My Petition to Blake London

Blake London is a new clothing company who makes immaculate clothing. In their small but beautiful line they have a jacket that was made for me, or perhaps I was made for it. It is the Blake Vintage Check.

There are several reasons we are such a matched set. The primary two being:

jacket coat men's fashion

the blake vintage check blazer

  1. Anyone who has known me for very long, knows that I cannot turn my back on a good blazer. It is primarily by the insistence of friends and family that I have managed to get through life only owning a dozen or so wool and tweed blazers (mostly inexpensive vintage finds); but my love for this jacket is not some form of Hoarding. I can honestly say that honestly say that this Blazer appeals to my style more than any other article of clothing I have so far encountered.
  2. It is made of a material developed by NASA for the Space Suit. For those of you who know me I hope you now understand my moderate obsession. For those of you who I have yet meet. I am a Material Science Engineer. I currently work at Stennis Space Center, where I get to use my degree to insure the facility is safe and functional so we can test fire rockets. I use to work at Oceaneering Space Systems working as a Materials Engineer on the Constellation Space Suit, prior to the Constellation program being canceled.  I’ve also worked in R&D for GE Healthcare, and  interned at NASA Langley in their Materials Development lab, working on Polyimide Foam.

So my petition (request, plea) to Blake London is that I may have a Blake Vintage Check of my own. You may say, if I want one so badly then I should pay for it like everyone else. Your right, I should. While £1195 is a lot of money, I don’t think it is too much for this jacket, but my pockets are not that deep. While I may one day own this, or another blazer from Blake, it will be some time before I can afford it. I think that there are few more fitting homes for this jacket than on a materials engineer working at NASA (namely me). I would be happy to consult with Blake on any materials issues, or be of service in any way I can. I would be happy to model the jacket for them, but I’m sure they have plenty of potential models who are more photogenic than I am.

So if you have any contacts at Blake London please share this request with them. If you represent Blake London, then please contact me, or give me a way to contact you, I would love to discuss this proposition.

The popular minority. The not-so-target market.

Last night I went to a ‘Hack Night’ in downtown NOLA. As the ‘new guy’ to the group, and not being a programmer by profession, I was curious to find out how many people there didn’t program for their job.

5 out of the 17 people there didn’t program as part of their job, in any way. Myself included. I’ve noticed that in a lot of the things I do I am what I refer to as “the popular minority”. Meaning that I don’t fall into what I perceive as the target ‘market’, but I am seldom alone. Like last night, Hack Night was an open forum for anyone, but the target audience was programmers look for help, or collaborating on projects. I’m not assuming that, it is actually the advertised purpose of the group. But as it is one of the few tech meetups in the NOLA area certain personality types from other interest areas have gravitated to the group. I know some of you marketing types are probably going to correct me about how adjacent demographic bla bla bla….

My point is that I’ve noticed a similar trend with my immediate circle and social media. I have A LOT of friends, followers, etc. that use social media daily (many use it constantly) as part of their jobs, or to fulfill some function of their role. Aside from those people the ‘general public’ use of social media is perceived to be entirely social; they talk to their friends and family, etc. end of story. But I’ve notice more than a few of the people I interact with on twitter and other social media channels use these as tools for their profession even though it is not part of their job description. They don’t get paid for it. And even at times have someone higher up the ladder that would oppose them doing what they were doing if he knew what RSS means.

Often times I fall into that category, and more often than not it has been to my advantage. Please respond to the poll, describe your situation if you can spare the characters, and if you are so inclined feel free to argue or agree with anything I’ve said here.


My new Job rocks

It has been an interesting last few weeks as I interviewed for positions, debated career changes, tuned down job offers, accepted a job in a new state, got food poisoning and drove a 26 foot moving van with a full car trailer across several states. But I am glad to say that so far I love my new job. For those that don’t know, Monday I started as a Pressure Vessel Engineer (working primarily in Non-Destructive Examination of existing systems) at Stennis Space Center.

This is a video and some photos:


Some Hard Numbers and Common Sense

As an engineer I am a slave to efficiency, and enamored of new technology. So like many I can’t help but be passionate about new green tech. But the overly logical scientist in me screams in frustration when I read about people who worry about “vampire” energy, or composting toilets when there are so many larger problems in the world. Yes it’s true that “every little bit counts”.  But as someone who is familiar with and actually understands “The Butterfly Effect” (as opposed to just romanticizing about it), I know that the ‘little bit’ doesn’t usually count for much.

