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steve
I have a particle physics background and live happily with my wife Sukie and our five ferrets.
Interests: ferrets, physics, astronomy, atmospheric optics, os x, numerous technologies, large and dangerous electrical devices, simple hacks, social computing, history, history of science and technology, music, digital music, photography, image manipulation, and story telling
Recent Activity
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The amount of information around us is increasing at a staggering rate with no end in sight. An industry has emerged to deal with overload, but we've been up against the boundary for a long time. Civilization has produced too much information to keep up with for centuries. We deal... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at omenti
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Passing white light through a prism to break it into a range of colored light, Newton introduced the word spectrum into optics. The colored apparition was packed with information contained in the light - a mixture of frequencies and intensities. Eventually it was learned that studying these revealed important aspects... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at omenti
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Since college I've had a practice of tithing my time. Its origins weren't particularly noble - mostly I was feeling guilty about my position as a middle class white male at a good school. My upbringing encouraged paying a tithe. It didn't make much sense to me. A wealthy person... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2015 at omenti
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[credits rolling, theme music fades and a conversation between a couple begins] Hello. I'm sorry I'm late. I had some important police business to attend to, you know. - Everything's all right? Yes, absolutely fine. Allow me to let you in the car. Please. - It's beautiful. - It's rather... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2015 at omenti
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Just after sunset Venus and Jupiter are dancing together in the Western sky. Venus is the brighter of the two, in fact she's the brighter than anything but the Sun and Moon. Throughout the month of June, at least as seen from Earth, they've been getting closer and closer and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2015 at omenti
Motor vehicle deaths are currently running about 33,000 per year in the US. While there are many ways of looking at the numbers, perhaps the most remarkable is we find the carnage acceptable. It is possible to simply reduce the death rate without new technology, but car performance would become... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2015 at omenti
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A few days of heavy rain and 83° turned the noon walk through the woods into something of a steam bath making them feel like a tropical swamp. The soft ground and heavy winds during a thunderstorm last night felled a large white oak leaving a huge hole in the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2015 at omenti
Someone asked if I liked to watch horror/scifi movies. It depends... A few years ago I was trapped on a cross country flight and saw The Black Hole - one of those scripts that is so bad it is almost, but not quite, worth watching. Check out the trailer... Most... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2015 at omenti
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well? are you going to get one? Since I have an interest in ubiquitous sensors and computation many people assumed I'd get an Apple Watch the moment it came out. Something more interesting happened and I found myself with questions about what computation on the wrist is good for and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2015 at omenti
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They appear as electric blue wisps well after sunset - far too long to be normal clouds, but there they are reflecting sunlight from about fifty miles above the Earth. I've only been lucky enough to see two noctilucent clouds in my life so far and I've been hunting since... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2015 at omenti
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A few days ago someone flashed his Apple WATCH announceing he might periodically take standing breaks at the watches' promptings. Apart from being a bit socially odd at this point the idea seems like it may be good. There is a a body of research showing that extended sedentary periods... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2015 at omenti
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What do you think of the new iPhone? A reasonable question, but I couldn't say much as I didn't have one yet. I was with a very eclectic group of people that got together a few times a year for conversation and a month had passed since the iPhone went... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2015 at omenti
the grey unknown was acceptable for so long. but as we approach, color leaks in. Science has this wonderful feature. When you use an instrument that gives a difference view, you are often rewarded with with new beauty and puzzles. The Hubble Space Telescope was one of those dramatic leaps... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2015 at omenti
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I was about eight when we acquired our first five transistors. They were in a portable AM radio that didn't need to warm up and ran on a 9 volt battery. It was something of a revelation to me. Up until that time the only portable radio we had wasn't... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2015 at omenti
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The Internet of Things Doesn't Exist - The other day I gave a conjecture talk on some possible architectures and evolutions of networking and computation to support densely deployed sensors and actuators. There are times when you resort to catchy title to attract an audience. This was successful in filling... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2015 at omenti
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In high school you probably learned about the properties of infinite series. Things like the sum of the reciprocals of the powers of 2: 1/1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + ... converges on 2, but the sum of the reciprocals of the positive integers diverges: 1/1... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2015 at omenti
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In the past week at least a dozen people have asked if I will buy an WATCH. I tell them probably not - at least not this iteration. Watching reactions is interesting so I try to remain passive and let them take the direction of any discussion that follows. The... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2015 at omenti
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The perception of the world that our brain assembles from sensory information is limited in scope and, as a certain dress demonstrated a week ago, not terribly accurate. That doesn't diminish the richness of what we do perceive. After all, we often find enormous beauty in black and white photography... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2015 at omenti
There is a considerable amount of confusion involved in the reporting of today's FCC network neutrality decision. Rather than getting into it and my bias, I suspect it might be more useful to spend a bit of time talking about what the Internet is and isn’t.1 A few weeks ago... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2015 at omenti
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During a Christmas holiday in the late 70s I lugged our group's Texas Instruments Silent 700 back to Montana to for a bit of programming. The computers for our experiment were at Brookhaven National Laboratories and Stony Brook on Long Island. Huge multimillion dollar machines that ran programs in batch... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2015 at omenti
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Get behind the wheel of a car from 1950 and you probably can figure out how to drive it. Cars are now vastly more refined, the highway system is greatly improved and cities and suburbs have been shaped by the automobile. But the basic car, at least to the driver,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2015 at omenti
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A billion? You're telling me a billion twenty five to forty years from now? A billion! you're pulling my leg, right? Rich smiled. I did the same and added 25, maybe 50 years. If I had to bet closer to 25 Two hours with the patent attorney. He didn't buy... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2015 at omenti
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With their wonderful noses, how does the world appear to a dog? Does a bat's echolocation augment their vision or does it create a separate model of their world? Does your perception of reality differ from mine? Brookhaven National Labs was a large enough reserve that it had its own... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2015 at omenti
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You may have seen this simple electric train A very simple class of electric motor that operates using one of the four fundamental forces of Nature - electromagnetism. Electricity was an area of active investigation in the early 19th century when one of the experimenters, a Dane named Hans Øersted,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2015 at omenti
My first bike arrived on my seventh birthday. It was red, a bit too large and familiar. My Dad put on new tires and a rack on a bike a neighbor had grown out of making it nearly new in my eyes. As if that mattered - it was now... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2015 at omenti