Saturday, October 14, 2006

I haven't blogged for a while. Maybe due to the midterm (it went alright I think), maybe due to the writing of the paper. I finished the first draft, and both Patric and Tom liked the way it was presented, but I still have to work on explaining other people's similar work and compare them to ours, pointing out why is it better. I'll prepare the second draft by next Monday or Tuesday.

I haven't put up any pictures recently, so I decided to upload a few pics from the trips we went in the past 5-6 weeks since the semester started. I'll start with our daytrip to Laguna Beach, which is about 1 hour away from here (between LA and San Diego). It was the day I swam for the second time in California.

Here's Panos enjoying the view of the beach:

The lifeguard made us feel safe:

Here we are with Stavros too (σχεδιάζουμε να πάμε Παπαρίζου-Τερζή στις γιορτές. Εγώ για την πρώτη και αυτός για τον δεύτερο), in a beautiful background scenery.

Dora and Melania adn enjoying a huge drink - great picture, and they were both somewhat drunk afterwards!

Laguna Beach feels more like a vacation place compared to other beaches in LA. Less buildings, it felt like a small private town that doesn't care about what happens in the outside world. The people are nice and friendly (as it is the case with most around here), with very few non-whites. The beach was big, the sea was a bit cold, but I loved the huge waves. However it feels too far for me to go there again without a very good reason.

Let's change the subject. This is the design I made for our new plasma source.

(it's actually two different designs next to eachother). Finally we constructed in the glass shop a different but very similar design, which is only made of glass! it is essentially a small tube, 0.6mm in diameter and 1cm long. We are going to fill it with hydrogen, and then apply 100kV of voltage across it. The high voltage will ionize the hydrogen ( the electron will be stripped off the protons) and that should create enough plasma (hopefully 10^19 electrons per cubic centimeter)! We made it completely transparent on purpose, so that we can look at the light emitted when this happens. This is very cool to watch and will also allow us to measure the density.

Another trip we made recently was at the San Diego Zoo. Here are some nice snapshots.

Me and Rania in front of the Zebras:

Here is a Coala sleeping on the tree (amazing posture):

My biggest moment was when I tried to feed a giraffe. They are impressive animals... She just bent forward her looooong neck and reached for my hand. Note that there is a 3-4m gap between us.

The most amazing animal we saw (and we did see a lot) was the gorillas. You cannot realize how human they are until you see them moving. Instead of a picture, I'll post a video:

Notable things I discovered about Gorillas:
1) Their feet are exactly like their (and our hands). It is as if they have 4 arms!
2) The kids move too scary like human children...
3) The males move like King Kong
4) They eat their shit!!!
I am not kidding in #4. As soon as the shit came out of his ass, the gorilla grabbed them with his left hand (before them reaching the ground) and ate them. Waves of disgust spread radially outwards in teh audience, but apparently coprophagy is a usual thing in many species.

Later in we headed for downtown San Diego. It is the only downtown I have seen in the US (other than New York's of course that has people 24/7) that is more crowded in the night than in the day. As soon as it gets dark, hundreds of people get out and fill the (slightly upscale) restaurants, the bars, the pubs, the movie theaters... We ate at an excellent persian restaurant, where we paid $40 each but we never thought otherwise. It was THAT good. Here's a photo of a nice happy mall they have built there:

In other news now. On some thursday we reunited the group of the good old days where we were watching movies every thursday. Stavros, Dimitri and CostasZ came, and we ordered some pizza and we watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (now, what the fuck was that?! Awesome movie).

During that meeting we gave Rajay to try some beer. He had never tried beer before in his life, because he has never drank alchohol before (although he is 26 now). The hilarious result is right here: