271 reputation
12
bio website brokengourmand.com
location Maine, USA
age
visits member for 1 year, 11 months
seen Nov 20 '12 at 20:07

I am a former theoretical physicist turned software developer. I currently work in Java, Spring, Hibernate, and SQL Server web applications.

I am a fan of the Big Green Egg and all things grilled/smoked, and am learning to play the ukulele.

I live on a small farm with my family, and our chickens and horses.


Aug
27
awarded  Yearling
Oct
29
comment why sometimes touching old flickering tube lights starts them properly
It is not dangerous to touch the light, because you're not actually acting as a ground. I'm sorry my explanation was a bit vague on this point. Your touch generates a capacitance field, and the change in capacitance is what affects the plasma. This is the same effect that is used in "touch switches" on metallic fixtures, like some lamps. See this Wikipedia article for more detailed information about capacitave switches.
Oct
23
answered Before the Big Bang
Oct
23
comment why sometimes touching old flickering tube lights starts them properly
@annav, no worries! :)
Oct
23
answered why sometimes touching old flickering tube lights starts them properly
Oct
23
answered Why does the balloon pop?
Oct
22
awarded  Supporter
Oct
18
comment Are comets known to exist in other star systems?
My answer wandered a bit as well. I hope this more specifically answers your updated question: Are comets unique? No. Ours is an average system, nothing terribly unique going on. Are they detected in other systems? No. Because they have too little mass individually, and are too spread out generally. Do they affect the discovery by perturbation of planets? No. For the reasons above.
Oct
17
awarded  Teacher
Oct
17
answered Are comets known to exist in other star systems?