• This week’s Progressive Pioneers  will focus on two very special “other worldly” people who tirelessly worked behind the scenes the make the world a better place. I’m talking about none other than Tia and Tony Malone. And now thanks to WikiLeaks and the Freedom of Information Act, we know the full truth about these two amazing beings, which will blow your mind! Their story is a rich and complicated one that has taken four documentaries to tell! Escape to Witch Mountain Return from Witch Mountain The Blair Witch Mountain Project Race to Witch Mountain And though Digital Batman cannot fully do justice to their story, I’m going to give you a glimpse into their contributions to our society. Escape to Witch Mountain & Return from Witch Mountain documentaries can be currently watched on Disney+. Endless movies and TV shows. Always ad free. The best of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. From new releases, to your favorite classics, and exclusive Originals, there’s always something new to discover. Race to Witch Mountain documentary can be currently watched on Netflix. Watch Netflix movies & TV shows online or stream right to your smart TV, game console, PC, Mac, mobile, tablet and more. The Blair Witch Mountain Project documentary can be currently watched on YouTube (embedded below for your convenience). Tia and Tony Malone come from a binary star system some 3,000 light years from Earth. Their world was in the late stages of climate and environmental collapse (much like where our own world is headed). They were part of an advanced group of alien colonists seeking to find a way to reverse the self-inflicted damage done to their planet by studying our own in the early stages of exceeding the nine planetary boundaries. However, things did not go as planned. In 1975, their ship was damaged upon arrival at Earth and the two children were almost...
  • Recently, Jim Heppelmann (President and CEO of PTC, the company I currently work for) was featured in an article in the Boston Globe talking about PTC’s exciting move to the Boston Seaport, A.K.A. The Innovation District. The article also featured the story of how Boston’s Mayor, Marty Walsh, came to PTC for a visit and spoke to the employees at one of our famous socials. He praised the company and the employees for making the move to Boston’s newest up and coming hub for business and cultural innovation! And the seaport is pretty much an amazing new innovation district at that—especially with all the incredible simultaneous construction projects going on down there. However, it might be interesting to take quick walk down memory lane to reminisce about Boston’s other innovation districts, of the past. Let’s go all the way back to Colonial times. Over by where North Street meets Moon Street is Paul Revere’s House. This historical landmark is located in Boston’s North End district, now synonymous with the Italian-American community. However, back in the late 17th Century, this area was well known for it’s silversmiths (like Paul Revere, an innovator of his time), blacksmiths, artisans, journeymen, and laborers. For a city that was founded in 1630, this part of Boston became its innovation district of that time. Fast forward through the Industrial Age which affected the entire world, Boston included, and you will see that another innovation district presented itself. This time on the Boston waterfront known as Boston Harbor—part of which is where today’s Boston Seaport Innovation District now resides. For over two hundred years, Boston Harbor, which compromises all the famous Boston wharves such as Long Wharf, Rowes Wharf, Fish Pier, Commonwealth Pier, and Union Wharf to name a few, were the gateways to shipping, railroads, international commerce, jobs, markets, construction, and of course innovation. Without the wharves of the 18th and 19th Centuries, Boston could not have grown...
  • March 13, 2020

    Now for Something Truly Puzzling!

    Chris Ramsay is not your usual nerd. Between his ZZ-Top-like beard, sleeve tattoos, and quotidian hoodie/baseball cap, you would foolishly think that he is not one of the world’s greatest puzzle solvers. And you would be wrong! This guy has built up a massive YouTube subscriber following of over 6.62 million, that’s million with an M, subscribers solving Level 10 puzzles. Level 10 puzzles are the hardest possible puzzles in the world that would drive most of us bonkers trying to solve. But not Chris Ramsay. In fact, he thrives on these challenges. He has spent countless hours attacking some of the world’s most difficult and craziest puzzles such as: The Impossible Excalibur Puzzle The Absolute Hardest Jigsaw Puzzle The Hardest Lock Puzzle in History And many, many others. Even though the amount of time it may take for him to solve one of these could be half a day, his videos are thankfully edited down between 15 and 25 minutes (give or take)—and they are they are truly fascinating to watch. There’s also lot of sped up POV footage and pithy commentary as he tinkers with these mind-numbing enigmas. Another thing to note about Chris is that he’s a very good cinematic videographer as well. Frequently, he’ll introduce a new puzzle video with a sweeping array of lens flared artistic and themed cinematography along with an epic Game of Thrones-style music score. It’s his signature film style, coupled with his happy-go-lucky (and extremely patient) persona, along with his inconceivable ability to solve crazy puzzles that make him a YouTube sensation. If you like real physical 3D puzzles that you can touch, rotate, tinker with, and lose your mind over, then you want to watch Chris Ramsay’s YouTube Channel. He’s also got links to where you can purchase these puzzles yourself for hours of intense eye-hand-brain coordination entertainment that...
  • March 8, 2020

