Category Archives: Dragon Con 2013

Dr. DNA, Supervillain, Found Dead in Lair

Dr. Paul Grigoli has died. He was found dead, suicide, on May 28th, 2016. Paul was better known, in Dragon Con circles, as Dr. DNA. I think he’d like the page title.


Dr. DNA strode around the Con in his trademark spotted lab coat, mouse lab-assistant in his pocket. He was one of the evil villains who manned the “Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow” Panel. He also won the “Who wants to be a Supervillain?” contest. His rants were epic. I was going to build a “DNA Mixer” for the next contest, but it involved alcohol (He loved Patron) and we were told to stop the booze on stage. I did get my wife to sew him a Pandagator. Head of a panda, body of an alligator. Apex ambush predator, very dangerous. (Just ask Dr. Granade about that one, long joke.)

I don’t really know what to say beyond that. He was a genius, a great guy and a good friend. Sure, he wanted to take over the world, but he promised me that I could have the first cloned T-rex. (Hey, I personally EVOLVED to eat that guy, I think I deserve at least a leg!)   jurassic

He had a lot to say, loudly, about all the time. But, at the moment you think he’s just crazy, he says something so amazing, science or philosophy, that you have to back him up to repeat it. Genius, on tap. One of the smartest men I’ve met, and I’ve met a lot. Maybe he wasn’t particularly adept socially, (he really worked at eccentric) but he had a lot of heart.

Paul hit some hard times, turned down for tenure at Vanderbilt and Murray state. He was finishing his exams to teach Physics in High School. I asked him to come out to DC, but between his dad, his kid, his ex-wife, his minions, and his friends, he didn’t want to leave Oklahoma. He didn’t want to leave his Lair.

He loved explosions. I was talking to one of his minions last night and she wanted me out in OK if just to blow something up, in memory. (They don’t really like it when you bring that stuff on planes, just saying.) But an explosion for old times sake.

Bikini Atol 1946

Oh, was THAT your secret superhero headquarters? Wow, you’re going to need a new one. yup.

Well, now the superheroes can sleep a little easier knowing Dr. DNA won’t be out to get them. probably. I mean, villains have been known to come back for revenge. I’d just beware of Pandagators, if I were you.


Wherever Dr. DNA is now, his secret Lair will safe forever.



I wish I had more pictures of me in these shades, they are awesome. (I think I look awesome, but I’m known to be a bit biased there.) I bought them from Paul is the maker and – when I called him for an emergency pair before DC, he got them out. I really appreciated that. I hope he does good business. He just added a new cut, the snow pattern, and a zebra-looking paint job.

I swear these should be the goggles for some ice-shooting villain.

If you buy a pair, I recommend some stick-on tabs for your nose, these things are metal. Other than that, awesome. (oh, and I do recommend you buy a pair. They run from about 45 bucks to around 130, depending on metal, cut, and treatments.) Most importantly, he does custom work, so use your imagination. Clearly the brass ones make good steampunk accessories, but the copper has an asian feel to it that I can’t explain. I’ve got to work on some kind of Future Samurai look for those. And obviously everything with color on it could be turned into some version of a super-hero costume piece.

I’m definitely feeling Diesel-Punk this year, so I may have to figure out how to incorporate these.

Fallout Shelters – Update from Dragon Con 2013

I had a presentation at Dragon Con 2013 on Survivability – my profession. I’m working on publishing the slides, but my website wants me to use Chrome… grr… Still, saw a cute article today and I think it has some good information.

How to Shelter from Fallout after a Nuclear Attack on your City.

It points out how hard it is to talk to “normal” people about nuclear weapons. For example, Nuclear Weapon. How many  have been used in war? Zero.  Ok, two Atomic Bombs have been dropped, but no Thermonuclear Weapons. Yeah, like you give a rat’s ass about the difference between them. As far as the public can see, if it has a bit of radiation, it is nuclear.

Not hardly. Obviously, if you call anything that has a radioactive component “nuclear” you end up banning bananas. (truth) German Green Party wanted to scare people about radiation, so it banned the hunting of wild boar – which eat mushrooms that soak up radiation. They level the pigs were radioactive is less than the average banana. MOST information you see about nuclear anything, nuclear may as well be a “scare” word.

