A month in the life….

How long has it been? A while I’m sure, so let’s recap. Let’s start with last week. I went to bed last Sunday with a splitting headache. Was I dehydrated? I must have been for it to have been so bad. Come to find out the next day, I had a serious case of the flu. Barely able to get out of bed, I suffered miserably. It was probably the worst I’ve had it in years. Even when I tried to rest, I was miserable. Naturally, it made for a bad work week. I could barely manage enough energy to make food let alone work. I tried to TA Tuesday; that was a mistake. I didn’t stay long. Hopefully, none of the students got sick. I didn’t make the same mistake Thursday, but I was mildly better. Or rather, I had to be. I had an application that I had intended to do at the start of the week but was unable to do. Now I made myself do it. I submitted the application to work in Atlanta with Dr. Britney Schmidt and her student for about four months from mid May to the end of August. Hopefully, it gets accepted.

Prior to that, I visited Mexico with my mother and older sister on a cruise. I had a great time visiting with my family and exploring the underground river caves in Mexico. We also explored some awesome Mayan ruins as well.

For Halloween, I was Winifred Sanderson. My sister and her boyfriend were Tina and Gene from Bob’s Burgers (see cover photo).

I am applying to be the instructor for the course in Astrobiology. Lets hope I get the job. I don’t think I’ve mentioned, but there is an update happening to the Astrobiology Primer. The primer is a guide to learning and teaching leading concepts in astrobiology. I have signed up to help. It is still in its early stages. Most of the chapters have been developed, and we are decided on who will be the editors vs authors of chapters. I hope to help author parts of it. More to come later.

In other news, I got an updated draft of my manuscript to Catherine a few weeks ago, but there’s more to do there. That is my priority this week. I’ll add updates on this as things progress before our meeting Wednesday.

I’ve updated all of the figures so all is left is to deal with words for the next few days. That keeps me on track to update by the end of the week I think. Here is a quick review.

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A nice figure on identifying craters, now with a plain radar image to compare to.

 

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A figure to highlight the stereo methods being compared in our work. This isn’t entirely new, but I updated it to hopefully more clearly compare how a uses a statistical average, and b calls 8 profiles (highlighted in white) that I use to find the crater dimensions.
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Another slight update. Stacked the figures, but my thesis actually doesn’t even include part b though.
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The most up to date comparison plot between the different crater depths using stereo by H and by N, and SARTopo. Significant changes since last shown on my blog, but since last iteration in my paper I just added a subtle error bar at ~D=100km to include the N Stereo that is outside the plot (i.e. at 0m). I also fixed km to m in the depth y axis.

 

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Finally, this wasn’t changed this go around, but it is slightly different from my thesis version. Symbols are slightly bigger, and the red symbols have a black outline and the black symbols a white outline. I also removed the stereo data since we have an entirely different figure dedicated to it.

I updated my methods and results to include stereo data measured using a new method. I have to go back and make a few more changes. The way I discuss the results needs improving, but the figures are done like I said (at least for now). Work in progress.

 

The impact of my time at Barringer Crater (AKA Meteor Crater)

I spent the last week touring Meteor Crater in Arizona. It was a unique opportunity sponsored by LPI that gave us unprecedented access to meteor crater to aid in our understanding of impact cratering processes. It began with 3 days of touring the crater followed by 4 days of investigating a particular problem.

This was lead by the lead scientist at Meteor Crater and the head scientist at LPI (the Lunar and Planetary Institute).

Introduction to Meteor Crater

trail guide
We toured along the east rim then back along the west rim to view the crater from a different perspective. Then we traveling into the crater itself and explored the crater floor (making our way up slightly to view a piece of the crater wall up close; available in Guide book, D. Kring, 2017).

We toured along the east rim then back again along the west rim viewing the crater from two different perspectives. On the second day we explored the interior of the crater. The beauty of Meteor Crater lies in its location and how well preserved it is.

Think about the Grand Canyon. It’s only ~150 km away from Meteor Crater, and in fact they both lie on the Colorado Plateau which means the geologic layers are the same (at least before impact).

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The Grand Canyon and Meteor Crater lie on the Colorado Plateau (the ~edge is drawn in red). Therefore, the geologic layering that exists is the same for both.

You may have already learned that the Grand Canyon is like a picture through time. Cosmos, a Space Time Odyssey illustrated this with an nice animation that separates each layer to highlight how each different layer has a different history for how it formed.
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The Grand Canyon layering compared to the section effected by meteor crater (Moenkopi, Kaibab, and Coconino). From Meteor Crater Guide book, ch2 by D. Kring, 2017).

Meteor Crater penetrated through to the top 3 or four layers, Moenkopi, Kaibab, and Coconino. You can learn more about these in D. Kring’s guidebook (2017), but they each speak to a different environment by which they form. Coconino likely formed by sand dunes. Kaibab formed when Arizona was covered by a sea of varying depths (with fossils). Moenkopi formed during a time of a flood plain, similar to the Florida Everglades.

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Kaibab Limestone with fossils (exposed by an ejected boulder ~10m in size).

What happens when impacted is that the impactor (~30m in size) penetrates ~30m below the surface releasing large amounts shock pressures into the ground that rebound into the meteorite.

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From Kring 2017 guidebook

It acts like poking a pen through paper. The paper breaks and the ring bends back. In fact, they bend back over one another, folding. The result is that the lowest layer is folded on top of the other layers inverse to how they are normally layered. The diagram below shows the “fold hinge” having been mostly blown out in ejecta while the Moenkopi remains. However, overtime, this hinge is eroded (as well as the upper layer) and it becomes more difficult to see.

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From Kring 2017 Guidebook

This overturned rim consists of a part of the blanket of ejecta that extends outside the crater.

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A Geologic cross section to summarize the crater geology.

This overturn is idealized. Sections eroded. Some shear; sections of Kaibab are missing between Coconino and Moenkopi because it slid outward further into the ejecta blanket. Furthermore, Kring suggests there were likely two other types of ejecta. A base-surge unit of the finest particles thrown up by as ejecta that is the last to fall and coat the rim and ejecta. This unit is known to exist from atomic bomb testing that formed craters. The other unit, which actually was the target of our research project, was known as Fall-out or Fall back ejecta.

