Category Archives: Tools

What you need to get your science done.

Borax Bead And Flame Tests

You can perform simple qualitative analysis to detect certain metals in various substances using borax bead, and flame tests. The inoculating loop for these tests is very easy to make. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Chemistry, Experimentation, Geology, Research Tools, Tools | 1 Comment

Open Access publishing initiative, SCOAP3, to start on 1 January 2014

With the support of partners in 24 countries[2], a vast fraction of scientific articles in the field of High-Energy Physics will become Open Access at no cost for any author: everyone will be able to read them; authors will retain copyright; and generous licenses will enable wide re-use of this information. Continue reading…

Posted in Breaking News, Nuclear, Open Science, Open Source, Physics, Publishing, Research Tools, Tools | 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

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

Wanted: Raspberry Pi Columnist(s)

Image: PC Magazine

CSL is looking for one or more people who are conversant in using Raspberry Pi and other types of microcontrollers who would like to share their expertise and enthusiasm with our readers. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Community, Computer Science, CSL News, DIY, Electronics, Engineering, Instrumentation, Invention, Makers and Making, Open Science, Open Source, Publishing, Research Tools, Software, Tools | Leave a comment

A Simply Constructed Gas Generator

Figure 3. Completely assembled gas generator and wash bottle. (click image to enlarge)

Among the automatic gas generators on the market there are few within reach of the average experimenter. To meet this condition, Prof. C. D. Dilts has recently developed a generator which may be easily and cheaply constructed. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Chemistry, DIY, Experimentation, History of Science, Machine Shop, Makers and Making, Projects, Safety, Tools, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Doppler Shift

Most of us have used the Doppler effect unconsciously to estimate the speed of a car that approached quickly from behind. The sound of the approaching car has a higher pitch than the sound as the car leaves you behind. Continue reading…

Posted in Acoustics, Experimentation, History of Science, Physics, Science Education, Tools | 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

Apps That Turn Citizens into Scientists

Smartphones can automate data collection and incorporate many important data-gathering functions—such as capturing images, audio and text—into a single tool that can “stamp” the date, time and geographic coordinates associated with an observation. Continue reading…

Posted in Activism, Community, Environment, General Interest, Instrumentation, Measurement, Observation, Research Tools, Tools | Leave a comment

Truly Boring Little Projects & Shop Chores


Here are a few details of the “little projects” and shop chores that tend to occupy my time between longer-term “big projects”. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Rocketry, Best Practices, Energy, General Interest, Invention, Machine Shop, Metal Working, Rocketry, Safety, Tools, Uncategorized | 2 Comments