Category Archives: General News

Make a physics education video and win the Phylm Prize!

“Phylm,” pronounced as “film,” is a portmanteau built out of the words “physics” and “film.” It’s also the name given to a new award, The Phylm Prize, aimed at spurring interest in physics and the educational use of new media. Translation: it’s a YouTube contest for physics geeks!

We’ve been invited to sit on the panel of judges for the contest, and so we’ll be looking forward to seeing the submissions. Videos up to two and a half minutes long featuring physics will be judged on clarity, accuracy, and creativity. This year’s winner will receive a check for $100 (US) to be dispersed in June 2007.

You can watch the video announcement at YouTube or (embedded) here:

We are guessing that many of you, our fine readers, already have an interest in physics and/or new media, so get started already! Let’s see your submissions! And don’t let the word “educational” intimidate you– educational propaganda is a highly appropriate diversion for evil mad scientists! (Besides, you could probably use the cash for your world domination scheme.)

Here’s some info from the rules on what kinds of things the clips can contain:

  • A critique/analysis of the physics presented in a fictional work. For example,
    could the bus in Speed have made “the jump,” or how strong would Spider-Man
    have to be to throw a car that far?
  • An analysis of physics as revealed by the examination of a real-world video clip.
    For example, what forces does a gymnast experience during his routine?
  • An explanation/presentation of some physics concept or theory. For example, what is the conservation of energy?

Submissions are due by 12:00 am (GMT) May 1, 2007. We’ll be waiting.

New option: Read evilmadscientist via E-mail

We’ve just set up syndication through FeedBlitz so that (if you like) you can get new evilmadscientist.com articles by E-mail when they are posted, typically 3-5 times per week.

(Geek translation: It’s a feed reader for people that don’t read feeds.)

To sign up, enter your E-mail address in the box and click the button:



Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

It’s free of course, but you’ll have to wait for confirmation E-mail to arrive from FeedBlitz, which may take a few hours.

We’ve had some inquiries about project E-mail and/or newsletters, and so we think that this might be another useful tool to keep up with what’s going on here in Evil Mad Science land.

State of the blog: evilmadscientist inches into the technorati 1000

The Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories blog went live on June 21, a little more than six months ago. This week, we broke into the Technorati top 1000. w00t!

We noticed a couple of months ago when Honorary Evil Mad Scientists Laughing Squid first crossed that little line, and we are flattered to be amongst such great company.

As of yesterday, our technorati rank was 992, with over 2100 links from over 1200 blogs. Thanks everyone!

Some of our stories got a lot of attention, particularly the following ones:

Here are some of the other stories that we really liked, even though they didn’t get as much attention:

We’ve also (somehow) become “authoritative” in several subjects. According to technorati we are an authority on cooking, DIY, and craft. What this really means is that not very many folks tag their blogs well for technorati, but hey, we don’t mind being the top authority on electronics.

So, maybe all this popularity and authority means that we really are making the world a better place (one evil mad scientist at a time). Or it could be a sign that our reign of terror is getting off to a great start, Muahahahaaaa! If you think so, (shameless plug ahead) feel free to nominate us for the 2007 Bloggies, perhaps in the new blogs category. But hurry, nominations end on January 10. In the meantime, we’re going to bask in the glow of our rankings and look forward to the next six months.

Thanks again!
— Lenore and Windell

The Evil Mad Science Auxiliary Flickr Group

DSCF1943

We’ve started a flickr group called the “Evil Mad Science Auxiliary,” it’s located at http://www.flickr.com/groups/evilmadscience/.

The purpose of this group is to provide a place to show off your pictures of things that are (at least marginally) related to projects on our blog. Did you build a cylon-o-lantern? Some interesting Lego creations? Some LED Holiday decorations or build one of our kits? Post it in the group and let us see!

The action shot above, by John Mora, shows a homopolar motor that he built. Cool!

Nuclear test in North Korea

My friend Dave wrote me tonight: “That North Korean nuclear test claim? I checked the USGS website. Within an hour of the claim, they had posted data consistent with a nuclear test – 4.2 magnitude (too big to fake easily), depth 0 km, location pinned to a hillside in NE North Korea that has surprisingly good aerial coverage on the crosslinked Google Earth map – given that it’s a site long noted as a possible test facility. There is a road leading straight up to the base of the mountain, then disappearing.”

That’s pretty convincing!

Edit 2014: corrected links to usgs.gov and maps.

Navel gazing: The first three months, and folks we admire.

Yes, it’s time for the state of the blog address. We took the EMSL blog online on June 21, 2006, three months ago. (It was about time that we started organizing our projects.)

So, happy quarter-birthday to us. Thus far we’ve put up some thirty projects. We’re actively working on about forty others right now.

If you haven’t bookmarked us, now is a fine time to do so. =)

Minor announcement I: We’ve just created a new group on flickr as a repository for our project photos.

Minor announcement II: We’ve also updated our CafePress shirt design:


Front: “Resistor”                      Rear: “Join the resistance.”

(Get one.)

Minor announcement III: Today we’re adding a new section of links to our web page, “Honorary Mad Scientists,” a short, specific, non-exhaustive list of creative people, sites, and/or blogs that we admire. We thought about calling the list “people like us,” but (1) it’s cocky of us to think that we can be as cool as these people and (2) maybe these folks don’t want us to suggest that they are anything like us. So, we’ll just call them Honorary Mad Scientists; read on for a partial list.
Continue reading Navel gazing: The first three months, and folks we admire.

Downtime tonight…

Flickr has announced that they will be down at 10pm Pacific Time this evening (9/1/06) for approximately 2 hours. Since most of the photos at evilmadscientist.com are actually hosted on Flickr, we’ll be pretty close to down as well.

New EMSL shirt design: Join the resistance


New EMSL shirt design at our vanishingly-small CafePress store.

Get them while they’re– well, whenever you want. $9-17.

(We don’t make money off of sales; we just want more people to join the resistance!)

Continue reading New EMSL shirt design: Join the resistance

The mercury ion optical clock

From 2002-2005 I worked in the NIST Time and Frequency division on a next-generation atomic clock.

The clock is based on a single trapped mercury atom. The most significant result of my work on the clock was a dramatic improvement in its precision, and the report on this progress was finally published this week.

The NIST Press Release compares the accuracy of the mercury clock to the NIST-F1 cesium fountain standard: “The current version of NIST-F1—if it were operated continuously—would neither gain nor lose a second in about 70 million years. The latest version of the mercury clock would neither gain nor lose a second in about 400 million years.”

Read an article from Science News about the paper, or one from Seed Magazine.
Continue reading The mercury ion optical clock