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Everything you need to know about picking the right circuit protection

September 11, 2013 3:33 pm | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Articles | Comments

When it comes to circuit protection, the first line of resistance is resistance. Resistance limits current flow and resistance, in conjunction with capacitance, slows the rate of increase of voltage, giving other protection measures in the circuit time to act. But, resistance has its drawbacks. If the current through the resistance is significant, it wastes power....

Fighting an invisible enemy: How UV robots are clearing the way for germ-free hospitals

September 11, 2013 2:17 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

Though medical devices are always moving towards less invasive, more effective technology, they face a constant, persistent and ever-evolving enemy in deadly bacteria and infections. Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) can be caused by any infectious agent and result in 99,0000 deaths per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Has global cooling begun? Arctic ice caps grow by 60% in a year

September 11, 2013 11:21 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The arctic will be "ice-free by 2013." This was typical of the breathless pronouncements made by scientists, climatologists, and even NASA over the last decade or so. All the while, the summers were getting colder and the ice caps more voluminous — quite a bit more, apparently. According to a report in the Daily Mail, the Arctic ice cap grew by nearly a million square miles from 2012-2013, an increase of 60% year over year.


Widespread license plate scanning presents an open road for abuse

September 9, 2013 5:09 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

“If you didn’t do anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.” Well that’s good. But for those of us who are only human and occasionally make mistakes or sometimes do things that are nobody’s business but our own, please keep reading.

Women in the workplace: The 1940s guide to gender stereotypes

September 9, 2013 2:11 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Watch out for women in the workplace. They’re jealous of each other, more sensitive than men, and SCARY! At least that’s according to this hilariously outdated instructional video from 1944 which probably did more to perpetuate gender stereotypes than shore them up.

NSA just needs a better name, new service offerings

September 9, 2013 9:50 am | by Andy Marken, President, Marken Communications | Blogs | Comments

The National Security Agency (NSA) isn’t doing much more than any red-blooded, we’re-in-this for-the-money cloud service or social media organization is doing. They’re scrounging through all the information that just happens to pass their way to find something of interest, something useful.

This is how you prepare an observatory for space

September 5, 2013 4:27 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

When you think about testing, you’re probably picturing a bench with the component and a few related tools. However, when you work for NASA and you’re testing an observatory for space, it’s a little bit of a different situation. This is NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE, to its friends), which is being prepared for its launch on September 6.

"Internet addiction" is a real disease ... according to new inpatient facility

September 4, 2013 4:57 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Waste lots of time on the Internet looking at cat pictures and playing Minecraft? You should immediately fork over $14K to an inpatient facility in Pennsylvania — the first of its kind in the US – to treat your chronic internet addiction. Don’t believe that Internet addiction is a real disease? Shows your ignorance — you obviously don’t have a “Dr.” in front of your name.


Top 10 must-read posts from August

September 3, 2013 11:17 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Here’s a rundown of the most read, most popular, most awesome articles on the web. Take a look at what you missed the first time around or check up on an old favorite to see the conversation in the comments. Keep checking out the Lead at and follow us on Twitter @ecnonline for our most up-to-date articles.

The evolution of miniaturization within UAV connector technology

August 29, 2013 12:04 pm | by Derek Hunt, Omnetics Connector Corporation | Omnetics Connector Corporation | Blogs | Comments

Throughout the world, military and aerospace engineers are focused on new design efforts to not only modernize existing operations, but at the same time, miniaturize these efforts and electronics to improve flexibility and portability as well as overall survivability in the field.

Take a virtual tour of the world's largest solar thermal plant

August 28, 2013 4:06 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating system is the world’s largest solar thermal plant. The project, started in October 2010, is located on 3,500 acres in California’s Mojave Desert—50 miles northwest of Needles California and five miles from the California-Nevada border—on federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

The 1950s guide to using a rotary dial phone

August 26, 2013 2:00 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

As we grow accustomed to the newest versions of smart phones, computers, and tablets, it’s sometimes difficult to remember their humble beginnings. Luckily, it’s also sometimes hilarious. This is a video that explains how to use a rotary phone to make a call. While it’s somewhat funny to watch now, it’s also a little funny to think about the fact that in a short time—five to ten years...

Do we need tougher cyberbullying legislation?

August 23, 2013 4:25 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

A Huffington Post article draws attention to a disturbing new form of cyberbullying: “RIP trolling”, or the practice of trolling online memorials to mock their alleged insincerity. The article champions “digital proxies” who can help filter out distressing online content for the mourners. This also raises an important point: Do we need stricter cyberbullying legislation?


This is what a 550-ton hovercraft landing on a Russian beach looks like

August 21, 2013 3:53 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Alright, so technically the beach is a military zone and, technically, it's not a beach that people should be swimming from or sunbathing on, but that is one scary-looking piece of military equipment. According to a Russian defense ministry spokesperson, it's actually a government-owned beach and the landing was part of some military practice maneuvers.

Robotic barista automates your coffee addiction

August 21, 2013 9:56 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Can’t live without your morning cup of joe, but hate dealing with snooty baristas at hipster coffee shops and the imprecise hands of flesh-and-blood humans? Modern technology has finally married our addiction to hot, caffeinated beverages with our similar – but no less potent – love of wacky vending machines – the robot barista.

Engineering American energy independence

August 20, 2013 9:37 am | by Bill Kerney, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Fracking is dramatically increasing the recoverable reserves of America carbon-based energy supplies. but yesterday I just paid $4.15 to fill up my car at the USA gas station in Cardiff, Calif. There is a huge disconnect between supply and the price at the pump. Bottom-up solutions need to scale to make an impact.

Hire the autistic

August 20, 2013 9:00 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Tech giant SAP plans to hire a lot of autistic people. Why? People with autism have an alternate view of the universe. Me? I'm a little like that. My social skills, though, have risen some over the years. I'd estimate that I have risen from the bottom 5% to the bottom 25%. And I'm difficult to manage. Maybe SAP has a job for me? Nah. I'm happy just where I am.

Glow-in-the-dark rabbits in the interest of science (seriously!)

August 15, 2013 11:59 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Scientists from universities in Turkey and Hawaii managed to breed rabbits — two out of a litter of eight — that glow in the dark. They assure us it’s all in the interest of science (as if glow-in-the-dark rabbits wasn’t a noble feat in and of itself). And the team hasn’t been experimenting with radioactive spiders (darn!).

North Korean “indigenous” smartphone manufactured at unicorn factory by Keebler Elves

August 13, 2013 2:21 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

North Korea’s “supreme leader”, Kim Jong-un, recently toured a Pyongyang factory, where workers are busy “manufacturing” the DPRK’s first “indigenous” smartphone, the “Arirang.” And if you had the woe-begotten idea that this Android device is a cheap Chinese knock-off with the DPRK label slapped on it, think again — the official North Korean news agency assures us that the Arirang includes a camera function with “high pixels.”

I am among the most and least trusted professions in America

August 12, 2013 11:24 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

I just came across this Yahoo article about the most and least trusted professions in America. It turns out the most trusted occupation is the military. They get a 78% trust rating. Having been a military man once, I can relate. Not too far down the list are engineers at a 63% trust rating.

Can LIDAR smooth out the bumps in air travel?

August 12, 2013 10:05 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

For those who have experienced clear air turbulence, there’s some welcome news from Europe. Researchers at the DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics are using LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology to analyze clear air turbulence, and data gathered from this project will provide information....

Senator Feinstein: Unpaid bloggers don’t count as "journalists"

August 9, 2013 4:17 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The government’s assault on its own citizenry continues.... According to Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), journalists shouldn’t be protected by “shield laws” unless they draw salaries. Apparently, unpaid bloggers and citizen journalists don’t count as "real reporters."

This is what happens in one SECOND on the internet

August 9, 2013 12:21 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Last week, we learned what happens on the internet in 60 seconds. There are 2 million Google searches, 70 new domains registered, 347 blog posts, $83,000 in Amazon sales and 204 million emails sent. Does it make you wonder what happens on during one SECOND on the internet? Luckily, shares your love of information

The NSA's alarmingly liberal interpretation of surveillance laws

August 8, 2013 3:27 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

If you thought the U.S. government had no interest in your texts and emails, you better think again — the NSA’s dragnet just got a lot bigger. Officially, the policy of the NSA has been to intercept communications from Americans in direct contact with “targeted” foreigners overseas, according to the New York Times. However, it seems the agency has been looking at more than they’ve “officially” admitted.

The models were wrong

August 8, 2013 9:12 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

The models explaining what everyone knew about sugar uptake in bacteria are fundamentally flawed. New models correct those flaws. It turns out that bacteria regulate their sugar uptake mechanism not just by looking at the sugar available. The old models said that if sugar was scarce, bacteria made more sugar processing mechanisms to go after more of the scarce resources.

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