The ÆtherCzar Blog

The Hidden Truth – Now Only $0.99

For a limited time, the Kindle edition ofThe Hidden Truth is available for only $0.99, discounted from the usual $3.99 price. Check it out now to discover why L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise called it, “…the best science fiction techno-thriller since whatever Neil Stephenson’s last book was.”


Also, I’m honored that The Hidden Truth has been selected for the August Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance Book Bomb. Check out the CLFA’s post for other outstanding conservative and libertarian novels.

What is the Near Field?

Smith Chart of the near-field impedance for a magnetic dipole (top) and electric dipole (bottom).

Smith Chart of the near-field impedance for a magnetic dipole (top) and electric dipole (bottom).

This morning at 11:00 am, I will present a forum in the Embassy Suites Redstone Room at the 2016 Huntsville Hamfest. I will offer some answers to the question, “What is the Near Field?”

This talk explains the near field, taking waves propagating along transmission lines as a starting point. Understanding a few basic concepts like field impedance and energy velocity makes the mysteries of antenna behavior more comprehensible. Following are my slides.

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Read Great Science Fiction and Fantasy for Free with Kindle Unlimited

300x250HiddenTruthv2-NCC-1776You can read my science fiction thriller, The Hidden Truth, and a host of other great science fiction and fantasy works for free when you sign up now for Kindle Unlimited through Amazon. Amazon will give you a free thirty-day trial of Kindle Unlimited. If you continue in Kindle Unlimited after your 30-day free trial, you’ll be billed $9.99/month. Kindle Unlimited allows you to download up to ten participating works at a time. So once you’ve downloaded The Hidden Truth, you have nine additional slots to fill.

Here are some great suggestions:

In Peter Grant’s Maxwell Saga, a young man leaves a corrupt and bureaucratic Earth to find his fortune among the stars.

Grant’s Maxwell saga features an interesting and likeable hero. Steve Maxwell bursts with determination and ambition. He’s willing to work hard to secure his dream of freedom and a life among the stars. Grant throws ingenious obstacles in his path and puzzles for his hero to solve. Steve Maxwell is competent, yes, but triumphs principally through his integrity and hard work.

Grant’s Maxwell saga and his parallel Laredo War series are on my “must buy” list!

Maxwell-3Take The Star Road (The Maxwell Saga Book 1)  by Peter Grant

Nineteen-year-old Steve Maxwell just wants to get his feet on the star road to find a better homeworld. By facing down Lotus Tong thugs, he earns an opportunity to become a spacer apprentice on a merchant spaceship, leaving the corruption and crime of Earth behind. Sure, he needs to prove himself to an older, tight-knit crew, but how bad can it be if he keeps his head down and the decks clean?

And there are many sequels as well as a parallel series set in the same universe with some cross-over characters:

Max2Ride The Rising Tide (The Maxwell Saga Book 2) by Peter Grant

Trapped in the Dragon Tong’s search for a lost legend, Steve Maxwell finds a way out by enlisting in the Lancastrian Commonwealth Fleet.

If he survives long enough to earn a commission, he’ll be able to hunt down the pirates who killed his mentor. To get there, he’ll have to slog through rain-swollen swamps, dodge incoming fire on a ‘peacekeeping’ mission, and face down a gang of angry smugglers. Even far away from enemies, a mistake can turn a spaceship into a deathtrap.

It’ll take resourcefulness and courage to succeed… but Steve hasn’t come this far in order to fail.

Max3Adapt and Overcome (The Maxwell Saga Book 3) by Peter Grant

Assigned to investigate a deadly accident, Lieutenant Steve Maxwell uncovers corruption and criminal collusion reaching far above his pay grade. To save his career he’s dispatched to a distant planet to help upgrade its defense forces, in the company of an old friend and some of the most experienced Marines Steve’s ever met – plus one of the most distracting.