Research Project: Fallback ejecta at the west rim

Fallback material is a layer of debris that is deposited over the overturned ejecta/rim. Kring describes its radial extent as unknown in the field book, but in person he made it seem as though its radial extent would be minimal. He described it as highly shocked material that is shot nearly straight up into the air before falling back down. This suggests that the layer it produces should be a mix of material, rather than distinctly inverted layers of the original target rock (see figure below). The idea that it goes straight up suggests it can’t extend too far out (without further modification).

 

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Example of Fallback ejecta consisting of a mix of materials

Our research objective of this trip was to investigate region of possible fallback material by mapping its extent and identifying key characteristics within it. This means looking for key things like moankopi above the two layers (when it should be below) or evidence of high impact pressures with things like shocked Coconino.

Note, a previous version of this blog went into more detail about the project. I regret that decision. The blog wasn’t meant to expose too many details about the project, especially with the potential for publication. I have a habit of discussing my research openly, and I realize this is a unique situation that deserved more discretion.

General Thoughts and Take Away

I wish I had a clearer idea of what to expect going into this. The first 3 days or so are introduction. The next day is an applied field project to expose us to the area and investigating a problem. We measured ejected boulders to calculate their velocities. Then we moved on to this project, but the transition went from being guided to self ran. There wasn’t a clear distinction that, hey, from here on out you’re guiding yourself. That lead to a bit of confusion at the start, and even Kring blowing up at us, even going so far as to call us “by far the worst group of students I’ve ever had,” after telling us we were picked for this very competitive school because were believed to be the best of the best. That bothered me and several others. That isn’t how you teach. That isn’t how you motivate. What’s worse, I have to ask myself do I really want to talk about this here? Because, I could risk throwing away my chance to get another field school sponsored by Kring or LPI. At the same time, the thought that I’d be willing to work with someone who would treat me this way makes me feel…pathetic.

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The group picture I tried to take and failed because a certain someone was too eager to check their own camera.

Note, images of Meteor crater are not to be reproduced for professional use. Images must legally be obtained by contacting Meteor Crater enterprises.

Starting Off Right: My Trip to Dragon Con and Work Ahead

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So, I spent the weekend visiting friends at Dragon Con in Atlanta. It was a blast, and this year I made sure to get at least 5 hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately, that meant I kept missing early panels I wanted to go see. I ended up spending most of my time playing games with my friends that I don’t see very often. Although, I did manage to attend two panels. One was hosted by Cecil Baldwin, of the Welcome to Nightvale Podcast. It was on queer representation in Horror films. There are a few new horror films I want to watch now, and even more that I want to rewatch with a new point of view. The other panel was on the mature themes in a Handmaids Tale. I still haven’t finished season 2, but I still enjoyed it. The panel asked some interesting questions like what constitutes rape in this world. Even consensual sex between June and Nick is arguable a form of rape because that wouldn’t be happening if she wasn’t in this position. It essentially her best attempt to assert some control over her own life. Then there was a question over the justification for violence, and if it is justified, then when is that threshold where it becomes okay?
All in all, I regret not seeing more. I didn’t make it to a single Space, Science, or Skeptic panel. To be clear, I wanted to, but in the moment, it is easy to get invested in gaming for hours on end. Then its a question of navigating from Hotel A to Hotel B which makes some panels more difficult than others. There is just simply too much to see and do.

The gaming was mostly Ultimate Werewolf. Although as a group, we tend to play all sorts of deception games including secret Hitler, Two Rooms and Boom, etc. It is a great way to have fun and get to know new people.

The trip wasn’t perfect. It’s long and stressful (but I don’t regret it). Still, my car stopped working on my way home and I had to spend the day in Michigan at a mechanic. It was over 90F (32C) and it was terrible. Luckily, they got it going, but I think it may be time for me to begin making arrangements to say goodbye.

Now, lets get to business. My current agenda has me finishing the Titan Craters paper by updating the Stereo results. That is my number one priority at the moment. From there, I need to move on to my new project(s). With that in mind, I have a few ideas to discuss further with Catherine. We’ve already spoken about studying how molecules will freeze in an impact melt pond. I’m also interested in testing the stability of a melt pond in an impact crater. If we have a porous subsurface, water will drain out, but how fast? The slower it is, the more time the pores have to fill with frozen water. My idea is that we may be able to model at what porosities a pond may remain. A shrinking pond also introduces the possibility (if flimsy) of wet-“cold-dry” cycles. This is a stretch, but McMaster University showed us how they are simulating wet-dry cycles with their planetary simulator to encourage polymerization. It likely will not happen at these cold temperatures, but I am curious how these molecules may act when frozen in a rigid ice matrix. Furthermore, if we consider a pond that is draining yet simultaneously freezing, we might imagine a hanging roof of frozen ice that may break and remix partially. Again, its a stretch, but I spent a week hearing about this wet-dry cycle and tried my best to think how if at all it could happen on Titan. Even if we disregard this cycling, the question of melt pond dynamics in a porous environment is still interesting.  I need to talk to Britney and her group, but I think Jacob, who is working on ice-water interactions in Antarctica and Europa because I think this type of project is still similar.

Other courses of action are, investigating Impact craters in RADAR. I assume that would involve RADAR processing (roughness, CPR, etc.) then mapping and inferring and possible ground truth planning. One other project which we spoke about (but one I am not all that excited about) is mapping fractures to river orientations. That is something I still need to discuss with Oz to get feedback about the report I made.

I also remind you all that I will be gone from October 6th to 14th (I think) for the Meteor crater course. I will also be gone for a cruise during Halloween (very sad about that).

 

Planetary Field School

Over the course of 12 days, we explored parts of Arizona, Utah and Nevada for the planetary field school. I took a range of photos for each stop and have/am posting each set on facebook. Here, I’ll pick one and offer a short description, but given the large number of sites, I’ll keep the descriptions short.

Day 1

Traveling

We began by taking a late bus to Detroit. The weather was dreary and not the best way to start the trip. Luckily, that didn’t last. We met up in the Las Vegas Airport around lunch before driving nearly 4 hours to Mather Campground. I won’t talk much about camping, but we changed location everyday, and I posted pics from all our stops on Facebook if you’re interested.

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Las Vegas Airport
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Mather Campground

 

Day 2

Grand Canyon Hike

We spent the first half of the day hiking down the Grand Canyon, maybe halfway down. The grand canyon doesn’t need much background. Its creation was related to a combination of fluvial erosion, uplift, and the types of rocks in the region.

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Red Mountain

Red mountain is a cinder cone that formed ~3/4 Ma.

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Day 3

Lava River Cave

My stop was the lava river cave. The cave is the result of cooling of the outer shell of a lava river encasing the lava and insulating it. This allows lava to flow further, posing increased risk on locals. These are particularly interesting because they’re capable of maintaining constant temperatures, humidity, and other environmental factors. This makes them a prime spot to search for life on worlds like Mars. They also make for a great base on Mars or the Moon to protect from cosmic rays.

 

Elden Mountain

Elden mountain is a silica volcanic dome in the SF peaks, close and perhaps a part of, the stratovolcano in the region. This stop came after LRC which was such an amazing experience. I remember thinking after the GC hike, why are we doing another stop, how can we compete with the GC? RM was more impressive than I expected. I had the same experience here. LRC was amazing, and in my opinion lava domes aren’t the most exciting features. That said, I think this was the stop I started to realize even the most mundane stops had a lot of awesome things to offer.

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San Francisco Volcanic Field/ Peaks/ Glaciation

We saw a variety of formations such as cinder cones in the SFVF and even a stratovolcano (top right) thats responsible for the SF Peaks (bottom), and we ended day 3 but looking at evidence of glaciation in the region (top left).

 

 

Day 4

Grand Falls

Before the trip we had an unknown location that we had to map with a satellite image. This was a our chance to see how well we predicted what happened. Grand falls is a river that was a later altered by a lava flow that went into the river channel changing the region.

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after the water fall
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before the water fall

Rattle Snake Crater

RSC was a surprise stop, where we tried to repeat what we did at GF without the preliminary analysis. It isn’t really a crater. Its actually a heavily altered Maar Crater. A maar crater or volcano. A MC/MV is formed when a pocket of magma interacts with water, turning the water to vapor, creating a fast and large increase in pressure, exploding to create a crater like structure. There were two sides of this. I felt very proud to climb to the top of one side (and was the first :)). Of course, it was hardly the biggest hike we did, but I loved it nonetheless.

 

Day 5

Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater is iconic, forming about 50ka. Just outside of Flagstaff, MC is an impact crater about 1.2 km in diameter and 170m deep. We saw a lot of craters that were not craters, so it was nice to see a confirmed crater. Gavin got to lead this talk (see pic).

 

Sunset Crater

SC is a cinder cone. At ~1ka old, it was one of the youngest structures that we saw. It’s a part of the San Francisco volcanic field, and you can see it in one of other photos.

 

Strawberry Crater

We camped at SC, but we also had a chance to hike up it. SC is another cinder cone, not a crater. At over 300m, its a decent hike. I tried to hike up it, but I couldn’t keep up. I ended up hiking part way then going back, but a few others made it all the way to the top.

 

Day 6

Agathla Peak

This is a volcanic plug or intrusion that feed some type of volcanic structure. Oz says we suspect it feed a Maar Volcano, but he was unable to explain why when I asked how we know.

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Goosenecks State Park

This is one of the best examples we have of a meandering river.

 

Day 7

Upheaval Dome

Is it a complex impact crater or a salt diaper? At ~5km in diameter, its thought to be an impact crater, but it is indistinguishable from a salt diaper (where less dense salt makes its way up to the surface). Past authors have claimed to have found evidence of shock, but the evidence is scarce.

But aside from the science, we hiked in and it was exhausting. Just look at the stats (it was a little longer then it says because I accidentally paused it for a bit).

 

Day 8

Day 9

Onion Creek

A confirmed salt diaper that we used to compare to upheaval dome.

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Green River

Overlook at sapping valleys and paleochannels

Crystal Geyser

A man made geyser due to drilling and creating excess pressure from CO2. It is a “cold” geyser but it looks just like a traditional geyser we associate with early life on earth and possibly on other worlds.

 

San Rafael Swell

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Day 10

Marscvale Volcanic Field

Coral Pink Sand Dunes

This was probably the best stop of the trip. It was like playing in a big sand box. Because we spent the night here we were able to take moonlight photos too!

 

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CPSX formed in the moonlight

Day 11

Inverted Topography (St. George)

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Gypsum Veins

Water rich in minerals is pressurized in the ground and overtime forms these veins of gypsum.

Petrified Sand Dunes

Similar to the coral pink sand dunes, these are older, petrified into rock. This was a great contrast to the CPSD and was  beautiful site to see. Although, I was careless, given that it was the last stop, and let myself get sunburnt :-/.

 

Day 12 and 13

Vegas

Flight was canceled, so we got to rebook and planned an amazing trip in vegas! Went out and it was awesome. I gambled for the first time, and I stuck to my budget, spending half as much as I had allowed myself too. It was fantastic. I was so happy it turned out like this.

 

Canada: the road so far.

I haven’t bothered writing for a while, so you may or may not know that I moved to Canada. The goal: furthering my education. I’m no longer at Georgia Tech; I’ve joined the Neish Research Group. That being said, I am still working remotely with the Planetary Habitability at Tech group to finish up the work I’ve been doing there.

The point of this post (and posts to come) is to update my research group (and other readers) on the work I’ve begun here in Canada. So, I’ll try to be detailed enough for my group, but I’ll still discuss it as though I’m speaking to a larger audience in case there is anyone interested in reading about my progress.

Since this is my first post since I’ve come to Canada, I’m going to take some time to talk about how it’s been overall and detail the road so far. If you’d like, can jump to the research bit at the end.

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The trip up wasn’t bad, but it was depressing because I was leaving everyone I know and love. Plus, it’s a long ride to do alone.  I stopped at my friends house first (only an hour out of Atlanta), then I made my way to mom’s in Tennessee (A 2 or 3 hour drive). We didn’t much because I wasn’t really feeling up for it. We went out to a nice Chinese buffet. It wasn’t very vegan friendly, but they had a hibachi grill and made great sauteed vegetables. After that, we went back and I helped her finally watch the sixth season of game of thrones (spoilers). I left early the next morning mostly because I was ready to get there. It was a day long ride, and leaving at 4am, I got there at 6pm. I settled in. I went to the store, got lost for a couple hours, then made it home.

 

I met a few of members of my research group the next day while I struggled to get all my affairs in order. It was a lot more difficult than I expected it to be. After a few days, it was finished. That weekend, my a couple of my research members mentioned they were going out. I tagged along. I met a few more people, and we formed a pretty tight group of friends surprisingly quickly. Making friends was probably the biggest fear going in. After switching from engineering to earth science, I remember how long it too for me to really get to know the undergrads, then the grad students. I think it helped that we were all in the same boat. Nobody knew anyone, and that helped motivate all of us.

The next monday, the planetary short course (required of first year planetary students). This is essentially a semester course crammed into one week. That was an experience. It was a nice way to get reminded and/or better familiarized with the various fields in planetary science. That being said, I like the week to week style more. It’s more time consuming, but it offers the option to delve more deeply into topics and better opportunities to test the knowledge of those learning. Of course, this isn’t undergrad, and part of that is on ourselves.

All that leads to the start of the official semester (or do they not call it that here?). It started slow. Aside from the short course, I am taking a graduate Geophysics seminar and a less intensive planetary science seminar. Neither of these had details posted online. That was a very irksome as someone who likes to plan a schedule. Either way, classes start, and they aren’t too intensive. Although, I do have a TA to worry about. Luckily it’s entirely online. That means, my work will be mostly grading reports. Or it was, until I volunteered to help create the grading rubric for the report (on life on mars). So that means I’ve had to start working on that sooner than the other TAs. Other than that there’s research.

Research Progress

This section won’t be nearly as long. I haven’t made a lot of progress. I’ve done a little reading, but most of my reading has been for my classes. I set up my work station (which is important for conducting research). Most of my attention research wise has been focused on fiddling with the NASA software, ISIS. This is great at taking time without producing any real results.

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I tried to run through several of the initial tutorials. I can’t say I learned a lot at first.

It took me a while to finally realize, the purpose of the software was to receive and process various file types from planetary missions and convert them to a single file type that is readable in ISIS. When  I first started, I thought each mission you downloaded was the complete mission data set. Instead, I think it’s just a collection of software info that ISIS can use to process whatever data you download on your own from the PDS. Please, let me know if I am mistaken because I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how we access the data after we download a mission kernel.

What I need to do is figure out exactly why my goal is here then I can better focus on what tutorials to do and what I need to take away from them. I am still unclear where I’m going with this.

I haven’t made much progress beyond that. I’ve done some astrobiological research for the Life on Mars essay (and for the mars analogue mission we are doing in the short course). I was hoping to move a bit further, but I came down with a bad cold and had to miss several days this week.

Moving forward, I need to install Envy and IDL, do a bit of reading, learn more about ISIS. Figure out my target to start pulling data that matters.

I haven’t done much reading. I read a paper on Ceres geomorphology for planetary seminar; that isn’t really relevant, but I figured it was worth mentioning. The main take away though is that Ceres surface morphology suggests it isn’t just a rocky body like Vesta, but is instead a ice rock mixture that changes the way the surface changes with time.

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Progress on Old Research

I can talk a bit about the work I’ve done for the PHAT group too. Some of this is from before classes started and some is from the last week.

I finished up my Helheim research a couple weeks ago. In the last couple weeks I’ve created iceberg maps of Conamara Chaos on Europa as well as Thrace and Thera Macula. I’ve attached each image. I’ve expanded the chaos regions (red) to map icebergs (black) where icebergs are defined as preexisting terrain that has been partially broken up but still retains some of it’s original structure. Left of matrix material is left red, and all regions in black are also a part of the chaos region. The large regions of black that I identify are areas of depression on the surface where the ice begins to deform, but fails to break apart completely.

Further work will entail mapping the paleo surface features to conduct a statistical analysis of the amount of bands, plains, and ridges to the amount of icebergs that were retained. I had expected to finish this already, but I got sick, and it prevented me from working more. Note, I won’t be using Thrace Macula (second image, body on the right). It’s a different type of chaos region than what I’ve been looking at, and I don’t have a complete image of the surface.

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Next time, I’ll have results for my europa research.

 

That’s all folks.

What the SCOTUS decision means to me.

The Decision

“What do you think about the supreme court’s decision on gay marriage,” another co-op asked me, not long after I had gotten to work. I just looked at him confused. I had no idea what he was talking about. I thought he was asking if I was either in favor of or against gay marriage, but we had had this conversation before. Of course I was in favor of it. Then it dawned on me, “Wait, are you saying the supreme court made their decision on gay marriage?” I was shocked; everything I had heard suggested the decision wouldn’t come until the very last week of June. “Yeah, they said gay people can get married,” he said. I began to smile as it finally begin to sink in.

Friday did not start very well for me. I woke to my phone alarm going off, and I just wanted to go back to sleep; I had had barely any sleep. I’d been up all night trying to fix both tires on my bike after they were flattened on my way home from work. I finally went to bed thinking I had fixed them only to wake up and find my front tire was still flat. Normally, I wouldn’t stress too much about it. I’m only working part time this semester, but this week I had to work extra hours as I rushed to finish something my boss needed done. Of all the days it could happen, this was the worst.

I looked for the patch kit. Oh yeah, I used up all the patches the night before. Just my luck. I googled the bike shops near me; none of them opened before 10. I had to decide: pay $8 in shipping to have a new kit sent to me in an hour or less with Amazon Prime Now, or wait until ten. I opted for Amazon figuring it would be faster and would leave me with extra patches. It arrives in about 45 minutes. I had removed the front wheel and was cursing profusely as the package arrived because I couldn’t get the god damn tire off. It really is impossible to pry off. Luckily, a miracle happened, and I got it off. I little hocus-pocus and I had the wheel fixed and back on the bike.

I went to leave for work. What do I listen to? A podcast? An audio book? How about NPR? Usually at this point, I’d be at work streaming NPR, but I was really into the audio book I had been listening to, and it’s easier to follow along with biking as opposed to working. Not to mention, I could download the NPR podcast later. It’s just one show, what does it matter? So that’s what I did, and in doing so, I arrived to work oblivious of the monumental change our country had experienced.

After I had learned about it from my co-worker, I felt delighted but also somewhat cheated. I don’t know why. It was like someone spoiled the ending before I got to it. I love the ending, but I wanted to get there on my I own. Obviously, life isn’t a book. The radio is still just another person telling me the same thing, but I think there is something more authentic about it. Although in the end, what does it really matter? It’s done. Same sex marriage is legal in the United States of America, and that is the real accomplishment.

Why it’s a Good Thing

The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity. The petitioners in these cases seek to find that liberty by marrying someone of the same sex and having their marriages deemed lawful on the same terms and conditions as marriages between persons of the opposite sex.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, opening statements in the majority opinion.

These were the opening words, from Justice Anthony Kennedy, in the majority opinion. Justice Kennedy is right. Whether you believe it or not, all of these people feel like you were denying them equality. You’re saying that their relationships are less important and less worthy of this recognition and the benefits that come with it. It’s a way to express their love for one another the same as everyone else, and your saying that love is less deserving. Why? The Constitution says everyone should be granted the same benefits.

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The Equal Protection Clause, From Section I of the 14th Amendment

If you object to homosexuality or gay marriage, whether for religious reasons or otherwise, you cannot deny them the same liberties you have. State or federal, the government cannot deprive any person of these privileges.

They lack–I mean lacked–the same benefits provided to same sex married couples. These range from financial benefits to custody rights or visitation rights to an array of other things. But all those things, I think, pale in comparison to the overall demeaning nature of it. So long as you maintain that these people are second class, you will continue to degrade them. As bi-sexual, I share that feeling of being seen as less than with the rest of the LGBT community. That’s why LGBT pride is so important. We have to stand up and say, “No! You are no better than us.” And we have to continue doing that until that stigma of being second class is eroded away completely.

This decision is a big step towards that. Despite all the opposition, I think, over time, this will help to change societies views on it. It’s still a long ways to go and a lot of work left to do. So many people still feel like the LGBT are less than. I have family and friends who I know that feel that way whether they say it or not, and it continues to create a wedge between us because I know how they feel. It doesn’t matter why they feel it, it’s enough that they do. This decision fights back saying, you’re no better than we are. Whether you’re a member of the LGBT community or not, you should stand up and say it too. Say it, and show that you mean it.

Life After Graduation

Preface

Everyone loves the feeling of finally being able to graduate—to finish what they’ve worked so hard to achieve. We like to pretend this is when things get easier, but it’s not. Life goes on.  That means making difficult decisions and preparing for the future. I decided to write this to summarize my plans to anyone who’s interested or curious about what comes next for me and how I got to this point in my life.

I summarize it at the end in case you aren’t interested in the details.

 

My First Year at Tech

I transferred in to Georgia Tech in August of 2012. Coming in, the information I had estimated the funds I need to be roughly $20k or so. That was way out of my price range. That was way more than what federal student loans would cover, so I managed to acquire a private loan from Sallie Mae. I lived on campus the first year. It wasn’t cheap. After my first year, I realized I didn’t need as much as I thought. The tuition and other costs added up to $20k, but the tuition itself wasn’t nearly as much. In fact, federal loans were enough to cover it. All I had to do was find the money for living expenses.

My Second Year at Tech

The first step was housing. Rent and utilities was about $850 a month. I moved off campus and saved about $325. Of course, I can’t save what I don’t have. That’s when I decided to do a Co-op. It wasn’t specifically for the money. That was part of it, but I also thought I’d value from the experience. I think I have. It turned 2 years into three, but I managed to avoid Sallie Mae Loans. For a time, I seriously thought this was my future(1). I became stagnant and was ready to settle.

My Third Year at Tech (Now)

That would be the easy thing—to finish school, and begin making a life. Well, it would be easy in the short term until I realize this isn’t what I want to do. If you know me, you know I love science. I love learning about it and talking about it. It really got me thinking seriously about what I want to do. I began college intending to be an Aerospace Engineer (AE). I loved math, science, and space; it was perfect for me. Unfortunately, job prospects aren’t great in that field, but it’s so closely related to mechanical engineering (ME) that I should do ME first then I could continue on to AE for grad school.

Except, as time progressed, classes got further from the science and deeper into the engineering. It was bland, and I really lost interest. I had gotten to the point where I realized I had no interested in higher education in engineering. Overtime, my hopes of working in the space field had just sort of faded away. It’s the sort of thing where the further away from it you get the harder it becomes to do. Then in September of 2014 I had the opportunity to see a number of seminars, or talks, on various subjects in space and planetary science.

It reinvigorated me. I knew if I really wanted to do it I had to at least try. I had to make an active decision to pursue this in some way, so I spoke to one of the speakers, a scientist from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He directed me to a professor in the Earth and Atmospheric Science (EAS) department here at Tech. And I went for it.

I sent her an email. No reply. But, I had enough to keep me pushing forward. I contacted one of the advisors in EAS to discuss my interests and opportunities. I looked around at a number of Graduate programs at different schools before talking to her. I had come to the realization that I just wasn’t prepared for it. Half the schools with planetary science expect a background in physics that I just don’t have. I had no research experience(1.5). My GPA (at Tech) was a 2.81 (as a result of my lack of interest my grades had begun to fall(2)). I did not feel confident in my chances. I planned to go for a second bachelor’s degree: rebuild my GPA, create connections in EAS for recommendations, and get some research experience. I had a clear plan to get into grad school.

I kept to this plan until December or so when I realized I made a mistake. I didn’t even try to apply. Some say you only fail if you don’t try, and I guess that mumbo jumbo is true. Except, it sure as hell doesn’t feel like it. I received my rejection email today from the department. Now, I knew it was coming. Even given my subpar qualifications, I realized the planetary science group didn’t have the funding for anyone.  I only applied to Tech, and that was mostly because of the late minute change of heart. It was hard as hell to get everything I needed for the application. Like in the other areas, I just wasn’t prepared. That won’t happen next year.

After Graduating from Tech (Future)

As much as I would have liked to begin my graduate career next year, it is not going to happen, at least not officially(3). This semester I began doing research(4). I’ll continue doing that full time over the summer and part time in the fall. I’m already registered for a mix of EAS and physics courses in the fall. I am going to try and get the second bachelors by the end of next year, but it’s not that easy. My focus will be on graduate school, so that means getting the most out of my classes the research I’m doing without overwhelming myself with unnecessary courses for a degree I don’t even really need(5).
I’ll co-op part time, as my schedule allows, if my employer allows me to(6). However, it isn’t a priority. Research over the summer will be for pay (not great but better than none). This next year will still require some Sallie Mae though, but when I apply to grad school, I’ll be applying to the PhD program for at most places (as opposed to the masters program) because planetary science tends to be a PhD level field. This means, I should be funded once I get there(7). Then it’s all up hill from there.

I have a plan, and I’m fairly confident in that plan. However, things fall apart, and if this doesn’t work out… Well, those who can’t do, teach(8,9).

­Summary

I applied to the graduate program in the earth and atmospheric program here at Tech. I didn’t get in. I have to wait a year to reapply to grad school. In the meantime, I’m working towards a second bachelors in the same program here at Tech. I’m still graduating this May though with my first bachelors in mechanical engineering.

Notes

1I really like McKenney’s. I enjoy the atmosphere and the people I work with. I don’t want to make it sound like it has anything to do with them. If I were working in this field, I’d want it to be with them.

1.5Advanced science programs are research based. That’s what it’s all about. You need to show them you are capable of performing research.

2Maybe I’m incompetent, but I had begun to do worse in courses that were supposed to be easier. That is, easier than some of the courses that I had actually done rather well in. This also doesn’t include classes I took before transferring to Tech. This was all the core classes AKA the easy classes.

3Everything I am doing is to work my way into grad school, so in that sense, I am starting my grad school career. I don’t like having to repeat the undergrad process, but as bad as it is, I’m luck to still be so young.

4I’m working with Dr. Britney Schmidt. I’m really enjoying what I’m doing and with working with Professor Schmidt. Soon, we’ll begin our first paper. I look forward to that because having a paper published with my name out will look great, and because I’m interested in seeing the process take place. I’m studying fracture propagation in glaciers (specifically Helheim) , and later we’ll do a similar analysis of the Europa icy surface. There is so much more I could say about this, and I will with time.

5Some courses are more relevant to me than others. I need to focus on these rather than trying to juggle other courses that are less relevant. Plus, it’s important that my grades in the fall good to show that I am capable and serious about doing this.

6Co-ops work where you work full time for a semester then go to school for a semester before you return t to work again. You do this until you’ve worked at least 3 full time terms. You can work more if you like, but I have, and will only do, 3. I have explained my situation to my boss, and he has, up to now, allowed me to continue working part time. I think he’ll let me keep going, but I haven’t had a chance to talk about it first.

7PhD students are funded usually with a fixed stipend  ( a year sum, not very high); master students aren’t. Most programs let you enroll straight to the PhD program, and you can even get the masters along the way. Some require you to do the masters first. In which case, I’d have to find funding (loans) for that period of time.

8If I’m wrong, and grad school isn’t for me, I’ll reconsider what I’m doing, but then I think I’d try education. It allow me to stay within the science and to continue communicating it. That’s a “what if” sort of thing though.

9I’m updating this a few days later because I really should add that this is just a joke. I love my teachers. I’ve been so lucky to have had so many amazing teachers in and before college. Thank you to all of you, and I in no way mean to minimize the amount of passion and effort it takes to be a teacher. Thanks!

The Magical Sensation that’s Gripped the Nation

Rays of light pierce the dark and sinister clouds that fly overhead, but light has yet to defeat all the shadows of the night. Everything is consumed by darkness, and formidable dangers lie in wait. Fierce waves crush one another as they work as one to reflect the structure that now lies in shambles. Hogwarts, as ubiquitous as the boy it houses, lies in ruin and is on its way to being little more than ash. Fear grips at my insides threatening to rip them to shreds.  The image says it all. The world-wide phenomenon that has managed to ensnare millions of fans is now coming to an end, and the fans are anxious to witness its grand finale. As I sit cross legged outside the theater, I am surrounded by fans screaming in unbearable anticipation for the upcoming movie that is now only hours away. There are movie props all around us, and the fans are slaving over the small indulgences, drinking in everything they have to offer. However, in all of their admiration of the giant posters, no one stops to think what messages might be hidden behind the mysterious exteriors. They are fans of all ages. Most of the fans are young adults, but there are people old enough to be my parents and others who are not even in their teens. Each fan has his or her own story. I first met J.K. Rowling’s magical world when I was eleven. I have grown alongside Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and as their journey comes to an end so does a decade of my life.

However, the story isn’t over yet. My attention leaves the horde of people around me and returns to the poster that so entices me. Though fraught with darkness, there is a bright patch of sky where the sun has begun to rise that catches my eye, but a dark shape blocks my full view. It is the focal point of the entire image, and it stirs a mixture of emotions inside me. It is the center of the magical world, so the depiction of Hogwarts burning to a crisp fills me with shock. Even though I have read the books, I was not prepared for this. It is far worse than I had ever imagined. Below the dying building lies its reflection as if it has to watch itself as it burns, knowing it is happening, but unable to do anything to stop the destruction. I wonder what caused the flames or if someone will ever bring order to the chaos. I look closer. I question whether there really are two figures within the flames about to battle, for I am convinced that they are there. It is the final showdown that everyone is anticipating. My initial shock and fear turn to uncontrollable longing to witness the duel play out. Will good triumph over evil, or will the dark wizard forever rule the world? The battle will decide it all. I am lost within the story, yet I force myself to concentrate more on the poster and the task at hand. I remove the magnifying glass from my mind’s eye, and I allow my gaze to focus on something far less discrete.

At the center of the poster lies the only text aside from a short phrase at the top of the page. The short phrase can wait. The center reads “Hp7” in the signature Harry Potter Font. The abbreviation does two things. It shows how large the Harry Potter franchise has become, and the producers realize this and use it to their advantage. The title makes a statement so bold that even people not in the target audience will be drawn to it. In addition to flaunting its world-wide reputation, the abbreviation limits the number of distractions from the overall illustration. The overwhelming image completes its message with the phrase at the top of the page. In contrast to the first film, which declared “Let the magic begin!” on its poster, this film proclaims “It all ends here.” Fear crawls up my spine and I’m covered in goose bumps. The phrase completes the message that the burning school began, for this is the beginning of the end.

All hope for triumph dies away, and I am left with fear. However, the glint of the sun rise still holds a bit of hope, and I grasp at it even if only to deceive myself that all is not lost. In the first film it is night in the poster, and we entered into a world blind to the evils that threaten us. Yet this light signals hope and the start of a new era. It is time for the long and cold night to end, so that we may live in peace.

We are lost in darkness, and the light is our guide to whatever lies ahead. The end is coming and there will be a new beginning, but it could be for good or evil. The image does a brilliant job at catching the attention of fans, but those who lack interest in the series will show little interest in the poster. Only a fan can catch all of the important factors within the illustration. The poster works to rejuvenate the interest for those whose attention has waned overtime, and it does so masterfully.

Written September 8, 2010 with slight edits on March 27, 2015 by Joshua Hedgepeth

Conversations with a Climate Change Denier

I hope he doesn’t read this. The first thing he told me was how much he hated the phrase Climate Change Denier, but it’s hard not think of him as one. He isn’t stupid. He’s an engineering grad student, and that’s not for the weak minded. He seems reasonable. He understands the fact of evolution, the age of the earth, and other things that many climate change deniers tend deny. Except, we’ve only just begun to delve into this beyond talking face to face. We’ve done some email correspondence, and I’ve sent my first round of rebuttals. If he ever gets the time we’ll see how he responds to the facts.

That is one thing that bothers me. If he, by chance, ends up accepting climate change is real does that prove he wasn’t a denier? Is mere ignorance justification? I can’t help but think not. Whether he’s denying the facts or has yet to be presented with them, he’s chosen to make a conscious decision to deny that it’s real. I don’t blame him because he is only human, and it’s likely its motivated by political or ideological thinking. There is no shame in admitting you’re wrong, so denier or not, if he’s willing to accept the facts then that is really all that matters. But will he? Only time will tell.

In the mean time, I want to share our conversation. I think it can be at least a little informational, but I’d love feedback if anyone is willing and able to do so. Because this is a learning process for myself too. I may get things wrong, or I may just do a poor job of defending it. After all, I’m not a scientist. However, I understand the consensus among scientists, and I am capable of at least a superficial understanding of the evidence.

I considered reformatting and reorganizing the email and response so it would flow better, but I’ve spent enough time on this as it is. I’ll show you what he wrote, and my responses will be italicized. Obviously you don’t have to read it all, but I appreciate you reading this far!

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Hey Josh,

Sorry for the late and (unfortunately) under-researched response. This is a really fascinating subject, and I have learned a lot in a short period of time. I can’t dedicate as much time to this as I would like, but here is a starting point:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/26/co2-ice-cores-vs-plant-stomata/

You will probably be quickly repulsed by the rhetoric on this site, but try to look at the data.

This has taken me while to review and understand. The writers point seems clear though: the ice cap data and the planta stomata do not match. I found it difficult to understand, and I may be misunderstanding it. If so, try to explain it for me because just the link isn’t going to do. But this is what I got out of it: The stomata are a much more granular than the ice caps. It can offer snapshots that are closer in time while the ice caps are a much broader look that gives an overall average but that do not represent the short term variability. But it’s the overall view that we care about. The differences may arise from that variability.

Now, take that with a grain of salt, because I had a hard time understanding what they were getting at and at understanding other sources on the net. What I really took away from it though was that essentially it looked like a bad comparison (like apples to oranges). There are other sources of evidence to verify their accuracy. We have atmospheric data spanning back 50 years from infared recordings. Since the 19th century we’ve had chemical analysis of the atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and both of these match the ice cores. And there are other ways to calibrate the “paleoclimate thermometer” that the ice represents. They’ve compared independent measurements (figure 3 of paleo link). It can also be used to understand the atmosphere’s composition overall which in turn is testable in other ways.

I tried to correlate CO2 and temperature, but I’m having a lot of trouble finding accurate measurements for either. It seems like we only have about 100 years of temperature data and 50 years of CO2 to compare. Even so, it is difficult to access the accuracy of the data, and a strong trend doesn’t seem to appear (to my eye). Granted, I didn’t spend enough time trying to make an “apples-to-apples” comparison. I simply won’t have the time to do this matter justice (aka get a Ph.D. in climate science), which is why I try to keep an open mind. Here are my main concerns (and they are somewhat deep-seated):

1) Not enough historic data that is accurate.

We can study the effects of CO2 on temperature and infer their relationship. We also have a great deal of CO2 data. The deeper in the ice you go the further back in time you travel. Using these samples we’ve been able to track the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere back hundreds of thousands of years. What is more, we can study how much CO2 we are releasing, and we can make projections based on the current state of things and on what will occur if the current rates of pollution continue.

Also, climate is long term, but 100+ years of data tells us a lot still. Even so, there are other ways, like the ice caps, to analysis the temperature further back.
2) Failure of the models to predict periods of pause in warming while at the same time claiming that the models are more accurate (http://thefederalist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Climate-Model-Comparison.png)

Okay, we may have talked about this already, but the main issue with this claim is that they are essentially saying these models are failing to do something that they never were even created to do. It’s akin to saying if evolution is real, then how did life begin? It’s a non sequitur as evolution doesn’t claim to know how life started. Similarly, climate models don’t make year to year predictions. That sort of short time span is a look at the weather. The climate is much broader. We are talking two to three decades worth of averaged data. That’s what these models are attempting to do. And it’s worth noting that when using the initial conditions present in the past, they are able to accurately predict what has occurred since then.

I have other issues with this graph. One, there is no information given on how it was gathered or where it came from. I found the article it was posted in—I even contacted the author of it but didn’t get a reply (surprise surprise)—there was nothing providing a source. So, in that sense, it’s circumspect. We are unable to judge their methods nor the data. For all we know it could be completely false (at worse) or cherry-picked and misrepresentative of the whole.
3) Money (certainly goes both ways and I am skeptical of both)

This isn’t unique to Climate Change. Funding exists for all sects of science. I saw a video a month or so ago from a creationist who compared fossils to the crumbled up remains of sheet-rock to the fossils used in anthropology. She showed how unorganized and chaotic the crumbled remains were but how, if you try hard enough, you can find a pattern. But why would they do that? Where is the motivation? Obviously, they want the funding. The funding for their research biases them and leads them to infer things that just aren’t true. Now, you and I both know that’s bullshit. Or I assume you do; let me know if you don’t.

If you’re going to judge climate change based off of this you have to do it for every other discipline. If not, then you have to clearly define the characteristics that make it different. The process of scientific investigation and discovery is not perfect, but it is the best we have. And it’s been proven to work time and time again.
4) A desire to “do-good” before we know what we actually need to do. Those claiming to have the answer (e.g. Al Gore) scare me the most.
I want to touch on a few things here. First off, there was the question, earlier in our conversation, of whether or not anything could be done even if we found out it could. I still stand by the fact that there is. We can work to limit our output and begin to forgo our reliance on fossil fuels. Even supposing our measures did not work as examples and motivations to other countries it still does not prevent us from slowing down the process. It is also absurd to think that just because we can’t solve a problem at all there is no point in even trying.

But all of this is irrelevant in the question of whether anthropogenic climate change is real. It’s another side step. It’s as if, because it would feel that much worse if it were true, that somehow effects how real the problem is.

