Why do engineers confuse Halloween and Christmas?

This puzzle/joke has exploded this year.  I have seen it on Twitter, Facebook and many blogs.  Could it mean that engineering is really catching hold in Social Media circles?  I hope so! The answer:  Because Oct 31 = Dec 25 or octal (base 8) 31 = decimal (base 10) 25 It is a mathematical equation for number systems in base 8 and base 10.  We are most familiar with base 10 or decimal because we use it all the time. The penny, dime, dollar or 1, 10, 100 system.  Octal is not used very often, but it is built on the same principle where 8 is the base.  We use 8 digits (0-7) in octal, just like we use 10 digits (0-9) in decimal. Here's the conversion: 25 decimal is  8x3 (24) plus 1 or octal 31.  It takes a little practice but once you get it - you'll always have it - just like riding a bike. Here's a link to a converter! Need help?  Have a good math puzzle?  Leave a comment or … [Read more...]

Do women like technology?

Of course they do!  Why don't more women work in technology?  It's complicated. As a women engineer (electrical), I ponder this question quite often. I just finished reading an article "Women Engineers Trace Tech Gender Gap to Childhood" that has some good points.  Being the oldest sister of three brothers and the mother of two daughters (one is an engineer), I have a theory based on my many hours of observation. First, engineering and technical studies are designed for concentration not discussion. As a child, learning the laws of physics requires trial and error and lots of concentration. Especially with girls, it is important to discuss what is happening and why.  My girls never spent much time throwing a ball. In contrast, my brothers spent hours pitching a baseball to each other.  They pitched just about every day, whatever the weather.  They did this mostly without … [Read more...]

Pumpkin Pi

Who says engineers don't have a sense of humor?  It might not be the kind of humor that all folks can understand, but it is amusing just the same. Every now and then a Far Side cartoon would just tickle me so that I had to laugh out loud.  Often, I'd show the cartoon to my husband and he was unmoved. He rarely saw the humor that I saw and would look at me quizzically.  So I'd show the cartoon to my daugher, she'd always get it. A friend sent me this cartoon of Pumpkin Pi and it is so clever and witty that I wanted to share with all. Not sure if my husband will laugh, but I know it will get a chuckle from my oldest daughter.  She is an electrical engineer, just like me, and this cartoon is for her and all her female engineer friends.  They'll get it! We are doing a Girl Scout Engineers! program this Saturday at DeVry in Alpharetta.  I am going to bring copies of the cartoon to … [Read more...]

Your Amazing Brain

Recently, I received a variation on an old email chain letter: TH15 M3554G3 53RV35 TO PR0V3 H0W 0UR M1ND5 C4N D0 4M4Z1NG TH1NG5! 1MPR3551V3 TH1NG5! 1N TH3 B3G1NN1NG 1T WA5 H4RD BUT NOW, ON TH15 LIN3 YOUR M1ND 1S R34D1NG 1T 4UT0M4T1C4LLY W1TH OUT 3V3N TH1NK1NG 4B0UT 1T, B3 PROUD! 0NLY C34RT41N P30PL3.C4N R3AD TH15. Here’s one of the originals: “Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteers be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.”  While it’s true that there was never a study at Cambridge or any other university that can be verified, the sentences are rather simple and it is another email hoax, it is amazing … [Read more...]

A Non-Technical Post: My Tomato Garden

Usually, I write about computer and engineering topics but today it’s all about my tomato garden. I’m not a great gardener, but I have good luck with tomatoes. For years, Early Girl, Big Boy, Beefsteak and Parks Whoppers (my favorite) have given us tomato sandwiches, tomato pies and ratatouille.  It’s not just a tomato garden but has eggplant, maybe some squash and cucumbers. Even though Georgia has been droughty for several years, my tomatoes have been well watered and have flourished. We like big tomatoes where one slice gives you the perfect sandwich and cucumbers fresh off the vine. Over the years, the tomatoes have become tastier and tastier.  We don’t buy those tasteless, hot house grown tomatoes and even at a restaurant the tomatoes are disappointing. My husband is from South Georgia and insists that you have to put your tomatoes in on Good Friday for the best crop.  This … [Read more...]