Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Horizon’s Music and Video

New Horizon now has its own music. Listen to this video.

See some of ATI’s previous posts about New Horizons

New Horizons: Watch the Ultima Thule Flyby —- In-Depth Coverage Starts Dec 31

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:
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.

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

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

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.

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

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.


My Name Is Going to the Sun! What About Yours?

Capture2CaptureNASA’s Parker Solar Probe — designed, built and managed by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) — will launch in summer 2018 and travel to our star on a historic mission to “touch the Sun.” Now you can get on board and be a part of this voyage of extreme exploration.

NASA is giving everyone across the world the opportunity to submit their names for a journey to the Sun. Names will be added to a microchip that will fly aboard Parker Solar Probe as it makes its way from Earth to the Sun — the first mission to ever do so.

Along for the ride will be a revolutionary heat shield, which will protect the spacecraft from soaring temperatures as it plunges into the corona to get the first close-up view of Earth’s star.

Name submissions will be accepted until April 27, 2018. Learn more and add your name to the mission here:

Contact me for more information at

Also, see

Albert Einstein’s Prediction Was Realized


CBS and many other news outlets and technical publications reported that two neutron stars, one exceeding the mass of the sun by 1.6 times, collided with a smaller, but a still, significant star, collided “producing a so-called “kilonova” explosion that seeded the local environment with a flood of heavy elements ranging from gold and platinum to uranium and beyond, scientists said Monday.” These neutron stars were formed in supernova explosions approximately 2 billion years after the big bang.

After crashing together at nearly the speed of light, “radiating gravitational waves and a torrent of electromagnetic radiation that reached Earth at roughly the same moment 130 million years after the fact.”

This collision is “an astronomical gold mine of sorts” as supernova explosions create heavy metals, that cannot alone “explain the observed abundances of gold, platinum, uranium and other heavy elements.”

“Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 in his general theory of relativity. The equations indicated that massive bodies under acceleration, like two merging black holes, neutron stars or the collapsing cores of huge stars in the death throes of supernova explosions, would radiate gravitational energy in the form of waves distorting the fabric of spacetime.”

For more information, visit:

The Applied Technology Institute provides a broad range of Space- and Satellite-related short courses.  For a listing of available courses see:

The U.S. Military Needs to Be Ready to Wage 3 Very Different Types of Wars

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jonathan Kluck, Commander of the 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment (1–68 Armor), 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team (3rd ABCT), 4th Infantry Division (4th ID), prepares to dismount his M1A2 Abrams tank after a Combined Arms Live Fire at the 7th Army Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, July 31, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Gertrud Zach)
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jonathan Kluck, Commander of the 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment (1–68 Armor), 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team (3rd ABCT), 4th Infantry Division (4th ID), prepares to dismount his M1A2 Abrams tank after a Combined Arms Live Fire at the 7th Army Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, July 31, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Gertrud Zach)

In an article published by The National interest in Oct. 2017, Dave Majumdar cites that, “As rival powers rise to challenge the United States, the Pentagon is faced with the problem of how to face down a spectrum of challenges that range from nuclear deterrence to high-end conventional wars to the low-end counterinsurgency fights.”  How will the Pentagon address all three at the same time? Secretary of Defense, John Mattis, defines it as the Pentagon;s “Problem Statement.” Speaking to an audience at the Association of the U.S. Army Exposition on Oct. 9th, Mattis indicated that “the Defense Department is taking a three-pronged approach to the problem.”

To read more about this approach, visit:

The Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) offers many short courses on the topics of Radar, Missiles, and Defense, including the following upcoming open enrollments:

See a list of all Radar, Missiles, and Defense courses that ATI offers as open enrollment or on-site.

Remote Sensing Before and After Hurricane Harvey

800px-Harvey_2017-08-25_2231ZThe value of remote sensing is shown again with images of before and after Hurricane Harvey. Wow – Take a look!

The Ny times featured Digital Globe images of the areas of Texas that were severely hit by Hurricane Harvey. There are also street level photographs to show the local spots before and after Harvey.

If you are interested in learning more about remote sensing from satellites the Applied Technology Institute (ATIcourses) has in-depth technical training programs.