    Sisters of Invention

    In honor of International Women’s Day 2020, this week’s Progressive Pioneers will be a quadfecta of amazing young women who are trying to change the world for the better. All too often the news is dominated by negative stories, and one would think that the world is a sad place. However, that is not the case! For optimistic, creative, inventive, and resourceful entrepreneurs Greta Thunberg, Alaina Gassler, and Anna Stork & Andrea Sreshta the world couldn’t be more full of promise and hope. Here are their stories: Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist on climate change whose campaigning has gained international recognition. Thunberg is known for her straightforward speaking manner, both in public and to political leaders and assemblies, in which she urges immediate action to address what she describes as the climate crisis. Thunberg first became known for youth activism in August 2018 when, at age 15, she began spending her school days outside the Swedish parliament to call for stronger action on global warming by holding up a sign saying (in Swedish) “School strike for the climate”. Soon, other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. Together, they organized a school climate strike movement under the name Fridays for Future. After Thunberg addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world. In 2019, there were at least two coordinated multi-city protests involving over 1,000,000 students each. At home, Thunberg convinced her parents to adopt several lifestyle choices to reduce their own carbon footprint, including giving up air travel and not eating meat. Her sudden rise to world fame has made her a leader and a target. In May 2019, Thunberg was featured on the cover of Time magazine, which named her a “next generation leader” and noted that many see her as a role model. Thunberg and the school strike movement were also featured in a 30-minute Vice documentary titled Make...
  • March 5, 2020

    Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!

    A pseudo-PSA from Digital Batman. For most of us in America, we recently celebrated Valentine’s Day on Friday February 14th. In fact, every February 14 is the venerated holiday celebrating love and friendship. Though some may view the celebration as a trite “Hallmark Greeting Card” holiday, lot’s of people take it quite seriously. Here are a few crazy Valentine’s Day stats for you to consider: Over $17 Billion dollars (with a B) is spent on this day Men spend twice as much money on average than women on this day (~$133 to ~$56) More than 145 Million cards are sold on this day (or just before it) Over 1/3 of all the fresh flowers in America are sold on this one day! Well over 257 Million roses are produced for Valentine’s Day Shoppers spent over $707 Million dollars on candy. Also, over 6 million people choose to get engaged to be married on this holiday. And more than 8 Billion conversation hearts are produced each year (with most purchased for this day)! It seems to me that we should have Valentine’s Day off from work because too much romance and chocolates might make us very unproductive! LOL! Anyway, Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you in Digital Gotham! Now if I can only get Digital Catwoman to stop sending me those creepy conversation hearts…
  • In honor of NFL Super Bowl LIV this past Sunday, here’s a football physics question to tease your brain! In U.S. football, after a touchdown the team has the opportunity to earn one more point by kicking the ball over the bar between the goal posts. The bar is 3.048 meters above the ground, and the ball is kicked from ground level, 10.9728 meters horizontally from the bar. If the ball is kicked at 37 degrees above the horizontal, what must its initial speed be if it is to just clear the bar? Express your answer in meters per second (m/s). The answer can be found here!
  • February 24, 2020

    Movie Trivia — Engineering Theme

    In honor of the Oscars recently, I’ve decided to offer an engineering cinematic trivia contest. Why an engineering theme? Well, currently my day job is creating content for a great software company whose customers are engineers for manufacturing industries. So why not? See if you can guess the movie titles from the descriptions below (provide the years as well): Astronomer gets world to build a giant cosmic faster-than-light ship based on a message from space. Abandoned astronaut uses science to survive on desolate world while his crew mates figure out how to rescue him. American businessman builds largest airplane in the world and kicks off the airline industry while he descends into mental illness. Paranoid monarch takes a woman in lieu of tribute to fund building his massive robber-proof tomb. Two western men aid the Chinese army in defending their country from an invasion of a horde of supernatural creatures. The last one is not really about building anything as it simply glorifies a great ancient structure. In the meantime, Digital Batman’s got you covered with hints for you below!
  • February 17, 2020

