Week in photos

Friday, July 21st, 2017 09:29 pm

Double Trouble

Friday, July 21st, 2017 03:13 pm
rebeccmeister: (cricket)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
We have five nights remaining here, so I've been switching things into high gear, to the degree possible. That means two circadian experiments a day, one at noon, and one at about midnight, with whatever crickets we can catch. Even if we can't fill out our long-winged sample sizes, we can at least get information about the short-winged crickets, to compare with data from the lab. We've also managed to pinpoint one location that seems to have a slightly higher proportion of long-winged crickets, so I was able to run 3 long-winged females last night. L is also starting to have slightly better success with her pitfall traps: she managed to get another long-winged female this morning. Progress! We actually have a bare minimum sample size complete for the first tracer!

The blacklight hasn't really attracted much in the way of crickets, but there have been a lot of interesting and beautiful moths.

The exhaustion is cumulative. I am struggling to verbalize late at night, when I'm tired. I'm screwing up numbers. At least I'm catching myself...I think. Sample schedule: wake up, drink coffee, check the last-instar crickets for new adults. By 10 am, start prepping for the noon timepoint, which runs from 10:55-1:30. Eat lunch. Collapse in a puddle, or go to town for groceries. Prep for the evening timepoint. Eat dinner early, so we can get out to the cricket hunting grounds by dusk. Hunt crickets until 10 pm. Bring crickets back, run more experiments, wrap up by 1 am, try to unwind for 20 minutes, try to sleep as much as possible. Repeat.

I'm adding tons of photos to the album. I want to run around more at night, to try and get pictures of the tarantulas out here (big, black, hairy, fast!). There are also some amazingly huge wolf spiders with abdomens the size of a quarter, that hang out in the same cracks where the crickets hide. They are so cool, but also shy, so it's hard to get pictures of them. We've gotten to watch the wolf spiders and the deer mice eat the crickets. There are lots of toads out, too. The nights are busy out there.

Interesting Links for 21-07-2017

Friday, July 21st, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

July 20--Agatha and Edith

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 09:30 pm
zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
For some reason today I thought about whether I missed being a bedside nurse. I suppose I miss parts of it. I miss spending time with patients and their families, talking to them about what is going on, helping to get them through whatever it is they are getting through.

I miss using my critical care nursing skill set, which I developed over many years of practice. I could rely on my intuition and instincts, and almost always knew what to do. There is a nursing theorist who describes that process, and has written that it takes 10 years to get from novice to expert.

I don't think I could go back into the ICU again. It wouldn't be the same, and I don't think I could handle the relentless 12-hour shifts any more. I do miss it, thought. As I was writing this, I remembered the reason I thought about it. We drove past my old hospital on the way to take a walk in the rose garden and have lunch at a dim sum place in midtown.

wild rose

The rose garden was lovely as always. There were lots of people in the large park surrounding it, but very few people in the garden--mostly volunteers doing some pruning and watering. We wandered around for about a half-hour, sometimes stopping to sit on a bench and take it in.

grandfather plant

This reminded me of my grandfather's back yard. Not the grandfather I write about--the other one who died when I was fairly young--my dad's father. Our birthdays were one day apart, and when he turned 80, I turned 8. I remember him as an old man. His name was Joe.

I like the haziness of the picture. When I think of his back yard, it is hazy and somewhat desaturated in my memory, much like the image above. I could have sharpened it up, but let it be. I prefer my memories somewhat hazy.

(no subject)

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 08:46 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
apologies for TMI but I keep injuring myself in ways that leave scabs like Lake Baikal and within a few days the edges are all ready to be done but the center is still very strongly attached.
Maybe I need body armor.

Double-day [Sedgwick continued]

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 07:58 am
rebeccmeister: (cricket)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
Projects with the big crew:

Monday night: thorough coverage of our mark-recapture areas. The weather stayed reasonably warm into the night, so teams were able to gather up a lot of crickets. I stayed behind to run a set of 9 pm crickets.

On Tuesday, we concluded that one of the paint types we'd been using for mark-recapture was not good for the crickets. Crickets painted with Testor's enamel paint were noticeably more sluggish than unpainted crickets or crickets painted with the acrylic paint we'd been using in the lab up until then. We also concluded that we were reaching a point where we weren't learning a whole lot more from repeatedly re-surveying our mark-recapture area, so we decided to switch gears for our evening plans. Oh, we also went to the beach in Santa Barbara, which was a much nicer trip than our trip to Pismo Beach last year. Not only was the beach less crowded, almost everyone actually went in the water. I should have gone for a fuller swim, but oh well.

