• Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 3 other followers

  • Advertisements

Super Gifted Kids…

Just in case you know a bored stiff super gifted kid…..

The Davidson Academy is a subsidized public school for the nation’s smartest and most motivated students, those who score in the top 99.9th percentile on standardized tests. The school, which allows students to pursue advanced research at the adjacent University of Nevada–Reno, was founded in 2006 by software entrepreneurs Janice and Robert Davidson. Since then, the Davidsons have championed the idea that the most underserved students in the country are those at the top.

This is the story of one of them……

“Tay, it’s time for supper.”
“I think I’m going to have to clean this up first.”
“That’s not the stuff you said would kill us if it broke open, is it?”
“I don’t think so,” he said. “Not instantly.”…..

When Taylor told Winterberg that he wanted to build a fusion reactor, also called a fusor, the notoriously cranky professor erupted: “You’re 13 years old! And you want to play with tens of thousands of electron volts and deadly x-rays?” Such a project would be far too technically challenging and hazardous, Winterberg insisted, even for most doctoral candidates. “First you must master calculus, the language of science,” he boomed. “After that,” Tiffany said, “we didn’t think it would go anywhere. Kenneth and I were a bit relieved.”

But Taylor still hadn’t learned the word “can’t.” In the fall, when he began at Davidson, he found the two advocates he needed, one in the office right next door to Winterberg’s. “He had a depth of understanding I’d never seen in someone that young,” says atomic physicist Ronald Phaneuf. “But he was telling me he wanted to build the reactor in his garage, and I’m thinking, ‘Oh my lord, we can’t let him do that.’ But maybe we can help him try to do it here.”

Phaneuf invited Taylor to sit in on his upper-division nuclear physics class and introduced him to technician Bill Brinsmead. Brinsmead, a Burning Man devotee who often rides a wheeled replica of the Little Boy bomb through the desert, was at first reluctant to get involved in this 13-year-old’s project. But as he and Phaneuf showed Taylor around the department’s equipment room, Brinsmead recalled his own boyhood, when he was bored and unchallenged and aching to build something really cool and difficult (like a laser, which he eventually did build) but dissuaded by most of the adults who might have helped.

Rummaging through storerooms crowded with a geeky abundance of electron microscopes and instrumentation modules, they came across a high-vacuum chamber made of thick-walled stainless steel, capable of withstanding extreme heat and negative pressure. “Think I could use that for my fusor?” Taylor asked Brinsmead. “I can’t think of a more worthy cause,” Brinsmead said.

* * *


AND, by the way, that sounds like a Brussard Polywell fusor, which you can find info on here:



Hayek on Keynes (1978) -2 min YouTube

Two plus minutes of Hayeck talking about his friend Keynes that sheds a lot of light on the current economic actions the upper right corner arrow is good too..

The Global One Room Schoolhouse: John Seely Brown (Highlights from JSB’s Keynote at DML2012) – YouTube

Education in the networked age, the Global Schoolhouse a lot of concepts in an 11 minute Keynote

SpaceX Texas Blast Test Unit

Disappointed the last SpaceX Tour didn’t include the Texas Engine Test facility? I was !
When I was fifteen I got to stand 18 inches away from a J79 jet engine (F104 StarFighter power) in full after burner power in boltrd down static test, putting out 18,000 lbs of thrust (the roar of the wild bull, they called it) ,
There is a 3 ft “safety area” where you can stand between compressor stages and be less likely to take a knife like compressor blade hurled out should the engine come apart at 60,000 RPM ….fortunately an alert hand grabbed me before I stepped too close to the hurricane suction inlet…. Of course I had to get to engine test after being told I wouldn’t be allowed to for safety reasons:

Note to parents: If you really want a 15 yr old boy to try for something, tell him it’s something men can do but he can’t…..

Now C’mon Baby, light my Fire !

SpaceX vs Alien

SpaceX may make better Rockets, but Niki makes a better alien….


Rockets we loved as 50’s Kids come to reality


SpaceX stability test, a few weeks ago, brings us the rockets from 50’s Sci Fi —real rockets that land on their tails “like God and Robert Heinlein intended”

I recently toured the Boeing Space facility near the LA airport where they build the GPS (Global Positioning System) satellites your cell phone uses to know where you are. It looked similar to the facility in this video – Elon Musk shows us here where the above rocket was made, and the facility which soon will make more rockets than any country in the world……….enjoy the SpaceX tour…

Midnight Repairs a Christmas story

A Christmas story to go with the van pic. From noted VW character Bob Hoover, recently deceased from cancer, via VW Bus Camp, Burning Man …Hoover’s Blog archives are still a wealth of knowledge, VW mechanical and philosophical…..