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Qualcomm: From Satellites to CDMA to Snapdragons

Qualcomm is the world’s largest fabless semiconductor designer. The name Qualcomm is a mashup of Quality and Communications and communications has been a hallmark of the company since its founding. They began in satellite communications and today most every smartphone has a Qualcomm chip. The ubiquity of communications in our devices and everyday lives hasContinue reading “Qualcomm: From Satellites to CDMA to Snapdragons”


How The Inca Used Knots To Tell Stories

The Inca are most often remembered not for what they had but for what they didn’t have: the wheel, iron, a written language. This third lack has given rise to a paradox, the Inca paradox. Could it be that the largest pre-Columbian empire in the Americas existed without a jot of linguistic notation? Could someoneContinue reading “How The Inca Used Knots To Tell Stories”

The Steamboat Inventors: The First Generation

The idea that a fuel-burning engine could drive a vehicle over land, through the water, or even into the sky, was already old by the time of Watt’s triumphs. Leibiniz, Huygens, and Papin had all dreamed of vehicles powered by gunpowder or steam. The horseless carriage was the most popular concept; machinery to turn wheelsContinue reading “The Steamboat Inventors: The First Generation”

This scientist wrote the ultimate guide to alien weapons, music, and sex

Robert Freitas shares the story behind the Xenology. Robert Freitas was still in college when he started his now-legendary handbook to alien life. Published in 1979, Xenology offered some of the first — and still among the only — serious academic discussion of potential extraterrestrial biology, culture, and more, including, yes, ray guns and orgasms.Continue reading “This scientist wrote the ultimate guide to alien weapons, music, and sex”

Food Packaging

Every time you open the refrigerator, a heroic engineering effort looks back at you. The global market for plastic caps and closures is worth $40 billion per year–and growing. Sophisticated packaging keeps consumers safe from foodborne illness, reduces spoilage and waste, makes it possible to deliver food to faraway markets, and provides distinctive experiences forContinue reading “Food Packaging”

Kaitai Struct: A new way to develop parsers for binary structures

Kaitai Struct is a declarative language used to describe various binary data structures, laid out in files or in memory: i.e. binary file formats, network stream packet formats, etc. The main idea is that a particular format is described in Kaitai Struct language (.ksy file) and then can be compiled with ksc into source filesContinue reading “Kaitai Struct: A new way to develop parsers for binary structures”

Experiment measures antiproton orbiting helium ion

In Wednesday’s issue of Nature, a new paper describes a potentially useful way of measuring the interactions between normal matter and exotic particles, like antiprotons and unstable items like kaons or elements containing a strange quark. The work is likely to be useful, as we still don’t understand the asymmetry that has allowed matter toContinue reading “Experiment measures antiproton orbiting helium ion”

Find More Ways to Be an Outsider

The world is full of outsiders: students away at a university far from home, immigrants to a new country, and people who go abroad for work or extended travel. Over the past year, more than 4.4 million American workers quit their jobs in the “Great Resignation,” and many of them became outsiders by joining aContinue reading “Find More Ways to Be an Outsider”

Libmill: Go-style concurrency in C

Libmill is a lightweight coroutine library bringing Go-style concurrency to C language. It also contains simple networking and file access library that allows users to quickly bootstrap application development. Libmill runs in following environments: Microarchitecture: x86, x86_64, ARM Compiler: gcc, clang Operating system: Linux, OSX, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, DragonFlyBSD Read more…