OT Don't read this (was Re: Altair MBL source)

Tom Jennings tomj at wps.com
Thu Apr 21 11:39:09 CDT 2005

>> If things had worked out differently we might be using
>> ultraminiature electron tubes. Imagine! An entire flipflop in one
>> package!

Of course, everyone realizes when I made that little quip, I was
making a tongue-in-cheek joke about foolish ideas and obvious

> In the '60s I saw a rocket control computer that was used in a high 
> acceleration missile that was IIRC about 30 cm cubed. It was made up of 
> layers of ceramic approximately 3-5 mm thick each containing around 50-100 
> "tubes" separated by a thin 2-3 mm layer of ceramic insulation. Each "tube" 
> consisted of an Americium cathode, the necessary grids (perforated plates), 
> and a plate evaporated on the wall of the cavity. Everything was 
> interconnected by metalization on the insulating layer. The necessary 
> resistors/capacitors were placed in cavities between the "tubes".
> What made this extremely interesting was that all circuitry was differential 
> to exclude the common mode voltages that were generated by the compression of 
> the ceramic block during launch. At that time, solid state devices 
> self-destructed during the acceleration phase. I imagine that any "personal" 
> computer made with that technology would self-destruct any savings one had...

... But this is fairly amazing, and I've never heard of it before.

Why Am for cathodes?! Alpha particles instead of electrons? (I'm
kidding there.)Or did they somehow come up with a nasty, toxic an
short-lived way to produce clouds of electrons? Or another way to
lob our toxic waste at our 'enemies' ala 'depleted' (sic)

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