FET Transistor Homemade From Cadmium Sulfide Photocell.

I’ve blogged about the experiments of Nyle Steiner before, but just recently got back to his Spark Bang Buzz website again, and found that he’s added a couple of interesting bits. In particular, he shows how to modify a common Cadmium Sulfide Photocell to act like a field effect transistor. The voltage gain provided is quite small (about 1/10) but the power gain is better and the principle is quite interesting. Check it out.

FET Transistor Homemade From Cadmium Sulfide Photocell.

Passing the Amateur Extra test by guessing…

IN

The Amateur Extra test is 50 questions, multiple choice, with 4 answers per question. A passing grade is 35 or more. A few minutes of programming this morning, even before I had any coffee yielded that the exact probability of passing was:

      4677523340461106447
------------------------------
158456325028528675187087900672

or about 1 in 33.9 billion.

This wasn’t that interesting of a question, but to solve it, I hacked up a quick but limited implementation of rational arithmetic in Python. I was wondering if there was a better way to implement this in Python so overloading would “just work”. I didn’t know how, and the problem was simple enough, so I didn’t try. Here’s my solution.

#!/usr/bin/env python

def gcd(a, b):
    if (a < b):
        a, b = b, a
    while b != 0:
        a, b = b, a%b
    return a 

class Rational:
    def __init__(self, a, b):
        self.a = a 
        self.b = b 
    def __str__(self):
        return "[%d / %d]" % (self.a, self.b)
    def pow(self, p):
        return Rational(pow(self.a, p), pow(self.b, p))
    def mult(self, r):
        tmpa = self.a * r.a ;
        tmpb = self.b * r.b ;
        d = gcd(tmpa, tmpb)
        return Rational(tmpa//d, tmpb//d)
    def imult(self, i):
        tmpa = self.a * i ;
        tmpb = self.b ;
        d = gcd(tmpa, tmpb)
        return Rational(tmpa//d, tmpb//d)
    def add(self, r):
        tmpa = self.a * r.b + r.a * self.b
        tmpb = self.b * r.b 
        d = gcd(tmpa, tmpb)
        return Rational(tmpa//d, tmpb//d)

p = Rational(1, 4)
q = Rational(3, 4)

def fact(n):
        c = 1 
        while n > 1:
                c = c * n 
                n = n - 1 
        return c 

def comb(a, b):
        return fact(a)/(fact(b)*fact(a-b))

total = Rational(0, 1)

for t in range(35, 51):
        x = p.pow(t).mult(q.pow(50-t)).imult(comb(50, t))
        total = total.add(x)

print "Exact probability is",  total
print "Only about 1 in", total.b // total.a, "will pass"