Science


Happy Pi Day from Gear Diary!

Happy Pi Day Everybody! Today is the one day out of the year that you can wake up at 9:26:53AM and eat a whole bunch of pie. If you aren’t a math wiz kid; look up the definition of Pi, it’s described as “the symbol ? denoting the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter”.


Thoughts on the Orion Spacecraft Launch from a Space Shuttle Fan

I truly mourned the space shuttle’s demise.  You see, Challenger, the second space shuttle, first launched on my birthday.  Unfortunately, not long after that launch we lost Challenger. Then many years later we lost Columbia. This week’s launch of the Orion spacecraft signals a return to the capsules of old and in many ways a return to what works.


So You Think You Can Dance, but Can You Attract a Mate?

According to a group of evolutionary biologists at Northumbria University, there are the dance movements that will catch a woman’s eye; in other words, these are the movements that will attract a mate. Can you do them? If not, you’d better get busy. If you nail the moves, we’d love to see your videos. 😉


HP Opens Up Its Houston Testing Labs for a Journalist Tour!

Recently Hewlett-Packard invited a group of bloggers into their Houston testing labs. Why do that? That was my question going on the tour – but it was quickly apparent that HP has a lot to be proud of in an area that adds tremendous value to their computers. Let’s take a look with HP at the Science of PC!


Consumer Reports Takes On ‘BendGate’ with Science … Finds NO #BendGate

By now anyone who follows technology – and many who don’t – has heard about #BendGate, the term coined after a video showed how easy it was to bend and distort the iPhone 6/6+. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised – they are incredibly thin and light with an elongated aspect ratio. But is #bendgate REAL? Consumer Reports took a scientific look!


Astronaut Sells Apollo 15 Hand Controller for $610,000+ at Auction

Imagine that you are an astronaut, and after flying to the moon, you make it safely home. What kind of SWAG do you give a guy who completed a safe lunar mission? Why not the hand controller from his Apollo 15 flight? How much would something like that be worth? Astronaut Dave Scott just found out.



Carl Sagan’s Home Movies and More Are Now in the Library of Congress

Carl Sagan holds a special place in my heart. He advocated science and mastered at taking complex ideas and breaking them down into accessible knowledge that everyone could understand. Sagan’s influence on many was, and is, still profound. Due to a donation by Seth MacFarlane, there is now a Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan collection at the Library of Congress.


Magnetic Nanodots Gyro Duo Is a Cool Toy for Science Fans

I loved playing with Nanodots when I reviewed them a few years ago. They were a great fidget toy when you are concentrating on something at work. Their new magnetic Gyro Duo product is another example of a great desktop fidget toy; they are also not as easy to lose, since they are much bigger than Nanodots.


Sorry Apple Weather, That Is NOT How You Calculate Wind Chill

When I was a kid, the concept of ‘wind chill’ was new; the National Weather Service didn’t start reporting it until the 1970s, and it took a while longer to become popular with news viewers. Now it has evolved into ‘Real Feel’ or ‘Feels Like’ rather than just ‘Wind Chill’. Either way, Apple’s Weather app doesn’t have a clue.


My Spy Birdhouse Takes Birdwatching to a Voyeuristic Level

  Occasionally my wife Sarah will point out products she thinks we should cover on Gear Diary. Often they’re interesting or unusual, and sometimes they’re just “oh, come on, you’ve got to be kidding me” ridiculous. The My Spy Birdhouse we saw on TV today clearly falls in the latter category, and Sarah practically fell off the couch laughing at…


Help Bring the McDonald Observatory’s Struve Telescope Model Home to Texas

The McDonald Observatory is a Texas landmark that evokes emotion in all who see it. To me, the bright white telescope domes nestled in the Davis Mountains represent inspiration, education, and — perhaps most importantly — exploration. An Indigogo campaign has been launched to celebrate the Observatory’s 75th anniversary; here is how you can be a part of it all.


Monday Mystery: Scientists Discover Unknown Knee Ligament

  Image courtesy Science Daily Several years ago I tore my ACL. I sat with the orthopedist and he showed me a model of the knee to explain where the ACL was, what it did, and how they took other bits of tendon to replace it. I was left with the impression that surgeons know exactly what's in there, but…



Enjoy an Aerial Tour the Arctic & Greenland from the Comfort of Your Home

I’ve always been fascinated by the Arctic and Antarctic, but touring either would take a lot of money, and it’s just so … cold! Enter IceBridge, a six-year NASA mission to survey the ice at both of Earth’s poles; they’ve released almost 4.5 minutes of icy aerial goodness. I’m still shivering at the thought, but now I’m even more intrigued. Find…


New App Channels ‘SETI @ Home’ Technology for Android Smartphones!

Do you remember the heyday of ‘SETI @ Home’? The program was very popular just over a decade ago, and it made use of the millions of desktop computers that were not continuously hooked up to the internet via early broadband but sat idle much of the time waiting to chime ‘You’ve Got Mail!’. Now the folks at Berkeley are…


Astronomy-Class 100X Telescope and Back Case for iPhone 5

A few weeks ago, we experienced a “super moon.” This is where the moon is full while at the closest proximity to the earth. My boys have a beginner telescope so we spent most of the evening in the back yard looking at the moon and discussing all of the markings and features. We were even able to see the…




Everything You Need to Know About Electrostatic Discharge in One Funny Video

Having worked with electronics through instruments companies or the semiconductor industry most of my professional career, I am keenly aware of the potential impact of a minor static shock on electronics. Static is more technically called ‘electrostatic discharge’ or ESD. From my very first job I was introduced to the concept of grounding straps, anti-stat mats, and on and on….