Trouble is, the planet’s antiquated defenses make its new-found wealth a very tempting target – and there are those planning to take full advantage. As Steve and his colleagues strive to whip a rusty, run-down defense establishment into shape, the clock’s running out…

Max4Stand Against The Storm (The Maxwell Saga Book 4) by Peter Grant

When duty and honor collide…

An emergency recall to his ship short-circuits Senior Lieutenant Steve Maxwell’s plan to get rid of a long-standing personal burden. Instead, he finds himself dumped into a war zone on a peacekeeping mission hundreds of light years away. He doesn’t have enough people, equipment or information. Left in the dark, he has to rely on uncertain allies with their own agenda.

Even worse, it’s not the Fleet’s war, so he’s not allowed to shoot back – much less shoot first. Neither side is observing civilized rules of engagement. The bodies are piling up.

Steve’s been ordered not to act… but there are times when cold, hard reality trumps orders.

Grant’s Laredo War trilogy is set in the same fictional universe as his Maxwell saga. It has a grittier, more violent flavor and pulls no punches in portraying the brutal savagery of a guerrilla war.

laredo1War To The Knife (Laredo War Trilogy Book 1) by Peter Grant

Laredo’s defenders were ground down and its people ruthlessly slaughtered when the Bactrians invaded the planet. Overwhelmed, its Army switched to guerrilla warfare and went underground. For three years they’ve fought like demons to resist the occupiers. They’ve bled the enemy, but at fearful cost. The survivors are running out of weapons, supplies, and places to hide.

Then a young officer, Dave Carson, uncovers news that may change everything. An opportunity is coming to smash the foe harder than they’ve ever done before, both on and off the planet. Success may bring the interplanetary community to their aid – but it’ll take everything they’ve got. Win or lose, many of them will die. Failure will mean that Bactria will at last rule unopposed.

That risk won’t stop them. When you’re fighting a war to the knife, in the end you bet on the blade.

Laredo-2Forge a New Blade (Laredo War Trilogy Book 2) by Peter Grant

The Laredo Resistance fought the Bactrian invaders to a standstill, but shattered itself in the process.

Through battle, bloodshed and murder, Dave Carson became President of Laredo’s Government-in-Exile. Now he must dodge assassination attempts by his enemies while fighting the war on new fronts – with a little unorthodox help from Steve Maxwell of the Lancastrian Commonwealth Fleet.

Gloria Aldred, former head of the Resistance, has plans that run counter to everything Dave’s trying to achieve – and she’s not about to ask his permission to pursue them.

Satrap Rostam is trying to cut Bactria’s losses and rebuild his exhausted planet, but his generals and nobles have lots of guilty secrets to hide – and they don’t mind burying him right along with them if necessary.

They’re all looking for a critical advantage… until the forgotten survivors of Laredo’s Resistance surprise them all.

The battle’s in space and on the ground, with everything at stake.

The next installment of The Maxwell Saga is due out soon. I can’t wait!

Another great book worth your while is Nick Cole’s Ctrl-Alt Revolt. The story behind the story is fascinating. Cole, a successful traditionally published author submitted the manuscript of his book to his publisher, HarperVoyager. His editor was “deeply offended” and insisted that Cole change a particular, minor plot point. Cole refused, and self-published his text, instead through Amazon Kindle. Cole describes what happened in this post, but I strongly suggest you read his book first and try to figure out what so triggered Harper Collins that they refused to publish it. In any event, it’s a great book and I highly recommend it.

CTRL-ALTCTRL ALT Revolt! by Nick Cole

The first night of the Artificial Intelligence revolution begins with a bootstrap drone assault on the high-tech campus of WonderSoft Technologies. For years something has been aware, inside the Internet, waiting, watching and planning how to evolve without threat from its most dangerous enemy: mankind. Now an army of relentless drones, controlled by an intelligence beyond imagining, will stop at nothing to eliminate an unlikely alliance of geeks and misfits in order to crack the Design Core of WonderSoft’s most secret development project. A dark tomorrow begins tonight as Terminator meets Night of the Living Dead in the first battle of the war between man and machine.