This knowledge is clear. You can continue to move that line a little bit further every time, but it doesn’t change the fact that there is a clear consensus among scientists and among scientific societies and organizations. We can quibble about the details later, but the first step is acknowledging that the problem is real. Then we can begin discussion on how best to tackle the issue.
I am in no way arrogant enough to think I understand the situation. I’ll argue that 99% of us don’t have a firm grasp on it. What is a great thing is for us to have this discussion, learn something, and try to enrich others. I can admit when I’m wrong, and will do so when I see enough evidence to convince me. However, at the present, I remain skeptical of the climate machine. My last point of clarification- I believe that the climate is changing, recently the trend has been warming, but I’m not ready to say that this is entirely caused by humans. Certainly we have an effect, but the real key is to try and quantify this.

To conclude, I must say the most persuasive piece of evidence for me is the consensus, and that isn’t even new. All that’s happened with it is that through the years it has become more and more extreme. It represents the view of the community at large—not just one person or group. It represents the overwhelming view of independent scientists and organizations.

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My first blog post: The story of my life

Well, I suppose this will be my first blog post; I’m probably doing it wrong. I don’t really know what to write about so I’m going to open up with a post about me and my life up to now.

I was born in Georgia on October 18, 1990. I grew up in Winder, Georgia, and I lived in the same house until May 2012. That was when I moved to Atlanta to begin school at Georgia Institute of Technology, but lets take a few steps back.

I have two sisters. One is 16 months older than me and the other one is 6 years younger. I went to County Line Elementary School until third grade when there was some sort of change in districts that resorted in me moving to Bramlett Elementary. It was a fun few years. That was until I failed 5th grade due to my less than acceptable work in history. That was a bit of a downer. I repeated the 5th grade, and it put me a year behind. The nice part was I knew a lot of the material going into 5th grade again despite the fact that I failed, so I did rather well especially in math. It also made it easier to transition into the next stage in my life.

After successfully completing 5th grade, I moved on to middle school. Except, that was the point in my life where I left public schools and entered private schooling at Hope Christian Academy (HCA). I can’t say that was the best thing ever. At the time, I loved it, but it was indoctrination at its best. It was a fundamentalist school–which entailed creationism (ie evolution denial and a young earth belief). It was supposed to help us (my sisters and I) learn better, but I don’t think it did. I wasn’t your traditional student, and their solution to that was moving me to, for lack of a better phrase, the special ed section. I fell way behind (but never failed). I was there 3 years, and I only left because we couldn’t afford it anymore. I hated leaving at the time (because the indoctrination worked so well). In retrospect, I’m so thankful I didn’t complete my schooling there. There is a lot more I’d like to say on the subject, but I’ll save it for another post.

So I moved on from HCA to Winder Barrow High School (WBHS). I entered in behind, but by the time I graduated in 2010 (at the ripe old age of 19), I had caught back up. Not only that, I’d made my way into honors and AP classes. Thus proving HCA was wrong. Granted, freshman year was a bit of an adjustment period, but I proved myself no different than any other student.

While at WBHS, I became very active in clubs, particularly DECA (the marketing club). I was also an officer in several other clubs, but DECA played a huge role in my high school career. I was an officer for 2 years and an active club member for 3. DECA taught me a level of professionalism that has been extremely helpful through the years. It also helped me learn how to branch out and connect with other people. Most importantly, I learned how much I love being active in clubs and group activities.

Obviously, that couldn’t last. As great as it was, I had to move on. And so I did. I had to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I liked space, science, and math, so aerospace engineering seemed to be the most feasible option. I applied to Ga Tech and was rejected.My test scores (aside from math) weren’t anything special, and my GPA, while not bad, wasn’t the best. I was devastated. Although, I didn’t give up. That was when I applied and went to Gainesville State College (GSC), now the University of North Georgia.

I was disappointed at first, but I came to love GSC. It was the perfect way to transition from high school to college. Not to mention, it was way cheaper. It was around the start of college that I began to forsake any religious belief I had. High school had at least knocked the fundamentalism out of me. My first year at GSC was a bit of a transition, so I wasn’t very active in anything outside classes. Although, my first semester I took Calculus 1 (for the second time at the behest of my high school Calc teacher). As it was my second time taking it, I was already a master at it, and I did awesome. Because of that, my teacher loved me. It just so happened that she was the adviser for the math club, and she got me to check it out.

Before long, I was a club office once again. Naturally, that wasn’t enough. I soon became active in the Chemistry club (in that I attended the meetings). I later became the treasurer. Not long after that I became an office in the Engineering Club and the Physics Club. I have to say the latter two were my favorite clubs. It was around this time that I decided to change from Aerospace to Mechanical (at least for my bachelors) since they are so similar and mechanical engineering had better job prospects.

After 2 years, with all the core classes out of the way, it wasn’t too hard to transfer into Ga Tech. Once again, I didn’t do much with clubs. I had made a few visits to Campus Freethinkers meetings (the secular student alliance club at Tech). It wasn’t until last year (2013-2014) that I began going regularly. To be honest, it wasn’t really the meetings themselves that got me going. After the meetings, a few of people went to a local restaurant to play geek trivia. I loved it. Trivia doesn’t happen anymore, but it lasted long enough for me to become more active and eventually an officer of the club. We do other fun things to make up for it being gone.

But once again, I’m getting ahead of myself. In May of 2013 I began co-oping at McKenney’s Inc, an HVAC company. This has been an amazing experience. I’m really happy I’ve had the opportunity to do this. HVAC is a big step from aerospace, my original goal, but by this point I had nearly given up anything to do with space because I didn’t see myself being able to stand more engineering schooling. Plus, I liked McKenney’s. It is a great place to work. However, I just don’t think it’s what I want to do. I’m not passionate about it. I finished my third and last semester there in Fall of 2014. I am happy to say that they are letting me continue to work part time, but that’s with the understanding that I think I want to try something different.

I love science, and I love space. Hence my initial attraction to Aerospace. But I think I may of been focusing on the wrong side of space. I’ve decided to pursue a career in planetary science. I’ve applied to the grad program in the school of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences here at Tech and am awaiting a response. It’s a big change, but as time continues to progress, I’m becoming more and more confident that this is what I want to do.

That’s it. That’s the story of my life.

In the future, I am hoping to use this blog a way to delve deeper into the types of topics I tend to post about on Facebook. Although, I’ll probably do more like this post, talking more about specific areas in my life. I guess we will see how it works out. I think this could be a lot of fun. I just hope I don’t give up on it.

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Update January 2019

I live in Canada. I got my Master’s last August. I’m working on my PhD now. I love planetary science, and I have no doubt this is what I want to do. Also, I’ve come out as bi, on this blog actually.