Tuesday, December 25, 2007

More Building...

Just spent about an hour with my dad assemling this, and I got this for Christmas. Thanks Katie!

Christmas at Home

I'm writing this from the kitchen table in my parents' house in Maywood, NJ. The last few weeks have been rather nuts, between Katie's graduation, plans for the wedding, and getting ready for the holidays, along with SAR drills and searches, etc.
But I've still made some stuff!
-An APRS setup using my PC and an old HT
-A number of new test fixtures at work
-The State College chapter of Dorkbot
-A new blog, "Apartment Gardening Documentation" to document the progress of our new garden, to be planted entirely on our balcony

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Amp Mod

I modified an amplifier, and made my first Instructable!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Echo? NO!

Well, here's the first thing I've made in a while. At work, we need to start calibrating sound level meters, so we need an anechoic chamber to test them in. This is literally a chamber that allows no echoes. I just finished building the first phase of ours yesterday. It's essentially an old rack mount box that we fished out of the trash, lined with fiberglass insulation, and with a door on the front and a back wall. More on exactly how I made it later.
In other news, Katie took me out to a They Might Be Giants concert last night. Well, THAT rocked! All I have to say is... 6 encore songs in 2 encores. Wow.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Another Brief Entry...

Well, today's much like any other week day these days. Get up, get dressed, run to work, calibrate, calibrate, calibrate, make phone calls, calibrate, plan corporate strategy, file grant requests to take over the world, come home, clean, sleep. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
This past weekend was spent at Katie's Grammie's place down in southern PA, where we had a great couple of days doing absolutely nothing. (Ahhhhh...) But now it's back to the grind.
Later this evening perhaps I'll post about some of the other things going on, like how Notre Dame is like a snowstorm.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Fwd: Your Survey, answered

Begin forwarded message:

From: Max Kingston <
Date: August 4, 2007 6:11:22 PM EDT
Subject: Your Survey, answered

Hey Pete,

This was very cool. Hope you don't mind my answering too - I thought
the questions were wild!

1. Color of the walls - PINK
2. Doing - Diary writing
3. How long will I be doing it? - 10 minutes
4. Turn to wax the hotel - MINE, sadly always mine.
5. Visit large city in the next year? No
6. Pic of me doing something funny - not that funny but ok (see attached)
7. Fav veggie? Carrots
8. House to mailbox? 1-1/2 miles
9. House we live in now - apartment, second floor
10. Sun rose behind - 50 ft trees to my North and East
11. Yesterday at noon - I was on my way to Englewood Library
12. Particles of energy - Totally got me there, Pete - what are
deBroglie wavelengths and Planck lengths?
13. Reading right now - "The Art of Dreaming" by Carlos Castaneda
14. Best movie heard of not seen yet - Pan's Labrynth
15. Current fav music album - Mariah Carey's "Music Box"
16. Fav pic - see attached
17. Course of space program currently - I don't like moving away from
manned, re-useable shuttles. I don't want to see a Military or
Industrial or Colonizing or even Scientific Base on the Moon. I would
love to see manned flight to Mars. I would also want to see MORE Space
Stations like the ISS...
18. Dark, milk, white, or no chocolate? Dark chocolate (NO CHOCOLATE?
Don't make me panic, Pete!)
19. What do you do when you come to the end of the path? Watch where
the water and the animals go...
20. How far am I from Lat. N 40.81*/Long. W 77.89*? +N 0.08*/-W 3.91*.
21. How's the dating situation? Unfortunate. Enough said...
22. $4 I don't owe you? in the laundry money jar.
23. Can come and visit? After your honeymoon - let me know!
24. Create my own question and answer it - What is the best thing you
have EVER learned? To love and forgive myself, so that I can put
myself in other people's shoes and love and forgive them too.

God bless you and your future Mrs., Pete!

Jeanne (Harry's Mom)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Moving again.

brotherhood2.com. Go there!
It inspired me to make a survey. Here it is:
If you are getting this letter, then you’ll soon find that I want some information from you. I recently was watching a vlog online where one of the persons involved sent out a survey to his friends and family. I liked this idea, and decided to duplicate it. Without any further ado, the questions:

1. What are the colors of the walls of the room you are in right now?
2. What are you doing?
3. How long will you be doing it for?
4. Whose turn is it to wax the hotel?
5. Do you plan on visiting a large city in the next year?
6. Can you e-mail me a picture of yourself doing something funny? (petmar0@optonline.net)
7. What is your favorite vegetable?
8. How far is it from your house to the mailbox?
9. What kind of house do you live in right now?
10. This morning, what did the sun rise behind?
11. Where were you yesterday at noon?
12. How can particles have an energy commensurate with a deBroglie wavelength less than Planck length?
13. What are you reading right now?
14. What’s the best movie you’ve heard about and mean to see, but haven’t seen yet?
15. What is your current favorite music album?
16. What is your favorite picture, and can you e-mail it to me? (see above)
17. How do you feel about the course the space program is currently taking?
18. Would you prefer dark, milk, white, or no chocolate?
19. What do you do when you come to the end of the path?
20. How far are you from N40.81234° W77.89308°?
21. How’s the dating situation?
22. Where did you put that $4 that you don’t owe me?
23. When can you come visit?
24. Create your own question, drawing, or whatever here, and answer it:

Thank you for your time and participation. My answers, along with yours, once I get them, will be up on my blog: http://petmar.blogspot.com/.