The Washington Post has great images of the the rainfall rate relative to historic averages. The claim is that some Texas areas had a rainfall rate that is a 0.1% chance flood event in a year or 1 in 1000 in a year.

“A new analysis from the University of Wisconsin’s Space Science and
Engineering Center has determined that Harvey is a 1-in-1,000-year flood
event that has overwhelmed an enormous section of Southeast Texas
equivalent in size to New Jersey.”

Harvey released 40 inches to 45 inches of rain in a few days over areas of Texas or about 24.5 trillion gallons of water. Huge amount! – that is 3.5 ft in some areas.

The prediction of the frequency of strong flooding is tricky. The definitions and methods matter and can be slanted to make the author’s point. See the many comments to the above article.

By some measures this is the third 500 year flood in 3 years for Houston.

Please update this post with useful articles about the analysis of the Harvey rainfall and flooding in comparison to other major US flood events.


Government-ShutdownApplied Technology Institute (ATICourses) provides a variety of technical training courses on Space, Satellite, Radar, Defense, Engineering, Systems Engineering, and Sonar.  Now is the time to plan your training!

This updates an 8/18/2017 post. Unfortunately, the shutdown risk has grown!

This is a good article about the economic cost of a federal shutdown. It provides many detailed examples of the costs of the shutdown caused by the failure of the federal government to act in a timely way due to the shutdown.
Jeff Neal was the chief human capital officer at the Homeland Security Department and the chief human resources officer at the Defense Logistics Agency.

Planning training and travel for FY 2018 could be tricky if there is a government shutdown of unknown duration. Many of the people that ATI has talked to have “no remaining FY 2017 training funds and have no idea what training budget will be in the FY 2018”.

The last government shutdown occurred in 2013. The 16-day-long shutdown of October 2013 was the third-longest government shutdown in U.S. history, after the 18-day shutdown in 1978 and the 21-day 1995–96 shutdown. ATI was conducting training in 1995-1996. The 1995 shut-down was chaos.

The last time sequestration kicked in 2013, it forced many federal agencies to furlough employees, costing them up to 20 percent of their salary during the furlough period.  Fortunately, all the government employees were eventually paid their full salary. Paying employees to not work and then rush to catch-up is a wasteful government practice. Many had to struggle until the late salary pay was received.

Standard & Poor’s estimated that the 2013 shutdown took $24 billion out of the U.S. economy, and reduced projected fourth-quarter GDP growth from 3 percent to 2.4 percent.

Even after the shutdown was over there was confusion for several months as employees talked about the shutdown and tried to get all the affected programs back on track. Small businesses and tourist locations lost money that was never recovered. Training and travel funds were devastated for most of the year in 1995 and 2013.

Congress must pass a new government funding bill by Sept. 30 to prevent a shutdown on Oct. 1, which is when fiscal 2018 begins. In previous years, because of the limited amount of time on Capitol Hill in September, lawmakers have been forced to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government running for a few more months.

This year could be different. “Build that wall,” Mr. Trump said. “Now the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it. But believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.”

We’re months away from agreeing on the annual budget, and if Congress and President Trump fail to appropriate funds, government departments won’t be able to spend money. This means contractors won’t get paid.

“If the budget debate gets ugly, which is a clear possibility, we could see the stock shares weaken in September, and then potentially rebound fairly quickly with the conclusion of (or lack of) any shutdown, as was the case in 2013,” Wells Fargo analyst Ed Caso wrote in a Thursday note.

See this link for continuing news updates on the potential 2017 shutdown.

What Could Happen?

During the federal shutdown of 2013, contractor stocks fell as much as 6 percent, while annual revenue and earnings per share were estimated to average a 1- to 1.5-percent hit, according to Wells Fargo. IFCI also lowered guidance.

But this year’s shocks could be amplified.

“We should note that in 2013 the defense sector was at through EV/EBITDA (enterprise value to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) multiples, while now they are in the upper quartile suggesting the potential for more volatility,” Caso wrote.

But How Worried Should We Be?

Given the current political climate, Caso considers a one-day shutdown possible and a multi-day shutdown modestly likely. Still, the caprice of the Trump administration merits preparation.