I understand that worrying about the little things, and doing everything you can to reduce your footprint in part is a silent protest of many as a way of saying “I care about the environment and I will not be held accountable” without going out and picketing your friends, neighbors, and coworkers for owning SUVs. “In the world but not of the world” comes to mind.

Now that I’ve ranted about that small environmental/societal contradiction, the other part that gets my goat is when people don’t use numbers to support their claims. If you don’t have science to back up your claims then your just full of opinions and ambition, not to mention lies (intentional or unintentional). I understand that numbers don’t always tell the full story, and can be manipulated. See Wind myths: Turbines kill birds and bats. But that is no reason to make claims without any support whatsoever. (Unless of course you qualify the statement as a hypothesis or theory, in which case science can look the other way while you rant and rave until you’re blue in the face.)
All of that being said I read an article on Grist in the “Ask Umbra” column (Ask Umbra: Is it bad to leave chargers plugged in?) where I saw both hard numbers and common sense.  “Frankly, I’m of two minds about whether we should all freak out about chargers. Standby power use is responsible for an estimated 1 percent of global CO2 emissions, and every little bit certainly counts. But if you haven’t taken bigger steps like insulating your house or embracing public transportation, fretting over wall warts might not be the best use of your energy.” – Umbrella 
It is truly satisfying to see that combination in environmental journalism. I hope this is a trend, and the people (journalists and politicians included) come to their senses about both the need for green tech as well as the true environmental economies, but I’m not holding my breath.

Graphyne Better Than Graphene?

“Carbon nanotubes and graphene have paved the way for the next step in the evolution of carbon materials. Among the novel forms of carbon allotropes is graphyne – a two-dimensional lattice of sp–sp2-hybridized carbon atoms similar to graphene for which recent progress has been made in synthesizing dehydrobenzoannulene precursors that form subunits of graphyne. Here, we characterize the mechanical properties of single-atomiclayer graphyne sheets by full atomistic first-principles-based ReaxFF molecular dynamics.  Atomistic modeling is carried out to determine its mechanical properties for both in-plane and bending deformation including material failure, as well as intersheet adhesion. Unlike graphene, the fracture strain and stress of graphyne depends strongly on the direction of the applied strain and the alignment with carbon triple-bond linkages, ranging from 48.2 to 107.5 GPa with ultimate strains of 8.2–13.2%. The intersheet adhesion and out-of-plane bending stiffnesses are comparable to graphene, despite the density of graphyne being only one-half of that of graphene. Unlike graphene, the sparser carbon arrangement in graphyne combined with the directional dependence on the acetylenic groups results in internal stiffening dependent on the direction of applied loading, leading to a nonlinear stress–strain behavior.”

Via Materials Today : 

Making a difference matters

I’ve been working at GE Healthcare X-ray tubes now for almost two years now. But when I first came to work here one of the things that I first noticed was how much the individuals derived a deep satisfaction out of their work. At least once a day when talking to people, especially the technicians on the floor, I would hear them say “we’re saving lives.” And at first I thought; “No, we are making x-ray tubes, Doctors then use our equipment to help save lives.” I know it’s pessimistic, but at the time I just didn’t get it. Most of the people who work here derive that joy from their work because they care about making a difference. Yes they all WORK, and care about getting a pay check, but it’s more than that.  Don’t believe me? Watch this video that was shot at CT Headquarters, about 25 minutes from where I work.

When my mother was 16, long before I was born, her father died of Lymphoma. In the 1950’s diagnosing cancer was a far cry from the science it is today, and all too often the cancer was only detected once it was already too late. Today I work in a team of engineers who design a product that could have saved my Grandfather’s life. I never met the man, and while I’d be lying to say that I didn’t wish things were different, I am not filled with remorse when I think of what is and what was; only gratitude. Gratitude for all of the men and women who spent there carriers working to improve the field of medicine, diagnostics, and treatment, so that we could be where we are today. I am proud that in my own small way I can help make it so that someone else doesn’t have to lose their grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, brother, sister, spouse or child. The world is far from perfect and we will continue to loose loved ones to cancer and other diseases that in the future will be considered treatable. Which is why we should all do what we can to make a difference in our prospective fields.

When I saw this message from John Dineen earlier today it only confirmed what I already knew about the culture of the company I now work for. Nonetheless it is satisfying to hear how committed GE is to making a difference in patients’ lives. From the highest levels all the way down to the individual workers.

All Employee Kick Off Message