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RECOMMENDED CDROM: "The Amateur Scientist," from Scientific American magazine. All 810 columns by C.L.Stong, Jearle Walker, Shawn Carlson. ~1000 amateur projects, pp2100. $28



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Adding lots of Google Translate tools throughout the website, next to each Google Search tool. Like this:
 
05/31/2014   PIKA-SHOES is back! Yes, Electronics Goldmine stopped selling those useful little -8KV power supplies back in 2003 or so. And even the 120VAC types vanished from All Electronics. But suddenly some Chinese company has them again, and they're all over eBay for about $5 each!  

05/09/2014   ART BELL SHOW! Sunday 5/11/2014, I'll be on there doing the SLI streetlights and Electric Human phenomenon, Coast to Coast AM with Richard Syrett 10PM PST  

  

THE GREAT MENTOS ERROR

Everyone is convinced that the 'explosions' of cola and Mentos(tm) are caused by chemicals and solid nucleation sites. Wrong. It's acutally microbubbles. Mentos' outer layer is an air/sugar foam, not a white pigment. The dissolving Mentos-ees will release billions of microbubbles to seed the carbonation froth. But how to prove this? After all, a liquid with a cloud of invisible bubbles is not so different than a liquid full of invisible "nucleation" molecules. (And Mythbusters says it's chemical-based. We know that Mythbusters is always right.) <grin> BRAINSTORM!!!! Water with a bubble-cloud is compressible, and the acoustic velocity falls lower when compared to water without a bubble-plume. So, just do the "hot chocolate effect" acoustic demo, but rather than dumping powder into hot water, instead dump Mentos(tm) into cold. Also, the pitch of the clinking sound should progressively descend slowly as the Mentos release increasing numbers of microbubbles. (Other tests: with Mentos in water, suddenly lower the pressure by 50%, and the invisibly small bubbles suddenly grow large enough to easily be seen as a white plume. Break the vacuum seal on your pressure chamber and the white plume winks out. Or, dump some Mentos into water with a bit of dish detergent. Later a white froth of un-popped microbubbles is found on the surface. Or, wet some mentos and let it drip into cola to see violent fizzing, but instead if save up some mentos-drippings and we wait an hour to let any microbubbles in the mentoswater dissolve (or rise and burst,) then that same mentoswater becomes inert. It no longer provokes fizzing of cola. Or, with submerged Mentos, pass extremely bright light beam through the water adjacent to Mentos to search for microscopic bubbles. (Video projector lamp? Ten watt laser pointer?) With enough light, scattering should make the released plume of invisible microbubbles become visible.)
 

11/30/2013   My recipe for mideastern party dip, Baba Ganouj, 2005.
Restaurant style, not the stuff resembling peanut butter you find in stores. You're supposed to
broil the eggplant like Gyros: cook it on a stick over a fire, while carving off the charred layers as
it goes. My version comes close: carbon-y goodness. And if you make it from scratch, you can
also do some Garlic Overkill, and destroy any vampires downwind!
 

   Wow, apparently I own two US dollars worth of Bitcoin


11/23/2013   Nearly finished that old WHAT IS COHERENT LIGHT? article. I'd never really understood lasers, despite optics courses and later realizing the classic misconceptions that plague this whole topic. No, photons don't look like a little sine-wave drawn by a wiggling pencil.  

  

LUNAR SUBSUN?

I've occasionally heard reports of two moons seen in the sky. Quite a few reports, but no photos. Yet this effect might not be totally impossible. For example, during a plane trip over desert, if there is a layer of cirrostratus or cirrus below you, and if the sun is near the horizon, sometimes you see a second sun below the first. It looks just like a reflection on water, as if there is a big lake hidden below the clouds. But under the clouds is desert and mountains. The "water" is actually a layer of suspended ice crystals, all of them hovering horizontally like tiny dinnerplates. Together they form a crude mirror. So, what if you were BELOW this mirror? If the moon was out at night, and if it was very low in the sky, then maybe you'd see a "subsun" moon reflection. But it would be upside-down from a normal subsun. The real moon would have a false moon hanging in the sky diretly above it. (But if the second moon was to the side, or if the two moons were high in the sky, then the phenomenon is still unexplained.)
 

10/10/2013   For the last couple of years I've been hanging out on reddit.  

8/12/2013   I made it to NPR! Go listen+add comments to "An Engineer Beats the Physics of Traffic," http://goo.gl/9oXl0C (the NPR page for my brief interview on Weekend Edition) Added lots more finds to Full length SF movies from Youtube. Piles of stuff there to watch. Also lots of anime and indie animations, and always more odd physics on Physvids archive  

7/5/2013   Added lots more finds to Full length SF movies from Youtube. Piles of stuff there to watch. Also lots of anime and indie animations, and always more odd physics on Physvids archive  

6/4/2013   Added a Business Cards page, typed in a very old sheet of ideas for science teacher's givaway cards.  

5/23/2013   Added a Tesla FAQ, discussion of Nikola T. trivia, some insights and little-known weird facts.  

9/24/2012   Just a few days left in the Let's Build A Goddamn Tesla Museum funding drive. Help get the word out. The perk at the $200 donor level is a micro tesla coil!  

   Recurring (recursiving!) late night self-referential philosophical musings: anyone who has been caught using the fallacy of Poisoning the Well is no longer trustworthy, all their further arguments are suspect, and anything they say is merely a dishonest attempt to delude us! :)  

8/21/2012   Added What Is A Tesla Coil?  

8/7/2012   Famous once again. Randall linked to my Cavitation Bottle Smash video from his XKCD WHAT IF: Glass Half Empty. 75K extra views, lots of comments.  

06/27/2012   Updated the UNUSUAL PHENOMENA REPORTS section, hundreds of new stories, vanishing toilet paper, people teleporting out of lethal accidents, many electric humans and Ball Lightnings. Even some twice-arriving dopplegangers  

  

Pressure of unopened cola

A coke bottle. When you shake it, does the pressure rise? Well, there's an easy way to detect pressure changes. Hold a plastic bottle by the cap, then whack it by whipping your knuckles across the side in a glancing blow. It rings like a bell. The pitch is determined by fluid mass and tautness of the plastic: by gas pressure. If the pressure rises, the pitch will rise. I go and get a sealed warm soda. Whack it a few times to remember the pitch of the bell-tone. Now shake it a bit, let the bubbles clear, then whack it again. The tone doesn't change. Shaking it didn't alter the pressure. Next, if I put it in the fridge for 15min, then whack/shake/whack, I hear the pitch go down. Shaking it DECREASED the pressure. As expected! After all, opening a warm soda releases a big burst of pressure, but not with cold soda ...so a soda bottle cooling in the fridge is in the process of dissolving its high-pressure CO2 pocket. Shaking it up will provide a large surface area, so the gas can suddenly go into solution. Pressure falls, bell-tone goes lower. (And if you test an hour-chilled bottle that's been warming on the counter for a few minutes, you should find the opposite result.)
 

  

Plasma w/injected carbon

When the multiple Tesla coils were set up at Hackerbot, I brought my argon tank and filled roundbottom flasks. Placed on a topload, arcs went capacitively through the flask and through the argon. Amazingly we got some ball-lightning effects as arcs passed through the "stopper" made of paper towel in the neck of the flask, extended out into the air, and set the paper on fire. Plasma w/carbon doping, doncha know. The streamers in the air had all sorts of glowing beads moving along them (a bit hard to see in this photo.) Aha, here's some video showing the mixture of flames and plasma streamers. Argon flasks are a convenient way to position some stable fire+carbon in the center of a tesla coil streamer.

PS, OT, if I use yellow-green fluorescent highlighter to draw some anatomically correct bones on my hand, they're almost invisible in normal lightning. Then a high-power ultraviolet LED flashlight freaks people out even under bright room lighting. (safety note: a small percentage of people are allergic to fluorescein dye in these markers, so test first before you cover your entire body with fluorescent ink!)

 

09/01/2007   Old news, me at Burning Man '07, where I sat daily in Center House trying to put tiny flakes of TERRIFYING LETHALLY DANGEROUS DRY ICE in drinks of passersby. Also handling it wo/gloves while chewing up chunks and spewing CO2 plumes out my nostrils. (Sideshow fire-eaters think I'm insane.) A couple of photos.  

  

TURN AIRPLANE VIDEOS INTO 3D HYPERSTEREO: II

While flying down to a conference I was wondering if cosmic ray bombardment of brain tissue will again stimulate hypercreativity like it has in the past. Nope. Nope, no weird ideas spontaneously appearing. As soon as I thought this, immediately a simple and astounding idea flashed into my head. You know hyperstereo trick mentioned below? A stereo screen playing two delayed versions of footage shot from a moving vehicle? Well, why not just open two browser windows and play the same video of slowly crawling landscape, but play/pause them to give just the right delay. Then view them with crossed eyes for 3D. DOH!!!! Try it right now, NO CUSTOM SOFTWARE NEEDED! I'd been looking right at this idea for months, but the simple trick didn't occur to me until my head was being penetrated by naturally-occurring ionizing radiation. Pretty cool, eh?

PS
I wonder how many of us invented "Portal" back when we were kids? I doubt I'm the only one. Imagining bracelets where you stick your hand in, and your hand comes out through a different bracelet? Put a pair around your neck, then take your head off and place it on the table. Two big ones on the floor would create a "zero-G bed," and one on the ceiling would make an infinte hole. Would you die of thirst while falling, or would you tend to wander to the side and get beat to death by hitting the edges? Throw a small one in mile-deep ocean, use the other as an energy source, or a weapon, ...or a reaction engine to propel a bunch of similar bracelets to the moon. Make a vacuum chamber with really clean 'high orbit vacuum.' Don't drop one in the sun, or soon the sun will be half its size, with a second sun orbiting 93M miles away.

 

10/10/2011   MOTOR CHALLENGE: making fake O/U motors
All these "Mylow Motor"-style hoax videos. But never an interesting fake. It's always just a blurred thread, or an air jet with the sound turned off. Last year on SED I was thinking about this and wondered, could I build a magnet-powered spinner? Or perhaps a magnet-pendulum? A real one, where the magnets got weaker, but the "motor" ran for a couple of minutes? I don't think anyone has tried doing this. Two possible methods come to mind:

Method 1:

  1. Let two or more magnets N and S poles attract towards each other.
  2. While the gap between is smallest, slightly demagnetize one or both poles.
  3. Let them coast apart by inertia, then repeat.
Method 2:
  1. Let the alike-poles of two or more magnets push progressively apart.
  2. While the gap is largest, slightly demagnetize one or both poles.
  3. Let them coast together by inertia, then repeat.
Set up a rotating carrier to repeat the process. Probably repulsion version #2 is easier because of the larger gap.

In other words, weaken the magnets at the bottom of the PE energy hill. Such a wheel should spin faster and faster. On each cycle, the magnets interact first to give the wheel a strong kick. But during the trip back out, the magnet force is weaker, so the opposite kick doesn't cancel out and stop the wheel. The wheel spins against friction. Magnets are the fuel! :) Of course they can only supply a few joules total before the "fuel" is gone and the wheel grinds to a halt.

But it takes energy to scramble the ferro domains and demagnitize. Any sort of demagnetizer will, yes, extract energy, but it also acts as a brake. So, the real question is, can the energy extracted during demagnetization of a large magnet be used both to drive the wheel against friction, and also to operate the demagnetizer mechanism? Perhaps we'd demagnetize a very very thin stripe on a large magnet face; and move to a different stripe every cycle. Or better, demagnetize a tiny round spot, with the demagnetizer being moved randomly each time until eventually it has hit every possible spot.

 

11/08/2011   Got picked up by Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy, then by APOD Astronomy Picture of the Day on my idea that Leaping Sundogs might be caused by thunderstorm electrostatics.  

  

TURN AIRPLANE VIDEOS INTO 3D HYPERSTEREO

People on Make blog talking about XKCD hyperstereo video system. Hmmmm... just do it with software. I shoot L-R stereo pairs out the plane windows during trips, and I've wished for a piece of sw to convert my videos of slowly-passing landscape into realtime 3D. Think: if your cross-country plane trip is at 500MPH, that's 730fps, so if you play two copies of your video with a 1-sec delay, that creates a hyperstereo pair where your eyeballs are 730ft apart. Basically YOUR HEAD IS 1000 FEET WIDE. No problems with camera alignment, just hold the camera still while shooting. Position the two video playback frames adjacent on your monitor. If the footage was shot from the other side of the plane, then view it in crosseye instead of straight. Or do a red/blue anaglyph process, then prevent inside-out images by having a checkbox for L-R swap. Add a slidepot to move fast-forward or reverse in the video. That slides your giant head from side to side over the tiny landscape. Add another slidepot to vary the time delay between the two images (to vary the size of your Big Giant Head.)
 

07/04/2011   Got picked up by FORGETOMORI.COM on my idea that Leaping Sundogs might be caused by thunderstorm electrostatics. Certain types of UFOs are explained. Foster & Hallett found that suspended ice micro crystals respond to .5V/mm electrostatic fields, and become totally aligned at only 10V/cm field strength. Ice crystals coming near a 9V battery cannot help but line up like iron filings! Also picked up by The Anomalist  

06/25/2011   Updated UNUSUAL PHENOMENA REPORTS. Lots of vanishing objects, Ball Lightning, hypnagogic paralysis, and funny weather. And the usual huge population of "Electric People."  

06/09/2011   Video: Turn DigiKey catalogs into mushrooms!           more vids      future vids
(A proposal only, not a complete project.) As the project becomes more real, I'll put the instructions on this mushroom webpage.

 

03/18/2011   A new section here: Indie Animation Archive. As with physvids, basically I imported my YT playlist into html.  

02/20/2011   Usta be you'd get slashdotted or MeFi'd. Nowdays you get Cracked.comded! Trafficwaves vid just saw 145K hits in a couple of days because of one extremely brief mention buried on the second page of this one on Cracked below. It also spread to reddit, i-am-bored, facebook. Wow, what would that have traffic number been if it was an obvious link at the top of the Cracked article? Cockbite!
    6 things that daily annoy you explained by science (p2)
 

01/25/2011   Another video collection: Flir thermal IR cameras In particular see the "GasFindIR" stuff about halfway down the page. These cameras see gasoline as black ink with smoke pouring off! Finally, a thermal camera which actually detects ...human methane.  

   CNN: Online Science Competition! Google announces Global Science Fair. Grand prize is a $50,000 scholarship, 10 days in Galapagos with NatGeo, several others. You do need to be a fulltime student 13y to 18y.  

12/15/2010   The coilgen science project now has a FAQ: building hamster generators, wind power, or just vastly increasing the feeble half-volt AC output.  

   Braaaaaaaaainstorm: ant-trail engineering.
I once interfered with an ant trail by placing a couple feet of masking tape right along the trail location (after blowing the ants off to the side.) Hours later the trail had reconnected, and ants were flowing along the tape strip. DOH! That's a portable ant trail! What would have happened if I thought to peel it off and put it back reversed? The "direction to food" and "direction home" scent codes would be all screwy. Or I could form a square of the tape, pour some captured ants onto it, and they'd rush in circles as they look for food that's always just ahead. Make more of the "trail tape" and write my name in ant patterns.
 

11/16/2010   Added lots more to Odd Physics videos, including successful replication of anti-chirp time reversed water fountain.  

  

CRAZY EYES

Scott Adams is talking about "crazy eyes" over on Dilbert blog. I've done that! Often when I'm working for long periods under polyphasic sleep schedule, and getting into that hypomanic idea-spewing region, I'll scare myself by looking in the mirror: my eyes are WIDE. Eyelids not touching iris, I can see the scelera above and below. Crap, is that how everyone sees me?! Yep. But my eyes feel normal at the time, if a bit cold. Crazy Eyes is automatic. wtf.

