Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Ming the rat visits SLAC

Once upon a time, there was a big fat rat called Ming Hacller who lived in New York City. Ming the rat resided at one of the most prestigious addresses in the City,  79th Street and Central Park West. As a member of the Hacller family, Ming was a rat that loved to explore...not least through the stores and halls of the esteemed Museum in which he choose as his home. Alas, one-day Ming's wonderings came to an unfortunate end...ultimately landing himself pushing-up daisies...yes, Ming was a gonner, dead, shuffled off this rodent coil...this was an ex-rat. However, Ming was a tough old rodent, who simply refused to decay to dust...possibly his more healthy days in the presence of millions of stuffed and fossilized animals had left its mark on Ming. The usual processes of bacterial decay seem to have been halted by the rapid drying of his body... outpacing the bacterial decay. Ming was a smart rat, who really knew where to pop-his-clogs. His mummified remains did not go unnoticed...Carl Mehling spotted Ming's dried-up body and decided he was worthy of a place above Carl's desk...sat in an empty (albeit still regularly used) wine glass. I still worry that the missing tip of Ming's tail, might well be a function of a hastily poured, but absentmindedly quaffed glass of vino....

Sadly, Ming was a tad tired of his new sedentary, goldfish bowl-like life-style....and when a loan of fossils was being made to the University of Manchester Palaeontology Research team, Ming decided he might hitch a ride to see what they were up to!

On arrival at SLAC, Ming escaped to explore his new surrounds. Sneaking past the team, Ming soon found that synchrotrons were full of useful highways that allowed him to climb into the spaghetti of cables controlling the beamline where the scientists worked.

Clearly these scientists were a vain bunch. Wherever Ming looked, he saw mirrors...multiple ones. The scientists also seemed inordinately fond of stainless steel and aluminum foil...which the British members of the team kept insisting was 'Aluminium'....

This was tiring work for a mummified rat, so like any self-respecting deceased rodent, Ming took a terminal nap on the beamline. Tomorrow we shall see if Ming makes it into the beam-hutch....and see what the scientists are working upon.

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