team of private investigators hired by Maroochy Water Services alerted police to his location.
SCADA  IoT  Computerworld  history  hacking 
november 2016 by pierredv
A Radioactive Pen in Your Pocket? Sure! - IEEE Spectrum
In an era of atomic cars and atomic planes, Parker’s 1958 Atomic Pen probably seemed like a good idea

The Atomic Pen used radioactive isotopes to heat the ink to produce various line widths. Or it would have, except no production units were ever made
IEEE-Spectrum  history  nuclear  atomic 
november 2016 by pierredv
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