This is an ongoing post of research updates during the month. Updates are provided every few days, and you can easily reach the update by clicking the link in the calendar.
11/4/20 – Plans for the month and election update
I have quite a few things to accomplish for the month. Lets break it down.
With my first draft finished, I need to move forward with the Pluto results. I think, I would like to have this mapped by our next meeting (11/18/20) and have the depth profiles by the end of the month (12/2/20). Then we can set up a meeting with collaborator in December to decide how to move forward.
Catherine and I have a meeting 11/13/20 with McGill. I need to prepare for that. That will include reviewing notes from last time and prepare for updates from the team. What I hope to bring is 1) my own results and plans to move forward and 2) a proposal for an experiment idea we discussed before. That is, an experimental apparatus to model an organic freezing in water to test the SF2 model.
On that note, I need to think about how to move forward. That means adapt the SF2 model to work with an alternative chemistry, ideally an amino acid that is denser than water. The first steps mean reviewing the material we have on how it acts in water like with HCN. At the same time, I would like to update my results for my paper while it is being edited by me and my coauthors. I have the SF2 results; I need to process them to get a new set of fits (extrapolation) and thermal model. I think I can do this in the amount of time edits will take. However, I would like feedback on if this is necessary. If yes, lets aim for final results by end of the month. Similarly, I would like to have my initial research for an alternative chemistry by the end of the month. That paves the way for implementation in December.
In the same vain, I need to put together a presentation for my lab on some topics discussed in my PhD comps. This is related to chemistry and the water-organic relationship, so I think the two goals go hand in hand. The goal is to present these results in December.
Lastly, I need to make a poster of my results. I think I will just apply my presentation. I am not sure what the timeline is for AGU, and I’ll decide on this later in the month.
In other news, one of the worst scenarios is playing out in the election. That is, Biden’s path to victory is a slow one dependent on absentee ballots. Trump has already screamed fraud and called for them not to be counted. If this isn’t a crime I don’t know what is.
11/18/20 grading and editing and last minute modeling
Earlier this month we had the Dragonfly meeting. That was a long yet fascinating experience. I look forward to following future meetings. I’m in a bit of a unique position to join titan research at the end of a long mission (Cassini), and now I get to watch the making of one. It was at times a little technical for me, but I still enjoyed the experience. Naturally, I wish it had been in person. Not only for the lovely trip to Baltimore (or wherever it would have been), but because it’s difficult to stay focused behind a screen with no one around to see you distracted.
I’ve also been working on the second draft of my HCN paper. Catherine had some great advice (naturally) on how to improve the paper and the results which involved a few more model runs. Luckily, I had already been running more models since I was finalizing the paper, so I was in a position to update my results right away. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned.
When I was finalizing my first draft, I tabulated my variables and constants in my model. Naturally, I validated all the sources I had listed for my values in my code. It was then that I noticed I had one of my values off or my source had changed. I updated it, but it didn’t seem like a major update so I didn’t expect it to change much. However, after looking at the new data I had ran while I edited my first draft, I realized it was a fairly significant offset. Que full system check.
I did several things. One, I reran all my codes for new results. What I found was that updating my values had streamlined the code. It ran faster, and worked at more extremes that it struggled with before. This means, if correct, I may not have to extrapolate. Then second, I needed to make sure the change was because I updated my values and not a major mistake in the code I made. This meant I tried to recreate my old code with the old results. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t say I tried everything, but I felt like I could only afford so much time for this. Alternatively, I downloaded Jacobs fresh code and input the values as my current sources documented them. It reproduced my most recent results. This means, while I may not be able to recreate my original results (which concerns me), I can at least test assured that the change isn’t a mistake I made in the main code in some other area. All I can say is, my parameter values are accurate, and I can reproduce these results from scratch.
I have some ideas on what was the key change that caused the results to change. However, without investing more time on troubleshooting I chat say for sure. One thing I have failed to do, largely because of confusion, is install GitHub which I believe saves various versions of your code for reference. This would have made troubleshooting a much easier process.
For now, I have been reproducing all my results, and more. To the point that, I think I won’t need to use extrapolation. However, I am pushing my luck when it comes to finalizing this second draft by Friday. I very well may be able to finalize my SF2 model results today and begin the heat transfer model. Although, I have doubts. It seems very likely this is going to take a few more days. If I don’t get this buy Friday (I have lab Thursday too), I think next Wednesday is achievable.
I have not even mentioned that my AGU poster is due Friday. That will be done today, perhaps tomorrow, so I have time for feedback from Catherine.
PS: my power was out when I woke up this morning which meant I one, woke up late despite planning to write this, and two, had to write this in my phone.
October is, objectively, the most wonderful month of the year, and it felt like it came and went faster than any other month. October began in a rush to submit my DPS presentation. I was not that concerned. I had just presented my research in July (which felt more recent than it was), and the virtual platform opened up how we give the presentation.
The final stretch leading up to the 9th (the submission of my presentation) was to produce some final results for my project. this required sacrifices. That is to say, I had to settle for simplifications rather than continually strive for perfect results. Catherine made it clear, at some point, I have to settle for what I have and move forward. This means I used the results of the SF2 model for lower concentration and extrapolated for the higher concentrations since getting a full profile at higher concentrations was a big hurdle. I think this was a good fit because the minimal data I got for 50 and 75 ppt matched up well with the fit. The next step was the 2D thermal model. This was mostly effective. I had to download an updated version and modify it for Titan, and in the process, I struggled to get the model to take the higher order fit of the HCN-water phase diagram. That is to say, I had to use a lower order fit that is less precise. Lastly, I struggled with the time steps being output because the results I presented had a thin liquid level, but it is effectively frozen. It should be entirely frozen. What’s more, the time scales are half the length, if not more, of what other predictions have for models of this size. These are all things I need to improve moving forward.
In terms of the presentation, I was frustrated with the DPS set up (going in, and after). However, I intended to make use of the prerecorded method they used. I regularly film and edit YouTube videos. This is has not only prepared me for easy editing techniques, but it trained to be fairly comfortable talking to a camera. I debated trying to record all at once or breaking it down to each slide. Each slide, I could perfect the conversation, but I risk sounding rehearsed. The entire presentation, I risk making mistakes or going over in time. I opted to go be slide. This was not effective. I got burnt out very quickly, and I found I would never be satisfied with what I said. So I stopped, and recorded all the way through. I did that one time, and it was fairly good. It was too long and had several mistakes. Rather than rerecord, I decided to give it the YouTube treatment and piece together a concise and continuous conversation with abrupt cuts throughout. This is a common occurrence on BookTube. I remove mistakes often, and I often have a bad stutter. I also do it when I want to trim down excess conversation. I had to make sacrifices to trim this down, and I did so fairly easily. It is a tedious process but one I am fairly fluent at. I am curious to hear peoples thoughts on that approach, especially as it fits into a professional setting. For the slides, I exported them as images and input them into my video editor. In retrospect, I could have had higher resolution slides by recording my screen of the presentation because I could not control the output of the slides. I am sad that I have a poster for AGU because I would have liked to do this again, with this knowledge, at least rather than a poster.
