The Faraday Evening, April 24, 2001
by Igor Tsukerman
I have to apologize. I was supposed to write up a skit and I didn't. This was partly due to a lack of time. But more importantly, I did not want to have our faculty members play out a skit because that could be embarrassing to them. It was not my intention to embarrass anyone - only to insult everyone.
This is not a skit but rather a shameless, self-serving and politically incorrect announcement of my new revolutionary Internet ventures. Categories of people that may be insulted by this announcement include, but are not limited to: professors of our department (such as the Department Head); actors and actresses (such as Barbra Streisand); political leaders (such as Jiang Zemin, Henry Kissinger and Barbra Streisand); women and other minorities; Titanic survivors (such as Kate Winslet); the ancient Greeks; musicians of the Cleveland Orchestra; and the whole population of the United States. If you feel you belong or may belong to any of these groups, you might prefer to ignore everything you hear.
If you find yourselves having to leave during this announcement, please do so quietly but try to stay at least for the first 4-5 hours.
I hope that many people, and our students among them, will find my new Web sites useful; I'm sure investors will be interested, too.
The first revolutionary Web site is gradeline.com.
This is a revolutionary grade auction. You can name your own grade for any course you choose. Remember, there are plenty of grades that are unused on any given day, and the University will be happy to give them away. If your requested grade is not available for the course you want, you will get that grade for another course. In rare instances when your grade is not available at all, you will get either a rain check or the respective grade from other participating colleges, such as Tri-C, Case Western Reserve, Cambridge, Harvard or Princeton. Your credit card will be charged in advance (the nominal fee of $999.95 per letter grade is nonrefundable). Certain restrictions apply. Cannot be combined with any other offer. One grade per student per day.
My most revolutionary and most successful venture by far has been "Dear Electrical Engineering.com". This revolutionary Web site has enormous potential of attracting millions of people who normally write to "Dear Abby" - in other words, all people who do not have a clue.
It has now become much easier than even a year or two ago to reach out to the prospective audience of "Dear Electrical Engineering.com". This is due to the two New York Times bestsellers that came out last year. The first bestseller is "How to Click a Mouse - for Dummies" and the second one is "How to Double-Click a Mouse - for Dummies". As a result, about 100 million (that is, 100,000,000) Americans who would not otherwise be able to access our Web site will now know how to do it.
When you log on "Dear Electrical Engineering.com", you can ask any faculty member any question you like. The answer is usually given within 30 to 60 seconds. This service is free, except for a nominal flat nonrefundable fee of $99.95. Certain restrictions apply. Cannot be combined with any other service. One question per person per minute.
I am pleased to present a few samples of questions and answers posted on "Dear Electrical Engineering.com". These are the actual questions with the actual answers given by the faculty; however, any resemblance of reality is purely coincidental.
I am a 25 year old male pursuing my Master's in Extraterrestrial Conflict Management at one of the Ivy League colleges. My wife is a year younger than I am, and she is the most wonderful creature to ever walk on the face of the Earth and other planets. The problem is that we live with my mother-in-law, and she exercises robust control. Can I do anything about it? Could this be due to our cultural differences - my mother-in-law is from Poland, while I am from St. Kitts & Nevus?
Controlled in Nevus
Dear "Controlled in Nevus":
Your problem is certainly not unique and is known among psychologists as "momus controlus robustus". Your best bet may be to switch from robust control to optimal control by tweaking a few parameters. Please let me know if you want to pursue this, and I will send you the relevant formulas with detailed instructions on how to apply them. I do not believe that your cultural differences are critical. In any case, no matter what type of control is used, you will be well advised to keep the poles within the unit circle. And be sure to seek counseling! (Click on one of the banner ads on this Web page).
I have been married five years. My husband Paul (not his real name) is the nicest person to ever walk on the face of the Earth. Paul loves Fourier Transforms, and when we got married he used to do four or five of them a day. Now he is down to only one or two. Is this a problem? What can I do to alleviate it?
