The Effect Effect

Technically speaking

3 min read
They are revenge effects, and they are less the malignant ironies of a spiteful world than the results of a lack of human foresight.
--Edward Tenner

Scientists and technologists have long used the word effect --as in the Doppler effect , the butterfly effect , and the greenhouse effect --to good effect. In fact, effect has been so, uh, effective at naming things that it has branched out into the mainstream.

For example, the recent economic downturn has created the poverty effect , a reduction in consumer spending caused by a feeling of relative poverty upon seeing the diminishing value of 401(k)s and the like. This comes after years of wallowing in the wealth effect , an increase in spending based on the perception of new wealth.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

Keep Reading ↓Show less