Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What Does Nick Do When He Has Time on His Hands?

Prepare for rambling!

This is a pretty easy semester for me - I'm taking nine research credits! (Plus a few other little classes.) So I've had a lot of extra time on my hands - you know, I come home at 5 or 6 pm like a regular person. I'm reading three books right now:

Ender in Exile, by Orson Scott Card
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson

Ender in Exile is all kinds of cool. It is the direct sequel to Ender's Game that ties it into Speaker for the Dead. So far I'm enjoying it muchly.
Hitchhiker's Guide is gigglishly enjoyable. What else is there to say?
Treasure Island is an oh-so-typical pirate tale. Actually, I imagine the definition of pirate tales came from Treasure Island! How neat.

I've also been playing a few computer games (discovered Mass Effect. AWESOME. The physics is rocking my world.), organizing my life, and playing with electronics.

Yup, you heard me. Yours truly has a new hobby - electronics. Now I don't mean using electronics like everyone does, I mean building them. Sooo much cooler.

Right now I'm finishing up my first project - a high-voltage plasma Jacob's Ladder. It's all kinds of neat. A 20,000 volt plasma arc forms between two steel rods and travels upward on air currents expanding and getting louder and brighter until it dissipates (see example picture). Then it does it again and again. So cool! I'll surely post pictures/movies of mine when I get it done, which should be this week.

After this project I plan to build a high-energy pulser device that stores ~3000 Joules and discharges almost instantly. This can be used for all kinds of neat stuff like electromagnetic mass accelerators, aluminum can crushers, and killing rodents (not really, but I bet I could...). The problem is that the capacitors for the pulser cost around $600. :( So I'll be saving my pennies and trying to find deals on ebay. Then you can come over to my house and I'll crush your cans with my super magnet. Whoa.


Sean said...

i love mass effect. the sequel just came out and apparently it's even better!

Matt said...

I don't know specifically what kind of capacitors you need, but I know you can often find surplus or semi-used supercapacitors, so keep checking Ebay.

Matt said...

Oh, and you should definitely build a rail gun to use your pulser with. You can mount it on my Segway when I get it built.

Jessica Rose said...

First, I'm really, really excited to see your magnet crush cans. Duh.
Second, can you post more things on your blog so I can creepily stalk your innermost thoughts from your soul???

That'd be great mkthxbai.