All posts by Val

Coding for kids: Alice’s Story

Nothing is cuter than pictures of kids sitting at their computers, mastering skills their parents never dreamed of. And nothing is more popular than the current idea that all children should learn to code.

My husband, Philip,  & I strongly support this idea.  He has been in IT since he was 18 years old and wants our oldest daughter, Alice, to get involved in the IT field as well.

Alice is an 8 year old and extremely active child.  When we introduced her to coding she was hooked!  She spent hours working on her coding projects.  It was so wonderful to see her working with her father and asking questions when she hit a difficult task.

Yesterday, she received a certificate of completion stating that she has demonstrated an understanding of basic concepts of Computer Science.  

We couldn’t be more proud!

Here is the list of the main sources that could be tapped for teaching kids how to code:

Code.org
This nonprofit foundation website is a great starting point for coding novices. It shares plenty of useful online resources, apps, and even local schools that teach coding. Be sure to watch the inspirational video on the main page. Updated periodically, the current iteration features some of the biggest names in tech talking about how they got started in coding.

CodeAcademy
This interactive website is user-friendly and teaches kids basic code through fun, simple exercises that feel like games.

Code Avengers
While Code Avengers lacks the eye-catching graphics of other options, it does offer a series of free intro classes in building web pages, apps, and games. Get started with the 7-day free trial, which grants access to the first five lessons in each course, ranging from Python, to web development, JavaScript, and more. If you like what you see, register for a membership plan that cost $29/month and requires no long-term commitment. A six-month plan costs $120.

Code Combat
Best for older kids, Code Combat uses an interactive, competitive gameplay mode to stimulate learning. Once you set up your parent account, kids can be online, playing in seconds. FREE

Codemoji
Put those ubiquitous emojis to work in an educational way with this website that eschews complex codes for user-friendly expressions, quite literally. Kids learn to code by using emojis to substitute for html or css codes. They’ll have so much fun, they won’t realize the work they’re putting in. Codemoji plans start at $9.99 for three months, but include up to five kids’ accounts in that price.

Code Monster
Particularly good for kids, Code Monster features two adjacent boxes. One displays code, the other shows what the code does. As you play with the code (with some help from a prompt), you learn what each command does. FREE

Khan Academy
Known for its extensive and challenging math games, Khan Academy also has basic programming tutorials that teach kids how to build graphics, animations, interactive visualizations, and more. FREE

Lightbot
Predominantly an app-based program, Lightbot offers a FREE demo online as part of its Hour of Code. Like what you see? Its pair of low-cost programming apps are all-ages friendly. Available for iOs, Android, and Amazon devices for $2.99.

Scratch
Designed by MIT students and aimed at children ages 8 to 16, this easy-to-use programming language lets kids build almost anything they can dream. There are no obscure lines of code here. Instead, arrange and snap together Scratch blocks as if they were virtual Legos. But it’s more than just a coding guide, it’s a vibrant online community of programmers who swap ideas and inspiration. FREE

Stencyl
Inspired by Scratch’s snapping blocks system, this software allows users to create simple games for iOS, Android, Flash, Windows, Linux, and Mac systems. If your child is serious about it, there are paid pro plans that come with advanced functionality.

Tech Rocket
Founded by iD Tech, Tech Rocket’s free platform allows access to a dozen classes. For those looking for a more advanced experience, paid subscriptions are $19 per month.

 

China’s Tiangong-1 space station could come crashing down to Earth before the end of March

27250243350_5563fbc72b_oApplied Technology Institute (ATIcourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace. We beive the information below will be of interest to our readers.

It’s now been several months since China admitted that it had completely lost control of its Tiangong-1 space station, explaining that without the ability to adjust its position in orbit the huge manmade object will eventually come falling back down to Earth. In late 2017 the Chinese government offered a very rough forecast of when the satellite could collide with our planet, and now it’s looking more and more like March might be the month when it happens.

According to the latest information from the European Space Agency,the space station is now expected to come tumbling down somewhere between March 24th and April 19th.  ESA says it’s more likely that the object will land somewhere in the northern latitudes, meaning the northern US, parts of Spain, Portugal, Greece, China, much of the Middle East, and a handful of other countries.

The space station, whose name means “Heavenly Palace,” will be subjected to the full brunt of friction from Earth’s atmosphere and, thankfully, will be incinerated almost completely before any remaining debris finally lands on the surface. However, it’s still possible that the spacecraft could cause some problems if it lands on hard ground, especially in a populated area.

