I spent Saturday through Friday last week in Seattle at the Society of Toxicology annual meeting. Seattle is awesome and I had a lot more time to explore than my previous, three day trip. The weather was actually pretty decent — it was often rainy but not raining. In fact, it only rained the two times I didn’t take my umbrella with me.
Anyhow, I need to get back into the blogging habit, and as a big Terminator fan (apparently one of the few that prefers the original) I think that the website for Enitech is pretty entertaining. I haven’t watched any of the videos yet, but the blog is amusing. I don’t know why the guy in the picture burned a hole through that piece of paper, I also am uncertain why there isn’t any smoke from the burn, and most importantly I wonder what is scattering the light to make the beam so uniformly visible, but who am I to question an “open source research” lab? Certainly the picture is as plausible as a camera that takes pictures of the future because it uses tachyons instead of photons… At any rate they definitely get respect for the Office Space reference (last question).
I am reminded of when I worked with a CO2 laser at about 5W (it could do 60) that could nicely make mincemeat of paper and cardboard despite being quite invisible. Because we were trying to do scattering experiments, we had to surround the optical table with plywood and occasionally infer the beam’s location from the burnt, smoking spots. We had beam finders — small paddles with fluorescent material which, under a black light, did not fluoresce wherever the beam was hitting — but mostly we used old punch cards, which burned nicely and were readily available. I always felt bad for destroying someone else’s program, but as the Simpsons pointed out, once the first one had been used the others were only so much card-stock.