If I next watch the mirror and squint my eyes on purpose; forcing them to look like a normal person's eyes, then they feel warm and half-closed as if I'm sleepy. But in the mirror, the crazy eyes are now gone. HEY that's it! While I'm in high creativity "flow mode," I'm really really awake, and my perceptual world is embedded in my entire peripheral visual field, and not just staring narrowly with central vision. Perhaps it's akin to looking frightened. Fear does the same. (In order to detect approaching dangers, fear makes us pull our eyelids back so they don't block peripheral vision as much.) When terrifed you don't necessarily roll your eyes, but when your eyelids are that wide open, any glancing to the side will expose the whites of your eyes. VERY noticeable to onlookers. (So when I then go out in public, I have to make sure to intentionally squint and pretend to look sleepy!)

Also, I've noticed that if I can manage to adopt "crazy eyes" for a considerable period, sometimes it kicks in and pushes me into the high-creativity mental state. This seems to be akin to the "frowning makes you angry" phenomenon. Even better than simply widening your eyes, is to walk outdoors with fixed gaze at the horizon, while "staring" at objects all throughout your peripheral vision. You put yourself into the Omnimax Steady-cam visual world. Then you don't have to attempt to think outside the box, since you *are* outside the box. So just start jabbering ideas into your mp3 recorder while walking down the sidewalk ...and watch all the oncoming pedestrians crossing the street to avoid you. crazy eyes!

Sheer speculation: ancient tribes might survive better if their members had evolved to display certain unconscious instinctual facial expressions.

For example, the look of feverish sickness says "stay away, infection danger." If instead all the sick tribal members looked perfectly normal, your whole tribe might get infected. They couldn't avoid the sick one. So also the wide-eyed crazed/fearful expression warns your community to all back off and avoid any unexpected behavior from Crazy Eyes person. The automatic facial sign would evolve, but also our visual sensitivity to those signs would increase. Rolling eye-whites look "scary," but at the same time, the genuine scary people become instinctually programmed to automatically display the wide-eyes look.

Imagine what might happen if ancient heavily-armed and mentally unstable humans didn't display any outward sign that they'd consumed large quantities of alkaloid plants or mushrooms or alcohol? ...or they'd just gone without any sleep for two weeks?! Could be bad. When I've put myself into an extreme creative state, I'll notice that my eyes feel cold. Wide open lids are exposing more eye surface. Nowdays I always notice this, and I think to myself "Yep, automatic tribe member craziness-warning system been activated again."

Polyphasic Sleep: it's the Ayahuasca version of "getting demented from staying up all night working." Known users: Edison, Picasso, Tesla.

 

10/29/2010   Added months of messages to the Main Guestbook  

  

I WATCH YOU LOOKING

Early last century William James noted that whenever two people meet, there are really six people present.

There is each as he sees himself, each as the other person sees him, and each as he really is. Times two.

James stopped too early though! :) There is also the false facade-self we each try to present to the other person (rather than the ones we really are, or the ones we believe we are.) So eight people total. RD Laing then discovered: since there is the version of you that the other person sees when they look at you, therefore if you can predict accurately how their perceptions of you differ from your desired facade, this knowledge lets you take appropriate small actions to tweak their viewpoint into perceiving the facade-self you wish to project. The actual facade is an imperfect version of the desired facade. So... ten people!

Then we have the RD Laing spiral: you imagine that the other person is noticing you perceive a warped version of themselves, but the other person is smart enough to realize that you're trying to predict what you're seeing them see you see, so next they try to predict what you think they think you think they think you think that they're seeing. That way they can use this prediction and try to fool you into thinking that you've successfully fooled them into seeing you in the way that you wish, when in reality the fooler is being led on a merry chase by a devious opponent who correctly guessed their thinking. But also you suspect that this is happening! So you let them go on thinking that they've fooled you into imagining that you've fooled them.

HUH?!

In other words ...once the human brain has evolved mirror-neurons, you can point them at each other to form an infinite tunnel of repeated reflections.

 

8/25/2010   Just received my DIY electroluminescent lamp kit with conductive ITO glass and various Dupont EL inks. Now we'll see if Zinc Sulfide glow-paint works better than Zinc Sulfide t-shirt ink. And also make some EL wire  

8/24/2010   Added lots more to Odd Physics videos Someone successfully fired a propane smoke ring at a distant flame! Also: DON'T SWALLOW (drinking liquid nitrogen.)  

08/24/2010   On frequent questions in the "traffic waves" sections, I added:  

07/22/2010   Does 'Amateur Science' pay? Well, I just checked, and see that I've made $110,000 from the website since 2004. Not enough to "quit your day job," but it pays for kids education and takes a big bite out of the rent.  
  

INVISIBILITY CLOAK
When negative-index materials first were announced, I realized that I could make a cool optics exhibit for a science museum ...without using any (non-existent) negative-refraction materials. The key idea is to embed a low-refraction material within a sea of high-refraction material. Don't use exotic photonic crystals ...instead just do it under water, using bubbles. Or use water blobs placed witin heavy syrup, or in jello. A blob of water in some thick gelatine will have a lower I.R. than its surroundings. So try this:

Coat a small model of "stealth" aircraft with a layer of weak gelatine. Immerse it in a small tank of very dense gelatine, and allow it to harden. Now when viewed against a white background the aircraft should appear much smaller than it really is. That's the "cloaking" effect: where the axial rays still strike the hidden object, but off-axis rays are bent away, causing the object to optically shrink in size. If the effect is strong enough, a fairly huge object can appear as a tiny dust speck.
 

01/08/2010   BLOG: I'm moving this page to Wordpress. By hand. Gah. But finally people can post comments, subscribe to feed, etc.  

12/12/2009   VIDEOS: Odd Physics, a large collection of vid embeds. Very cool and strange stuff I found on youtube over the years.  

11/12/2009   Yes, our hosting ISP eskimo.com just had major troubles. amasci.com was down for more than 24 hours.  
  

RUSSIAN WOODPECKER
I always wondered what the transmitter antenna looked like for OTH megawatt broadband shortwave radar. It's HAARP, but built on a gigantic vertical wall! See photos of the defunct rusting 'Steelyard' Duga3 transmitter in Russia

 

11/07/2009   LIGHTNING AFFECTS SUNDOGS

Years ago I was explaining rainbow optics ...and also explaining thunderstorm dynamics. I stumbled across a strange idea: shouldn't the electrostatic fields in thunderstorms have a visible effect on rainbows? E-fields should slightly distort falling raindrops, causing the light distribution of a rainbow to change slightly. We should notice that a rainbow suddenly "flicks" during a lightning bolt, then slowly changes to its initial pattern as the e-fields build before another strike.

I just heard from LH and JB on youtube about three videos apparently showing this in action! But it's not rainbows. Instead it's suspended ice crystals or mist droplets condensing just above a rising thunderhead, brightly back-lit by the sun. Take a look:

Rather than distortions of droplets, perhaps these are " sundogs" or parhelia light patterns caused by aligned ice crystals. A changing e-field could rotate all the ice plates or columns, causing the sundog to suddenly change shape and position. Or less likely, perhaps some condensing droplets are changing size under e-field influence (condensation rate of small droplets is known to be altered by strong electrostatic fields.)

I just heard that relatively tiny e-field of 10V/mm will totally align suspended ice crystals. Storm fields are far stronger, so "leaping sundogs" should be quite common. See foster/hallett paper via Google Scholar search.

 

11/02/2009   Brainstorm! The year 2012 ...it's the Mayan Y2K disaster!
We think it's something special when our car odometer goes from 99,999 to 100,000. But the Mayans weren't using base ten. "Just one 30-ton calender stone should be all anyone ever needs?" Yeah, right. They forgot that we gotta carve a new one every 5125 years. And all of the small local governments need copies of heiroglyphic codex notices and string-knot memos to make it official. What a pain. Worst case, the whole civilization comes to a stop because nobody can figure out how to write dates on new legal documents! Better buy a lot of beef jerky and obsidian, then move way up into the hills until the disaster is over.

 

09/01/2009   TESLA'S RAY
You've heard of Nikola Tesla's "Death Ray?" Well actually that was one of his later, more unimportant inventions. There was another very different Ray which came first. It was birthed before 1892, and it formed the basis of many of his fantastic claims. It was an invention on par with the transistor, or the laser, but Tesla decided that it might destroy society, like giving knives to infants. The secret is now mostly lost, but fortunately he left many clues behind. Look at the art accompanying his 1899-era articles. Those may not be searchlights.

 

12/03/2008   Video: Evil Santa's Workshop '08           more vids      future vids

Dorkbot's mutant toys workshop, making give-aways for Santarchy's Santacon 2009. Barbies need octopus heads.

 

08/06/2008   Video: Dry ice music           more vids      future vids

Dry ice CO2 gas pushes it instantly away from warm metal. Place it against a metal plate, and it howls. But the metal cools down and it stops. Here's a mechanical solution.

 
  

I KICK MYSELF!!! You know the physics-demo where you cause a thin mylar ring to fly by electrostatic repulsion? Rub a balloon on your head, then the mylar strip hovers high in the air? Well someone figured it out: build a wand-shaped VandeGraaff generator. Probably the charged rubber band is enough. I was looking right at it, but didn't see it. That thing's now toy of the year, sold at Educational Innovations, Thinkgeek and elsewhere. Arrrrg.

 

09/06/2008   TESLA-EXPERIMENTAL
I was tired of seeing interesting Tesla science topics be thrown off the coilers' forums. I've finally got ambitious and started a new email forum: tesla-experimental
EXAMPLE:
How did Wardenclyffe broadcast a 100Hz Schumann frequency using a tens-KHz resonant transmitter? A 100Hz resonant coil would be far,far larger than the Wardenclyffe tower. Brainstorm: use a Tesla Coil as if the entire device were a HVDC power supply! "Discharge" your TC through a spark-gap to excite an external low-freq tank circuit.
IT WORKS! I used a spark gap to step an 800KHz coil down by 20x to give 40KHz output. The output is a slow spike of alternating polarity which produces a square-wave output, while the output resonator changes the spike into a sine wave. The two coils locked together coherently; a Victorian Phase-Locked-Loop. So if the Earth is our output resonator, and we place a spark-gap in series with the output of the huge Extra coil, we've created a 100Hz square wave transmitter which automatically locks on to a Schumann absorption line. Or change the spark gap's width to select most any other Schumann line.

 

09/04/2008   ZINC NEGATIVE-RESISTANCE OSCILLATORS
I haven't heard of others succeeding with Nyle Steiner's discovery of home-built semiconductor devices. I tried it myself last year and it worked the first time. Maybe I was lucky to grab the right parts? Also, I inspected the V/I graph using a curve-tracer, so I could see which resistor values might work. For my version I hooked these parts in series:

  1. 9V battery
  2. Resistor, try 680ohm to 2K
  3. 25mH toroid coil, 5 ohms
  4. 0.1uF capacitor
  5. cheap stereo headphone (one side)
The LC resonance is around 2KHz. I hooked the "burned zinc" device between the 680ohm resistor and the far end of the loudspeaker. When I probed it with a wire, I heard "tinks" at 2KHz as expected (shorting the current-limited supply causes the LC to briefly ring.) But when I poked certain spots in the burned crust, VERY LOUD oscillation. Too loud for headphones. Very cool: a sinewave generator with no transistors. I'll take it to the Weird Science Salon tomorrow night.

 

09/04/2008   SECRET OF WARDENCLYFFE?

No one seems to know just how N. Tesla was going to use his high freq Magnifying Transmitter to broadcast at VLF/ELF frequencies. 100KHz or 50KHz won't excite any Schumann global resonances. But if we can manage to see through Tesla's eyes, the answer is fairly obvious.


 
  



It's my daughter Lillian's birthday. Hey, take a look at a "dress up" she made, also lots more of her stuff on Deviantart. Pretty good for a high school kid! (Heh, she'll probably make me delete this.)


 
  

ANOTHER "LIFTER" EQUATION

I realized I could calculate the maximum thrust for an electrostatic Lifter. I just assume that the ion receiver is flat, and it's getting a maximum e-field of 30KV/cm. Also, the energy stored in a capacitor at a certain voltage is the same as the work done in pulling the plates apart. So, the max lifting force in LBS is:
 Newtons/M^2 = 0.5 * (3e6)^2 * 8.9e-12
             = 40.1 Nt/M^2
             = 10-3/4 lbs per square yard
So it looks like the Electrostatic Lifters are less like helicopters and more like helium balloons... except their thrust is proportional to area, not volume. Very bad. For example, a 10ft flying disk could *ideally* produce 65lbs max lift. If we want to build a Hugo Gernsback flying futuristic city in the sky, it would be better off with giant propellors or hydrogen chambers.
 

08/03/2008   Video: Make your own liquid nitrogen           more vids      future vids

Dry ice and 99% rubbing alcohol form "poor man's liquid nitrogen," a cryo-liquid which instantly freezes flowers. Perform many LN2 demonstrations: quick-freeze fruit, rubber balls, etc.

 
  

I wonder if Quantum Mechanics stops existing if nobody is watching?

 


07/28/2008   Video: Traffic Jam           more vids      future vids

It's fairly easy to erase part of the left-lane traffic jam on I-5 just south of Seattle. Sometimes a single driver can wipe out the whole thing.

 
  

YOUR PLACE IN LINE IS MEANINGLESS
In the above video, the jam forms when people in the left lane pack together and try to block all merging drivers. Next, cars coming in from I-90 then force their way in at the downstream exit ramp, which halts the flow. Who's at fault? The close-packed drivers in the left lane are probably trying to "block cheaters." The I-90 cars are not cheating; they had no chance to get into the clogged lane, so they probably feel justified in bulling their way in. But if just one driver lets in five or ten cars, often the whole jam unplugs and flows freely. Whenever early merging is possible, then nobody forces their way in and halts the flow, so the jam evaporates. And whenever the jam is gone, then early merging becomes easy, so traffic keeps flowing. [Note: dense traffic moves at about one car per second, so if you let ten cars in ahead of you, your commute will become TEN SECONDS LONGER, OH THE HUMANITY! To shorten your commute by only a few percent, you'd have to pass at least fifty other cars. Highway traffic is not like a line at the cash register where every single person ahead of you represents many minutes of delay. Yet most drivers won't even let a single car in ahead of them, and they get angry if someone else does it.]

 

07/14/2008   Video: Abrasion holograms           more vids      future vids

I've made a few more videos: scratch holograms, magnet beads, Asian seed drink wind tunnel, soda/ultrasound fountain.

