24 August 2014

Culling the deskcrops

Culling the deskcrops

If you saw my post for the Geological Society’s “Speaking of Geoscience” blog, you’ll know that I’m in a transition period – finishing up my job as a policy fellow and getting ready to move on to a postdoctoral fellowship with the USGS in September. In the meantime, that means I’ve been spending a lot of my time packing all my possessions into increasing numbers of boxes, in between pecking away at various writing projects.

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1 August 2014

Help the IVM-Fund replace monitoring equipment at the Santiaguito Observatory

Help the IVM-Fund replace monitoring equipment at the Santiaguito Observatory

The IVM-Fund exists to assist volcano observatories with the smaller expenses that may not make it into a grant or a large instrumentation campaign, but which are nonetheless crucial to the day-to-day work of the scientists. In the last few years, they’ve been able to supply OVSAN and INSIVUMEH (the Guatemalan geologic survey) with a variety of pieces of field equipment – things like GPS units, digital cameras, thermal sensors, and rangefinders. They’ve also assisted the observatory in getting an internet connection hooked up (that’s how you get those lovely dome pictures on their webcam every day). But that kind of equipment, especially in a harsh environment with lots of moisture and volcanic ash, needs replacing every few years.

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22 July 2014

Benchmarking Time: DC is all about boundaries

Benchmarking Time: DC is all about boundaries

Washington DC is an interesting city. When the original plans were being made in the 1780s and 1790s, they called for a 100-square-mile area to be allocated for the city, and George Washington (who was President at the time) wanted to include the City of Alexandria in Virginia. But the Residence Act, passed in 1791, specified that all the federal buildings had to be on the Maryland side of the river (mostly because someone realized that the law allowed the President to choose the location and some members of Congress didn’t want him taking advantage of that and including his own property to the south of Alexandria). So we ended up with a diamond-shaped District 10 miles on a side, overlapping both Virginia and Maryland, with the actual city in Maryland.

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12 July 2014

Building DC goes to Mexico (or, why is the geologist taking pictures of the doorframe?)

Building DC goes to Mexico (or, why is the geologist taking pictures of the doorframe?)

One of the interesting things about inviting a geologist to any sort of historic site is the inevitable moment when they get distracted by the stones that have been used to build whatever fabulous architectural treasure it is that you’re admiring. Case in point: When I was invited to go to the New Horizons Symposium in the Chimalistac neighborhood of Mexico city, I spent at least a few minutes each day taking photos of the walls (much to the amusement of my fellow conference-goers).

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2 July 2014

Branching out at the New Horizons In Science Symposium (Mexico City)

Branching out at the New Horizons In Science Symposium (Mexico City)

A little while ago, as some of you may have guessed from my tweets, I was in Mexico City on a business trip. My reason for the whirlwind visit was to present a talk about volcanic hazards to the New Horizons in Science Symposium, a joint effort between the National Academies of Mexico, Canada and the United States.

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19 June 2014

“Scientists…speak up!”

"Scientists...speak up!"

If any of you were following all the Twitter chatter from the AGU Science Policy Conference in DC this week, you might recognize Representative Donna Edwards’ exhortation to scientists who are worried about the legislative threats to the NSF’s merit review process (and funding). Rep. Edwards was invited along with Rep. Jim Moran and Rep. Scott Peters about the future of science in Congress, and all three panelists made some very strong points about scientists’ role in the legislative process. But this was the most important one, because, as Rep. Peters pointed out, we are speaking up “less than you would expect”.

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13 June 2014

Building DC: Union Station’s marble floors

Building DC: Union Station's marble floors

Whenever I go to a hearing on the Senate side of Capitol Hill, I usually arrive via Union Station. It’s a really beautiful building and one of the few grand train stations left in the country, and I’m always impressed by the architecture there. According to the architectural history, it was designed in the Beaux-Arts Style and meant to mimic the Roman Baths of Caraculla and Diocletian. It was completed in 1907, and then restored from 1986-1988 (and it’s actually being worked on right now, too). But wait! There’s geology involved with all that history.

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2 June 2014

Where are the broader impacts?

Where are the broader impacts?

After my post from last week about sharing the broader impacts of geoscience research, I was really encouraged by all the retweeting and favoriting I saw on Twitter. However, retweeting does not a submission make. In fact, I’ve only received one real submission in the comments or the Tumblr blog, and that one needs some work to refocus it before I can post it. One submission, folks. That’s pretty sad. So …

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23 May 2014

What are the broader impacts of YOUR research?

As a policy fellow for GSA, I spend a lot of time helping support funding for basic scientific research. When we write letters of support to Congress for sustained or increased funding, it’s really important not only to point out the value of basic research in general, but to demonstrate why it’s a good investment.

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9 May 2014

Edinburgh: Visiting Rosslyn Chapel

Edinburgh: Visiting Rosslyn Chapel

On my last day in Edinburgh, Dr. Caco and I took a bus ride south of the town to Roslin. Those of you who are Dan Brown fans might remember the last scenes of The Da Vinci Code movie, where the two heroes end their search for the Holy Grail ” at Rosslyn Chapel.

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