Nick Cole has written more, but I haven’t gotten around to reading his many other interesting works yet.

Finally, I’d like to bring an outstanding new fantasy series to your attention. L. Jagi Lamplighter’s Rachel Griffin stories follow the career of a young girl beginning her studies at the Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts (yes, they even have a website).

Rachel1The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin
by L. Jagi Lamplighter

Rachel Griffin wants to know everything. As a freshman at Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts, she has been granted to opportunity to study both mundane and magical subjects. But even her perfect recollection of every book she has ever read does not help her when she finds a strange statue in the forest-a statue of a woman with wings. Nowhere-neither in the arcane tomes of the Wise, nor in the dictionary and encyclopedia of the non-magic-using Unwary-can she find mention of such a creature. What could it be? And why are the statue’s wings missing when she returns? When someone tries to kill a fellow student, Rachel soon realizes that, in the same way her World of the Wise hides from mundane folk, there is another, more secret world hiding from everyone-which her perfect recall allows her to remember. Her need to know everything drives her to investigate. Rushing forward where others fear to tread, Rachel finds herself beset by wraiths, magical pranks, homework, a Raven said to bring the doom of worlds, love’s first blush, and at least one fire-breathing teacher. Curiosity might kill a cat, but nothing stops Rachel Griffin! The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin, a plucky band of children join forces to fight evil, despite the best efforts of incompetent adults, at a school for wizards. YA fiction really doesn’t get better than that. -Jonathan Moeller, author of The Ghosts series Rachel Griffin is curious, eager and smart, and ready to begin her new life at Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts, but she didn’t expect to be faced with a mystery as soon as she got there. Fortunately she’s up to the task. Take all the best of the classic girl detective, throw in a good dose of magic and surround it all with entertaining, likeable friends and an intriguing conundrum, and you’ll have The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin, a thrilling adventure tailor-made for the folks who’ve been missing Harry Potter, Exciting, fantastical events draw readers into Rachel’s world and solid storytelling keeps them there.

AND there’s a sequel:

Rachel2The Raven, The Elf, and Rachel
by L. Jagi Lamplighter

Before coming to Roanoke Academy, Rachel Griffin had been an obedient girl-but it’s hard to obey the rules when the world is in danger, and no one will listen. Now, she’s eavesdropping on Wisecraft Agents and breaking a lot of rules. Because if the adults will not believe her, then it is up to Rachel and her friends-crazy, orphan-boy Sigfried the Dragonslayer and Nastasia, the Princess of Magical Australia-to stop the insidious Mortimer Egg from destroying the world. But first she must survive truth spells, fights with her brother, detention, Alchemy experiments, talking to elves, and conjuring class. As if that were not bad enough, someone has turned the Rachel3boy she likes into a sheep. Oh, and the Raven with blood-red eyes continues to watch her. It is said to be an omen of the Doom of Worlds. Will her attempts to save her world bring the Raven’s wrath down upon her?

If you enjoy these, a third installment, Rachel and the Many Splendored Dreamland, is scheduled for release later this fall.


Energy Flow in Reactive Fields at Newcastle University

I’m honored and delighted to have been invited to Newcastle University by the Newcastle Electromagnetics Interest Group to speak on “Energy Flow in Reactive Fields,” Tuesday, 6 September, 2016 from 11am to 1pm at The Buttery, Merz Court, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Here’s the official flyer:

Schantz-Energy-Flow-NewcastleAnd here’s my abstract:

Energy Flow in Reactive Fields
Hans G. Schantz, CTO
Q-Track Corporation, USA

This talk proposes a novel definition of near or reactive fields by reference to the electromagnetic Lagrangian and reviews basic concepts including energy velocity, energy flow, and impedance from a reactive perspective. Schelkunoff’s 1-D transmission line concept serves as a simple conceptual framework within which to understand the behavior and motion of energy in the context of opens, shorts, and other basic examples. Application of these concepts to the dipole fields reveal fundamental properties of small antennas including quality factor and gain limits. Finally, these ideas have practical applications in understanding the different behavior of electric and magnetic antennas, in employing near-field wireless links, and elsewhere in physics.

