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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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Patent reading is something I avoid as recreation. They're written in a humorless formal style that's perhaps a shade more entertaining than Vogon poetry. Sometimes you have to go through them trying to sort out the claims and their feasibility. I generally translate them into images and numbers I can... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at omenti
minipost A few years ago I found myself spending far too much time on Twitter .. generally an hour to an hour and a half a day. Time I didn't have. For a month I went cold turkey, but was frustrated as there were a few people I only interacted... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2022 at omenti
My Dad was a Ford man. More specifically the Ford Falcon. It was a simple compact car with a 170 cubic inch displacement straight six coupled to a three speed manual transmission. It scored on the high end of the Mobil fuel economy test - about 19 miles per gallon... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2022 at omenti
He would see something familiar in a cloud, the habit of a tree, or a splatter of mud and use it as inspiration for one of his stories. Lloyd loved stories. Growing up, his would make up new stories to tell each other twice a month and, as an adult,... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2022 at omenti
Moonrise Kingdom by the wonderfully clever Wes Anderson is up there in my top ten list of films. Anderson's films have strong visual and musical themes in addition to the storytelling. A major theme by Alexandre Desplat repeats a few times. Near the end of the film, in a homage... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2022 at omenti
A few of you are interested in computer-enhanced imaging. The most exotic work often takes place in fundamental science where specialized instruments and techniques have to be built because nothing exists. I'd argue that particle physics and gravity wave telescope are part of computational photography, but some people demand something... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2022 at omenti
a minipost I was listening to a panel discussion of elite sports psychologists, sports scientists, and a sports anthropologist when a question was posed: Could a Ted Lasso exist? If you haven't seen the show, Lasso is an American college football coach who is suddenly hired to coach an English... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2022 at omenti
Drop two pieces of bread into the toaster and push the lever down. You go about your business getting the rest of breakfast ready and then, after a few minutes, two pieces of toast pop up. Have you ever thought about what's going on? We usually think about the toaster... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2022 at omenti
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There's a nice vantage point in Point Loma in San Diego with a monument to Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. In 1542 he made the first contact with the indigenous people of the area. Not much happened, but sailing Northwards a few days later he noted smoke hanging over what is now... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2022 at omenti
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My father never had the thermostat above 60°F and 55° was a more common setting,. At night it would be dropped to 50°. The house was well insulated and the furnace didn't come on that often if it was above freezing. During colder weather we spent most of our time... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2022 at omenti
There have been predictions of a hydrogen economy for decades. At first glance it seems like the ideal fuel. Its specific energy - how much energy you get from a kilogram - is three times higher than gasoline. And the byproducts of combustion with oxygen are heat and water. So... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2022 at omenti
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Surrounded by dramatic peaks on a narrow road etched into the side of the mountains you drop into forested area that continues into a string of foothills. It's clear and you wish you were on your bike this time around. The trees thin out and suddenly it's upon you. You're... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2022 at omenti
Then again it could be another false alarm. Sometime about the W boson being too heavy. I'll try and give a bit of background. The best model of the universe - everything but gravity - is called the Standard Model. It unifies electro-magnetism, the weak force and the strong force... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2022 at omenti
Yesterday Om pointed out that it was piano day - the 88th day of the year honoring the 88 keys of most pianos. I read his post a day late, but there's still hope for another celebration with the same name. An obvious choice might involve the Bösendorfer grand where... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2022 at omenti
a mini-post First a caveat - I have almost no background in the social sciences. This week a few people have written about information overload. It’s certainly been with us since the beginning of the 16th century in the Western world and one can make arguments that extend further back.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2022 at omenti
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I was asked why I didn't do a Pi day post. Sadly I didn't have any pie to celebrate, but I'll try and make up for it a bit late. π is a wonderful number. Deeply related to so much as well as being irrational and transcendental. But it turns... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2022 at omenti
minipost The Earth and Moon are gravitationally locked with the Moon rotating around its axis in the same time it takes to travel around the Earth. The result is we only see one side of the Moon .. Well... sort of.. The Moon doesn't orbit the Earth. Instead both Earth... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2022 at omenti
Watching Apple's Mac Studio announcement yesterday took my mind to something Carl Sagan said in the Cosmos series. The Mac Studio's underlying technology goes far beyond the many tens of thousands of person-hours Apple has invested. The semiconductor industry that stands on the shoulders of Bell Laboratories back to the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2022 at omenti
Talks and discussions on the impact of nuclear war - even small exchanges. It's an important, but potentially triggering, subject. If the current situation in Ukraine is keeping you up, please skip this one for awhile. The first two videos are short TED talks from the last decade. The last... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2022 at omenti
a quick minipost Or after THE fall.. The Olympics can brings years of effort into very sharp focus for some of the best athletes in the world. A decade or more of hard work and sacrifice can fall one way or another in under a second. By any rational measure... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2022 at omenti
Two days ago I was on a call with one of you. Somehow "how big is the Universe?" came up. I spent ten or fifteen minutes talking about it at a very high level. Here's roughly what I think I said. A few of you worry about this and I'd... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2022 at omenti
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You've probably heard that an old Space X rocket will crash into the Moon on the forth of March. It's very likely and a good excuse to look at a few other things. The object in question is the second stage of a Falcon 9 that was used to take... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2022 at omenti
a minipost With Beijing approaching I started into a piece on skiing, but the number of drawing needed to illustrate carved turns, sidecut radius, reverse camber, self-turning, plowing and so on was daunting. Looking around I found a good, not very technical, discussion of downhill skiing. The discussion falls apart... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2022 at omenti
Augmented reality has been with us for a long time. Glasses and contact lenses turn the eye into a two element lens to correct issues with our eye's lens. We use sunglasses to change the intensity and/or polarization of incoming light. Some of these are responsive to changes in the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2022 at omenti
It's almost Perihelion Day! I may wish people Happy New Year, but the beginning of a calendar year is artificial, so I celebrate a specific point in our orbit every year. The orbit of the Earth is elliptical. Not terribly so, but enough we're about 5.1 million kilometers closer to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2022 at omenti