 

  

INTERNET SCIENCE MEMES: HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?
In 1993 early internet days I decided to become "Johnny Apple-meme" and try to trigger some infectious ideas. Some were my own invention, while others were just cool things I'd found in obscure articles. Let's see how they're doing:

  • Forming some new science nerds 1993
    Since the Scientific American ended "The Amateur Scientist" column, and Popular Electronics magazine died off again, the kids of the 1990s have no chances to encounter any wicked-cool DIY science hacks. Our whole culture is going to be taken over again by sports and TV shows. What can be done? (Actually I just want to turn lots of kids into loner weirdo physics nerds.) Hey, this "internet" thing might be big. Since I'm here early before everyone else discovers it, and since the entire www is boring and empty, I can post articles on the best science projects I've encountered. My site will end up as some of the only interesting "content" on the entire internet. Porn isn't available yet, so they'll have to come to me for twisted online entertainment! With luck, maybe HUNDREDS of kids will find these physics DIY projects and become infected with science geekery. Neo magnets! Leaf blower hovercraft! Electrostatic pop bottle motor! Scratch holograms! Maybe more than just hundreds.
  • Scientists don't use "The Scientific Method." 1999
    Because of my textbook consulting work, I'm very familar with the bogus "Scientifc Method" being promoted by those publishers. That stuff about hypothesis-experiment-conclusion? It doesn't exist. Real scientists don't work that way. There's lots of articles about this, but nobody gathers them together in one place online. They're too dilute, and have no impact. If I add a small "scientific method" section, maybe I can light a few fires and get some changes happening. Aha, it begins. A small war erupts on Wikipedia definition of The Scientific Method. William McComas encounters wild success from his 1996 "Ten Myths of Science." How far will it go?
  • Leaf-blower hovercrafts 1989
    I saw an article on "human air hockey pucks" in Physics Teacher magazine. Rather than letting physics teachers have all the fun, I started pushing it via Jim B's science outreach company. I was hoping to post the plans via Gopher hypertext on something called "The Internet," but fortunately the WWW appeared, so I didn't have to figure out how Gopher works. The science fair community became infected by those plans, and now leaf-blower hovercrafts are competing with volcanos and solar-system models to be the most common science fair project. In 2004 the Mythbusters tried to "bust" it, see episode 17 "Levitation machine."
  • Flowing "Electricity" as motions of copper's electrons 1988
    Back in my days at Museum of Science in Boston, I was working on K6 science textbooks for Holt/Rinehart/Winston, and also designing devices for our inhouse Electricity/Electronics exhibit. Based on my vast collection of student misconceptions taken from those K6 textbooks, I worked out a cure: a brain-hurting alternate vision of electricity. Well, not really "alternate," since it was taken right out of basic undergrad physics and E&M texts, with their math models translated into simple verbal descriptions. Compared to the distorted stuff in K12 textbooks, mine certainly was alternate. Unlike the gradeschool stuff, my version is like university physics: it actually hangs together and makes sense. Now that the internet suddenly has appeared, how many other minds will pick up my infection. After we all finally "see" electricity, CANNOT UN-SEE!
  • Neodymium Supermagnets 1994
    While working on science exhibits in 1992 we had some large, dangerous "neodymium" magnets. I'd worked with tiny SmCo supermagnets, and these Neos were the same. But they were cheap! There were all sorts of weird new physics demonstrations you could perform. But the magnets were only available from China imports Tridus International. When Gopher changed into Web in 1993, I started pushing this as science fair projects. I posted a big list of suggested demos and flogged my URL all over the newsgroups. Arbor Scientific then started selling cm-sized magnets for only five bucks, so soon the public could start messing with these. The word started spreading. Then Wondermagnet started selling them. Then Eng-concepts. Wow, this one took off like wildfire. Would it still have happened if nobody intentionally contaminated the online amateur science community with neodymium?
  • Ball Lightning 5/1996
    "BL" is an infamous physics phenomenon: denied and scoffed at by the entire science community until the mid-1980s, then treated as real-but-irreproducable mystery. I posted an entire page of links, articles, and a pro literature search printout. Hey, maybe if I can get the garage science crowd to mess with it, then some hobbyist will make the breakthrough and create it on demand. Then guys on vortex-L figured out how to make microwave oven Plasmoids on demand. That did it; interest soared (although microwave Plasmoids probably aren't thunderstorm BLs.)
  • Lifting-Force Misconception 1996
    At MOS Boston we had a small pushbutton windtunnel w/movable airfoil ...with the wrong explanation of lifting force. I'd been vaguely aware of some sort of problem with these explanations, and argued about it with Larry Bell, the exhibits director. Then in 1990 I saw Weltner's correct explanation in AJP American Journal of Physics and in "The Physics Teacher." In 1996 I decided to force this issue: introducing it on PHYS-L and spreading the debate to all the Usenet newsgroups. Jan-Olov Newborg was a fellow troublemaker. We pushed and pushed the issue of misconceptions, got it into everyones faces, triggered repeated flamewars on RC-modelers and pilot forums. My airfoil misconception page attracted much traffic. I found Jeff Raskin's treatment of the issue, and Gail Craig's book. Then Anderson/Eberhardt took it up with their paper, then an entire textbook. Pilots started photographing the vortex-downwash penetrating cloud layers. Online I met the author of the NASA GRC education site and, during a big nasty (private) fight between three physicists, apparently convinced him to deeply research the issue and to post misconception-fighting articles on the NASA site. Soon major news services picked it up! New York Times, NPR Discover Magazine, several piloting magazines. It went exponential. Note again that this one was not my invention. I was just "Weltner's bulldog."
  • Simple DIY electric generator 1988
    Back at MOS Boston I saw several articles about the ultra-simple electric motor (today known as Beakman's motor.) Well, what about an equivalent generator? Robert Oppenheimer at Exploratorium had built one using magnetron magnets and a pancake coil. I messed around and found that a pile of 3" loudspeaker magnets shoved into a one-lb coil of #24 magnet wire could easily light a one-volt #48 bulb. Internet later came along and still nobody had spread the word on DIY ultra-simple electric generators. Looks like it's up to me. In 1996 I sat down and figured out a design using cardboad, tape, and common parts from Radio Shack. Wooeee, did that one ever take off. Right now (2010) it's the most popular page on my site, and the youtube generator vid is well past a million views.

  • Neodymium sphere-magnet beads toy 2001
    As part of Seattle Weird Sci. Salon we make bulk purchases for the group. One popular item has been supermagnets. In this case, our bulk purchase had an interesting result. In the late 1990s, Dan and Dan at Wondermag invented the supermagnet sphere, and started selling 1/4" version. Round supermagnets had no use ...but since I was buying them in bulk, I quickly discovered that supermagnet balls were amazing in large quantities. The 0.25" magents cost over a dollar each, so nobody but me was able to play with hundreds of them at once. I was making Bucky-spheres, nanotubes, and finding cool patterns possible using long chains. These would be a hot-selling toy item, and I showed them to one toy company but they weren't interested. Way too expensive, and far too dangerous as a toy for little kids. Eventually the price came down enough that a hundred magnets didn't cost $100, so everyone at Weird Science Salon bought globs of them (mostly as adult xmas gifts!)

    I realized that I didn't have ambition to start a company selling them. Way too much work: mainly a fulltime job of packaging and mailing. So I finally decided not to patent the magnet-beads puzzle toy, but instead to break secrecy and put the idea in the PD (public domain.) I could use them as an "internet meme." How far would they spread? I decided to test the waters by describing them on my Neodemo page around 2001. Nope, nobody noticed. Years later in 2004 I split off a webpage just for neo spheres. Nope, nuthin'. I started selling them at the yearly Mike and Key ham radio fleamarket, and later at my table at Freemont Sunday Market (see 2:23 in the vid). No matter how cool they are, they just don't attract attention.

    Finally towards the end of 2006 I posted some youtube videos. Still nothing. Nobody notices. Apparently some "seeds" are too small, and just won't sprout! You can't light a forest fire with matches that go out.

    Then in March 2008 I posted the coolest secret: making a Buckminster Fullerene sphere. Apparently that triggered it! The "neocube" video was posted on youtube, and suddenly the idea caught fire all over the place. A few months later there were Neocubes and Cybercubes and QQmag and Magcube and Magbead and Buckyballs and Cubercube and Nanodots, and many un-trademarked magnet blobs on eBay (none patentable you see! Already in the PD, anyone can pick a new product name and start selling them.) FINALLY at long last there's a valid purpose for spherical supermagnets. They even might end up outselling all other shapes. Probably the sales volume in spheres is supporting entire towns in China. But still ...they're lethally dangerous for little kids, and unless the price comes down, they're still too expensive for giant toy companies to show interest. The indie toy companies can go wild, with no Mattels or Hasbros coming in to take over everything.

  • Electric Circuit Mechanical Analogy 1986
    While consulting for Holt/Rinehart I considered the typical hydraulic analogy to explain electric ciruits. I found a better one: electricity is like the molecules in a loop of rope wrapped around pulleys. It's like the rubber of a conveyor belt: when the drive roller turns, all the other rollers turn as well. When internet came along, I started pushing this analogy all over Usenet forums. It slowly caught on. Then I came up with another version: electricity is like a rubber bicycle tire: push it in one place, and all the rubber must turn as one. Look around the www today, and see how far these ideas have spread.
  • Bare-hand bottle smash: IT'S CAVITATION!(1989)
    At MOS Boston I worked out a water-cavitation demo for classrooms: if you whack a can of beans on top, it goes "snap!" But if you whack it gently ...no snap. In the near-vacuum contents there are bubbles of hard vacuum opening up and then slamming shut. The same works with glass jars of spagetti sauce. Also with vacuum-packed bottles of orange juice. Finally I found that if you're demonstrating the onset of cavitation to everyone at work, and you're hitting a glass bottle of juice over and over with increasing violence, first you get the "snap." Then you get a missing bottom! Orange juice splashes all over the office! A perfect glass disk is left behind.

    Years later I heard about the beer-bottle smash trick. Whack a beer bottle hard enough, and the bottom pops out. Ah, but I knew the secret. With beer you need a weak bottle and it barely works, since CO2 efevervescence fills the cavitation spaces almost instantly, which provides a cushion. Do it with water. Do it with "de-gassed" water that's been sitting around for hours (or that you've previously boiled.) Works like a charm. Even very thick glass bottles can be smashed.

    While showing someone the "Ragu Sauce snap effect" I noticed a silver flash. Hey. CAVITATION IS VISIBLE. Ooo, I gotta make a vacuum bottle to capture this effect. Found an easy way to do this. Works great. The cavitation is slowed, so you can see it by eye, no high-speed camera needed. So I made a youtube video to introduce the beer-bottle phenomenon, then to show closeups of silver pockets of cavitation which cause it.

    Lol, right away it ends up on the show "Time Warp." They didn't contact me. Did they by coincidence figure out that bare-hand bottle-smash contains well-hidden high-speed phenomena ...and then work out the correct explanation? Or are they working under the commands of a Meme infection? PS you can remove a cork from wine using this same phenomenon. Aim cork down, hit top of wine bottle repeatedly with shoe or other solid object. Cork slowly is hammered outwards! NOTE TO TRY: OIL-BOTTLE CAVITATION ABOVE TESLA COIL, DO CAVITIES FLASH BRIGHTLY IN A DARK ROOM?

  • Congo Blue as cheap IR filter 2001
    Infrared Goggles for under $10. While working for Eaton Optosensors in 1998 I wanted to spread this idea, but it had to wait until I discovered Congo Blue filters. A truely mad-scientist toy: it lets humans see genuine infrared light ...but it also will fry your eyeballs if you use it to stare into the sun. As with Tesla Coils and Gauss Guns, these remain somewhat "safe" because most little kids don't have the ambition to order the supplies and build one themselves.
  • Diamagnetic Water 1998
    Neo magnets were starting to spread online. Someone emailed me and pointed out that a neo magnet could slightly deflect a stream of water from the kitchen faucet. COOOOL. I informed the physics teaching forums and physics newsgroups, and my local hobby group had great fun with this. We found that a submerged neo magnet would distort water surface just above it. We found that you could deflect a horizontal popscicle hanging from a hair.
  • Traffic Waves 1998
    Once you finally "PERCEIVE", your inner Commuter will be sent to stand in the corner, and your brain is now occupied by a suddenly-enlightened Zen Traffic Practitioner.           But "With great power comes great responsibility -Spiderman." If the Ice-Nine concept ever gets loose, will one person manage to solidify the entire traffic network around Washington DC? It's like flipping one wall switch on-off in a special pattern and causing a blackout of the entire East coast. Will such a solidification-wave reach out and engulf Baltimore, NYC, and Boston? Fortunately it all melts again by 4AM each morning, so we're probably safe.
  • Bipolar Transistors are Voltage-controlled 1995.
    It always bugged me that technicians as well as the public are taught that transistors "amplify current," but then we learn as EE undergrads that transistors are actually controlled by voltage: Ic is directly determined by e^(Vbe*k), not by Ib. For YEARS I'd been unable to really understand transistors; not until I took semiconductor physics and learned the dreaded secret. I decided to stir up trouble with an accurate non-math transistor explanation aimed at school kids. I'd never seen any similar article anywhere, so I personally get a chance to introduce millions of hobbyists to an important fundamental idea which had been concealed inside the math models used in college-level electronics classes.
  • Long High-volt streamers in flows of Argon
    harmless lightning bolts shoot from your fingers. This one hasn't taken off yet. "Mike's Electric Stuff" did pick it up.
  • Static Electrical Sorcery 1994
    I had lots of cool demonstrations built up from the science museum. If I post the best ones online as Science Fair projects, can I turn thousands of innocent little children into practitioners of the dark High Voltage arts? The soda-bottle voltage-motor caught fire and spread widely. Once I even saw some school science-fair rules which banned three projects: baking soda volcanoes, papier-mache solar system models, ...and tinfoil electrostatic pop-bottle motors!
  • Aware of your Skull. Skull Awareness!
    In a very old Peanuts cartoon, Lucy causes Linus to become aware of his tongue. Then he can't turn it off again. When making faces in the mirror one day I accidentally made myself aware of my own skull. It took quite a while before I was back to normal. But I could also talk with an echo, cross one eye, and make smoke come out of my mouth. I started collecting these "little kid mental techniques." The list became very long. When the internet came along, I realized that the same good things that happened to my own brain... could be put inside YOUR brain too!
  • Microwave oven plasma 1997
    In 1987 I'd written an entry for Lincoln Homework Encyclopedia containing a science classroom activity for microwave ovens. It was never used, so I posted it online for others to play with. This triggered much experimentation by members of various online forums, and eventually a couple of people worked out a way to produce stable plasmoids.

"Hey, you're the Traffic Waves guy?!!!"
"Hey, you're the congo blue goggles guy?!!"

"Hey, you're the Childhood brain guy?!!"
"Hey, you're that microwave ovens guy?!!!"
"YOU'RE the amasci dot com guy?!!  I spent my whole childhood on your site!"

all together now...

"WE SENT YOU EMAIL, BUT YOU NEVER ANSWERED!!!"

 

12/26/2007   Video: Melting glass in your microwave           more vids      future vids

Here's an alternate version of a classic physics demo. Rather than heating up a glass rod and then plugging it in to 120VAC, we heat up a glass bottle and plug it in to a few hundred watts of 2.1GHz RF.

 

11/07/2007   Video: Ultra-simple Electric Generator           more vids      future vids

A great idea for school science fair. Don't make a motor; everyone makes motors. MAKE A GENERATOR! Light a bulb.

 
  

ACCIDENTALLY PRODUCING X-RAYS
A note about x-rays and "plasma globes." When attaching light bulbs to a tabletop Tesla coil, some small bulbs fail to produce purple plasma streamers. The space inside remains dark, but the glass flickers blue, or white, or sometimes green. This shows that the bulb contains a fairly hard vacuum. If run at high voltages (above 10KV,) such a bulb will produce soft x-rays. USUALLY the x-ray intensity is insignificant. It's way too little to light up a fluorescent screen. Maybe you could take x-ray photos by exposing film for minutes or hours. It will certainly make a geiger counter click like mad, but only if your GM probe has a thin window (for alpha particles.). So, to avoid even the slightest x-ray hazard, use only those large 4-inch spherical bulbs for your "plasma globe." Stay away from small green-fluorescing aquarium bulbs! Here's some radiation info , you can compare canoe trips and peanut-butter toxins to x-ray risk.

 

08/22/2007   Video: Bare-hand Bottle Smash           more vids
 
  

"Bring forth what is true; Write it so it it's clear. Defend it to your last breath."
- Ludwik Boltzmann, quoting Faust

 

08/25/2007   Video: Dry Ice: LEEEEETHALLY DAAAANGEROUS?!!!           more vids
 

08/11/2007   Video: Kitten Attaaaack!           more vids
 

04/06/2007   Video: Stupid Steady Cam Tricks #4: Outdoors, and "Star Wars"           more vids
 

07/01/2007   Video: Air Threads. I couldn't resist           more vids
 

  

CREATIVITY

- All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once you grow up. - Picasso

- Panic of error is the death of progress. - Whitehead

- Avoiding mistakes will end your creativity. (TED prize, video)


 



  

ENOUGH OF VIDEOS!
How about some electrostatics? Try this:

- Connect a metal needle to a high voltage power supply. Connect a small metal plate to ground. Put a microamp meter in series with the plate's ground wire. (Ground the other power supply lead, of course.)

- Power up the HV and aim the needle at the metal plate from many inches distance. The microamp meter should indicate a large reading. "Electric Ion Wind" is flowing from the needle, to the plate, and through the meter to ground.

- Now blow some crosswind through the gap between the needle and the metal plate. This should deflect the "electric wind" and make the meter reading fall to zero, right? Instead, NOTHING HAPPENS. The microamperes reading remains the same.

- Uhhhh... OK now, maybe the ion flow is bending around to hit the grounded plate from the side. Following the e-field lines? So lets put a wide metal ring around the plate and connect it directly to ground (no meter.) If the electric wind gets deflected, it should miss the meter and flow directly into ground. Power up the needle, get some microamps on the meter, now blow some wind. AGAIN NOTHING HAPPENS! The microamp reading stays high. The ion path doesn't deflect!

- Really blast some wind across the path. Use a plastic straw, and hit the needle tip with some series crosswind. Nope, still the same. Maybe the microamps fluctuates just a bit, but essentially remains large. The ion paths won't move. They blast right through any crosswind I can throw at it.

- RATS! This means that I can't easily build an air-blast VandeGraaff generator using a HV supply, needles, and a small battery-powered fan. It also means I can't make a wind-speed sensor with no moving parts which measures the microamps difference between electric wind being received by two adjacent collector plates facing a single needle. A high-volt wind-direction indicator won't work; it just ignores the wind.

- SPECULATION: if the electric wind was made up of many slow ions, then even a gentle breeze would push it away from the receiving plate. Therefore, it must be composed of few/fast ions. It makes no sense! Ions should collide with neutral air molecules and experience large drag. Maybe the ion flow pattern self-organizes into very thin "filaments;" jets having narrow cores made of fast-moving ions. Thin filaments have a high RE (Reynolds Number), which allows them to move very fast but without turbulent breakdown. It's like the fast thin laminar stream of smoke above a cigarette. I wanted to make a hailstorm of ions, but instead I get a "death ray" beam far narrower than a human hair. Just like Tesla said.

- I lied about making too many videos. I couldn't resist doing this one about gas-filled capacitors that magically pump themselves down to vacuum.


 


  

WHO ACTUALLY SAID THIS?

Nothing sends them scurrying back to that black pit like
BAD SMELLS,
BROKEN RULES,
and
BAGPIPES
How can I "R Burns-ify" this t-shirt slogan? Nothin' sends 'em scurry'n?

 

04/21/2007   Videos: Having ideas, thermal cam rubber band, Bumbershoot '05, science job.  

  

CURES YOUR ATHSMA TOO
Hey. IR GOGGLES FORCE YOUR LENSES TO FOCUS DIFFERENTLY! This means that the IR goggles (or simply some deep red goggles) would exercise your lens/muscles/brain system and force your lenses to excessivly stretch. (Or do they excessively contract?) Either way, this would be a form of "eye excercise" which might end your need for glasses. Sort of like wearing prism-glasses to correct the lazy-eye problem. For nearsightedness you'd want the deep colored (red? violet?) goggles. For farsightedness you'd want deep (violet? red?) goggles. Of course use polycarbonate or glass lenses to avoid any problems with UV damage.

 

04/08/2007   I think I've made a breakthrough. It's scaring the pants off me. Who will be the first to build this huge device? (Note: it's no beginner project.) Go and see Runaway breakdown, and the idea which inspired it, Tesla's accident with the Colorado Springs utility plant. If those links go bad, I'll put up a mirror copy restoring the disabled images. 

03/24/2007   Videos: Artist party, physics devices, also stupid camera tricks.  

02/27/2007   Video: The Disgustoscope  

02/10/2007   More videos: Dangerous maglev, pants methane, $0-cost Steadicam  

01/16/2007   Link to Videos: Possible Ball Lightning on the BL Page, also try Weird Physics vid collection  

01/01/2007   Updating Unusual! Three years worth. So far: Vanishing Objects, and Ball Lightning  

12/24/2006   Added a new page: BILL B. VIDEOS  

  

 
INNER LIFE OF THE CELL
Years ago one of my early morning visions involved weird EM resonance forces between biomolecules at hundreds of nanometers distances. If my delusions were true, then there must be a huge hole in modern biology, a hole almost as large as the one which would remain if the physics of chemical bonding had never been discovered. Without the long-range frequency-keyed electromagnetic bonding force, all sorts of nanomechanical phenomena in cell machinery would remain entirely unexplained.

Now Harvard U. Media has a long animated movie of subcellular nanomachinery within leukocytes responding to tissue inflammation. Just as in my dream, all sorts of bizarre effects are unexplained: they're glossed over, or more frequently they're fudged by playing a motion sequence backwards (against the laws of thermo!) Specifically: HOW DO THE FRICKIN' ACTIN MOLECULES SELF-ASSEMBLE? The movie doesn't say. Instead they give us a picture of actin subunits magically pouring in from all directions and somehow finding the growing end. Uhhh... isn't that just an animation of depolymerisation and diffusion... but PLAYED BACKWARDS? Same with polymerization of tubulin: the subunits magically come running from great distances just so they can link up to the growing tubulin end. And these are just the most egregious examples. All through the movie there are molecules which somehow "know" where they're supposed to go, how they're supposed to rotate themselves, and they move with apparent intention over major distances. mRNA tips and ribosomes magically find the few rare membrane pores. Actin-snipping proteins both fly in from distances and also magically orient themselves through many degrees of freedom in order to bond to the fiber. Apparently the researchers are asking us to believe that all this happens by diffusion, by random tries and re-tries performed at high speeds. I got news for them: if you stick a padlock in a bag with a bunch of keys, you'll be shaking the bag a long time before one of the keys inserts itself. And in living systems, the bag should be filled mostly with quarters, with just a few keys, most of them not fitting that lock. And I thought *I* had delusions! But all this strange dishonesty will pop like a bubble if we admit the (possible) existence of a fairly simple thing: mechanical forces caused by AC electromagnetic fields in the nearfield regions between atoms and molecules having resonance lines at common frequencies. It's just attraction between electromagnets. But AC electromagnets. If their frequencies are different, they essentially don't recognize each other, and the net attraction becomes zero (well, it changes from attraction to AC vibration.) But if their frequencies are right ...or more likely a combination of different atomic frequencies in distant molecules are right ...then not only would the molecules pull together over relatively vast distances, but they would experience torques which twist them into proper positions. In other words, the unexplained "magically intelligent" motions of the macromolecules depicted in the above video might not be an exaggeration at all. They might be moved by electromechanical forces which act like simple computers communicating over hundreds of nanometers by coded radio signals.

 



  

KEELY SONIC SUPERHEATING WATER EXPLOSION CANNON!
One of the old postings on the "weird science" page involved a report where a column of water in an ultrasonic resonator flew upwards and punched a hole in the ceiling an in the roof above. See Keely ultrasonic explosion. While waiting at the opening of the "Steamboy" movie, several things suddenly fell into place for me. First, guess what happens if we leave some water for hours under high powered ultrasonic treatment? This degasses the water, removing all the dissolved air. Heating the water increases the effect. Second, what happens if we strongly heat some thoroughly-degassed water? If microbubbles are lacking, then the water temperature will rise far above 100C, and the water will be massively superheated. It may even superheat to such an extent that, once it starts boiling, the entire volume of water may convert to vapor. Finally, what happens if we place water in a resonant ultrasonic chamber where the transducer is located at the bottom? In that case the pressure excursions will be maximum at the surface of the transducer and at the surface of the water. But the upper water surface will cool by radiation, so if cavitation were to commence, it would be at the bottom of the water column against the transducer. All together, this is a recipe for a cannon, but a cannon where the bullet is a slug of water propelled by its own steam output. A tiny bubble will break out at the bottom of the water column, and the bubble will instantly fill with live steam. The water column will be smoothly accelerated upwards as the superheated water emits a downwards "exhaust" of hot water vapor. As the steam leaves the water, the water cools, but if the superheated temperature was high enough, the water would not stop cooling. As the water slug leaves the pipe, the vertical water surface will emit vapor in all directions with little propulsive effect, while the bottom surface will act like a rocket engine. But would this be enough to punch a hole in a ceiling? Well, we know that if a kilojoule capacitor discharge propels a water colunmn upwards, the water can punch a hole through a thick aluminum plate (tested by Richard Hull and Dr. Peter Graneau). Yet in this capacitor experiment, turbulent disruption converted their water column into a water spray after a few feet of travel through the air. But what happens when a superheated water slug sends steam outwards in all directions at high velocity? Maybe this would help preserve the shape of the water column on its journey towards the ceiling.

 



10/10/2006   More billb videos:
  • all Youtube videos
  • Big supercon magnet dewars at work (Sept 6, 2006)
  • I get to run an entire cruise ship (May 8, 2006)
  • Supermagnet beads: membranes and Amoebas (Oct 10, 2006)
  • Maglev: magnet floats between graphite disks (Oct 3, 2006)
  • Raytheon thermal camera: the camera itself, & demos on couch
  • Thermal camera: cold can of juice (Sep 20, 2006)
  • Thermal camera: little warm kitten footprints (Aug 16, 2006)
  • Thermal camera: cold black popsicle (Jul 21, 2006)
  • Truck lug nuts optics (Aug 18, 2006)
  • VASTLY IMPROVED lug nuts optics (Aug 23, 2006)
  • eskimo dot com, NOT in Alaska. (google)
  • still not in Alaska (google)
  • What color is water? (Jul 23, 2006)
  •  

      

    Wagon-wheel reverse rotation effect
    During morning commute on I-90 I glanced at a truck wheel and noticed it had a pattern of light... which was rotating slowly backwards! It was the lug nuts. Obviously some garage mechanic had tightened the nuts to give a special pattern. As the six sides of the hex nuts flashed in the sunlight, the angle of each flash was slightly different as each of ten nuts moved past. It looked like a circular dotted line which moved opposite to the wheel's motion. I wonder how many mechanics know this trick? I wonder if the original inventor just had a weird mind, or do truck-repair depots tend to hire PhD physics types?

    To start, tighten all the lug nuts, then turn them so they all point at the hub. Now pick a nut as number zero and leave it as is. Go to nut number one, and if you have 10 nuts with 6 sides, tighten that nut by an extra 1/60th turn (ten times six to get a 60th.) Go to nut number two and tighten it by an extra 2/60ths. Repeat. When you get back to nut number zero, you still leave it alone (since you could also tighten it by 10/60ths or 1/6th turn, which would leave the hex facets still in the same relative position.) Now when the wheel rotates, the pattern of flashes will advance by 1/10th rotation when the wheel rotates once. But will the pattern turn backwards? Figure it out. It depends on which side of the vehicle you're adjusting. Maybe you were supposed to loosen each lug nut by 1/60th turn. Watch: video, 1.3 min, also newer video, 0.6 min

    Added note: these are somewhat common on the highway; more common than explained by over-educated garage mechanics. So, what happens if we align all the nuts parallel to a single line? This would happen if the nuts were tightened with a tire iron, and the angle of the handle was the same each time. This pattern gives annoying flashes, but it also gives a backwards-drifting pattern which is 6x slower than the wheel RPM. So it seems that these patterns are probably accidental.

     


    07/23/2006   Testing: I uploaded a couple of videos:
  • eskimo dot com, NOT in Alaska. (google)
  • still not in Alaska (google)
  • What color is water? (youtube)
  • all videos
  •  


    07/14/2006   I finally added an IR photo gallery to the DIY IR GOGGLES page.  


    07/21/2006   Added lots of "cool science" site links to blog at Stumbleupon.com  


    06/01/2006   They took away our overhead projectors and replaced them with Powerpoint! (That's not fair. Powerpoint is a slide projector, not an overhead.) Now I'll finally get my vengence by infecting the web with... filmstrips!. Please advance to the next image when you hear the beep. BEEEEEEP.           (WARNING: embedded MP3 audio)  

    03/12/2006   Updated the guestbook  

      

    The WEIRD SCIENCE SALON is going to Alaska in May. The 2006 UFO/Paranormal conference from Seattle's Museum of Mysteries will be held on shipboard this year, the week of May 7th - 14th. If interested, sign up by Feb ?? for low prices.

     

    01/19/2006   I made it into the University Week, the local UW newspaper  

      

    Hey, if you search Google for the word "unwise," the second hit is Unwise Microwave Experiments! And if you search for the word "oven," then it's the top Google hit. "Tesla coil" still leads right here, but "Science" has moved way down (once long ago this site was #13 on Google for "science," above Scientific American and the AAAS!)

     

    01/15/2006   Added What Is Static Electricity?  

    12/27/2005   Continuing the biological insanity with hot incandescent bacteria on the Bio page.  

    12/25/2005   Added a bit more stuff to the IR Goggles article.  

      

    Energy-sucking atoms and molecules
    Remember energy-sucking antennas, where a longwave resonant coil can intercept radio waves even if they pass within hundreds of feet? And recall the speculations about odd forces hidden under the catch-all name "Van der Waal's", and what this might imply for biochemistry? Well, I finally encountered a mainstream physics article about just this topic. But it's not what I expected. Suppose you have an atom, a single highly-resonant atomic oscillator, on then end of a STM scanning probe. Suppose you bring it near another identical atom. Will there be some long-range forces which become strong when the two atoms are separated at less than a quarter wavelength? (E.g. if the atoms had a resonance line in the optical band at 500nM, then if placed within 125nM of each other would they strongly attract or repel?) The answer might be: NO. But INSTEAD, the atoms link together and refuse to change their separation! WEIRD! Resonant atoms trapped on adjacent surfaces create strong friction between those two surfaces, EVEN IF THE SURFACES AREN'T TOUCHING. In subcellular molecular machinery this could produce a "force" counter to diffusion, one which slowed any molecule which approached another with the same coded frequency. As with cockroaches and sowbugs who crawl more quickly when in a lighted region, the right kind of molecules would end up in the "slowed-down" regions under the fridge. You can find a bunch of articles about this AFM discovery via a Google search on "non-contact friction", also Google Scholar: noncontact friction and non-contact friction

     

      

    THOSE GOOGLE ADS
    I strongly resisted putting banner ads on AMASCI. They're all just ads for spammer products: diet pills and ringtones. They support unethical popup-ad companies. They insult our intelligence with "click the jumping monkey" animations. And as I found out with Network54, many banner ads are controlled by advertizers themselves, and they contain really nasty spyware and browser-hijackers. But Simon at scitoys suggested Google ads, and they avoid these problems. They're text-only and controlled by Google, not by shady advertizers. The company is non-evil (at least so far.) And more important, the ads "know" the page topic, so they usually put science-education ads on my site. You get ads for science fair products rather than for casinos. So, Quitcher Job, Live Off The Website Revenues? It actually looks possible. Would YOU become a big flaming sellout ...if it let you escape the nine to five world? :)

     


    09/28/2005   Added entries to Electricity FAQ, doorknob sparks, other stuff.  

      

    A moon that fell?
    As a kid in the 1960s I remember staring at the world map in the classroom and *knowing* that the Americas fit with Europe and Africa like a jigsaw puzzle. In 1965 this was geological heresy, but the grade school kids like me were seeing something real, something that professional geologists denied. So now I'm looking at the map of Mars over my desk, and I know enough to take my first impressions seriously. The Valles Marineris is too straight. WAY too straight. Well, actually it's curved in a sine wave on the map which extends as a discoloration across more than half the planet. (World maps with sine waves drawn on them are plots of orbiting spacecraft, where the angled circular orbit is "unrolled" to form a wave.) Also, Valles Marineris is aligned with the Martian equator, so it's also aligned with the plane of the ecliptic where moon orbits lie. Also, Valles Marineris has many widely separate parallel features which are also perfectly straight. Also there are all kinds of crater chains parallel to the valley all around the same region. Yet explanations of this valley talk about a cracking crust. I don't believe it. There are linear gouges and discoloration way downstream from the main valley. I predict that within a few decades the expert opinion will shift: Valles Marineris is an astrobleme, it was carved out by a moon that fell from orbit. The Valles region doesn't extend all the way around the planet, so it probably wasn't caused by a planetary ring. Imagine the event! It's even more impressive than those craters left by direct asteroid strikes. An entire moon gradually hits the top of the atmosphere and starts heating up from gas compression. If it survives for several orbits, its heat output will bake everything below, perhaps turning continent-wide deserts into glass and leaving a scar so large that the professionals will miss it when looking right at it. Then it breaks up into two or three huge chunks plus lots of rubble, into a hundred asteroids, which then descend and roll across the land at orbital velocity from horizon to horizon like incandescent bowling balls the size of Manhattan. Downrange of the main strike the air is full of big dirt: flying boulders the size of large buildings which rain down and ...disturb the surface.