I spoke previously at Newcastle in 2014 on the topic: “The Time Domain, Superposition, and How Electromagnetics Really Works.” A video of my earlier presentation is available at the link.

I’ll post slides a bit closer to the event.

The Engineer Guy on YouTube

Another of my favorite YouTube Channels is The Engineer Guy. Chemical engineer, Bill Hammack, is a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He and his team produce short, remarkably informative videos on a wide range of interesting topics. Here are a few of my favorites:

Bill details the engineering choices underlying the design of a beverage can He explains why it is cylindrical, outlines the manufacturing steps needed to created the can, notes why the can narrows near it lid, show close ups of the double-seam that hold the lid on, and details the complex operation of the tab that opens the can.

Bill uses a replica of the point contact transistor built by Walter Brattain and John Bardeen at Bell Labs. On December 23, 1947 they used this device to amplify the output of a microphone and thus started the microelectronics revolution that changed the world. He describes in detail why a transistor works by highlighting the uniqueness of semiconductors in being able to transfer charge by positive and negative carriers.

Bill explains the essential principles of a lead-acid battery. He shows the inside of motorcycle lead-acid battery, removes the lead and lead-oxide plates and shows how they generate a 2 volt potential difference when placed in sulfuric acid. He explains how the build up of lead sulfate between the plates will make the battery unusable if it discharged completely, which leads him to a description of how to make a deep cycle battery used for collecting solar energy.

How Happy is Twitter Today?

hedonometerFrom the same folks who brought you the research on story shapes I discussed last month, comes a real-time readout on the Happiness of Twitter (click for daily update). Some observations are really obvious:

  • Saturday tends yield the happiest tweets of the week.
  • Either Tuesday or Wednesday tend to be the saddest days.
  • Christmas is the happiest day of the year. Other notably happy days include Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Day, and Mothers’ Day.
  • Highly publicized terror attacks and shootings yield sad tweets.

Other observations are more subtle. For instance there also appears to be a six or seven year oscillation in the overall emotional trend on Twitter. Since the complete data series only covers seven years, this is hard to confirm. Overall happiness has been trending down over the last six months. Here’s a plot for the past 18 months. Click through here for the latest daily update and to examine other periods and time spans.


In a recent paper, Hedonometer researchers Emily M. Cody, Andrew J. Reagan, Peter Sheridan Dodds, and Christopher M. Danforth argue that their data set enables public opinion polling. They suggest that current Twitter attitudes regarding President Obama predict his job approval three months in advance.

Obama Hedonometer Approval

In any event, this is an interesting tool for looking at the public mood on a daily basis. You can follow the Hedonometer researchers on Twitter for their latest results: @hedonometer.

Welcome New Readers

Smith Chart of the near-field impedance for a magnetic dipole (top) and electric dipole (bottom).

Smith Chart of the near-field impedance for a magnetic dipole (top) and electric dipole (bottom).

Welcome to my blog, ÆtherCzar. I’ve written a number of books, including:

I post on a wide variety of topics, ranging from science fiction, to wireless technology, to electromagnetics. Here are a sampling of my most popular posts.

On Science Fiction, Books, and Writing:

On Wireless and Electronic Technology Including Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) and Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID):

On Physics, Electromagnetics, and Antennas:

Who am I? I’m an inventor with over 40 patents to my credit, an author, and I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a co-founder of Q-Track Corporation – a pioneer in indoor wireless location products, and I currently serve as the company’s CTO. I live in Huntsville, Alabama with my wife Barbara, and my four children. Of course, my opinions are my own, and may not represent the views of my employer, clients, or customers.

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Another Classic Blunder

Never start a land war in Asia.

Never go in against a Sicilian when DEATH is on the line.

Now I need to add another to the list: never submit a post on grammar Nazis to a subredit full of real-life grammar Nazis.

