Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Random notes...

So, the German supermarkets. Except for the obvious signs (the prices in Euro, etc.), I really can’t see a lots of differences from their American counterparts. The main noticeable difference is the package size, and everything here at Germany seems to come at a smaller portion: eggs come in at most 10 per pack, instead of the typical 2 or 2 ½ dozens in the US; milk comes in at most 1-liter packs, instead of the ubiquitous 3 (or 4?) liter plastic jugs; and I can’t believe that rice (which of course it’s my main source of energy) come in mostly in 0.5 kg packs! There are also huge amount of choices when one buys bread, cheese, rice, and spaghetti/noodle-ish things, and for me the choices are somewhat overwhelming: I never saw so many types of rice, for example, even though I’m a rice eater, and the difference types of cheese almost fill up the about 3 meter long counter!

My second day at work was slightly less busy than the first day, not because of any reduction in workload (which in fact I have none as of now, since I’m still on the reading and getting familiar stage), but because I didn’t need to walk from place to place to meet people. I got Firefox 2 now on my computer (yay!) and an email account from the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (and discovered how cool pine is), and I spent some time learning the ROOT package for data analysis.

In the afternoon I visited the detectors for high energy cosmic rays, which are located outside in the fields and spread around the campus of Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe; basically those detectors (there are a few different kinds of them) record data such as when and how much energy was hitting them when the cosmic ray “showers” come at the rate of about 4 per seconds. Since the “showers” are but a bunch of daughter particles after the reaction and disintegration of the initial high energy particle that comes from somewhere unknown in the universe, those data collected at ground level can provide some insight into how much energy the initial particle has and which way it was coming, and from those information hopefully some insight into where those cosmic rays are coming from. Anyway, sounds exciting! I could had took some pictures of those detectors (which, by the way, aren’t not very pretty looking nor exciting), but as always, the batteries are empty whenever one needs them (and vice versa).

And as a side note, I feel really, really, really weird not having internet in my place (I think I’ll have to wait a few more days for the internet), and those nights without internet are so long…

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