The Engineer’s Baby – Travel

Travel without the kid is hard. I just got back from a week in California and I have to tell you, it was rough on both the parent going away and the parent staying home. There are good days and bad days trying to raise a baby by yourself, but the problem for the parent away from home is more than that. There is a feeling of helplessness when you call home, you can’t pick up your kid, you can’t comfort your wife, and you can’t give your teenager a well deserved whipping. It seems like it would be easier to just not pack the phone, to take a few days off from being a husband and a father. But I’ll tell you, round about 8 pm, the evening gets long. You watch some tv, play on the computer, hit the gym, get a beer. All right! You made it till 10 pm! Now you can lie down and get some sleep. I swear, you really miss doing some laundry to pass the time. You call home, because even helpless, you get to hear their voices. It is the only thing getting me through the day.

Traveling with the kid is a bit of an art form. We have had a couple long trips already. Monica took the baby to Ohio the first week of her life. There was a death in the family, I was in Alaska, it had to be done. But, even for short trips, there is a bit of an art to this. Learn to pack 1 bag. People (I blame women who like a purse with every different outfit especially) will have a different bag for every possible thing. Let me give you this bit of advice:

1) Pick a bag that can hold all your Requirements.

2) Use that bag till the handles fall off.
The first couple times you’ll screw up. Did you bring purified water for the formula? Did you bring burp cloths? Spare outfits? (Spare shirt/bra for mom?) After you know what you need, then you have to learn to to bring too much. Bags only get [ — THIS — ] big, once you start packing [ ——– THIS MUCH ———] You’re going to think you need a second bag, or a bag for special occasions, or … don’t. On the same page, when you are just going to Krogers, you think you only need [this] and maybe nothing. This is a lesson you don’t want to learn the hard way. Examples abound. Don’t be one of them.

3) Learn to field strip your bag. Formula, Water, Burp Cloths, Changing pad, diapers, wipes, baggies, spare outfit, spare t-shirt, teething ring, pacifier (with a child that likes them – spare pacifier), small blanket. Most everything else can wait till you get home. If you bought a bag big enough, maybe you add in the med kit, tweezers and nose gunk removal.

4) Spending the night somewhere? Don’t repack the bag. This is important. The kid gets a suitcase like everyone else, some stuff has to go in there that wouldn’t go in YOUR suitcase, but don’t try to re-do the diaper bag to make it work. As soon as you are at the hotel/house, start building your staging area baby cleaning and for re-loading the diaper bag. I won’t say that it ever gets routine for 1 baby, because the baby needs evolve constantly. But after 3 kids (my new co-worker has 5) you know what to pack.  

Update: Didn’t even get this loaded before a co-worker added his story. 6-month old, run to the store for (beer) icecream. Poopy diaper and screaming kid. Took off his shirt and put it down in the child seat, because he didn’t know how to clean the child seat, but surely knew how to get poop off his t-shirt. Had to drive with the windows down, baby screaming all the way home.

Solar Prominence from Solar Ham

Sorry for the long delay between posts. I was up at Vandenberg Air Force Base… doing an audit. Really it was my co-worker’s audit, I was lucky enough to be invited along to carry the (very heavy) electronics. Had to get a crane to drop some of it into the test area. I got trained on the experiments, so I’m happy. I now know how to do some fairly simple electronics audits, that I didn’t know how to do last month. BUT, it kept me busy. Now I’m back from California and ready to get back into science. SO – what is up on a Monday.


I was looking around at Solar Ham – – and I saw this film. Very nice view of a solar prominence.

“What am I seeing here?” you ask.

Ok, this is an MHD channel. The twisted magnetic field encourages electrons to jump from one spot on the surface to another. Protons are also encouraged, but the electrons go so much faster, the protons are left behind and you get a mostly negative arch. The (mostly) proton gas on the sun’s surface (on the South side of the sun) is seeing a negative charge at the end of a tube of magnetic field. So it climbs the tube. Now on the more Northerly side, the right side of the screen, there is a return stream. The protons are returning to the sun. Now, you can see that there is more going in than coming out. (actually, all the cold stuff is leaking out without us seeing it, so we’re only looking at the hot gas which is getting hotter.) But there is this big “balloon” of hot gas. Sooner or later, the protons on the surface of the sun stop seeing a negative charge in this prominence. They start seeing the balloon of protons more than the force and charge of the bent magnetic field that makes up the prominence.

At that point, the hot protons start escaping more than following the magnetic field and that breaks the chain holding the prominence to the sun’s surface. It leaves.

Ok, so I have several friends who are solar/plasma physicists and they will probably tell me I got something (or everything) wrong. But, first view, that is what this looks like to me. But mostly, this is beautiful. This is (wild guess) like a million kilograms of hot gas at a temperature like (less wild guess) 10 million degrees Celsius, total energy contained in that magnetic field could run every electrical device on the Earth for years. But it is just like a campfire, a blaze of fire that lights the infinite night. Burn baby, burn.