Why is this site called Affable Lurking?

Well there are several reasons…

First off, several personal sites in the alf.fan.pratchett fandom take the form affordable-X where X depends on the site owner. I didn’t want to follow this convention for my new site (not really being an AFPer as such) so I went with Affable.

The Lurking in affable-lurking comes from something I’m pretty terrible at. Namely lurking (reading but not posting) on various usenet newsgroups.

It works because I’m a pretty affable chap anyway.

Who am I?

I’m Dave.
I’m depressingly close to 30.
I lurk.

What I do: My Research 

For the last few years I’ve been investigating the action of pulsed excimer laser light on silicon and titanium surfaces in the presence of various plasma etch process gases.  The aim being to understand and direct the processes that lead to the formation of Laser Induced Periodic Surface Structures (LIPSS), holes and areas covered by mesoscopic conical pillars (black-Si).

Techniques have been developed to allow a large degree of control over the positioning of holes and pillars formed by the laser-surface interation and post-processing has been used to drastically alter the morphology of the material, producing silicon structures with aspect ratios 10^4 and both ordered and disorded macroporous silicon.
More recently I’ve also been investigating the process of Solidification Driven Extrusion (SDE) – a process we discovered that scales from  macroscale objects (Ice spikes) to the nanoscale with ultra-sharp silicon spikes protruding from the apex of silicon pillars.}

A thought occurs to me…

The Pope has been dead for a while now and he has been sitting at room temperature out in the open for a day or so. I’m guessing that the temperature inside St Peter’s Basilica must be pretty high, due to lots of people passing though it.

Isn’t the Pope going to be a bit, shall we say ‘ripe‘ come Friday? The last thing we want is for the Pope to explode due to decomposition gases at the funeral, showering the great and good and assembled masses with decayed holy entrails.

On the other hand it might make for some of the best TV in ages.

“And finally tonight, we have some slowmotion footage of the moment when Tony Blair has hit by a flying kidney in the Papal explosion at the funeral of JP II earlier today”

Did they embalm him?
Or is he laying on top of a cold slab or something?

Enquiring minds demand an answer.

Ahh Spring.

Spring, when a young pisshead lady’s fancy lightly turns to sitting outside Heathway station shouting out
Oi! Frigid!
Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooor!” To any other young lady that dares to walk past.

This coming from two aspiring young alcoholics wearing skirts so high and tops so low they were on the verge of exchanging places.

Oh the fun the young ‘uns have today.

I was on a roll as well…

Earlier today I picked up an Intel StorageStation networked disk storage box for £3. I got it home to find that the disks are missing and that the OS was stored on one of the missing disks. No real problem, google shows that the device runs FreeBSD and an OS image was on Intel’s website.

The OS image needs to be loaded onto the box via TFTP. but you can’t do this unless there is an OS running and listening for an update… I’d just figured out how unfundge the image and write it to a harddisk, when the drive I was about to write it to fell from it’s perch and shorted the power lines out. No flashes or bangs, just the sounds of the drives spinning down. Fingers crossed, it is just the PSU that had died. I’ll have to borrow a space to check.

So, so far, I’m down the cost of a new ATX supply just for trying to fix a £3 piece of junk. Bah!

RCA cleaning silicon

I’m sure the RCA process for cleaning silicon wafers was invented when Werner Kern got drunk in the lab one day and decided to have some fun…

How else would any sane man come up with the idea of taking a half litre each of several of the most corrosive things you can image then heat them up until just below boiling, then chuck in something that makes it fizz and froth and pump out ammonia fumes?

That’s just step one.

Step two is more of the same but using something even more corrosive and toxic – hydrofluoric acid. This stuff eats through glass at about the same rate warm water eats through ice. Oh, and it boils as it does it and pumps out toxic gas.

Step three is tame in comparison, it just sits there looking like water. Still nasty and corrosive as you find out when you get some on your gloves / skin.

You go through all this to get a nice shiny, contaminant free silicon wafer, atomically flat – an almost perfect mirror. Then you drop it on the floor watching as all your good work comes undone.

Rinse and repeat.