January 2018 11
It is worth noting that 2018 is the 70th anniversary of the atomic
clock, invented by Harold Lyons at the National Bureau of Standards;
renamed the National Institute of Standards and Technology
( www.nbs.gov) in 1988. With this invention, Lyons revolutionized
timekeeping by using transitions of the ammonia molecule as its
Because of their greater accuracy, atomic clocks quickly replaced
the Earth’s rotational rate as the reference for world time. This made
possible many new technologies, including the Global Positioning
System (GPS). The ammonia clock offered accuracy within about one
second every three years, which exceeded anything that came before
Not bad, although today’s strontium Optical Lattice clock is only
off by one second per 300,000,000,000 years. NV
What’s Old is New Again
Just when you figured we didn’t have Polaroid (www.
polaroid.com) to kick around anymore, here they come with
the new OneStep 2 camera. Much like the resurrected VW
beetle, the inside has very little to do with the original, but
sometimes looks are all that matter. (Bear in mind that this
perspective has led to countless divorces.)
In any event, like the original, it’s still an easy-to-use instant
camera with a plastic outer shell, fixed-focus lens (0.6 m to
infinity), and built-in flash unit. Unlike the original, it operates
on a USB-chargeable internal lithium-ion battery, so there is no
longer any need to put a power source in the film pack.
The company says that this will “save money on every
single pack.” At $15.99 for eight shots, it’s tough to see where
those savings occur. The allure of cheap Polaroids has always
been about fun more than cost, so the new one can still come
in handy for birthday parties, family outings, and blackmailing
your associates. The list price is $99, and it comes in a choice
of white or graphite. ▲
INDUSTRY and the PROFESSION
Rear of the 1948 atomic clock, Lyons kneeling.
Polaroid’s new OneStep 2.
alone device), it can detect fish up to 40 m (131 ft) away
and lure them to your hook with a blue light.
So, what if your intended fish dinner doesn’t find
blue light all that attractive? Well, you can connect the
Precision Remote Bait Drop, swim over, and position the
bait right under his nose.
If you’re still sitting on the fence (or dock), consider
that upcoming models will feature VR goggles that allow
you to zip around merely by tilting your head, thus
leaving a hand free for grasping a beer can. The main
drawback is the $1,799 price tag, but think about it. Fresh
grouper fillets can easily cost $18/lb, so after you’ve
reeled in your first 100 lber, it’s all heavenly hush puppies.