Yearly Archives: 2010

On this day, December 30, 1905, former Idaho governor Frank Steunenberg opened his garden gate. An explosion shattered the calm and mortally wounded Steunenberg. Steunenberg was targeted for his role in suppressing the violent 1899 miners’ strike in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. The Steunenberg assassination led to a no-holds-barred trial pitting […]

Remembering Steunenberg

In 1955, a Sears Department store in Colorado Springs, CO misprinted Santa’s phone number so children calling for Santa accidentally reached the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.” Colonel Harry Shoup, Director of Operations, had his staff track Santa by radar and provide updates to the children who […]

NORAD Tracks Santa

Some interesting new details are emerging on the Stuxnet virus and the damage it did to the Iranian nuclear program: Jerusalem Post – ‘Stuxnet virus set back Iran’s nuclear program by 2 years’ The Atlantic – Stuxnet? Bah, That’s Just the Beginning – Mystery Surrounds Cyber Missile That Crippled […]

Emerging Details on Stuxnet

Previously, ÆtherCzar shared the story of the Lightsquared’s Skyterra-1 satellite with the 22m reflector antenna – largest ever deployed in space on a commercial satellite (Orbiting 22m Dish Antenna to Provide 4G Service). Then, the satellite suffered a glitch in which the reflector antenna only deployed 98%. Some sources indicated […]

Update: LightSquared’s Skyterra-1 Satellite

Gawrker Media, parent of such sites as, Fleshbot [NSFW], Deadspin, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, io9, Kotaku, Jalopnik, Jezebel,, and Cityfile, was hacked over the weekend. As a result, their user files were compromised. Although the password file was encrypted, the encryption was particularly weak, and vulnerable to a brute force […]

Consider Updating Passwords After Gawker Media Hack

Previously, ÆtherCzar noted that the effectiveness of full body scanners has been called into question. Liquid explosives and other organic contraband contrast poorly and are said to be difficult to spot. These reports were largely anecdotal, however. Good technical information on the performance of x-ray backscatter full-body scanners has been […]

Technical Analysis of X-Ray Backscatter Units’ Performance

A century-old concept may be the next big thing in military technology. General Atomics has developed and test fired a rail gun. The rail gun uses a 33 megajoule current impulse to accelerate a projectile at speeds up to Mach 8. Here’s a video of the test. This high-tech concept […]

General Atomics Test Fires Railgun

Armig Kandoian received U.S. Patent 2,368,663 for his invention of the discone antenna in 1945. The basic idea behind a discone antenna is to drive a circular disk against a conical ground. Kandoian was motivated by the problem of trying to mount antennas to aircraft. In alternate embodiments, Kandoian showed […]

Rolled Edge Discone UWB Antenna

Previously, ÆtherCzar passed on the Air Force’s warning to service members to avoid geolocation services. The U.S. Army has the same concern. Here’s why. GPS equipped smart phones and digital cameras can “geotag” photos – embedding GPS coordinates in the image that tell precisely where and when the picture was […]

When Geotags and Social Networking Turn Lethal

I’ve joined Joshua Zader, founder of AtlasSphere, as a co-blogger at the Atlas Shrugged Movie Blog. This is an unofficial fan-run web site focusing on news pertaining to Atlas Shrugged Part One, the soon to be released screen adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I’ll primarily post Atlas Shrugged related […]

Atlas Shrugged Movie Updates

Some of the latest happenings in wireless, just in time for Wireless Wednesday: Steven J. Crowley’s always interesting Experimental License Updates. Why broadcasters need FM on cell phones – it’s all about the money. Hat Tip: Steven J. Crowley. Wireless guru Shayan Sanyal has a new blog. Check out the […]

Wireless and RTLS Update

Inertial tracking systems have an unfortunate tendency to slowly drift over time. University of Michigan Professor Johann Borenstein has developed a very effective solution to that problem. First, he places a MEMS sensor in a boot. With every step, the sensor is momentarily stationary,  allowing drift to be completely reset. […]

Extraordinary Inertial Tracking – In a Firefighter’s Boot!

Passing on some sad news from the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society… Dr. Robert E. Collin passed away Monday night after a short fight with lung cancer. The funeral service will be at the DiCicco Funeral Home, 5975 Mayfield Road, Mayfield Heights, OH 44124, (440) 449-1818. Visitation 5-7pm, service at […]

Noted Antenna Engineer, Dr. Robert E. Collins, Died Monday

It’s been a busy month at ÆtherCzar, driven largely by interest in the soon to be released Atlas Shrugged movie and in full-body scanner technology and safety. The month began with a preview of John Aglialoro’s film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Part One of the planned trilogy is […]

ÆtherCzar: Best of November 2010

In April, University of California, San Francisco scientists wrote Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, expressing their concerns regarding X-ray backscatter scanners. Last month they received a detailed technical reply, posted on the FDA website November 8. One of the more egregious technical problems […]

Latest on X-Ray Backscatter Safety

Who needs cell phone towers? The largest communications antenna ever placed into orbit, a 22m (72ft) reflector, was launched from Kazahkstan a couple of weeks ago. It will relay signals for a new 4G-LTE mobile phone and data system for North America run by Lightsquared.  (BBC News; RedOrbit)

Orbiting 22m Dish Antenna to Provide 4G Service

Here’s one just for fun. Unfortunately modern microwaves employ a stirrer or agitator so you don’t see standing waves or resonance patterns. I find it remarkable how uniform the fields are. Hat Tip: Neatorama

Neon Bulbs in a Microwave

Here are a few RTLS and wireless updates: UWB RTLS vendor Ubisense raised £5M to fund expansion. And 50 Ubisense tags are available on eBay with a starting bid of $9.99. Another UWB RTLS vendor, decaWave, was honored for “best technology development” at a tradeshow. It’s Nearly Time for Near-Field […]

RTLS and Wireless Updates

Here are a few Thanksgiving day updates on full-body scanners: See My Helical Tryst: TSA X-ray backscatter body scanner safety report: hide your kids, hide your wife for an in depth analysis from a biochemist on the radiation dose from x-ray backscatter scanners. He reiterates the critical point that safety […]

Body Scanner Updates