As we shifted to the actual conference, I also began to write up the results of my work for the manuscript I started earlier this year. I finished that on time, and it wasn’t that hard to actually write. The tough part was sitting down and writing. Once started, I find putting my thoughts to paper fairly easy. I had adapted my PhD proposal into the paper at large earlier in the semester to the point that I only needed my results. I also needed to finalize a couple tables, but that was easy enough.
Check out my November research update (hopefully an ongoing report) for my plans moving forward!
In the meantime, enjoy some October bike ride photos.
I am beyond grateful to be offered the opportunity to review this book. I just recently finished one of Carroll’s older books, and it is one of my favorites of the year. I know this book is already out. Nevertheless, the copy I was granted expires on the 31st of December, so intend to finish it before then to provide feedback for the copy I received. When I reviewed From Here to Eternity, I tried to review each part of the book. I think the result was a bit of mess; it was also a lot of work. Here, I will stop after each chapter to very briefly summarize his points and to discuss how effective it was as a chapter. Summarizing it will help me get a sense of how well I really understand it. Basically, I’m blogging my entire experience with the book. When I’m done, I’ll summarize my thoughts above my blogging experience (right after this).
I absolutely adored this book. I am so grateful to NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this. I didn’t even realize it was already out, and I ended up using the audiobook (also amazing) to read the book. I still am happy I got the ARC because I may not have read it otherwise. I have only just started on NetGalley. I am a fan of Carroll, so I wanted the chance to review his newest book early. Even if it was already out, I may not have read it without the ARC because that was really the biggest motivator (the need to provide a review).
Otherwise, I might have read a different book by him because I was honestly very afraid of this book. The first time I saw the synopsis (prior to finding it on NetGalley), I read quantum mechanics and thought this was not for me. I have never understood it and was unlikely to start trying now. Then, with the added incentive, I decided to give it a try. Dear Sagan am I happy I did. I left this book feeling as though I actually understand quantum mechanics. Then add on the extra benefit of being beyond fascinated, intrigued, and excited by his discussion of Everett’s Many World’s hypothesis. I go in depth in my thoughts on that in my live bloggingwhere I responded after each chapter. I would refer you there, jjoshh.com, if you are interested in reading that.
All in all, this book did everything I want from a science book. It challenged my fundamental way of thinking all the while in a clear and structured manner. What’s more, it is one that doesn’t shy away from the tough parts of science while not creating a story that completely hinges on your reader to have an expert level understanding to follow along. I highly recommend this book and Sean Carroll (and his podcast Mindscape). This will probably be one of my top 10 books of the year. 5/5 stars
I will probably do a review on my channel as well, but that will be in a week or so when I have time.
Rating Break Down Writing Style: 10/10 Content: 10/10 Structure: 10/10 Summary: 9/10 Engagement: 10/10 Enjoyment: 10/10 Comprehension: 8/10 Pacing: 9/10 Desire to Reread: 10/10 Special: 10/10 Final Rating: 4.785/5 Note, each rating is weighted based on personal importance (see blog for more details).
The book is already out, so I should be okay to quote it. Lastly, I am reading this via the e-arc in conjunction with the audiobook (on Scribd). The audiobook is narrated by Carroll himself, and it is very well done. If you haven’t already, check out his podcast, Mindscape where he gets guests to discuss leading topics in science. I mention that here because the first thing I noticed was how much the audiobook was like listening to this podcast. It feels natural well performed.
Carroll uses the Prologue of this book for a very simple purpose. He is here to talk to us about Quantum Mechanics, but before he does that, he has to make has to make us care. He takes a subject that, I suspect, most people assume is resolved, and explains why what we think we know is wrong. What’s more, he hints at how he intends to make us look at Quantum Mechanics in a brand new way. He does it in a way that highlights how skilled a science communicator he is, and it gets me beyond excited to dig deeper into this book.
Part One: Spooky
In Chapter 1, His first step is to explain exactly what quantum mechanics tells us, generally speaking, and where it sits within the realm of physics. Basically, it is a foundation chapter. He discusses how quantum mechanics compares to classical mechanics in how we go from a world of concise reality to one of probability. He sums it up as follows: “What we see when we look at the world [through quantum reality] seems to be fundamentally different from what actually is.” Quantum mechanics works similarly to classical; that is, the system is set up and is let to evolve. The difference comes with the act of measuring. The fundamental problem addressed in this chapter is to understand that quantum theory, as it currently exists, doesn’t explain how reality works only that it is how it is.
The concept seems simple enough, and his background feels like a good description of what quantum mechanics is. In Chapter 2, Carroll takes us on a journey to how this all came to be understood. He tries to make his point, stated in Chapter 1, that there is something missing in our understanding. Carroll explains the difference between epistemology which is the state of our knowledge versus ontology which is the state of reality. Essentially, this says there are ways of getting to the result without fully understanding how we got there. I get a little lost as he transitions to thinking about QM in a different manner. He treats the idea of a wave function as reality. where everything is literally a wave and when we observe it as otherwise, we aren’t observing a fact of reality, simply a piece of reality lacking a bigger picture. The impression I get from this is that the problem with QM isn’t an ontological one but an epistemological one.
I can’t pin point exactly how he goes from each point to the next, but I find his explanation overall effective. I’ve never quite understood what it meant to be a wave function. Now I think I do. Waves aren’t just a construct, they are a fact of reality, where reality acts fundamentally different than we perceive it in classical mechanics. That is, the universe is as much in a state of superposition as the quantum particles that make it up. That leads Carroll to the idea of Many Worlds, where many worlds are simply an extension of quantum theory. “The potential for such universes was always there,” and each world is a realization of that each position. This may be the best explanation of the many worlds theory that I’ve ever read (not a cosmologist). What’s more, Carroll doesn’t hold back that this could be wrong, and he takes the time to address other possibilities.
Chapter 3 felt like an introduction to quantum mechanics. Carroll provides a reader with the history of the science that lead to our current understanding. He concluded by explaining how the scientific community came to the understanding that quantum mechanics is fundamentally probabilistic despite many attempts to assign it a deterministic nature. It was a fine review, but I found myself wondering what the point of it all was until he spelled it out that they never really explored the implications. Overall, I can’t help leaving the chapter unsure what it means to be probabilistic. Ideally, that is the point; I just wish I could, as a reader, have ascertained his point without him spelling it out.
Carrol is an apt story teller and science communicator. He uses Chapter 4 to explore probabilities, or more specifically, the nature of uncertainty, further. It seems the most important thing to understand is that the wave and uncertainty descriptions are not a broad description that works with gaps of knowledge. The physics that governs this world is fundamentally different than the rules of classical mechanics. I’ve got a background in that area, and it makes sense to me.
