Amar G. Bose, Acoustic Engineer and Inventor, Dies at 83

From the NY Times:

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Amar G. Bose, the visionary engineer, inventor and billionaire entrepreneur whose namesake company, the Bose Corporation, became synonymous with high-quality audio systems and speakers for home users, auditoriums and automobiles, died on Friday at his home in Wayland, Mass. He was 83.

Michael Quan

Amar G. Bose, chairman of Bose, with a Wave radio in 1993.

His death was confirmed by his son, Dr. Vanu G. Bose.

As founder and chairman of the privately held company, Dr. Bose focused relentlessly on acoustic engineering innovation. His speakers, though expensive, earned a reputation for bringing concert-hall-quality audio into the home.

And by refusing to offer stock to the public, Dr. Bose was able to pursue risky long-term research, such as noise-canceling headphones and an innovative suspension system for cars, without the pressures of quarterly earnings announcements.

In a 2004 interview in Popular Science magazine, he said: “I would have been fired a hundred times at a company run by M.B.A.’s. But I never went into business to make money. I went into business so that I could do interesting things that hadn’t been done before.”

A perfectionist and a devotee of classical music, Dr. Bose was disappointed by the inferior sound of a high-priced stereo system he purchased when he was an M.I.T. engineering student in the 1950s. His interest in acoustic engineering piqued, he realized that 80 percent of the sound experienced in a concert hall was indirect, meaning that it bounced off walls and ceilings before reaching the audience.

This realization, using basic concepts of physics, formed the basis of his research. In the early 1960s, Dr. Bose invented a new type of stereo speaker based on psychoacoustics, the study of sound perception. His design incorporated multiple small speakers aimed at the surrounding walls, rather than directly at the listener, to reflect the sound and, in essence, recreate the larger sound heard in concert halls. In 1964, at the urging of his mentor and adviser at M.I.T., Dr. Y. W. Lee, he founded his company to pursue long-term research in acoustics. The Bose Corporation initially pursued military contracts, but Dr. Bose’s vision was to produce a new generation of stereo speakers.

Though his first speakers fell short of expectations, Dr. Bose kept at it. In 1968, he introduced the Bose 901 Direct/Reflecting speaker system, which became a best seller for more than 25 years and firmly entrenched Bose, based in Framingham, Mass., as a leader in a highly competitive audio components marketplace. Unlike conventional loudspeakers, which radiated sound only forward, the 901s used a blend of direct and reflected sound.

Later inventions included the popular Bose Wave radio and the Bose noise-canceling headphones, which were so effective they were adopted by the military and commercial pilots.

A Bose software program enabled acoustic engineers to simulate the sound from any seat in a large hall, even before the site was built. The system was used to create sound systems for such diverse spaces as Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Sistine Chapel and the Masjid al-Haram, the grand mosque in Mecca.

In 1982, some of the world’s top automakers, including Mercedes and Porsche, began to install Bose audio systems in their vehicles, and the brand remains a favorite in that market segment.

Dr. Bose’s devotion to research was matched by his passion for teaching. Having earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1950s, Dr. Bose returned from a Fulbright scholarship at the National Physical Laboratory in New Delhi and joined the M.I.T. faculty in 1956.

He taught there for more than 45 years, and in 2011, donated a majority of his company’s shares to the school. The gift provides M.I.T. with annual cash dividends. M.I.T. cannot sell the shares and does not participate in the company’s management.

Dr. Bose made a lasting impression in the classroom as well as in his company. His popular course on acoustics was as much about life as about electronics, said Alan V. Oppenheim, an M.I.T. engineering professor and a longtime colleague.

“He talked not only about acoustics but about philosophy, personal behavior, what is important in life. He was somebody with extraordinary standards,” Professor Oppenheim said.

Dr. William R. Brody, head of the Salk Institute in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, was a student in Dr. Bose’s class in 1962. He told Popular Science: “His class gave me the courage to tackle high-risk problems and equipped me with the problem-solving skills I needed to be successful in several careers. Amar Bose taught me how to think.”

Amar Gopal Bose was born on Nov. 2, 1929, in Philadelphia. His father, Noni Gopal Bose, was a Bengali freedom fighter who was studying physics at Calcutta University when he was arrested and imprisoned for his opposition to British rule in India. He escaped and fled to the United States in 1920, where he married an American schoolteacher.

At age 13, Dr. Bose began repairing radio sets for pocket money for repair shops in Philadelphia. During World War II, when his father’s import business struggled, Dr. Bose’s electronics repairs helped support the family. After graduating from high school, Dr. Bose was admitted to M.I.T. in 1947, where he studied under the mathematician Norbert Weiner, along with Dr. Lee.

An avid badminton player and swimmer, Dr. Bose spent several weeks each year at his vacation home in Hawaii.

Dr. Bose and his ex-wife, Prema, had two children, Vanu, now the head of his own company, Vanu Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., and Maya Bose, who survive him, as does his second wife, Ursula, and one grandchild.