     

    09/11/2005   Added four MPEG videos to The Secret to Plasma Globes Without Vacuum Pumps.  

    09/07/2005   Added a new electricity misconception to the Electricity section.  

      

    Speed freak
    In his book "Surely You're Joking...", R. Feynman experimented with personal time sense, and he wondered what determines it. I think it might be social, not physiology. My first summer job was raking leaves on Elmira College campus, and it quickly became apparent that my normal rate of work was wrong. I did things much faster than the seasoned workers, and I attracted funny looks, so I adjusted my performance. I thought it was sort of stupid; why didn't everyone rake leaves normally instead of in slow motion? But slow raking was the "way you're supposed to do it," and anyone who strayed from the norm would encounter group pressure to slow down. But... that's how infants become people!!! We change behavior as we encounter immense nonverbal pressure from parents, friends, outsiders, etc., otherwise we'd all behave as one-year-olds even when adult. In different societies the standards are different; I've heard that tourists south of the border complain that everyone does everything slowly... and islanders complain about crazy Americans who are always rushing about. WHAT IF HUMAN TIME SENSE IS SOCIETALLY DETERMINED? I've experimented with this and find that it is. If I'm alone I can push myself to perform tasks much faster until until "faster" becomes habitual and unnoticed, but I get huge amounts of work done, and it takes forever for the clock to get to lunchtime. It feels like really waking up, at least until it starts being normal. Also, my usual body movements become tiring, and I find it's much easier to move in curves rather than starting/stopping the considerable mass of limbs. (Like switching to 'racewalk' rather than just speeding up my normal walk.) And when I tried it for days at a time, I started losing weight and had to eat extra meals. If I asked someone a question or tried conversing, their slow responses and slow thinking was quite irritating. But whenever I kept all this up in public, people responded badly. They seemed to be thinking "what's WRONG with that guy? What drug is HE on? Is he insane or something?" Bingo! That's the societal pressure which usually keeps its members living at the "proper" speed. It's the same as if I started acting like a 2-yr-old, or if I moved to a country where things happened at different speed: I'd encounter the same type of pressure to adapt. So... I wonder how far this can be pushed. Can we live at 5x normal? Will we get huge amounts of work done, then have a crash from "exhaustion of manic energy" or perhaps die prematurely of old age? Or go the other route and let the outer world speed up to 5x faster while we stay "the same."

     

    08/15/2005   More about nanobacteria in the biology section. (This is a fairly exciting controversy!) Suppose that when a bacterium splits in half, each half takes half the genome. If the two bacteria remained together, they could trade metabolic molecules and survive. Suppose they split into two, four, eight, etc. If this slowly happened over millenia, we could end up with species of bacteria smaller than viruses, where each cell isn't viable alone since they act as specialized organs of a colony. Wouldn't just such an evolutionary trick be the result of a deep underground nano-crevice environment and evolution pressure favoring smallness?  

      

    AMPERES VARIES MAGNET?
    Random thoughts: if you pass a current through a bar magnet, it should create extremely instense circular fields inside. After all, the path surrounding the current is a closed loop of iron, and a low current should saturate the material. But wouldn't this path be disrupted if the current fell? The axial field of the permanent magnet would take over. Apply a weak AC to the bar magnet and create immense pulses of internal b-field. Are these detectable? Instead perhaps pass a cable through a narrow iron pipe to give the pipe internal circular flux patterns. Apply AC to the axial cable and look for pulses. Perhaps wrap a coil around the pipe to apply a bias.


    More randomness. In the Vasserfadden demo below, how thin could the water thread become? I should think that e-field forces would cause it to resist evaporation, as with electric ice needles. The water filament would be like an electret. But if the thread broke, would it contract to form a droplet, or would the e-field preserve its threadlike form? If it stayed threadlike, this means we could build a network, an aerogel, from nothing but water. The threads would be maintained by the strong e-field (unless closed loops of electrified water filaments are also stable, so the external field could be removed.) An electrically-stablized aerogel made from water vapor would possibly explain the observation of invisible wall phenomena.
     

    07/25/2005   More old stuff: The Wasserfadden experiment and Giant natural water-thread?  

      

    Check out this discussion thread on tesla coils forum about x-ray tubes and powering entire homes and cars with wireless. And here's another one about Bob Golka, arc welders and ball lightning.

     

    07/16/2005   An old article never listed here: Mother and daughter detect plasma-spheres through walls  

      

    Don't miss SEATTLE WEIRD GENIUS REAL SCIENCE 2005, the 'science fair' in bldg #30 at Sand Point, Saturday July 16. I'll have a demo table there with microwave oven, Tesla coil, and bowl of argon gas.


    Remember Plasma Globes without vacuum? Getting ready for the above event; I executed some microwave oven mayhem at Wednesday's Seattle Outsider Artist Project: Dorkbot Mad Science night. New high voltage effects discovered! A microwave oven with nothing inside is a 2.5GHz high voltage source. A bag or balloon of pure Argon usually does nothing... unless you include a tiny fragment of carbon fiber. After the plasma outbreak, the glowing violet-white cloud will grow and grow, melting the bag, then crawling all around looking for every last scrap of argon left in the wilting glob of plastic. Argon inside a glass bowl was similar: when triggered by a speck of carbon fiber, it exploded into a radial burst of wiggling lightning. This was a first: it was normal-looking mini-lightning, but at 2.5GHz frequency! As soon as the argon heated up, the spark-brush turned into a bright fuzzy cloud which rose to the top of the bowl and melted holes in the plastic plate laying across the opening. With a bigger bowl we actually saw some spherical lightning: a small spark at the bottom of the bowl became a 2" glowing hemisphere which rapidly rose, becoming more and more spherical before being distrupted by the plastic plate.

     

    06/26/2005   Many new entries can be found on the Brain Modification Page  

      

    When you drop a dish, usually it bounces once. Then it shatters on the second bounce. After noticing this effect I started listening for it. Sure enough, in restaurants (etc.), when you hear a plate go "DONGGGGG" when it hits, it usually goes "smash/tinkle" during the second bounce. I FIGURED IT OUT! When the dish hits the first time, it bounces upwards, but it also starts wobbling fiercely. It rings like a bell, and the vibrating edges of the dish are probably moving at several hundred miles per hour. [NO THEY'RE NOT! It's like a spring, and the edge can only move as fast as the plate was moving when it struck. When it comes back down, the wobbling edge could hit at twice the plate's velocity at most.] Now "view the movie in slow motion." The edge of the dish is going in-out-in-out as the dish slowly falls towards the floor. When it arrives, the wobbling edge whacks the floor again and again and again... and it hits at such high speed that it seems like the dish fell from 100ft altitude [wrong, it will seem as if the plate fell from *twice* the altitude of the bounce], not the two feet it fell after the bounce. My conclusion: if you grab for a falling dish but you're not fast enough, don't give up. You have a good chance of either catching it after the first bounce ...or even just *touching* it briefly which will damp out the intense vibrations that usually make the dish explode on contact with the floor.

     

    06/21/2005   "Spirit Orb Photographs" made with water mist, dry ice frost clouds, fumed silica, etc. I find that a parallel grid of human hair w/separation around 0.5mm on camera lens will cast shadows, essentially drawing lines on each false ghost-orb. If your camera had a hexagonal iris, the "orbs" would all be little hexagons.  

      

    SHOOT PLASMA BOLTS FROM FINGERTIPS!
    This one was a brainstorm during Dorkbot Tesla Night at COCA gallery in Seattle. Get a tank of argon plus regulator, a glass vase or bowl, some hose, and an aquarium airstone. In a draft-free room, slowly fill the vase with cool dense argon. Argon is different than air or CO2: it supports immensely long electric sparks. Poke the end of your Violet Wand or Tesla coil into the argon pool and watch the huge flaming white streamers spew forth. Now for the next part. Ready? Place the HV electrode against the outside of the glass, then stick your hand inside. Blazing white plasma streamers spew from your fingertips! Feels like being poked by needles. Make a fist (it stings less!) Next trick: a larger bowl, one which my head fits within. Yes, I wanna become the central electrode in a "plasma globe" device. Shouldn't be too painful unless the arcs shoot from my eyeballs...

     

    06/15/2005   Supermagnet bead tricks. Buy a big wad of 1/4" supermagnet spheres (~$.50 each.) Make buckyballs, mysterious spinners, DNA chains, etc. (I really need to add photos to these!)  

    05/27/2005   Added spam buster to Main amasci guestbook. Now you can see your entries instantly, not weeks later.  

      

    WAVE-MOTION COLA

    Put some crushed ice in a translucent or transparent cup. Fill it half way with dark cola (the kind with sugar.) Then fill it the rest of the way with diet 7-up or diet lemonade (or even water.)

    The ice will distrupt the stream, keeping the two layers from mixing very much. You end up with dark cola at the bottom, and clear stuff at the top. (Sugar is denser.) If you tilt the cup back and forth, you can make slow-motion waves in the cola!

    Even if the pizza place doesn't have see-thru cups, you can still use the trick. First add ice, then fill half way with full-sugar drink, then fill it up with diet drink. This creates two layers. You can drink the diet Coke first, leaving the layer of non-diet Sprite for later. Just remember to add the diet drink second, and use a thick layer of ice to disrupt the stream.


     
      

    Idea for future hoaxes: leave messages on the cardboard tube inside toilet paper rolls. It's not so difficult to remove the tube if you bend it. Write a message, or even apply a professional looking sticker. Or perhaps carry around a rubber stamp made for just this purpose. "HELP, I AM BEING HELD PRISONER IN THIS SCOTT FACTORY." Or "HERE IS THE SECRET PHONE NUMBER, DO YOU DARE TO DIAL IT?" Put several copies on the same tube so it's hard to miss. Or even cause total amazement by wrapping a dollar bill around the thing. Reinstall the tube and put the roll back on the holder.

     

    05/01/2005   Added better 3D diagrams to In electric circuits, WHERE does the energy flow?  

    04/21/2005   Is this thing a blog? I'm not constantly adding interesting links to other sites as bloggers are supposed to (those kinds of links are mostly on coolsci , wpage, and weird art, also stumble.)

    OK, how about this. Here's the Skeptic versus Woo-woo fight reduced to it's essentials:
    mung cartoon A, and mung cartoon B . Also hundreds of others.

     

    04/16/2005   Added months of messages to the Main Guestbook  

    04/10/2005   Added: When I die, I wanna be...  


    03/25/2005   I built a Large art device. Eighty four tesla coils driving 84 fluorescent tubes. It was up at COCA gallery this March (Seattle,) and is going to be at Bumbershoot, Sept 2-5.  

    03/24/2005   Added The $1 Tesla Coil  

      

    The DC electric motor was invented by accident!
    Huh. I totally missed this fact in my schooling. Michael Faraday demonstrated the "motor" effect in the early years, but like Ben Franklin's electrostatic motors, it was only a lab curiousity. Volta's "pile" caused power supplies to become all the rage in science labs, and by the mid 1800s, several types of DC electric generators or "dynamos" were already in use as power supplies. So people were generating voltage with rotating coils and commutators. Then during an inventors' exhibition at Vienna in 1873, inventor Z. Gramme accidentally connected a steam-driven dynamo to a second similar unit, and to everyone's surprise the second one started spinning as a motor. Thus the modern multi-HP electric motor was "invented." We add the DC motor to the list of other accidental discoveries: Becquerel's radioactivity, Roentgen's x-rays, the Leyden capacitor, Oersted's electromagnets, etc.

     

    02/21/2005   Added Determining Charge Polarity to Static Electric page  

    02/09/2005   Wow! I had a "Vanishing Object" experience while stirring my coffee. Scary.  

      

    Ant trails at work. A narrow stream of black ants is flowing across my lab bench, up the side of a water bottle, into the squirt-tube and down inside. They're harvesting distilled water?!! The trail is coming from the floor, up the side of a box, across the top edge of some papers standing on edge, then up the voltmeter wires which happen to dangle over the edge of the tabletop. Following the trail backwards, I find that it goes about a HUNDRED AND TWENTY FEET back to the Mass Spectrometry lab at the end of the hall! It disappears under a fume hood. There must be several thousand ants in the trail. I guess the Chem. building ant nest must be hard up for water. I brush away ants and create a 3ft gap by cleaning away their scent trail with alcohol. But an hour later the gap has closed again. Ants trapped on the far side of the gap apparently find their way across.

    Playing with ant trails! I move the water bottle, but then the arriving ants start spreading all over the desk. So I give the ant colony a wet cookie (placed 120ft away near the origin of the trail.) If the ants are a signal in an optical fiber, then the cookie should act like an impedance mismatch; reflecting the outbound ants back to the nest. Sure enough, after an hour the ant stream decreases greatly. I brush the remaining ants onto the floor and disrupt their scent trail. But in the morning it has re-formed, this time traveling up to an old bottle of Moxie Cola with a tiny bit of dried syrup in the bottom. They're still using the edge of the papers in the box on the floor, this time crawling up another test lead, transferring to the power cable of the oscilloscope, then up to the shelf with the bottle. OK, this time I convert the entire "ant-flow optical fiber" into a Bragg mirror: I drip some sugar water at many places along the 120ft trail. Quickly the stream of ants at my end of the trail has dropped to zero.

    Hmmm: pranking possibilites. If I put a tiny bit of sugar water on a victim's desk, and also deposit a blob of ants, won't a few ants find their way back to the nest and create a new 120ft stream?

     

    12/29/2004   Update (large) to Science Misconceptions Comment Book  

    12/28/2004   Small addition to "Time-flow Distortion Sensor"  

      

    Another brainstorm! It's crackpot physics time. Remember Pyramid Power? The original claim was that a cardboard pyramid could sharpen a disposable double-edge razor blade. While reading an " Uncle Al" physics note about laser ultra-black beam-dumps composed of stacks of hundreds of standard razors, suddenly several concepts aligned in my brain. First concept: Uncle Al notes that the blackness of the razor-stack can be compromised by knocking the arrayed razor edges against even a soft object. Second concept: by stropping an old-fashioned straight-razor, we do not sharpen it, instead we straighten the bent-over micro-edge of the hard steel. The very tip of the sharp edge becomes folded over with use, and abrading it on a soft surface will grab the edge and bent it straight. Third concept: What if Pyramid Power was genuine after all, but it was actually triggering some sort of memory-metal effect? Not sharpening the blade, but essentially it would spontaneously "strop" a razor blade? Fourth concept: shine a bright LED at a slightly damaged razor-stack beam-dump and use a photodiode to measure any slow changes in the return reflection. Spontaneous blade-straightening would now be measurable. Stick the thing in a pyramid overnight (perhaps with power turned off, if that has any effect.) See if you can detect any auto-stropping effects!

     

    12/20/2004    Have you met The Krampus? Santa Claus has an evil assistant who punishes bad children. He's a demon from ancient pagan solstice celebrations.  

      

    A great mystery within microwave ovens: WHY DOES THE TURNTABLE SOMETIMES ROTATE BACKWARDS? I always wondered about this. The obvious explanation is that the turntable motor is a 60Hz synchronous induction motor. But why? Synchronous motors aren't as good as the normal kind. One thing might make sense: it forces your turntable to end up in the same position as it started. That way your coffee mug will be at the front, or the handles on the cassarole dish will be positioned correctly. But my microwave oven doesn't do this. Most of the time the mug ends up in a crazy position.

    Testing is required. I heated a mug of tea at work for a minute, and for the first time I actually watched the clock as the turntable rotated. AHA! IT ROTATES ONCE EVERY TEN SECONDS!!!! I verified the effect and it does work: as long as you punch in multiples of 10 seconds, your food will come back to its original position. But something's screwy. My oven at home doesn't do this, yet its turntable randomly starts off clockwise or CCW, so it must contain a synchro motor. So I timed the oven at home. Bingo: it rotates every 20 seconds. That explains everything. At home, if I punch in 30 seconds, or 10 seconds, then the turntable rotates an extra half turn, putting the soup bowl on the opposite side. Not to smart. How many people cook things for 20 seconds, or 40 seconds? A 3RPM turntable speed only works if you cook something for one minute. But now that I know about the problem, I can start only using multiples of 20 seconds.

