|Filling a Dewar with liquid helium|
While the research of low-temperature superconductors was winding down at NIST, the new building was going up and our helium recovery system was going in. When the Gebbie laboratory opened in April 2012, we had the new capability of recapturing the helium gas that was exhausted from our experiments and reprocessing it into liquid to use again in other experiments. That's what brings me to my present station at one of the finest science institutions of our nation. I'm the guy running NIST-Boulder's helium recovery and liquefaction facility, herding and wrangling helium atoms, keeping them safe and happy here with us on Earth. My weekly tasks include, but are not limited to:
- Taking roll call of where all the helium is. Which atoms are in gas form and which ones are in liquid form? When totaled, it is equivalent to ~3000 liquid liters of helium.
- Determining and keeping a pulse the scientists' needs to keep their important research steaming ahead.
- Filling the containers (called Dewars) with the cold liquid and delivering to their labs.
- Keeping some of the research magnets in my area filled with the magic cold juice.
- Running the helium liquefier to convert all the recovered gas back into liquid.
- Hunting down escape routes for the tricky little helium atoms with a handheld leak detector.
- and of course, doing all of the above while keeping safety at the forefront!
However, if you're looking for a way to escape the madness that Fomo creates, meet Fomo's wise, soft spoken sibling, "Knowmo." Knowmo reminds you that it's OK to slow down and engage for a few minutes, quarters, halves, or full hours with the people you have chosen to follow or friend in this vast space. You befriended these people for some reason. Can you pinpoint exactly what that was? Knowmo has your best interests at heart. Knowmo finds ways to spend your online hours wisely, learning something from your clan, getting to "know" them, ya know? Knowmo will introduce you to worlds that you may have never thought existed. Knowmo will remind you why you originally started partaking of the social media pie.
I'm not sure which one of these is the learning curve but I'm certain that I'm
Originally uploaded by tekee812
Don't get me wrong, we've loved every one of our pets with all of our hearts, but Stanley was different. From the very first day that we brought him home, he assumed the position of the alpha male, watching over his pride of three other cats. He performed that duty with so much confidence. He had the back of each and every member of this family, but there was no other duty he took more seriously than the one of 'most fierce guardian'over his "Momma," my wife. Stanley made sure she was safe at every turn, from the second her foot hit the floor. He would faithfully stand sentry on the front porch every time she was away. Every night, Stan slept right in between our pillows in the master bedroom, tickling our noses with his tail every now and then. Now, only 8 short years later, we had to let him go.
I really didn't think I'd be saying goodbye to another one of our cats so soon, from four to two in less than a month. Lucy had not been feeling well lately, stopped eating, and was losing weight quickly. I took her up to our vet clinic in Longmont last night so she could get checked over first thing this morning. We honestly thought it would be something like a bad tooth that made her stop eating, yet this morning we found out that she was in stages of advanced kidney failure. The remedy of giving her fluids under the skin daily was simply not an option. As anti-social as she tended to be, I can only imagine the daily nightmare of dragging her out from under a bed to do that procedure. With a heavy heart, we once again made the difficult decision to put her down.
Tonight we made the right decision. Tonight we cried. Tonight we gave dignity and grace to our oldest cat, Roo. He had been battling with intestinal issues for months now and reluctantly taking meds for it... VERY reluctantly. After 14 years it was time to say goodbye to him. Just a few nights ago, in the wee early hours, I rushed him outside so he didn't puke all over our bedroom. He did not come home until late that night and our minds went into a tailspin and I felt like the biggest heel in the world. "What ifs" consumed our minds. When he did finally come back home, the decision became much clearer. He didn't want to be touched. He walked past the food dish with disinterest. He hid on a shelf in the laundry room. Most importantly though, he was not smiling anymore. It was time.
On about Wednesday, I decided that I couldn't stand for this and made some phone calls. "Is there any way that I can buy this and take it home?" To my surprise, a note (initialed by the boss) was added to the form that I submitted that read, "Workbench to be recycled by Ted Stauffer." Needless to say, I quickly jumped into action and loaded it into the truck and brought it to its new home in my garage. I now know that when I finally reach that golden age of retirement, I will always have my old friend with me to reminisce about my... excuse me, OUR days at NIST. THAT makes me happy!
My father has been tearing up the heavens for almost 16 years now. I was a young man of 26 when he passed away that rainy July morning. As I look back during this Father’s Day weekend, I remember lots of good times and lots of bad times, both of which I continue to try and learn from in raising my own three children. Dad and I had many disagreements, as do I with my kids. By the same token though, Dad shared an abundance of good times and “stupid humor,” as I do with my daughter and two sons. But there are two things that stand out the most for me. Two things that lifted me and carried me past the fact that I was too young to lose my father. One was his eternally optimistic views on life. He was always able to cheer anyone up and help them see the brighter side of things, if not in spoken words, you could find it in his poetry and campfire songs. In fact, within hours of his passing, the rain stopped and the most fantastic triple rainbow appeared. I know that it was sent from him and it was the sign I needed to know that everything would be alright, the glass would always remain half full. The other thing that I learned from my Dad was giving 100% devotion to the woman you choose to be your wife. Dad loved my mother with all of his heart since the day they met until, I am sure, this day in his afterlife. They had many friends come and go and lots of ups and downs, but Dad was always in my mom’s corner, faithfully. If nothing else, these are the same two gifts I intend to leave behind for my children and grandchildren (someday) because I think these two simple morals have served me pretty well. Happy Father’s Day…
Testing the bookmarklet feature on Posterous. This is a video I captured with my web cam and then put music to a few years ago. If this works. The video will be posted on my Posterous blog which will then automatically post it to my Wordpress and Blogger pages. Here goes nothing! Or actually, here goes SOMETHING!
Roo's getaway looks like it is in a dangerous part of town.
Originally uploaded by tekee812
Rent for 1st college apt... $595/mo.
Outfitting that apt with the essentials... $550
The occassional care package from home... (on the house)
The view from afore mentioned apt... PRICELESS!
I'm goin' in! This f****ing thing IS going to work again. If not... BYE BYE PALM!
"Well Pee Wee... ya know those little tags they put on mattresses that say DO NOT REMOVE UNDER PENALTY OF LAW". Well, one night I got real angry and... I CUT ONE OF THEM OFF!"