Wednesday, January 30, 2008

independent activities period

I have a baseball-sized bruise on my left ankle from snowboarding this weekend. It seemed like only an uncomfortable wrinkle in my sock at the time, but I guess my pain tolerance is relatively high and it was a slow build-up. The weekend was otherwise tons of fun, with good conditions on the slopes and in the condos, plenty of chili, cookies, drinks, and lounging to go around. The transportation mishandling was the only real downer of the weekend, requiring us to spend at least 10 total hours sitting on the bus.
We did some cool lab work today - after 5 months of anticipation on my part, we finally melted some silicon in the homemade furnace! All the credit goes to Eerik for building the furnace (and Jim too) but I've been calibrating the pyrometers and thinking about oxides in the meantime. I've also made it a goal for this semester to get up-to-date on the photovoltaic industry, namely what companies are out there, what technology do they use, where are they located, and what efficiencies and costs do they produce? This also requires a lot of side reading on the meaning of things like nitride passivation, back contacts, tandem cells, and other things that I'm embarrassed to admit I don't know.
The presidential races are jogging through the primaries, with interesting twists and turns throughout. I have to say, I've never found the presidental race to be this intriguing as it is this year. Not predictable at all! Yay for drama and passion!

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