Don't we already have a thread like this? Bah, no matter.
The seventh book in the Mercy Thompson series: Frost Bitten. By Patricia Briggs.
It's a modern times setting in Washington state, tri cities area. It's about wherewolves and vampires. Never was into that mystical stuff until now. Hard to follow if you just got into it like I have. I understand there's also a comics series based on the novels. I like it so much I'm going to get more into it. What drew me was, well, Mercy Thompson on the front and her Native American appearance. Since I'm looking to connect with my roots in that direction now in my later twenties it seemed like a good title. Something new, a departure from my usual. I know, never judge a book by its cover, but even for an impulse buy I am quite glad I did.
Scientific American. Home Made Laser literature.
Currently I am reading about Jeffery Levatter's high school science project from 1971. The plans/information tells of the science and technical aspects of this project. Parts are listed. What it's about (s you'd surmise) is making a Co2 laser. Particularly of the older designs by hobbyists and amateurs using an axial flowing gas cavity for ionization. In this one you may either make your resonant mirrors by hand (much like making them for telescopes), or you can buy some per-manufactured mirrors for it. The power supply a simple high compliance design of a rectified Neon Sign Transformer, or a similar rectified NST for sustaining power but with a triggering circuit to give it the ignition required to start the tube to ionize and lase.
As you may be aware a Co2 gas laser is of considerable optical power output at 10.6 micron wavelength (deep infrared).
Though newer designs tend to use sealed laser tubes with integrated optics, one could still substitute a modern design's inverter power supply with the older NST schemes.
It's neat to look back at now "classic" designs of things which are still high tech today.
Also of Sci Am laser literature:
Helium Mercury ion laser. Comparatively simple design requiring some glass blowing, making the brewster window ends, fabrication of the leads, the metal frame for the tube, and administering the mercury as well as the helium.
The power supply interestingly is direct contact for sustaining the ionization, but requires an Oudin coil (RF) for startup.
What are interesting about this particular laser are that is does not require as low of a pressure as others (your vacuum pump doesn't need to pull as much vacuum), it has a very high gain for a gas laser, a wider bore than other gas lasers making resonator mirror alignment MUCH less critical, and a dual wavelength output: Orange 615nm, and yellow-green 565nm.
It's a fairly unique laser among others.
The Shaolin Way by Steve Demasco.
This is a book which introduces readers to shaolin philosophy for everyday life in a modern way so lay people can understand. Demasco is a shaolin kung fu practitionaer and grandmaster--an honor few Americans can claim. I have truly enjoyed his point of view for many things. I have re-read his passages about finding oneself and discovering one's self-worth, along with how such a mindset is necessary for confidence and sustaining the will to achieve life's goals. It is resonating with me now as I look at things differently in a new way.
Perhaps age appropriate for a guy in his late twenties, looking at thirty not too far away.