About Alkahest

Why Alkahest?

It’s mainly a joke, but on a couple of different levels. Alkahest is a mythical substance, thought by alchemists to be the universal solvent. The universal solvent was the one substance that could dissolve anything (which leads of course to the obvious question about what you keep it in). It was also thought to either be or be useful in making the philosopher’s stone. Calling a blog Alkahest implies at least that you are willing to take on a large number of different subjects as opposed to specializing. In modern chemistry, water is known as the universal solvent. Given the number of water/plumbing related problems (and therefore posts) I have, this amuses me. Finally, a blog really needs some title other than its URL.

Who am I?

I’m not attempting to be anonymous, but also tend not to use my name on this blog. I used to be the IT Security Officer at a major university, but in August of 2007, I left to join an engineering company where I am a Senior Research Engineer. Don’t know what that means?  Join the club – I’ll tell you when I find out.  I tend not to refer to my former university or my current employer too often, mostly because it’s a personal blog. That said, it’s trivially easy to find out who I am and where I work.  [cec: is this still true?  I’m not certain it’s still easy to find out where I work.]

I have a doctorate in computer engineering and have studied topics including: neural networks, video compression, biological modeling, micro-electromechanical systems, computational chemistry, parallel computing and Internet security. Currently, I’m interested in social issues such as wage growth, social security and social equality; as well as photography and learning to play the guitar.

My wife, K, is currently a wildlife rehabilitator which means that I’m also a general handy man, cage builder, and computer support person.

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