This morning (the day after Halloween) was surreally peaceful. I woke up at 6 a.m. to go to the Advanced Light Source and shoot some crystals, and discovered an empty Berkeley. The streets were almost completely empty, as if half of the Bay Area had suddenly disappeared in the night. Then again, I haven't heard anything about the Castro Halloween mobs yet, so maybe they have disappeared.
My morning was made even more surreal by the latest contraption the beamline scientists have come up with. As I set my bag down in front of the control computers, I noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye. It seems those wacky techies have built an articulated robot arm to automate crystal handling. Except, in true beamline style, part of the robot is made of #2 pencils. There are experiments in other areas of the synchrotron that seem to be made entirely out of tinfoil. I find something intensely satisfying about coming into such an ultra-cool sci-fi environment and finding it held together by chewing gum.Posted on November 01, 2003 09:39 AM