Category Archives: EngiNERD Alert

Most-Buzzed About Universities—How Does UT Rank?

Mashable reports today that MIT tops a Global Language Monitor ranking list of the Internet’s most-buzzed about universities. What does that mean? The list shows which universities people are talking about in social media, the blogosphere, and more than 175,000 print and electronic media outlets. UT makes the buzz list at number 10, which suggests that the Internet is interested in us and what we do. Spring graduates: use this popularity and strong reputation to your advantage!

Is it a coincidence that 15 of the top 25 schools also appear in the list of top 25 undergraduate engineering programs? Maybe, but it’s kind of a cool parallel anyway.

The Mashable post also includes a slideshow of the top 10 most social media-savvy universities, with UT rounding the list out at number 10. Successful social media is all about interaction, so thanks for supporting the libraries’ social media efforts.

[Read more at Mashable]

Turning on a 100-Year-Old Light Bulb

This morning, BoingBoing posted a video of General Electric researchers turning on a 100-year-old light bulb (click through to watch the video). The bulb was found in a time capsule on the grounds of Nela Park, GE’s headquarters and research laboratory in Ohio. This tungsten-filament bulb is not one of the earliest models of lightbulb, but it’s amazing that it’s still functional after being buried for a century.

[Read more at BoingBoing]

[Original post at GE Reports]

Programmer Creates Algorithm to Find Waldo

From Geekosystem:

“Because people with phenomenal computer skills get bored of simply being geniuses and need to exercise their genius every now and then, we, the human race, have found a way to make computers find Waldo. Over on collaborative programming site Stack Overflow, the question of how to easily make a computer find Waldo using computational software program Mathematica was posed, so the programmers collaborated and user Heike’s solution seems to have done the job, garnering the most upvotes by a wide margin.”

[Read more at Geekosystem]

Oil: The Epic of Black Gold

If you’re interested in the future of the oil economy, you might enjoy the six-part series “Oil: The Epic of Black Gold.”

According to the filmmakers:

Our mandate for the production of “The Epic of Black Gold” the History of Oil Supply and Demand has taken us on a world whirlwind of exploration, researching the diverse territories, individuals, corporations, political events, film archives and influential sources for content related to the subject. In making the Series, we have amassed volumes of footage and materials related to all of the oil consuming and producing nations of the world. Telling the story has been difficult and sometimes death defying; but having accomplished the goal, we have now turned to the very unique and serious business of trying to understand the key points and features of why we’re running out, and where we go from here.

With input from a large number of experts–including C.J Campbell, world renowned geologist and depletion analyist; Matthew Simmons, American investment banker and US Administration oil advisor; James Akins, Former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Yves Cochet, former French Minister for the Environment; and Michael Meacher, former British Minister for the Environment–the filmmakers define the importance of oil in the fields of human activity and explore the future of the dwindling fuel.

The six parts of the series are:

  1. The golden age of the majors
  2. Oil nationalism
  3. Oil as a weapon
  4. Oil gone– time of hope or despair
  5. Oil, the beginning of the end
  6. The after oil era

The complete DVD set is available at the Geology Library. Unlike DVDs in the Fine Arts Library collection, you can only place a Request for this DVD if it is already checked out. If not, you must go to the Geology Library to check it out.

Find the DVD in the catalog here.

Investigate “Tales from the STIP”

Check out these cool, retro posters we received from NASA’s Scientific and Technical Information Program! Each poster features a pulp sci-fi illustration of one of the most unusual publications on the NASA Technical Reports Server. Read the blog post below for more information about the facts behind the science fiction, or look for the posters around the library—details are printed on the back.

[Do you dare step into Tales from the STIP?]

Augmented reality headset turns astronauts into doctors

“An augmented reality headset, currently being developed by the European Space Agency, could one day turn astronauts into impromptu doctors, or even surgeons.  As future astronauts venture farther into space, they must be able to look after themselves without relying on medical experts back on Earth — because, depending on the distance, communication with ground support can be delayed or even blocked.”

Complete article:

Suggested Reading from the CTR Library Staff

Congratulations on making it through the Fall 2011 semester, y’all. The Engineering Library staff would especially like to congratulate those of you who can now call yourself graduates of The University of Texas at Austin. Great work, and good luck in whatever you’ll be doing next.

If you’re looking for something to keep you busy during Winter Break, check out the Center for Transportation Research’s list of suggested reading. They have some great picks for fun, engineering-related books. (Don’t forget about the Engineering Library’s Engineering Light collection, as well.)

The CTR also wants your opinions about upcoming classes for next semester. How do you prefer to attend classes? What would you be interested in learning? Take their survey here.

Last but not least, the Engineering Library will be open Monday-Friday of next week (that’s December 19-22) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., then will reopen on Tuesday, January 3 at 8 a.m. See holiday hours for all of the library branches here.

Have a great Winter Break!

Salt is the Secret for a Six-Fold Increase in Digital Storage

From Geekosystem:

“The need for more digital storage has exploded in recent years and with the advent of cloud computing and storage that appetite has shown no signs of abating. Thankfully, Dr. Joel Yang from the Singapore’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering has found a way to sextuple the amount of data that can be held on a disk using table salt, and some high-tech engineering.”

[Read more at Geekosystem]

Remembering Steve Jobs


As you’ve probably heard, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs died yesterday aged 56. Jobs’ name is listed as an inventor on 313 patents for products that millions of people use every day.

If you’re interested in reading more about Steve Jobs and his career, try searching the library catalog for the following subject headings:

For today’s headlines, try the LexisNexis Academic database. It’s not the easiest database to use, so here’s a sample search:

  1. Open the LexisNexis Academic database.
  2. Under General Searching in the left sidebar, click on Power Search.
  3. Enter your search terms in the Search Terms box. I’m using “Steve Jobs” in quotation marks to make sure the database searches that entire phrase.
  4. In the Specify Date dropdown, select Today.
  5. Under Select Source, choose the type of publications you want to search. I’ve chosen Major World Publications. (If you click the blue i next to the dropdown, you can see which publications are included in that list.)
  6. Hit the red Search button.