So then, Tuesday evening, we formed four small teams and headed out in four different directions to get a better sense of the broader population structure out here. I also wanted to encourage everyone to help me collect up as many long-winged crickets as possible, because they're much more rare than the short-winged crickets and are a huge limiting factor for the circadian experiments. In order to give everyone extra incentive, we decided there needed to be a prize for the team that collected the most long-winged crickets. Casting about for ideas, I settled on a prize of a cake of that team's choosing.

It worked! Mk and I wound up hiking up a road in a valley along the southwestern part of the reserve. C and P were supposed to hike along the corresponding eastern edge, but when they reached the gate for that road, C observed two sets of predator eyes shining back at her: either coyotes or mountain lions. So they wisely stuck closer to home. B and CH headed north, and L, G, and Ms headed south.

The cake bribe worked. C and P won, and we came in second, but I still feel like a winner given that I wound up with 6 long-winged females with pink flight muscle. We set them up for a noontime circadian experiment.

As is typical for field experiments, we're making a ton of decisions on-the-fly out here, so part of the reason for trying to thoroughly blog about everything is to try and remember why those decisions were made (and also try to retain shreds of sanity because there is major Thought Tragedy of the Commons* out here).

After the noontime data collection, I became concerned that catching crickets, holding them overnight and through the next day, and then running them, was affecting their metabolic rates. The noontime crickets had higher respiration rates that are comparable to the respiration rates I've observed so far with laboratory crickets, whereas the 9 pm crickets tended to have about half to two-thirds the respiration. We aren't really aiming to study metabolism under starvation conditions, so that was a problem.

Thus, last night, we changed things up again. At 9 pm, teams set off to the two locations out of the four that had been the most fruitful on Tuesday night. Larger groups seemed prudent after the creepy nighttime predator eyes (and a note: nighttime fieldwork is a whole different ballgame than daytime fieldwork!!). I stayed back at the ranch house to prep supplies for another circadian experiment. At 10 pm, teams returned with their haul up to that point, and I wound up setting up 1 long-winged female, 6 short-winged females, and 6 long-winged males for another run starting at 10:24 pm.

At noon, I trained Mk how to help me run the experiment, so she also helped me with the evening timepoint and we turned that crank as best we could. [Interesting tidbit: a large proportion of the crickets have some sort of mite hanging out under their wing covers. I need to photograph them.] We wrapped up by around 1 am. Teams went back out at 10 pm for a second search shift, but temperatures dropped substantially last night, so the crickets weren't all that active anymore.

It's tough out here, when all our best efforts just can't quite net the numbers we need for this kind of experiment. I sort of expected that, and figure we're learning a TON out here anyway, so I'm still optimistic we'll be able to get some good papers for our efforts, even if they aren't quite what we set out to do. We shall see.

I am still feeling grumbly about that rejected manuscript, although this morning as I revisit the comments I'm coming to terms with it all. Gotta get up, dust off my fragile, bruised ego, and keep going.




*Thought Tragedy of the Commons is [personal profile] scrottie's term for what happens when one person tries to hold onto their thoughts about what they're going to be doing next, by saying that thing out loud. When they do, they disrupt the peaceful thoughts of the other people around them, who often respond in turn by voicing all their own thoughts out loud. The net effect can be complete disintegration of one's internal monologue and will for doing things, especially if one is a rather sensitive introvert.

Review: Kingdomino

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 01:46 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
When I saw that it had won the 2017 Spiel des Jahres I took a look at Kingdomino. On discovering that it was only £15, and that games could be played in about 15 minutes I decided to pick up a copy.

So far I've played games with both [personal profile] swampers and [personal profile] danieldwilliam and both of them picked it up quickly and enjoyed playing it.

It's based (surprisingly enough) on the idea behind dominoes - or, at least, the part of dominoes where you have tiles with two ends and need to match them against each other. In this case the different ends are different terrains (grass, mountain, etc), and you score by forming areas of the same terrain*. Each turn you have to make a judgement between going for the tiles that score the highest, versus going for lower-scoring tiles which allow you make the first move the next turn.

I enjoyed it, and I'm definitely taking it on holiday. If you're looking for a filler game then it'll do a great job of that.



*It's a bit more complex than that, but not a lot.

Interesting Links for 20-07-2017

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

Do people reach me more via Facebook or Twitter?

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 10:47 am
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I posted yesterday about the media using "X defends against accusations" as a way of making you think that there are widespread attacks on them.

47 people clicked through to that post from Facebook. 5 from Twitter.

The 5 from Twitter all did so within an hour of the post going up.

The 47 from Facebook did so over the course of the following 12 hours (19 of them within an hour, but then an ongoing curve downwards).

