Happiness is a warm jet of subcritical water

Second week of internship is nearly over, still a flurry of events and appointments. Meeting new friends and colleagues, attending JPL-sponsored activities, talks, tours, doing research and my own lab work, fabricating things while avoiding the destruction of sensitive lab instruments, comprehending about 80% of the scientific terminology, acronyms and industry jargon hurled my way in casual conversation… it’s been great. Submitted the Project Plan detailing goals for my time here. Learning what seems like a large amount about how the aerospace and tech industry works.

Attended a laser safety class and learned exactly how quickly, if one is not careful, the human eye can be rendered useless by a sparkly shaft of gleaming photons: pretty much instantly. Also learned that it’s a VERY NOT GOOD IDEA to shine them at airplanes and helicopters, kids…

Ate lunch with the Chief Scientist of JPL’s Earth Science and Technology Directorate, and he gave me some very good advice: “Be the guy with that magic combination of talents, training, and experience that no one else has, like a Computer Science/Physicist/Climatologist, or a Nuclear Engineer/Nanotech/Quantum Theorist… It will be awesome.” Were those his exact words? Perhaps not, but I’m pretty sure I captured the spirit of what he was trying to convey.

Also ALSO learned that the annual Aerospace Summer Games will be happening while I’m here. Began the phase of internship known as “Intensive Dodgeball Training.” In the absence of a suitable high-level dodgeball coach, will be reading up and watching films on the subject.

And now for some hyper-spectral entertainment. What follows are stunningly beautiful images of celestial and terrestrial phenomena, often accompanied by some profound insight or another and arranged in a deceptively ramshackle fashion in order to elicit a specific predetermined subconscious response.

An enormous photo of a pretty sweet lab I get to chillax/work diligently in.

An enormous photo of a pretty sweet lab I get to chillax/work diligently in.

If you enjoy beautiful, otherworldly colors and don't mind listening to the piercing high-frequency drone of diamond tipped mill bits on glass, JPL is the place for you.

If you enjoy beautiful, otherworldly colors and don’t mind listening to the piercing high-frequency drone of diamond tipped mill bits on glass, JPL is the place for you.

As you can see, there was quite a bit of deflection going on... my second one will be better.

As you can see, there was quite a bit of deflection going on… my second one will be better.

Devices on the scale of thousandths of a millimeter. The gentleman creating these (we'll call him "Bruce") used a dicing saw with a blade a few microns thick to slice this silicon into it's current Eggo-Waffular configuration.

Devices on the scale of thousandths of a millimeter. The gentleman creating these (we’ll call him “Bruce”) used a dicing saw with a blade a few microns thick to slice this silicon into it’s current Eggo-Waffular configuration.

Clean room in the MicroDevices Lab. Hopefully I will be observing some microfluidic chips being bonded in here. I'll have to take an all-day safety class and dress up like a surgeon to as not to contaminate the air with my dust.

Clean room in the MicroDevices Lab. Hopefully I will be observing some microfluidic chips being bonded in here. I’ll have to take an all-day safety class and dress up like a surgeon to as not to contaminate the air with my dust.

I was going to find out what this enchanting monstrosity was so that I could explain its presence on this page, but upon further reflection I don't think it needs any such justification.

I was going to find out what this enchanting monstrosity was so that I could explain its presence on this page, but upon further reflection I don’t think it needs any such justification.

You'll have to magnify to read, but well worth it if you're interested in that sort of thing.

You’ll have to magnify to read, but well worth it if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

Not sure if brilliant and transcendent statement or actually kind of silly and obvious... found pinned to a corkboard next to a Dilbert cartoon of unfathomable age.

Not sure if brilliant and transcendent statement or actually kind of silly and obvious… found pinned to a corkboard next to a Dilbert cartoon of unfathomable age.

Display this on your high definition television set and attempt to retain some small shred of sanity.

Display this on your high definition television set and attempt to retain some small shred of sanity.

When I ask what the curvy things up there are for, people just walk away. (Must be top secret!)

When I ask what the curvy things up there are for, people just walk away. (Must be top secret!)

I just noticed this today. Another mysterious structure...

I just noticed this today. Another mysterious structure…

Did I mention that there are deer all over the JPL campus? Hard to tell if they are biological or cutting edge surveillance drones... a cuddly disguise, if so.

Did I mention that there are deer all over the JPL campus? Hard to tell if they are biological or cutting edge surveillance drones… a cuddly disguise, if so.

Science lesson: the decay rate of the thermal energy retained by a surface is directly proportional to the area of the anterior quadrant.

Science lesson: the decay rate of the thermal energy retained by a surface is directly proportional to the area of the anterior quadrant.

At the Annual Section Picnic. This serene picture was taken shortly after my second place finish in the watermelon eating contest and my (and my partner Evan's) complete domination of the three legged race.

At the Annual Section Picnic. This serene picture was taken shortly after my second place finish in the watermelon eating contest and my (and my partner Evan’s) complete domination of the three legged race.

One of the guys at the picnic was the Principle Investigator for AVIRIS: the Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer. Before this thing flew over, the pilot called him so we could all look up and see it. Some day I hope to access the image and observe my own tiny red blobbish-looking heat signature staring back at me.

One of the guys at the picnic was the Principle Investigator for AVIRIS: the Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer. Before this thing flew over, the pilot called him so we could all look up and see it. Some day I hope to access the image and observe my own tiny red blobbish-looking heat signature staring back at me.

This Pasadena native knows how to discourage solicitors.

This Pasadena native knows how to discourage solicitors.

More Dr. Seuss trees...

More Dr. Seuss trees…

I procured a new basket from near the receiving dock of a local grocery emporium. This model is burrito resistant, hot-sauce resistant, and washable; three advantages over my recently retired cardboard unit.

I procured a new basket from near the receiving dock of a local grocery emporium. This model is burrito resistant, hot-sauce resistant, and washable; three advantages over my recently retired cardboard unit. *Edit 6/29/14: The plastic crate in question was not ON the dock, it was NEAR the dock (closer to the dumpster, really) upside down, forgotten and abandoned, and crying out in loneliness for a new and more appreciative home.

I find myself strangely compelled to snap a photo of this enigmatic mountaintop every morning... is it possible that these spindly towers are emitting MIND CONTROL RADIATION!?!? I'll just have to take a closer look to find out. More later.

I find myself strangely compelled to snap a photo of this enigmatic mountaintop every morning… is it possible that these spindly towers are emitting MIND CONTROL RADIATION!?!? I’ll just have to take a closer look to find out. More later.

 

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