Author Archives: admin

The Texas Stream Team

My participation on the Irving Green Advisory Board has made me aware of how little I know about the environmental aspects and activities of Irving, Texas. To remedy this, I’m taking advantage of every opportunity to get involved in local activities. Continue reading…

Posted in Community, Environment, General Interest, Measurement, Nature Study, Observation, Projects, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Safe Source of High Current

The pistol-grip soldering gun, typified by the style originally offered by the Weller Company, makes a very convenient source of current. The soldering gun is, in effect, a power transformer with a large ratio of primary to secondary turns, and very heavy secondary windings. Continue reading…

Posted in Electricity, Electronics, Invention, Machine Shop, Safety, Tools | Leave a comment

Nuclear Fission and Radioactive Fallout: Fukushima samples retested 2 years later

Gamma spectrum analysis with simple equipment can differentiate fallout from weapons vs. reactors; it can tell if the fission was via uranium or by plutonium, tell the relative age of the sample or determine certain environmental conditions at the time of release. Continue reading…

Posted in Breaking News, Environment, General Interest, Instrumentation, Measurement, Nuclear, Observation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Smithsonian Science, a Thought Experiment, and a Citizen Science Challenge

When you consider the field of citizen science you probably think of it as something you do by collecting data, taking pictures, finding plants or animals, or uploading sightings. There’s a new form of citizen science emerging called a “thought experiment.” Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Best Practices, Biology, Education, Environment, General Interest | Leave a comment

DIY Titration Lab Ware

Titration is the process of determining the unknown concentration of a solution by adding a known amount of a solution with a known concentration. For example, in an acid-base titration, you can determine the unknown concentration of an acid in a solution by adding a base solution of known concentration. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Chemistry, Education, Experimentation, Measurement, Research Tools, Safety | Leave a comment

A Cheap, Quick, and Dirty SDR Radio

SDR dongle

A new computer TV tuner came on the market a few years ago. The computer “dongle” (NOT dangle, for those of you with dirty minds) allowed European users to tune their TV on a computer. But… it also contained troubleshooting mode that allowed tuning radio signals for Software Defined Radio or SDR. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Radio, Computer Science, DIY, Electronics, Instrumentation, Makers and Making, Software, Tools | Leave a comment

Make Your Own Sodium

For the amateur who would like to experiment with this reactive metal a pound is a rather large quantity to keep on hand or dispose of safely. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Chemistry, DIY, Projects, Pyrotechnics, Safety, Tips | Leave a comment

Whatta ya going to do know?

What’s with that title? It’s a question I have asked for as long as I can remember. This question has been put forth at radio astronomy conferences and talks I’ve given over the years. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Radio, Amateur Science, Astronomy, Best Practices, History of Science, Instrumentation, Measurement, Observation, Publishing, Space | Leave a comment

Airship Hindenburg: Experimental study of the involvement of the outer covering paint (dope) in the disastrous final fire

A theory that has gained wide popular acceptance proposes that the paint on the fabric covering of the Hindenburg, rather than its highly flammable hydrogen gas, was both the source of ignition and the driving force behind the conflagration. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Aviation, Chemistry, Engineering, Experimentation, General Interest, History of Science, Pyrotechnics | Leave a comment

The Instant Microscope: Just add water

While reading about the history of single-lens microscopes, I came across an interesting design called the water drop microscope. In these instruments, a single drop of water suspended beneath the perimeter of a small hole forms the lens. Continue reading…

Posted in Biology, DIY, History of Science, Instrumentation, Microbiology, Microscopy, Nature Study, Optics, Tools | Leave a comment