After reading the anti-diversity “manifesto” by James Damore, I wanted to share my views, particularly about women in computer science and tech in general.
For over forty years, I have had the privilege to work with many great people in the tech sector, many of whom just happen to be women. In my view that—while there is an unfortunate gross asymmetry in the numbers of men and women in tech—in my experience, women are no better or worse than men. The stubbornly persistent myth that women aren’t cut out for it, along with really bad male behavior in the workplace, is an inhibitor to there being more women studying computer science. And, it’s a serious impediment to there being more women in the tech workplace.
BTW, the first true programmer was a woman—Lady Ada Lovelace. The woman who created COBOL (still used, BTW), was computer pioneer Rear Admiral Dr. Grace Hopper. Further, let’s not forget Mathematician Mary Jackson, as portrayed in the book and movie “Hidden Figures,” who virtually created programming at NASA. The list is long.
I’m so pleased that App Store downloads of my popular ISS Real-Time Tracker app are running in the thousands and increasing weekly.
ISS Real-Time Tracker is the only app that tracks the International Space Station in real-time on an interactive map, provides live HD video, predicts overhead passes, displays Landsat 8 images, gives crew data, all in one app.
New ISS Real-Time Tracker 4 adds streaming HD video of Earth from the High Definition Earth Viewing Experiment aboard the International Space Station
I’m really excited to share this news! It’s about my biggest update to ISS Real-Time Tracker yet!
I’ve added a great new feature to my internationally popularISS Real-Time Trackerapp. In addition to its other features, the app now lets you watch live HD video of Earth from the International Space Station. The video is streamed from the High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment aboard the ISS (see Facts About the HDEV Experiment, below).
While viewing the live video, ISS Real-Time Tracker continues its tracking of the ISS in the background. This lets you go switch between the map view and the HDEV view, so you can see the area, which the video corresponds to on the map. A future update will provide iPad and iPad Pro users with a split screen to view both at the same time.
Version 4 is a free update for ISS Real-Time Tracker users. If you don’t have the app, you can download it for only $1.99 (US).
Here’s What ISS Real-Time Tracker Does:
Tracks the current position of the ISS in real time on a moving map of Earth.
Looks up the most recent NASA Landsat 8 image of Earth at the current ISS location (where available) and lets you save the images to your photo library.
Checks for the amount of cloud cover in the Landsat 8 image and doesn’t display the image if it’s too high (this can be turned off in Settings).
Streams live HD video of the Earth from the High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment on the ISS.
Predicts the times when the ISS will pass over your current location, along with the duration of each pass.
Select how many overhead pass predictions to compute (5/10/25/50/100).
Tap any overhead pass to create an event in your calendar.
Lists current ISS crew members with their stats.
Click on any crew member to see their full bios.
Selectable position marker.
Info overlay boxes can be turned on/off in settings.
Copy button, next to info box, allows you to copy Space Station’s current coordinates, altitude, velocity, and time stamp to your pasteboard and paste them in another app.
All user settings and zoom slider position are automatically saved when app closes and are restored when it opens.
Runs on iPhone, iPad, iPad Pro, and iPod touch in all orientations (requires iOS 9.3 and above).
Supports iOS 9 multitasking.
Facts About the HDEV Experiment
(courtesy of NASA)
The High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment places four commercially available HD cameras on the exterior of the space station and uses them to stream live video of Earth for viewing online. The cameras are enclosed in a temperature specific housing and are exposed to the harsh radiation of space. Analysis of the effect of space on the video quality over the time HDEV is operational may help engineers decide which cameras are the best types to use on future missions. High school students helped design some of the cameras’ components through the High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program. And, student teams operate the experiment.
New Release Adds Greatly Expanded Information About Current International Space Station Crew Members
I’ve just released version 3 of my popular iOS app for iPhone, iPad, iPad Pro, and iPod touch.
As before, ISS Real-Time Tracker provides a moving map that tracks the International Space Station in real time in its orbit around the Earth. The app also provides a list of 5 to 100 predicted overhead passes based on the user’s location, as well as displaying and saving Landsat 8 images of the exact spot below the Station’s current position.
The new version now gives the nationality, title, days in space, date of launch, and a complete bio of each International Space Station crew member! Here’s an example:
International Space Station crew data
Crew member bio in ISS-Real-Time Tracker 3
The data are always current and automatically updated whenever a new crew launches to the International Space Station.
And, as always, “see what five miles-per-second looks like on your iPhone!”
Recently, it occurred to me that sometimes even really big sounding problems can often be solved simply and elegantly by using the tools at hand.
It took mankind thousands of years to discover the true nature of light and to determine how fast it traveled. Rene Descartes thought that it traveled infinitely fast and therefore could not be measured. Galileo first guessed that light travelled at least ten times faster than sound. In 1676, the Danish astronomer Ole Roemer was the first to measure the speed of light. He did it by timing the eclipses of Jupiter’s moon Io by Jupiter over many years as the distance between Earth and Jupiter varied. He calculated it to be around 200,000 km/s. Then, in 1862 Leon Foucault measured it really accurately at 299,796 km/s, incredibly close to today’s accepted value of 299,792.4574 km/s.
Here’s where the simple ways to solve big problems bit comes in
Did you know that you can calculate the speed of light using nothing more than your microwave oven and a piece of American cheese (or chocolate)? Here’s the equation we need:
c = f λ
It says the velocity of a light wave is equal to its frequency times its wavelength. The velocity of light has a special symbol, C. If we know the frequency and the wavelength, then we can determine C. Microwave ovens operate at a frequency of 2.45GHz to excite water and fat molecules in food. All we have to do now is measure the wavelength. Here’s where the American cheese comes in.
Cover a cardboard disk from a frozen pizza with slices of the cheese and microwave it at low power just until several melted spots appear. It can’t be rotating; so, if your oven has a carousel, prop the cardboard above it. Measure the distance (in meters) between the centers of the spots. That distance is half the wavelength of the light, so if you double it and multiply by 2.45 billion (the frequency in cycles per second), the result is the velocity of the rays bouncing about in your oven — the speed of light. Your answer should be fairly close to the actual speed of light: 299,792 km/s.
MSP Images gives you a royalty-free license to over 150 of my most popular photographs, including landscapes, sunsets, nature, & more. New version 2.2 is now available on the App Store.
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Download special coupon codes for big discounts on prints ordered on my website. You can even access the website in the app. These huge discounts are available exclusively to users of MSP Images.
Simply tap on any of the images and MSP Images will save them instantly to your photo library. From there, you can use them for any personal and non-commercial use, including your device’s wallpaper, printing, sending to your computer, & more. All the images are provided at a resolution of 2,048 pixels (longest side).
Over 150 of my most popular images for your personal use
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