These are a Few of My Favorite Things - The powerful awk command

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - The powerful awk command

I still remember with vivd clarity the day many years ago that a senior graduate student asked me the question "Do you know how to use awk?".  My embarrassed response, identical to what felt like a thousand previous questions concerning my knowledge of the scientific world during that first semester of graduate school, was a heavy-hearted "No". Luckily for me, I've managed to put several thousands of miles between myself and that naive, unknowing version of myself and can know happily shout from the rooftops - "Yes! And I LOVE it!".

 These are a Few of My Favorite Things - Mapping with GMT Part 1

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - Mapping with GMT Part 1

So you want to make a map ... a pretty map, a useful map, a map that helps people understand your data.  Where do you go? Matlab? Python? ArcGIS?  All of these platforms have pros and cons (ok, Matlab's plotting pros are pretty slim but it'll get the job done) but for me there is no comparison with the hardcore, no frills utility aptly named "Generic Mapping Tools".  

Go on and make that figure a video!

Go on and make that figure a video!

Inspired by the Art of Data Visualization workshop hosted by Columbia University I decided to take another stab at preparing videos of data rather than just stationary figures.  Previous attempts at making figures natively within Matlab had gotten nowhere (vague instructions can be found here and meandering forums on the topic here).  Nevertheless, rejuvenated by the first warm days of Spring in NYC and two large coffees before 9am I set out on another attempt.  And this time it worked!

What have I been up to? - April 7th Edition

What have I been up to? - April 7th Edition

In the last month I have been captivated by the new OBS data we received!  In case you haven't been paying attention (or more likely I have been lapse in my blog updates), we have been patiently waiting to receive the data from our enigmatic, unique, miraculous "lake" bottom seismometers that were bravely retrieved from the depths of Lake Malawi in November of 2015. 

One Trace, Two Trace, Red Trace, Blue Trace

One Trace, Two Trace, Red Trace, Blue Trace

Every year scientists and students alike come together to show off their finest scientific figures at the annual Research as Art (RaA) event.  This event DEMANDS that you dig back into the archives and drag out your most beautiful, amazing, jaw-dropping figures or, at least in my case, the stumbled upon beauty hiding in your closet of routinely generated quality control figures. 

Dance Parties in the Middle of Lake Malawi

Dance Parties in the Middle of Lake Malawi

What song's inspire you during times of stress or change?  For me, in the wee hours of the morning in the middle of Lake Malawi, there was only one answer : BEYONCE.

All the Pretty Colors

I absolute love the saying "it's the little things" because to me, it truly is.  One of my favorite things is colors; bright colors, wild colors, happy colors, all the pretty colors.  Given that I spend a large percentage of my day working inside of my Mac terminal I have made a concerted effort to introduce some pizazz.  The first thing I did, that you should definitely do too, is to color the output from the ls command.  This not only makes the terminal prettier to look at but also is extremely useful in that you can distinguish easily between directories, regular files, and executables. 

Now you might be saying wawaweewah, that's awesome ... but wait why is you're prompt so cool looking too?  Well that's because I have journeyed one step further into the colorful world of linux esthetics.  And this is the personalization of the prompt and of the specific colors used by the ls command.  To change these settings I visited several great resources concerning prompt colors and ls colors.  To make these changes permanent I added the following lines to my bash source file (i.e. .profile if you are using a mac):

alias ls='ls -G'

export LSCOLORS=GxFxCxDxBxegedabagaced

export PS1='\[\e[1;31m\][\t \u\[\e[0;36m\] \W\[\e[1;31m\]]\[\e[1;31m\]\$\[\e[m\]'

You may just well be thinking well that's all well and good but really what's the point of changing your terminal prompt (besides the "it's the little things" life stance) - well it comes in especially handy if you're like me and you're constantly ssh'ing into other computers. Say you have 3 terminal windows open to three different computers, if you have the same computer name on all three it's pretty hard to tell them apart! My solution .... all the pretty colors :)

Get out there and start coloring!

Fill your ears with this!

With the impending blizzard you may end up with a little free time on your hands and what better way to pass the wintry hours than filling your ears with amazing podcasts!  Here are just a few that I've been obsessing over in the last week.

On the Media : What It's Like to Follow Chris Christie for Five Years - This was an incredibly interesting episode focused on Matt Katz who has been covering Chris Christie long before his public presidential ambitions.  The interview delves deeply into the personality, both caring and vengeful, of Christie.  If you've ever been curious about Christie or needed a summary of the fascinating scandal that is Bridgegate this is the podcast for you!

You Must Remember This - STAR WARS EPISODE V: RITA HAYWORTH AND ORSON WELLES - If you haven't listened to the mystical, entrancing, soothing voice of Karina Longworth then you've really been missing out.  Lucky for you all of the episodes remain available on the Apple podcast app and they all are truly amazing.  However, the one that has really caught my attention recently (and granted it's from the archives) is the summary of the intriguing and terribly sad life of Rita Hayworth.  Longworth's narration will sweep you away into the land of early 20th century Hollywood and make you yearn to time travel back and give Rita an encouraging hug.

Longform Podcast - Alex Blumberg - This is another podcast that's worthy of listening to from episode one.  I first found this podcast actually through another podcast (let's see how many times I can say podcast in one post ...) Reply All (again another amazing podcast).  Longform Podcast is made up of interviews with staff writers for exemplary newspapers/magazines, adventurous freelance writers, esteemed podcasters, and literary geniuses all around.  An awesome episode to begin with is the interview with the beguiling Alex Blumberg (co-founder of podcast giant Gimlet Media and contributor to This American Life and Planet Money).  Trust me through the back and forth of this conversation you'll be inspired to quit your job and start a podcast immediately.  

Stay tuned for more suggestions (hopefully without the impending winter storm) of things to fill your ears with!

Screens, Screens, and More Screens! A Linux tip

I first heard about the linux screen command from my amazing friend who is an all together linux genius and she sent me this site (what an amazing name!).  I used the screen command a few times before completely forgetting about it as we only tend to master skills when we use them repeatedly.