Lindsay the Scientist (Thoughts from the Lunar Planetary Science Conference)

8 03 2010

Sun kissed and flooded with vast amounts of knowledge, I am back at Hampshire College after a week long stint at the Lunar Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas. While at the conference I presented this poster of my current gully research during the Thursday evening poster session

After listening to, talking with, and presenting for over a thousand planetary scientists from all over the world  I realized just how awesome this field really is. The topics of discussion ranged from meteorites to Saturn’s moons, to craters and water on the Moon to Mars atmosphere, geomorphology and MSL landing site analysis with many, many more topics in between. NASA presented, astronauts took notes and everyone involved in planetary science from China, Japan, Russia, India, Europe and the United States drank free beer and socialized while talking about the future of our space faring species.

Make no mistake, I will definitely continue to be a part of planetary science and perhaps decide to acquire some higher degrees in this pretty sweet field of study.

Still a Mystery to Me

7 02 2010

As some of you may know from previous posts or conversations, I am studying our neighbor planet, Mars. In particular, I am quickly becoming an expert at looking at HiRISE images of gullies. This is one image I found on Friday which has left me quite intrigued for a number of reasons.

The first is the dark dunes in the north. I know very little about dunes, but the boundary seems so abrupt! Also, the gullies in the south are small and uniform. Gullies are very rarely (in my experience) as uniform as these are, especially considering the differing directions along the wall. Also the dark streaks under the landscape!

Basically a beautiful image you should all take a look at in more detail. If you actually look at the image through the HiRISE website (which I encourage lots of exploring) this is how I view the images, as downloading them usually takes quite a lot of time.

JP2 Quicklook – IAS viewer
full image grayscale, map projected

You may have to download IAS viewer but it’s totally worth it to look at other HiRISE images if you want. You can also see the image just by clicking on the preview, but you don’t get the delicate detail of it all unless you can zoom in.

(so I guess we won’t) Free Spirit! And Clouds on Mars.

27 01 2010

It appears that Spirit, one of the rovers on Mars, won’t be getting out of the sand for the rest of its life as a science station. NASA released a statement today on the permanence of Spirit’s condition.

“With just enough power for a few more moves, scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are planning to send commands that will change the tilt of the rover to the north, where the sun stays during the winter at that location on Mars, and thus increase the power available to it.

If this move is successful, and the solar panels can generate enough power to power the electronics and some essential heaters, Spirit may continue its mission as a stationary science station for months or possibly years.”

This summer I tuned into NASA’s efforts to free Spirit, and now it is a little sad that the faithfully operating rover of six years is no longer able to continue roving. That said, six years is a long time for an originally planned mission of 90 days! Spirit, you did absolutely amazing work as a rover and I hope you continue to do amazing work as a stationary science lab.

And for those of you who haven’t been keeping up to date on exciting Mars news, back in 2008 Mars Phoenix Lander (another rover that spent its short life in the north polar region of Mars) was able to capture these ten shots made into a movie clip of clouds moving across the Martian sky.

Science Fiction Conventions, Science Conferences

22 01 2010

Exciting news! My abstract was officially accepted for presentation at this years Lunar Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas. So in March it is off to Woods Hole to present a poster on the geologic history of Martian gullies!

I will be posting my abstract as soon as I have the permission from the other three authors and certainly on my other blog I will keep more detailed updates of my research, so if you are interested in the geomorphology of Mars (and really, who wouldn’t be?) stop by over there and I’ll make sure to keep some fascinating background and cutting edge science up to date as best as I can.

I am interested in seeing the differences between a convention and a conference. This year seems to be the year that I participate in both! Watch out Texas, I just shot a gun for the first time ever and I’ll see you in a month!

Lindsay is excited by those of you reading this!

21 01 2010

I am happily surprised by how much traffic this blog still gets after such neglect!

Well, I have some fantastic news for those who might read these words… two of us Conventioneers sold artwork at Arisia this past weekend! We also participated in a Circus and Starcraft panel and threw our own Never Ever Land Party to rave reviews. Slowly (or not so slowly at all) we are becoming an integrated part of science fiction conventions and I for one hope to continue this trend. So you all best watch out for us and our growing group of talented, passionate and lovely friends.

Keep an eye out, Jacob weaves his metal to form a dance of steel that is truly an inspiration to behold.  His coffee table (which is still on the market) is simple, elegant and very beautiful. Bother him for photos of all his work if you have yet to see any.

Dan is working in Portland, Oregon on comics, or so I gather.

And I am busy juggling circus, science and art in some pretty exceptional ways if I do say so myself. I am keeping tabs on my work at a different more me-centric blog so as not to fill the space here with all of my Division III final year of college business, but stop by and take a look at some of the things I am working on.

And speaking of Circus, another circus tour is cycling toward launch! Downside Up circus is putting together a show for this summer in Washington by bicycle! We performed at First Night in Boston and will continue to perform in the arae this semester and blog from the West Coast this summer as well, so Check Us Out!

