Daily Archives: June 20, 2014

Views from the Solar System (214)


Storm Cell Over the Southern Appalachian Mountains

NASA – This storm cell photo was taken from NASA’s high-altitude ER-2 aircraft on May 23, 2014, during a study aimed at gaining a better understanding of precipitation over mountainous terrain. The Integrated Precipitation and Hydrology Experiment, or IPHEx, field campaign is part of the ground validation effort for the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, an international satellite mission led by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. GPM’s Core Observatory launched Feb. 27, 2014, to provide next-generation observations of rain and snow worldwide every three hours. But to get accurate measurements from space, scientists have to understand what is happening on the ground.

For the six-week IPHEx field campaign over the southern Appalachian mountains, the NASA team and their partners at Duke University and NOAA’s Hydrometeorological Test Bed set up ground stations with rain gauges and ground radar throughout western North Carolina. In addition to the ground sites, they also collected data sets from satellites and two aircraft.

The NASA ER-2 aircraft that deployed to Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia, was able to fly when rain was in the air. The ER-2’s cruising altitude of 65,000 feet kept it well above the storm systems it was observing, allowing it to act as a proxy-satellite. The aircraft carried a suite of instruments, including three that took measurements similar to those taken by GPM’s Core Observatory.

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Image Credit: NASA / Stu Broce

The Development of Fixed Broadband Networks

OECD – Content delivery and cloud computing platforms optimize the delivery of content and services across the network. The Internet was designed as an end-to-end network that provided two-way transport between devices and their users at the edge of the network. CDNs are optimized for one-way distribution of video, images, and other content from large content providers such as Netflix or the BBC’s iPlayer to individual users.

Cloud computing is designed to move the computing and storage functionality of the end-user device into the network.

All fixed communications networks share basic economic characteristics. The first is high fixed costs (capital expenditures), both in absolute terms and relative to variable costs (operational expenditures). The numbers vary based on technology and the scale of the network. Under any conditions, though, running a wire into each residence, and linking those last-mile connections through a wired distribution network, is a costly endeavor. In addition to direct expenses, the necessity of digging up streets, gaining access to telephone poles or conduit space, and gaining physical access to homes is a significant burden. more> http://tinyurl.com/lesfj7a

The Executive’s Guide To Mergers And Acquisitions

By Michael Glessner & Alexander Tang – Each merger is different, but most companies can expect to experience many of the following pains:

  • Dispersed technical solutions across business sites and segments (ERP, PLM, PPM, QMS and others). Existing solutions within each company can include multiple packages from various vendors which were never fully integrated from previous mergers, which significantly adds to the complexity of the situation
  • Lack of discipline around existing business processes including new product development, new technology development and portfolio management
  • Varying levels of willingness to integrate
  • High number of procedures for employees to follow with many outdated ones still in effect
  • Lack of balance between required design control requirements and business objectives (this is even more important in regulated industries)
  • Significant resource constraints

Faced with dismal numbers and many of the challenges above, the operations executive is often betting his or her career based on the results of the integration effort. more> http://tinyurl.com/mr6msgp

Updates from GE

These Lights Will Make Les Bleus Look Blue and the Canarinho Look Canary

GE – The lights that GE installed at the stadiums use electric metal halide lamps that emit light very close to the near-perfect white light produced by incandescent light bulbs. But they are much more efficient and durable.

Each fixture holds a reflector with a mirror-like aluminum coating and a special glass lens that trains the light beam on a specific point on the pitch.

“The lamp and the optics are the secret sauce,” lighting engineer Sergio Binda, who works as a marketing director at GE Lighting Latin America, says. “We use special software to achieve the best geometry and increase the intensity of the lamp.”

The lighting team worked closely with scientists at GE Global Research to develop precise and highly efficient flood lights that make colors look natural.

“Light is electromagnetic radiation and each color corresponds to a specific wavelength,” Binda says. “We see colors when those wavelengths bounce off a specific surface, like a jersey. But if your light source does not generate, say, a true red wavelength, then it can’t bounce off and you won’t see that color on the jersey.” more> http://tinyurl.com/mbchase

Economics faces long needed upheaval as students demand right to dissent

By Robert Skidelsky – In a manifesto published in April economics students at the University of Manchester advocated an approach “that begins with economic phenomena and then gives students a toolkit to evaluate how well different perspectives can explain it”, rather than with mathematical models based on unreal assumptions.

Significantly, Andrew Haldane, executive director for financial stability at the Bank of England, wrote the introduction.

The Manchester students argue that: “The mainstream within the discipline (neoclassical theory) has excluded all dissenting opinion, and the crisis is arguably the ultimate price of this exclusion. Alternative approaches such as post-Keynesian, Marxist, and Austrian economics (as well as many others) have been marginalized. The same can be said of the history of the discipline.” more> http://tinyurl.com/otce83o