Observations about the universe, life, Lausanne and me

Monday, March 26, 2007

Plasma and Summer time

Since I do not have any nice pictures of plasmas here in Lausanne yet, here is one I took at the ANU, in Canberra. You can see myself, trying to fake cognition. In front of me is an inductively coupled, low pressure radio frequency discharge in argon. (Thence the nice violet light, if you pump more power in it will eventually turn green.) The glowing thing is the so-called source-tube, where the plasma is generated. It then diffuses into the appropriately called diffusion chamber on the right, where measurements and whatnot take place. The source tube is normally covered with a metal mesh, to shield the lab equipment from the radiation of the RF-antenna (the spindly thing wrapped around the source-tube); I took it off for this picture.

Oh, and the radiation is not dangerous (not all radiation is dangerous, indeed, people have been known to survive direct and prolonged exposure to sunlight, radio-waves, decimeter-waves (i.e. mobiles), heat radiation, muons and neutrinos (to mention two kinds of particular radiation),...), but it can mess up your ammeter something fierce!

On a completely unrelated subject, I will make a few quick depreciating comments about summer time (or daylight saving time, for any American English adherents out there).

Summer time sucks. It has no provable environmental benefits, few if any economic benefits, a couple of real economic drawbacks, it seems to lead to more accidents, and last but not least: I had to get up an hour too early today!

T'was not one of Ben's brighter ideas, let me tell you. (Here is  what he said about it - completely loco, if you ask me.) And why in the name of His Noodliness did Austria, Germany and a whole gaggle of Central European countries decide to adopt it in 1980? Probably went something like this:

American Ambassador: You really should adopt DST as well, you know.

Austrian Ambassador: Vhat?

German Ambassador:
Ve could be se Owerlords of time!

French Ambassador:
Magnifique! I zay oui!

Update: I cannot seem to get rid of the linebreak after the (Here above. Curse you, Blogspot!

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