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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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Early August marks the State Fair in Great Falls, Montana. The latest farm implements, horse racing, a lame midway, deep fried everything, homemade lemonade, 4H and, of course, cow chip tossing. As a high school student I remember watching a rather large and enthusiastic teenager, perhaps inspired by the Summer... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at omenti
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I'm finally up to date with the first four episodes of Cosmos - enough that I have a sense of the show's approach. The fact that Seth MacFarlane, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ann Druyan and others were able to pull this together and to have it aired on network television is... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2014 at omenti
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I've seen two episodes of the new version of Cosmos so far. I was going to wait a bit longer before commenting, but something came up. It is remarkable to see a show on current science on an American TV network during prime time. Finding the right level for something... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2014 at omenti
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Such a remarkable day with the announcement of the detection of primordial gravity waves from the earliest moments of the Universe. The nature of the detection may open up a lot of unexpected experimental physics. The tensor fluctuations write quantum gravity on the sky - Liam McAllister earlier today I'll... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2014 at omenti
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Friday was pi day. I don't know when people started celebrating the fact that the American notion for March 14th looks something like the first three digits of the irrational number pi, but it has grown into something of an event in schools. Along with being a good excuse for... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2014 at omenti
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Many years ago I lived in Southern California. While the weather was foreign to my Montana experience, what really impressed me was the pollution - thick, stinking photochemical smog and soot. At least once a week you had to clean a brownish film from the windows and wondered what your... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2014 at omenti
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what is a ruby and why is it red? why is the friction so low on a sled? on a plot of P versus T, sketch out the phases of helium three. Janos loved simply stated questions - and took delight if he could make them rhyme. I had thirty... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2014 at omenti
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Our Winter has been impressive. The ice on the local pond is nearly strong enough to support a person. Yesterday an epic storm gave an excuse to enjoy the season. I ended up getting very wet and cold, but for whatever reason you learn to love the Winter if you... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2014 at omenti
I tend to worry about labels and definitions as it is extremely difficult to achieve depth in anything where you aren't clear on the basics. A term that has bothered me for some time is digital native. It is generally invoked to imply the generation that grew up with an... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2014 at omenti
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During the last Winter Olympiad, almost exactly four years ago, a friend was rewarded with a special bicycle. Thinking about this and watching Sage Kotsenburg take the gold in Slopestyle triggered a few thoughts. Colleen is one of those people who goes out and just does it. She was worried... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2014 at omenti
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We finally had a break in the weather and I was able to spend a lot of time in the woods yesterday. The Sun angle was noticeably higher and the snowy landscape was criss-crossed the the tracks of at least a dozen different kinds of animals. The bonus that made... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2014 at omenti
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The past half year has been a period of loss in my life. These periods happen, of course, but it has been particularly concentrated and has forced a lot of thinking. During one point last December a close friend called to see how I was doing and after listening for... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2014 at omenti
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Indulging in some fine ice cream I found myself thinking about my Grandpa Joe. Good ice cream was an art-form to him and he exposed me to good homemade examples early on. These days I rarely have it and usually make my own, but every now and again a very... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2014 at omenti
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Last night I read two papers that had been recommended earlier in the day. They couldn't have been more different. One was patently wrong and raised questions about reporting and the other left me with a variety of questions I hadn't considered keeping me up nearly 'til dawn playing. First... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2014 at omenti
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About a month ago I found myself at an airport waiting for a flight to Phoenix. My father died a few hours earlier and I was deep in thought. He loved classical music - particularly the 19th century Russians. Numbly browsing the iTunes store I found the same recording I... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2014 at omenti
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The apartment rules clearly stated "No Cats, No Dogs!" Somehow this lead to our first ferret and they've been helping with the entropy of the house since. At the time ferrets weren't common pets and veterinary experience was difficult to find. We found ourselves spending time at the Animal Medical... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2014 at omenti
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Walt Disney Enterprises was the forerunner to Walt Disney Imagineering - Disney's R&D shop that produced major innovations in cinematography, animation and even robots. As researchers they had contact with Universities and their animatronic work became known to the military. The 50s and 60s were a period when a lot... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2014 at omenti
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Gore Hill bounds Great Falls on the West and, with an elevation of about three hundred feet above the city, offers a fine view that extends to the Highwood range to the East. In the Summer it was a fine place to put the family car in neutral and see... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2014 at omenti
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Expensing snow tires on a company trip to California threw up a few flags. It seems Friedolf was trying to make it up 7,500 foot Table Mountain in California in the Winter and snows were the only option. He was a key player on the Bell Labs Telstar team responsible... Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2013 at omenti
In many areas late Fall vegetables are still good at this time of the year. I like to cook and experiment a bit along with trying to understand a bit of the chemistry that goes on in the process. There have been more than a few failures, but also a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2013 at omenti
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Curiosity about apparel and fashion have become something of a hobby and I'm putting together some thoughts for a talk to people with a lot of background knowledge. In thinking about possible trajectories, I've been spending some time looking at how we got to where we are - not only... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2013 at omenti
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Eating lunch and catching up on email, I came across a question on the significance of the recent Tesla fires. It isn't something I'm comfortable commenting on as anything I might say would be speculation as I don't know the specifics. That said a fair amount of energy is stored... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2013 at omenti
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Last night I stood in the chilly air watching the Eastern horizon waiting to watch a rocket launch from Wallops Island. The sky was mostly clear, but the moon was almost full and bright enough that I wondered if I would see very much. My mind wandered to a lunch... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2013 at omenti
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I had come on a most unusual quest. One that was both nearby and far away and happened to link my work to threads that led back six decades. Sheldon, the high priest, was used to the unusual and led led the way through the maze of crates filled with... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2013 at omenti
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Carpetland.. The other day I drove by Verizon's headquarters in Basking Ridge, NJ. Before AT&T was sold to SBC, it was the palatial AT&T headquarters complex. Several of us spent time there working with upper management in the business units as well as a few above that level. In theory... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2013 at omenti