TechAlum News

April 25, 2005 (Vol. 11, No. 47)

An award-winning weekly electronic newsletter for alumni and friends of Michigan Technological University. Written and distributed by Dean Woodbeck '78, Senior Director of University Communications. For past issues, see our archives.

In this issue:

  • Husky Tales
  • At da Tech
  • Around Town
  • From the E-mailbag
  • E-mail Updates/Welcome to new subscribers
  • Alumni Chapter Events
  • Job Opportunities
  • Electronic Services for Alumni

Husqi Tales

Slow but sure, spring approaches the Copper Country. I see some buds on trees and things are greening up. I met with a reporter from Detroit (WWJ) yesterday and told him it is pretty sad when you have to come to the UP to escape snow. (Those of you who subscribe to the Great Lakes IT Report, reporter Matt Roush is here to look at our technology transfer efforts. There was a great write-up in this morning's edition.)

Back to the items at hand: we have an action-packed week here at Michigan Tech, with a board meeting, building dedications, and commencement all happening in a two-day period.

On Friday, we will dedicate three new facilities, two of which are highly visible and the other that should have an impact on research and undergraduate education.

We will start dedication day at the Advanced Technology Design Center (ATDC), which is located at the corner of Sharon Ave. and Garnet St., just west of Sherman Field. The building includes the Ford Student Design Center, which will primarily serve Enterprise projects.

As you may know, students establish Enterprises to operate as companies and can participate for three years. Most of the vehicle competitions have organized as Enterprises and there are many others (see The ATDC provides design space and high-bay lab space for these projects. It also will serve as an incubator for start-up companies needing testing facilities. The Keweenaw Research Center has installed a large, four-wheel dynamometer, as well.

From the ATDC, we will move to the Opie Library and Rekhi Hall. The Opie Library includes new student study space, including a soaring atrium that is the building's signature. The new facility is attached to the Van Pelt Library, which has been completely renovated as part of the project. Rekhi Hall is connected to Fisher Hall and includes offices, labs, and classrooms for the computer science department. The Opie Library and Rekhi Hall are connected by a bridge, as well.

John Opie and Kanwal Rekhi, both Michigan Tech alumni, provided major funding for these new facilities.

The day after these celebrations comes commencement, when we will welcome about 900 new Michigan Tech alumni. Alumnus and retired oil executive George Siler will give the keynote address.

ALUMNI BULLETIN BOARD: Remember the alumni bulletin board for you to use for discussions related to this newsletter, Tech sports, or anything else:

At Da Tech

SENATE APPROVES SPIN-OFFS: The University Senate approved three spin-off degree programs: a BS in Construction Management, BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology, and BS in Electrical Engineering Technology. The senate also approved a change in the name of the BS in Surveying, to BS in Surveying Engineering. Finally, the senate discussed a proposed PhD in Biomedical Engineering.

SMACKDOWN THURSDAY: What Lake Linden-based beverage manufacturer claimed that their product was "refreshing as the sportsman's paradise?" Think you know the answer? Chances are good that the teams preparing for the third annual Smackdown know that it was the Bosch Brewing Company. The third annual high school local history Smackdown will take place on Thursday, April 28, at 7 p.m. in the Calumet Theatre. The Michigan Tech Archives is a sponsor of the event, which will include 16 high school teams from the four-county area.

FOR MORE INFORMATION from Tech, see the weekly newsletter Tech Topics:

Around Town

COUGAR SPOTTED AGAIN: Finlandia University Instructor Roger Laitinen is the latest local resident to spot a cougar, which have long been written off as non-existent in the state of Michigan. But in the past dozen years or so, hundreds of sightings have been reported in the U.P., including at least 70 as documented by local researcher Nancy Gagnon of Michigan Tech.

TOWNSHIP SEEKS SEWER/WATER HELP: The Portage Township planning committee has heard from three engineering firms interested in providing development guidance for a solution to its water and sewer problems. The township recently paid over $57,000 in overage penalties with the city of Houghton over water issues. Portions of the township's system are at least 60 years old.

MARINA GRANT SOUGHT: Houghton County has applied for a grant to upgrade the county marina. The Michigan Waterways Commission grant would support an engineering study to expand and improve the facility, just east of the bridge on the Hancock side of the pond.