    The “Holey” Sphere

    [From the website of Dr. Donald Simanek—see further down.] Browsing Martin Gardner’s books I stumbled on this diabolical puzzle. Gardner calls it “an incredible problem”. He traces it back too Samuel I. Jones’ Mathematical Nuts, 1932, p. 86. It is seen on the web in various forms, often ambiguous in wording, along with endless discussions often leading nowhere. I have tried to restate it to remove ambiguity (which isn’t easy). A hole is drilled completely through a sphere, directly through, and centered on, the sphere’s center. The hole in the sphere is a cylinder of length 6 inches. What is the volume of the remainder of the sphere (not including the material drilled out). You’d think there’s not enough information given. But there is. The solution does not require calculus. Gardner gives an insightful solution that requires only two sentences, including just one equation. Visit From mathworld.wolfram.com for more info. The answer is provided by Doctor Donald Simanek, Professor of Physics Emeritus at Lockhaven University. Visit Donald Simanek’s page at Lockhaven.edu for more brain-bending physics puzzles! Now that’s an interesting answer! Keep scrolling down… Wanna see a video answer to the brainteaser? This video was created by Tom McNaney Jr., Generalist Applications Engineer, Fellow at PTC (the company that I currently work for). Here is his detailed approach to the brainteaser using PTC’s flagship CAD program Creo Parametric! For the Holey Sphere challenge, Creo Parametric says the volume is 113.097 in^3. Interestingly, the volume remains constant regardless of the sphere Radius. Cool. I have no idea what the mathematical formula is, but probably 4/3*Pi*(something)^3. Who needs advanced math when they have Creo or Mathcad?
  • February 10, 2020

    Every Vote Counts and Counting

    Counting every precious vote accurately in a Democratic society has been a challenge that goes as far back to ancient times. Since The Tenth Sphere covers the latest trends happening in Digital Tech & Industry (among many other trendy topics), I thought it would be interesting to give my readers a brief history and discussion of voting machines, voting apps, and voting tech in general. Let’s begin with the earliest of voting machines, paper ballots, which existed as far back as the Roman Empire, ca. 139 BCE. The first use of paper ballots in the United States was in 1629, and was used in selecting a pastor for the Salem Church during the founding days of the Salem Massachusetts community. Fast forward to 1838 England. The Chartists (a working-class suffrage movement) demanded responsible election reforms. And in so doing, Benjamin Jolly of Bath invented arguably the very first voting machine. It worked like this: each voter was to cast his vote by dropping a brass ball into the appropriate hole in the top of the machine by the candidate’s name. Each voter could only vote once because they were given just one brass ball. The ball advanced a clockwork counter for the corresponding candidate as it passed through the machine. And then the ball fell out the front where it could be given to the next voter. Then came Henry Spratt (a British national) who in 1875 received the first US patent for a voting machine. It presented to the voter an array of push-button ballots. Next came American inventor Anthony Beranek of Chicago in 1881. His voting machine was specifically designed to meet the requirements of the United States general election cycle. It was another push-button style voting machine but with a twist: Interlocks behind each row prevented voting for more than one candidate per race, and an interlock with the door of the voting booth reset the machine for the...
  • January 29, 2020

    My Dog’s Expensive Tastes!

    This meme [to the right] is for all of you dog lovers out there! Where I currently work (i.e. PTC’s Boston Seaport HQ), there is a Polka Dog Bakery that opened up sometime around late Summer/early Fall of 2019. It was quite a coincidence because a year prior my wife, daughter, and I got a beautiful little Golden Retriever puppy. Needless to say, we spoiled that little puppy and now she’s a full-fledged highfalutin dog. Anyway, we spend a lot of money (too much!) on our golden with regards to treats and toys. Heck! We even have pet insurance through my company! Anyway, when I started working at PTC, it turned out to be quite a boon for our dog that a Polka Dog Bakery was literally in the street-level retail (or should I say, “re-tail”?) shops of the very building that is my company’s HQ. Needless to say, every week I’ve been averaging about $35 – $45 dollars (sometimes more) on bully rings, chicken chewies, turkey sausage sticks, cod skins, Henny Penny treats, and lots more for the dog. I’ve gone there so many times that the manager and some of the staff know me by name! LOL! Anyway, it’s all worth it when I get home from work and she’s waiting for me in the yard. I usually reach into my work backpack and pull out a little treat for the pooch and she goes crazy over it. I’m such a sucker for a furry face!