Some of the material on board the space station is indeed toxic, including chemicals used in rocket fuel, and China has noted that if that material finds its way to the ground it could be hazardous to anyone who stumbles upon it.

That being said, the odds of any debris actually landing near you or, even worse, striking you is incredibly small. Space debris experts put the chances of being struck by space debris at around a million times less likely than winning the lottery.

In any case, the ESA and other space agencies will be keeping a close eye on the space station and will hopefully be able to forecast its fall from the sky with greater accuracy as the day draws near.

Read more.

The US Air Force Plans to buy new jam-resistant GPS satellites

Applied Technology Institute offers the following courses on the dates below:

GPS & International Competitors

23-Apr-18 26-Apr-18 Columbia MD

We think the news below will be of interest to our readers.

The U.S. Air Force wants 22 new GPS satellites that are built to resist jamming and electronic interference. It would spend around $2 billion on the new satellites for the GPS 3 constellation in the next five years. The production of all 22 satellites is expected to be worth as much as $10 billion

“The GPS 3 that we are moving toward is more jam-resistant, and it is intended to be able to operate in a contested environment,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said.

The constellation of 31 GPS 2 satellites currently in orbit will remain operational until at least 2021. The Air Force has already ordered 10 GPS 3 satellites from Lockheed Martin. But, the Air Force has now decided it needs to quit buying up those GPS 3 satellites and go back to the drawing board.

Lockheed Martin will most likely bid for the contract to build the new jam-resistant satellites, but other contractors like Boeing and Northrop Grumman are expected to try as well. Development of the new satellites would take place in 2019.

Jim vs. First Mars tomato: Scientists announce edible space harvest!

Our president, Jim Jenkins is an avid gardener and known to his family and friends as “Farmer Jim”.  He was the first of our “gardening club” to get a big red tomato this year!  The news below should be of interest to our readers especially of a gardening conviction.

 

Several groups including NASA, Elon Musk and Mars-One hope to take people to Mars in the next ten to fifteen years. Returning to the Moon may happen in the next five years. If we get there it will be to stay for extended periods. People will also have to eat there and what is more logical than to grow your own food locally? In 2013 and 2015  the scientists conducted two experiments to investigate whether it was possible to cultivate peas, radishes and tomatoes on Mars and moon soil simulant supplied by NASA. The 2015 experiment provided the first radishes, peas, tomatoes and rye, but it is also safe to eat them?

 

The Mars and lunar soils contain several heavy metals that are toxic to humans such as lead, cadmium and arsenic. Plants are not too bothered by these and just carry on growing. We don’t know if the harvested fruits contain heavy metals and we don’t know if it is safe to eat them – which is what we aim to address in this project. If the project is successful, and shows that it is indeed safe to eat the plants and fruits, it brings the journey and the establishment of a long term human presence on Mars and a more or less permanent base on the moon one step closer.

 

Researchers at Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands are growing edible space vegetables in soil similar to the surface of Mars and the moon.

 

The new experiment will be carried out according to a procedure developed in 2015, with some improvements. It will use experimental trays, with one crop per tray, containing respectively peas, tomatoes and radishes and two other crops. The experiment will be replicated five times and the soils (Mars and lunar simulants and terrestrial control) will be enriched with organic material in order to improve the structure and nutrient supply. For Mars the nutrient will consist of the parts of the plants that would not be eaten and human faeces. Fruits and edible parts will be harvested and analysed for heavy metals at the Wageningen UR institute Rikilt.

 

 

Jim and Fun At Sea or The Best Fishing Trip Ever 2. This time in Maryland!

 

Jim Jenkins, Susan McCarthy, Ed McCarthy, Pat McCarthy, Carolyn Jenkins & Julie Jenkins

The Jenkins House a.k.a. The Ruling Clan of ATI are avid fishermen.  Their fishing prowess has been proven by many years of bringing home large and yummy fish of all varieties.  Their latest jaunt took them out of Chesapeake City into the water of the Chesapeake Bay.

The weather was perfect! We got the boat from Rent a Boat in Ft. Lauderdale for a day  Sun was shining, fish were biting and the good natured taunts exchanged. The rest of us (good landlubbers) were waiting ashore sharpening our knives and shining our silver. Sure thing, the fishing party has returned victorious! Eleven big rockfish were caught, out of the limit of 12. Many smaller rockfish were released. Julie Jenkins caught the biggest rockfish today, 28 inches. The next trip is scheduled in August off the coast of Delaware. Our share of the catch was prepared on the grill and served with Chili Lime Dressing.  The recipe is to die for!  While this recipe for grilled rockfish with an Asian chile-lime dressing is super-fast and easy, it doesn’t taste or look super-fast and easy. Your guests will be impressed, and it will be our little secret.    

