Conservative Liberal

FDR would have been a Republican today.

My new favorite manufacturer of electronic components

There is a company called Vishay Intertechnology.  They make all kinds of electronic components, which I, as an Electronics Engineer, use in my designs.  In particular, they are the first ones I think of when I need to use filed-effect transistors (FETs, or MOSFETs, to be exact).  I won’t get too deep into the technical details, but their FETs are very well suited for use in the switching power supplies.  Recently I learned about amazing history of this company and its founder, Dr. Felix Zandman:

In the 1950s, patents were issued for the PhotoStress® products developed by Dr. Felix Zandman.  These products reveal and measure stress distribution in airplanes, cars, and other structures under live load conditions.  His research in this area led him to develop Bulk Metal® foil resistors, the most precise and stable resistors available — both then and now, over four decades later.

Dr. Zandman, with the financial support of Alfred P. Slaner, founded Vishay in 1962 to develop and manufacture Bulk Metal foil resistors. The Company was named after the village in Lithuania where relatives of Dr. Zandman and Mr. Slaner had perished during the Holocaust (emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit).  The Company’s initial product portfolio consisted of foil resistors and foil resistance strain gages.

Here is more:

A survivor from the Polish town of Grodno, Dr. Felix Zandman, immigrated to the United States and became an inventor and important industrialist there, in Israel, and in other countries.  He named the electronics concern he established Vishay in memory of his beloved grandmother Tema Freydovicz, who was born in the town of Vishay, and the Jewish community there that had been annihilated in the Holocaust.  The electronics plants he established in Israel also bear the same name.

This indeed is an amazing story.  I sent these links to a friend of mine, an Applications Engineer from a Vishay distributor company, who is also Jewish.  He did not know this history.  But later, when he came to visit me in the office on business, he brought me a present from the local Vishay representative: the memoir of Dr. Felix Zandman.  I am sure I will enjoy this book.  And it is very satisfying to be able to use good products and support a good company and worthy causes at the same time.

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May 31, 2009 Posted by | Engineering, History | 1 Comment

Historical ignorance and moral equivalence

I haven’t posted for a while.  Part of the reason for it is some feeling of apathy on my part.  I keep encountering people who just refuse to hear my arguments about dangers of what Obama administration is doing domestically and internationally.  On the other hand, not everything is bad: they do seem to make some responsible decisions, like the ones with restoring military commissions and blocking the release of photos of some GIs mistreating prisoners.  Obama is now planning a trip to Europe and the Middle East.  Apparently the trip includes a stop in Normandy to commemorate 65th Anniversary of the D-Day, a stop in Germany and in Egypt.  The stop in Germany is what concerns me.  I recently received an e-mail with a link to this story:

In a move aimed at healing the rifts of American foreign policy decisions, President Obama will make a trip to Europe next month, including a trip to Dresden, Germany. The trip will consist of several stops and the President will meet with the President of France and the Chancellor of Germany. Also slated are several policy speeches.

Perhaps the most controversial is a planned speech in which President Obama will formally apologize for American ‘war crimes’ during the Second World War. This would be particularly comforting to Europeans, who have long condemned American foreign policy actions, especially regarding civilians.

This speech will also be welcome in Germany, who had over 12,000,000 of its citizens killed during the war. Mayor Johann Krupp of Augensburg in Saxony stated to DW that the speech will "help my great-uncle’s soul rest. He burned to death during the Dresden bombings."

I then followed a link provided by Weasel Zippers.  There it all seemed like some sort of satire.  I could not find this story at the Deutsche Welle web site.  Could it be satire?  I started digging some more.  I found this Gateway Pundit post on the subject with more links.  Do follow those links and read the articles there.  And if you have have time for just one of them, go to this Pajamas Media article.  It does seem that Obama is planning to go to Dresden and apologize at the very least for the Dresden bombing.  Bookworm also has a post on the subject of Obama going to both Buchenwald and Dresden, where she points out that the myth of Dresden bombing just to terrorize German population and the city of Dresden having no military value was started by none other than Josef Goebbels.  And here we come to the book review.  The definitive book on the subject of Dresden bombing is "Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945" by Frederick Taylor.

In the book Mr. Taylor proves beyond any doubt several things.  First of all, the number of people killed was exaggerated 10-fold.  As such, with 25 to 30 thousand people killed, Dresden did not have the most casualties of all the cities in Germany.  The largest absolute number can be claimed by Hamburg, and the largest percentage of the population can be claimed by Leipzig.  Further, Dresden also had significant number of legitimate military targets.  First of all, it was the largest railroad junction in the Eastern Germany, through which the German Eastern Front was supplied.  The Soviets requested in Yalta that Allies would bomb the German supply routes, and the Allies obliged.  Dresden also had large tank repair shops, clearly a military target.  Additionally, Dresden was home for a factory making communication equipment for the German Army and a factory making bombsights for the German bombers.  The local cigarette factory was making rifle ammunition, since the equipment used for stuffing cigarettes can be also used for stuffing rifle rounds.  Indeed, if you look at the history of Dresden, the ancient capital of Saxony, the claim that the city was devoid of any industry of military value would understandably seem as ridiculous as it really is.  It is true that the city did not have much heavy industry, but it did have what in modern parlance would be called "high tech".  All the jewelry historically produced in Dresden would just naturally evolve into it.  The reason why Goebbels claimed the Dresden, of all other German cities, was an ultimate victim was because Dresden was a popular tourist destination before the war, particularly for the British and the Americans.  The claim of Dresden victimhood was dismissed at the time.  Obviously, in February of 1945 it was impossible to know that the war in Europe would end in May.  But with the start of the Cold War the Soviets and their East German puppets were eager to paint the Western Allies in the bad light, so they resurrected the old Nazi lie.  Now the blame-America-first crowd on the Left is eager to repeat it.

Other things that Frederick Taylor proves in the book are:

1. The blame for the high number of civilian death should placed squarely on the city Nazi leadership who built the nice bomb shelters for themselves, but neglected to provide adequate shelters for the population;

2. There was no strafing of the ground targets in Dresden by American escort fighter aircraft.  Indeed, anyone who even played a Combat Flight Simulator game (this or this) knows that any air combat invariably sinks close to the ground, as the fighters maneuver and try to restore their air speed.  So, imagine an American P-51 Mustang attacking a German Fokke-Wulf FW-190 from above and behind (a common mode of attack), close to the ground.  The Mustang pilot lines up the German in his sights and opens fire.  He scores some hits.  But where do you think the bullets that missed the German aircraft go?  That’s right, down to the ground.  Now, what if you are a civilian on the ground and you did not see the Fokke-Wulf, but you did see the Mustang shooting, the tracers from its machine guns streaming to the ground?  It would obviously seem to you like the Mustang was strafing something on the ground, even though the Mustang was in fact shooting at the German aircraft.  Indeed, the air combat did take place during the day, when Americans bombed the railroad junction.  But there were no ground targets to strafe, so there were no strafing attacks by the the American escort fighters.

The bottom line, this book should be required reading for anybody who wants to at least attempt to understand history.  For President Obama it would certainly be better to read this book rather than the crap Hugo Chavez gave him.

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May 31, 2009 Posted by | Book Reviews, History | Leave a comment