BARAGA COUNTY TO FIX BRIDGES: Baraga County has received nearly $2.3 million in state funding to rebuild two outdated bridges. A bridge crossing the Otter River at Pelkie Road will receive $1.735 million, while a span over Herman-Nestoria Road at Daults Creek will be renovated for $550,000.

ADVISORY COMMITTEE CONSIDERS TRAIL: An advisory committee to the Michigan DNR has met twice to consider the use of a recreation corridor between Chassell and Houghton. The land is the former railroad grade that parallels US-41. A number of driveways cross the grade and some landowners have property on both sides. The committee will recommend whether the path should be motorized or nonmotorized, among other issues.

Tech Sports

BERGER SELECTED BY CAROLINA: Michigan Tech's Joe Berger will try out for the Carolina Panthers this summer, after being selected in the sixth round of the NFL draft yesterday. He is the first Husky drafted since 1987, when Dave Walter went to the NY Giants in the ninth round. Berger will graduate Saturday with a mechanical engineering degree.

METTLACH MVP: Dan Mettlach, GLIAC Player of the Year for two times running, earned MVP honors at the football awards banquet over the weekend. The quarterback holds the Michigan Tech record with 50 touchdown passes. More:

From the E-mailbag

E-mail from Steve Haeg '77 (>)

Okay, more worms for the mix, my personal favorite:

He lit a match
to check the tank
and now they call him
skinless Frank
Burma Shave

E-mail from Kerry Irons

Don't try passing
On a slope
Unless you have
A periscope
Burma Shave

E-mail from George Wright '70 (

Dear Dean:

Great HusqiTale about the cell-phone jammers. If I
spent more time on planes I would seriously consider
buying one. It is amazing how people feel that the
louder they talk into their cell phone the better it
transmits. However, also seems to be a
British company that will sell their products anywhere
but within Britain. Look at the food for thought in
their fine print:

"It is not illegal to own a mobile cellular blocker
but if you are found using one you may risk
prosecution. Cellular mobile blockers are not allowed
to be sold in-land but are allowed to be exported."
Crafty people, those Brits.

The cheap model is in a plain black plastic box that
would attract unwanted attention at airport security.
If a toot had designed this product it would contain
jammer circuitry inside a cell-phone case. The DHS
gestapo at the airport wouldn't give it a second
glance. But when you turn it on - ZAP - then silence
on the plane.

E-mail from Duane Mariotti (

Cell Phone jammers are illegal to purchase and use in
the USA.

E-mail from

Hey Dean,

I thought your bit about cell phone jammers was
interesting though I figured I'd save you the
inconvenience of getting a $11,000 fine AND a one
year jail term from the FCC (only if you get caught).
I'm sure you ran into this when you were googling cell
phone blockers. Apparently it's not illegal to buy or
sell blockers but according to the FCC, actively
blocking cell phone frequencies is a big no-no. I
guess I should mention that no one has ever been
charged with this, and the American market is one of
the largest for these products.

There are ways to block cell phone signals passively
though like using certain types of magnetic paint or a
special woven metal fabric that you could line a room
or building with.

Maybe some day, cell phone etiquette will become more
popular. Not likely, but that's what I'm hoping for.

E-mail from Rich Mahle '71 (

Phone blocker...Turn the phone off! Saves on battery
power as well.

E-mail from Michael Nitschke (

I would guess that the devices for jamming cell phones
would be of great value to car-jackers and kidnappers

E-mail from Dave Strenski (


Great topic as usual. I can't help you with the cell-
Free zone, but I can help with the annoying TVs in
restaurants, bars, airports, and check out lines.
check out the TV-B-Gone web site,

I read about it in EETimes, the inventor kind of did
it as a joke, and then found out that it was selling,
and sold more then 30,000 of them. It's a good product
to kill that stray TV that's on with the volume up and
no one watching. $15 plus shipping. I'm testing one
now. ;)

E-mail from John Alaniva '83 (


Just read the latest Husqi Tales and couldn't help but
wonder, exactly what airline allows the use of cell
phones during flight??? As a frequent flyer, my
experience has been that cell phone usage is allowed
on the aircraft while it's on the ground until the
cabin door is shut. Then they need to be turned off.
And as soon as the wheels touch ground again and the
plane begins its taxi to the gate, use is allowed
again. Granted some people make more use of a cell
phone than necessary (during church???), but then for
many of us, it's another tool in the road warrior's
chest, much like a laptop.