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Full Metal Panic


 

Full Metal Panic is a science fiction, action and romance series. In its vision of the future, mankind has large mech’s for fighting with along with something called the Lambda Driver, which takes the thoughts and emotions of the operator and then puts it into action. The premise of the series is that the technology is decades, or more, ahead of what mankind should have and has been labeled ‘black technology.’ There are people, called Whispered, who are born with the knowledge (why and how is never fully explained) and are coveted by the various governments and terrorist organizations.

A mercenary group named Mithril, whose technology is decades ahead of the US or Soviet Union, is tasked with either rescuing or protecting the whispered. This is where the story starts. It is centered around a girl named Kaname Chadori, who is the latest whispered candidate. In order to protect her, a teen aged mercenary soldier named Sousuke Sagara is ordered to attend her high school and protect her. Comedic high jinx take place as Sousuke tries to fit into school and how many weapons are on him at all times. This last throughout the series…even as it takes a darker turn further into it.

All in all, the series is worth watching and is funny. It can get raunchy at times (not like the follow up Full Metal Panic Fumoffu) but is still worth watching. I endorse it.


 

Voyagers 1 and 2

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Most people reading this blog are probably younger than I am and haven’t heard of the Voyager program. They were a pair of probes launched in the mid 1970’s, each powered by a small reactor, that have explored the Outer Solar System and now are headed for interstellar space.

This is a link to images of Voyager and what it’s taken of the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. It’ll be informative and enjoyable to see what mankind has accomplished.

http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/imagesvideo/imagesofvoyager.html

 

Voyager 1 spacecraft’s latest find takes the edge off the solar system

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per:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/jul/09/nasa-voyager-solar-system-edge

 

The edge of the solar system has no edge, it turns out. It has a fuzzy transitional area, not quite solar system and not quite interstellar space.

This basic fact of our star’s environment has been discovered byVoyager 1, one of the most remarkable spaceships ever built. Our premier scout of deep space, Voyager 1, is currently 11bn miles from the sun, beaming data to Earth as it scoots at 24,000kmph toward the constellation Ophiuchus.

Scientists had assumed that Voyager 1, launched in 1977, would have exited the solar system by now. That would mean crossing the heliopause and leaving behind the vast bubble known as theheliosphere, which is characterised by particles flung by the sun and by a powerful magnetic field.

The scientists’ assumption turned out to be half-right. On 25 August, Voyager 1 saw a sharp drop-off in the solar particles, also known as the solar wind. At the same time, there was a spike in galactic particles coming from all points of the compass. But the sun’s magnetic field still registers, somewhat diminished, on the spacecraft’s magnetometer. So it’s still in the sun’s magnetic embrace, in a sense.

This unexpected transitional zone, dubbed the “heliosheath depletion region,” is described in three new papers about Voyager 1 published online last month by the journal Science.

“There were some surprises,” said Ed Stone, who has been the lead scientist of Nasa‘s Voyager program since 1972. “We expected that we would cross a boundary and leave all the solar stuff behind and be in all the interstellar stuff. It turned out, that’s not what happened.” So, how big is this transitional zone at the edge of the solar system?

“No one knows,” said Stone, 77, a professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology and the former head of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Voyager’s home base. “It’s not in any of the models. We don’t know. It could take us a few more months, it could take us several more years to get through it.”

The dimensions and nature of the heliosphere are not a wholly esoteric matter. The sun’s magnetic field deflects much of the radiation coming from other parts of the galaxy that was created in supernova explosions. Interstellar space is not a benign environment. The heliosphere’s features make life easier for blue planets such as Earth.

Voyager 1 can be counted as one of the great exploratory craft in history, and none has gone farther, nor cruised steadily at such astonishing speed (a few have briefly gone faster while falling into the sun). Two Voyager probes were launched in 1977. Both spaceships carried a gold-plated record crammed with digital information about human civilization, including mathematical formulas, an image of a naked man and woman, whale vocalizations, and clips of classical and rock-and-roll music. (The famous joke was that the aliens listened to the record and replied, “Send more Chuck Berry.”)

The two Voyagers embarked on what was called the Grand Tour, taking advantage of an orbital positioning of the four outer planets that happens less than once a century. Voyager 1 flew by Jupiter and Saturn before angling “north,” as astronomers would describe it. (There’s no up or down in space, but there is a north or south relative to the orbital plane of the planets.) Voyager 2 went past Jupiter and Saturn and flew by Uranus and Neptune before heading “south.”

The images of those planets and their moons, now taken for granted, were stunning triumphs of the Voyager mission. And in 1990, Voyager 1, nearly 4 billion miles from the sun, turned its camera toward Earth and took an image of what Carl Sagan called the “pale blue dot” of our home planet.

Now Voyager 1 is 124 astronomical units from the sun – one AU being roughly the mean distance from Earth to the sun, or about 150m kilometres. Voyager 2 is at 102 AU.

