WTF is Going on Here?

Generated this figure today, trying to figure out-well-what was going on.


Never Heard That Before

  • Ira Flatow basically tried to browbeat a caller into bombing a fertility clinic. The subject of the evening's show was stem cell research. When a caller spoke of his strong belief that all life begins at conception, Ira asked what the fellow was doing about it... Eventually, he posed the question, "If these were your children, what would you do? Would prayer be enough? Would writing letters to your congressmen suffice? Shouldn't you be doing something?"

    It wasn't explicit, but-hoo boy-subtext.
  • Dr. Ruth was an Israeli sniper before she was-well-Dr. Ruth. Talk about a career change.
  • We went shooting for the first time in a little over a month. Susan, as usual, was amazing. I did pretty well, too. We did have one problem: on several clips, the shell casings weren't clearing for Susan. She tried firming up her grip, but it didn't help. Any idears? (This did not happen to me at all)


Previously Promised Post

In this post, you'll see some of my work... don't laugh. Here is an ICP/RIE.

We use it a lot. In order to make it work, we need all of this:

You can see small shiny tubes running everywhere. The tubes carry various gases: Argon, Helium, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Octofluorocyclobutane, Sulfur Hexafluoride, Chlorine, Silane, and a couple of others. I did that. It took a while to measure and bend it all.

Occasionally, the ICP/RIE breaks. When that happens, I usually have to fix it. Recently, the part pictured below broke. (It turns out, more than one thing was probably broken, with one leading to the other) Incidentally, that thing is a RF (radio-frequency) AMU (auto-matching-unit). Basically, it connects an RF power supply to our system. In order to make sure the power goes efficiently from the generator into the system, it has to automatically adjust some doohickeys to match the impedances. Impedance is just a fancy kind of resistance, but it is fairly important. In order to replace it, I had to take it apart.

This is the RF AMU:

Here's a better look:

And now with that part on the ground, ready to really work on...

You can see some cylindrical bodies there in the box. Those are tunable vacuum capacitors. The top one seemed to be stuck in one position, so I replaced it. No dice. I could tell that the capacitor could move, now, but looking closely, I found that the machine didn't know it was moving. Eventually, I traced the problem to one of the bits hanging off the side (there are two motors and gearboxes and whatnot)-one of the gearboxes was bad. When I replaced that, everything was peachy.


First Second Baseman

Here is an actual screenshot of my junkmail folder. I noticed that the purported sender had the good sense to phish with the name "Fifth Third Bank." It reminds me of the "38th Church of Christ, Scientist," I saw in Simi Valley some time ago.

Minor Update

What's going on these days?
  • Running 2 1/2 to 3 miles, every other day. No recurrence of knee problem, as yet.
  • Playing The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind quite a bit. Getting near to completing it.
  • Looking forward to reading the new Harry Potter book, which we've got pre-ordered.
  • Not going shooting. What with a variety of things, it has been weeks. I need to lay off the diet coke before we go, though: it makes me kinda jittery.
  • Enjoying the Pasadena weather. Not quite a proper spring, but it'll do in a pinch
  • Listening to a bunch of music I haven't heard in a goodly while (my iPod has been largely battery-less for a long time, now, and I just reloaded onto computer several gigs of old tunes)
  • Hungry (lunch in about an hour).
  • Had to fix the ICP/RIE, which was a pain in the ass. I'll dig up some pictures of the things I had to deal with.
  • Finally, after months, getting a working fiber aligner from New Focus (they sent a bad one, then returned it unfixed, the first time I sent it to be serviced).