On a side note, Nuke-you -ler engineer is the proper term for an engineer who works with nuclear weapons (nukes). Nuclear engineer is the guy who works at a power plant. The press can laugh about bad pronunciation all it wants, but we tend to differentiate a bit. (There is a heck of a lot of difference between the two careers.)

So, the important take away from the Link above is that terrorists – and most world governments – don’t have access to Thermonuclear Weapons. Sure, a 12 kT copy of the Fat Man or Little Boy could wipe out most of a city, but you can get to shelter and ride out the troubles. If you find out that your city is about to be the target of a 10 MT nuke, well, you should be 30 miles away when it goes off (or in a professional bunker).

Fear is the killer. Have a plan, follow the plan. And if you want a copy of the .ppt presentation, I’d be happy to send it out. (Maybe I’ll get Chrome this weekend, bah, I’d rather play Chromehounds instead.)

Dragon Con 2013

Look, most everybody follows me on Facebook, but I don’t do much of a job updating there either. I’ve been busy taking over the world by the power of my Iron Fist. (I’m not entirely evil, I do it for the hot chicks.)

Now be good, or I’ll have my soldiers arrest you….

Show & Tell at Dragon Con

As I was pointing out to a fellow scientist – this isn’t a “Mad Science Project” it is a “Creative Resource Redistribution Device.” Yeah, it is part of my mad science street-CRReD. Give me your money or I’ll … destroy the world? Perhaps, at least the tri-state area. hey, Dr. Doofensmirts is my hero. (I want a nemesis.)

Ok, so the Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow are thinking on some CRRDs. Something unique for D*Con. There was a concept for a real Science Faire, but … well… there are too many weirdos who show up. I’ll not have someone torturing puppies and calling it a science project for my show. I may discuss some real work, but I’ve got a lot of limitations on that. I can talk in broad terms about some associated particle detection devices, neutron generation and detection, real science.

So I guess I have a couple questions for the audience. Mainly: What do you want to see? I think Dr. DNA, Granade, and myself can talk about “Failures in science” a bit. I’d like to rain on some billion dollar budget failures that we have lauded in the past. (No, I won’t go on a Global Warming rant, there is a difference between science failures and fraud.) Solar power, wind power, wave power – those aren’t science failures. The attempts to model the future of temperature is laudable…if poorly done. Sucking a billion dollars out of public coffers and giving it to your friends is fraud. 

A great example is the National Ignition Facility, which I love, but which does not produce what it was designed to do. Of course, neither does the Princeton Tokamak or frankly any other fusion facility. Heck, funny story. A young cadet performed a huge study of a neutron detector to get it properly calibrated to measure output at a fusion facility I shall not name. Afterwards, (as the second half of her senior thesis) she compared her calibration to actual results at the fusion facility.  Weirdly enough, the very carefully calibrated detector showed a whole lot of ZERO at the facility. (Much less than their internal and apparently badly uncalibrated system.) Apparently, their system detected the presence of electricity in the detector circuits, not neutrons in the lab. She had no idea why her detector “decided not to measure” that day. … Yeah. Poor kid. At least one of the fusion experiments the government is pouring money into is producing less neutrons than the average banana.  

You know what is really sad? I was trying to get my PhD in fusion. Can you imagine spending your life in that field? That is like a PhD in Bigfoot spotting and UFO analysis, only it doesn’t play as well for Reality TV.

Ya know, I think that is what we’ll do this year. Science Track, the reality TV Show!!! (I’m sure I’m crazy now.)

Evil Geniuses for a Better Tommorrow (EGBT) – Dragon Con 2013

Dr. DNA has suggested an Evil Projects… sort of a science fair for the EGBT inclined. I’m going to spend some time working on a brain in a jar.

Also may help him produce his DNA mixer – and margaritta maker. I think it produces a Pandagator if used properly…and an alcoholic beverage. My Brain in a Jar will show how good life after the de-body process can be. I hope I still have my artist on this, some latex work will be necessary that might be beyond my simple skills.  I can make some awards for the best evil project.

Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop

I don’t know where to start on this, I could talk about it for weeks. Probably will without regard to your preferences. Sorry.
1) We need to promote in-system architecture. ie. Refueling Depots, Oxygen Generation, Space Tugboats, Dry Docks, etc.
2) On fellow promoted One Orbital Terrawatt, which I agree facilitates discussion, but isn’t the right idea. (And has a horrible acronym – OOT) The project promoted a giant single power generation – beaming facility. How about a smaller facility. 1 Megawatt. Given the usual 60% losses in system and 90% losses to the ground, say 4% delivered on target. – 40 KW continuous power. 20 of these in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) would produce a continuous delivery anywhere you wanted…though admittedly not a huge delivery. 

People have suggested that solar panels weigh about 20 kg per kwatt… so the basic load only runs about 10 tons, plus a reasonable sized microwave facility, some focusing mirrors, a storage capacitor to store the solar energy for an hour and a half, then release it in the 5 minutes it is overhead. etc. Call it a 20 ton load. Pretty reasonable by modern standard of launch.

Sure, it is a hundred million in design and launch. Probably a 20 or 30 million for the Rectenna array. So each launch is another chunk, but each purchased satellite is a buy of 20+ years of electricity. Sure, there are a lot cheaper sources of power, but this one is green and off the Earth. I can see a lot worse uses of a dollar.

Oh, side note, if we needed to geoengineer a loss of a 0.1 degree of temperature, the satellite orbits could easily add a small amount of shade to our day. You wouldn’t be able to see them, but they should reduce net solar irradiance – if they were orbited between the day side and the sun.

They are easy to move. Sun synchronous orbits with large solar arrays would have to be designed to have constant force from the arrays against the sun. If the arrays were turned perpendicular to the sun, the orbit would precess a few tenths of a degree per day around the world. In less than a year, the array could be lined up anywhere and the arrays turned back to work. A nearly zero-energy solution for moving the power to any location on the globe. Obviously, if they were powered, or the size/weight ratio different, this could be accomplished in days not months, but that is a design decision.

What would we call this? I’m currently calling this: First On Orbit Transmission of Satellite Electrical Power to Ground Antenna. ok Footsepga is kinda rough, so Footsteps.

I’m real positive about Footsteps, I think it can be the next big thing. I’m moving this to the group for further discussion.

3) Not like I’m at the halfway point here, I’m barely breaking the ice. Inflatable structures, sports in space, direct brain control of teleoperated machines, construction machines on the moon, on mars… This just isn’t stopping soon.

4) DRAGON CON 2013! Space Missions for the Masses!!!
Dragon*Con Membership - 2013 ($85)

January – The Lost Month

Ok, so I finally worked out that I have only a limited number of days in a week & hours in a day. I’m working a full-time job, a part-time job, studying two forms of martial arts, trying to get a book published, getting a game re-written, and raising a baby. Turns out that my day ran out of hours to update my blog. – SORRY-

Ok, some news though. I am a guest at Dragon Con for 2013! What does this mean? Hell if I know.  Wait, now I remember. I should do some mad scientist stuff, probably pour a new award for “The Casey and Andy Mad Science Award” also called the “Fools I’ll destroy you all” award.

But I’ll need ideas. Most every idea I’ve ever had came from somebody else. I just process them well. We’ve given awards to: Arc Attack, The Mythbusters Build Team, The Steampunk Workshop, and Sluggy Freelance.

I’ve had presentations on everything under the sun. Heck, this year I’m going to the Interstellar Workshop…so ideas under other suns. Folks, please comment, call me, email. I can use the ideas. If you want to hear about something on stage, I’ll do the research, but I don’t know what people are interested in until I hear from you.

No, I can’t talk about my work. Just assume that if I get a question involving incoming our outgoing ballistic assets from this country I’m just gonna say something like: “I can neither confirm nor deny…etc.”

Not like I’m some big wheel in spook country. Frankly I don’t know much of nothing about anything important that isn’t released to the public (or calculable from basic principles with good codes.) But the security arm takes a dim view of anyone who blabs about these things. I don’t like my job, but I LOVE my paycheck.

Short List of Interesting Topics: Whatever Comes up at Interstellar Workshop, Whatever Comes up at HEART in the unclassified sessions, IGRIS neutron detectors & MCNP calculations, Quantum Fingerprint Detectors … Maybe I’ll just combine a few of those and talk about detectors. Heck, nobody has seen my Space Environments class in years, it is worth a whole day. (In the real world, not just Dragon Con.)