Author Archives: tom

My name is Tom and I am a computer scientist and armature physicist. I hope you enjoy my website and share my interest in all science. A real scientist should have an interest in ALL sciences and at least basic knowledge of each school of science. Sciences relate to each other.

Professional Background

Computer System Architecture.
Processor Theory and Architecture.
Network Design and Exotic Routing.
Scientific Programming (Modeling of Natural Systems).
Assembly for the x86 Processor.
UNIX/Linux Administration.
Network Engineering.
Web Design (to include server/client side scripting and DOM)
3D Graphics (Specializing in Ray Tracing and Vector Geometry)


Physics (Particle, Quantum, String, Heuristics specifically).
Mesolithic and Neolithic Cultures.
Proto-Endo-Europeans (PIE).
Fantasy (Elves and Dark Elves in particular).
Pictish Culture of Ancient Scotland
Geology (Florescent Minerals and Silicates mostly)

Known Languages

English (Fluent)
Latin (limited)
Navajo (limited)
Russian (learning)

Computer Languages

Primary: ANSI C, C++, Java, Java2 Swing, VB, Assembly x86, XHTML, HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP.
Secondary: VBS, VRML, Perl, BASH, BASIC, Machine for most CPU’s (can do!).

Countries Visited

USA (nearly every state + Navajo Nation)
Canada (Quebec, Nova Scotia)
Baltic (sea)
England (Many times)
Scotland (Many times)
France (Too many times…)
Bahamas (Many times)

How I learned Science

But Tom, you don’t have a degree in physics… How can you know all of these science things? (I am actually working towards a master’s in physics) When I was a child my mother, while attending university for her doctorate, left me for hours in the university library. I spent lots of time with books of a non-fiction background. At about age seven I took up an interest in nuclear science, though I only understood the concepts. By about age eight or nine I was building nuclear reactors from Legos, complete with fuel rods, generators, safety systems, and occasional Godzilla attacks. For my second grade science project I built a working VTOL, twin engine, rotor craft. My mother wouldn’t pay for real props so I had to deal with paper. As a result it would never fly, but it had motors and circuitry.

Over the next twenty-four years I have spent nearly every day learning and thinking about all forms of science, from biology to astronomy. You might call it neurotic, but when I am in the shower I think about more efficient reactors, when I am driving to work I wonder about plasma, when I am on my white board (lunch break) I calculate the time it would take to reach the nearest star. You get the idea… I have no degree in physics, but I have studied it every single day for twenty-four years (365*24=8760 days!).

Why I like Science

I must understand how EVERYTHING works from the ground up. If I see anything, and I cannot explain how it works from top to bottom, I feel anxious and worried. Yes, that suggests mental troubles lol, but it is true. I can tell you how my tea is made, the chemicals in it, the structure of their atoms, the string filaments which create the forces holding them together. Science lends itself naturally to this obsession.

Skywatcher Star Adventurer – Review

Filed under Science
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I demo the Skywatcher Star Adventurer!

I contacted Skywatcher about an inexpensive, but useful, mount for tracking stars for astrophotography. I wanted a mount under $500 which could hold a star “still” for photography, at 400mm focal length, for 30-60 seconds. They sent me one for free to evaluate and here it is!


1. Some plastic parts (not needed for operation)
2. Needs angled wedge and counter weight to be useful
3. Limited payload weight
4. Polaris finger scope light failed very quickly

1. Light weight, easy setup
2. VERY good unguided star tracking!
3. Heavy metal construction
4. Long battery life!
5. Polaris finder scope.
6. Lots of great knobs & parts designed to simplify use

How nuclear war could break out – MARTIN PFEIFFER

Filed under Rants & Misc
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Really good article on how nuclear war could occur due to error, err, or arrogance…

How nuclear war could break out

Radioactive Toilet! Testing the Hot Seat!

Filed under Science
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Is your toilet slightly radioactive? Maybe.

Spectrometer used was the GS1100A from:

Geiger counter used was the Inspector USB from:

Toilet was likely from a hardware store lol

I found Uranium 238, Thorium 232, and Potassium 40 in my toilet. These are normal to find.

☢ Trinitite: Nuclear Glass! ☢

Filed under Radiation, Science
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Radioactive nuclear Trinitite: Sand from the deserts near Alamogordo NewMexico melted into glass by the fires of the first atomic test!

All photos and video are copyright and made by other than the photo of the trinity test, which is public domain (copyright free) and originally shot by Berlyn Brixner

Two places to get trinitite samples:

Special thanks to MP!

How to Photograph the Moon!

Filed under Science
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How to photograph the moon using a simple DSLR camera!

The most important things:

DSLR Camera capable of fully manual settings.
Telephoto or Zoom lens of at least 200mm focal length.
Low ISO (100 to 400)
High f/stop (6-10)
High Shutter Speeds (1/250s or faster)
Stable Tripod
Shutter Release