Thursday, September 24, 2015

Total Lunar Eclipse


The 27th/28th of September brings a total lunar eclipse to those between 60E and 150W longitude, including all of South America and Europe, and most of North America and Africa. The Bad Astronomer outlines the timing:

It’ll take just over an hour for the Moon to pass fully into the shadow, and the last sliver of it will slip into darkness at 02:11 UTC (10:11 Eastern). It’ll stay dark for more than an hour, and then start to be illuminated once again at 03:23 UTC (11:23 Eastern). “Last contact,” when it is out of Earth’s shadow, occurs at 04:27 UTC (00:27 Eastern, after midnight).

The great part of this is as long as you have clear skies, you'll be able to see it without a telescope or binoculars. I highly recommend checking it out, I will be. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Buffalo Bills Noise Measurements Follow-up

Sunday was absolutely ridiculous. The teams, the fans, the weather... all perfect for football. Sadly, at the end of the game the Bills were defeated, and a new world record crowd noise was not obtained.

Many questions popped up at the end of the record attempt, and I want to answer one particular one right here and now.

The Ralph wasn't designed to be a noisy stadium/All of the noise is reflected up and out and we were at a disadvantage trying to break this record:
I have two replies for this. The first is, show me your data that says this. Acoustic spaces do NOT react in ways that are always sensible. If any of those who have made this statement have data modelling the Ralph and noise generation, I'd love to look at it with you to see where your argument lies. EVERY stadium is shaped like a bowl, reflecting sound out and up. Technically Seattle MIGHT be better shaped for noise with it's partial roof. I ask, then, why Arrowhead Stadium holds the current record?
Second, this was one measurement made on one particular Sunday during an afternoon of football. There are quite literally uncountable variables involved in the acoustics and noise generated in this space. Were the seats filled? What was the weather like? How did the teams play? What was the age of the fans sitting nearest the microphone? Where was the microphone positioned? Were noisemakers used/allowed? Was the gameplay mundane or nerve wracking? Were the fans engaged and in the know about what was going on? Each of these things can have a HUGE impact on the noise generated during an event like this. This is the reason that trying to break a record like this is so hard. If it was easy, it would be broken all of the time.

I want to thank everyone involved in this for the opportunity to make this measurement. The Bills, the BillsMafia, Guinness World Records, and the Basil Marketing Group. I want to thank the local news outlets for taking an interest in this as well. I also want to thank my employer, PCB Piezotronics, for keeping me around in the right place at the right time with the right equipment to be able to something fun and amazing like this.

You can find my interviews with the various News outlets below:

WKBW
WIVB
The Buffalo News

Friday, September 18, 2015

Every once in awhile, an opportunity comes around...

Engineering isn't the most glamorous trade. As a research and development engineer, I can't complain with my career path. I get to run interesting experiments, and even break (intentionally) somewhat expensive equipment from time to time. Even during my day to day work, though, something comes along randomly that really tells me that I picked the right line of work...

I'm probably one of the few noise and vibration test engineers in WNY, and I've tested a lot of stuff. I've measured noise from automotive torque converters, planes, semi-trailers, cars, snowmobiles, guns, and boats. This weekend, I get to measure crowd noise, which isn't really that ludicrous of a measurement. What makes this special is that the measurement is at Ralph Wilson Stadium when the Buffalo Bills are playing the New England Patriots, and the measurements are for the Guinness World Record.

WIVB (Channel 4 in Buffalo) interviewed me today, and we talks about everything from why some sound meters (Shameless Plug) are better than others to what a decibel is. Not all of it made the aired interview, here is a link to what did! Enjoy!

UPDATE: I'll probably be talking to at least ESPN at some point tomorrow. We'll see how this crazy ride goes. BUFFALO NEW YORK, LET'S MAKE SOME NOISE!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Thank you Charles Messier


I didn't take this picture, NASA did. I'm nowhere near that good with my astrophotography yet. The subject of the picture has a rather interesting story though. Some might recognize it as the Crab Nebula, and it is a remnant of a supernova.
The Crab Nebula has a rather important distinction today. Back in 1758, a French astronomer by the name of Charles Messier was trying to look at comets, which to his viewing tech were fuzzy moving objects; but he kept seeing weird fuzzy objects that did not move. In order to not get bogged down in his comet hunting, he made a list of objects that were fuzzy, looked like comets on first glance, but were not moving. The list is known today as the Messier Catalog, and M1 is the Crab Nebula. The date that it was recorded was September 12, 1758, 257 years ago today. His entire list are objects that backyard astronomers (like myself) strive to look at through our humble equipment. In total, Charles Messier listed a total of 110 of these objects, which include the Pleiades (M45) (link goes to my pictures of them), the Orion Nebula (M42), and the Andromeda Galaxy(M31). He also discovered 13 actual comets.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Archery Dodgeball

Combine the insanity of dodgeball with the deadliness of archery and you are left with a ridiculous sport that I won't even dare to describe how awesome it must be... ...so I'll just let the video speak for itself.

Feedly Collections

I've been using Feedly for a long time as my news aggregator. They just added a pretty awesome feature: Public collections. You can now share a web link to various lists that you follow with your friends, family, twitter, etc...

I put mine together, which was pretty much the nerdiest grouping of sites you can imagine. If you're interested, check it out here. This is where I find about 70% of what I post!