Undertransformed in Seattle
Dear "Undertransformed in Seattle":
I think it is a problem but it is certainly not unique and known among psychologists as "transformus operandi". There are two possible explanations but only one solution. First of all, you did not say how old you or your husband were; but generally speaking, as we age, our ability to do Fourier Transforms diminishes, often due to the damaged wiring in our Fourier Transformers. Secondly, it might be that your husband is cooperating with someone else to do the remaining 2-3 Fourier Transforms. Whatever the reason, the solution is clear: seek professional help immediately! Click on one of the ads on this page to set up an appointment with a psychologist.
My question is not directly related to electrical engineering but I would like to tap into your wisdom and personal experience if I may. My fiancÚ Kim (not her real name) is the nicest person to ever walk on the face of the Earth. She is so caring, so pretty, so warm, so considerate, so kind to me and everyone else - and at the same time so smart and capable I love her very, very much. We are planning to get married this summer. Should I be concerned about anything at all?
Happy in Honolulu
Dear "Happy in Honolulu":
Based on the information you provided, GET OUT OF THIS IMMEDIATELY!!!
My girlfriend Stacey (not her real name) is the best person to ever walk on the face of the Earth. There is only one problem. When she comes home in the evening, she uploads on me about 2 (two) Gigabytes of stories about the events that have happened during the day, and my hard drive is getting full. I cannot give her any more than one kilobyte in return, and she resents that. Why is it that there are many more important events occurring in her life than in mine? What can I do? If you don't help me now, my system may crash tonight when my girlfriend comes home.
Worried in Alaska
Dear "Worried in Alaska":
Your problem is certainly not unique and is known among psychologists as "hard disco incommunicado". Luckily, I have a great solution for you. There is a shareware program called Zipgf that can compress up to 2 Gigabytes of a typical girlfriend's talk to 64 bytes (of which the first 32 bytes is the header). You will have to pay the $15 registration fee but it's well worth it. Nevertheless, you must immediately seek counseling.
You might remember me - I took your course in Digital Signal Processing back in 1910. I was the only female student in that class and used to be able to compute discrete convolution in less than 30 seconds, using just a slide ruler and an abacus. But lately, I have not been happy with my convolution life. What can I do to bring back the joy of convolution?
Still Kicking in Phoenix
Dear "Still Kicking":
Of course I remember you and am delighted to hear from you! Have you read Bob's analysis of Fourier Transforms on this Web site? If you haven't, please do, it may be relevant to you, too. By the way, do you remember Bob? Probably not - he was still an undergraduate student when you were doing your Ph.D. on Remote Control of Icebergs.
Anyway, your problem is certainly not unique and is known among psychologists as "non abacus convolvo". Since your graduation in 1912, there have been many exciting developments in Digital Signal Processing that you may benefit from. Especially relevant is the Wiener-Khintchine Theorem; it essentially states that if convolution is not available, you can do autocorrelation instead. But you must seek counseling immediately (click on one of the banner ads on this page). Good luck.
My wife Sandy (not her real name) and I have a wonderful collection of art. We also have a cat; she is so pretty that we named her Barbra Streisand. When Sandy and I were on vacation in downtown Paris, in one of the art galleries we saw a very nice Switched Reluctance Motor - painted gray and blue, fabulous cylindrical shape, and just the right size for our bedroom (20 feet long and 50 inches in diameter). Our favorite picture of Barbra Streisand looks perfect on top of this machine. The only problem is that, despite its relatively low rated power of 3 MW, the motor is noisy: about 85 dB at 3,457.9 Hz, which is equivalent to approximately 6.9 on the Richter scale. Can we do anything to reduce the noise?
Sleepless in Paris, Ohio
Dear "Sleepless in Paris, Ohio":
I am really surprised. My former student Dr. Anwar and myself have shown that Switched Reluctance Motors make no noise at all. However, our theory is based on several assumptions, the main one being that the motor must be disconnected from any electric sources. Be sure to unplug your machine! If it isn't connected but is still making the noise, you definitely need immediate counseling. Click on one of the ads. Best of luck.
I need your advice on circuit parameters. My husband Steve (not his real name) has very high resistance but low admittance, significant reluctance and impedance, quite a bit of reactance, but not much capacitance in the bank account. Can his circuit be fixed or do I need to replace it?
Short-Circuited in Kalamazoo
You have described your husband as a lumped parameter circuit. However, he is, strictly speaking, a distributed circuit. In other words, Steve may behave as a transmission line. If you excite Steve at the right frequency, he will effectively become a quarter-wavelength line, and all his parameters will be reversed. You need to learn how to excite your husband. However, even if you succeed in that, seek professional help from one of our sponsors (click the banner ad).
I have seen your Web site and know that you teach electronics. But do you actually believe in electrons? I have never seen a single one, and I have been pondering their existence for a year, since I was two years old. I am three now and still have not been able to find a definitive answer. I would greatly appreciate your reply. Bye now, I have to go get my pampers changed.
P.S. Are any of your colleagues familiar with string theory? I have found a missing equation that unifies quantum mechanics and gravity in the 12-dimensional space.
Dear Little Josh:
As a professor of electronics, I have to instill confidence in my students and therefore never admit that I haven't actually been able to see any electrons myself, even when I cut a wire and used a magnifying glass, and even though I was ready to settle for generic electrons rather than any brand name. Since no one has ever seen any electrons, their existence is a matter of personal belief. The ancient Greeks were the first to think about this. Even the word 'electron' itself is derived from three Greek words: 'e' means 'I', 'lec' - 'have', 'tron' - no idea. The Greeks actually believed that there were several types of electrons, all located somewhere in the mountains, each of these electrons being responsible for its own thing: one - for the weather, another one - for harvest, yet another one - for interest rates. I personally do not believe in so many electrons but I do believe in weather forecasts and in the electron of Greenspan. Anyway, I hope your string theory analysis proves right, but don't forget to click on the banner ad to get a new box of pampers!
I have an authentic Printed Circuit Board that my ancestors purchased from the Indians in the 17th century. It is a 2 3 wooden board with the word "Circuit" imprinted on it. How can I check if this board is still operational?
Curios in Poughkeepsie
Antique Printed Circuit Boards are generally quite durable. This is because each transistor is large (about 5 5), and even if part of it wears out, it can still function nicely. You might need to replace the batteries, though: typically, Indians used small 5,000 Volt wooden batteries filled with a snake poison solution. Such batteries should still be available from an antique store near you, or you may want to order a few from this Web site absolutely free [you pay only a nominal shipping and handling fee of $499.95]. Just click on one of the banner ads. To check whether the circuit is operational, you can use any of the 78 methods of testing that I have developed in the course of my research. The best method is to be published this Fall but I can disclose it to you now: try turning your board on and see if it works.
My husband is highly skilled in his trade, which is pizza delivery. His salary is very good but low. Would he be able to make more money if he were to switch to object oriented programming?
Object-oriented in Akron
This is in regard to your question about pizza, money and object-oriented programming. It is imperative that we make a clear distinction between pizza and money. Pizza is obviously an object. Pizza can be bequeathed and inherited; it can also be overloaded. For example, pizza.hut (), pizzadomino.s (), pizza.papa.john.s () have different input parameters but virtually the same output.
Money is quite different from pizza. In general, money is purely virtual. Unlike pizza, money cannot be inherited because the government takes it all. No less an authority in object-oriented design than Bill Gates has stated on several occasions: "Money is not an object".
Therefore you seem to be in a bind, and the right course of action for you would be to seek counseling immediately, together with your husband. Just click on one of our sponsors' ads on this Web page.
How can I convert the potential energy of the stocks I own into kinetic energy and maximize the return of my portfolio?
Fully invested in Omaha, Nebraska
Dear "Fully Invested":
You've come to the right place. Stock energy conversion is completely analogous to electromechanical conversion, on which I am an expert. Any electric machine has a remarkable property: it always spins clockwise if you look from the right, and counter-clockwise if you look from the left. What you need the most, and not only in investing but also in other activities, is the right spin. No matter how badly your portfolio is doing, you can always find an instance of time in the past when the matters were even worse, and use that instance as a basis for comparison.
With the spin in the right direction, you generate the EMF. The EMF is the Elbuluk Mutual Fund that I highly recommend. Its value has grown by 20% compared to November 1929. If you invest in any other fund but the EMF, the results may be so disastrous that you will almost certainly need counseling (should that happen, click on one of our sponsors' ads).
I carry a negative charge of -3 mC. My wife has approximately the same amount of positive charge, which makes us attract with the force inverse proportional to the square of the distance between us. The problem is with my in-laws. They carry the same negative charge as I do, and therefore we repel; the closer we get, the stronger we repel. What can I do about it?
Overcharged in Washington, D.C.
You should calculate the Poynting vector. The procedure is especially neat if you use complex phasors - this takes less than 18 pages of formulas in my 9,000 page textbook on Electromagnetics.
One stage of this procedure is particularly tricky and requires experience, practice and patience. I mean the Right Hand Rule. Wrap the four fingers of your right hand - very gently! - around your in-laws, making sure that the middle finger does not extend and that you don't sprain your muscles. Your thumb will point in the direction of energy flow; I recommend that your in-laws go with the flow, and you move in the opposite direction. Whether or not that helps, you should seek counseling immediately.
My wife and I have a five-year-old son. We live in a small apartment in Brooklyn; the walls are so thin that I'm afraid our son can overhear all my conversations with my wife, and more. Is there anything we can do?
Overheard in Brooklyn
Your problem is well known as "communicato privato pianissimo". Fortunately, it is easy to solve. First of all, you need a shift register that you can buy at a local Radio Shack. I can't explain to you here how it works; but basically, a shift register is an electronic device where shift happens every microsecond. Then you apply the Ugweje process with quadruple time integration (some asymptotic approximations of Hankel functions may be needed) - and lo and behold, you've got spread-spectrum modulation of everything that happens in your bedroom. The only way your son could decode it would be by contacting me, which I hope he will not do. But if he does, all of us will need professional help immediately.
I have a fundamental question about computers. I believe you are the right person to ask because you specialize in Basic Electrical Engineering, and all computers are basically electrically engineered. Do you think computers will become ever more powerful and will eventually overtake our civilization?
Computer-conscious in Palm Beach, Fla.
Not to worry, our legal system will guard you against any possible advances in technology. In the state of Florida, after the landmark decision of the Florida Supreme Court (November 2000), computers are in fact already illegal. The High Court stated (quote): "No machine shall ever be trusted. Any machine-generated data, including but not limited to desktop, notebook, handheld computers, hole punchers, calculators and any other electronic or mechanical devices, shall be verified by manual recount."
As reported in The Wall Street Journal and The National Inquirer, 24 people were arrested at the Miami International Airport a few days ago for the illegal possession of palmtop devices apparently smuggled from Colombia. 23 people were eventually released on a $500,000 bail but one person is still held because of the material found on his palmtop. There was a folder that contained schedules and tasks, with a few deadlines. [According to another recent landmark decision of the Court, deadlines are illegal in Florida.]
The bottom line is that you do not need to worry about any technological progress as long as you stay in Florida. If you are still worried, you should seek counseling immediately.
As the GEES (General Electrical Engineering Secretary), you must know everything. I hope you can help me. I would like to build a wireless network at home. I have three Pentium PCs (300 MHz each, 900 MHz total), two 50 satellite dishes, two radar detectors, a Virtual Java Machine, and a Phillips screwdriver. Do I need anything else?
Wireless-less in Pittsburgh
Thank you for the compliment but I do not really know everything. Your question is quite simple, though. All you need to do is Sorry, hold on for a moment, I have to answer the phone
Gay Boden, Electrical Engineering No, sorry, the provost has not approved that yet, but he certainly will tomorrow, as I instructed. Call me back the same time tomorrow. You are welcome.
Gay Boden, Electrical Engineering Nashville, Tennessee? Yes, the tornado will hit tomorrow, at 1:45 pm. Where exactly are you located? Broadway and the 4th? No, it will be 400 yards east of your house. Yes, my forecasts are always accurate but come with no warranty You may want to go down to the basement at 1:40, take a big armchair with you, put it in the upright and locked position and fasten your seat belt. Sure. No problem. Any time.
