19 May 2012

Grab Bag: IVM-Fund T-shirts, solar power on campus, and an eclipse

Posted by Jessica Ball

The end of the semester is always a mess in terms of getting things done, and that includes writing blog posts. Compound this with a research trip to a national lab during which I’m spending a lot of time squinting at code, and I hope you’ll understand why my posting has been a bit sparse (and wildly varying in topic). There are a few posts that I’ve “orphaned” in the past few weeks, and I thought it would be worth it to do a quick rundown of things; I may or may not get to writing more about these in the future.

  • IVM-Fund T-shirts: I’ve been working with Dr. Jeff Witter at the IVM-Fund for several years now, raising money to help benefit the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory in Guatemala. Jeff recently informed me that the fundraising has gone so well that they will be expanding their efforts to include a project at Fuego, another very active volcano with its own observatory. The IVM-Fund is currently selling t-shirts (and mugs!) with the organization’s logo, and the proceeds will go directly to the projects at these two observatories. Please consider buying one! They’re pretty snazzy – you can check them out at http://www.ivm-fund.org/t-shirts/, or have a look at the photo below!

  • My home base (the University at Buffalo) has been working all spring to install a field of solar panels, and they officially ‘opened’ the installation (it’s calle d the Solar Strand) on Earth Day. (Ironically, it was ridiculously rainy that day, but everything seems to be working fine now.) The panels are intended to provide power for some of the dorms on campus. Here’s a glimpse of the slick website the school set up to monitor power generation on the Strand:I’d like to check out some of the numbers they’re posting and see (compared to the consumption on campus) just how many dorms they actually power. Hopefully they’re archiving some data, so I can see what it looks like during the school year as well as over the summer.
  • This Sunday, I’ll have the opportunity to see the annular eclipse from my current digs in Los Alamos! (That is, providing I can make my way down the hill a bit; the Jemez Mountains will get in the way of the show unless you’re at a slightly lower elevation. This will be complicated by the little problem of the town having no bus service on weekends, however.) If I get a chance to check it out via pinhole and/or telescope (look here to learn why you should never try to observe something like this directly), I will definitely be posting photos.