Which indicates to me that Facebook does a pretty good job of knowing when something is interesting to my friends, and keeping it "active" for a while, whereas Twitter sweeps it away near-instantly, and unless it really grabs people it's gone.

And looking at my overall referrer stats, Facebook gets between three and six times the number of clicks that Twitter does.

(Just had a look at my actual LJ statistics too - yesterday I had 145 readers, of which 100-ish were reading via their friends-page and 45 were going direct to my posts/journal. Sadly I don't get the same info from DW, but Google Analytics tells me that 78 people visited that post on DW.)

July 19--Getting ready

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 10:12 pm
zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
As I was sitting in the bathroom this morning, thinking, I noticed a very small spider, not much bigger than an ant, had let itself down on a strand of web from the ceiling, and stopped at eye level with me, just a few inches away. We watched each other for a bit. Eventually it started climbing back up toward the ceiling and I went on my way to face the rest of the day. I saw it as a good sign.

I went into work today to put some time in on the curriculum revision I am working on. I finished the revision part, and got a ways into the new content I am adding. This is for the community IV therapy course we have our students complete. I talked to my boss about it a bit, and she told me she was going to get me some funding for the hours I am putting into it. She's great like that.

I spent about 5 hours on the project, then came home and read one of my Hardy Boys books for a while. As things stand in the book, they just got arrested for mail theft and are in jail on a $50,000 bond. I can't imagine they will be able to get out of this, but there are subsequent books, so maybe.

chocko on the table

Chocko basks in the late afternoon light on the breakfast table. Don't tell Malida.

Vaguebooking

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 03:31 pm
rebeccmeister: (Default)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
That feeling when you're vindicated, but not in a good way.

[Just got some manuscript reviews + rejection back, which were utterly unsurprising to me, but I must assume are surprising to a coauthor].

That feeling when the news arrives when you're already very, very tired and emotionally out of whack.

Nun preaches the trans gospel.

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 12:51 pm
sistawendy: (stern nun)
[personal profile] sistawendy
Remember that five-minute version of "How to Change Sex the Easy Way" I was working on? Well, I delivered it last night.

Lesson #1: If you know you're going to be speaking in a hall with excellent acoustics for unamplified music and not a small, dead room, you'll want to talk slowly. I didn't go quite far enough in whittling my 45-minute talk down.

Lesson #2: Talking fast makes some mics - in this case a cardioid headset - crackle. The sound techs asked me if I could talk slower. You know, this talk I'd practiced several dozen times with precisely 15 seconds per slide. 'Not so much,' I thought. They dispensed with the cardioid; luckily they had two other headsets.

Lesson #3: Microsoft Powerpoint needs to be banned. Like so many MS products, it doesn't seem to understand "I want it here."

The talk itself went OK. I almost failed to notice one slide transition, but the boozed-up audience helped me out. I think I got the point across that my way was the easy way by far, even though it wasn't that easy. It seems to have been well received.

Mine was one of two queer-themed talks. The other was an excellent talk by a bi woman about, well, being bi. It was nothing new to anyone who knows (vast thundering mobs of) bi people as I do, but it was stuff that did need to be said.

Oh by the way, there as an adorable lesbian from Arizona who delivered a talk about her guinea pigs. No, really. I hung out with her a lot at the party afterward, natch.

At work?

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 09:40 am

Interesting Links for 19-07-2017

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I've seen this twice in the last week - a newspaper talking about the BBC "defending" the new Doctor Who choice against "angry fans". And then this morning the Game of Thrones director "defends" the Ed Sheeran cameo.

And both times I'm left wondering how many people were actually attacking. Was half of the population of Who-dom out attacking this choice? Or was it actually about 1% of them being noisy enough on Twitter that the newspapers could manufacture a story out of it?

Similarly, I suspect that the vast majority of people don't really care if Ed Sheeran pops up for 10 seconds in the show, does a perfectly average acting job for his two lines, and is never seen again. But that's not a story. And the way to make it a story is to not mention how many people are upset at something trivial, and leave things vague enough that it _could_ be the case that half the population of the country are waving pitchforks outside the studios, rather than seven people having a rant on Twitter.

July 18--A day at the fair

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 08:45 pm
zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
We went to the State Fair today as planned, though without our friend, who was feeling poorly. We did all the things we normally do at the fair.

wave thing

This is one of a couple of rides here that used to belong to Michael Jackson on his Neverland Ranch. Whee.

baby pigs!

See the livestock. Check. Baby pigs!

eggplants

Visit the gardening display. Check.

Visit the vendor pavilions and buy something we don't need, Check. Actually we bought some really cool peelers, and a few more sets of the sheets we bought last year. No Ginzu knives, though.

wine slushie

We tried something new this year. It's a blackberry wine slushie. It was delicious and very refreshing after walking around in the heat all day. While we were there, I ran into one of my former students, who was also enjoying a wine slushie. I almost always run into a former student at the fair.

corn dog

Corn dog. Check. A wise man once said that if you visit the State Fair and don't have a corn dog, it's as if you never went.

foot massager

$.25 vibrating foot massager. Check.

fair picture

Photo booth pictures. Check. This year's and last year's.

It was a fun day.

Interesting Links for 18-07-2017

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

Brief updates (fire)

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 12:15 am
rebeccmeister: (cricket)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
Sounds like the Mesa Fire got tackled very quickly, and for good reason. The Whittier Fire seems like it is hitting a point where things aren't quite so hairy, so it seems they managed to divert crews and stop the Mesa Fire.

Apparently there's a downed drone somewhere near the reserve, and there are concerns about the state of its battery and the associated fire danger, so people are going out on a mission in the morning to track it down.

Here's the thing about this place: there are lots of lovely, wonderful things about it. As I think about it, if I ever lived here, I would go utterly insane. I can't fully articulate it, but it has the same kind of sunshine as Arizona, but isn't quite so hot, so it doesn't have the cleansing feeling of full desert. Plus, there's all the smoke hanging in the air from the fires. I require clouds, rain, and gloom.

The big lab contingent arrived today, so I suspect I'm going to be even more scatterbrained for the next couple of days while everyone runs around. It's very good for everyone to see the field site, though, and the reunion aspect has been especially fun.

July 17--Put it on the hook, Hank

Monday, July 17th, 2017 09:56 pm
zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
I sat out on the back patio this morning and had coffee. I saw a red-throated hummingbird and a green-throated hummingbird, as well as a pair of doves. My attention was briefly directed at a snail crawling across the patio floor. I thought a bit about what the world would be like if snails had feet, and when I looked back, the snail was gone.

After coffee, I went in to work for about 4 hours. I have to revise our IV therapy online module. It will go live on August 10, so the clock is ticking. It used to be revised by a group from the various schools in the area, but they abandoned it last year, and I decided to rescue it rather than write an entirely new curriculum. I figured it would take hours and hours, but I was able to complete two of the four modules today, and will try to complete the other two on Wednesday.

I need to add a module dealing with intraosseous IV access, which is where you use a little drill to place an IV catheter in a bone. It's pretty cool. It will be a short module, though and shouldn't take long.

There were a few people from the program we share space with in the office today, and I got a preview of how loud it is going to be when the semester starts and there are 14-15 people in that space. I'm investing in some good headphones.

I came home and found two packages on the front patio. One was this exercise thing that Malida asked me to buy. It took me two hours to assemble. The other package was a bunch of old Hardy Boys books I ordered.

I mentioned last week that I had bid on a set of books and dropped out when the price got too high. I did another search and found a bunch of the books for sale from another seller for about $3-4 each, so I bought a bunch.

hardy boys

These books were originally written in the 1920s-1930s. The versions I read as kid were revisions that were written in the late 1950s-early 1960s. I have always wanted to read the originals.

I started one today--The Great Airport Mystery. It starts out with a drunken airmail pilot crashing his plane on the highway. Can't wait to see where it goes from there.

We are taking our recently married Thai friend to the State Fair tomorrow. Malida and I love going to the fair, and have our routine down. We start out at the fair food, then go see the livestock, the farm exhibit, and some of the art stuff. When it gets hot, we go see the indoor pavilions. We revisit the fair food and have a corn dog, then go to the pavilion where people try to sell you ginsu knives and such. I love watching those demonstrations. We always end up buying something. Last year it was bedsheets, which we love. We will be looking for them again to get a few more sets.

At the very end of the fair day, we seek out the $.25 foot massagers, then have our picture taken in the photo booth. It is supposed to only be 92 degrees tomorrow, so should be a good day.

Malida's cousin, the one who lives in Frankfurt, is on holiday and posting lovely pictures of waterfalls and things like that on Facebook. Malida made a comment on one picture in Thai language, and I hit the "translate" function to see what she said. "Put it on the hook, Hank", said the translator, completely mangling something like "that looks like a nice place to swim."

Fire Season

Monday, July 17th, 2017 05:00 pm
rebeccmeister: (cricket)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
Apparently there's a new fire 7 miles from us, as of right now. Stay tuned. Safety first.

This is all predictable, after the wet winter. It's unusually hot here. I believe that yesterday Santa Barbara County declared a state of emergency, what with two large wildfires, the Whittier fire and the Alamo fire. The Whittier fire is finally looking like it's winding down, but at the research station we're still basically just sitting on top of a huge pile of tinder.

July 2017

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