Explaining science and technology is my passion and my mission - as a physicist, engineer and IT expert.
All children are curious scientists: We want to know 'how stuff really works'. However, in science education answers are finally given in the language of mathematics - which might kill curiosity.
I admit that I can indulge in math at times, just for the sake of it. Theoretical Physics was my personal therapy in fighting the detrimental impacts of having been sucked into Dilbert's (corporate) world once.
Nevertheless, I understand your discomfort - math haters / deniers. Fundamental theories in physics, such as string theory, seem to have developed a purely mathematical life of their own. Algorithms loom large: Corporations dig Big Data to predict our behaviors as consumers, and of course there is the NSA. And Facebook ads.
Thus I am determined to dissect and expound scientific underpinnings of, well of basically anything interesting I come across in physics, engineering or IT. As an IT consultant I sometimes gave stand-up quantum physics edutainment sessions in coffee breaks. So you are my target group: Experts in any science-y, geeky, technical or other quantitative field.
I am indecisive: shilly-shallying between excitement about curved space-time and multiverses on the one hand, and focusing on hands-on research and development from whose impacts we - taxpayers, John and Jane Does - will benefit in our lifetimes.
Currently my (science) writing is focused on
- Quantum Field Theory. When the Higgs boson was discovered in 2012 I realized that I cannot make head or tail of how the Higgs field gives the other particles mass. Based on the theory of superconductivity and phase transitions I had once been exposed too - I actually should have. Thus I am set to (re-)learn QFT.
- Thermodynamics - this is were fundamentals (entropy and the arrow of time) meet hands-on engineering (heat pumps).
And I am pondering on:
- classical physiscs and its underrated geek factor Why does a spinning top not fall over? Is it true that the sense of rotation of vortices in water flowing down the sink of your bathtub or toilet flips at the equator?
- the philosophical implications of different, but yet mathematically equivalent theories: This holds for quantum mechanics and determinism, but also for classical dynamics. The principle of least action adds a touch of multiple universes to Newtonian mechanics.
- how physics tools are used to model complex systems, such as the economy and stock exchange prices or how revolutionary ideas percolate society.
- the illusion of intuition in physics and related philosophical ideas: The Spinning Gyroscope and Intuition in Physics, Are We All Newtonians?
- Power engineering and the implications of 'internet-icizing' the smart power grid: Greatest Innovation Ever, Controlling the Four Elements. Or: Why Heat Pumps Are Cool.
- History of science, old patents and inventions in particular: Einstein and His Patents.
- Information technology and IT security. Cyber Security Satire?, My Google Searches Might Heat Your Home.
- how orthodox science relates to outsider physics: Physics Paradoxers and Outsiders.
(Last Update: January 13, 2014. Created: September 14, 2013)
My motto is: Building bridges between human beings and technology.
I had always been working as a vendor-agnostic consultant and trusted advisor to clients and I support them with picking, evaluating, understanding and implementing technology. Our business is called punktwissen: an artificial German word made up of 'Punkt' (point) and 'Wissen' (knowledge), indicating: Getting to the point and boiling down knowledge to the essential information.
My specialties: Modelling of heat pump systems that utilize unconventional heat sources, troubleshooting issues with digital certificates and Public Key Infrastructures.
My mission: Improving personal and economic independence of small businesses and entrepreneurially minded persons - via the clever utilization of renewable energies and carefully selected IT tools.
I am interested in the interfaces between building technology, energy engineering, applied physics, and IT infrastructure. In my thesis (2013) I have tried to combine everything I was ever interested in – physics, IT security, power engineering – writing about smart metering and security.
My nickname is Elkement - an amalgam of my first name and my unofficial job title: The Subversive Element.
I am running a small company together with my husband. Following Star Trek terminology he is Chief Engineer and I am Science Officer. We live in the very heart of Europe, in sunny Pannonian Plain.
I am a physicist who has explored different professional biotopes. After having indulged in the corporate world as a so-called mobile knowledge worker I decided to reconnect to my roots as a scientist and engineer in 2012, and I have completed another master's degree - Sustainable Energy Systems - in 2013. In 2014 I am indulging in a weird combination of professional specialties: Modelling of heat pump systems and troubleshooting issues with digital certificates.
On numerous blogs and websites I am pondering on:
Theoretical physics versus engineering.
Off-the-wall geek humor versus existential philosophical questions.
Knowledge worker's connectedness versus striving for independence.
Corporate world's strangeness versus small business entrepreneur's microcosmos.
As a Search Term Poet and a Spam Poet I create art from the virtual scrapyard.
Related blog articles:
The Dark Side Was Strong in Me (2012, on my transition from academia / R&D to IT in 1997).