Gay Boden, Electrical Engineering Yes, I checked out your symphony - very, very nice. I'd change only one thing: a C-sharp instead of the D in the third measure on page 16. It will attenuate the idea and elevate the emotions Oh, thank you, I'd be delighted to play with the Cleveland Orchestra again, but unfortunately I have other commitments this Saturday. Maybe you can get Ashkenazi to fill in for me? Tell him it's my personal request. No problem at all. You are welcome.
Gay Boden, Electrical Engineering Oh, hi, Henry!.. Of course I do, how could I not recognize you! [Bill, would you please shut the door - this may be confidential. No, not the hallway door - Alex's door. Thanks.] When was the last time we met, Henry? The three of us, with Richard, right after the Watergate? I'm still blaming myself that I could not destroy that last 1% of the evidence What can I do for you now? The China crisis? Did George Bush approach you himself? He thinks you are still in the loop All right. Why didn't he call me directly? Sure I'm busy, but not when there is a crisis! George shouldn't be that hypersensitive. He can call me any time. He is so cute. Such a sexy voice. I think he's got style. I call him Grizz. Besides, he and I have the same initials.
Yes, be firm. Say we are sorry but don't apologize. Sorry that our propeller got knocked off without their permission. Don't say "yihan" in Chinese, that's an acknowledgment of guilt; use "bao qian," it's better than "yihan" and better than "dao qian." And I'll see what I can do on my side. Have Jiang Zemin call me. No problem at all. You bet.
Gay Boden, Electrical Engineering Still cannot get the supersymmetry? Don't be frustrated. Try applying the Boden-Grover Theorem for the topological invariance in the Kaluza-Klein Theory. All right. No, my name need not be mentioned. Just keep me posted.
Gay Boden, Electrical Engineering Hi, Igor. You want a raise!? How much? From 6.50 to 7? I don't think that's reasonable, you are above the minimum wage already. That's a 50 cent increase you are asking! Ok What have you published? Aha. Transactions of the Cuyahoga Falls Janitor Association? Peer reviewed? By janitors? By senior janitors? All right. Consider it done. Yes, Alex will sign it, he'll do what I say. See, it's one-way communication: I know everything he does but he doesn't have the faintest idea what I do. No problem. My pleasure. Bye now.
Gay Boden, Electrical Engineering What? 28 million? He thinks if he's Tom Hanks he can pull down whatever he wants? No. Offer 15 and do not budge. Any of our faculty would do it for just half the price. Bill could do it. Igor, too, -- as a matter of fact, he just asked for a raise. What's required? Scaling a 10 wall and jumping down? Sure, any of the professors would do that for just 10 mil, plus 46% overhead, if it goes through the NSF What else? Two years on a desert island? We'll do that for half the price, too! What else? He has to kiss Barbra Streisand? Ok, give him what he's asking.
Gay Boden, Electrical Engineering Hi! Didn't you get my message? I took a quick look at the position this morning, before leaving for the office. Kasparov should have moved his bishop to g5, then checkmate in seven moves Too bad he didn't see it. You bet.
Gay Boden, Electrical Engineering Hello, Jiang. [Bill, would you please shut the door - this may be confidential. No, not the hallway door - Alex's door. Thanks.] Listen, Jiang, I think holding our guys hostage is a very serious matter. Anyway, did you get the picture I sent you through my channels? What do you think of it? That young lady, your intern, Lee Win Mo - isn't she pretty? You look good, too, even though you aren't exactly wearing a three-piece suit Would you mind if I forward the picture to Drudge, as I did last time with Monica?.. Well, if that's the case, I really hope you'll release our guys by noon tomorrow. I'm sure you'll do the right thing, Jiang. Good night.
Ok, time to go home. That was quite a day - I didn't even have time to send my network design to this "wireless-less" guy. Anyway, Bill, would you turn the radio on - let's hear how brilliantly GB has handled the China crisis.