Grilled Rockfish with Chili-Lime Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced, or more to taste
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon Asian chile pepper sauce (such as sambal oelek)
  • 1 teaspoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
  • 4 (4 ounce) fillets rockfisth
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, or as needed
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro leaves, or to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil the grate.
  2. Whisk garlic, lime zest, rice vinegar, fish sauce, lime juice, chile pepper sauce, and sesame oil in a glass bowl.
  3. Brush both sides of rockfish fillets with vegetable oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.
  4. Cook on the preheated grill until fish is opaque, shows good grill marks, and springs back when pressed lightly, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer fillets to a serving platter.
  5. Whisk dressing again; taste and and adjust seasoning. Drizzle dressing over warm fish. Sprinkle fillets with cilantro leaves.

 


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You decide – The Best Technical Training for You!

 

 

You can make a difference. Applied Technology Institute is scheduling new courses for September 2016 through July 2017. Please let us know which courses you would like to see on our schedule or brought to your facility.

·         If you have a group of 3 or more people, ATI can schedule an open enrollment course in your geographic area.

·         If you have a group of 8 or more, ATI can schedule a course on-site at your facility.

On-site training brings our experts to you — on your schedule, at your location. It also allows us to plan your training in advance and tailor classes directly to your needs.

You can help identify courses to suit your training needs and bring the best short courses to you! ATI courses can help you stay up-to-date with today’s rapidly changing technology.

Boost your career. Courses are led by world-class design experts. Learn from the proven best.

ATI courses by technical area:

Satellites & Space-Related courses

Acoustic & Sonar Engineering courses

Engineering & Data Analysis courses

Radar, Missiles and Combat Systems courses

Project Management and Systems Engineering courses

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Contact us: ATI@ATIcourses.com or (410) 956-8805


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China deploys missiles on disputed South China Sea island

Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) offers a variety of courses on Radar, Missiles and Combat Systems. We believe the news below would be of interest to our readers.

China’s People’s Liberation Army has deployed an advanced surface-to-air missile system on one of the disputed islands in the South China Sea, according to Taiwan and US officials, adding to growing tensions in the region about Beijing’s territorial ambitions.

Fox News initially released images showing two batteries of eight surface-to-air missile launchers, as well as a radar system on Woody Island, part of the Paracel Island chain in the South China Sea. The reports were subsequently confirmed by Taiwanese and US defense officials.

The Chinese defense ministry told Reuters in a statement that defense facilities on “relevant islands and reefs” had been in place for many years, adding that the latest reports about missile deployment were nothing but “hype”.
China claims 90 per cent of the 3.5 million sq km South China Sea, and its maritime ambitions have led to tensions with its neighbors, angry at what they see as Beijing’s militarization of the region. Many neighbors have rival claims to sections of the maritime region, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan.

The Paracel Island chain is a largely unpopulated archipelago administered by China for the past 40 years. It has become the flashpoint in an increasingly aggressive territorial dispute between China and Vietnam, while Taiwan also claims the islands.

“Interested parties should work together to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea region and refrain from taking any unilateral measures that would increase tensions,” Taiwan defense ministry spokesman Major General David Lo told Reuters.

The report used images from ImageSat International, a civilian agency. The images show an empty beach on February 3rd, but missiles are clearly visible on February 14th.

A US official said the photographs appeared to show the HQ-9 air defense system, which would pose a threat to any planes, civilian or military, flying nearby.

China is also reportedly building a helicopter base at Duncan Island in the Paracel chain.

In 2014, there was a stand-off between China and Vietnam in the area after China’s Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig was drilling between the Paracels, and Vietnam said the vessel was within its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone and on its continental shelf, while Beijing insisted it was operating within its waters

China has built a series of artificial islands in the Spratly archipelago to underline its territorial claims to most of the South China Sea, a key trade route through which more than $5 trillion  of world trade passes each year, including a large part of the world’s oil shipments.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China was entitled to deploy self-defense facilities on the islands, a right granted by international law, and criticized the Philippines for bringing the South China Sea dispute to a Hague tribunal.


