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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tesla over Edison

The Oatmeal had this comic strip back some time back about Nikola Tesla, one of my personal favorite inventors who was generations ahead of his time.

Without Tesla, a lot of technologies would not be possible, from AC current electricity to RADAR and even X-ray technology. I've never been too enamored with Edison to begin with, and the more I read about him, the less I like him. Edison was a charlatan who stole others' ideas and pushed them as his own, while blue-collar tinkerers like Tesla really pushed new technologies and incredible ideas, often from science fiction to science fact. One project I did in vocational school was to create a Tesla Coil, which was a lot of fun.

Part of the comic is below (reduced size, click on link for the full comic).

The entire comic strip is available at their web site. Adult language is included on the comic.

Also, they are trying to organize a fund-raising effort to buy land where one if his laboratories was and turn it into a museum. Click here for that info.

Geminids meteor shower pretty active

I went outside Thursday night in the chilly weather around midnight and the Geminids meteor shower was in full swing. I witnessed a few dozen before having to go to bed.

I'm still trying to find a frequency I can listen to in order to "hear" the meteors as they come into Earth's atmosphere. I posted about my search some time ago and still haven't gotten any success in locating a good frequency to listen.

It was suggested I try an empty National Weather Service frequency for NOAA weather radio, but where I live all available NWS frequencies are in use, either from Morristown or Nashville, and my antennas pick up the ones off in the distance and so any NWS frequency I tune into I can hear something enough to where any attempt to listen is futile.

Since the FCC transition to digital, there are not major TV stations that I can tune in, and the low-power TV stations that remain I couldn't hear, but then again I don't see any listings for said low-power TV stations in adjacent cities.

I'll keep searching, but in the meantime here's a blurb about meteor scatter on boingboing.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tom Ogle, KE4WFJ, SK

It's with great sadness I report that one of my closest friends, Tom Ogle, KE4WFJ passed away this morning after a brief fight with cancer. He was 52.

He is known to many in the Knoxville ham community, from APRS, chasing high-altitude balloons, DFing QRMers on some repeaters, bike tours, Field Days, and as an NCS for SKYWARN.

Tom (right) with me at Field Day in 2010
I hadn't been in touch with him for a few weeks but invited him to come up this past Friday for SKYWARN Recognition Day but had not heard back from him. I didn't think it was anything serious, but he apparently kept his illness a secret from even his closest friends.
He only found out last Saturday (Dec. 1) that he had Stage 4 cancer that had spread rapidly in his body, and was given just 6-8 weeks. It ravaged him so fast I don't know if it could have been caught early enough, because he claimed he didn't feel any symptoms until a few weeks ago. I was contacted at 7:30 this morning with the terrible news.

He loved ham radio and he was always wanting to help whenever possible. He was also a great friend. A few years ago when I had a falling out with another ham, he was one of a handful who stood by me from the beginning and reminded me what a true friend could be.

Here is his obituary.

RIP Tom. I miss you already.  ..._._