(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Ford Motor Company

Taking it to the streets…


From traditional road signs…

… to the more modern electric variety…

… to the road itself…

… local artists and hackers around the world are adding spice to the daily drive.  See more at Web Urbanist’s “Culture Jamming: New Subversive Signs of Our Times.”


As we search for spray paint in an environmentally-friendly non-aerosol can, we might recall that it was on this date in 1902 that Henry Leland  formed the Cadillac Automobile Company.  When Henry Ford left the Henry Ford Company with several of his top lieutenants earlier that year to start the Ford Motor Company, the stranded financiers asked Leland, a master engineer, to appraise the plant and equipment for sale.  In the event, Leland bought the assets and re-started the operation, naming the new venture after his ancestor, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the founder of the city of Detroit.  The company’s logo– the crest– is based on a coat of arms that Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac had created at the time of his marriage in 1687.


But while Leland is best remembered for Cadillac, he has arguably touched more lives via his invention of electric barber clippers.



Let’s get small…

Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer, inventors of the Scanning Tunneling Microscope (source: IBM)

Twenty years ago, technicians at IBM’s Almaden Research Lab pulled a nifty stunt with their scanning tunneling microscope (STM).  IBM scientists had invented the STM nine years earlier in IBM’s Zurich Lab (and received a Nobel prize for it in 1996); while the STM was originally intended simply to create visualizations of things very, very tiny, the folks at Almaden realized that the technique used– it “felt” the atoms in question with similarly-charged particles, then mapped the object– could be reversed:  the STM could change it’s charge, “pin” an atom, and move it…  The first illustration– and, some argue, the first example of “practical” nanotechnology– was this IBM logo, “written” in xenon atoms:

source: IBM

Over the last two decades, the STM has become a critical tool for chip makers, enabling them to perfect  current DRAM and flash memories.  Now, the folks at Almaden, still pushing the limits of their gear, they’ve turned their STMs into slo-mo movie cameras, and captured the atomic process of setting and erasing a bit on a single atom– that’s to say, of the operation of a single-atom DRAM.

Practical applications- atomic memories, better solar cells, and ultimately, atomic scale quantum computers– are, of course, some way off… but Moore’s Law seems safe for awhile.

Read all about it in EE Times.

As we drop the needle on that Steve Martin album, we might recall that it was on this date in 1908 that the Model T went on sale; it cost $825 (roughly equivalent to $20,000) today.  Ford’s advances in the technologies used both in the car and in its manufacture, along with economies of scale,  resulted in  steady price reductions over the next decade: by the 1920s, the price had fallen to $290 (equivalent to roughly $3,250 today).

1908 advertisement

SFW: Can’t you see I’m busy?…

For those readers in search of relief from the inevitabilities of employment, a set of diversions that one can enjoy with no fear of being overseen by an overseer: from cantyouseeimbusy.com, a trio of games that will leave managers and colleagues thinking that one is working harder than ever.  For instance, Leadership

As we navigate between best case and worst, we might recall that it was on this date in 1908 that Henry Ford and his engineers introduced their twentieth attempt (named the “Model T,” the twentieth letter in the alphabet) to the public– four days after the first prototype was completed, and exactly 32 years to the day before America opened its first “superhighway,”  the Pennsylvania Turnpike (1940)…

The twentieth time’s the charm…

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 1, 2009 at 12:01 am

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