Someone wanted an animated pigeon dragon a la this post, so I made one in like ten minutes and then spent fifteen minutes trying to export a gif without weird flash control points appearing everywhere.


Someone wanted an animated pigeon dragon a la this post, so I made one in like ten minutes and then spent fifteen minutes trying to export a gif without weird flash control points appearing everywhere.

(via hyacynthus)


i grab my friend and yell OH MY GOD HAVE YOU SEEN THIS VINE, my friend turns around; i am holding an excellent specimen of vitis coignetiae, we are botanists

(via hyacynthus)

I am secretly a confident, competent superhero of a woman with a few issues, who plays a woman brought low by insecurities and imposter syndrome who has to fake being a confident, competent woman to get through the day.

personal me imposter syndrome self confidence

The First Men on the Moon: The Apollo 11 Lunar Landing


Apollo 11 landed on the moon 45 years ago.  As we remember such an awesome event I would like to take a moment and comment on something that’s pretty interesting to me.  The people that made the moon landing were yes… American.  But they were men.  Simple men, with hearts that beat, minds that wandered, and brows that sweat.  Have you ever thought about that?

I work with dangerous stuff.  Often when people hear what I do they say something about how cool or exciting it is.  Well…. yes… and no.  When you’re doing the thing that you’ve trained on forever and ever, you kind of get lost in the moment.  You don’t think “Hey, I’m about to shoot this really awesome rocket”, you think about the minutia.  You’ve programmed your mind to pay attention to the checklist.  You’re lost in little words like “harness”, and “arming”.  I can only imagine that’s what was going on with every single person involved in the moon landing.  

Tyler ham has combined all the data from the actual moon landing and lined it up temporally on so that it can be replayed in “real time”.  This is an incredible piece of internet architecture that blends science, history, and technology.  I want you to re-watch the moon landing on Tyler’s site and experience it in a new way.  Think not only of a great achievement of mankind…. but think about the hearts beating… AND WATCH THE TELEMETRY of those actual heartbeats.  Watch as Neil Armstrong’s heart rate speeds up as he nears the lunar surface.  Think about Mike Collins in Lunar Orbit listening to the whole thing knowing that if something went wrong with his crew mates he would be returning home alone. Can you imagine?  Feel the muted enthusiasm of the mission control room as the men approach the regolith.  Listen to Gene Kranz as he controls a room full of men at the helm of the most sophisticated technology known to man at that point.  Listen as Charlie Duke tries to clearly and concisely communicate with the fewest number of words possible, knowing that if he task saturates Armstrong and Aldrin he could jeopardize their hope of return.

For one moment, isolate yourself from the glory and aura of the successful moon landing and try to place yourself back on the other side of that point in time.  The point BEFORE men had safely landed on the moon and returned.  Be aware of your own pulse as you descend to the lunar surface.  Pretend you’re in that state of flux, not knowing if you’ll die, or survive.  Remember…. you still have a lunar rendezvous, deorbit burn, and reentry to all happen flawlessly.

For just one moment, cut off your phone, ignore all distractions, place yourself at July 20th, 1969 at 20:07 and spend 10 minutes heading towards the lunar surface yourself.  I did, and my pulse began to rise.  Then again… I hadn’t trained for hundreds of hours on this checklist. 



Smarter Every Day

Watch, listen, and relive the excitement of the Apollo 11 lunar landing as experienced minute-by-minute by the courageous crew of Apollo 11 and Mission Control.

I had a morning of feeling hopeless and worthless, stuck in a negative loop. Then something like this comes along and makes me realize how small and unimportant I really am, in the best of ways. The world does not revolve around me, and will continue regardless of my happiness or unhappiness, or how I perceive it. It makes more sense to engage in it without listening to the negativity in my head, because the universe does not care about my negativity, nor will it change to stop it. I can only change how I engage. 

I might be alone in this, but feeling small and insignificant in the face of a vast universe is one of the most comforting feelings in the world to me. I love being one speck of dust on a pale blue dot in the backwater arm of an average galaxy. I love that this, the moment men set foot on another world, can make me realize this all over again.

science personal me first men on the moon apollo 11 history


Q: What do you call an extinct flying reptile that loves the smell of rain?

A: Pterichor

The Calculus Story


Gonna write a novel called “the calculus Story”

it’s going to be about a little guy living in a little village. Then a wizard comes and tells him that he’s really special, and that they are going to go on an adventure because the dark king is going to kill him otherwise. So then…

Crunch those numbers. Crunch them HARD.

The last few days have been ones of intense sciencing.

Yesterday I helped aid in some experimentation with paintballs and a seal carcass. It was successful in that it told us the plan would not work. It was ridiculous amounts of fun on a project I’m not really involved in, but think is cool.

For the past few weeks I’ve been working hard on an R script that will import all my data, mush it around til it looks right, run power analyses on it, and spit out a lovely plot of increasing power with increasing n. I am SO CLOSE to this goal I can taste it—all that’s left is the plot. Today the creator of ggplot2 (and plyr and so many other packages—and he also happens to be my Data Viz prof’s older brother) retweeted my tweet about my work in R and I fangirled REALLY hard, which few people around me understood.

Now I’ve taken another chunk of my data, successfully mushed it, and spat out a lovely plot of noise percentiles. 

This is also what science looks like. It’s not just going out in the field: it’s thinking and crunching numbers and trying things until your brain melts or the analysis works. And then taking that analysis and using it to inform going back into the field. 

I find it immensely satisfying.

science r statistics grad school me