“The political calculus, in our view, is even more unstable than in 2013, so uncertainty going into GFY end (September) should only be higher even with the memory that no one gained politically from the 2013 shutdown,” he wrote.

Additionally, the drastic budget changes proposed could sustain debate more contentious than that driving the previous 16-day shutdown. Government agencies and employees do not know how to plan training and travel. Confusion will result for several months.

Army Chief of Staff Orders a Review of EW Shortfalls


Breaking Defense reports that “Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley, has ordered a review of service’s longstanding shortfalls in electronic warfare, officers told me in an exclusive interview. The ultimate goal: give commanders from platoon to corps the ability to shut down enemy radio and radar as readily as they now call in airstrikes and artillery. It’s a critical part of the Army’s plan to hit future enemies from all possible angles at once, a concept called Multi-Domain Battle.”

Col. Mark Dotson noted that an already apparent issue is the problem that the Army’s current plan to rebuild EW “focuses on combat brigades and neglects higher-level formations, like divisions and corps.”

Col. Chris Walls, a cyber/EW expert on the Army staff, notes that the Army wishes to do the same with the invisible artillery of electronic and cyber warfare that it did, since World War II, “when [they had] mortars, artillery, rockets, attack aviation if I had it, all firing at the target at the same time… to force them to face multiple dilemmas simultaneously.”

ATI offers a variety of EW and EW-related courses, some of which are offered at the end of September 2017. These include:

ELINT Interception and Analysis
September 11–14 2017 in Dayton, OH

Rockets and Launch Vehicles: Selection and Design
September 18–21 2017 in Columbia, MD

C4ISR Requirements, Principles, and Systems
September 19–21 2017 in Columbia, MD

Electronic Warfare Against the New Threat Environment
November 13–16 in Columbia, MD

Radar Systems Fundamentals
November 14–16 in Columbia, MD

Girl Power Playlist: Guess The Top Songs

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Here’s A Power Boost

For all the women in our lives who need a power boost of encouragement, this Girl Power Album Playlist is for you!

It’s for smart and courageous young ladies like my nieces (Ivy & Eden) and my daughters (Alice & Quinn). It also goes for the ladies like Jim’s daughter Julie.  Julie and my nieces are breaking down barriers in traditionally masculine fields. Julie is now a practicing law for the  VA in Washington, DC.   Ivy and Eden are enrolled in honors pharmaceutical and law programs where girls are outnumbered four to one (as they often are in science, technology, engineering, and math).   Alice & Quinn are too young to demonstrate their intellectual prowess, but nevertheless, every day they demonstrate that they are gritty as well as pretty.

This is a list of the top 10 Girl Power Albums in alphabetical order.

Pick your favorite top 3 and guess what 3 National Public Radio selected as the greatest albums.  The answers are below, but pick you favorite first.  You can email it to  We will post your votes.

Amy Winehouse
Back To Black (Island, 2006)

Aretha Franklin
I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You (Atlantic, 1967)

Lemonade (Parkwood/Columbia, 2016)

Carole King

  1. Tapestry(Ode, 1971)

Janis Joplin
Pearl (Columbia, 1971)

Joni Mitchell
Blue (Reprise, 1971)

 Lauryn Hill
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Ruffhouse/Columbia, 1998)

 Missy Elliott
Supa Dupa Fly (The Goldmind/Elektra, 1997)

Nina Simone
I Put A Spell on You (Philips, 1965)

Patti Smith
Horses (Arista, 1975)

Lastly, this female empowerment playlist is a shout-out to women like my mother and sister-in-law who have assumed care giving roles.  Unless you’ve walked in those shoes or witnessed the work that goes into such care taking, it’s hard to truly appreciate the investment of time, resources, and emotional energy.

Why not make a custom album list to encourage the special women in your life — or yourself — to keep being brave, strong, and fighting

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Processed with VSCO with p5 preset

the good fight?


10. Carole King
Tapestry (Ode, 1971)

With Tapestry, Carole King cemented her place as one of the key architects of 20th-century popular music. Here, she fully claims the spotlight, not only as a top-notch composer, but as a deeply soulful lyricist and singer.

