The calm after the storm


So with the LVC done, and me back in Richland with half of a weekend left, I needed to chill. I think I spent the whole day in my PJs. I woke, wandered about the apartment, I think I even napped in the middle of the day. T invited me out on a hike, but I was in no state for that. All of the other fellows, excluding Hang and Stefan, were elsewhere, but they both went to the site that day.  T did come over in the afternoon with a sack full of laundry (her hotel charged for the use of the washers there, and I only wanted some sweets as a trade)


Monday came too soon, and it was back to work. Over the week at the LVC, the detector hadn’t been locked with a decent inspiral range, which meant that I wasn’t able to check to see if the change we made to reduce the comb had any effect. That would have to wait. So instead, the task I had was to start hunting for a different comb. There are a whole suite of combs, some were worse than others. I had some code that Vinny threw together which would help. The first task was to generalise it, and use it to try to narrow down the source of any of these combs.

In the afternoon, I had a run in with Ross. Ross is the Ph.D student of Ed. Ed, in turn is the leader of the group in Sheffield. Ed and Ross both are at LHO for a period, and while Ed is leaving soon, Ross is staying here for 4 months, and the postdoc in their group, Tega, will be joining Ross soon too. Ross did his undergrad at Glasgow, and knows a few of the people in the Glasgow group, so aside from anything else, I think it would be nice to have somebody to talk about home with.

At lunch, Nutsinee wanted everyone to try her Thai snacks that she bought in Thai town, LA. Over the course of this lunch, Terra learned that I had never once tried a Pad Thai (sp?), and demanded, DEMANDED, that we go out for Thai one day this week, whilst she’s in Washington. Jameeson, T and Nutsinee all talked about the different Thai places in town that are, were, or might be in the future. One thing that I took away from the conversation was that The Emerald of Siam was a place that I would like to go.

So of course, that night, I got an invite to the Thai place. I turned up with Evan and Miriam, and ended up as the 9th in the party. It looked like Terra was able to whip up a party to come out. As promised, I had Pad Thai (kinda sweet, a little too sticky for me), but there was good conversation going on, from tattoos, like Nutsinee’s waveform, or Jamie’s hydrogen atom, we talked a little about politics, (we were all pretty unanimous on that one), and whatever else came up.

It was a fun night, and by the end of it, I was shattered. So after getting home, it as straight to the bedroom.




On Tuesday morning, I get into the office early (thanks, CBC telecons) to see an email from Jess, in the Detchar group. She outlines some work to do for transient noise studies from trucks going along te nearby roads. She said that it shouldn’t take more than half a day, so I put it into my to do list.

Now that I got Vinny’s code a little bit more streamlined (there was still a ways to go, my python isn’t so good) I could at least start using it for comb searches. Unfortunately, just by the nature of the exercise, it takes a while. So I set the code running, in a couple of instances, and went about doing something else.

At mid day, Masayuki, who had been visiting for a while presented a journal club of “The state of KAGRA”, much like the talk at the LVC, but with about 20 of us in the control room, it felt a lot more informal, and differently enlightening. We could really go over all of the details of the interferometer, the suspensions, and the plans for the future.

There was another clue to the combs that led down something of a rabbit hole, from looking for calibration lines and known instrumental lines nearby to trying to reproduce waveforms.  I got lost in that hole. Throughout the afternoon, Miriam continued to explore some of the rooms in LHO that she hadn’t seen before, and we discovered Jenne and Terra making an apple pie in the kitchen. It smelled really good.

I got lost in that hole, and before I knew it, Evan was heading home. I made a super fast dinner of eggs and ham and bread before Nutsinee swung by. She was heading out to Mckays to meet with T, and maybe Jamie. On Tuesdays, they have a local beer night, where beer from the local brewery is $1 cheaper, and gets you enterred into a raffle. We stayed there for two drinks, while T ate some yummy looking food. While I was there, I asked the manager about the open pub quiz position. “You don’t need to try out, just show up with some questions, and we’ll go from there”. I start quizzing on April 6th.

When I got home, I sent out a few emails, to Hang, Darkhan, Evan, Miriam and Nutsinee, inviting them for mouse guard tomorrow evening, They had all made a character with me. All that remained was for me to draw up a skeleton of a mission. It’s the kind of game where it’s definitely ok to flesh it out as you go along.

And then to bed



There still hasn’t been a good lock on the interferometer to test my stuff. The  commissioning team are all trying to bring the machine up to a higher laser power, but in the doing, the machine got moody and is having a hard time locking. It doesn’t help that it’s been windy here, and there’s a whole bunch of other commissioning work going on a host of different things. I know I’m not the only one waiting for a lock.

After reviewing yesterday’s code output, making some minor adjustments and testing them, and setting some more python jobs off, it was time to get started on Jess’ task. She had sent along some plots with truck loud times, and wanted me to look into the spectra of various seismic channels as well as the interferometer output, to see if there’s any coupling that needs taking care of.

In the after noon, I joined T in the EY EBAY. She needed a card to get in, but was only a visitor here, so I went with her. She was just testing some filter she had applied to tackle parametric instabilities. While I was there, I had a snoop around to see if there was anything operating on about a 1Hz period. Nope, nothing. After about an hour, it was time to head back to base camp.

I finally got round to pulling some ideas together, and jotted down a mouse guard mission in bullet points for the next evening. Stefan had left the apartment that morning, so it was a little less busy at home. I don’t remember what I did, but I don’t think it was very much at all.


By Thursday lunchtime, my python script was doing what I wanted it to, but coming up blank on all counts. I got in touch with Robert, to see what he could suggest. I mentioned all of the little clues that I though there were, like the distinctive 0.25Hz “offset” on one of the combs, and whatnot. He got back to me with a few suggestions, look for lines in the interesting band, and to go look in all of the EBAYs, look for blinky lights with the right period, and wave a magnetometer in their general direction. So after a brief search for lines (nope, none evidently interesting ones anyhow), I headed into the CS EBAY for half an hour to have a nose around. Nope. Nothing that was blinky on the order of one second.

Back in my cubicle at the end of the day, Vinny stopped by, laptop in hand. He had told me that he would be in this week to wrap things up with Mike, and to move his stuff out of the apartment. Thursday was later than he had expected to come in, but I knew that he had had a tumultuous week. I told him to get in touch if he’s coming back this way before the summer. I was going to miss his company. With that, he was gone.

That evening, the plan was to head home, set everything up, and once people arrived, order pizza (there always has to be an incentive!) before starting the game. I wanted to start at 7, but at the last minute, Darkhan needed to go shopping so I had to delay until 8. In truth, we didn’t start until 8.15 – and these sessions unually take a few hours.

We played through until past 11pm – it was my first time GMing this system, and everyone else’s first time playing. It was kind of draining. There were moments when I lost a tight grasp of what was going on, and the patrol got themselves into mischief that cost about 20 minutes, all for silly fun. It ate into the time at the end of the session. But by the end, we were all very tired. Next time, I’m insisting that we start earlier.

(NB, if you wanna  hear more about the mouse guard campaign, let me know. I have thought about writing them up, but only if there’s an audience. I’m struggling to find the time to write these as it is.)



On Friday, T was going to join me at the end stations. But first, I had to gather some things. In the event that I did find a blinky light, I wanted to be ready with a magnetometer. The only catch was that I couldn’t find a preamp. Fil said that he had seen a few in the LVEA. The only catch was that the interferometer was locked for the first time in a while. Kiwamu said it was ok to go out onto the floor, but I had to tread softly to not break the lock. It was my first time on the floor alone, and I just took my time to explore a little, and look all over for the preamps. After 20 minutes or so, I was convinced that I had looked everywhere, without crossing over the beam tube. I wasn’t prepared to do that, though, because I didn’t want to break lock.

I returned to Fil, who pointed to a different box that could do the same thing, so I grabbed that instead. With that, T and I jumped into the car and made the rounds to the end stations. The only blinking light that we found of the right period was synced to the GPS clock, so it wasn’t a good candidate. Even then, because it was outside of the EBAY, we couldn’t wave a magnetometer at it. So this was a bust. The rest of the day was more comb hunting at the computer.

At about 6.30, Jenne came by and whipped up Hang and I for a social dinner. It was a nice day, so I jumped at the chance, and into Jenne’s convertible. Roof down, hair up, and we were on the road!  We were heading to Ethos, an Italian place in a part of town I haven’t spent much time in. I was excited!


Though we were the first to leave, Travis, Betsy and Jamie were already there. Jenne, on autopilot, accidentally went the long way around. The restaurant was quite nice, clean design, small plates, modern italian food, and good cocktails. After some time, we were joined by Nutsinee, Hang, Evan, Ed and Ross. The food was pretty decent (but pricey). After a few hours, we moved on. Not home, but to a bar. We started at Gaslight, in Downtown. It was lively. The music was loud, and there was a dance floor. But after one drink, we left, in search of somewhere a bit more sociable.

We headed next to Two Bits and a Bite.When we walked in the door, the music playing was heavy metal – err, no thanks. Betsy jumped straight onto the Jukebox and queued up something a bit more reasonable, classic hip hop. Before long, we had all gathered around a few of the pool tables. We were joined by Jeff, TJ and Christine, and more. The pool kept going for a few hours, the drinks were still coming, and the music was much better. Jamie and I teamed up against a few others on pool, and won a few rounds! It was great fun. In the end, at about 12.30, I jumped into the car with Ross and Ed, and we got home.

And to bed!




  1. In Becky's Head · April 2, 2016

    Phew! Sounds like it’s good to get back into the swing of things. I don’t think I know Ross, is he on data analysis?


    • I Go LIGO LHO · April 2, 2016

      I think he’s got fingers in a few pies. Many of the groups tend to straddle various areas, and I think that includes Sheffield.
      Thinking on it, I guess his area could new best describes as detchar, but he’s some some data stuff for the event

      Liked by 1 person

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