funranium: (Default)

If you see a puddle and it is not actively, at that very moment, raining...DO NOT SPLASH IN IT.  Odds are on favor that it is not actually water and is, instead, urine.

Staring at the moist stairs of the parking garage waiting for Araina, I thought back to my childhood of full double foot leaping into puddles as I ambled around town in the winter/early spring.  I then shuddered thinking of doing the same in Berkeley and how traumatizing that might have been.

Here endeth the pro-tip.


funranium: (SCIENCE!)
Do not, under any  circumstances, create the Black Blood of the Earth (BBotE) using a flavored coffee.  I can't speak to the flavor yet, but the environmental consequences are severe.

I just did this with a pound of french vanilla coffee, all at once.  1 pound of coffee + 2L of water = approximately 900mL of BBotE

When you get to the straining step to free the precious black ichor from the grounds, the 50ml first poured through the filter yielded enough oil to completely saturate it.  Of course, the act of pouring also aerosolizes oils as well.  My home now smells like a cathouse where the whores rub themselves with can after can of General Foods "International French Vanilla Cafe" coffee instead of perfume.

I am afraid to bring open flame near the coffee filter once it dries...
funranium: (Default)

Protip: When you decide to spout off in a bar about how stupid you think a person/group/department is, you should chose a venue closer to your home turf than theirs.

And now the story.

A co-worker and I decided to conduct the final phase of our workday at Beckett's, a pub style bar close to the office.  I find that a collegial atmosphere in the presence of decent music and a pint of 1554 inspires much more productive thought in the field of radiation safety.  We're have a decent chat about the lay of the land and cunning plans for how to fix some of the errors of old, when a horde of people wandered in talking loudly in order to be heard over each other.  Classic researcher pay-attention-to-me-my-research-penis-is-bigger-than-yours increasing volume shouting.

We were about to move to another place in the bar, when I sushsed my co-worker in order to listen to a story being told which was sufficiently interesting to the horde for the yelling to die down.  It was being told in the "aren't these people idiots?" tone of voice and cadence (I know it well since I seem to use it often).  The keywords of "tritium" and "dose" were what got my attention.

He was talking about a tritium contaminated piece of land at Lawrence Berkeley Nat'l Laboratory and the interactions he'd had with various people regarding the contamination.  He'd had members of the public who wanted to talk about the ethical quality of tritium, with the implication that tritium contamination in the soil that came from medicine was good tritium but contamination as a result of research was bad tritium.  I sympathize with coping with that kind ignorance and emotion applied to things.

But then he went a step too far.

Spouting Off Idiot: "Of course, they let goats graze there.  You know what happens next?  The guys from EH&S actually collect the goat urine and test it."
Other Person: "Why do they do that?"
SOI: "Why does EH&S do anything?  They've got nothing better to do."

I put down my pint a bit loudly on the bar.  Reached in my wallet and took out a business card.  I then walked over, extended my hand, introduced myself, and offered my card.

Me: "Hi, I'm Phil.  I do radiation safety for EH&S on campus."
*crowd gets rather quiet and backs away from the two of us*
SOI: "Uh..hi."
Me: "Do have any idea what the Superfund cleanup requirements and sampling protocols are for LBL?"
SOI: "No."
Me: "Did it occur to you that the goats have been put there on purpose to collect bioaccumulation data on tritium?"
*SOI says nothing*
Me: "Perhaps you'd like to learn a bit more about it so you can speak on the topic more intelligently to your colleagues here.  You got a business card?  I'd be happy to send the folks from EH&S up at LBL your way to fill you in."
SOI: "Sorry, man."
Me: "No need to apologize to me."
*Phil returns to his drink at the bar*

Conversation was somewhat subdued after that and the party moved upstairs.  I'd killed the everyone is stupid but us buzz.
funranium: (Default)
Get a protective cordon of Extremely Large Black Obama-Women (ELBOW), preferably ornery union employees, to stand around you.  In the event of terrorist attack, they will handily absorb concussion, shrapnel and get up with a head-bob and "Oh no you didn't!"  When entitled sorority bitch gaggle begins acting up about not getting their way, the ELBOWs will not be having it.  Ne'er have I seen such a smack down.

Of course, it is mandatory to Get Happy.

I had a fun morning watching the inauguration at Sproul Plaza.  How about you?
funranium: (Lazy)
So, here's your pro tip for the day:

When someone asks you what you think of it round here (that being West Texas), the correct answer is not, "It reminds me a lot of Bakersfield and the Lost Hills."

Some people take that as a dirty damn slander.  I too would be upset if someone compared my hometown to Bakersfield, but having been to both places I think this is a very honest comparison, physically speaking.  Both are flat, featureless expanses full of brown cotton plants, oil derricks, windfarms, and large pickup trucks. 

Now if I had said "The people around here remind me a lot of Bakersfield's", then I think someone would be justified in calling me out for a duel.  While I saw more than my fair share of toothless mutants, none of them expressed racist sentiments nor proudly displayed white power tats.  I cannot say the same for Bakersfield.

It is good to be back in California but I already miss the BBQ.

December 2012

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