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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
Growing up I managed to develop a deep familiarity with Ford Falcons. My parents had three of them over the years. Cars were simple mechanical objects even a teenager could deal with. In the Winter part of my job was to get the engine running in the morning. If it... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at omenti
There are three points of view from which a writer can be considered: he may be considered as a storyteller, as a teacher, and as an enchanter. A major writer combines these three — storyteller, teacher, enchanter — but it is the enchanter in him that predominates and makes him... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at omenti
Early this morning I spent a bit over an hour heating the basement. I'm no athlete, but my morning exercise session has about an hour of rowing with the target of an average of 150 watts of power. A real athlete could do much better - 400 watts for a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2015 at omenti
Over the years I’ve come to think about products and service in terms of ‘does this improve my life?’ and ‘does this make me happier?' Reflecting on these questions has changed how I look at my relationship with services and things. More recently I’ve asked a few others to take... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2015 at omenti
1 January, 1865 At least that's my take, but as usual a story lurks. With physics many stories trace back to Isaac Newton. Newtonian physics was and is an amazing triumph. While we now have a much deeper understanding of how the Universe works, it is usually accurate enough to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2015 at omenti
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 Jul 28, 2015 at omenti
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 Jul 24, 2015 at omenti
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
[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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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