10 December 2016


It's been 9 months since my last post. What have I done in that time?

  • Prepped and taught beginning Python lessons at two Software Carpentry workshops at UW–Madison.
  • Started the process to become a certified SWC instructor with a teaching workshop earlier this Fall.
  • Started teaching my labmates how to use our on-campus Center for High Throughput Computing, which has been a boon to my own research.
  • Wrote software for my Ph.D. dissertation project (two repositories and counting on GitHub).
  • Made a GitHub website for one of those repositories.
  • Published a paper on climate change in the Lake Superior region based on my work with that software.
  • Started my next paper, extending that climate change work to forest phenology analysis using remote sensing, which (of course) includes a lot more software.
The goals of my dissertation work are (1) three published papers based on probably (2) four software packages/repositories that are all to be released as open-source code available for others to apply elsewhere. Stay away from the forests around Lake Superior, though—those are mine! I'm feeling a little pressure at this point, as I'm expected to complete my Ph.D. in May 2017. I write when I can, but most of my time is spent building analysis routines in Python and testing and running them for an area that turns out much more insight-rich than even I had anticipated. I wouldn't change the location, but if I had to start over again I would probably choose a smaller area to cover for my research. I would also tell myself to plan farther out and work harder on the software in the early stages of my research so that I don't feel so crunched later. C'est la vie.

I am motivated to write non-work things again. Politics is rearing its unexpectedly ugly head in the world again, and it's directly relevant to my life and work. I had started to opine on some of these issues elsewhere, anonymously, but I've decided I'm comfortable putting my own name on it and calling a spade a spade in my own, established outlet. I'll rewrite some of those things for this blog, and add new things as my time permits.