He finishes his discussion by focusing on the nature of what it means to be a wave. It was probably the most difficult material he has covered yet but still easily understood. He gets into a conversation on spin that feels esoteric and a bit over my head. Luckily, he doesn’t leave us stranded. He uses the information to guide us in our understanding. The nature of waves is a confirmed fact. The act of measuring quite literally appears to alter the wave like nature of a “particle.” I think he explains it best but it is fascinating.
Chapter 5 is what feels like, a concise discussion of the nature of entanglement. It is a doozy. I’m here reviewing the material trying to make sense of what Carrol is saying, but I am having a tough time. It seems entanglement is when two electrons share the same spin. The trick is, their spins are in superposition, and they don’t consolidated until measured. The trick is, once one is measured then the other is guaranteed to be measured as such too. What I don’t get is how we know this isn’t a correlation; why must it be an entanglement.
If a photon is used to force particle a into a fixed spin that doesn’t change the spin of what it is entangled to, it only passes that entanglement on to the photon used to change the spin. That suggests a shared dynamical relationship not an intrinsic entanglement. I have to assume there is an independent way of identifying them as entangled.
My initial impression at the start of the chapter was that entanglement is the way the wave function of the universe (or of these two particles) is intertwined. That is more than a coincidental correlation. All that is to say, the chapter is complicated, and I hope it becomes clearer later in the book.
Part 2: Splitting
Chapter 6 was easier to read. It discusses the nature of decoherence and it’s implications on the many worlds hypothesis. I can’t say I left the chapter absolutely convinced, but it was a much more compelling story to read. Now we are getting into the nitty gritty.
Chapter 7 tackles the nature of probability and the effect on the multiverse. I think the first very compelling point was how it doesn’t feel like we live in a multi-world universe, but the same was said about the earth rotating or the earth orbiting the sun. Sometimes, our intuitive senses aren’t enough. I found this chapter immensely fascinating. The nature of probability means all that can happen does happen. Now I’ve heard that before, but I’ve always wondered what the realistic effect is on the macro scale (vs micro/atomic).
If the position or spin of an electron can be in superposition, what difference does that make on the classical physics of the world. I still don’t really know, but one fantastic point Carroll makes is how we can discuss probabilities. Say we do a random number generator our interpretation of that will vary. If we assume the RNG is quantum (which Carroll’s actually is) then a string of 16 spin directions (1/0) will produce a world where every possible line of 1’s and 0’s exists. In that world, Carroll’s use of this list in his discussion would be directly effected by unlikely results like all 1’s or weird patterns. It’s fascinating to think of the different directions his book and life would take in those scenarios. It’s debatable how big of an effect it would have, but it’s a substantial example of a direct influence of these quantum superpositions on the macro world.
Carroll finishes the chapter exploring how we might differentiate between more likely scenarios. This part highlights my biggest problems with the book which my inability to comprehend the more esoteric discussions. That said, Carroll continues to keep us grounded by walking through each piece such that I leave understanding (I think) the points he is trying to make. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to study what he’s saying to fully appreciate every step along the way.
The fascination continues in Chapter 8 as Carroll begins to attack, head on, the question of whether the Many Worlds perspective is (1) the most logical conclusion and (2) really science. The quintessential simplicity of the theory is that anything else would have to add on or change the laws of quantum mechanics as we understand it. Basically, if you want to deny the existence of an infinite number of worlds, you have to complicate our own. As far as occurs razor is concerned, that just doesn’t work. Then as far as science, it is said that a theory must be falsifiable, and one cannot deny that the law that implies the multi-world perspective is entirely falsifiable simply by disproving the laws of quantum mechanics.
Chapter 9 is dedicated to the opposing theories that have been proposed to counter the Everett Many-Worlds interpretation. I thought it was a great overview and comparison. To be fair, we have multiple theories condensed to one chapter with 2/3 of this book to talk about Everett’s view, but I thought it Carroll did a good job defending against them. Granted, I may struggle to explain this myself without further review.
What we got in Chapter 10 is really what I’ve been waiting for all along. He talks about the implications on us. He delves into the question of free will, consciousness, and whether these quantum processes can really be assumed to extend to the choices we make. He makes a compelling case that it is unlikely that our choices are in fact quantum. That is to say, the processes that govern it are probably not probabilistic. Nevertheless, he talks about opportunities that we might introduce such randomness into our decisions. We can use quantum number generators to help make decisions to ensure multiple versions of our-self, however minor.
Now, I came to this revelation last month, and ever since, I’ve been striving to make decisions by it. Right now, I’ve used it to decide which books (or the order by which) I read. This may be minor, but books can have profound effects on us. I can imagine a world where I read one book and not another and it seriously effecting me. This book is a prime example of that. I may expand on this discussion in another post, but I’ll summarize with how exciting I find this all to be. The ability to actively create multiple versions of one’s self is so enthralling to me.
Part 3: Spacetime
In Chapter 11 Carroll begins to explore what this actually means for reality. That is, where are the other worlds, and how are they connected to us. My understanding is that these states all coexist in the quantum realm, but there is something about our entangled selves that then experience these physical laws for our specific reality given. However, the others can be thought to be there, experiencing reality slightly different. I think he did a good job explaining this. It is still very abstract but overall a good take on how this relates to the greater universe.
I found Chapter 12 to be a bit esoteric. He seems to be discussing the nature of quantum field theory, and, while interesting, I didn’t understand the point as it relates to the Many Worlds interpretation. I think he was trying to highlight the fundamentally difference between the way reality works in quantum mechanics than in how we perceive reality. That is to say, particles aren’t strictly what we perceive them to be. Perhaps this suggests the same may be true for Many Worlds? It may be that it has nothing to with that and Carroll is branching off into another tangential area of research.
On that note, Chapter 13, the last chapter, is all about quantum gravity. He makes sure to be very clear: this is purely hypothetical. Quantum gravity may be an intriguing idea, but it is not yet on the same level as say even the Many Worlds interpretation which at least is based on an understood scientific idea. I think it did a really good job bringing this section to close. While it is very theoretical and ongoing research, I can better appreciate how chapter 12 was building up to this idea which is essentially that space, and maybe time, is emergent. That is, the nature of entanglement of particles brings space into existence as we perceive it. As such, that might explain why we perceive our world from a different world where the quantum state is a bit different.
Epilogue and Appendix
This was pretty straightforward close to the book. I like that he read the appendix (or selected parts) on the audiobook.
My apartment is finally finished being renovated. My new flooring looks really good and brightens the room. The old flooring was a much darker brown. It was done when I got home September 2nd, but it took me a while to get up the energy to organize everything. I particularly like my idea to swap the table and the couches. The living room has always been on the other side of the room where the window is. This has allowed me to put most of my books in that room. The lighting is great for YouTube videos, and I also just like things being different. I spend most of my time with my books and a my table than on my couches, so this works out.
