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Our hero has been consumed by the monster that is the Beam, for a month-long adventure sure to produce lots of hard-won data.  Back in September, you can see that Tim and his old apparatus were quite friendly.  This time around, perhaps with no nametag clipped to his nipple, our hero finds himself using yet another apparatus for his sample-measuring pursuits. 

 This is all to say that Tim, our flaxen hero, may be a little scarce for the next month. 

(Update! Hot tipper Ahob managed to locate Noah’s stash of pictures that includes a video!  The ducklings were clearly what one them the grand prize.)

…they make sculptures out of trash.


Congrats to Noah, Subu, Andy, Beth, and the other physics grads students who won the Grand Showboat prize for their milk-carton entry “Duck Amuck” at Seafair this year! Claire Lu took some interesting pictures for it. According to Andy, they accumulated over 1200 milk cartons from the h-bar (ahuk) to build it. I was hoping my predilection for white-chocolate mochas helped their cause!!!

(ok, I was just trying to score one of their tickets that they won. In reality, I think white chocolate mochas are the most soul-sucking, utter-waste-of-four dollar, gutbusting drinks on the planet that are kept in business by people who pretend to like coffee. Real connoisseurs go to the physics machine shop for a 25 cent cuppajoe where you get exactly what you pay for: cheap drip coffee)

The new version of Mathematica (6.0) is really kind of fun. (UW students can get it here, use a faculty’s e-mail to have password sent to said faculty member (or yoshi)) I’m liking the debugging stuff and the color coded input. I’m having a blast playing with the new dynamic functions, especially the one called manipulate. The ability to rotate 3D figures in their window is long overdue, but pretty nice too. For some reason, they’ve also decided to include ridiculous amounts of data, including a giant database of chemical formulas and properties, stuff from almanacs, and an internal dictionary and thesaurus. It can also import html data easily–for instance, here’s a silly little function that imports the html code from a particular webpage and checks for the frequency of strings made up of letters (i.e. words, not code…hopefully). My apologies for the ugly code.

As you can see above, I’ve omitted words under 5 letters to get a better sense of what people are writing about and just took the top 20 hits:

Aha! the function lalala correctly inferred that Dan C. (blogroll) wrote about policies (4 times) in government (8 times) and had ideas (well, just 8 ideas). I like that Offends is #1. Hell, the output practically reads itself. Now let’s try Adam’s website:

looks about right. Again, it practically reads itself, in that stilted magnetic poetry sort of way. Just for kicks, let’s make the above input into a tag cloud thingy:

Ok, it’s been a while, but in my defense, my defense is in ❤ weeks (no, that’s not a heart, or butt-cone or whatever…) and I’ve been back and forth between Argonne for job interviews and a recent conference. I did manage to pop a couple a pictures along the way…


This is a photo of the two-crystal monochromator APS’ new microprobe beamline. Since the beam is being focused to ~10 nm across, any jiggle can be pretty detrimental–hence this mono has crystals only 5 mm apart, with a flexure coupling to really cut down on any extraneous motion.


Here’s a picture of an open-faced duck sandwich with caramelized onions, tomatoes and goat cheese with a side of wilted beet greens and zucchini. I made three sandwiches for my lunch ‘bunch’.


Here’s Julie in her new office pretending like she owns the ring. She’s now in charge of safety protocol for any new equipment being installed at APS, which has much better hours (and pay) than a beamline scientist. Good thing ‘the beast’ was built before she started..that thing’s a deathtrap.


As you might recall, the main mode of transportation inside the ring are trikes. Someone (Ken) must’ve gone off the deep end with this one. Yikes.


note.jpg Here’s me with my poster at the Argonne user’s meeting. Somehow, they managed to lose my abstract, so I wasn’t included in the handouts and I didn’t have an assigned spot at the poster session. I made do, I guess.

I had my Brookhaven job interview this week and I think it went pretty well. My talk went smoothly and John (the guy who invited me) seemed to like it. I was a little surprised how everyone was working on strongly correlated materials, stripe order, magnetic order, orbital order…but I guess that’s the kind of group thinking that DOE likes in its labs. We ate at a tres swanky restaurant and I got a nice rental car for the everything was going smoothly until my flight got canceled today due to a lot of sleet. Fortunately my Aunt Toni and Uncle Mike live out here so I got a place to stay until Sunday when I fly back. Well, ’nuff blabbering–here’s some pictures from an eventful week.

Here’s me and my old UofM buddy Jesse Berezovsky at Denver’s March meeting posing in front of the big blue bear (see last post).

Despite having the flu, I then went to Stevens with Josh, Susan, David, Andrea, and Evee. Here’s Evee and Andrea goofing around.

..and here is poor sick me, working on my talk while everyone is snowboarding and having fun..

Aunt Toni and Uncle Mike are laughing at YOU!

I thought before I’d get on my plane (yeah, right), that I’d hit some ethnic neighborhood in NYC for some neat grub. I decided on the Korean part of Queens on Northern Blvd in Flushing and got this lamb soup that was quite medicinal. Both the lamb and the mustard seeds were quite unusual to me, but it was good.

This place only served a few dishes, mostly soup. I loved how they had all their bowls stacked up in front of the kitchen–neat place!

bluebear.JPGMy apologies for the lack of posting–this conference has been a whirlwind. (and thanks andrea for keeping everyone up to date!) I gave the first of my three talks today. It went pretty well, but I tend to run out of breath at the end of my sentences. It’s like I need a lamas class for giving talks to cope with the pressure. Denver’s an okay city, but it’s dominated by these trendy fast-food restaurants in the chipotle model. Our hotel…is far away, which kind of sucks since I would kill for a quick siesta right now. Random notes: The blue bear shown on the right is this 45 ft public art thingy peering in the convention center. Ran into former classmate, Jesse Berezovsky, who is skipping the afternoon sessions for a local brewery tour (so jealous). Alas, I will not be attending the physics sing along tonight. That would’ve been pretty entertaining.