Exciting things are happening all over the place! Including my first World Con this summer in Montreal! (For those of you following from way back when, this was the reason we started this blog in the first place.) And now I’m hooked on World Cons. Reno 2011 for sure. Hit me up for more details and mayhaps we can host an amazing Worldcon Par-tay together. And I’ll make sure to write up my adventures from Anticipation (Montreal) for you all to read at your leisure.

Be well.

- Lindsay

Nostalgic for Hampshire….

7 02 2009

I smelled pot for the first time since leaving Hampshire the other evening. I am very used to cigarette smoke at this point, but when I walked into the stairwell of my apartment I paused and wondered why I was suddenly reminded of school… and then I realized it is because of the cloud of pot smoke! I am on the sixth floor, so walking up the stairs smelling poit was very nostalgic. It was exactly like I was doing rounds in Merrill A again.

Oh Merrill A.

Lindsay’s Six Step Plan for Evenings Out

5 02 2009

Step One: Get lost on the U bahn/S bahn crazy.

Step Two: Get found by attractive boys who do not speak English, but manage to point me in the right direction.

Step Three: Arrive somewhere hoping it is the right place to meet up with people

Step Four: See people I recognize.. How did that work!? This city is huge.

Step Five: We troop towards some known destination to everyone but me. I proceed to not pay attention to where we are going, thus ensuring that I will get lost when I try to find my way back.

Step Six: Arrive. Everyone orders food and alcohol. I try to convince the waitstaff to give me free water… it usually does not work and I wind up with some crazy fruit juice. I order the cheapest thing on the menu. I have no idea what I order.

My conversation goes like this:
“I will have this…” (ok! I ordered in German, this is good.)

“Blah blah blah mit blah oder blah blah mit this other thing you dont know…?” (Oh man, they are speaking so fast I have no idea what’s going on.)

“I really don’t care, anything!”

“You have to care.”

“Ok then yes.”

And then it is always delicious.


5 02 2009

Today was sunny for the first time since I arrived in Berlin! I had a whole two hours of sun with the hint that it might remain sunny for at least part of the day. The walk to school was definitely more enjoyable in the sun. It is funny what you forget to miss when you are used to not having it!

It is not a convention… but it is Berlin!

4 02 2009

Guten abend from Berlin! I have been quite busy for the past few months, but now I am here in Germany and somewhat acquainted with the city and ready to start spilling my adventure stories! To start with, here are the top ten things that have surprised me (thus far) about Berlin.

1. I always push the door when I should pull and pull when I should push. It must be backwards from what it usually is in America, because I ALWAYS do the wrong thing. And it is always awkward.

2. The keyboards here have the y and z switched, among other things. Typing is slightly off… when I am not paying attention it would go like this: Hez! I hope zou are having a great daz! But I am learning to switch it fairly rapidly, so hopefully I will be back up to my normal typing speed soon. I wonder what that will mean when I switch back to an American keyboard?

3. Crossing the street is weird. I never wait for lights to cross the street, you just cross when there are no cars, right? WRONG. And also, when the walk light is green, cars can still run you over.. and frequently try.

4. “Subway” (S Bahn, U Bahn here…) tickets are on a on-your-honor system with a little bit of fear. You buy a ticket, but you do not have to show it anywhere or validate it when you ride the train or anything… however, randomly they “control” you which means undercover agents are on the individual cars and once the train is moving pull out their official badges and make everyone show them their tickets. If you do not have a valid ticket, it is 40 Euros. Yikes! I have been controlled once already. It is actually pretty exciting as long as you have a valid ticket.

5. Food is really cheap in supermarkets. (And supermarkets are really small.) I went in and bought things for the whole week (meat, cheese, bread, etc. plus some random fun things like chocolate pudding) and it was under 9 Euro.

6. Most of the people I have met thus far do not speak German as their first language. This is due to the fact that I am attending a German language school, where everyone is learning German. Oddly enough, almost no one there is also a native English speaker. So communicating on any level is a mosh of German, English, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Arabic, Spanish… etc. Right now I am going to be learning Turkish in addition to German because I live in the Turkish center of Berlin, Kreutzburg.

7. The city, as far as I can tell, is made up of parks, canals and waterways, graffiti, cobblestone, bicycles and very large sidewalks. The buildings are a weird conglomeration of super old, super new, super falling a part and most have graffiti and murals covering the sides. Also, the whole city is gray in the winter.

8. EVERYONE smokes. I thought Hampshire was bad but here… yikes. My clothes are beginning to smell like smoke, and I hate it.

9. Beer is cheaper than water and they do not give you tap water unless you ask, and even then they think you are crazy.

10. Berlin is the city for bikes, dogs and street cleaners. I have walked with four street cleaners already in my first week of being here! They cruise along at about walking speed, so if you are headed in the same direction it is like you are walking with them. They are very friendly, but a little loud.

Happy National Novel Writing Month!

1 11 2008

November is National Novel Writing Month! I am celebrating by attempting to write a novel. We shall see how this works out. I have figured out that if I write roughly 6 pages a day (starting today, of course) then I will be able to complete the challenge. Wish me luck! I will try to keep you all up to date as far as my progress is going, and if I decide I’ve written things worth reading, I’ll share.

Are any of you out there attempting this brave feat?


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