For more information on the wide variety of areas concerning science and technology where I have involvement, visit the Futurescience home page.
For nearly 8 years after receiving my degree in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado, I worked for the Ampex Corporation, the company that invented the video tape recorder. During most of that time I was a test engineer, developing test procedures and designing test interface equipment for their professional audio products. I wrote all of the test procedures for the electronic sub-assemblies (as well as the final system test) for the ATR-100, which was the last major innovation in analog audio tape recorders. I also did some engineering work on the production testing of Ampex professional video recording equipment.
From August 1978 until January 2008, I worked as a radio and television transmitter engineer, most of that time as Transmitter Supervisor, for the ABC affiliate in Colorado Springs. I worked atop Cheyenne Mountain, just outside of Colorado Springs. (I never worked inside of this famous mountain, but I have been inside of it on two different occasions.) I have driven to the summit of Cheyenne Mountain more than 4,000 times, and I still do contracting work there occasionally.
My main goal as transmitter supervisor was to never go off the air (and I remember nearly every minute of those rare times when we were off the air). In spite of constant severe lightning strikes to the towers on top of the mountain, we were on the air almost continuously during the decades that I worked there. When we had only an old 1959 model RCA transmitter (and no backup transmitter) there were some problems with the old transmitter in the summer of 1980 due to volcanic ash from the May 1980 eruption of Mt. Saint Helens. The volcanic ash caused high voltage breakdowns across the old porcelain high-voltage insulators. The only other television "off-the-air" times were an hour of down time due to a severe lightning storm in 1981, (before I got the extensive lightning protection and grounding systems installed) and on Christmas day of 1982, due to a generator failure during a power outage. After that, there were only two outages of less than an hour due to a "baseball switch" getting jammed.
The FM transmitters were always more problematic. Many of the FM problems were due to high-voltage breakdown and intermittent arcing due to the high altitude. Even with elaborate surge protection and grounding, the frequent lightning was very hard on circuit breakers, and I learned to keep a large supply of spare circuit breakers at the transmitter site.
I now have a multi-faceted career operating two separate one-person businesses. I am a science writer for my company called Futurescience, LLC. which is now primarily devoted to distributing advanced information related to preventive medicine and healthy life extension. I have considered the formation of a subscription-based forum for discussing topics related to life extension (and trying to figure out how to manage the great volume of email questions that I already receive), but such a forum seems unlikely at this point.
I have a very large amount of scientific information on the futurescience.com web site on the subject of nuclear electromagnetic pulse. I have been editing some books related to electromagnetic pulse.
Futurescience, LLC also still provides a very limited amount of support for the hundreds of superconductor kits that were produced from 1991 to 2006 by the old company Futurescience, Inc. These superconductor kits are still in use in universities around the world. Since none of these kits have been produced since early 2006, though, the need for customer support has pretty much gone away.
From 1999 through 2004, I co-authored the information in the nationally-distributed page-a-day Easy Answer Science Calendar. Many of my entries were also in subsequent calendars. Those calendars were produced and distributed by Accord Publishing, which is now a division of Andrews-McMeel (and their products are now distributed through Simon and Schuster). I was also the original webmaster for Accord Publishing when they first started their web site, and continued as webmaster for the first years of the web site's operation.
I also developed the Storm Watch weather forecasting unit, which was sold nationally by Accord Publishing for many years (along with a story book, which I did not write). The product went on the market in about 1990. There were originally a large range of science experiments that were designed to be performed with the manometer in the device that I called the "Air Balance;" but cost constraints forced Accord to eliminate most of those very educational science experiments (along with capabilities that were actually built in to the device as sold, but never revealed to the user, such as the ability to function as a sensitive altimeter).
I have a considerable amount of information on needle phobia, which is a major medical problem, on the Needle Phobia Page at needlephobia.com, which I started in 1997.
I am a Wikipedia editor who has made more than 500 edits on more than 50 different articles on Wikipedia. I have also started several new articles on Wikipedia over the past few years. My Wikipedia name is X5dna.
I also do some electronics consulting through a one-person company created in 2008 called Transmitter Maintenance, LLC. There has been very little work to be done in this area in the past 3 years because most smaller and mid-sized broadcast stations in the United States are just letting their transmission equipment deteriorate and become quite fragile. This situation was forced on the broadcasters because of the severe expense mandated by the Federal Communications Commission in requiring television stations to operate both analog and digital television stations simultaneously for many years, while having only a single revenue stream for both costly operations. (This is very much analogous to a hypothetical situation where you would be "given" a second house, but would be required to pay the mortgage and maintenance on both houses while having only the same one job that you always had.)
As a college student, I successfully predicted, 45 years ago, in an article in an economics journal, the chaos and inefficiency that would be caused by the continued control of the broadcast spectrum by the Federal Communications Commission. See The Freeman, Ideas on Liberty, Vol. 19, No. 10, October 1969. I would phrase the problem using much different words if I were writing the article today (especially the title), but the basic principles that I discussed in the article remain the same.
In May 2008, I had more than one million points on my DNA decoded by a division of Decode Genetics in Iceland. In November 2008, I had another scan of nearly 600,000 points done by a company called 23andMe.
You can see many of the results of that DNA scan linked from my personal DNA page. The information that I have online includes a detailed outline of health risks using Promethease software. These DNA scans (technically known as single nucleotide polymorphism scans) may not be very useful to most people, but I have already found the information enormously valuable to me.
My experiences as a genomic early adopter have been used in at least three medical journal articles:
McGowan, et al., Department of Bioethics, Case Western Reserve University. Personal genomics and individual identities: motivations and moral imperatives of early users. New Genetics and Society. September 1, 2010; 29(3): pp. 261-290. (I am quoted three times in this article, but only identified as User 17.)
Do, et al., Web-Based Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies Two Novel Loci and a Substantial Genetic Component for Parkinson's Disease. PLoS Genetics. June 23, 2011. 7(6): e1002141. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002141 (My genome is not specifically mentioned in this article, but was used in the genomic data. My paternal grandmother had Parkinson's Disease in her 80s, and it was presumed to be the cause of her death.)
I was one of more than 20,000 customers of 23andMe who participated in the self-reported data used in the medical journal article in the Public Library of Science:
See: Tung, J.Y., et al., Efficient Replication of over 180 Genetic Associations with Self-Reported Medical Data. PLoS Genetics. August 17, 2011. 6(8): e23473. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023473
More about my personal DNA information can be found at http://www.futurescience.com/dna.html.
Life Extension: I've been an experiment-in-progress in life extension and anti-aging medicine for most of my life. Many advanced techniques in preventive medicine have a good scientific basis, but are seldom used. By the time I was 20, I had decided that it was time to make a real effort to prevent the deterioration of the aging process. I also realized then that I was living in a time when such an effort might really pay off -- and it has.
In 1981, I stepped up my personal life extension to a point that requires regular medical supervision. An important method of life extension is maintaining one's hormone and enzyme levels at what would be normal levels for a healthy person in his twenties. I've been taking things like DHEA, melatonin, deprenyl, testosterone, human growth hormone and pregnenolone long before most people had ever heard of them. In the past few years, I've had to scale back my life extension program quite considerably for financial reasons. (Before I make use of any potentially life-extending substance or technique, I actually read the more important research reports on the subject in legitimate medical journals -- and I get frequent medical testing). It is important to read the research at the source. Medical reporting, like all forms of science reporting in the popular media, is frighteningly awful. Even the practice of medicine, all too often, is based more on tradition than scientific evidence.
Anti-aging medicine has finally matured to the point where it is a legitimate medical specialty. Physicians who take a rigorous exam can become board-certified in anti-aging medicine.