These spacecraft are not immortal, even if sometimes they act like it. They have a power supply from the radioactive decay of plutonium-238, which generates heat. The half-life of that system is 88 years. Small thrusters occasionally are fired to keep Voyager 1’s 23-watt radio antenna pointed toward Earth, where the faint signals are picked up on huge arrays of radio telescopes in the United States, Spain and Australia. But Stone anticipates that weakening power will force scientists to start shutting down scientific instruments on Voyager 1 in 2020 and that by 2025, the last instrument will be turned off.

“It changed the way we view our place in the cosmos,” said Bill Nye, the “Science Guy” who is chief executive of the Planetary Society in Pasadena, Calif. He said the new discovery by Voyager 1 is a classic example of why we explore: “What are you going to find over the unknown horizon? We don’t know. That why we explore out there.”

NASA’s associate administrator for space technology, Michael Gazarik, said of Voyager 1’s durability: “It is amazing, especially in the harsh environment of space. This piece of hardware has a life of its own.”

In 40,000 years, Voyager 1 will be closer to another star (with the romantic name AC+79 3888) than to the sun. And then what? It will just keep going – a silent, dark craft on a seemingly eternal journey.

“It will be orbiting the center of the Milky Way galaxy essentially for billions of years, like all the stars,” said Stone of what has been, for him, the spacecraft of a lifetime.

‘Ender’s Game’: To deflate boycott, Lionsgate shuns Orson Scott Card

This is going to be interesting to see how it shakes out.

Hero Complex - movies, comics, pop culture - Los Angeles Times

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Trying to impede a boycott of its “Ender’s Game” movie sparked by anti-gay-marriage remarks made by the book’s author, Lionsgate has issued a statement distancing itself from novelist Orson Scott Card. The studio also said it will host an “Ender’s Game” benefit for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community.

Set for release Nov. 1, the sci-fi story adapts Card’s 1985 novel, set in a near future in which an alien race known as the Formics have attacked Earth. The movie stars Asa Butterfield as Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, a bright boy recruited to help humanity face future threats, and is directed by Gavin Hood (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”).

Although the novel is revered by many, Card’s political views have stirred great controversy. The writer has a history of making comments opposed to same-sex marriage, and his recent remarks about the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Defense of Marriage Act…

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Could the Ender’s Game boycott actually sink the movie?

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http://io9.com/could-the-enders-game-boycott-actually-tank-the-movie-749408769

 

Usually when people organize a boycott of a big Hollywood movie, you sort of assume they’ll barely make a dent. But with Ender’s Game, it actually seems somewhat possible that the fan boycott of the film could generate enough static to keep the studio from getting the word out.

A bit of backstory: Ender’s Game is a classic 1985 novel by Orson Scott Card, about a war between humans and insectoid aliens, known as the Formics or “Buggers.” The book has won tons of awards, and is considered a major classic of the genre. In the nearly three decades since writing Ender’s Game, Card has established himself as a leading critic of same-sex marriage, and has advocated for laws against homosexuality.

Over the years, Card’s homophobic views have caused an uproar — most notably when he wrote a weird gay-baiting version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and when the artist on his Superman comic quit to avoid controversy over his views.

But it wasn’t until recently, with a huge budget movie of Ender’s Game coming this fall, that Card’s opinions on homosexuality have become more of an issue. A group called Geeks OUT has started a campaign called Skip Ender’s Game on the grounds that if you buy a ticket to the movie, you’re putting money in Card’s pockets. This boycott was already getting a lot of attention, when Card threw gasoline on the fire by issuing a bizarre statement claiming that homosexuality wasn’t an issue in 1985, and boycotting his work is a sign of intolerance.

All of which makes me wonder: Is this controversy going to make it hard to get mainstream audiences to pay attention to the film? To be successful, an Ender’s Gamefilm has to reach beyond fans of the books, and if the movie is remotely close to the subject matter of the book, then there are going to be some themes and ideas that will freak out a lot of mainstream audiences. Reading from this book has already gotten one middle-school teacher in trouble.

Even by itself, a movie about space seems to be a hard sell these days — and we’ve seen plenty of other similar movies lose out lately, because mainstream movie audiences just couldn’t get interested in them. So it seems entirely possible that the mainstream media will be too busy debating Card’s views, and moviegoers will come away with a vague sense that this is a movie about gay-bashing. (The fact that the aliens are called “Buggers” probably does not help.) In today’s crowded movie marketplace, it seems like you have a brief chance to get people’s attention and sell them on your film — and if there’s any narrative out there that confuses the issue, you’re probably doomed.

If that does happen, of course, it won’t be the boycott organizers’ fault — it’ll be Card’s. He absolutely has the right to express unpopular or extreme views, but he also has to take the consequences. He wouldn’t be the first artist whose work was ignored or marginalized because of extremist political opinions, and in this case it’s hard to feel sorry. On the other hand, this could be another nail in the coffin of us getting interesting, challenging space opera on the big screen.

As to whether you should join the boycott — that’s absolutely a personal decision, and probably depends on how much you’re able to separate the author from his work. There are some pretty good thoughts on the subject in this comment from dlomax, however.