• March 4, 2021

    Motor-Cycling

    This brainteaser looks so simple, but it’s not! There are 50 bikes with a tank that has the capacity to go 100 km. Using these 50 bikes, what is the maximum distance that you can go?
  • Recently, the US Department of Justice levied an indictment against three North Korean military hackers for their role in cyber-related crimes (see video below). These included (but not limited to): Targeting of and Cyberattacks on the Entertainment Industry: Such as the destructive cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in November 2014 in retaliation for the farcical movie The Interview. Cyber-Enabled Heists from Banks: Attempts to steal more than $1.2 billion from banks in Vietnam, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Mexico, Malta and Africa. Creation and Deployment of Malicious Cryptocurrency Applications: Development of multiple malicious cryptocurrency applications including Celas Trade Pro, WorldBit-Bot, iCryptoFx, Union Crypto Trader, and more, which would provide the North Korean hackers a backdoor into the victims’ computers. Spear-Phishing Campaigns: Multiple spear-phishing campaigns that targeted employees of United States cleared defense contractors, energy companies, aerospace companies, technology companies, and more. Ransomware and Cyber-Enabled Extortion: Creation of the destructive WannaCry 2.0 ransomware in May 2017, and the extortion and attempted extortion of victim companies involving the theft of sensitive data and deployment of other ransomware. And it is to that last point that I thought a brief discussion on Ransomware would be warranted. Even Digital Batman’s own father was a victim of a ransomware attack that left him $400 poorer! In 2019 over 187.9 million users were affected by this bold malicious threat to online activities such as web‐surfing, e-commerce, gaming, and more. Put simply, this highly‐disruptive form of Internet‐viral malicious software (malware for short), not only infects your computer but holds all of your most precious files (i.e. photos, documents, apps, etc.) completely hostage—via permanently encrypting such files—until the victim is forced to pay a “ransom” to the criminal entity behind the attack for a decryption key to unlock the files. Usually to the tune of $100 ‐ $400 or more for...
  • February 15, 2021

    Men of the Line———

    In honor of Super Bowl LV and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ win over the Kansas City Chiefs (and former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s 7th Super Bowl ring as the QB for the Bucs), I thought it would make for an interesting post about how that magic 1st and 10 yellow line is created on our TV screens every February at “The Big Game!” And, during every game in the NFL among other sports broadcasts. The names of: James R. Gloudemans, Richard H. Cavallaro, Jerry N. Gepner, Stanley K. Honey, Walter Hsiao, Terance J. O’Brien, and Marvin S. White are the Men Behind the Yellow Line. That is, the yellow First Down Line you see on NFL broadcasts! What started out as project for Fox Sports to aid viewers watching NHL games over the airwaves blossomed into a new company called Sportvision, Inc. And in 1998 they debuted the First and 10 Line on ESPN. Using a combination of field cameras, 3D models of the field, powerful computers and algorithms, and the field itself as a kind of green screen, they are able to draw the line in virtual real‐time as the players move up and down the field; as well as, simultaneously remove parts of the line to make it appear that it is literally underneath the players. It’s truly digital magic! It was a such a huge success that Sportvision won an Emmy for its technology. “Winning our 10th Emmy Award is a great honor, and truly validates the impact our technology has had in the growth and popularity of a wide spectrum of sports. We are thrilled to share this Emmy with the America’s Cup Event Authority, who has been a wonderful and inspired partner throughout this effort.” Mike Jakob, President, Sportvision, Inc., 2012 They then...
  • February 4, 2021

    Science of the Heart and Stars

    In honor of Black History Month, I very much wanted to profile two wonderful Black American scientists who have greatly contributed to the advancement of humanity’s health and well-being and to our understanding of the universe! I’m speaking of none other than Progressive Pioneers Doctors Marie M. Daly and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Let’s take a look into the lives of these great Americans who make us all proud—for we are all one color: beautiful. Dr. Marie Daly STEM Revolution of Equal Opportunity When the 45th president signed into law the Hidden Figures Act honoring the four African‐American women who were instrumental in the success of NASA’s space race to the moon, we should not forget other accomplished women who have also contributed our nation’s scientific knowledge. One such venerated pioneer is Dr. Marie Maynard Daly. Dr. Daly was born in Queens, NY on April 16, 1921. She was the daughter of Ivan Daly (an immigrant from the British West Indies) and Helen Page of Washington DC. Her parents settled in the New York City area where Mr. Daly attended Cornell University in pursuit of a chemistry degree. Like her father, Dr. Marie Daly also chose to pursue a career in chemistry. She was spurred on by her grandfather’s extensive library of books about scientists and their scientific achievements. Dr. Daly graduated from Queens College magna cum laude with a BA in Chemistry. Due to labor shortages and the need for scientists during World War II, she was able to garner fellowships to study at both New York and Columbia Universities earning her a master’s and a Ph.D. (respectively). Daly’s first major publication was her thesis on the formation of pancreatic amylase on corn starch. From there, her scientific career soared. She was awarded a grant from the American Cancer Society...
  • January 30, 2021

