Robin and Tina

Tina and Robin - we were married in June 2004. 
I am the first of six children, born in 1955 in Wantage, England. In 1961, our family came to Australia - this was just before the Cuban missile crisis, and the southern hemisphere was a much safer place to be. I grew up in Melbourne, mainly in Mont Albert and North Balwyn. I lived around Surrey Hills and Camberwell until 1980 when I moved to Heidelberg Heights.

My father worked in physics research (including the first lasers and holograms in Australia) and from 1965 in computer programming.  My mother's academic background was in humanities.  They devoted themselves to raising a large and happy family.  I always felt that any question I asked would be answered – by my parents, by Encyclopedia Britannica or by some other means, such as experiment.  I am way before Sesame St, Lego and Abba!  Super Car, Noddy, Bill and Ben, 78's on the gramophone (and later, the early Beatles 45s and LPs) and in particular Meccano were my scene!  I began working with electronics in 1967 with an old valve radio and then pursued this at the Camberwell Grammar Radio Club.  The first thing I ever modified was in 1962: converting a firecracker into a skyrocket.  It worked perfectly and although it was broad daylight, my brothers and I never saw it fall to Earth.

Here is a portrait of me by Adriana Hardy, aged four, in August 1997.  You can see some of Adriana's paintings in the gallery section of this site.

Adriana's picture of me


Since 1985 I have pursued my electronic musical instrument business Real World Interfaces full-time. In 1992 I became involved in consumer advocacy in telecommunications privacy. This lead to writing and consulting in telecommunications. I use the business name First Principles for this work, and hopefully in the future will use it for some other creative, expressive projects – such as music.  There is a CV of my electronic, software, writing, consulting and advocacy work here: cv.html .  In 2011, I earn most of my income from my Devil Fish electronic musical instrument modifications, designing and building electronic equipment for music and (for Whittle Consulting) computer programming and technical writing.

Research Projects

I began an astrophysics project in late 2002: - investigating the red shift interaction of light with low-density plasmas. This leads to explanations of various observations in ways which are contrary to the Big Bang Theory.  Since there is no satisfactory conventional explanation for the heating and acceleration of the solar corona and wind, perhaps there is some as-yet unrecognised interaction between light and low-density plasmas which couples the required energy and momentum.  Perhaps this involves redshift of the light.  If so, then the redshift of light from distant galaxies and quasars should no longer be seen as evidence they are moving away from us.  This would call into question the 'photon' theory of light.  Tackling conventional cosmology and quantum mechanics is a fascinating but rather lonely business!

My hypothesis does not work with the conventional 'photon' view of light, in which electromagnetic waves are quantized into discrete packets of energy.  Most people understand electromagnetic waves in this way - I used to.  Now I think some kind of semi-classical theory must be a better explanation: non-quantized 'classical' waves interacting with matter (or at least with closed resonant systems such as atoms and molecules) in ways which we interpret as being quantized.  I think mainstream researchers do not yet fully understand the interaction of light with sparse plasmas, where the particles (electrons, protons and other ions) are so far apart (greater than the coherence length of the light) that each particle slows down the light a little, while the light regains full light speed between the particles.  I believe this plasma is an inhomogeneous medium for the propagation of light.  My theory is not the only one along these lines.  Ari Brynjolfsson's theory of 2004 has broadly similar implications.  

I am also working on a hypothesis regarding the underlying mechanisms of the common (~10% of the population) neurological disorder Restless Legs Syndrome.  There will be a new website for this -  I will also put up some observations and theories regarding vibrationally induced tiredness and sleep.

Another research project is Ivip - a proposal for a new routing and addressing architecture to help with the problems of inefficient use of IPv4 address space and of the routing system not coping well with the continued growth in the number of ISP and end-user networks.

On August 1999, abandoned consumer advocacy work because I felt that all the issues I was working on turned out worst case - meaning my efforts made no difference.  However, I pursued the telemarketing issue in 2004 with the ACCC and ADMA: ../issues/tm/ and in 2006 when the Federal Government decided to establish a Do-Not-Call register. Calling Number Display turned out worst-case - no-one was asked for their consent before their numbers were made available for display or capture.  Internet censorship has turned out badly too.  Fortunately, the First Amendment to the US Constitution made several Internet censorship laws in the USA invalid - and Internet communications are technically difficult to control.  I think I made a bit of a difference to cryptography policy.  Perhaps I contributed to the government deciding the Do-Not-Call register would operate by filtering the telemarketer's list of numbers, flagging those not to be called, rather than the approach used in the USA which sends complete sets of numbers not to be called to telemarketers.  The Australian 'list-tagging' approach has far fewer security and privacy problems than the US approach.  See my page ../issues/dnc/ for more information.  

I am very fond of children and never lost my sense of play.  Recently, I was enjoying shining a friend's blue-green argon laser through bubbles I was blowing in soapy water in a shallow dish, with light bouncing in many directions from the various facets of the bubbles, and being diffracted by passing through thin watery films as well.  An onlooker told her friend that I was having my second childhood.  I responded that this was still my first.

Here is a picture from 1993 taken by my friend Pippa Morris in Walhalla – an old gold mining town in Gippsland, 140 km east of Melbourne. I am holding Chloe, daughter of Rob and Ann.  She is an energetic teenager now.

Walhalla 1993, holding baby Chloe

There is a separate page for some ramblings on cosmology and the nature of life: robin-cosmology.html

Here is a picture taken in July 2002, by Adriana, who was born around the time I was pictured holding her friend Chloe.   Adriana did my hair too!

Tina and I got to know each other via email and then lots of phone calls in late 2003.  We talked for about three hours a day, for four months, until Tina flew from her home in Texas, to Melbourne, on Christmas Day.  We were married in June 2004 by civil celebrant Sally Cant - .  Sally took this photo.

Tina works in family therapy, helps me with the Devil Fish electronic work, and is pursuing some creative writing projects.  She has a blog with her friend Sandra:

We have a wonderful life together!  One aspect of our togetherness is walking and contact with Nature.

We like going for walks - just day walks, nothing heroic or overnight.  There are many walks in and around Melbourne, including rail trails and the Yarra Path, near where we live (Google satellite photo and map.). We really liked the South Island of New Zealand, especially Fox Glacier and the coast near there with its beaches of driftwood and grey schist. 

We really enjoyed a walk on Maria Island and a trip along the Pieman River, from Corinna, aboard the late 1930s M.V. Arcadia II.  Some photos from a walk we took along the coast of the Daintree Rainforest, at Thornton Beach, just south of Cape Tribulation, are here:  ../show-and-tell/green-ants/ .

We also like Sunday morning booty-hunting at the great flea market Camberwell Market (of which a small portion can be seen here) and . . . like Fritz the Cat . . . bubblebaths, albeit less crowded than his .

Here we are at Hanging Rock.

Tina and I are working together on electronic musical instrument modifications - the Devil Fish mods for the Roland TB-303.

My email address is  Contact details are here.

You can see some of the things I am interested in at my web sites: this one and the astrophysics site: .

- Robin 

13 May March 2011