9/8/20 – Labor Day Weekend
On another personal note, labor day weekend was Dragon Con. Of course, Covid-19 turned it virtual. It was not the same, but I did enjoy playing werewolf with friends and others.
Okay, I have made good progress on my HCN models. Unfortunately, the results speak to a level instabilities above 10%. I met with Jacob (Dr. Buffo) to discuss it, and we have clear plan to move forward. I’m going to work with what I have and extrapolate. The model can only do so much. If you would like to see my results, I am happy to share, but I won’t be posting it publicly. This includes good results for up 5% and okay for 10% as well as testing the affect of varying spatial increments on 1 and 5% (to use it on higher concentrations of 10% and up).
Right now I am running a few more models for 2.5% and 7.5% so we can create a detailed 3D curve of values to better extrapolate forward. These lower concentrations should not take too long. The goal is still up to 25% concentration to ~25m depth pond. I am going to start working on Figures for my paper. Initial figures are set for September 14th, and hopefully by September 16th I can get an extrapolated figure to produce with a paper draft to be sent to Catherine. Then I’d give myself another week to run 2D model (maybe a little ambitious) followed by a final (1st?) draft on September 28th.
Simultaneously, I am working on mapping Pluto. There was no progress with this in August, and the first bit of September I’ve been focused on producing results. That said, I’ve begun mapping. My goal here is to have the entire surface mapped September 18th and the craters depths processed by the end of the month (September 30th). With this timeline, it might be a good idea to set up a meeting with Dr. Bray in mid October.
9/22/20 – Progress Update
The last couple weeks were fairly productive, but I did not achieve my goals. The goal was to have my HCN Concentration in the ice vs depth (thermal gradient) completed by the 16th. I have not. They are in working condition, but I need more data for 5% and 7.5%. This is going to take time because I have to start at shallower depth due to stability issues. On a positive note, I have verified that I can increase the dt with negligible effects on the results. This should allow the models to run to a deep enough depth by the time the paper is finished and needs the finalized figures (~mid October?). I am working on extrapolating the data I have, but it is proving to be more difficult than I realized. It is a new task for me, interpolating and extrapolating in 3D in MATLAB. It is just taking time. I have made progress on the paper. Is virtually good to go minus the results and discussions.
I haven’t worked on the Pluto work because it doesn’t feel as urgent. I honestly don’t know if I ought to give this any time until I get the paper done. The goal now is finish mapping by October 9th with the data processed by ~mid October (14th). I am doing that because I need to get the HCN results done for DPS in October.
I start TAing Thursday, but luckily all my labs are on the same day. The goal is to make those days the day to work on labs. Other days will stay for research.
This has not been the best of summers. Sure, I successfully completed my comprehensive exam, but beyond that, life has been tough. The pandemic began effecting us in March. It was another 6 months before I got to see my family again, the longest I’ve ever been away. Even that, was because my grandmother died. That was a very difficult experience made only worse by the pandemic. For a full discussion of that, I invite you to watch my Friday Reads for that week.
Nevertheless, we’ve all had it rough, and, as always, we manage. As the summer began I shifted focus to my comps, and it left me disheveled such that my routine fell apart. With it went my blog. I am here to summarize my research, and to bring us back into the routine of more regular updates. Of course, it is difficult to be specific about details months later, but I will do my best to summarize the last few months.
By June, the Remote Sensing class was over, but we had assignments to complete. I tried to complete one lab a week, but that fell apart after the first lab. I ended up spending a lot of time updating my proposal after getting feedback from Dr, Pratt. That involved creating a few new figures, but the biggest objective was to review the literature pertaining to the model and the fundamental approaches it uses. The need to complete this is, I think, what broke my routine of blogging and pomodoro.
Life became less about focused work about meeting deadlines. Luckily, I learned a lot in this process. I do regret that I never discussed the papers in my Science Paper blog post. I want to return to this, but it was hard to justify a deep dive in one paper when I needed to review so many so quickly. Nevertheless, I hope to review some of the material and present it in that post to 1) refer back to and 2) discuss with the lab.
In the end, I was very happy with the updates to the proposal. I sent it out to my committee very early into July. At this point, I had hoped to create a more structured studying approach, but I got overwhelmed with the labs for the Remote Sensing course. I quickly finished these and promptly moved on to the project. I was very frustrated with these labs. Although, I can’t complain much because I learned a lot of things in the process.
I dove into the project understanding things I had struggled to follow several years ago for my Titan crater mapping. It is in fact why I’ve steered away from using ArcGIS when possible, but I feel much more comfortable with it now. That helped me push through the project.
My project was to map craters on Pluto, take there depths, and relate the crater degradation to the N2 content in the craters. This was based on past research which suggested that N2 cycling will lead to 1) erosion and 2) relaxation. Sadly, I made a critical error when importing my data into MATLAB (where I took the depths and related it to the N2 content). I had separated pristine craters from degraded craters in my crater maps based on what the new Robbins et al. (2020) defined as pristine. When importing the crater data, I assigned the diameter and N2 content of the pristine craters to the degraded craters.
I believe this was a issue with sorting the data, so I patched the error and rushed to recalculate my results. In the end, I only processed the pristine craters. This severely limited my ability to analyze what was happening. I intend to completely redo my code after the project if the project was carried forward (it was).
In the final week or so leading up to my comps, I took time create flash cards. Essentially, I was reviewing the basics when it came to Titan. I had hoped to do this sooner, but it didn’t pan out. Luckily, the proposal process was a very good review, especially addressing Dr. Pratt’s suggestions. I didn’t review the note cards much, but the act of making them gave me a sufficient framework of what I needed to know. Obviously, I ended up passing with some recommendations (although these were minimal).
August began very well(ish). I was fresh off my exam, and let myself relax. I still did a bit of work each day the first week. Although, I didn’t stress too much about it. Things were complicated early on when my place flooded, again. A new emergency window in my basement unit wasn’t done right. It already required my floor needing replaced, and after it happened again, but worse, we had to speed up the process because of mold. I moved into an Airbnb (not at my expense). This lasted 2+ weeks, and made it hard to work.
Luckily, I was able to work from school for a bit. Most of my time was spent troubleshooting the code as I wanted to get it to work at higher concentrations. I ended up getting to work well enough. I don’t remember the other things I did, and I didn’t log it in Pomodoro at all. It doesn’t help that my grandmother died half way through. That ended up monopolizing the rest of my month. Again, see my Friday Reads for that week if you’re interested in a more personal discussion.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review
Summer for the Gods by Edward J Larson is a nonfiction book exploring everything leading up to, during and after the Scopes trial of the 1920s. This is often referred to as the “monkey trial” where a creationist was battled an evolutionist about the validity of the two world views. It was essentially a battle between whether or not evolution should be taught in schools, but the trail itself had a very different argument than the modern separation of church and state precedent that we are familiar with today.
The book I’m reviewing is the most recent edition of the original 1997 release. That is the 2020 edition which is the same exact book with a slightly modified afterward. While I received an e-ARC, I chose to listen to the edition on audible. I believe that is an adaptation of the 2006 edition which features its own afterword. After I listened to the book, I read the modified afterword in my 2020 e-ARC which I will discuss at the end.
