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 December 2007
Global Notebook

The Last SupperStandards Help Reveal the Secrets of “The Last Supper”

Thanks to a new 16 billion-pixel image, anyone with an
Internet connection can enjoy Leonardo DaVinci’s mural, “The Last Supper,” in high resolution. Using special techniques designed to protect the fragile mural, 1,677 digital photographs of the painting were taken in just nine hours. Photographers faced several challenges in capturing the mural, including the development of a light source that emits as little ultraviolet radiation as possible. A measurement method from the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America helps restoration specialists prevent UV damage to artwork. IESNA LM-55-96, Measurement of Ultraviolet Radiation from Light Sources, applies to light emissions in the 200 to 400 nanometer range. The technicians behind the new image, which is now said to be the world’s highest-resolution photo, also had exacting requirements for their photographic equipment. An American National Standard from the International Imaging Industry Association, ANSI/I3A IT10.7000-2004, provides guidelines for reporting a digital camera’s pixel-related specifications. Additional factors such as speed ratings, output sensitivity and exposure index values are addressed by ISO 12232:2006, a standard from the International Organization for Standardization.

Interagency Working Group Finalizes Action Plan for Import Safety

The Interagency Working Group on Import Safety, a committee charged with identifying actions to improve the safety of imported products, has finalized and delivered its report to U.S. President George W. Bush. The Action Plan for Import Safety outlines a roadmap for continual improvement, detailing the organizing principles, recommendations and short- and long-term actions needed to ensure the safety of American consumers. Overall, the plan identifies the need for the U.S. to shift from its current import safety system to a risk-based approach that focuses on prevention. Increased reliance on voluntary consensus standards will play a key role in this shift, as will continued government participation in the development of these standards and compliance programs. Third-party certification programs and the accreditation of certifying bodies will also play an important preventative role, helping to build safety into the products that reach American shores. The plan cites the Toy Safety Coordination Initiative, a collaboration between the American National Standards Institute and the Toy Industry Association, as an example of a private-sector led program that is strengthening conformity assessment systems for consumer products. The Action Plan for Import Safety is available for review and download here.

Hand on computer mouseEngineers Can Brush Up Career Skills with Professional Practice Curriculum Online

Professional and interpersonal (or “soft”) skills are usually not emphasized in engineering school curricula, but they are critical when it comes to career advancement. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Professional Practice Curriculum offers 42 online education modules in which early-career engineers and students can brush up on those skills. The ASME Professional Practice Curriculum was developed by senior engineers, managers and faculty leaders for early-career engineers and students to supplement their formal engineering education. The modules concentrate on topics — such as management, leadership and communication — that will better prepare graduates for entering and moving ahead in the field. In addition to soft skills, some of the PPC modules focus on subjects such as sustainability, product development and engineering design.

AwardWanted: Expert Reviewers for 2008 Baldrige Award

Each year the Baldrige National Quality Program recruits experts from businesses, education organizations, health care providers, nonprofits and other groups to serve as members of the board of examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Examiners evaluate applications for the award and prepare applicant feedback reports that cite strengths and opportunities for improvement. This year, for the first time, all examiner applications must be submitted online. The application form is available here. The deadline for submissions is on or before noon Eastern time on Jan. 8, 2008. The board consists of more than 500 members, including 12 judges and about 60 senior examiners representing many industries, companies and organizations, including those from not-for-profit and public sectors. Service on the board provides an opportunity to enhance a board member’s knowledge, to develop a new network of expert colleagues and to help improve U.S. competitiveness. For assistance in preparing an examiner application, contact examappl@nist.gov or call the Examiner Hotline at 877/237-9064.

AATCC Review Article Archive Now in Chinese and Spanish

The American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists is providing Chinese- and Spanish-language versions of important articles and features from its monthly magazine and scientific journal, AATCC Review, in an online archive. With the rapid growth of the international textile industry and AATCC’s increased presence worldwide as a technical and educational resource, the availability of translated AATCC materials benefits both textile researchers and the industry at large. The Chinese- and Spanish-language archives are accessible to AATCC members when they log in to the “Membership Services” section of the association’s Web site. //