    Wearable Tech Trends

    With the recent acquisition of Fitbit by Google (for $2.1 billion!), in order to break into the highly lucrative “wearables” market, I thought it might be interesting to explore this topic a bit here. However, since we’re talking about Google attempting to compete directly with Apple, Xiaomi, Garmin, Huawei, and Samsung, this is a tough nut to crack. Here are some quick stats* from Statista: Connected wearables worldwide (2019): 722 million Wristband wearables (2020): 67.7 million Marketshare of wearables (Q3, 2020): Apple 33.1%, Xiaomi 13.6%, Fitbit 2%, Hauwei 11%, Samsung 9% (Other, such as Garmin 28.2%) Apple and Samsung hold the highest percentage of most recognizable smartwatches (2020): 47.9% and 13% respectively Wearables, from fitness trackers (like the Fitbit Charge 4) to smartwatches, are no longer the stuff of science‐fiction. They have evolved even quicker than smartphones. Up until 2006 when the LG Prada first appeared on the market (followed by the iPhone in 2007) there was virtually nothing like modern wearables available. Though it took a confluence of technologies from touchscreens, 3G/4G/LTE cellular service, and Bluetooth to name a scant few to make wearables a reality, they quickly evolved into what we are seeing today. And these are not only connected extensions of our smartphones on our wrists or other parts of the body (e.g. Google Glass for Enterprise AR), but also as stand alone devices that house whole operating systems, UIs, and bio‐feedback sensors on their own. The Apple Watch is obviously the go‐to example but more and more diverse devices are beginning to flood the market. Devices such as: implantables (from biosensors, super small pacemakers, to birth‐control), smart jewelry (to discreetly take calls and texts, or track menstrual cycles), smart clothing (with sensors that monitor everything from footfalls for runners to providing haptic feedback for yoga poses),...
  • January 22, 2021

    Parking Problems!

    This week, I’m going back to the good ole engineering brainteaser. This one is for all you who have to fight to find a parking spot at work! The probability of finding the parking slot occupied is 1/3. You find it empty for 9 consecutive days. Find the probability that it will be empty on the 10th day. You can find this brainteaser and many others at GineersNow.com: Can You Answer These Brain Teasers Like a Silicon Valley Engineer?
  • This is a cute little post I wrote about the science behind Santa’s Enchantment. There are fictional interviews with three of the world’s leading experts on Christmas Magic.
  • There haven’t been too many famous snowmen over the years, the most recent one is arguably Olaf from Disney’s Frozen movie series. Here’s a quick list: The Abominable Snowman, A.K.A. The Yeti The Wampa of Hoth, from Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Michelangelo’s famous 1494 snowman for the Medici prince, Piero the Unfortunate Jack Frost, from the 1998 Warner Bros. film of the same name starring Michael Keaton as the eponymous character The Bumble, seen in the 1964 stop-motion animation television Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The aforementioned Olaf And Frosty the Snowman! And this is where our story begins, with Frosty. Arguably no one has done more to raise awareness for snowmen and snowwomen than good Ole Frosty. After all, he was a jolly happy soul. It all began on a temperate winter’s day. The school kids were making a snowman who sported a corn cobb pipe, a button nose, and two eyes make out of coal. They had just finished when one of the children found an old hat to place upon Frosty’s frozen head. Well, there must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found, for when they placed it on his head he began to dance around! From that point on, Frosty was as alive as he could be! However, the sun was hot that day. So they knew that they had to get him to the North Pole before he melted away. It was a sad goodbye, but Frosty said, “Don’t you cry, I’ll be back again someday!” And has come back, many times! One of Frosty’s most famous friends is Santa Claus, who along with the elves up at the North Pole, have given him a great home where he and his snow-family live a comfortable life...
  • November 5, 2020

    Progressive Puppies Ready for Duty!

    And keeping with the “factoid theme” this week, I thought I’d take a quick look at our furry friends who are also Progressive Pioneers—not just limited to humans you know. So here are some great facts about Military Dogs. Fact 1: Dogs have been part of military history for as long as people have been fighting. The Romans, the Vikings, and even in the Revolutionary War, all used dogs during conflicts. Fact 2: The official recognition for four legged soldiers didn’t come until World War II. Fact 3: Originally, dogs in wars involving the United States mostly were used to carry messages. Fact 4: Over 5,000 dogs served in the Vietnam War and many helped the soldiers in different capacities. Fact 5: Sergeant Stubby, a very famous Boston Terrier who was part of the military was the most decorated War Dog in history. He saved an entire group of soldiers from an enemy attack and thanks to his help, everyone made it out safely. He also met three presidents during his lifetime. Fact 6: Another big hero who served with the military was a German Shepherd named Chips. The dog single‐ evenhandedly forced a large group of enemy soldiers to surrender. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and the Purple Heart after people heard of his bravery. Fact 7: A dog was part of the SEALS special forces team that was known to accompany the unit during the famous Osama bin Laden raid. Fact 8: Rin Tin Tin is the most famous dog military dog of the movies. A German war dog, he was abandoned, then adopted by American troops and brought to the U.S., where he became a movie star after World War I. American soldier, Lee Duncan, brought the dog back to America where he...