On Science Communication (2013, remembering 1995)
The Red World. The Final Frontier.
These are the pages of the Subversive Element.
They represent an instance of the web multi-verse of an allegedly human being calls herself - or has been programmed to say that it calls herself - Elke Stangl.
The El(k)ement disguises as a scientist and serious thinker, as a renaissance elkement.
In order to reach its target audiences it plays the role of a MacGyver-like inventor and a stereotype geek.
The Element is a serial innovator in making fun of anything, including itself, and in producing glitches in the matrix of our (alleged) 4D space-time.
Profilers and the NSA are invited to analyze its cyber stream of consciousness: Theory and Practice of Trying to Combine Just Anything.
The Elkement aims at subverting the Corporate World as we know it and tries to establish itself as a first mover and cult leader in many experimental genres of art, such as Spam Poetry and Search Term Poetry.
The Elkement is going to demonstrate its leadership in the commercialization of Anything Crazy, Ephemeral and Fleeting: Offering its innovative servies Elkement for Rent - Subversion for Hire it is proud to be part of the global punktwissen group.
These comments on ancient German newsletters (or: newsletter necro) are part of The Website Resurrection Project. Although the Element is now also blogging - using state-of-the-art blogging software, the Red Pages are still maintained. This is very Zen: Pseudo-blogging without a chance of receiving any feedback.
The original newsletters are more than 8 years old, and it is hard to understand what in hell was on my mind when I had written those.
In case of Newsletter No. 3 it is a bit easier as the core story is a narrative related to a technical glitch that happened in exactly this way in the so-called real-life.
In 2004 we had just overcome the era of the internet being SKAWEE-REWEERT but The Element still used an ISDN line as a backup for its ADSL connection. Which was a blessing.
The Element was very ambitious and operated its own Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 in 2004, that is: an Active Directory Domain Controller and a Microsoft Exchange mail server on the same box. The box was located in a very secure closet in the "data center"- a cupboard in the toilet.
This server downloaded e-mails every 15 minutes from the hoster's mail server via POP3 via ADSL and the download was limited to 2.5 GB per month.
Now another subversive entity sent an 18.5 MB invitation the Element. This took a while - more than 120 seconds. Now the hoster's mail server did not exactly follow the specifications (Internet RFCs) for POP3: Downloading was considered idle time and after 120 seconds idle time the connection was terminated. Recommended as per specs: 30 minutes.
The server has been configured for deleting e-mails after successful download. Since the download was never successful this e-mail had never been deleted. But every 15 minutes it tried to download again and failed after 120 seconds.
Why didn't the Element discover that before the download limit was exceeded? Because it was on vacation but wanted to have an option to access its own server via Outlook Web Access from the internet. No kidding. Warning e-mails by the ADSL provider were sent only a few days later. But the elementary internet traffic was back to the dialup ISDN era for the rest of the month.
The Element indulges in web nostalgia – remembering its Subversive Newsletters, sent to (a very small selection of) German readers from July 2004 to July 2005. These pivotal works have been resurrected today!
Probably this has been sort of paradoxically rehearsal to what would become the most commercial and non-subversive period in the Element's existence ever.
Subversive and weird writing has been resumed; currently the Element focusses on Search Term Poetry and Spam Poetry. Here is what another ridiculous and sublime blogger say about this new avant-garde genres of art.
But the Element is a master of Data Necro and it needs to bring the world's attention to this gems of pop culture tucked away at this obscure .at website. Thanks Google, for your latest changes in 'localization'. Ironically, both of the Element's bilingual pages – subversiv.at and e-stangl.at - are hosted at.at websites while its German-only website is radices.net. But we are determined to lure global visitors to our site nonetheless. Even though this is not a blog and you cannot comment. Hint: You might want to rant here instead.
Pretending I am serious, I would say the Subversive Newsletters already anticipated Search Term Poetry and Spam Poetry as they had been built from self-referential content and snippets deposited in the corporate worker's dustbin.
The Element had started in 2007 to analyze the first newsletters No.1 and No.2 in English – we do hope it will not take another 6 years until we return to commenting in a self-referential way on already self-referential stuff.
These are the preliminary results of the Website Resurrection Project. In spring 2012 rotten web pages have been de-linked. Those have been polished in a clandestine fashion in our steam punk web page manufacture and are gradually re-linked since autumn 2012.
The Subversive Newsletters published in German in 2004-2005 have been linked again!
The Elkement is going to analyze those and comment in English. Note that this will not add any new content. Not even the original newsletters had conveyed anything resembling 'content'.
The following newsletters have been analyzed:
In the meantime have a cup of coffee and some alien cupcakes: