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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 wheels appear to be coming off the Major League Baseball season. The NBA basketball may have built a tight enough bubble, but at great cost. And I'll bet a fair amount that NFL and college football will be disasters if they take place. Some sports and associated logistics may... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at omenti
The chocolate chip cookie recipe arrived at my office a few weeks after I left Orlando. I baked a batch a few days later - they were exactly like the ones I had in the board room. Incredible. And then there was the room's Coca Cola machine. Not only did... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2020 at omenti
Last week I had my first face to face group meeting since early March. Seven of us set up lawn chairs in a distanced circle on a beautiful lawn. Apart from not being able to hear each other without speaking up and needing something better to draw on, it was... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2020 at omenti
A useful discussion of how the virus gets into the body and how to block it. In this Covid-19 Medical Grand Rounds (July 16, 2020), three world experts discuss a variety of issues surrounding how the coronavirus moves from person to person, how best to block viral spread, and the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2020 at omenti
a minipost Other than the new graduate student, most of us have worked together for a few years. This morning we carried our folding chairs across the large lawn struck by the novelty of seeing each other without glass, silicon and coordinated electrical signals getting in the way. It was... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2020 at omenti
Watching the latest Physicsgirl video made me think of a couple of things, but first take a look. Combining her almost reckless enthusiasm with a serious work ethic, Dianna is my candidate for the best visual physics explainer around. It's one thing to describe something with high production videos or... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2020 at omenti
In the past few days three friends have been through a lot of stress. Times like these make me think about where I've been and the paths I've taken. I recognize too few people have had the freedom and privilege to make choices like I have. At times like these... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2020 at omenti
Over the past few weeks I've been playing around trying to repurpose old hardware. Mostly CD and DVD drives and they're chock full of useful parts - lasers, motors, lenses and so on... That and a bit of Arduino prototyping to come come up with a bag of junk that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2020 at omenti
an Omenti minipost Before diving in consider the bad guy. Viruses are really small. Viruses (thousands) are transported in droplets. Large droplets (0.3 micron to millimeter size) come from talking, singing, sneezing and so on. There are also laerosol droplets under a tenth of a micron that also are byproducts... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2020 at omenti
A few months ago I posted a piece on Usain Bolt. It's interesting to consider his physical limits. Not considering his metabolic efficiency, only about eight percent of the energy he uses goes into moving his body down the track. The the remainder is used to overcome air resistance. That's... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2020 at omenti
a mini-post you can have fun with I managed to survive a bit of remote online instruction. While it doesn't fit my teaching style, it seems clear it's going to be with us for awhile. Labs are a big issue for science and engineering courses. Watching videos and running simulations... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2020 at omenti
These days we're hearing and talking about a future that is suddenly very difficult to predict. Uncertainty is frequently invoked. I know what it's supposed to mean, but the scientific context is very different. It's one of those words - theory, hypothesis, work, energy, power, model, significant, natural, ... -... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2020 at omenti
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a mini post There are many references in the news to how good viruses tests are and what conclusions you can draw from them. Unfortunately some are wrong and I haven't seen any easy to understand explanations of how to figure these things out. It's all conditional probability. The standard... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2020 at omenti
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In the early 60s Edward Lorenz was working on one of the first computational weather prediction models. Many of the early explorers, new to computer programming, were getting bitten by limits of the machines and software. Lorenz, the story goes, was running a numerical computer model to redo a weather... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2020 at omenti
a minipost Wandering around in a field we seem to know roughly where we are and can make a plan to get from here to there. This sense of location takes place deep in the hippocampus and the neighboring entorhinal cortex (full disclosure - I couldn't remember that one and... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2020 at omenti
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minipost Waffle House is a mostly Southern restaurant chain offering your basic greasy American breakfast 24 hours a day. Over 2100 locations. Any Southern town with over about 10,000 people has one. I've visited one a few times when we were working with Disney and found at least their orange... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2020 at omenti
Jheri tagged me to a challenge making its way around: Tell me something amazing about your field in a sentence and then spend five or ten minutes on something that isn't well known. It's probably meant to be a video chat challenge, but I'll write and go with astrophysics. You... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2020 at omenti
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As an undergrad I developed a serious bicycling habit. Our club would take longish sixty to one hundred mile rides on weekends. These were tours rather than anything approaching racing so we talked along the way. One of the members was obsessed with the idea of human powered flight. His... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2020 at omenti
A departure from the norm - something worth the read and potentially useful. This is from an old Bell Labs colleague .. the story of how they helped his 89yr old stepfather in Brooklyn. This is no substitute for real medical advise, but might give a sense of reasonable supporting... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2020 at omenti
There are a number of ways to learn about systems, but you're usually stuck with observation and modeling when it comes to complex systems. Every now and again systems you're interested in get a large wack. Fires in California are an example of localized system perturbations. Reactions may or may... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2020 at omenti
Om's fine sand dune images took me back to a spring break during my undergrad days. I had heard about singing sands and managed to talk someone with a car into an expedition to the Mojave Desert. First towards Barstow and then onto a short dirt road before we got... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2020 at omenti
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Today a friend said he was having a difficult time concentrating - ".. like running in circles, but with headwinds." After hanging up I found myself thinking about running or cycling on a closed course in a wind. Just how much does a wind cost if you have an equal... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2020 at omenti
I've been on the lookout for signals in this wild storm and offer a few early comments. They aren't terribly well thought-out, so take them with a grain of salt and in the spirit of encouraging those who are more observant of change. Society didn't screech to a complete halt... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2020 at omenti
Ask a physicist, biologist or chemist what got them interested in science and chances are they'll talk about a dramatic single moment - some refer to it as a calling. I've written about mine on Sulphur Mountain in Banff. Two young physicists took the time to try and explain their... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2020 at omenti
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A magician, in the one that usually comes to mind, uses an unrevealed trick to make something unexpected happen. There's skill on the part of the magician and often a sense of how people perceive things. Not being skilled at the slight of hand, I see another kind of magic... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2020 at omenti