couchsurfing profile (for the archive)


I am in orbit.


I'm an engineer at a company that designs, builds, and tests airborne wind turbines -- flying contraptions that generate clean energy. In an earlier life, I worked on gravitational wave detectors, including LIGO, leading to the first detection of gravitational waves -- disturbances from colliding black holes, a billion light years away from earth.

Some things I enjoy: hitchhiking, communal living, math, bicycles, street art, reading (both novels and nonfiction), computer programming, potluck dinners, dogs, geography, the outdoors, photography, science, flying airplanes, watching art films, and learning about history and culture.


Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Why I’m on Couchsurfing

I tend to go through phases of hosting and surfing, hosting when I'm settled somewhere and surfing when I'm on the road.


Couchsurfing in Yosemite national park on a trans-California hitchhiking adventure. Driving across the U.S., couchsurfing every night: in rural Virginia, in Memphis, on a queer commune in rural Tennessee, in Baton rouge, in New Orleans, in snowy Santa Fe and Alamogordo and desert Tucson. Hosting couchsurfers visiting Louisiana and Hannover has been just as delightful. Couchsurfing adds magic to any journey.

adventure, ant hill cooperative inc, avoiding my homework, being a scientist, bicycling, biking around town, cities, the center for land use interpretation, co-ops, coffee shops, cooking, cooking with my roommates, critical mass, eating, eating yummy food, electronics projects, functional differential geometry, flying airplanes and gliders, hiking, hot springs, hot tubs, physics, postcards, public transportation, reading, scheme, seismology, skinnydipping, structure and interpretation of classical mechanics, snuggling, starting a housing co-op, swimming, tag sales, thinking about physics, travel, travelling the world, watching david lynch films, writing, yummy food.

Music, Movies, and Books
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Searching for Sugar Man
The Flat
Y Tu Mamá También
Mulholland Drive - David Lynch
Chinatown - Roman Polanski
Pulp Fiction - Quentin Tarantino
Mitt Liv Som Hund (My Life as a Dog)

All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt
Norwegian Wood - Murakami
Heart of Darkness
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Catcher in the Rye

Irons in the Fire - John McPhee
The Control of Nature - John McPhee
The Devil in the White City - Erik Larson
In the Garden of Beasts - Erik Larson
Roadside Geology of Louisiana

Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics

old-time americana (bluegrass)

One Amazing Thing I’ve Done
Hiked up Mt. Sinai by starlight during the Perseid meteor shower,
worked in Alaska for a summer. One of the best summers ever!

Hello Couchsurfers!

I live in one of the more colorful neighborhoods of Hannover, Linden-Nord, a Stadtteil that's full of students and immigrants. My apartment is just two blocks away from Limmerstrasse, the main street (with trams, bicycles, and pedestrians, but no cars) through the neighborhood, full of cheap good restaurants and cafes and a continuous traffic of life. My place is also just a block away from a big park and the river Leine, and is walking distance to the university.

I have a small dog (you can just make her out in the couch photo!) who will be very excited to meet you.

slow progress towards glider rating

I started working on my glider rating when I moved to Germany, what 2011 or so, hoping to finish in one summer season. Well here we are seven-ish years later.

Hoping to solo tomorrow and knock out the last three of the required ten solo flights before the checkride. Even more so, hoping to solo in the Schweizer 1-26, a single-seater.

Tempted to make a trip out to Marfa TX, where Burt Compton offers free glider checkrides in the winter months.

July 26 Lunar Orbit

Quick three-day trip to the Moon. We drove down on Monday and spent some time at the Base, preparing to prepare the Vehicle. On Tuesday we did the full dry-run with the Vehicle on its launch-pad, checking all its sensors and putting it through its paces. But the Lunar Weather was not right for launch, so we deorbited.

We took the long way home, visited hot springs in Long Valley Caldera, Hot Creek (swimming forbidden now), and up into Yosemite National Park, where we swam in Tenaya Lake, and drank directly from the soda spring at Tuolumne meadows. The photo here is somewhere near the Hot Creek geological site, on the Long Valley Caldera - a little bit of Iceland in California.

Why dust collects on fan blades

»The properly skeptical reader may have detected a peculiar assumption in our demonstration of viscosity: the fluid must stick to the walls of the [container] rather than simply slide along the walls.

Now fluid certainly does stick to itself. If one tiny portion of a fluid moves, it tends to carry other bits of fluid with it—the magnitude of that tendency is precisely what viscosity is about. Less obviously, fluids stick to solids quite as well as they stick to themselves. As nearly as we can tell from the very best measurements, the velocity of a fluid at the interface with the solid is always just the same as the solid. This last statement expresses something called the "no-slip condition"—fluids do not slip with respect to adjacent solids. …

[A] peculiarity of this no-slip condition is that the nature of the solid surface makes very little difference. If water is flowing over a solid without an air-water interface to complicate matters, the no-slip condition holds whether the solid is hydrophilic or hydrophobic, rough or smooth, greasy or clean. The nature of the solid surface matters only when we have a liquid-gas interface present as well—in short, where surface tension becomes a factor."

The no-slip condition has a number of important ramifications. In particular, it means that any time a fluid flows across a solid, a velocity gradient is present. … In practice, the no-slip condition explains (in part) why dust and grime accumulate on fan blades, why pipes (including blood vessels) encounter trouble from accumulation of deposits rather than from wearing thin, and why a bit of suspended rock is needed in water for the latter to become effectively errosive. … Alternatively, just consider why dishcloths and mops are so much more effective for cleaning than any mere rinse.«
Vogel, Life in Moving Fluids, page 21.