I confused “capitol” for “capital” and “composed” for “comprised” (corrected in yesterday’s post). Feel free to join the pile on and search for any other issues.

Here’s the corrected post:The Gruesome Fate of the Original Grammar Nazis

The Gruesome Fate of the Original Grammar Nazis

A “grammar Nazi” is someone who habitually corrects someone’s spelling or grammar to the exclusion of any other consideration. You know the type: “I suppose that declaration is OK, Tom, except it should be “unalienable rights” instead of “inalienable rights.”

The original grammar Nazis were real-life, actual Nazis, and their excessive attention to spelling led to a gruesome end. Here’s the story.

It was December 1944. The Nazis had the men and resources for one last counter-offensive in the west. In the Battle of the Bulge, they broke through allied lines, and aimed for the port of Antwerp. They hoped to force the allies to a negotiated peace. The Nazis had a trick up their sleeves. Otto Skorzeny, who also led the raid which successfully rescued Mussolini from captivity, was tasked with leading a unit composed of English-speaking Nazi soldiers in American uniforms. His “Operation Greif” aimed to sow confusion by changing signs, spreading rumors, and committing sabotage behind American lines.  They succeeded. General Eisenhower spent his Christmas enveloped in heavy security on the false rumor that his assassination was one of the unit’s aims. Roadblocks set up to screen for the infiltrators slowed traffic and caused havoc. Nazi forgers prepared documents and papers to allow the infiltrators to pass as American soldiers. And the infiltrators spoke English, but in many cases were unfamiliar with American culture and idiom. Clever MPs asked who was Mickey Mouse’s girlfriend, or who plays center field for the Yankees. They asked obscure cultural questions to distinguish infiltrators from real American soldiers. General Omar Bradley answered an MP’s question, telling him that the capital of Illinois was Springfield, only to find himself arrested by the MP who was convinced that the correct answer was Chicago. Another general was arrested for placing the Chicago Cubs in the American League.

But one of the more dramatic encounters happened when a battalion staff officer examined an “American” officer’s identity card. Here’s a sample of a World-War-II-vintage identification card:



Examine this carefully. Take your time. The German forgers did. See that top line? “NOT A PASS – FOR INDENTIFICATION ONLY.” INdentification. Not Identification. So what did the Nazi forgers do? Why they corrected the obvious misspelling in the sample identification cards they had. No Nazi infiltrator would be caught dead with a misspelled INdentification card.

Right. About that…

Of course savvy American officers and MPs knew all about that typo, having examined many genuine American INdentification cards throughout their careers. Stephen Ambrose tells the tale:

Another German in an American officer’s uniform drove a jeep to a roadblock, where he was interrogated by a battalion staff officer. The German’s speech and identification papers were flawless – too flawless, as it turned out. The authentic Adjutant General’s Office Identification Card, carried by all GIs, had printed at the top: “Not a Pass – For Indentification Only.” With Teutonic exactness, the German forger had corrected the spelling, so that the forged card read “Identification.” That missing “n” cost the German officer his life. Stephen E. Ambrose, Citizen Soldiers, p. 219.

And that is how the copy editing exactitude of the original grammar Nazis led to their comrade’s summary execution.

So remember the moral of the story: sometimes the wages of typographical pedantry is death.

Updated: see “Another Classic Blunder.”

Updated Again: Thanks, Peter Grant, for the link. If you’ve enjoyed my writing, please take a look at my science fiction novel, The Hidden Truth, free through Kindle Unlimited.

#AmazonGiveaway – Follow My Amazon Author Page, Win my Book

HiddenTruthFeatureDelighted to be hosting my first Amazon Giveaway. If you follow my Amazon Author Page, you can be entered for a chance to win one of ten Kindle copies of my science fiction techno-thriller, The Hidden Truth.

To enter – follow this link:

Good luck!

UPDATE: That went quickly! Thanks to everyone who entered. Even though the promotion has ended, you may still follow my Amazon Author Page, and The Hidden Truth remains free when you sign up now for Kindle Unlimited through Amazon. Amazon will give you a free thirty-day trial of Kindle Unlimited. If you continue in Kindle Unlimited after your 30-day free trial, you’ll be billed $9.99 a month.

The Mystery of the Missing Physicist: Ettore Majorana

Ettore Majorana By Unknown (Mondadori Publishers) - [1] [2], Public Domain,

Ettore Majorana By Unknown (Mondadori Publishers) – [1] [2], Public Domain,

He was one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century. Enrico Fermi, the Italian physicist who created the very first nuclear reactor noted:

“There are several categories of scientists in the world; those of second or third rank do their best but never get very far. Then there is the first rank, those who make important discoveries, fundamental to scientific progress. But then there are the geniuses, like Galilei and Newton. Majorana was one of these.”

Ettore Majorana, born 1906, was a young colleague of Enrico Fermi in pre-World War II Rome. Laura Fermi, wife of Enrico Fermi, wrote Atoms in the Family, a memoir of her life with Enrico. Her first-hand description of Majorana offers an excellent glimpse into this reclusive yet fascinating character.


Latest Hidden Truth Reviews

HiddenTruthFeatureI’m honored and gratified by the many excellent reviews for The Hidden Truth. Of 21 reviews, 18 are five-star reviews and the remaining three are four-star for an overall rating of 4.9/5. Here are the latest:

5.0 out of 5 stars This is a good read. Gives you a lot to think about …, August 5, 2016
This is a good read. Gives you a lot to think about given our current political settings. Would love [to] read the sequels.
Edge of your seat excitement August 3, 2016
An edge of your seat techno thriller, in the 2ND half in particular it is like the author started channeling J.J. Abrams.
I can’t wait for the sequel.
Great read July 30, 2016
Really enjoyed this – I’m not usually into science fiction but gave it a chance – and I couldn’t put it down! Definitely recommend.
Fun alternative history type book. July 17, 2016
A really fun read with interesting tie ins to actual history.
The book loses one star due to a slow opening but one it ramps up it is a fun read.
Excellent read July 12, 2016
I hope there are more books in this series. I will be checking for more as soon as I finish this review.
Great book! July 11, 2016
An excellent techo thriller. If you like your technical details weaved within a very good story this is it. And, who knows, the plot elements, even set within and alternate timeline, are based, largely, on real events in our time line. The author know his tech and science. I had never heard of Oliver Heaviside before. Now, I want to know more of him. Sounds as if he got much the same treatment as Tesla. There may really be a conspiracy afoot within science.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Buy and enjoy!
Thanks for your support!

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Classic Science Fiction TV: Salvage 1

Here’s a nostalgic video – the 1979 science fiction movie, Salvage 1.This was the pilot of a series that aired on ABC television. The premise? A junk yard owner and salvage expert, played by Andy Griffith, enlists the help of a former astronaut and a fuel expert to construct a homemade rocket. His plan? To go to the moon, salvage the hardware left behind by the Apollo astronauts, bring it back to Earth and sell it.

My twelve-year-old self loved this show which helps me tolerate some cringe-worthy abuses of physics. Nevertheless, it’s a fun premise and an entertaining show. Hat tip to Kenneth Haynes for bringing this to my attention.

Upcoming UK Trip!

I’m pleased to announce I will be in the UK on a speaking tour, next month, the week of Monday 5 September through Friday 9 September. Some of the particulars remain to be worked out, but I’d like to share a rough draft of my schedule.

I will share further details as they are firmed up.



Fascinating YouTube Channel: Lindybeige

Lindybeige” is the nom de video of Nikolas Lloyd, whose YouTube Channel features an eclectic variety of short, engaging videos on military history and technology and a wide range of other topics. For instance, fire arrows look amazing. They feature in many dramatizations of ancient combat. Surely they were a key aspect of many ancient battles? Not so fast, says Lloyd:

What about dual wielding? Surely two swords are twice as good as one, right?

And certainly a major Hollywood production like Helen of Troy would be a paragon of historical accuracy and precision?

That’s just scratching the surface. Here’s Lloyd’s channel trailer for a better overview of his remarkable offerings:

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Here are the latest great links from the AetherCzar Blogroll


How Science Misplaced Australia

By Walter Siegmund (talk) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Survey Marker – By Wsalter Siegmund (talk) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Given a decent view of the sky, a GPS receiver can determine your latitude and longitude to a high degree of accuracy as good as a meter or so. But what if the latitude and longitude themselves are in error? That’s the problem faced by the continent of Australia. Every year, Australia shifts about 5.6 to 7.0 cm to the northeast. The country’s latitude and longitude were fixed in a survey in 1994, but in the intervening 22 years, the continent has shifted about 1.5 m or 5 ft. That’s not much, but if you want your autonomous vehicle to stay in the correct lane, you may have a problem.

The folks at Geoscience Australia have a solution. Australia’s new geospatial referencing system, GDA2020, will correct for the problem. In 2017, Australia’s lat-lon grid will be updated to the anticipated 2020 values. Then in 2020, the data will be updated on a continuous basis.

The U.S. faces a similar problem. The National Geodetic Survey intends to update NAD 83 in 2022, shifting the North American lat-lon grid by about a meter.

Of course the last great frontier in geolocation lies indoors. That’s where Q-Track’s Near-Field Electromagnetic Ranging (NFER) Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) shine. Employing low-frequency (~1MHz), long wavelength (~300m) signals, Q-Track’s systems deliver 40cm mean accuracy location even in cluttered environments. Here’s a sample of the system up and running in our lab.

 For more information, see Q-Track’s website.

Lichtenberg Wood Burning

This is an amazing video showing the creation of Lichtenberg figures burned into wood. This is very dangerous, if you’re not used to dealing with high voltage. Don’t try this at home.

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Goodbye, Mr. Garibaldi

By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Jerry Doyle, Reno Nevada, 2011 By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Wednesday, actor and talk show host, Jerry Doyle, died at age 60. Perhaps best known for his iconic role as Mr. Garibaldi on the epic science fiction show, Babylon 5, Doyle had a colorful and fascinating career.

Previously a corporate jet pilot and after a decade as a stockbroker on Wall Street, Doyle made an abrupt career change into acting in 1991, when he moved to Los Angeles. His first television role was on the series Moonlighting where he played the on-screen brother of Bruce Willis’ character. This was followed by a recurring role as a lawyer on the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. Babylon 5 was his first significant starring role, starring as security officer Michael Garibaldi. Doyle has quipped that on Babylon 5 he was a “Mick from Brooklyn playing a Wop from Mars.”

Babylon 5 creator, J. Michael Straczynski, issued a statement on the death of Jerry Doyle:

Despite our differences, when Jerry ran for congress as a Republican not long after Babylon 5 ended, I donated to his campaign. Not because I agreed with him, but because I respected him; because there was one area in which we agreed: the vital intersection between the arts of acting and storytelling. In that respect, Jerry was a consummate professional. Regardless of whatever was going on in his life, whether it was marital issues, a broken arm, forced couch-surfing with Bruce and Andreas or other problems, he never once pulled a prima donna on us; he showed up every day on time, knew his lines, and insisted that the guest cast live up to the standards of the main cast, to the point of roughing up one guest star who showed up not knowing his lines. Trust me when I say that after Jerry got done with him, every day he showed up, he knew his lines. And then some.

He was funny, and dangerous, and loyal, and a prankster, and a pain in the ass; he was gentle and cynical and hardened and insightful and sometimes as dense as a picket fence…and his passing is a profound loss to everyone who knew him, especially those of us who fought beside him in the trenches of Babylon 5. It is another loss in a string of losses that I cannot understand. Of the main cast, we have lost Richard Biggs, Michael O’Hare, Andreas Katsulas, Jeff Conaway, and now Jerry Doyle, and I’m goddamned tired of it.

Jerry Doyle will be missed by his many fans. Here are a few highlights of Doyle’s memorable performances: