Picnicking at the Apocalypse

Well-maintained but sunbaked picnic tables on the shores of the Salton Sea seem a little bit taunting—asking travelers to stop for a snack in a place not fully safe to live.

Picnicking at the Apocalypse


Normandy Village, Inside and Out

My messy sabbatical desk in the Normandy, sitting next to some enormous (if leaky) windows, was home base for a glorious eight months. I’m glad I paused to take a picture of it as it was (rather than in perhaps a more photogenic state.)

Messy Sabbatical Desk

Heading out from the Normandy Village, the crazy brick patterns, tiny windows hidden under the eaves, and trees sprouting from the concrete give way to the mid-twentieth-century architecture of Berkeley instantly. Exiting means stepping through some kind of spacetime membrane back to reality.

Exit Normandy Village

This Is the Laser

The laboratories of physical scientists across the planet have pulsed laser systems like this one, and many look quite similar: a collection of squat boxes covering optics, electronics, and beampaths. Above or below the surface of the table are additional boxes of electronics driving the lasers and detectors. This particular system is special to me for two reasons: (1) most modern laser tables don’t have rad wood grain paneling, and (2) this was the instrument I used during my sabbatical at Berkeley Lab last spring. Lots of good data emerged from its photomultiplier tube.

This Is the Laser

Arinell’s Pizza

Like any college town, Berkeley is beset with pizza joints. Almost all of them offer a delicious slice, but a lot of those slices are, well, not really pizza. Deep dish so thick and dense that knife and fork are mandatory? All-organic cheese detonation without sauce? Pizza bagel? All of these can be mouth-watering under the right conditions, but quintessential crispy-yet-foldable slice of (New-York-inspired) pizza is found at Arinell’s in downtown Berkeley. The venue matches the food.

Arinell's Pizza