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Becoming legal

is tougher than just turning 18

sunny 24 °C

Now that I have a home, I need to extend my visa to include the entire time that I will be here. The visa I have now is provisional and only covers me for 90 days until I can apply for a number and a TIE- tarjeta de identificacion extranjero- Foreigner's identification card. So on Thursday of last week I went to the local 'citizen's office' and submitted a form filled out by my roommate (the one who is on the lease). At which point I was given my empadronamiento (took me three full days to figure out how to pronounce that, let alone memorize it), which is a letter from the government verifying that I am a resident of the barrio of Poble Sec, Barcelona. With this document in hand I went to the central police station on Friday with another form to try to get my TIE. The office states that their hours are from 9-2, so I got there at 12:30 thinking that I would be fine. The policeman out front told me firmly that no, in fact, if I am not there by 11 they will not process my request. As the conversation was in Spanish, I didn't ask why. Gah. So I will be getting there early tomorrow morning to try to beat the rush so that I can get to work at a reasonable time.

Work! I started work on Thursday- forgot that I actually came here to do research, huh? Me too- reading papers about the topic on Thursday was a bit of a headache as my brain switched back into scholastic mode. This switch is made even tougher by the fact that the lab has huge bay windows, which look out over a turf soccer field. And I can see the roof of Camp Nou (FC Barcelona's stadium) from my chair. Makes day-dreaming pretty easy! But really, I am gonna get lots of science done!

This is what I know so far: The group that I am in is working on this novel biomaterial which they hope to use as a bone substitute. The biggest hurdle to clear in this process is not getting the material to resorb (dissolve) back into the body in a uniform fashion- that has been shown possible many times- it is instead to ensure that the new bone that grows around the material has blood vessels in it. Without blood vessels, bone is essentially worthless: no nutrients, no oxygen=> no growth => no stability. So think about this new material as a stiff sponge. One of the most important factors to sufficient angiogenesis (growth of blood vessels) is the size of the pores in the sponge. Different starting chemistries and fabrication techniques will yield different size holes, specifically on the scale of nano (10^-9) to micro (10^-6) sized. My job will be to investigate these differences in starting chemistries and fabrication techniques and quantify the resulting scaffolds. As yet, I don't know many more specifics. I have about ten papers to read before I begin doing any real experiments, and I will know more by the end of next week.

The housing situation is great, I really like my roommates. I will take some pictures of the flat and upload them to flickr at some point today, so keep an eye out. Unfortunately, the way that I thought to bring money to Spain is not going to work as smoothly as I had thought. I can't open a bank account until I have my TIE anyway, but once I have that account I will have to wait a few days to get money transferred from the US. That means that I am still running on the cash I had transferred when I came over, which is dwindling quickly!!! So I have been on the lookout for inexpensive things to do this weekend. Yesterday I went for a run up Montjuic , but this time to the other side of the mountain, which is home to the Olympic stadium and several venues of the 1992 summer games that were held here. How impressive. I didn't take my camera with me, but I will take it up there at some point. In the afternoon I adventured to the beach in search of a volleyball game to join. After overcoming my timidness, I joined a game with two girls (Polish and Czech) and another guy (Barcelonin). We played in Spanish, so it made for quite the international experience. It was a blast! I may go back today to play some more!

Todo para ahora, hasta luego!!

Voley Playa!

Voley Playa!

Posted by dclift 11:24 Archived in Spain Tagged beaches

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It's great to hear you're actually doing work, even if it is just studying at the moment. :-)

Given the wide range of pore sizes, I was wondering if the pore size would affect the structural stability of the bone replacement. I'd guess it does need to have some structural strength, even though you're talking about it being sponge-like. I also wondered if it's possible that the outer pores could be manufactured with a larger diameter to support more porosity while the inner pores were smaller? So the inner part could provide the stiffness needed while the outer enabled the needed angiogenesis. Though the larger pores might enable the outer part to dissolve faster? Tough stuff!

Good luck!

by Stew

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