Category Archives: physics

Viewing a Solar Eclipse the Natural Way

There was a partial eclipse of the sun when I was living in California in the early 90’s, and I noticed that during it the sidewalk was covered with crescent-shaped spots of light. Palm trees were making natural pin-hole cameras: … Continue reading

Posted in physics, science, technology | Comments Off on Viewing a Solar Eclipse the Natural Way

Billions in Weirdness

A friend​ asked me about the science behind this project backed by Indian American billionaire Manoj Bhargava and I thought it worth a little more public response. There are four technologies discussed on this site: stationary bike for energy generation … Continue reading

Posted in ethics, marketing, mechanics, physics, politics, technology, thermodynamics | Comments Off on Billions in Weirdness

Global Warming: so-so science, horrible politics

Rupert Darwall’s The Age of Global Warming is an interesting and important book for people who want to understand the political and diplomatic history of climate change. Environmentalism comes in two kinds: pragmatists who want to formulate policy based on … Continue reading

Posted in bayes, economics, epistemology, history, physics, politics | Comments Off on Global Warming: so-so science, horrible politics

The Mutant Flowers of Fukushima

This picture of deformed flowers near Fukushima is making the rounds today, and I figured it was worth commenting on it. I am physicist who has worked fairly heavily in radiation transport and health physics, as well as genomics. It’s … Continue reading

Posted in epistemology, physics, politics, psychology, science, technology | Comments Off on The Mutant Flowers of Fukushima

Many Interacting Worlds

There’s a quite clever spin on the Many Worlds Interpretation that’s just been published that solves some of the big problems but remains implausible to my jaundiced eye. The idea is disarmingly simple and inherently non-local: suppose that there exist … Continue reading

Posted in physics, prediction, quantum | Comments Off on Many Interacting Worlds

A Closed-Form Argument about Climate Change

I’ve been a critic of over-sold climate models for many years now. I am a computational physicist, and therefore–unlike climate scientists–am professionally qualified to judge the predictive quality of climate models. I mention this because apparently many people think it … Continue reading

Posted in economics, physics, politics, prediction, science, software, technology | Comments Off on A Closed-Form Argument about Climate Change

More on Orbital Integration

My previous post on orbital motion and climate change climbed pretty far up on Hacker News, much to my surprise–I didn’t submit it there, so to whoever, did: thanks. There were a number of useful comments, mostly along the lines … Continue reading

Posted in mechanics, physics, science, software | Comments Off on More on Orbital Integration

Dark Matter, Aether, Caloric and Neutrinos

It is fairly common today to see laypeople compare dark matter to the luminferous aether, that bugaboo of 19th century physics whose existence was disproven by the Michaelson-Morley experiment and which was subsequently made redundant by Einstein’s kinematic relativity. Aether … Continue reading

Posted in bayes, Blog, epistemology, history, physics, science | Comments Off on Dark Matter, Aether, Caloric and Neutrinos

Some Notes on Orbital Mechanics and Climate Change

What is the role of orbital variations in climate change? We know from direct measurement that the Earth is warming by about 0.6 W/m**2. Climate models give a number that is about 1.6 W/m**2 from greenhouse gas emissions and it … Continue reading

Posted in mechanics, physics, science, software | Tagged | Comments Off on Some Notes on Orbital Mechanics and Climate Change

Power Too Cheap to Meter

There has been some not-entirely-unjustified skepticism about Lockheed-Martin’s recent announcement of a novel fusion reactor configuration. This post is intended to explain why I’m hopeful about this, rather than simply dismissive. I’m a technological optimist. But you knew that. Timelines, … Continue reading

Posted in physics, science, technology | Leave a comment