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Raytheon Unveils New High-Tech Sonar System to Detect Submarines

 

Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers a variety of courses on Acoustic & Sonar Engineering.

Raytheon reported that DARPA has received the prototype of a new underwater submarine detection system to be mounted on unmanned trimaran hulls.

The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has received the prototype of a new underwater submarine detection system to be mounted on unmanned trimaran hulls, Raytheon said in a news release.

“Raytheon Company has completed delivery of its latest… fifth-generation hull-mounted sonar system, for… DARPA’s Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel program,” the release, issued on Wednesday, stated.

A prototype trimaran built by Leidos is designed to serve as the program’s unmanned vehicle, Raytheon explained.

The Raytheon report followed published claims that Russia is apparently developing an underwater drone that will be able to inflict massive damage to coastal areas as part of a top secret project known as Ocean Multipurpose System: Status-6 carrying a torpedo equipped with a nuclear warhead.

This weaponized drone will be capable of causing “assured unacceptable damage” to an enemy by contaminating vast coastal areas, rendering them completely unusable for long periods of time, and will be able to bypass NATO’s missile defense system.



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Astronauts & Their Pets: How To Care For Your Pet From Space

Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) offers a variety of courses on Satellites & Space-Related courses.

We thought this could be of interest to our readers.

Space: the final frontier, the dark expanse, the great unknown. It’s a place only a few brave humans have traveled, and one that mystifies most others. For the astronauts who spend time among the stars, outer space is a realm that offers them amazing and unique experiences.

Full of unknowns, space also offers its fair share of distinct problems. Science Channel’s new showSecret Space Escapes features some of the bizarre and terrifying issues that can occur when you leave Earth. But not all of the struggles of space are this extreme; some are as simple as home sickness or missing your furry best friends.

Three astronauts featured on Secret Space Escapes about how they dealt with being committed spacemen and pet owners.

Image above: Mission Specialist Clayton Anderson made his first shuttle flight on STS-117. Anderson served as a flight engineer on Expeditions 15 and 16.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clayton Anderson

He was a mission specialist on the STS-117 mission aboard Atlantis.  He stayed on the ISS for five months before returning to earth with the crew of STS-120.

Clayton has two dogs: Cosmo (a mini dachshund) and Lizzy (a dachshund/Yorkie combo).

His main means of communication with his furry friends were video chats.

Astronaut and medical doctor Scott Parazynski was a crewmember on STS-86, the seventh shuttle mission to dock with Mir.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott Parazynski

Scott was also on mission STS120.

He is a proud owner or Mare ( a planetary scientist dog). Mare’s name generates from the maria on the moon, the black parts on the moon that you can see with the naked eye.

Scott mainly communicated with Mare via phone calls.

Daniel Toni

Daniel has a total of 132 days in space about ISS.

He has an 18 year old cat named Koshka (Russian for cat) and a dog named Tayto (after the Irish brand of chips).

He doesn’t have a memory of seeing them in a video conference, but he is sure they were around. Like many things, the meowing and barking just go in the background.

 

All of them would have loved to have their pets in space, but are afraid that potty functions and dog breath could be an issue…

 

 

 

 


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Unidentified Space Object Will Fall to Earth Nov. 13

An unidentified space object will fall to Earth on Friday Nov. 13, but don’t be alarmed; it poses very little risk.

The unidentified object was first spotted in 2013 by astronomers in Arizona and it was appropriately dubbed WT1190F. It is believed to only be a couple feet in diameter and not very dense, which could mean it’s a leftover piece of a rocket.

The European Space Agency said the object has been orbiting Earth every three weeks in a “highly eccentric, non-circular orbit.”

Both ESA and NASA are excited to see the object reenter Earth’s atmosphere because it’ll help with research. ESA said the event will provide an opportunity to gather data and improve space agencies’ knowledge of how objects interact with Earth’s atmosphere.

“The first goal will be to better understand the reentry of satellites and debris from highly eccentric orbits,” Marco Micheli, astronomer at ESA’s NEO Coordination Centre, said in a statement. “Second, it provides an ideal opportunity to test our readiness for any possible future atmospheric entry events involving an asteroid, since the components of this scenario, from discovery to impact, are all very similar.”

WT1190F is expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere around 6 p.m. (Sri Lanka time) and fall into the Indian Ocean about 62 miles off the southern coast of Sri Lanka.

Astronomers said the object will put on a spectacular show to those nearby as it turns into a bright strike against the mid-day sky.


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