E-mail from Brad DePottey '83 (


In the same vane as your rant about unwanted cell
phone calls is the TV-B-Gone. It is about the size of
a car key fob and for only 14.95 "should be able to
turn off virtually any remotely controlled tv in North
America, Europe and Asia."

Imagine the damage one of these devices could wreak in
the hands of jealous date during playoff time.
Especially for those of us who are conversationally
challenged. The scene would go something like this...
Yes dear, ... what the heck are they doing throwing a
screen pass on fourth and long. Everyone in the
stadium could see it coming... what was that dear,
the background noise in here is terrible. CLICK. The
place would get very quiet. It would be a VERY LONG
evening... It makes me shudder just to think about it.

E-mail from John Baker '71 (


Trust me, if the airlines are already paranoid about
cell phones and pagers interfering with the "planes
navigation system", what do you think they're going to
say about portable JAMMERS? Besides, as soon as the
airlines DO figure out how to make money "selling" in-
flight wireless service, the danger to the plane's
electronics will suddenly be "solved" and then your
portable jammer will be interfering with a new revenue
stream, which considering their current financial
straits, is a lot bigger concern for the airlines then
the impact your cell phone/pager/jammer would have on
the flight worthiness of the plane ;-)

BTW, I'm writing this from the Admiral's Club at the
airport where, when I look up at my fellow passengers,
virtually everyone is either on their cell phones or
using their laptops, with some doing BOTH at the same

E-mail from Bob Tolfree '76 (

Hi Dean,

I have started a distributed computing team for
"Michigan Tech University Alumni and Friends" as part
of the World Year of Physics 2005. The program is
called Einstein@Home and works like the Seti@Home
program some people are familiar with. Einstein@home
is a program that uses your computer's idle time to
search for spinning neutron stars (also called
pulsars) using data from the LIGO and GEO
gravitational wave detectors. Einstein@home is a World
Year of Physics 2005 project supported by the American
Physical Society (APS) and by a number of
international organizations. Anyone can go to their
website at and download
the BOINC application. Then search for and join the
Michigan Tech University Alumni and Friends team. No
use in wasting your computer idle time as it sits for
hours a day and the screen saver is pretty neat
looking too!

TechAlum Subscriber Stats

We're at 7,152 subscribers.

Here are the new e-mail addresses from the past week. Please note, we are
using the word "at" instead of the at sign to guard against spambots.

1951 Halfred Smith
1982 Rick Rollenhagen
1982 Joshua Davis
1983 Ira Rosenberg
1988 Scott Allen
1989 Alicia Haley
1995 Michael Buettner
1996 Mary Becker
1997 Gary Shepard
1998 Daniel Sorek
2000 Angela Koskela (Dendel)
2001 Bryan MacKenzie
2004 Adam Sworski

You can update your information at:

Alumni Association Programs

CHAPTER EVENTS: For more information on alumni chapter events,
e-mail mtu_alumni at or see the alumni chapter site on the web.

3 Chicago Michigan Tech Spotlight Night
4 Grand Rapids Michigan Tech Spotlight Night
9 Minneapolis Michigan Tech Spotlight Night
11 Detroit Michigan Tech Spotlight Night
18 Keweenaw Chapter Back to School Tour Opie Library
and Rekhi Hall. Wine and cheese reception
25 Green Bay Chapter 26th Annual Golf Outing

4 West Michigan Chapter Annual Golf Outing
7 LA Alumni Event
11 Detroit Chapter 2005 Golf Outing

15 Mid-Michigan (Saginaw, Midland, Bay City) Annual
Golf Outing

GREEK REUNION INFORMATION has been moved to the web. For the link, go here:

Job Opportunities This Week

ON CAMPUS: Complete job descriptions for these positions are available by e-mailing jobs at

  • Admissions Representative (Regular, full-time, nine month position based in north central Wisconsin)

OFF CAMPUS: For off-campus positions, visit the alumni section of the career center's web site (