I was surprised to learn that Scopes trial was not about separation of church and state as is the modern reasoning for keeping Christianity out and evolution in. I am loosely familiar with the Scopes trial period because I had a phase of extreme atheism (i.e. really into the social network), and the scopes trial was a major part of the atheist rhetoric and arguments discussed. However, most of my knowledge, while slightly vague, never really clearly defined the Scopes trial as it really was. A big part of this book is about debunking a lot of the misconceptions or the mindset the public has created around the Scopes trial.
The Scopes trial gave the “official” win to the state (supporting the law banning the teaching of evolution, but after the trial, there of re-branding where many saw it as a blow to creationists. This book discusses this thoroughly in the final part of the book. The book is split into three parts.
First is the period leading up to this trial which is an excellent review of what the societal mindset is around religion creationism in evolution. Second, the actual Scopes trial is discussed, and we learn that the trial was orchestrated by the ACLU to challenge that the law violated teachers individual liberties. The ACLU put out a request for a teacher to be used for this trial. What precedes is the trial as we know it. It comes down to trying to argue whether evolution breaks the law as defined by Tennessee.
Tennessee’s law stated that evolution couldn’t be taught because it contradicts the views of the Bible. Scopes (lawyer’s) defense tries to focus on the fact that evolution is consistent with an interpretation of Genesis depending on how you look at it. In the end Scopes loses because it’s clearly plain that he taught evolution and wasn’t supposed to. It wasn’t about whether or not evolution is in line with Christianity because the law wasn’t about teaching things that go against Christianity; it was about teaching evolution.
However, the framing of the argument set up the infamous questioning of one of the states lead experts William Jennings Bryan. He was incapable of explaining away the many inconsistencies of the Bible with science (outside of just evolution). Many saw it as demeaning, and it resulted in Bryan being painted as uneducated and dumb by many in society. Granted, that view was among those who supported evolution. The opposing side saw Bryan as a martyr who stood for faith. Both of these views would fuel the more extreme actions of both the religious and the secular sides after the trial. It didn’t change the law, but it worked as a way of reshaping the battleground in a way that eventually lead to more action.
It was a long time before we started to recognize that the problem here isn’t that someone’s liberties were being infringed. Eventually, the emoluments clauses would be used to garner court decisions that set a precedent of a clear separation of church and state. You can’t block evolution because it is inconsistent with your religion (that is the state sanctioning or endorsing that religion over others). Nor can you teach creationism as if it is science. It’s a recognition that creationism is entirely outside of the purview of the secular state.
I went into this book expecting much more of a discussion about religion versus secularism (i.e. separation of church and state). That was only a small fraction of the book. That is probably my biggest disappointment with the book. I wanted more on freedom of religion and the ability of the state to teach one religion over the other (i.e. Christianity). In the context of the trial, this book a does a great job taking a broad look overtime. Necessarily, it limits how deep we can explore each part.
We get such a clear picture of what led to the Scopes trial and then everything that came after and how it re-framed the way society looked at Christianity and evolution. There was no change in the law, but it triggered a polarization on both sides, and it set the groundwork for this conversation of freedom of religion. So overall, this was a fantastic book. It is dense with information just the way I like it. As with any great book, it paints a clear picture while leaving the reader inspired to search out more to learn.
As for the changes in the book (i.e. the afterward), it was largely unchanged. The most significant change was a discussion of statistics on the relationship between education, geography, and the belief in creationism. We see a lot of things happening in modern day that ties back to the cases of the past and the argument of the Scopes as Christians continue to push the boundary of church/state separation. We see attempts to try and hinder the ability to teach evolution without alluding to Christianity, but the subtle approaches are still very clear in their intent. However, it doesn’t change that in the modern day we have conservative presidents like Donald Drumpf that contribute to the slow erosion of these previous presidents similar to the fears around the erosion of abortion rights as courts allow one new law after another that slowly restricts and decays the existing rights.
He makes a very persuasive and succinct argument as to why this information is still relevant to today. Speaking as someone from the South who grew up a young earth creationist, I think the mindset around evolution has changed, but religious extremism continues. If anything, the mainstream nature of evolution puts society at risk of complacency. It just highlights the need to understand and the importance of separation of church and state.
If you haven’t read this, 100% recommend (especially if you’re a history buff), but if you have a previous edition, I don’t think there is anything new here worth investing in.
This is an ongoing post of research updates during the month. Updates are provided every few days, and you can easily reach the update by clicking the link in the calendar.
5/1/20 – particles vs solidification fronts
This was a so-so week. I’m doing pretty good at 4-5 pomodors a day, but I have had even slower days. Today I am clocking in 6 pomodors though. Still, I’ve done a bit of reading. I’ve started discussing some papers in a new blog post, you can find it here. Like this, I will update it monthly (assuming I can keep it up). I use as an outlet to discuss the paper as a review, and then I discuss its relevance to me. I’m also tacking on some papers referenced in it that are worth looking further into it.
I talk about sediment and particle entrapment (as opposed to solutes), and one thing Catherine pointed out was that solutes may not act the same as particle. The difference between a particle and a solute is just that a solute becomes a homogeneous mixture, sometimes breaking down (I think). HCN is miscible; that is just the liquid equivalent of soluble. I’ll discuss the mechanics over on the paper review post. I am not going to finish the paper today, but I am going to do an overview of it for now.
Also, I found this site that lets you easily import a pdf and fairly well read it to you. It isn’t perfect. It limits you to 20 minutes a day of moderate quality voice (no limit on low quality). However, a VPN does fix that issue. Nevertheless, it has helped me stay focused. If you know me, you know I am an auditory learner, so even if I have to go back several times, it helps having that to help me follow it along.
5/13/20 – Remote sensing, paper reading, and comps review
Since we last spoke, we had the remote sensing short course. It was informative and mostly enjoyable experience, but it was also exhausting at times. I made significant progress on each of the daily labs. Although, I still have a good bit of work left to do in addition to the project we grad students have to develop.
I am trying to work a little bit on the labs and on other things since I have so much time. I finished reviewing a paper I had begun before the class (you can read my thoughts here). I am going to continue doing that paper review post which I think is working well. Overall, this week has gone well. I think the remote sensing course helped get me in the mindset of treating my days at home like work days (sucks we didn’t do it sooner!).
Monday I reached 7 pomodoros. Tuesday wasn’t the best at 5, and that includes a meeting which is a questionable task. Today I think I will clock in at 7 pomodors (and end the day a bit early!). Granted, that includes one for the group meeting, but a 2 hour meeting deserves one pomodoro in my opinion. It is interesting to see how I work on different tasks. Today, I got carried away by Garhard’s comments on my proposal. I was very engaged, and it made it easier to focus. Alternatively, reading a paper or writing are very different activities that I often get distracted from. I think that is also reflected by my tendency to obsess on one task. I start each day with a plan; I try to dedicate time to everything I need to work on. I inevitably focus most of my time more on one task. Granted, I make a point to shift focus the next day, but it still makes it hard to do multiple things in a day. That is disappointing because things like reading or writing end up being sprints that are tough to maintain (as I’ve mentioned). All that said, it is interesting to reflect back on my tasks. I have a saved account on pomodoro, so I can see what I did when.
In regards to Gerhard’s comments, I felt good about most of them, and those that I was unsure about I feel I know how to go about answering them. That said, there were definitely things I am going to push back on because I am confident in my work (or so I keep telling myself).
5/29/20 – A belated update
As I write, the date is June 11th, and needless to say I’ve fallen short of my blogging goals. I’m going to try and summarize the rest of this month to best of my abilities because I still like to have for here. It helps that I logged my time on Pomodoro. This was fresh off of the remote sensing class, and I was trying to balance research and the class responsibilities. I’m trying to balance my daily activities. More often than not, I find my self spending entire days on one thing (labs and class project vs studying for comps). Overall, if it works it works, and it seems I am spending equal time for each.
In the last week of May, I met with Gerhard about my proposal. This has me worried for my comps, not because I wasn’t prepared, but because of the level of anxiety I had around the meeting. Realistically, I don’t think I should be worried. We had two very productive meetings. In one I answered all of his questions with ease while also identifying a couple areas where I could stand to research the Titan background. In the other, we talked about the model and where his focus is going to be; it’s the paper I base this off of.
We came to the conclusion that the proposal could stand some edits, and after talking to my other committee members, we agreed on letting the proposal run a bit long. I needed to spend more time discussing 1) the numerical methods used and 2) the broad uses of the mushy layer model and reactive transport models. I did a broad review of the material with great help from Jacob, and you can find some of my discussions in my May paper log. I’ll probably go back and do a review for one of the other papers I read too, so keep an eye out for that (3rd) listing on that post.
I successfully finished lab one for the class. My goal is to finish at least one a week. I also need to make time for work on the project so I don’t leave myself with just two weeks to do the project.
 Clayton et al., 1990 – Effects of Advancing Freeze Fronts on Distributions of Fine-grained Sediment Particles in Seawater and Freshwater
Summary (4/30). This work discusses an experimental study of sediment (dirt) particles in water as it freezes. It assumes some level of mixing has occurred sufficient enough for the sediment to be suspended in the water. The experiment is performed in a small tube with insulated edges to simulate natural scenarios. The authors track the change in salinity and sediment distribution in the ice. The findings suggest salinity removal is higher for slower freeze rates, and the same appears to be true for the sediment. However, sediment much less sediment is removed than salt, with 94% remaining in the ice. Finer particles migrated further than coarser sediment particles.
Discussion. This study says a lot of interesting things, but it is important to note the authors do not touch on mechanisms or venture to guess why sediment particles act different than salt. To me, it implies further dependence on particle size which is reflected by the distribution of sediment by size. Does this suggest HCN (or other organic molecules) will be less resistant to removal than salt? Is the difference in particle sizes significant enough to matter for HCN as it does with sediment used?
Addendum. I think it is safe to equate dissolved molecules (i.e. solutes) with suspended particles. I found this interesting virtual lab that helped me conceptualize the idea. It shows how water will break down salt into the atoms it is made of, perhaps with a slight charge. Alternatively, sugar will break down but only into individual sugar molecules. Fundamentally, these are still particles suspended in the water. We might imagine that the inter molecular forces are more important than larger particles, but fundamentally, they are just particles suspended in water. Therefore, the basics physics should still be applicable. For more on the physics, see the next paper (Remble and Worster 1999).
Further reading: Corte 1962; Reimnitz and Kempema 1979, 1987;
 Remble and Worster 1999 – The interaction between a particle and an advancing solidification front
Intro Summary (5/1). I am still reading through this but I wanted to start by reviewing the basic mechanism here as an introduction to the paper (as defined in the paper). When an ice surface approaches a particle in the liquid, the distance (H) between the two shrink. As it gets within a critical distance, intermolecular forces (e.g. van der Waals interactions) come into play and force the two apart. Whether the particle becomes entrapped depends on whether the ice front velocity exceeds a critical velocity that is essentially faster than the particle will move due to these forces. This was known prior to this paper, and this paper explores the idea further. I’ll summarize the entire paper after I finish it, but for now I want to discuss this idea as it relates to my project.
Summary (5/11). This work uses the fundamental physics of particle entrapment to calculate critical solidification velocities (i.e. how fast the water freezes) needed to trap a particle of a given size. They consider the effects of different scenarios of inter molecular forces and briefly consider the effect of buoyancy on the process. As a particle approaches the ice interface, thermomolecular pressures repel the particle. However, within one particle diameter, the process is slowed. Once the solidification velocity reaches a critical point, the particle will become entrapped. The critical velocity is inversely related to the particle radius (e.g. larger particles move slower). Significant buoyancy differences will effect the forces at play, either hindering or encouraging particle entrapment.
Discussion. This is an interesting look at the role of intermolecular forces in this process. I want to look back at Buffo et al. (2018 and 2020) to see if 1) he references this paper and 2) how it relates to his work. I know I’ve seen van der Waals interactions mentioned in the code at the very least. Worster et al. mention that particles with different conductivity will react differently, so I need to think about the conductivity of organics vs water (probably closer than salt?). There is another point in here where Worster says that the higher thermal gradients promote particle repulsion, but that seems to conflict with sea ice observations which suggests thermal gradients are a major factor. This is also only mentioned in passing, so I don’t know what to make of it. My main take away is to investigate intermolecular forces more closely and the role they play.
Further Reading. Israelachvili 1992; Sen et al., 1997; Dash et al., 2006
This is an ongoing post of research updates during the month. Updates are provided every few days, and you can easily reach the update by clicking the link in the calendar.
4/7/20 – slow and steady wins the race
Modeling is still going strong. Sadly, the code I had running at school was reset, I assume from a power outage? If it happens again I will probably stop running code at school. Meanwhile, Jahnavi and I have gotten into the rhythm of reading pretty much every day. My comps are being set in July (date TBD?). I don’t love that idea, but I would rather do that then start our time back on campus stressed to the max. I think it’s also less intimidating over video. In other news, I have begun making an outline for a paper write up of the stuff I am working on. I suppose working on that will help prepare me for comps as I think more and more about what I am doing and the background around it. Although, I need figure out a good pattern to studying. I think once I met up with my committee I will get a better idea what I need to study.
4/14/20 – Writing, Studying, Modeling, and Time Management
Modeling has continued as ever. I am fast approaching the point where I will have to reasses my results to decide if there are any points missing. I think I may have everything I need for HCN after the next week or so which is great seeing as I need to start composing a paper of this stuff. I haven’t actually made any progress on that front. Pretty much all of the work I’ve done has been toward an introduction chapter for my thesis. The purpose there is to use that as a means to study. I am not sure how or if I am going to handle doing that and the paper I need to write.
I am waiting on feedback from Gerhard and I got some feedback (more pending) from Rick. I’ve composed an outline for my Chapter 1 thesis, but I am thinking I will start focusing on the area he mentioned which was terrestrial understanding of organics in ice as he does not seem convinced that this sea ice model is applicable (or so is the implication I’ve garnered). I think the problem is he’s thinking on a molecular level when this is a bit larger. As I have described before, we are modeling “average” inclusions in the form of brine channels. In a 1-D model we can’t detail the actual channels, but is more of a bulk look at the system. I intend to document terrestrial studies (limited by life which may act differently) and the basic chemistry/physics. Of course, I will also compare this to clathrates which are different all together than what we expect to find here.
This week I returned to my handy-dandy pomodoro timer. I am going to start using that to help motivate myself to work. Again, 6-8 pomodoro’s is the goal. Today, I ended up doing 4 which sounds so bad, but I expect its the best I’ve accomplished as of yet. As I’ve said before, I work well with goals and boundaries. I am hoping this will help motivate me because it becomes a challenge of sorts. If I want to read, I need to work; the sooner I focus the sooner I will be done with what really isn’t thatbig of a goal, especially without others around to distract. Although, I am including meetings in this which isn’t exactly “focused work,” but I figure given the situation I can justify being a little lenient with myself.
On the side of self care, I’ve had a good run of focused reading. I also have a decent biking routine; every(ish) evening or night I go for an hour or so bike ride. It is a beautiful ride at night. Plus, there are fewer people (next to none). You can see one of my rides below and more pictures above.
4/22/20 – So so goings on
Things have improved somewhat. It is a little embarrassing to discuss my proficiency, but things have improved. My goal everyday is 6-8 pomodor timers, same at work. Over the last week I’ve ranged from 4-7 pomodors a day, I’d guess ~5 on average. I suppose compared to my goals that really isn’t that bad, but it still feels so insufficient. I’m working on improving my sleep schedule, but it’s hard. Just last night I went to bet at 1:30 and woke up at 7:30 because I’ve become accustomed to limited sleep. Then when I wake up that early, it is hard to get up and to work because it feels like free time which is absurd. Its the time I need to get to my 6-8 pomodor’s.
Work wise, models are going slow. One crashed when I accidentally unplugged my computer and it died over night (luckily one stayed in hibernation or something). I also finished grading the astrobiology reports with Jahnavi, and to our surprise, we were pretty close in our grades. Other than that, I had a fantastic weekend participating in the #StayHome Reading Rush. It was great reading experience, and I think I left it a little less stressed. I definitely wasn’t feeling as many anxiety symptoms by the time it was over. You can watch my vlog of that on my channel if you’re interested in hearing more!
4/24/20 – Living the Loop
Have you ever seen lost? There is this iconic introduction of this one character, Desmond, in a bunker, and we basically see his daily routine that never ends, until it does. To quote Carl Sagan, “That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.” That is why I know how important it is I nail down a routine here. Honestly, I think I have a pretty steady work flow. It isn’t as much as I’d like, but it’s a matter of refining the routine. That said, there are days, that is, yesterday, that aren’t great. Thursday was not a good day for work. It was very unproductive. I had hoped to make up for it on Friday, but that didn’t happen. I’m probably going to pull in 6 pomodors today when all is said and done.
We’re over a month in. Should I be past this point? Should be I lying here, or, at least be less up front about all this? Maybe I’m too comfortable. In any case, I’m getting some work done. I am really liking the Titan reading sessions with Jahnavi; that is the one thing we do fairly consistently. Today, I also got some paper writing done. My goal is 3 or so pomodors for writing and reviewing each. That didn’t happen, and I didn’t end up reviewing today. I have imported my relevant proposal info into my manuscript file. now, I am working on refining it and adding parts I need that weren’t in the proposal. That is results and a discussion of my thermal model which will act as a review.
I didn’t do it today, but I want to spend my current thesis time reviewing specific papers. Write up what I learn in a way that can fit into my thesis but also work as a standalone review. I feel weird talking about it instead of doing it, but #goals I guess.
4/27/20 Paper update
Today was not a bad day. I am on my 7th pomodor (updating my blog being the task). I spent most of my time working on my manuscript. I was making some tables about the variables being used, and reached the point where I need to talk about the results and the fits we use to approximate them. I looked at the results I’ve produced in the last few weeks in MATLAB. They are not great. The results using dz = 10 cm look different, and I need to figure out why. I’ve started coding lower concentrations that I have data for at dz = 10 cm to compare and see what the difference is. I need to figure out if its an overall problem with using 10 cm, or if there is something else I am missing. If dz doesn’t work, I am at a loss how to move forward because it doesn’t want to work with the usual dz = 1 cm.
Honestly, the fact that it doesn’t want to run at 1 cm for higher concentrations doesn’t make sense. At the higher concentrations, the system remains stagnant, and doesn’t convect when it does for the higher density difference. The only other change is a lowering in the melting temperature. I couldn’t pinpoint the problem the last time I reviewed the code, but I think I may go over it again and try to figure out why the critical Rayleigh number isn’t being reached.
Since I spent the day focusing on the paper and the results for it, I think I’ll devote tomorrow to thesis review starting by reviewing a few papers. I had hoped to do it today, but I got carried away with the 1D model issues.
This is an ongoing post of research updates during the month. Updates are provided every few days, and you can easily reach the update by clicking the link in the calendar.
3/24/20 – A month long update
I’ve fallen behind on my blog updates the last few weeks. Let’s recap why. The main reason was that I was working on labs and my proposal. It was taking more of my time, and I was becoming aware of the looming (desired) deadline. As such, I found it harder to come in and start with the blog. As with most things, this a pattern of behavior. It is easy to lose the habit. I actually haven’t blogged much research or otherwise. Most of my free time has been on my YouTube channel instead. As we transition to spring, I will try to get back in the swing of things. Of course, there are a lot of factors at play with that.
I’ll start with the research side of things. I finished my proposal, and I have sent it off to my committee for review. We also set a date for my defense! Was it April 24th or 21st? I don’t remember. I’m busy that day anyway because of the social distancing and all. Our labs have been canceled because they aren’t the easiest to do remotely. The group project is still being done by Nigel. I mean, he hasn’t been very communicative, so I am not concerning myself with it. I am still running models at school, but they are running slowly. I need to figure out how (and if) it is possible to get these higher concentration runs to work at higher time steps. Then I am also continuing to study for the comps exam whenever that may be.
On that note, I think we all know we are working from home. It is good and bad (mostly bad). I need to get a routine down, and I do think updating this blog is a good way to start that. I am trying to shower and dress for a virtual meeting each day so I don’t get stuck in laziness. I’ve also been doing a bunch of stuff around the house, yet it is still a wreck. I’ve also tried to start making videos more frequently (every other day perhaps) given all my free time. Obviously, that isn’t a priority over work, but one doesn’t rule out the other.
I am trying to focus, but for my own mental health, I am not letting myself get too overworked if I have a unproductive day. At some point, I say the rest of the day is mine regardless of my progress. Obviously, I need to start thinking of methods to get my routine going. Naturally, this is a tough time for everyone. I fear (and know) I have overreacted. Things aren’t as bad as they could get, but we can only take it one step at a time. We all have our own coping mechanisms. Mine are mostly eating too much. To overcome that, I try to make a smoothing to help pace myself (these are huge and can last hours). I also am trying to make myself to bike every couple days (I haven’t gotten to doing it daily yet). Other than that, I am video chatting with people more. I played Ultimate Werewolf on Zoom and that was a lot of fun.
This has been a tough week. Things really haven’t gotten as bad as the could. I’ve moved past the initial phase of constantly worrying that every little discomfort may be a symptom. Sadly, I’ve only become increasingly worried for my family. I’m sure it goes without saying this hasn’t been the most productive week. Nevertheless, I’m here to talk about what I’ve done to hold myself accountable and to encourage myself to strive for more to say next time!
I’ve been playing around with my models, and I’ve managed to beginto get results for 10%+ concentration at higher (50m+) depths. It seems using a larger dz makes it more stable? Although, I am worried that might mess with the result accuracy or precision.
3/31/2020 – Inching Forward
I spoke to Jacob, and he thinks 10 cm should be just small enough to get reliable results. The trick is needing a dz that is smaller than the actual “mushy layer”. This is the layer where we have a mix of phases occurring which has convection driven by changes in concentration (buoyancy) and temperatures. I am still trying to understand the problem with higher concentrations. For whatever reasons, the Raleigh number it produces is just very small, but higher concentrations should create a bigger density difference between it and the ice. There is no reason why that should hinder the convection. I am running a couple at 5 cm dz as well. Once I get some results I am going to compare these with my 1 cm dz to get a better senses of what effect this has on it.
I need to study more. Jahanvi and I are going to start doing meetings to keep reading Lorenz’s book. I think I might start writing a background chapter for my Thesis. It is the best way for me to review and study for my comps which are only NaN weeks away.
This is an ongoing post of research updates during the month. Updates are provided every few days, and you can easily reach the update by clicking the link in the calendar.
2/4/20 – Leveling off after a bumpy start
Monday wasn’t the best day. I didn’t reach my timer goals, but I managed to make them up today while still managing six today as well. It makes me feel a bit better about the week. That said, I look at the progress I’ve made on these labs and it terrifies me. I spent all of today grading, even though I know I shouldn’t. Tomorrow I’m going to refocus on background review for comps. Jahnavi and I are trying to work together, each studying a different topic and coming together to discuss each with one another. The goal is to hold ourselves accountable while lightening the load a bit. That is, we each help in finding good sources for different topics.
I went ahead and started a few models to expand on the data I have. I am facing a serious problem with models in the 100s of ppt. I can’t figure out why the model doesn’t want to work, and I’m afraid it may take me spending a good amount of time troubleshooting it. There is also a problem with the data where it spikes at a certain depth for all my concentrations. I need to figure out why. Imagine the curve following a set path, then you take a slice and slide it to the right. That is basically what is happening at maybe 50 m depth for each depth.
Wednesday was a good day, spent grading, but productive nonetheless. I managed 6 pomodoro’s even after the lab meeting. Those labs are almost done. Although, now I have a new set. I think I am going to have to start logging exactly how much time I am working and even do grading on my own time. Honestly, I don’t mind tedious labs because I can listen to audiobooks while I go through numbers and one word answers, but short responses require I actually think about what they’re saying.
This weeks lab was on “Is it Science,” which is always fun. Of course, I would always refer the reader to Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark among other works by him. This also marks my last lab until lab 10, so that will help me moving forward (especially with LPSC around the corner).
2/11/20 – Grading and Deceptacon (Visiting Atlanta)
I’m leaving to go to Atlanta tomorrow night for Deceptacon. It isn’t the best timing because I have so much grading to do on top of my proposal being due soon. I’ve been focusing mostly on the grading to get it out of the way. I’m also hoping to make time to get some grading done while I am away. Reading week will give me some time to get ahead in my grading.
Sadly, this was not a productive trip home in any way. I didn’t get any grading done, and I never spent much time focused on my proposal. On top of all that, I fell behind on my Youtube and reading schedule too. You’d think a time away from work would mean I have more free time to do the things I like. Sadly, I just couldn’t get in the mindset to do it. It isn’t all bad, though. I had a lot of fun playing werewolf and seeing my friends. I actually got more sleep than normal too getting to be at ~10 PM the first night and ~12 AM the second night. Admittedly, I literally didn’t sleep the last night, but I knew I probably wouldn’t. That’s why I didn’t feel as bad missing time to play the first two nights to ensure I had a couple full nights rests. Now that I am back I have to refocus onto labs and proposal.
Everything is coming down to the wire. The astrobiology midterm is barely a week away, yet I am still behind on my labs. My proposal is due in like three days. You would think that these two deadlines would motivate me, but that just wasn’t the case. This all has me very anxious and stressed about all I have to do, and instead of working, I am doing less work than I normally do. Honestly, this has probably been the worst productive week this year.
Even outside of school, when I am at home I can’t help but stress about my lack of work at school and thus feel like I can’t stop and read. Of course, I don’t work, instead I just sit down and watch TV, and the result is that I end up reading next to nothing. That sucks because I like reading. It’s relaxing, educational, but it has also become a fantastic way of structuring my work-life balance. I’ll be relieved when this month is over. For now, it looks like I’ll be having a weekend of working from home.
It took a lot of time, but I finished the proposal. I didn’t even have to postpone the deadline. I also finished one of the labs I have been grading which gives me time before I do the next one. I ended up tackling my proposal by asking which parts I had left. Then I made an item in my pomodoro timer for each section asking how much time each section ought to take. Then it shows me 1) how much I’ve done and 2) how much I have left. It really helped me focus, but it also kept me from focusing too much on minor sections that weren’t worth that much time.
In the end, I did ~30 pomodoros. With a daily goal of ~6-8, that equates to roughly 5 days of work. That doesn’t even include the time I spent grading. Obviously, this doesn’t change the fact that I have more to do. I still have to create updated drafts for the proposal and keep grading, but it is still a relief to be able to say I did what I needed to up to this point. It’s also nice to be able to look back on the work I did and quantify it. Sure, I had a bad week last week, but this pretty much makes up for it. That alone is helpful in breaking free of this spiral of stress and self destruction.
This week, I will finish another lab and hopefully get a final draft of the proposal finished too. Outside of school, I am working to make a final sprint of reading to make up, at least in part, for the sluggish couple weeks I experienced. I am hopeful moving forward that I will make good progress all around!