General Purpose Microprocessor

“…even though science and technology are wonderful, what really gets them out there for people to use is to have businesses built around them. It takes savvy businessmen as well as savvy technologists to make that work.” Tedd Hoff Background Ted Hoff had access to then state-of-the-art vacuum tube circuits in high school. In 1954, […]

Reasonably Priced Business Computer (IBM/360)

The IBM/360 is the first mass computer, designed as a general-purpose computer affordable for mid-sized businesses yet powerful enough for large enterprises. Background In 1962, IBM’s revenue was $2.5 billion. CEO Thomas Watson Jr. believed in the vision of a general-purpose computer that supports timesharing, the ability of a computer to do multiple things at […]

Electronic Desktop Calculator

Desktop calculators led the idea of computers small and cheap enough to sit on an individual’s desk. Eventually, they also became the impetus for the general-purpose microchip. History The first desktop electronic calculator is the ANITA Mark VII and ANITA Mark VIIII, both launched late 1961. The Bell Punch Co. of Britain designed the ANITA. […]

Sonography

Sonography is the process of using sound waves as an imaging device, typically for medical purposes. Background Indeed, the principles of sonography come from the natural world. For example, bats and whales are mammals that use sound waves for navigation. In 1794, after performing medical studies on bats, Lazzaro Spallanzani gained a basic understanding of […]

Processed Foods with Statistical Quality Control

By design, countless food products look and taste exactly the same. Nobody opens a name-brand candy bar and wonders if it will taste different than any other bar they may have chosen. Each can of Coca Cola, Pepsi, or Guinness Beer tastes exactly the same as any other. All major food companies can thank Guinness […]

Weather Forecast

The development of the telegraph in 1835 made weather forecasting possible. Before that time, people used various methods to guess changes in the weather. Some observations were accurate. For example, the correlation of barometric pressure to weather changes. However, there was not enough geographically widespread data to methodically forecast weather. The Britsh government charged Francis […]

Metric System

The metric system standardized weights and measures enabling trade and improving communication. Before the metric system, every country and also countless regions, used different forms of measurement. This vastly complicated international trade. Metric The metric system derives from the natural world and uses a decimal counting system for simplicity. Length derives from the meter, a […]

Slide Rule

Slide rules are the original mechanical calculators. They could quickly multiply and divide large numbers. Slide rules are based on logarithms. These are tables of the number another number is raised to produce a third number. Scales of roots do the opposite. John Napier realized sets of log scales placed next to one another easily […]

Clusters of Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)

CRISPR is like a word processor for DNA. It allows easy and inexpensive gene editing. Edited genes are passed to future generations, making mutations permanent. Doudna and Charpentier Doudna and Charpentier worked on and invented the technology as a team. First, they worked on plants and, later, on animals. History becomes murkier with the involvement […]

Privatized Space

Private space companies launch rockets that propel satellites (and eventually, people) into space without government funds or bureaucracy.   Leaving government out of space removes political influence, simplifies space commercialization, and reduces costs. Elon Musk Elon Musk has a fondness for starting businesses that do the impossible. At first, there was PayPal. At that time, […]