Generally speaking, it is unusual for ‘economic stimulus jobs’ and ‘underwater robots’ to appear in the same sentence. For a month this summer, though, those two concepts went hand-in-claw at a camp organized by Linn-Benton Community College staff and students. As a part of the Oregon Underwater Volcanic Exploration Team, high school students from all over the state received training in job skills like electrical circuit design, budget-keeping, and geographic information systems as they built and operated research submersibles called ROVs. The high schoolers were nominated by teachers and counselors in their home towns, and spent six days camping on Paulina Lake inside Newberry National Volcanic Monument east of LaPine. Each student designed and built their own ROV, which they got to take home at the end of the week. Money for the project came from a grant by The Oregon Consortium and the Oregon Workforce Alliance, by way of legislative money for job training in Oregon, where high-tech job growth requires constant workforce training.

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At least two meals today will consist of the dwindling store of Thanksgiving leftovers: Elle’s mascarpone-whiskey pumpkin pie to break my fast and the ubiquitous turkey sandwiches for lunch. Outstanding all around.

In doing some research over the last couple of days, I’ve been surprised at how unsophisticated the majority of nonprofit and government agencies seem to be about their data presentation. For starters, any of you who are not assiduous fans of the West Wing may be unaware that there are a shocking number of inaccuracies and political problems with the most common map projection in the world. But that’s just the beginning. Read the rest of this entry »

Well, after the last couple of days at work, I may have to get a t-shirt from these guys after all. If the exchange rate evens out before Christmas, that is. It began late Tuesday afternoon, with spectacular proto-thunderstorm clouds on the west side of the mountain, which yielded to a film noir backdrop of a low, lumpy pre-tornado layer on the southeast side by a couple of hours before sunset. Then, by the time it got dark, the large mass of clouds had faded to a lei po`o during the night that allowed stargazing for us and observing at the summit, but with fog in between. On Wednesday morning, beautiful cirrus clouds curved in many directions, translucent and tentacular. And finally, by Wednesday afternoon, some not-quite-realized lenticulars high up to the south. All in all, the solid clouds that prevented observing for most of Wednesday night weren’t as unwelcome as if they had come without the earlier stuff. It also reminded me that cloud types are about as welldefined as are planets.

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Where I want to be

30 June 2007

I can only handle so much coolness at once. I ran across these conference proceedings about the confluence of chaos theory and disaster response a while ago, but didn’t have time to read. Nor do I now, and not least of all because I just found these conference proceedings about the uses of digital globe applications in environmental (and other) science outreach.

That’s a lot of reading.

Here’s something to try: go to Flickr’s map feature at search “Mauna Kea.” Or “duluth, mn.” Or “coldfoot, ak.” Pretty cool, if you ask me. Particularly since there are now a couple of GPS-enabled camera phones. I think I’ll wait for the price to come down a little bit (from $750-$1000, according to reports) before I think about it, though.

A very fun morning discovering many cartographic links and projects today.

Whether you are a book snob, an Australian firefighter, a map junkie, or a mushing groupie, there are web-based maps for you.

Coming soon is a post about the variety of ways (cartographic and otherwise) to represent the Sun and Moon.