Hackaday Links: March 26, 2023

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Sad news in the tech world this week as Intel co-founder Gordon Moore passed away in Hawaii at the age of 94. Along with Robert Noyce in 1968, Moore founded NM Electronics, the company that would later go on to become Intel Corporation and give the world the first commercially available microprocessor, the 4004, in 1971. The four-bit microprocessor would be joined a few years later by the 8008 and 8080, chips that paved the way for the PC revolution to come. Surprisingly, Moore was not an electrical engineer but a chemist, earning his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1954 before his postdoctoral research at the prestigious Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins. He briefly worked alongside Nobel laureate and transistor co-inventor William Shockley before jumping ship with Noyce and others to found Fairchild Semiconductor, which is where he made the observation that integrated circuit component density doubled roughly every two years. This calculation would go on to be known as “Moore’s Law.”

Also in deceased tech billionaire news, a freak accident happened in Scotland involving the R/V Petrel, a research ship that was once owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The 76-meter ship was in a dry dock in Leith undergoing a refit when it toppled over during a windstorm. Twenty-three people were transported to local hospitals, while twelve people with minor injuries were treated on the scene. Allen bought Petrel in 2016 and had it outfitted for deep-sea exploration, using it extensively to search for downed warships like the USS Indianapolis, the ship that was torpedoed after having delivered the first atomic bomb to the island of Tinian in 1945. The accident left Petrel listing at a 45-degree angle in its dry dock; it’s not clear yet how much damage the ship — or the dock — suffered, how the ship will be righted, or whether it can even be put back in service.

In space news, fascinating results from the James Webb Space Telescope this week as it was announced that the $10 billion observatory was able to directly observe a dust storm on an exoplanet. The planet, with the unfortunate designation VHS 1256b — we know, Beta 1256b is technically superior — is a “Super Jupiter” about 40 light years away. Although silicates have previously been detected in the atmospheres of brown dwarfs or “failed stars,” JWST was able to detect the signature of silicate dust in the gas giant’s clouds, marking the first time such particles have been detected in a planet-sized object.

Also in space but a little closer to home, it looks like some of the newest generation of Starlink satellites aren’t exactly up to snuff, and may have to be deorbited far ahead of schedule. The problem seems to be with the latest batch of 21 satellites launched last month, which SpaceX calls the “V2 Mini,” and which are supposed to someday support direct-to-phone satellite connections. Starlink watchers (because that’s now a thing) have noticed that most of the group has been rapidly sinking back to Earth. Elon doesn’t say exactly what the problem is, and what could justify sending the 1.5-ton satellites to space only to have them meet an early and fiery end. He does say that the issue only affects part of the latest batch, and that the others will still eventually be raised to their scheduled orbit above the ISS.

And finally, if you love cross-sections and decappings as much as we do, be sure to check out this cool video that looks under the hood of the simplest electronic component: the resistor. The video looks inside everything from the old carbon composition resistors to metal film, wire-wound, SMD, and even variable resistors. It also takes a look at some of the oddball resistors, like LDRs, thermistors, varistors, and even things like strain gauges. Sure, it’s a little basic, but it’s fun to take a look inside like this.

3 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: March 26, 2023

  1. Meh, don’t worry about how to right the ship, it’s pretty much the same for every ship, you pump out the water as you inflate airbags on one side of the ship and it eventually flips. Also, since it wasn’t explicit, Paul Allen has been dead since 2018 and this was only about the ship.

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