Flash memory is my copilot; Bowling for dollars and empowerment

Maybe this is a sign that chip designers truly answer to a higher calling, or that beauty is wherever you find it. Or maybe that if you stare long enough at the abyss of linewidths in a TEM, they stare back at you. Whatever it is, it’s a fascinating observation from Chipworks’ Dick James, who in a teardown of a 4Gbit iPod’s Samsung flash memory chip found himself face-to-face with the apparent visage of Jesus Christ. Seems the likeness was discovered when analyzing the contacts to the drain of a high-voltage transistor (see image above), and a bright engineer kept the TEM for posterity (James admits he cropped and rotated the image to make the similarity stand out). “Typically we see fringes like this in every image of the silicon substrate, caused by interference as the beam traverses the sample, but it’s highly unusual to get something that can be interpreted as a face or some other pattern,” James writes in his blog, adding that those with different imaginations might instead identify Osama Bin Laden, Confucius, or even Gandalf the wizard from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. For our sake, we’ll just leave this as a quirk of chip design…but we’re making a mental note to do a random act of kindness in the very near future. And memo to Dick James: play your cards right and maybe GoldenPalace.com will come calling with an open wallet to add this to their collection, alongside their Virgin Mary grilled-cheese sandwich.

Bowling for dollars and empowerment

What could be more fun than an afternoon of social networking and hurling heavy spherical projectiles in support of a noble cause? The 14th Annual “Stars & Strikes” bowling tournament on May 12, sponsored by Cadence Design Systems, seeks to raise $1 million to help build a new facility in the South Bay for the Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment, a group that provides training and financial support for women to raise up from poverty to become “full-fledged participants in the economy.” In addition to execs from Cadence and other Valley firms (AMD, KLA-Tencor, NVidia, KPMG, Sun, etc.), meet-and-greeters include San Jose mayor Chuck Reed and current and former members of the San Francisco 49ers pro football team. This event isn’t open to the public, but check them out online for more info and to see if they can save you a spot.


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