Friday, June 09, 2006

We went to a steakhouse yesterday for dinner. It turns out they offer the biggest steak in America, which weighs 76 ounces; that's about 2kg of meat! It costs $60, and only a few dare to order it. Here is the real deal though: if you finish the steak alone in less than 1 hour, then it is free! On top of that they give you a free shirt and put your photograph in the entrance to the store and also on their website. I personally didn't try it since I had eaten a bit in the morning, but maybe I will go again with an empty stomach. I wish there was such a deal in LA where we could race we did with the pasta.

And now for one of the most ridiculus things ever.

The Brookhaven National Lab where we conduct our experiments (and also write my blog these days) is one of the biggest national laboratories in the US. To get into the lab is not easy: I had to apply 1 month in advance, send all my passport and visa information, and then I went through a security background check from them before they issue me a temporary pass. The pass allowed me to enter the lab, and after a week of paperwork and training I managed to get an ID that allows me to work there. The ID also grants me entrance to the site area; it has a picture and a barcode on it, and every person crossing any of the 2 guarded entrances to the lab has to show it upon entering. Visitors cannot enter the lab; chinese students and iranian students are never granted access here; the guards carry heavy machine guns with them ( I am not kidding!); and every 2 years or so I have to renew my appointment.

Now, as you can see in the picture above, the lab facilities are inside the woods and surrounded by them. However, there is NO FENCE!

Not only that, but the road crosses only a few meters outside lab buildings. Anyone can drive by, leave his car in the road, unload the bomb from the trunk, and after 5 minutes walking you reach the buldings. Piece of cake.

And imagine that they operated a nuclear reactor here some time ago (which is now a lounge for people to hang out, isn't that cute or what?)