Physics Helps Stop Terrorism

The American Physical Society has a newspaper call the APS News. Each issue, there is a one page opinion piece at the end written by different authors titled “The Back Page”. It covers various items, but this last one, written by Neil Johnson titled “New Terrorism Reveals New Physics” contains a lot to think about. Continue reading “Physics Helps Stop Terrorism”

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Amazing Math

So, sometimes when I want to really scare my kids, I let them know that I was in 25th grade when I received my PhD. (Yes, I took a while for my doctorate….) But despite the fact that I’ve taken more math classes than most of humanity, there are some pretty basic proofs that I’d never seen before. And now I have, thanks to the book “The Joy of x: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity” by Steven StrogratzContinue reading “Amazing Math”

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Review: The 5 Love Languages: The Secret of Love that Lasts

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A couple days ago, Amazon launched Prime Reading. This is another perk for Prime members: we get to read books for free! My family was recently travelling to Seattle for a wedding, weather wasn’t cooperating and we had a three hour delay going north, and a three and a half hour delay heading home. So I had tons and tons of time at the airport to read, I fired up my Kindle app, and decided to check out what Prime Reading had to offer. I saw this title and thought “What the heck! It’s probably the emotional equivalent of the latest Paleo diet book, designed to make money more than inform, but I’ve got time, so why don’t I check it out?” So I downloaded it and started reading…. (By the way, I also downloaded “The Man in the High Castle” by Philip K. Dick. It’s a scifi story about what if the Axis powers had won WWII. It was made into a Amazon series that’s pretty good…. So it wasn’t just touchy-feely stuff that drew me in.) Continue reading “Review: The 5 Love Languages: The Secret of Love that Lasts”

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I can feel it coming…

When friends visit California for the first time,  they always have some preconceived notion about what it will be like: everything is like Baywatch, or we’re all running around in fear that today will be the Big One, or every street looks like 90210 or the Castro during Gay Pride Week. Whatever it is, they never know that they have no idea about the breadth and variety of what our state has to offer. They are always surprised at how wrong they were, and if they spend enough time, they learn what us long-term residents already know: California is beautiful in too many ways to count, and that the diversity defies easy categorization. After all, we created Nixon, Reagan, the Grateful Dead and the Summer of Love! Not exactly peas in a pod. Continue reading “I can feel it coming…”

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Crowdfunding, part II – What I’ve Learned

 

In my last post, I wrote about what I’d learned about fee structures as I set up a Crowdfunding campaign to help a buddy in need. In this post, I’ll share what I’ve learned now that I’ve run a full campaign. This is stuff I wish I’d known before I started. This can also be used as a How-To for those that will be setting up campaigns of their own. Let’s press on…. Continue reading “Crowdfunding, part II – What I’ve Learned”

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Crowdsource Fundraising. Fees and fees and fees!

So, a buddy of mine had a bad motorcycle accident. He was riding in Sunnyvale and a driver took him out. Two broken legs, and pins in both hips. Life is very challenging for him now. Anyway, he’s the Jack-Of-All-Trades at my kids’ schools (Portola Valley School District). As we live in a wealthy area, I thought I’d set up a crowdfunding site to help him with the financial challenges that face him. Turns out that being nice costs….. And if you’re not careful, it’s much more than you’d expect. Continue reading “Crowdsource Fundraising. Fees and fees and fees!”

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A Critique of “The Science of Interstellar” by Kip Thorne

Last year, the movie Interstellar made quite the impression. It’s a good movie, with lots to go for it. One of the scientific advisers to the film is Kip Thorne, one of the brightest minds in the theories in the realms of Extreme Physics alive today. He wrote a book called “The Science of Interstellar” to let all of us know about what it was like to be a scientist working in Hollywood, and about the effort it took to make a big-budget SciFi movie consistent with our current state of knowledge. Kip set the bar very high indeed. He insisted that everything in the movie be at least possible based on what we know, even if it was a stretch and very, very unlikely. I have to point out that this was Kip’s standard, not mine, and that by setting this standard, he planted the seeds for his own failure. That’s not to say that the book is bad, or that his efforts were wasted, but by setting the bar so high he actually made is goal impossible in today’s entertainment industry. But despite not quite getting a perfect score, he got damned close. Continue reading “A Critique of “The Science of Interstellar” by Kip Thorne”

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Low-Dose Radiation Exposure Risk, Part II

Well, it’s been a while since I wrote the long, long post on WiFi Health and Safety, and there’s more to report. First, some good news: Continue reading “Low-Dose Radiation Exposure Risk, Part II”

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Retiring Nuke means More Fossil Fuel

I was cruising around the web looking for some information on coal employment(don’t ask), and came across an interesting tidbit of news: After 41 years of operation, the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant  ceased operation and was disconnected from the grid in December of 2014. Continue reading “Retiring Nuke means More Fossil Fuel”

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