Nels Tomlinson

Copyright © Nels Tomlinson 2004, 2005, 2006
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Family in a park in Taipei, October 2003 Current conditions for Juneau, Alaska

The picture shows me, my wife, and our three children in the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall grounds, in Taipei, Taiwan, in October 2003. Clicking on the image will display it full size.

Book Reviews

I've started writing reviews of some of the books I've read recently. You'll find them in my book reviews pages.

Home Schooling in Alaska


The January/February issue of Home Education Magazine has an article titled "From Homeschooled to Homeschooling" by Dawn Colclasure which has some quotes from me.

My sister and I were homeschooled, and in hindsight, it seems to have worked pretty well. Today, my wife and I are home schooling our children. You can click here, or the link above, to read more about homeschooling in Alaska. I've written a brief paper explaining how to make and use flash cards to teach phonics. I'm accumulating a bibliography of peer-reviewed research on homeschooling.

Recent articles from my homeschooling weblog

I have a web log on, where I write whatever is on my mind that's related to homeschooling in Alaska. Here are the recent articles, courtesy of

I've also posted the plucker page I use to get some news sites downloaded to my PDA to read on the bus every morning. You'll find it on my plucker home page.

About me

I'm currently an economist for the State of Alaska's Labor Department. I assist the state demographer in making population estimates and projections for the state and its places. Since I've started here, I've published three articles in the house journal, Alaska Economic Trends. The first was a contribution to an article on Alaska's employment outlook, and the second was a history of the unit I was working with then. The third was an article describing the seasonality of some occupations in Alaska. This third one is the most interesting. I learned that there has never been any work done on describing the seasonal nature of occupations, nor on classifying occupations by their seasonality, so I had to break new ground.

My education is in economics and statistics. My bachelors degree is from University of Alaska, Fairbanks, in electrical engineering. I have a MS in statistics from Purdue University, and am ABD in economics there. My dissertation topic (which I don't intend to finish) is a novel extension of the Bertrand pricing game with applications to electric power markets. You will find my resume by clicking here.


I use the R programming language for most of my programming. I have written a quick-reference card for R. You can also download the source for the R language reference card. Jonathan Baron was kind enough to host the reference card on his site, until I could get it up here.

I have made some use of the Maxima symbolic math system. I began writing a primer for Maxima, which was distributed with the language for a short time, but when Richard Fateman and others revived their documentation efforts, I regarded mine as superseded. They covered most of the same material, and some more, and covered it rather better (and far more authoritatively!).

Contacting me

You can reach me by looking me up in the Juneau phone book, or by sending me an email at the following address:

That isn't a clickable mailto: link, because address-harvesting web spiders would find it and put that address on the spammer's mailing lists.


These are my bookmarks. I've placed them here for my convenience, and so you can see what I've found interesting. If you actually want to find something, you're probably better off using google.

My Slide Rules

Here are scans of a few of my slide rules and slide charts.

Building a Computer

Back in 2001 I wrote some advice for people who wanted a good computer. It's getting a bit dated, and the specifics have changed a bit since then. However, I explained the principles behind the advice, and the principles haven't changed a bit. If you're thinking about buying or building a computer, take a look.

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