Monday, October 24, 2011

Carbon Accounting and Mine Sweeping in The Tarkine

Last week I had a super-long weekend thanks to the Hobart showday public holiday added to burning one day off my annual leave. Instead of enjoying the g-forces on offer at the show I went to the Tarkine with TWS to do some more community carbon accounting.

We stayed near Edith Creek , I obstinately refused to take a bed and occupied the drawing room floor. We covered 6 or so sites in a couple of days. The first day was mostly spent driving up and setting up camp. One of the most interesting sites was along a creek, the ground was full of burrows made by mini mud crayfish. 

We also the proposed site of the Shree open cut iron mine and  took some group photos.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The iGlobe project - Globe + N-d data + Intelligence

Patrick at NASA is amazing at putting people together, he put CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research ( who provide my daily bread currently ) , ORNL , NOAA and NASA itself. This project aims to visualise space-time resolved datasets in the globe context. With proper planetary projections on any object.

We had internally started building blocks of a large modular data visualisation framework called TrikeND, this was a natural choice to attach it to the globe context via worldwind. Even though scientists often prefer to see the data in pure form without being attached to the globe, so we have alternative renderers such as VTK and Jzy3D in the sights in addition to iGlobe. The primary data source is NetCDF, but we also provision GIS formats via Geotools, I put in sometime experimenting with OSGification of Geotools, with lots of help from Mathieu and Jody. This is designed to carry on from our legacy product DIVE.
DIVE Use cases

iGlobe focuses on addressing the following issues:

Vector field rendered in iGlobe

1: Streaming large datasets from where they sit to where they are viewed. We would like to use standard protocols where possible, especially WCS NetCDF profile and OPeNDAP.
2: Providing heuristics to identify the right fields to be visualised as scalars, vectors and tensors.
3: Different display techniques for rendering scalar and vector fields, including volume visualisation with voxel and slice based techniques, display lists, vertex array, VBO , true impostors and other usual suspects.
4: Coherent time-locked animations keeping all the layers in sync in real/model time domain.
5: Transparent analysis techniques running on small problems on the client side and calling on server resources for large problems. Varun has been implementing various data mining techniques including FFT, change detection and anomaly detection.

There is lot more to come including an opportunity run iGlobe as part of an experiment on the ISS.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Hobart Giraffe hunt

The other day while walking to salsa I met someone who likes giraffes. So I went on a week-long artistic giraffe hunt to please her. I acquired and made giraffes using various materials and metaphors, and I still have enough inertia to keep collecting, even though my muse has moved on.

  1. First one acquired was a Kenyan wooden sculpture. This has been passed on to a very good friend in Adelaide.
  2. I drew it up as a sketch, first in my new Moleskine - iCamera. This has been donated to the Ivory, great place to relax, have a drink and draw in peace.
  3. I used the wooden giraffe sculpture and drawing as models and built a paperclip and random stuff sculpture. This one has gone to a sculpture student at UTAS.
  4. Learnt that we have been invited to submit an experiment for the ISS and made an origami coin box giraffe (which was declared a Brontosaurus).
  5. Walking back spotted the initial giraffe available at Despards Gallery and bought it up.
  6. A soft and cuddly one from Teddy Bear store, this one got ogled on the way back to base and possibly jinxed the whole process. So I have donated it back to the jinxer. There is still a limited edition collectable hanging out in the store which I might get at some point in the future.
  7. The papier mache giraffe made in Philippines that I picked up while drifting around in Spotlight. During this drift I also met someone who has been awarded a scholarship to create piece based on the Monomyth at MONA. This giraffe ended up acquiring a knuckle mark on one of my adventures around the xenophobic parts of Hobart town. I passed it on to my French housemate.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The lost generation of Tasmania - citizens of Xenophobart

There seems to be a generation of lost Tasmanian kids, 18-25 drifting around in the streets.

Begging in the mall, fighting and very obviously picking on me. Since I tend to focus their
attention by being different, wearing funny hats never helps.

V for Vandetta

I have had a few conversations with older Tasmanians today ( and lodged the information about
harassment incidences with the police). The welfare system seems to have nurtured a generation
of value nothingers who think money comes out of a hole in the wall, as far as their limited ability can penetrate the financial system( lack of education seems to be a key), it indeed does.

They feel the world owes them everything, stuff will just fall in their path. The haves have to
hand over all they have to the can't-be-bothered-to-work-for-its.

Yet I have met some amazing older Tasmanians. I carpenter whose book is choke full of quantum
physics. Intellectual giants and pranksters at the Tasmania Wilderness Society.
Nick and Nancy, amazingly creative pair of people. Not to mention my superhuman colleagues at

But where does all the sanity leak away at night ?

The night the night, 
when the armies of emotions come out to fight ! 

Lost property
What happened 20 years ago to produce this lost generation of Tasmanian youth ? They come to MONA, hook themselves up to the euthanasia machine and complain about not dying.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Carbon Accounting in Blue Tier

Last weekend was full of veriditas, I did community carbon accounting with the Tasmania Wilderness Society. It was my first time bush bashing in through one of the older Tasmanian forests. The trip to Mt. Fields was way more touristy than this.

I had the privilege of wearing the Tasmanian Devil costume and posing in front of an imposing Eucalyptus Regnans. The rest of the two days involved dancing and scrambling through undergrowth measuring dead and alive trees, quantifying to the best of our ability the cycle of life in the forest.
The tools of the trade are - diameter tape, study area marker ribbons and data collection sheets. The work area is laid out along the slope with tape and compass and the perimeter of the stratified sampling sites marked with ribbons.
The accommodation was in a set of ritzy bunks at Weldborough, followed by a second day of crawling around in Macquarie vines.
I managed to fit in some Gargoyle mode headgear design using the XTion and Infra-red cameras to document the forest. I hope to have a functional prototype before the next field trip. With enough data we may be able to solve allometric issues with smaller species such as tree-ferns and vines.