Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Viz: Rain in Seattle? Really?

This is my face most days...
Before I moved out here to Seattle for graduate school I was repeatedly warned about how rainy it tends to be out here.  One person even described it as "London-esque".  However, when I first visited back in March 2010 (this becomes relevant later), not only was it barely raining, but it was absolutely gorgeous for each of the 4 days I was here.  I left here thinking, "where's all this rain people were talking about?  It's beautiful here!"

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My First Time

It's been pretty busy lately, which is why I haven't written anything new in a while.  I've got some things in the works though.  A couple weather-related Science Sundays, more capoeira stuff, and even my first data visualization post!  I'm really excited about that last one.  I've got a couple really nice figures coming up.

Right now though, I'm working on my first research proposal.  It's actually an observing proposal for the 3.5-meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory.  The basic idea is that I want to use that telescope to look at the spectrum of a certain type of star.  Or rather, candidates for a certain type of star.  I don't know what types of stars these are yet, so I'm going to be observing them to possibly classify them!  I hope they're a special type of post-main sequence star called an R Coronae Borealis star.  I'll write a Science Sunday post about them at some point in time (probably would've been good to write one about them prior to this proposal, but bleh whatever).  Alongside the spectra that I hope to obtain, I'm also going to try to get some time on a small nearby telescope to do synchronous optical photometry.  Awesome!

However, as mentioned before this is my first time actually writing a proposal.  I'm SO nervous!  What's the right amount of publications to include in your references?  How do you structure it?  How do you ask for time?  So on and so forth.  What makes it a little bit worse is that I just decided to put this in this past Tuesday, and the deadline is this coming Tuesday!  I barely know anything about these stars, I've had a fair bit to do outside of this little side project in the meantime, and I'm inexperienced with scientific writing!  I'm glad I've got some assistance from the illustrious Jim Davenport.  Dude's awesome.

So yeah, I'm nervous.  I'm also excited!  This will truly be my first data set.  MY data!  Collected for MY project that I came up with.  I can do anything with it!  The possibilities are endless!

Alright, back to reading papers.  I hope to have some good posts coming up in the next few weeks.  Ciao till then.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cross-Post: Race in US Colleges

My coworker did a really quick but very interesting analysis of race in US colleges using some data from The Chronicle, complete with maps and histograms used to visualize his data.  It's some pretty interesting stuff.  


Moving forward, I'd like to see a map similar to the cumulative latitude map, but in longitude, and also a control for HBCU's which are by nature artificially inflated with black people.

Also, I'm wondering what the maps would look like for hispanic students.  I'm willing to bet that it's a lot worse just because they haven't had the same degree of a civil rights push that blacks have had which have resulted in a lot of institutionalized pushes for blacks to get into college.  Maybe also a split on gender if that data's available, as it's often reported that women in the black community are more likely to enter college and graduate than men.

Anyway, awesome stuff, Jim!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Conan O'Brien and Cynicism

I was reading through my coworker's blog this morning and came across this article in one of his text links.  I thought it was an interesting essay on cynicism, so I figured what the hell why not post it here.  This article struck me particularly because I tend to be a cynic when it comes to my own circumstances, disguising it as "being realistic".  However, as of late, with much encouragement and a fresh perspective from the lady in my life, I've been learning to accept some degree of optimism and look for opportunities instead of seeing nothing but barriers.

Anyway, rather than have me blather on about it, here's the link:

And a quote from the article:

"Cynicism is a mindset, and—like happiness—it's generally not specifically situational. I've worked with many wealthy, famous people riddled with cynicism, as well as foster kids in the Bronx who inspire me with their determination to suck the marrow out of life.

The perception of opportunity is just that, a perception. The reality of our human condition—wherever we come from—is largely the result of the choices we make every day, and in every moment."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Capoeira Na Roda, Capoera Na Vida Part II: Inferno Suado e Condicionando de Angola

Capoeira dominated much of my summer after the Batizado and the bulk of my research stuff was finished.  Because the weather had turned upward (as it does in New York, and NOT here in Seattle) and because Columbia's Dodge Fitness Center was no longer available to us, every Tuesday and Thursday we'd find ourselves outside on the grass to hold class.  The main instructor for these sessions was Papito, who in my opinion was nothing short of a capoeira beast.