Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • The base for the Geiger-Muller tubes used in all of the early Cold War era Victoreen counters (including both tubes now on my bench) is called a standard Peewee 3-pin, JEDEC A3-1. Many thanks to Jonathan O’Neal for sending along this link to a detailed spec sheet (PDF) for one of the tubes. Now I can wire up the counter I’m building for initial tests.
  • A couple of people have suggested using a Leyden jar instead of ordinary capacitors to collect charge for my (supposedly) steampunk Geiger counter. I imagine that a Leyden jar would be more period, and it’s certainly a good excuse to build something that I saw in every single one of the kid books on electricity I read back in the early 60s. Not real portable, though.
  • There is indeed an organization that helps to keep Latin functional, 2000-odd years from its original coalescence as a major world language. No psychic powers points for guessing that the organization is…the Roman Catholic Church. (Thanks to Michael Covington for the link, which, I must say ahead of things, is in…Latin.)
  • And Finland just racked up a huge mess of cool points with me for being the only country in the world that broadcasts the news in Latin. (Thanks to Aki Peltonen for the link.)
  • Jim Furstenberg put me on to photos of a round dozen Victorian submarines. The site looks to be a marvelously engaging time-waster, er, experience broadener. (Have done much of both in recent hours.)
  • Google just announced its own URL shortener, which will do some reasonable screening against malware. I have avoided using URL shorteners for that reason until now.
  • Furthermore, the new Google URL shortener will generate a QR code for you if you tack a .qr onto the end of the shortened URL.
  • Amazon is creating an Android app store. Peculiar? Not if the next (or next after that) Kindle generation is more than just an ebook reader.
  • I’m proud to say that my good sister Gretchen long ago declared that she is raising free-range kids. I wasn’t quite sure what she meant (Carol and I have none of our own) until I read this. Bravo! Now, can we make zero-tolerance policies in schools a felony? (Thanks to Pete Albrecht for the link.)
  • The other day I mentioned to Carol that, with “Drumlin Circus” taking on a certain steampunk flavor (it’s certainly nothing like “Drumlin Boiler”) I would probably have to buy a top hat. Her reply: “Um…you already have a top hat.” I looked on the high shelf in the closet, and shore ’nuff! I bought it for the 1999 Coriolis Millennium Christmas Party at the Biltmore Hotel in Scottsdale. I wore it exactly once, and then forgot about it. So what’s next? Spats? Or my seriously ahead-of-the-curve Chester A. Arthur facial hair?


  1. Jack, K8ZOA says:


    Looks like an original build of the Geiger counter:

    Jack K8ZOA

    1. That looks a lot like the circuit I’m trying now. It’s also the way I made (or tried to make) a spark gap back in 1963 when I was 11: Soldered a loop of tinned wire between two terminals of a terminal strip, and then snipped the loop in the middle. I got sparks, but they were weak, and there may have been something wrong with the output transformer I was using. I didn’t even have a VOM at the time and so my troubleshooting options were limited.

    2. Yes. That looks like the “Geiger Gun” counter circuit in the July 1957 Popular Electronics, at the bottom of Page 66. (For those just tuning in, I reprinted the schematic in my September 22, 2010 entry.) The transistor probably isn’t a 2N107 (judging by the pinch-top case) but almost any small-signal PNP Germanium transistor would work in that role.

  2. bcl says:

    Unrelated to the above, I was just reading Jerry Pournelle’s article on his Great Power Spike back in 1989 and came across his recommendation for this – “The computer book of the month is Jeff Dunteman, _Complete Turbo Pascal_ (3rd edition; Scott Forsman, 1989).” at the end of the article. I thought you might be interested.

    1. I have that copy of Byte with a sticky note on the page–one of the best reviews I ever got for any of my books. That was a wonderful time to be a Pascal programmer, and though I wish it would have lasted, I’m just glad I was there.

  3. Erbo says:

    Broadcasting the news in Latin is just what I’d expect from the quirky Finns; gotta love ’em.

    There is, of course, a substantial minority of Finns that are native Swedish speakers as well. Perhaps the most famous member of that minority is Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel. Vaasa, where my ex-wife lives now, is one of the cities with a high concentration of Swedish-speaking Finns. All the street signs there are in both Finnish and Swedish; the street she lives on is called both “Vuorikatu” (Finnish) and “Berggatan” (Swedish). The government lists both languages as “official.”

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