     

    12/15/2004    Added more to Science Toys, and Weird Links  

      

    I'm playing with a UV keychain LED light. It's not very deep UV (400nM). More like violet. But it will make your teeth glow green, and your fillings are easy to see (I mean the white non-metal ones.) Fluorescing aqueous humor gives you some green pupils! I see little flecks of green all over my arm: fungus? Yep. The thick edges of my heel fluoresce green as well. Huh, what else are these things good for? They will light up the plastic strip inside $5 US dollar bills. They will charge up some ZnS "Glow In The Dark" plastic to very high phosphorescence. Ah, if you draw all over yourself with yellow-green Hi-lighter markers, the UV keychain flashlight makes the invisible lines light up brightly. Draw some finger bones.

     

    12/3/2004    The toolbar from the Stumbleupon service is addictive. TOO addictive.  

       I'm having fun with a perl command: global search/replace all files in a unix directory. Throughout the whole amasci.com site I've changed all the www.amasci.com addresses into amasci.com, changed all my email addresses into GIF images (harder for spam spiders to read 'em,) and other such things. Here's the single-line unix command syntax below.
       perl -pi -e 's/www.amasci.com/amasci.com/i' *.html
    
    It's easy to cause trouble if you mess with such things. You'd be lucky not to destroy all your files with a single command. Better first download your whole site to offline storage!
     

    12/2/2004    Added real Site Statistics Try clicking on some referring URLs  

      I stumbled across a new food. I feel like the discoverer of yogurt must have felt: disgusted, but not adverse to putting weird things in their mouth.

    I'd purchased some eggplants, and they were in the fridge for a couple of weeks along with some button mushrooms. When I finally got around to inspecting them, one was still OK, but the other one had a large brown spot several inches across. Strange, there was a mushroom stuck to the eggplant in the middle of the brown region. It was merged. The mushroom mycelia were still alive, and they were trying to absorb the eggplant! The brown region was somewhat soft, and when I tore the eggplant skin, the hole smelled like mushrooms. I returned the eggplantmushroom organism back to the fridge. A few days later I checked again and found that the entire eggplant had been assimilated. It was soft and mushroom-smelly within. Resistance was futile.

    Now I have to try sticking mushrooms against all sorts of different vegetables and see what results. Can mushrooms take over cold salmon? Since the storebought mushrooms are Agaricus Bisporus, we could call the process "Bis-porizing." I also need to try actually cooking one of these mutant beasts. Hmmm. What would happen if you fell into a coma while lying on a mushroom? You'd wake up all brown and mushroomy? With an unstoppable desire to hide inside a compost pile?

     

    11/28/2004    Ideas for a gallery installation: Demented Pushbuttons  

    11/26/2004    I learned a new word: Pyrrhonian skepticism  

    10/18/2004    Added The width of a coulomb to "Speed of Electricity"  

       Sometimes my subconscious delivers fully-formed visions in answer to questions from years ago. Today's vision: AC Kelvin water-drop generator. Half of a Kelvin electrostatic generator could be placed in the exhaust of a jet engine and produce megavolts at milliamps! There's more. I have a La Violette idea of military aircraft covered with Barium Titanate or perhaps PZT ceramic. How weird. Why PZT sheath? Ah, it's Jean Louis Naudin's "plasma sheet" idea where sonic booms can be eliminated by covering the airplane wings with a glow-discharge. But why use insulating ferroelectric? Well, I know that long dielectric filaments can act as "wires" for high frequency AC (the "right angle circuitry" idea.) If JL Naudin replaced his plastic covered hi-volt wires with PZT-encased wires, he'd still get purple plasma even if his operating frequency was greatly reduced. (Barium titanate acts almost like a metal conductor, as long as you use AC.) BINGO! Drive the Kelvin water-drop "inductor" electrode with slowly changing polarity, and your megavolts output will slowly change polarity also. With a jet engine driving it, how fast could this polarity change be made? Maybe raise it to a few hundred Hz? Without the PZT your metal aircraft would spew lightning bolts. But with the PZT layer, the whole thing would develop a sheet of plasma. It might even absorb radar pulses at the same time it modifies the transonic shock wave fluidics. Whew. It all hangs together and makes some kind of sense. I couldn't assemble the ideas piece-by-piece intentionally. They just pop up when I'm half dazed.  

    10/10/2004    Added Seeing Sound, an untested idea involving mirrors, strobes, and razor blades  

       A new traffic-wave phenomenon: the infinitely large traffic jam! I need to add this to Traffic Waves.

    The "infinite jam" occurs whenever a traffic wave stops moving backwards and instead becomes pinned to a certain point on the highway. It happens when each driver in the jam must sloooooowly crawl past the "pinning point" before accelerating freely again. A cop car by the roadside can cause this. So can a bridge crest or blind curve. In other words, the trailing edge of a traffic wave stops evaporating normally... yet its leading edge still grows as before, since more cars are piling on from behind. The region of solidly-packed traffic grows larger and larger with nothing to halt its growth. HOWEVER... if a single driver can pull the edge of the wave back away from the pinning point, then the wave begins moving again. The edge of the jam begins evaporating normally, and cars which pass the former pinning point have no reason to slow down (i.e. the "pinning" effect only occurs if a slow dense traffic-wave goes past.) Once un-pinned, the huge jam stops growing. It doesn't dissipate, but if it had yet to grow enormous, one driver can nip the gigantic traffic jam in the bud. It only takes one car to unplug one lane. In Seattle we have at least three of these continously-growing jams: the bridge crest on I-5 at the ship-canal bridge, and on 520 at the bridge crest just before the Lake Washington floating brige, and on I-5 North near the Senaca St. exit where cars exit into the express lanes. I've also seen these on 520 many times, where a cop has pulled someone over, causing a two-mile traffic jam to form (people won't roar off into the empty roadway if a cop is right there, so they drive many yards past before peeling out... so the wave remains pinned, and the backup grows enormous.)

     

    10/11/2004    Finding some old files never linked here:
    2D "gravity" sensor, also detects e-fields and strong magnets
    Plasma/aerogel life forms in our atmosphere
    Fringe Science and breakthroughs
     

       I was imagining crowds of people walking on city sidewalks, versus crowds driving on highways. The atmosphere is totally different. Our cars act as our masks, making us anonymous. (Well, some of us make tatoos with spraycans and stickers.) But while commuting, we're silenced and cannot talk (or even communicate) with everyone around us. Hmmm. Maybe I could build myself a voice? How about an ultra-powerful broadband comb-frequency FM transmitter which could override nearby car radios regardless of which station they're tuned to? Too much work. Brainstorm! Cellphones. An experiment for the daring: print out a large bumper-sticker on adhesive paper and stick it on the rear of your car. (Cover it with clear tape to waterproof the paper.) The sticker reads:
    DRIVER'S CELLPHONE
    425-222-4321
    (use your real cell number.) What will happen? Death threats from road-ragers? Random members of the opposite sex hitting on you? Do you dare to find out? It might actually be interesting, since all those thousands of drivers on the highway near you have absolutely no way to send messages to anyone around them... except to you.
     

    09/12/2004    Added "Reality Detector Goggles" to Misc Screwy Ideas  

    09/12/2004    I've been volunteering at Seattle's new UFO/Bigfoot museum.  

    09/12/2004    Added more to Childhood Brain Modification, and Toys  
    Idea for "Orbs" believers. "Orbs" are bright sphere- or disk-objects that show up when photographing cemetaries, haunted houses, etc. But many of these are simply the photoflash-illuminated dust motes or mist droplets hanging a few inches in front of the camera. The circular "orb shape" is a blurred image of a bright dot, and the shape is determined by the camera iris edge. If your camera iris is circular, the "orb" will appear as a disk, but if the iris is octagonal, the orb will look like an octagon. Ooo, idea! To settle the matter, place an opaque object on your camera lens! E.g. stick a thin slice of black electric tape across the lens. Or even make an "X shape" from thin tape slices. Now whenever you photograph a bright, small, blurred object such as a dust mote, the dark strips of tape will show up in the bright circular "orb image." On the other hand, if the "orb" is real, and is large and distant from the camera, you'll see no shadow-image of the opaque tape cutting across the "orb." Presto: any possible "orbs" can be instantly separated from the dust-mote images; the real orbs won't have a big fuzzy "X" across them. Also see some more ghost hunting suggestions.  

    08/27/2004    Adding more to Why Airfoils Are Hard To Understand  

    08/26/2004    Hey, should I start using some blog software, so passerbys can comment on these entries and turn this into an entire forum? The "slashdot of science?"  

    08/20/2004    Oops, forgot to add this here: Pykcrete: making the ice which does not melt.  

    07/22/2004    Working on: What is laser "coherence? (VERY under construction)  
    I never really understood laser "coherence." While working on science museum exhibits, I found that books were full of mistaken explanations. Over the years I've noticed that even the advanced textbooks get it wrong. They talk as if laser coherence is caused by stimulated emission. Nope. The laser-medium amplifies light. But if you give it some incoherent light, it will only amplify it while preserving the incoherence. But then why do lasers emit coherent light? I finally figured it out. It's because the laser mirrors cause the laser to behave as a near-perfect "point source." As light bounces between the mirrors, any light which doesn't seem to come from a single tiny point will eventually wander away and be lost off the edge of the mirrors, while any light which DOES come from one tiny point will keep bouncing and be amplified. Get two parallel mirrors and look into the "infinite tunnel." Only light that comes from the distant "infinite" point will avoid crashing into the walls of the tunnel. (How many physicists or even laser researchers know that laser coherence is caused by the laser cavity? Textbooks teach that it's caused by individual atoms, by "in-phase emission!) 
    07/17/2004    Added Complaints of suppression are not Conspiracy Theories  

    07/13/2004    Massive ISP server crash, things being restored from backups  

    07/12/2004    Added Bigger Better Balls, M. Crowley's paper on easy ball-lightning , also Easiest Ball Lightning Yet  

    07/12/2004    Added lots more "things" to Childhood Brain Modification tricks page  

    07/09/2004    Added a GIF anim, a Fake Live Webcam  

    WSCI: Demented idea, INBOX POETRY: send a string of blank
    WSCI: messages where the subject lines form a poem to be
    WSCI: read directly from their inbox without opening any
    WSCI: email. Send them slowly, otherwise the vagarities
    WSCI: of web traffic will jumble the order... but not TOO
    WSCI: slowly, or every other line will be the subject line
    WSCI: from some spam message. OOOoooo! Design the lines
    WSCI: of the poem to be read in ANY order, then send 'em all
    WSCI: in one glob and let the net have it's way with 'em.
    WSCI: Internet Haiku is born!
     
    07/05/2004    Animated background-GIFs are possible? Oh the humanity.  

    We live in a free country? Well, I personally know two science people who've been raided in the last five years. One was invaded by the local cops because they decided that his home lab was a "crack lab." Another was raided by the FBI after they decided he was a child pornographer. They of course found nothing at all in either case. And in past years the state of California tried to make it illegal for individuals to own chemistry glassware. And now the guy below is hassled for having biology lab equipment at home. This crap is DANGEROUS. I'm not very political, but I know exactly who is the poster-child for the highly ignorant "dark forces" pouring fecal matter on the US constitution. I advise any science-hobby people in the USA to think very carefully about this trend before casting votes in the upcoming election. Consider writing your elected official. So few people do this, that if you decide to write, your voice will have an unusually large impact.  
    BAD NEWS: FBI GOES AFTER A SCIENCE-ARTIST | Cops tackle, cuff scientist for being in woods
    Forum | WIRED story | CSM Article | TV coverage
    Defense fund | More news | "Free Range Grain"
     
    -----------------
    I just bought my own overhead projector. Apparently Boeing engineers are ditching all of theirs, so they're only $25 at Boeing Surplus warehouse in Seattle; (more for the fancy collapsible portable versions.) In the past at very small conferences I've had problems because they'll set up video for laptops, yet balk at tracking down an overhead. I've always wanted one of my own. Some evolution:
    1. Dirt and a pointy stick (isn't it all we could ever want?)
    2. Clay tablet (well, it does have "save." Lacks instant-erase)
    3. Napkin (for restaurants lacking dirt floors)
    4. Chalkboard (good for audiences above 5 members)
    5. Dry-erase whiteboard (less messy than chalk)
    6. Overhead projector (for huge audiences)
    7. Powerpoint (huh! wtf! CANNOT DRAW ANYTHING?!!! )
    Powerpoint: twenty thousand years of technical advancement has given us a "chalkboard" where nobody can draw sketches or schematics while thinking out loud, or while answering audience questions. Yet NOBODY NOTICED?!!! GAH!!!!! Powerpoint is a computer-based slide projector, and cannot replace overhead viewgraphs or even chalkboards. I shudder to think what the next stage could be. And I'm even more convinced that guys like "The Iceman" with their woven grass backpacks and wickedly sharp flint weaponry were the peak of advancement, while everything afterwards has been slow creeping unnoticed degradation. :)
     
    05/15/2004    More shameless self promotion: here's my only invention for sale:
    Visible Electricity, sold by Arbor Scientific
     

    05/09/2004    Slapped together a tiny site for Seattle Outsider Artist Project S.O.A.P.  

    05/04/2004    I'm making a Seattle Links page. Abnormal resources.  

    05/08/2004    Moved microwave pyrex lava to Unwise Experiments  

    Friday, time for another Weird Science Salon, the monthly meetings at my place in Seattle. But after all these years they've finally grown too large for this small livingroom. Tonight's meeting will be at Seattle's new UFO museum, the Museum of the Mysteries, on Broadway in the the Capitol Hill region. 730PM to midnight. The usual bulk-purchase stuff will be for sale: supermagnets, levitation graphite, ferrofluid samples, scihobb bumper stickers, copper Lenz-law tubes, 7,500Vdc power supplies, etc.  

    05/07/2004    Added a bit to Physics Sermon #49  

    04/26/2004    Old article, never linked here: The Research Game  

    03/22/2004    Added On defeating shyness  

    03/22/2004    Added Nipple Cola  

    03/16/2004    The Network54 free web-forum service has unethical features: some of their popup ads take over your IE browser and install a new default homepage; an advertisement.  

    03/15/2004    Heh. Traffic in the year 2050, another traffic animation :)  

    03/03/2004    Holy creeping Capitalism Batman! It's the end of an era. Sci. Hobbyist now has BANNER ADS. But wait, there's more! The ads are run by Google, there's no graphics, and the products are somewhat chosen via the website keywords: science toys, kits, high voltage devices, etc. I'm putting most of them along the site edge like ads in a magazine. Comments? Is google an evil giant corporation? Not just yet. We'll see...  

    03/01/2004    Our group got some publicity in Seattle Times (back in Sept) Here's the photo that went with the above.  

    02/17/2004    A talking creepy billb head made by Sandra P. RATS!!! the Hanes veepers site is now dead. Try this one instead. Or this Al Jarry head talking in his infamous monosyllables.  

    Huh. If you search Google for keyword "microwave oven," guess which site is right at the top of the list?  

    NEWS FLASH: Molten lava in your microwave oven! I had a piece of volcanic glass from a science store, so I perched it on the end of a vertical metal cylinder placed in my microwave, heated it to a dull red glow with a propane torch, then turned on the oven for several minutes. A hotspot appeared on the obsidian, grew bright, then moved to the interior. After awhile the obsidian fragment glowed red again and the surface softened and cracked open, revealing a brightly glowing yellow interior which started flowing outwards. Mini lava flow! When cooled, I found that the hottest part of the melted obsidian had foamed up and turned white. Pumice! Creating pumice in your kitchen from home-made molten lava. Apparently this obsidian is full of dissolved gasses, so it must have originally cooled while still underground (under pressure) where it couldn't turn into pumice or into an ash cloud. Note that I only succeeded after removing the glass platter from the oven. With no other big absorbers in the oven, the platter was eating all the watts.