My answers:

Monday, July 16, 2007

Big Changes

Well first of all, I graduated.
In short order, the rest of my life changed, too.
The following Monday, I confirmed that I had a job waiting for me in Innovation Park working for Calyx Metrology, a small equipment calibration firm. That same day, I asked Katie to marry me, and she said yes!
So, the following week saw us both moving out here to State College, PA. We moved into our apartments, and she started her research work, and I my job. All of this was in May, and I'm just writing this post now, so you could imagine how busy I've been. That being said, I'm finally getting to make some pretty cool stuff. In particular, I've been playing around with some PICAXE microcontrollers that I bought, and doing cool stuff with them. Stay tuned for more on that.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Forging Ahead...

55 visitors to the Ringwood Forge yesterday!
Yesterday was the second day of our grand opening weekend, and so, dressed in 1770s-era garb, we made a number of projects. Rob and I had quite the time, and finished our first-ever forge weld.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Another day of caching

Had a blank in my schedule where a class was canceled, so I went caching with my friend Tim.
Geocaching 03/28/2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


So, it turns out that Tuesdays have become Geocaching day for Matt (Myers7) and me (petmar).
Yesterday, Matt bagged 5 caches, and I did 3 (I'd done two of the five before). What follows are pictures from the gerbiL cacHe, the oldest cache in NJ, and other sights along the way:
Geocaching 03/27/2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

If you're a geocacher, read no further

Because this contains spoilers!
Elements (GC11FN0) is almost done! It's a labyrinth created using an interesting rectangular desing I thought up. In a square, the two axes (NS and EW) would be equal in length, and therefore C (the crossing of the axes), C* (the crossing complement, or the opposite of the crossing across the center), and X (the center) would be the same point. since the axes are not equal, and in fact meet in the IV quadrant of the rectangle (given that the origin is at the center), then I have the freedom to make people wander from clue book to clue book, checking the elevation and bearing of the next stage (but not range, eh!) along a nearly nautiloid spiral until I deposit them at a huge cache at X!
X. It marks the spot!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Well, I have a new GPS, a Garmin eTrex Vista C. So, of course, once I get a new toy, I have to play with it!
Yesterday, I went out Geocaching with Katie's brother, Matt. Matt is now known in the geocaching community as Myers7, and I'm petmar. We attempted 5 caches, and found 3.
The other fun thing to do with a GPS is, of course, track stuff. I found a wonderful utility called GPS Babel that allows me to download waypoints, tracks, and routes, as well as convert various forms of location file. Below is a view of our finds from yesterday in Google Earth:

Profile for petmar

Friday, February 16, 2007

Thanks Again...

Thanks to Erica Henderson, I now have a great new header image on this blog!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Talk

A week ago, I did a talk for the TAS Journal Club on "The transition from galactic to extragalactic cosmic rays" by Todor Stanev.
Here's the link to my presentation:

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

On Various Forms of Craziness

So, now I have three blogs chugging along:
This one, "The Inventive Tinkerer" (IT), which is my personal blog, and a roll call of my creations.
"The Informed Physics Student" (TIPS), which is a bunch of advice to science undergrads and other students.
"Tales from the Lab" (TFTL), which is a chronicle of amusing anecdotes from the labs I work/have worked in.

Super Science Saturday!

Yes, that's right! It's March 3rd this year, and you can find all the info you want here.
The Ramapo College physics department will be bringing resources to bear on this one. So far we have planned:
- an egg drop class (how to keep eggs from breaking in a 30 ft. fall)
- a ray optics sandbox and wave tank
- a trebuchet for watermelons
and best of all...
- a 20 ft.-long kid-lifting lever
And to think... the chemists think they can out-do us. Feh!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Quiz!

Your Geek Profile:

Academic Geekiness: Highest
Music Geekiness: Highest
General Geekiness: High
Internet Geekiness: High
SciFi Geekiness: High
Gamer Geekiness: Moderate
Fashion Geekiness: Low
Geekiness in Love: Low
Movie Geekiness: Low

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Chili and Cake

So today was a marathon culinary event. All of the pictures (and movies) can be found in this directory. I made my chili, and then brought it to the Wyckoff Reformed Church chili cookoff. I won a bottle of wine. (Yay? I don't drink...)
So, then I came home, and my mom had made another cake. So... that needed decorating. Take a look at the aforementioned photos, and the flyover, complete with theme music.

Friday, February 02, 2007

It's Coming... It's Coming... It's Coming...

Sunday will be Super Bowl Sunday... and to commemorate this fact, I purchased the world's strangest bundt pan. Yes, you read that right. My mom and I were at Chef Central when I saw it. Spurred by my mom's statement that my girlfriend's father would love a cake like that, I knew what I had to do. The result...

And the view from the blimp...

Let me know what you think. It's scheduled for delivery at 8.00a tomorrow.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Looking at things Cockeyed

I just was over at cockeyed.com, and wound up writing the following letter:
I was just reading your page about the crosswalk button sign that you made up, and I remembered something that I'd seen here (Yes, Walter Lewin is the man.) The effect is the same thing as a "halo" or "glory" generated by water droplets, so if you can simulate that, you can get reflective paint. Simple solution: wait until your latex paint is just tacky then throw sandblasting sand (little glass spheres) at it. Dry, and coat with a clear urethane coating. Viola! A wonderful reflective sign... and all for the cost of some sandblasting sand and urethane (which I'm certain you can find somewhere for less-than-cheap).
Best of luck in pulling off some awesome warning signs with this!


Hope someone can use this advice... eventually.

And eventually I'll put up pics. In the meantime, look at Lewin's end-of-term video about rainbows. It's amazing!

Monday, January 22, 2007


The "Truth" about Splenda
The Truth about Splenda
What's the difference? Well, the top site is run by and industry group that could use some... help getting consumer letters straightened out before becoming liable for their content. The second one is a pretty trusty wikipedia article. My contribution to the former? This:
"First of all, good work with creating this website. As a scientist myself, I usually require proof to regard something as true. This website gives a goodly bit of proof. Further information on splenda and sucralose at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sucralose, which is where I found a link to this site.
Another thing that I must do as a scientist is to educate. First of all, yes, sucralose contains three atoms of chlorine, but remember that regular table salt is half chlorine, and you can't live without it. The thing is that the chlorine in sucralose is bonded covalently rather than ionically (therefore more strongly). This means that it's not able to get into your body as the dissolved chlorine ions that we all need to survive. Furthermore, since sucralose is a different molecular "shape" than sucrose, or any other sugar, not only does your tongue sense certain resonances which make it percieve it as sweeter than sucrose, but sucralose cannot be absorbed or processed as sugar can. This means that the various bacteria in your digestive system, not to mention the filtering tissues of your liver and kidneys, will be overworked to try to deal with this unfamiliar contaminant.
Remember also that anything that your body is unfamiliar with which has some effect on it is classed as a toxin, and that a certain sub-class of toxins which don't kill you in small doses are referred to as drugs.
So, what have we learned? From many sources, we find that sucralose can build up in the body due to inefficient removal from the bloodstream. We already know that many other artificial sweeteners have detrimental effects, yet are still on the market: aspartame contributes to brain tumors and lesions and lymphoma, and can break down into such toxins as formaldehyde (now considered to dangerous to even be used as it once was, in embalming); acelsulfame potassium is a known carcinogen; cyclamates cause bladder cancer, as does sodium saccharine, and the other saccharides.
However, consider also that bleached sugars contain trace amounts of sucralose due to the processing methods used in their manufacture.
Overall, sucralose may be the best of the horrible options which are artificial sweeteners, but personally, due if nothing else to the disgusting aftertaste, I'll stick with honey, maple syrup, and brown or unbleached sugars, thank you."

Oh, and what is "Chorine"?

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Well, it turns out that northern NJ and southern NY have a heck of a bunch of flooded abandoned iron mines. I want to know what's down there, but I don't feel like taking a confined space SCUBA course to do it. So, I've recruited a team, and we're going to build an ROV to see what's down there. More on the design as it comes together.

Monday, January 08, 2007


I made a clock! Apparently A. C. Moore carries clock hands and slate rounds. So, with drill and masonry bits in hand, I took the old clock movement and made something new. Now I can chalk up my own times!



Caesar Salad

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes

- 1 pint baby bella mushrooms

- 1 pint white mushrooms

- 3 cloves garlic

- 3 small onions

- 4 sun-dried tomatoes

- 4 large beefsteak tomatoes

- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

- 3/4 cups water

- 2 tsp. olive oil

- 1 cup grated mozzarella

- 1/2 cup bread crumbs

Dry mushrooms in broiler. Chop mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes into a bowl with the vinegar and water. Mush together by hand. Put some of the liquid from this into a small frying pan and add the garlic, onions, and olive oil. Sauté. Pour contents of pan into bowl, along with bread crumbs. Load contents of bowl into a food processor, usually in two batches: one will be chopped, the other puree. In the meantime, cut the tops off of the beefsteak tomatoes and empty them. Salt them, and them place on a grate over the kitchen sink to drain for 15 mins. After this, stuff the tomatoes, and place them in the oven at 450°F for 4-7 mins. When removed, they should not be wilting. Remove and top with mozzarella.

Tuna Steaks

- 3.5 lbs. Tuna loin

- 1 cup sesame seeds

- 1/2 bottle natural soy sauce

- 1 cup maple syrup

- 2 sun-dried tomatoes

Roast about 2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds in a frying pan. Chop the sun-dried In a large tupperware or other plastic sealable container, combine these with the maple syrup and soy sauce. Marinate tuna for 2-3 hours, and then broil for about 5 mins per side. Reduce marinade to a sauce for dipping.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

New Blog

Check out my new daily over at The Informed Physics Student.
I've always said that there should be a manual for handling academia, so I'm putting one together, one day at a time.