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ANSTO Summer '16 Post 5

Cameron Howard
Wednesday, Jul 20th 2016

I've finally managed to get a complete set of testing specimens finished to the best of my ability. Sample fabrication of a slightly new design for a different testing apparatus on actual nuclear structural spring components proves challenging at times. Throw in competition for instrument time on the Focused Ion Beam and sometimes it feels like running in quicksand. There are bound to be a few set backs and delays, but in the end I'm hoping good tests will result.

Last weekend, I escaped my work troubles and went off to Melbourne with a few friends. We started out by doing our own walking tour through the major points of the city including the botanical gardens, sites from the 1958 summer olympics, Rod Laver and Hisense arenas where the Australian Open tennis grand slam takes place, saw Melbourne's embracement of awesome graffiti, and went down to St. Kilda pier for a nice cityscape with the harbor in view. As dusk fell and it got dark we observed some starfish and a baby penguin underneath the rocks. After an hour of time elapsed, a handful of adult penguins had returned from the ocean to feed their young and it was really incredible to see them dart past in the water and lounge on the rocks. Penguins don't do well with flash photography and white light because it ruins their eyesight. However, they can't see red light, so some Aussie nature guides were able to illuminate them a bit in this way.

Saturday, we woke up early and drove out along the Great Ocean Road through the surf hot spot of Torquay and on further all the way to the 12 Apostles. The route felt a bit similar to California Highway 1 and the 12 Apostles turned out to be absolutely stunning at sunset. We took the inland route back (Victoria is mostly empty there) and had dinner at an excellent hot chicken place in Geelong. Really good spice and authentic Nashville style; the chef had spent some time there to learn the recipe. 

Sunday we slept in a bit in our Airbnb, which was a typical Melbourne townhouse with 2 bedrooms in the front and a long corridor, small living room, 1 bathroom, and kitchen in the back. Each house there in the Richmond neighborhood was also equipped with a neat square front yard an outdoor space along the side for drying your 'wettie' in the sink and doing laundry, and a backyard with a garden for homegrowing a bit of produce. We headed off for the Queen Victoria markets where everything and anything is sold from awesome food to knick knacks to obviously knock off American sports jerseys. I bought an Aussie flag and an AFL jersey (which is more like a basketball tank top) as souvenirs. AFL stands for Australian Football League which is huge in Victoria.

That was our next stop: an AFL game at Ethiad stadium between the St. Kilda Saints and the Melbourne Demons. AFL is kind of like combining soccer, American football, and basketball. Guys in a tank top and shorts run around on a huge field with a ball similar to an NFL football and can do 3 things with the ball: dribble it by bouncing it off the ground and catching it which is required after running 25 m, hand passing it by punching it to another player, or kicking it to another player. If it's kicked to another player and he successfully catches it in the air, it's called a mark and the whistle blows for a free play from that spot for 20 seconds before the player can be attacked and attempted to be tackled. When the ball is marked inside of 50 m from the goal post, there is a free kick at goal. There are 4 posts: kicking between the middle 2 is considered a goal equal to 6 points, hitting any of the posts or kicking between the outer 2 posts is 1 point and is called a behind. When a player is tackled play stops and the referee bounces the ball off of the ground for a scrum for possession. When the ball goes out of bounds, the referee throws the ball high over his head with his back facing the field into the field to restart play. There are 4 quarters 30 minutes each in length.