    OLDER: trying to melt pumice in a microwave oven. It does glow orange when nuked (pre-heat with propane to trigger the effect.) But only the sharp edges soften. Next to try: changing ash from Mt. St. Helens back into lava again.

    EVEN OLDER: microwave ovens can melt glass, but only if the glass is first pre-heated to dull red heat. I melted a hole in the side of a bottle by nuking it, after first heating up a small spot with a plumber's torch. I had to stop it after 60 seconds or the stream of liquid glass might touch and shatter the rotating glass platter. The bottle shattered during cooling, so wear goggles!

     

    11/12/2003    Added more to Unwise Microwave Oven Experiments: FAQ  

    10/27/2003    SCIAM SCIENCE PROJECTS ARE BACK! I fixed the links on sciam1.html so they now point to backup copies at archive.org  

    Igor says repeat this loudly over and over until your IQ drops significantly: LITTLE TINY HEAD. NO ROOM FOR BRAIN! Little TINY head. NO room for BRANE...  

    10/24/2003    Found some more interesting toys  

    Sometimes at a boring party you'll find some helium balloons used as decorations. You task is to release them from bondage. Fly! Be free! But sitting against the ceiling is not freedom. So, collect carrot sticks and celery from the food trays, tie a hunk to each balloon, trim down their strings to a minimum, then carefully nibble down the hanging vegetable until the balloon neither falls nor rises. Leave it hanging in air, and it will float annoyingly around on the air currents, or perhaps be attracted to the back of various hair-dos by electrostatic forces (especially if you've thoroughly rubbed the entire surfaces of each balloon against your arm-hair before letting it loose.) OK, Dr. Von Fronk-en-steen, now combine several mylar balloons to make a single monster duct-tape zero-gee asteroid! (See link below)  

    10/22/2003    Added Antigrav Boulder. Your pet asteroid drifts around the house.  

    The "Rijke tube" is a very strange device. Jam some metal screen into one end of a metal pipe, hold it vertically with the screen end downwards, and heat the screen with a flame. The thing starts loudly howling. The gentle convection-breeze with the hot screen acts as an audio amplifier. The howl is feedback (a longer tube makes a lower tone.) Brainstorm: inject helium or CO2 into the lower end to change the tone. Send it a sequence of gasses and it will change your gas-data stream into music. Or be boring, and just add a telescoping pipe to create a Thermal Trombone.  

    09/30/2003    Added an Excel numerical toy, a pulse-wave crawling along a power line.  

    Poor man's liquid nitrogen: chunks of dry ice in an insulated container of rubbing alcohol. Amazingly enough, many of the things you can do with liquid nitrogen are associated with its great thermal coupling power. It's a liquid, so it touches the entire surface of any object dipped within. Dry ice is cold, and SEEMS to work poorly, so most people assume that this is because it's only -110F, not -320F. Wrong. It's because dry ice is not a liquid, and any object stuck into a dry ice container is insulated by the layer of gas. It cools down, but only very slowly. So, use dry ice chunks to chill some alcohol! Then try freezing and shattering a rose or a rubber band. Make springs and chimes out of solder or lead sheets. Dip an operating LED into the stuff and watch it grow intensely bright. Some supermarkets carry dry ice (such as QFC in Seattle.) Or check your yellow pages. A buck a pound.  

    09/22/2003    Added a separate Comment Book to Electricity Questions page  

    As a kid I tried to grow crystals using table salt. But first I made a big jar of salt solution so the white stuff would settle out (salt is normally full of anti-caking agent.) But then, my salt solution ESCAPED! It crawled out and made a run for freedom. You see, salt grows crust, but the crust is wet with concentrated salt solution. So then the crust grows crust. And more crust grows on that. Within a matter of hours your jar of salt solution can grow crust on the glass which extends up the side and over the lip, and then the wet crust becomes a siphon. If the humidity is low, the salt water crawls out and forms a large pool on the floor, leaving a mysteriously empty jar. Hey, maybe this explains how battery acid can escape from your car battery and form those big white crusty things on the battery terminals.  

    08/01/2003    Always adding more to Weird Links, non-science  

    People spend years learning to sound just like Jimmy Stewart or Elvis. Why not do something far more useful: do impressions of YOURSELF, but a version of yourself who has a trachea full of Helium. Make tapes of yourself on helium, then learn to speak the same way but without any helium. Get several others together and go on the road... "Barbershop Faux Helium Singers." Maybe do some Mitch Miller numbers.  

    07/22/2003    Added PFI, a local Seattle legend, gourmet food warehouse store.  

    07/18/2003    Added Fingernails on blackboard, explained!  

    Hey, that "threadlike electric wind" phenomenon from 1998 won the Nobel prize last year. Dr. J. Fenn uses it to make a row of micro droplets each with protein molecules inside, then evaporates the water, leaving a "beam" of charged proteins which can be accelerated in a vacuum chamber and their mass determined. "Electrospray ion-trap mass spectrometry." The tiny droplets can travel at tens of MPH through the air apparently because they behave like a moving column, not like individual droplets. Nikola Tesla wanted to use liquid mercury electrospray micro-droplets accelerated by a 100 Megavolt VandeGraaff machine. He claimed that it was an effective weapon over many kilometers. Like a water-jet cutter, but with a much smaller and denser "blade."  

    06/10/2003    Adding more to How Transistors REALLY work. Also a short version.  

    If escalators are driven by standard AC motors, then as more and more people pile onto the descending escalator, finally the current phase will reverse and energy will be dumped into the power grid. The esclator's induction motor becomes a generator! The escalator lowers all those heavy flesh hunks, and the energy has to go somewhere. If you want to make a small donation to a company whose building has escalators, then walk up the stairs, but ride the escalator down.  

    06/05/2003    Experimenting with cyborg text brain implants: the RSVP speed-reading protocol. It's like text-to-speech software, but aimed at your retinas rather than ears. Disable your eyes' muscles and pour the text directly into your brain at high speed. Here are three examples done in GIF animation: slow, fast, faster. See Speeder reader museum exhibit.  

    06/04/2003    Making The Ice which does not Melt  

    05/24/2003    At long last added an actual biology section.  

    05/24/2003    Added Human IR sense detects hail? to the 'weird sci.' section. It's subjective and might not be real, so I didn't put it under 'amateur sci.'  

    Sheep mowing your lawn? Forget it! You'd have to build a barn for 'em and clean up the sheep poop. BRAINSTORM: plant your whole yard with catnip, and let the neighborhood cats keep it trimmed. Actually this might even work. I noticed that at the end of winter my flowerpot of catnip on the front porch wasn't regrowing, yet the stump had many tiny leaves. I put a cage over it and within a day there were large green shoots taking off. Neighborhood cats had kept it trimmed way back.  

    05/20/2003    Added to misconception list: a Lemon Battery can't light a bulb. This classic school science experiment actually doesn't work. It never did. Fortunately there are other things you can do with a lemon battery. Also, if you have a supercapacitor, then you can cheat.  

    04/18/2003    Found old article: making square wheels Anyone with some machine shop skills should try making a set of these things. They look really cool when made in gleaming polished acrylic. Stick them on a little axel and they'll roll smooth and silently across a glass tabletop... yet they're CUBES. The tetrahedron version looks almost as odd.  

    Where's the dividing line between "site update news" and "Blog"? Have I injected sufficient humorous comments to qualify?  

    03/30/2003    Added OK, how do wings REALLY work to the Airfoil mistake section  

    02/11/2003    Updated hoaxes page with "Radioactive Nightmare" Also "megavolt body charger." Make yourself into a human VandeGraaff generator. Use laying-on-of-hands to perform anti- healing ceremonies on cellphones and laptops.  

    The word of the day is "Serrodyne." I've heard of Heterodyne and even Superheterodyne, but "Serrodyne" is a new one on me. How could I have missed it? Simple: it's very recent. Also it's very weird: change an incoming high-freq signal's frequency by using Doppler shift! Then just add your frequency-shifted signal to the original, and then a nonlinear detector will give you a nice low-freq signal at the difference frequency. Hobbyists take note: it lets you treat a light signal as if it were a radio channel. Split any laser into several different frequencies, then put separate data streams on each!

    For a microwave signal, just pipe it through a TWT (Travelling Wave Tube) while constantly increasing the drive voltage on the electron beam. For a light signal, just constantly move one end of an optical fiber (or instead wrap the fiber around a cylinder of piezo material and then constantly increase the cylinder diameter.) This shifts the frequency by a constant value. Mix it with the original, shine it on a photodiode, and you've moved a piece of the optical spectrum down into the radio spectrum! Pretty cool, eh? Serrodyne lets you treat light as if it were radio frequency.

    Of course you can't keep up the constant change forever, and that's where the "Serro" part comes in. Just move things in a sawtooth wave. Give your optical fiber constant drift in order to create doppler shift, but every so often jump it back to the start. Except for those brief jumps, the signal frequency will end up shifted. In other words, you've created "Serrated heterodyne."

     

    02/07/2003   Updated misconceptions list with why do clouds float? Clouds DON'T stay up there because the droplets are small, or because they're so light that existing updrafts can lift them. They stay up there because the air inside the cloud is warm. Oh, and why is the sky blue? Simple answer, but not one I've ever seen in any book.  

    12/28/2002   Added Drawing Holograms By Hand (2003), presented at SPIE Imaging conference. I actually submitted a paper to a science journal. It's just a conference proceedings, but still. Last thing I "published" was around 1980 as a coauthor on an instrumentation design for vision studies.  

    
    09/03/02  Added IR filter-goggles, $10
              These really do work.  Greenery in the landscape looks very weird.
              They let you see right through certain types of black IR filter.
              Be careful though, it might not be wise to use them without good 
              solid UV protection.
    
    06/12/02  Added Dishonest Argument section to Closedminded Science
              During the next flamewar you can point out all your opponents'
              illegal ploys.  Or not.  "Never argue with an idiot.  They just
              drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience."
    
    06/07/02  Added more to Electricity Misconceptions
    
    06/06/02  Added Humans can sense THERMAL infrared?
    
    05/07/02  Added  Local Seattle Tech Jobs
              During job-search I couldn't find a good Seattle jobs portal with
              all these company pages.  So I made a primitive one.
    
    05/07/02  Writing Ridiculed Discoverers, a list
              Aimed at those people who are certain that scientific concensus
              never makes mistakes, certain that crazy claims in science are 
              never proved valid in later decades.
    
    04/??/02  Added Twenty Scientific Attitudes from 1/1990 Rational Enq.
    
    04/28/02  Added more to Skeptic Fallacies: They Laughed at the Wright Brothers
              Three very common arguments I constantly encounter in online 
              Skeptic forums.
    
    04/28/02  Found an old article of mine: Watts, Ohms, Volts, and Amps
              Two things flow in wires: charge and energy...  but they are 
              deeply interconnected via voltage and Ohm's law.
    
    04/23/02  Updated the High-voltage diodes and coil-winding page
    
    02/23/02  Sorted the UNUSUAL PHENOMENA archive
    
    02/08/02  Added some ebay sections to Electronics Hobbyist
    
    11/17/01  Merged the english text into  Grebennikov insect-antigrav book chapter
              Best crackpot article I've ever seen!  It has all the earmarks of 
              a genuine discovery.  That, or the guy spins a very believable 
              tale.  Biological nanostructures which harness undiscovered 
              elements of gravitational physics!  Since he kept the "antigrav" 
              insect species name secret, we'll never know if it was real.
    
    10/30/01  Fixed up weird newsgroups
    
    08/20/01  Added Brief testing of the Morton Effect
              I couldn't reproduce his claims.  But then later I realized that 
              my VDG machine has the wrong polarity.  I'll have to take it 
              apart someday and reverse the rollers.
    
    08/16/01  Update to carbon-to-iron experiment
              Alchemy!  heresy!  Striking an arc between big carbon blocks
              apparently creates a form of stainless steel, but without the
              usual problem of "radioactive grad students" or even 
              incandescent chickens.
    
    08/11/01  Added How do Transistors Work?
              No, how do they REALLY work.  What if we don't trust textbooks, 
              but instead figure out the physics from first principles?  This 
              is the "Babylonian" method espoused by Feynman (as opposed to 
              the Euclidian math-worshipping method used by contemporary 
              science.)
    
    08/09/01  Old article: "Bions, leukocytes, and floaters"
              Wilhelm Reich's "orgone energy" is partly based on a misperception;
              strange wigglers in the environment are actually inside your eye.
    
    07/05/01  Added GIF diagrams to Tesla's Greatest Mistake
              He used the Earth as a giant waveguide for 5KHz power transmission.
    
    05/30/01  Got Adobe Atmosphere? (free!)  Try FREUDIAN
              Ever wanted to try building 3D objects?  Or wondered whether the www 
              of the future will be holographic?  Get in on the ground floor!  The 
              free beta software lets you make complicated 3D objects and then 
              publish them on the web as 3D 'worlds.'   Make your own online science 
              museum or sculpture gallery.  Best of all, there's a realtime chat 
              server, and your users can see each other!
    
    04/07/01  Playing with Adobe's Virtual Reality beta plugin & worlds
    
    04/04/01  Added entries to Electricity Misconceptions
    
    03/20/01  Added a CUPPA BURNING PLASMA to  microwave demos
              Your microwave oven can create a pool of fluorescent gas.  Poke at it 
              quantum mechanically with salt grains.  It gets fiercely hot though, 
              and can shatter your Pyrex glassware.
    
    03/18/01  Added a graph of leakage for a small gravcap test (no thrust!)
    
    03/04/01  Added a couple of GIF drawings to INLINE KELVIN'S THUNDERSTORM
              Make high voltage with no moving parts except dribbling water.
    
    01/30/01  Added Ultra-simple hovercraft plans.
              These blower-driven plates can lift immense weights.  We piled on as 
              many kids as would fit, yet the darned things still glided along.
    
    01/28/01  Added photos to BEHAVIOR INSTRUCTIONS  Skull awareness!
              Slowly, ever slowly my text-only prejudice is eroding...
    
    01/25/01  Added more answers to My Answers at Madsci
    
    01/05/01  Tesla's Shade whispers: "Coupled Oscillators."   OoooooOOoo.
              The last wisps of summertime visionary experience still stun.
    
    02/17/00  More Energy Suction [LINK WAS BAD]
              What can yuh do with a drunken photon?
    
    12/25/00  Added Energy: a property?  Or a substance?
    
    12/22/00  Added FPD: Newsgroup flaming as  mental illness
    
    12/18/00  Added crude diagrams to Capacitor Complaints
    
    12/10/00  Added WHERE in the circuit does energy flow? (lots o' pictures!)
    
    11/20/00  Added Right Angle Circuitry
    
    11/14/00  Added animation to Flight Analogy
    
    11/11/00  Added more to Interesting Toys
    
    07/22/00  Added Airfoil Explanations
    
    07/22/00  Added an exerpt from TEXTBOOKS FLUNK OUT
    
    06/30/00  Added 'Squealing wall' laser demonstration
    
    06/27/00  Added Subtle Energy as structured white-noise
    
    06/01/00  Sorted the UNUSUAL PHENOMENA archive
    
    05/13/00  Added Smoke Ring Animation
    
    03/31/00  FOOD FOR THOUGHT: How can long EM waves be sent through a tiny hole?
    
    03/25/00  New report of a success with "gravity capacitor".  To follow 
              the discussion, see escribe.  To see how to subscribe to this 
              forum, see the FREENRG-L page.
    
    03/25/00  Added Pure Horganism to Closeminded Science section
    
    03/16/00  Major "energy-sucking antenna" debate on the SCI.PHYSICS.ELECTROMAG
              and the SCI.ELECTRONICS.DESIGN newsgroups caused me to add
              this simplified analysis of the "small resonant antenna"
              phenomenon.
    
    03/07/00 Added a new page: INTERESTING TOYS
    
    02/20/00 A freeware "traffic waves" screensaver sent to me. (.SCR for MS-WIN)
    
    02/17/00 More Energy Suction
    
    12/30/99 Added more stuff to What Is Electricity? and FAQ
    
    11/16/99 Added an animation to traffic experiments
    
    10/26/99 Added High-speed blimp-vortex, a silly idea.
    
     9/25/99 Added WHO REALLY INVENTED "LEVITRON?"&
    
     9/25/99 Added Levitron& and dishonesty
    
     09/20/99 Added Nerd/Misfit Resources and Don't blow up your school
    
     09/18/99 Added Cognitive Processes and Science-suppression
    
     09/17/99 Added Crackpot Theory the 3rd: "Invisible Wall" acoustic effect
    
     09/08/99 Added Crackpot Theory the 2nd: Energy-sucking Quantum Electrodynamics
    
     09/08/99 Added VDG WEIRDNESS: The Morton Effect
    
     09/01/99 Added WEIRD STUFF: anti-chirp scalar wave for Star Trek 'force field'
    
     09/01/99 Added Publicize inventions via "infection"
    
     09/01/99 Added UPDATE: Vector-potential free-energy device idea!
    
     08/29/99 Added My first crackpot theory: vector-potential energy source
    
     07/30/99 Added Energy-sucking radio antennas
    
     06/27/99 Added Tesla's Big Mistake
    
     06/15/99 Added Benveniste's "water memory" send over wires
    
     05/28/99 Started a new discussion group for Amateur Science: SCICLUB-LIST
    
     05/17/99 Boston Globe article: TEXTBOOKS FLUNK OUT
    
     05/13/99 Added Exploding Coffee Water to Microwave oven page
    
     05/13/99 Old file that I never put on miscons page: Capacitor Complaint
    
     04/14/99 Started an Electricity FAQ [UNDER CONST.]
    
     04/12/99 More about What is Voltage [STILL UNDER CONST.]
    
     03/30/99 Added Electricity is not a form of energy!
    
     03/25/99 Added The difference between "current" and "static"
    
     02/25/99 Added Evolution Heresy
    
     02/15/99 Updated Ion Experiments (untried, suggested experiments.)
    
     02/05/99 Added "Static Electric" means "HIGH VOLTAGE"
    
     02/05/99 Worked on FAQ: Why I'm involved in Fringe Science.
    
     02/04/00 Added Weird science IS perception.
    
     02/02/99 Added LINKS: The Amateur Scientist column at SciAm magazine
    
     01/31/99 Added Physics Sermon
    
     01/30/99 Added more "abhorrence" to Abhorrent ideas in Science
    
     01/22/99 Added What a Shocking career!
    
     01/21/99 Added Fringe-sci and Crackpots and Breakthroughs, Oh My!
    
     01/18/99 Added a couple of Torsion-waves papers to Spin Waves page.
    
     12/26/98 Added hardware diagram to "Electrostatic Air Threads" page.
    
     12/20/98 New DOMAIN NAME: http://amasci.com = http:/www. amasci. com/
    
      Just remember "AMASCI".  No more of that "eskimo ,dot, com, slash,
      tilde... you know, *tilde*, the spanish "enya," that little squiggle
      thing, the one over the backwards apostrophe key? OK? ..then billb, with
      two L's, NO, NOT billD, billB, with a "B" as in "boy,"  ...etc.
    
     12/14/98 Added Commercial sources links page for electrostatic generators
    
     12/07/98 Fixed up THE END OF SCIENCE
    
     12/06/98 Added 'Gotchas', antigravity experimental artifacts
    
     12/03/98 Late notice: added FREE STUFF for teachers links
    
     11/28/98 Added PARASCIENCE VS. PSEUDOSCIENCE
    
     11/27/98 Broke my Quotes Collection loose from Closeminded
    
     11/26/98 Added Feynman book links to Feynman Page
    
     11/26/98 Addition to Audio Illusion
    
     11/25/98 Added WEIRD NEWSGROUPS
    
     11/08/98 Added ALT.SCI.AMATEUR
    
     10/28/98 Sorted the UNUSUAL PHENOMENA archive
    
     10/25/98 Weeded dead links & organized Electronics Hobbyist page
    
      10/8/98 Added newsgroup links to sci. ed. groups, sci. amateur groups, 
              and homeschooling page
    
      9/24/98 Added Skeptics Links page to WEIRD SCIENCE
    
      9/13/98 Added AIP Misconceptions List to the Miscon Page
    
      7/13/98 Added TRAFFIC EXPERIMENTS
    
      7/8/98 Added TRAFFIC JAM CURE
    
      6/27/98 Added You'll go Blind!
    
      6/18/98 Added a Site Map (this is a big site, eh?  Large, even.)
    
      6/5/98 Bookstore: Buy books, help out THE SCIENCE CLUB
    
      6/6/98 Added Mysterious Electrostatic Air-threads
    
      6/2/98 Added Science Museum Exhibits addable database
    
      6/2/98 Made The Instructions into an addable database
    
     5/25/98 Added What is Voltage [UNDER CONST.]
    
     5/22/98 Added Ion Experiments (untried, suggested experiments.)
    
      5/1/98 Added Anti-spam resources
    
      5/8/98 Added VandeGraaff Generator Debugging
    
      5/4/98 Added Edu Newsgroups collected links to Dejanews service
    
      5/1/98 Added The DISGUSTO-SCOPE, a reprehensible use of innocent optical physics
    
     4/25/98 Added Mark Rehorst's Building Electrostatic Loudspeakers
    
     4/25/98 Added SCIENCE DISCUSSIONS to AMATEUR SCI.
    
      4/1/98 Added The Instructions
    
      4/3/98 Added a Comment Book to Miscon page
    
     3/14/98 Figured out Dejanews archive access, added 
             one to Closeminded (see Philosophizin')
    
     3/11/98 Started MADSCI ANSWERS page, answers I submitted to the 
             "Ask a Scientist" project.
    
      3/8/98 Started Spin Waves, about a little-known backwater in physics 
             which might explain Psi, also 'free energy' and antigrav reports.
    
     3/5/98 Started Who's Who in Frontier Physics
    
     2/25/98 Added more stuff to site FAQ
    
     2/23/98 Response about "abundance" chain-letters
    
     2/22/98 Added "Am I just a pedantic science-nitpicker?" to Misconceptions page
    
     2/21/98 Added Todd Knudtson "Brown's Gas" article
    
     2/21/98 Added Abhorrant Ideas in Science to Closeminded.
    
     2/19/98 Added a SEARCHpage, w/sorted list of most popular pages here
    
     2/14/98 Added PHYSL's Textbook Misconceptions List
    
     1/31/98 Added NEGATIVE ION GENERATOR to ELECTROSTATIC MOTOR
    
     1/30/98 Added some explanation to Mechanical Maglev
    
     1/27/98 Added TRAFFIC WAVES
    
     1/08/98 Added more to Vandegraaff Explanations (w/GIFs), and a VDG FAQ
    
     1/04/98 Added Science/Spiritual section to Weird Science
    
    12/01/97 Added Balloon Analogy to Wings Misconception Page
    
    11/30/97 Updated edu.html with Science Lesson Plans links
    
    11/16/97 Added THAT WHICH IS NOT SO...  YET
    
    10/25/97 Added HOW *SHOULD* WE TEACH ELECTRICITY? 
    
    10/12/97 Added KEEPING YOUR BEAD ON THE WIRE to Closeminded Science
    
    10/4/97  Accidental rm of dir. /weird, mostly restored now
            ( any new URL additions to Weird Sci. page were lost)
            I need to build a kicking machine like in coyote/roadrunner,
            to gently remind myself not to use rm *.*
    
    9/15/97  Working on Dry Ice Demos
    
    8/31/97  Started a Free Energy FAQ
    
    8/31/97  Redid Science Misconceptions, added an index.
    
    8/23/97  Added Vortex Cannons
    
    8/21/97  Added Antibubbles!
    
    8/16/97  Added Prometheus Game
    
    8/11/97  Remembered to add here: Crackpot Inventor's Rules
    
    8/11/97  Added Screwy Ideas Archive
    
    7/31/97  Digests at eskimo.com are malfunctioning, including freenrg-digest
    
    7/24/97  Added "Acoustimagnetoelectricism" to Misconceptions page
    
    7/16/97  Added Pseudoscience to Closeminded Sci.
    
    7/14/97  Added Ridiculously sensitive charge detector
    
    7/9/97  Added The Electricity Map
    
    6/28/97  Added Lens vs. Pinhole to Miscons page.
    
    6/16/97  Created Chemistry and magnetism page.
    
    6/8/97  Created ELECTRICITY ARTICLES page
    
    5/22/97 Added They Laughed at the Wright Brothers to Closeminded Science
    
    4/9/97  Added Flowing "static electricity", Enlarged Site FAQ
    
    4/7/97  Added Hum Notes, Hum References, and
            Bristol Hum to the Taos Hum Page
    
    4/5/97   Bill B. on the Laura Lee radio show on alternative science.
             Topic: the "Taos Hum".  Go to TSTRADIO for realaudio archive
            (warning: after free demo time, costs $$)
    
    3/28/97  Added A germ theory of education
    
    3/25/97  Added Heretic's booklist to Closeminded Science
    
    3/15/97  Added Hints for building electrostatic devices
    
    3/15/97  Added a site FAQ.
    
    3/14/97  Enlarged the Seattle Weird Sci. Hobbyists page
    
    3/9/97   Enlarged Sticky Electrostatics
    
    3/5/97   Enlarged the LED explanation article
    
    3/4/97   Enlarged the Hologram Hints page
    
    2/23/97  Added What is a VDG
    
    2/23/97  Added Tornado Chamber
    
    1/17/97  Added Tampere Replication and Test Ideas to Antigravity Page
    
    1/15/97  Added Gravity distortion viewer to Not your average const. project
    
    1/8/97   Added  Audio Absorber to Not your average const. project
    
    12/25/96 Merry X-mass!  Added UFO Binoculars to Not your average const. project
    
    12/15/96 Added Swartz editorial on lift calc. to Bernoulli Misconception page
    
    12/14/96 Added "ice skate" misconception to K-6 Misconceptions page
    
    12/7/96  Created Webpage Flaws page
    
    12/7/96  Created a separate Plasma Sphere page
    
    12/7/96  Extended Sparks & Lightning article
    
    11/30/96 Extended my Homopolar Generator article
    
    11/17/96 Added SPEED OF ELECTRICITY  article to misconceptions page
    
    11/17/96 Started Science Fair Ideas Exchange
    
    10/27/96 Started Airfoil Misconception page
    
    10/26/96 Started small Richard Feynman page for bookmarks
    
    10/18/96 Started SCIENCE EXHIBITS bulletin board (unused, now deleted.)
    
    10/18/96 Started science exhibits discussion WEBHEAD-L
    
    10/16/96 eskimo.com off the net.  Any mail lost?
    
     9/26/96 Added Maverick versus Conventional Science (to Closeminded Sci.)
    
     9/25/96 Bill B. on the Laura Lee radio show on alternative science.
             Topic: Science ridicule of new ideas, infectious textbook errors,
             drawing holograms by hand.  Go to TSTRADIO for realaudio
             archive (warning: after free demo time, costs $$)
    
     9/18/96 Created REPORT YOUR UNUSUAL PHENOMENA subpage
    
     9/18/96 Created guestbooks for main page, Taos Hum, and kids expt's.
    
     9/14/96 Created ANTIGRAVITY subpage
    
     9/13/96 eskimo.com router crash, WWW and mail no work.  Incoming and
             outgoing email vanishes.
    
     8/31/96 Added SCIENTIFIC CENSORSHIP AND EVOLUTION to 'Closeminded Sci'
    
     8/31/96 Added THE RESEARCH GAME: RULES to 'Closeminded Sci'
    
     8/6/96  eskimo.com Listproc is hung up.  No list messages since Sun nite,
             staff fixed it late tuesday nite.  Looks like those messages may
             be lost.
    
     8/4/96  Connected a Pop Bottle Motor to a bundt-pan Waterdrop Generator
             for the first time.  Igor, IT LIVES!  The motor turns a couple of
             revs and discharges the generator, silently charges up for about
             20 seconds, then repeats.  Things to try: it might be persuaded
             to run continuously by installing 20KV diodes in series with the
             wires to the inducer rings, so that shorting the generator output
             doesn't discharge the rings instantly.
    
     8/3/96  Added lots of links to the "Asking Science questions" site.
    
     5/27/96 Created "Ball Lightning" subpage.
    
     2/17/96 Drew more diagrams, gave the Wing Lift Misconception its own page.
    
     2/7/96  Created Vandegraaf and Static Electricity subpage.
    
     8/95    Added New Theories, Scorn, and Derision
    
     7/23/95 Uploaded some 1993 PCBs and schematics for my "flowing electricity" 
             museum exhibit device "Visible Electricity"
    
     5/8/95  Putting another invention into public domain: my old Hall-effect, 
            Lift-from-below, maglev device, also rotary-tubes motor maglev
    
     3/19/95 Drew some msPaint diagrams and uploaded "K6 Science Misconceptions"
             article I'd written for Boston Museum of Science back in 88-89.
    
    __________________________ LONG AGO _______________________________
    3/95    Met Mike Huffman, mad inventor.  Started a temporary majordomo
            list for discussing his device, calling it Vortex-L.
    
    01/95   There aren't any good Tesla Coil pages.  Only fan pages for that
            rock band.  Guess I'll have to make one myself.
    
    12/94   Uploaded some keelynet files called "MRA DEVICE," and spread
            some announcements on various newsgroups.  The resulting flamewar
            on alt.sci.fusion and sci.physics continued for weeks!
    
    11/94   Uploaded some old MOS Boston  science museum exhibit notes: 
            weird devices I conceived but never actually built, other than
            some crude prototypes.
    
    10/94   Moved over to netcom.com, then put up a crude "science club" 
            website on halcyon.com.  Figured out how to use NCSA MOSAIC 
            freeware.  Downloaded Winsock shareware from that guy in Australia 
            (but didn't pay for it until like 2009!  Created a webpage on 
            eskimo.com called Amateur Science, typed in some old science 
            museum ideas, schematics, etc.  Uploaded 10meg of Keelynet 
            files and started "Weird Science."  Convinced Yanoff, Virttual 
            Library, and some guys on Stanford "akebono" to list my page.  
            Those were the days, huh?
    
    ??/93   Heard about a service in Seattle called "Connected dot com" which 
            gave real internet access for only $30 per month (at 2400baud!!!!)  
            I think my addr was billb@connected.com.  Then I noticed that I 
            wasn't getting billed.  And when I missed payments, nothing
            happened!  I contacted other users on the Connected Newsgroups and 
            found that nobody else was receiving bills either.  I later heard 
            that the whole userbase at connected.com simply stopped paying.  
            Then the Sheriff's  department raided the ISP and shut it 
            down, confiscating all the hardware (which apparently was stolen 
            property.)  Ah, the internet.   It was already the internet, back
            before it even really had become the internet.
    
    ??/92   Discovered a secret "hole" that gave free internet access!!!
            This was a big deal back in 1992. On the BBS card catalog for the 
            Seattle Public Library dialup service there was a search for
            periodicals, but the search window was something called "Gopher" 
            which then led off into a vast network of other sites.  After 
            discovering this thing called "Archie", I could find sites that 
            accessed something called "Usenet Newsgroups."   I wasted months 
            searching around in all that stuff.  I REALLY wanted to learn how
            to write my own Gopher "hypertext" pages with links to other sites.
            Too bad Gopher didn't have pictures.  Now THAT would have been 
            a good idea: image hypertext like Gopher was, but with graphic 
            images!  Why, that would let people publish their own free 
            textbooks.  People could display anything they wanted, and the 
            whole world could come and look at it!  What if billions of people 
            could poke around in your filing cabinet?  What would you put in 
            it for them to find?
    
    ??/89   On Compuserve, remember the SCIENCE FORUM?  I was [71241,3623], 
            hanging out and arguing about Pons Fleischman "CF," the airfoil
            fallacy, and other such terribly important topics.
    
    
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