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Showing posts from November, 2015

Two Science-related things: Well actually one thing about Europa

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I want to share two things that I think are very cool.  The first is this article about Congressman John Culberson and his passion for extraterrestrial exploration.  The second is a set of tools for picking attractive colors for charts.

John Culberson and the Icy Moon
I recently read an article in Ars Technica ("Attempt no landing there? Yeah right—we’re going to Europa") that described the state of NASA's mission to the moon Europa.  It said that remarkably, it's being cheered along by the Chairman of the House of Representative's Appropriations Subcommittee, John Culberson.  
I shouldn't bother repeating the whole article.  It's worth reading.  The gist is that John Culberson is a Texas Republican fighting to assist -- and even push -- NASA into planning a super-expensive kick-ass science mission to the moon of Jupiter, Europa.  Why?  Because he thinks Europa is just that fucking awesome.
I relate.  It's probably all I relate to John Culberson on, b…

The second thing: Picking Colors for Charts and Figures

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I wanted to make a post on two things -- Europa and picking colors that go well together -- but the Europa part got long, so I moved the color thing to a separate post.  This one.

This probably won't excite or impress you unless you've found this to be a problem, but I found several tools for picking out optimal sets of colors for making attractive diagrams.

I remember seeing the following figure several years ago.  Every day.  Because I printed it out and taped it next to my computer.  The specific bars don't matter so much, to tell the truth, but those citations listed next to each one make up an incredible list of sources that I wouldn't have been able to put together myself otherwise.  I relied on it for checking up on a lot of things when working as a deep-sea marine biologist.  It's from a review from 2012 that remains an outstanding piece of scientific writing.  Dense as hell, but super, super, informative.

"FIG. 7. Composition of bacterial communities…

Halloween, 2015: Went as Jafar and threw a party with my neighbor

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This was a very busy week.

Firstly, I was getting ready for a party.  The chicken coop I built for my neighbor is finally done, and it seemed like the time to throw a party.  It wasn't our original plan to hold it on Halloween weekend, but it worked out well.  Instead of going to a costume party, it was really refreshing to hold a party just themed with enjoying the fall.  It wasn't any kind of protest against traditional costume parties, which as we all know are one of the best kinds of parties.  I really felt in the mood for a chill evening though, and it worked out great.



Part of the reason I didn't feel the need to attend a costume party was because I put all of my energy into preparing for a costume contest at work.  Last year, I arrived just before Halloween.  My new coworkers immediately informed me that our department would be holding a costume contest on the Friday afternoon before Halloween in which all the labs competed fiercely.  They were going as the cast of …