9. Amy Winehouse
Back To Black (Island, 2006)

The late ’00s saw an explosive, cross-genre revival of retro-sounding soul music that continues to shape the pop landscape to this day. Arguably, that trend’s catalyst was Amy Winehouse‘s earth-shaking final album.

8. Janis Joplin
Pearl (Columbia, 1971)

One of rock’s most misunderstood artists, Janis Joplinwas often portrayed as victim, a dysfunctional mess who only fronted a band, who didn’t have the power to call the shots. Until Pearl. In 1971, with Monterey Pop, Woodstock, and Festival Express behind her, the vision of blues, rock and soul coming together with a band that could follow her was realized. It was her high point, and tragically, she didn’t live to see it. Janis had put the band together — saying “it’s my band, it’s finally my band” — and approved all the songs. (It was unusual at the time for a female artist to actually have that control, the very reason we need this list.)

7. Patti Smith
Horses (Arista, 1975)

The very nature of Patti Smith‘s debut album Horsesrails against what many other “best of” albums are celebrated for — broad appeal, sonically pleasing aesthetics and hits. Horses is confrontational, defiant and completely unafraid of the ugly.

6. Beyoncé
Lemonade (Parkwood/Columbia, 2016)

One of the most recent projects to be part of our new canon, Lemonade is a masterful excursion through terrains at once visually fantastical and emotionally all too real, exploring shattered trust in a broken relationship; the singular pain borne by the mothers of men like Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown; the battering down of black women throughout history; the scars of all of these kinds of trauma; white-hot rage and hopeful, though not blind, reconciliation.

5. Missy Elliott
Supa Dupa Fly (The Goldmind/Elektra, 1997)

This album dismantled the hip-hop boy’s club. For the first time in history a woman rapped, sang, wrote and produced every song on a major rap release. Within the first sounds that we hear, Missy Elliott invites you to become engulfed with the undeniable Virginia-based funk, a region that’s equally Southern and Eastern, through aquatic synth sounds paired with earthy drum patterns.

4. Aretha Franklin
I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You (Atlantic, 1967)

In the universe of popular music, this album exploded like a brand new sun. It took Aretha Franklin eleven songs to shift the canon of AM radio away from the realm of girlish glee to the cataclysms of womanly love. I Never Loved a Man connected with black and white audiences and became the biggest commercial success of her building career.

3. Nina Simone
I Put A Spell on You (Philips, 1965)

Nina Simone knew her own power. Not only did she cover the song “I Put A Spell on You,” but she also used it as the title of her autobiography. The song, originally released in 1956 by Jay Hawkins, cemented his “Screamin” moniker. But in Simone’s hands, it became something more, a kind of simmering sorcery.

2. Lauryn Hill
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Ruffhouse/Columbia, 1998)

The Fugees struck gold in the late 1990s with albums like The Score, a feat that also made their resident wordsmith, Lauryn Hill, a household nameBut when Hill went out on her own two years later and dropped her debut, the neo-soul masterpiece The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, she schooled everyone all over again in new and necessary ways.

1. Joni Mitchell
Blue (Reprise, 1971)

After nearly fifty years, Blue remains the clearest and most animated musical map to the new world that women traced, sometimes invisibly, within their daily lives in the aftermath of the utopian, dream-crushing 1960s. It is a record full of love songs, of sad songs; but more than that, it is a compendium of reasonable demands that too many men in too many women’s lives heard, in 1971, as pipe dreams or outrageous follies.

List of top in count-down order.

New Color Maps of Pluto

The Principal Investigator (PI) for the LORRI instrument is Andy Cheng, and it is operated from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) in Laurel, Maryland. Alan Stern is the PI for the MVIC and Ralph instruments, which are operated from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas. And as you can plainly see, the maps are quite detailed and eye-popping!

Dr. Stern, who is also the PI of the New Horizons mission, commented on the release of the maps in a recent NASA press statement. As he stated, they are just the latest example of what the New Horizons mission accomplished during its historic mission:

“The complexity of the Pluto system — from its geology to its satellite system to its atmosphere— has been beyond our wildest imagination. Everywhere we turn are new mysteries. These new maps from the landmark exploration of Pluto by NASA’s New Horizons mission in 2015 will help unravel these mysteries and are for everyone to enjoy.”


Maps at