Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blue shift

A bit over a month ago I reported on the bright-green makeover that Marshak Hall was getting.  After that post, we actually noticed that you can see the eyesore from the George Washington Bridge:

Since then, the building has started travelling towards us at alarming speed, changing the green to blue.

Either that, or they want the building to be camouflaged on clear days:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Post Coming Tommorow

Unfortunately the images I want to blog about are stuck on my mothers computer. Hopefully, my mother will be able to get them for me and I will be able to blog tomorrow.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy Pi Approximation Day

March 14, "Pi Day" gets all the publicity here in the US because of the date structure MM/DD.  This means Americans write that date as 3/14 which are the first three digits of Pi.  But, just about everywhere else in the world uses the format DD/MM.  In that case, 14/3 is kind of silly.  However, today, July 22 is meaningful!  22/7 is a decent approximation for Pi!  In fact, 3.14 differs from Pi by around 0.05% whereas 22/7 differs only by around 0.04%!
So, Happy Pi Approximation Day! (Whats left of it, at least.)  And, in honor of Pi Approximation Day, here's the awesome birthday/father's day present Stacy got for me this year:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Self Bow

Four years ago I decided to make a self bow. I cut down two maple saplings to shape into my bows. I split the two pieces in half to make two bow blanks. I decided to work on the smaller blank first.
However, after working on the smaller stave for a time I began to exercise it and heard a small crack. I decided to stop working that bow. After having the two bow blanks in my room for four years I decided once again to work on my bows. Since I had already damaged the smaller bow I began to work the larger bow.

This is w hat the end of the bigger bow blank looked like before I worked it.

This is what the end looks like now, you can see how much material I have removed (I apologize for this and the next few pictures, my camera had decided to stop working well).

Looking at the belly of the bow as it looks now.

You can see from the side profile how the bow was really beginning to look like a real bow.

In the tillering of the bow I was drawing on the bow to see where it wasn't flexing enough and crack. I attribute this to the poor initial quality of the blank, the fact that is was way to dry and in my complete lack of experience in working on this sort of thing. However, I have learned a lot from this and soon I will go out into the woods and cut myself a new sapling. Hopefully, I will be able to post about that if I am successful.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

All night at BNL

Last week, at this time, I was sitting in the Brookhaven National Laboratory's Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN).  It was hour seven (and a half).  Of an all-night electron beam lithography run.
Here I am, all decked out,
ready to work with the incredibly complicated, and incredible complex JEOL 6300:
It was hard to take pictures which capture both the size of the thing, as well as all the little niggly details that go into it.  All the little wires and pipes and sensors and giant vacuum and cooling systems.  It's amazing this thing works, given all the bits and pieces.

Anyway, the control for this system is a rather clunky poorly translated computer program.  And the coolest control panel I've ever gotten to play with.
It's practically like the old Bat Computer, except is has a BIG RED BUTTON.  And, that panel slides open, to reveal,
even more buttons and knobs.  I didn't take a picture when it was all lit up, but those buttons each have lights and things.  It's very satisfying to play with.

Anyway, the guys ebeaming before us finished at 3AM, so we picked it up there and successfully finished by the 9AM shift.  Alas, we don't really know if the thing was truly successful, because some idiot mixed Piranha etch with some sort of organic solvent.  To quote Wikipedia: "Mixing piranha with organic solvents...will cause an explosion."  To quote Mike: Piranha etch+organic solvent = BOOM!!  Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the clean room is closed down for (at least) two days for cleanup.  So, the next step of the process is on hold for a bit.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Flying High

It has been a rather long time since I posted about designing or building RC airplanes (one or two years). That is because I stopped being a member of the AIAA club at Rutgers midway through last year. I have not stopped designing since then, I just have not completed a design. Until now that is. The plane does not yet have a name, however it is the first plane that I have designed from beginning to end. In the past I was only designing frames, however on this plane I also designed the wings, ailerons, the horizontal stabilizer, elevator, and vertical stabilizers and rudders. I already have some of it built, and will be be buying some components tomorrow and soon. This of course means that I will be able to show you the plane as it becomes built.

This shows four views of the plane, Isometric, Front, Right and Top. The shell around the fuselage and the landing gear have not been finalized yet (I just made them to make it look nicer). I also made some of the components semi-transparent to make it easier to see structures and of course made things odd colors to be easily seen.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Electronic billboards run Windows

On July 4th we saw this billboard off the New Jersey Turnpike:
Who knew that some billboards "are a PC."

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


Here is some lightning in the back of my apartment. Pretty crazy.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Sign of the Recession

Two years ago, when we needed to try out one teeny little prism, Thorlabs sent the lab at Unilever a big box of goodies.  This year, when my lab bought tons of shiny new optical equipment, all we got were "Lab Snacks Lite":
Hardly the quality or quantity of treats from two years ago.