Category Archives: General Interest

Something for everyone, one and all.

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

“Earthrise” from the Moon, Animated

Another iconic (literally) moment was the capture of this photo, which came to define an entire new–there’s just no other way to say it–worldview. Continue reading…

Posted in Astronomy, DIY, General Interest, History of Science, Observation, Optics, Photography, Space | 1 Comment

Citizen Science Musings: The Scientific Art of Roger Hayward

Part of that story involves one of the lesser-known characters in that story, an extremely gifted artist and amateur scientist named Roger Hayward. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Citizen Science Musings, DIY, General Interest, History of Science, Invention, Machine Shop, Makers and Making, Physics, Publishing, Stories, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Report: Shelf-life of Scientific Data is Now Twenty Years


A biologist at the University of British Columbia says 80 per cent of data by today’s scientists is lost within 20 years, a victim of digital storage. Continue reading…

Posted in Best Practices, Computer Science, General Interest, History of Science, Measurement, Observation, Open Science, Open Source, Publishing, Software, Tools | 2 Comments

This Week at Hilton Pond (1-7 December 2013)—#585—“Wandering White-throat: A Long-lived Sparrow Meets Its Demise”

Figure 1. White-throated Sparrows, Zonotrichia albicollis (see photo), breed primarily in Canada, but many individuals migrate to the southern U.S. to spend the winter. (Photo copyright Bill Hilton Jr.)

Ever wonder why I devote so much time, energy, and thought to bird banding? In part it’s for the rush (and scientific validation) I get when notified one of “my” banded birds has been encountered at a faraway locale. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Biology, General Interest, Nature Study, Observation, Ornithology, Photography, Wildlife | 1 Comment

The Marvelous Writer Automaton

This is an incredible example of 18th century automaton technology; a model of a small boy that can write with a quill pen. Moreover, the words it writes can be “programmed” into it, making it a very distant ancestor of the modern computer. Continue reading…

Posted in Computer Science, General Interest, History of Science, Invention, Uncategorized | 1 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

ISON Fizzle? Maybe Not

Comet ISON appears as a white smear heading up and away from the sun on Thursday, November 28. Scientists initially thought the comet had been disintegrated by the sun, but images suggest a small nucleus may still be intact. Image: CNN

It now looks like some chunk of ISON’s nucleus has indeed made it through the solar corona, and re-emerged. It’s throwing off dust and (probably) gas, but we don’t know how long it can sustain that. Continue reading…

Posted in Astronomy, Breaking News, General Interest, Instrumentation, Measurement, Observation, Photography, Space | Leave a comment

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

An Interview with Buckminster Fuller

This interview in 1974 is considered by many to be his best. We offer it as a little something to ponder on the past and future of science and our society. Continue reading…

Posted in Community, Engineering, Environment, Evolution, General Interest, History of Science, Invention, Uncategorized | Leave a comment