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Interesting Math Relationships

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Today, we offer some fun math facts to amaze your friends.

You don’t need to be able to read the text to see these interesting mathematical relationships. This table appeared in the January 1958 issue of Юный техник (Young Technician).

Recent Media Mentions

NewspaperImageWhile it didn’t mention by name, we were quoted in August by WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C.  In the excitement leading up the eclipse, I missed the article, but it covered many of the points addressed in our Take Your Kids To See the Eclipse post.

We were also privileged to be linked to by IEEE Spectrum for our description of the Luxembourg Effect.

Finally, this blogger recently wrote about our Elimination of Bias Continuing Legal Education programs.

Schoolhouse Blizzard of 1888

Today marks the 130th anniversary of the Schoolhouse Blizzard of January 12, 1888.

After a long cold spell over the Northern Plains, the temperatures advanced considerably. For example, Omaha had recorded a low of −6 °F on January 11, but the temperature had increased to 28°F at 7:00 AM on January 12.

The warm weather after a long cold spell perhaps gave the illusion that relief was in sight, but the conditions deteriorated during the day of the 12th. Thousands of people got caught in the blizzard, and the ultimate death toll was 235.

Most schoolteachers kept the children in school that afternoon, and exceptions almost always resulted in disaster.

New Year’s Day Stalingrad, 1943

13th Guards Rifle Division at Stalingrad. Wikipedia photo.

Here was the scene in Stalingrad on New Year’s Day 75 years ago, 1943.  The battle lasted into February, when the Soviets won a decisive victory, but only after over 1.2 million total casualties; with 478,741 officially listed as killed or missing.

Happy Birthday Rose Mary Woods

Today marks the 100th birthday of Rose Mary Woods, President Nixon’s secretary, who was born on December 26, 1917. She is shown here demonstrating for the press how she accidentally created an 18 minute gap on one of the Watergate tapes. Ms. Woods died in 2005 at the age of 87.

Hammarlund Super Pro Console, 1937


The Hammarlund Super-Pro series of receivers represent one of the best performing prewar communications receivers. The line was first introduced in 1936, and when war came, they took the BC-779 nameplate for the military version.

Thousands of the models making up the series rolled off the Hammarlund assembly line over the years, but one of the rarest variations is shown here, and it appears that only about 70 were made.  Inspired, no doubt, by high-end home consoles such as the McMurdo Silver, Hammarlund decided to move the set from the ham shack to the living room.  So they put it in the cabinet shown here, as seen in the August 1937 issue of Radio World.

But it wasn’t just any cabinet that they slapped it into.  As the accompanying article explains, the cabinet was carefully designed for its audio qualities, particularly the bass response.  There’s no doubt that the set was a top performer, and I’m sure it sounded good.  Since it was destined for the living room, a few modifications were made.  For example, even though the set had a BFO for listening to code, the BFO pitch was not adjustable from the front panel.

But it was a flop as far as sales.  As the Radio Boulevard site explains, “it just wouldn’t do for hams – it had no BFO on the front and it was too big. It didn’t have the Scott or McMurdo chrome chassis – how could you impress your friends?”  The site does have a picture of a nicely restored specimen, owned by AA6S.  From the color picture, it does look like a communications receiver thinly disguised as a console.  The front panel is faux walnut, and just looks out of place.  It’s not quite a communications receiver, and it’s not quite a console.

I’d love to have one in my living room.  And as a loyal reader, you would love to have one.  But let’s face it, nobody else would want one!

1947 TV Census

1947SepOctTeleviserSeventy years ago, television was just getting off the ground, and the September-October 1947 issue of Televiser magazine gives this interesting snapshot of the number of televisions in existence at that time.

The magazine estimated that there were 93,151 sets in existence in the country.  At this point, most of the numbers were fairly exact, since the limited number of manufacturers allowed them to report the exact number manufactured.

One wildcard was the limited number of prewar sets still in use, but this was also relatively easy to estimate.

One wildcard was the number of homemade and kit sets in use.   Stations were hearing more and more reports of “stations becoming increasingly aware of unspecified numbers of home-built receivers” tuning in their signals. The magazine provided a “conservative” estimate of 10,000.

New York was still the hotbed of television, with 51,500 sets, over 40,000 of them in private homes.  An additional 4000 were installed in bars, with more than 7000 on the dealer’s shelf.

Philadelphia weighed in next with 11,000 sets in use.  Washington had 3000, and the TV phenomenon was just starting to move to Baltimore, with 10 sets in homes, with an additional 90 in the hands of dealers.