Celebrating the Antiquity of Pi

Posted by Bill Pollock on Mar 12, 2020 7:45:00 AM

There’s a lot of celebrating that happens every year on Pi Day.  Included are images of raspberry, apple or pizza in a variety of formats. This has been going on for over 30 years, ever since a 1988 when a physicist named Larry Shaw selected it because the numerical date (3/14) represents the first three digits of Pi.  By coincidence March 14 is also Albert Einstein’s birthday.  On March 12, 2009, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution recognizing March 14, 2009 as the first National Pi Day. To the best of my knowledge it passed with a very broad bipartisan vote. Everyone loves Pi.  But this is all very recent history.  Knowledge or Pi existed millennium before Pi Day, or Einstein or congress. Wikipedia gives some historical context on who and how Pi was first introduced.  In 1707, a Welsh mathematician, William Jones, was the first to use the Greek letter pi (π) to denote the constant ratio, but it was decades later before this came into common popular use. There are references to Pi from the Greeks in 2000 B.C. and on Babylonian tablets around 1800 B.C.  It also shows up on an Egyptian papyrus about 1650 B.C. But archaeologists believe that the oldest clear recognition of Pi may come from the pyramids of Giza. The great pyramid was built about 2500 B.C.

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Topics: For Fun

What You Need to Know About the FIRST Robotics Competition at RIT

Posted by Bill Pollock on Mar 4, 2020 10:25:09 AM

FIRST Robotics competition is coming back to Rochester next week. The FIRST Robotics Finger Lakes Regional will be held at RIT on March 13th and 14th. If you have never been to one you need to go.  A FIRST Robotics competition is like nothing you have ever seen before.  It is all about technology and engineering and computer software and learning. It is also filled with loud music, cheers and teams of motivated and energized high school students working as teams to overcome obstacles. It won’t only be happening in Rochester. This is a worldwide movement. Nearly 4000 teams from 28 countries will be competing. Over a hundred thousand students will be part of more than 100 regional, district and championship events. Countless mentors and coaches from colleges, universities and industry volunteer long hours to help the teams organize and construct.  FIRST is hardcore technology on steroids designed to motivate and inspire students to get engaged in STEM and follow engineering of high-tech trades professions. FIRST makes technology into a sport. While fast paced and competitive, it also has a unique value-based culture.  They call it "Gracious Professionalism".It embraces competition but rejects trash talk and replaces it with respect for other teams.They call this "Coopertition", emphasizing that teams can cooperate and compete at the same time.

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Topics: Education, For Fun, Engineering

Everyday is Super Tuesday for Manufacturers

Posted by Steve Beyer on Mar 3, 2020 9:42:43 AM

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Topics: For Fun

Will Your Son or Daughter Grow Up to be an Engineer?

Posted by Pete Sherer on Feb 19, 2020 8:00:00 AM


Here at Optimation, being a business that anchors its livelihood in the manufacturing and high technology segment, we recognize and celebrate Engineer’s Week every year. We are a group of creative problem solvers, that use our engineering and technical training and experiences to help solve our client’s challenges and problems. So, during Engineer’s Week, we reflect back on how we got here, and what some of the life changing situations and decisions were that have contributed to our shared career paths.

As a bit of a retrospective, and anticipating that we might have some fun with the topic, I sent out a conversation starter to my engineering mates that asked, “When you were a child, what events did you experience that might have indicated to your parents that you had engineering/technical tendencies?” Today we want to offer these anecdotes to entertain, as well as hold them up as examples that today’s parents might look at and realize that their progeny have also exhibited similar traits. Maybe your Jimmy or Susie has acted in a way that, as you compare their recent hi-jinx to these stories, enlightens your understanding to their potential future as mechanical, chemical, or electrical engineers.

So, here are some of our formative stories, for your consideration and enjoyment:

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Topics: For Fun, National Engineers Week, Engineering

New Year, Better Us: a Service Business' Resolution

Posted by Pete Sherer on Jan 30, 2020 10:00:00 AM

Not only did we celebrate a new year when the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2020, but also a new decade (depending on who you ask)!  What is it about a new year that causes us to take stock and vow to make improvements?  As I stepped on the scale this morning, I noted that one of my high ranking resolutions is in serious jeopardy.  But then, I was able to rationalize my lackluster progress by remembering that all the holiday cookies, candy, caramel coated popcorn, etc. have been consumed, and the plan to lose a few pounds should self-correct (skeptics need not reply).

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Topics: Communication, Business, Project Management, Internet of Things, For Fun, IIoT

Fabricating Obstacles for Hyperdrive

Posted by Wendy Smith on Oct 1, 2019 2:34:19 PM

Photo Credit: Netflix

A few months ago, I wrote a blog about a really neat project that we were doing at Eastman Business Park, the old Kodak Park Campus in Rochester, NY. Netflix was going to film a series that would rival American Ninja Warrior only with high performance cars and expert drivers on challenging obstacle courses. It is dubbed “American Ninja Warrior meets the Fast and the Furious.”

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Topics: About Optimation, Manufacturing, For Fun, Skilled Trades

Networking, Food, Fun and a Run

Posted by Bill Pollock on Jul 6, 2017 10:41:23 AM

In less than a week, The J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge will be held in Rochester.  We are getting a new venue and lots of other changes this year.  It’s the 26th year that Chase has held the event in Rochester, but Rochester was not the original event.  It began in NYC 40 years ago.  The event is an amazing blend of exercise, fun, food, drink, camaraderie, fundraising for charity and networking.   And the emphasis could be placed on the networking.  The original founders had little idea what would happen after the event was established.  Their inaugural event was set up long before running was popular and included less than 1000 runners. 

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Topics: About Optimation, For Fun

Need a Hacker? Hire One.

Posted by Bill Pollock on Aug 31, 2016 2:07:30 PM

A great deal of news, discussion and time is spent dealing with cyber security.  For a quarter of a century, since the time the internet first became available for commercial use, there have been security issues and computers and accounts have been hacked and their content compromised.  I can remember discussions immediately after 9/11 about the concept that the next great terrorist destruction in the US would be by hacking of infrastructure rather than physically the way the twin towers came down. 

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Topics: Technology, Trends, For Fun

Lessons from the Boston Marathon

Posted by Bill Pollock on Apr 25, 2016 4:03:34 PM

Countless articles and blogs have been written about the Boston Marathon, marathons in general and the lessons we can learn from comparing marathons to life. The clearest lesson of all is the lesson of Boston after 2013.  Out of adversity came strength, commitment to service and a celebration of life.  Boston is stronger because of what they went through. Each year the marathon gets better. This year they established Boston One Day as a day of service to others.  We can all take a lesson to our lives, our jobs and our careers from Boston’s response. The lesson is simple, adversity can be used for good.  Things meant for evil can in fact be turned to good. 

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Topics: For Fun

Happy Earth Day from Optimation!

Posted by Steve Beyer on Apr 22, 2016 2:37:13 PM

Since the first "Earth Day" in 1970, American industry as well as the rest of the world has acknowledged ever stronger connections between our lifestyles and behaviors, and to a healthy future of our planet.

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Topics: About Optimation, For Fun

Welcome to the Optimation Blog

Tips, tricks and trends

The goal of this blog is to be helpful to readers by providing useful information about applications in industrial engineering, design and skilled trades, as well as industry knowledge. We're passionate about manufacturing in the United States. We have a little fun with it too.  

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