Feb. 11th, 2016 03:20 pm
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
The Graun is running a livestream of the LIGO press conference due to start in ten minutes, expected to make some exciting announcements about gravitational waves...

eta and the livestream on youtube


Jul. 25th, 2015 11:49 am
kaberett: A photograph of a dark-grey train with white cogs painted on the side, with a bit of station roof visible above. (trains)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
VOLCANO SHARKS (actually that should maybe go in [community profile] capslock_dreamwidth as well, anyone feel like sorting that out for me)

10 things I wish I'd known about gaslighting. Quotation. )

[personal profile] happydork posted a thing about introversion, social anxiety, social skills, and change that made me feel very soothed and much calmer about some of the stuff I do. Hurrah paradigms that help.

Speaking of things that soothe me, [personal profile] recessional has posted another small commentfic about Bucky (in your blue-eyed boys-verse, which is actual MCU canon as far as I'm concerned), about trauma and safety and sleep and hypervigilance and how astonishing the people around you can be, in embodying traits and behaviours and beliefs you hadn't realised were possible but want to fold into yourself.
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
(The Word, Tony Hoagland.)

This morning I have been Making A Contribution To Medical Science, and consequently I have a plaster with a dinosaur on it. The ?nurse was very apologetic about it being paediatrics plasters, until I went DOES IT HAVE A DINOSAUR ON, at which point we were excitable at each other about Sophie the stegosaurus. As we were getting to finishing up paperwork, having spotted the quearring also, I tentatively enquired as to whether I might ask an intrusively personal question. "... yes," he said, warily. "You've been very carefully saying partner..." I said, and he ducked his head and looked at his ring and said "yeah, husband, we've been together for ten years and married for five", and then we had a cheerful little discussion about queers and how his husband's one of very few male midwives in the country, and they've just bought a house together and are looking forward to the long weekend, and CATS and PAINTING THE HALLWAY and in general domestic bliss, and it was lovely.

And I am updating you all on this from Homerton College Cambridge Cambs, where I am sat in the sunshine in a scented garden next to a sundial and a water feature gently applying desensitisation therapy and leeching eduroam, and when I am done I shall pack up my computer and head over the railway bridge to have lunch with my mum.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. Dinner last night (and lunch today) was a modified version of Smitten Kitchen's baked chickpeas with pita chips and yoghurt. I am delighted that I now have The Knowledge Of The Pita Chips, which I adore but have not been able to find at prices that don't make me cry in this country, and we consumed the lot. Variations were: I couldn't face acquiring tahini to make up the yoghurt dressing as described and just ate yoghurt; I also didn't bother with the pine nuts. The salad-y thing was equal volumes tomato, cucumber and parsley, and I didn't bother dressing it. (I really like parsley.) It was tasty. Would eat again.

2. Via [personal profile] inoru_no_hoshi on the tweetrz, an exciting ScienceDaily summary of a Nature Geosciences paper on the topic of iron, the Earth, how it got here, and why it is where it is. tl;dr the vaporisation pressure of iron is significantly lower than we thought it was, which is why the Moon has sod-all of the stuff and not all of it on Earth has ended up in the core, even with the Late Veneer. There is the truism that Nature Geosciences papers are always wrong (extensible to some extent to Nature itself), but this looks pretty exciting to me.

3. My favourite band are releasing a new album called Elevator Music and it makes me cry every single time. It is bitter and vicious and cynical about the space age and space exploration and generation ships and existentialism and forgettability, and I adore it. The Last Man Who Walked On The Moon breaks my heart every single time, even the first time they played it in public and Simon warned us in advance that he hadn't finished writing the lyrics yet and did indeed end up singing "something something something something -ation" in the middle, because -- soon there will be no-one/left that I can call/just space suits in museums/with mission details on the wall. And then breath/they simulate our breath/to make us feel at home. And. This band.

4. Dave Hughes and the Renegade Folk Punk Band have also just released a new album, Rise, Again. I have not got my act together to listen to it yet (see also: depression), but expect to find it comforting, because I love a lot of what these folk do. (Currently the lyric of theirs stuck in my head is is it a love song/if I tell you that I love you/but I can't see me sharing your bed?//though there are days/when I don't think of you/they rarely outnumber/those I do...)

5. P thought it important I meet this baffling collection of photographs of unspoons.

6. Music I have particularly enjoyed recently: Singzu Joint - Fly and this one Taiwanese music video about marriage equality (has English subs; warning: WILL MAKE YOU CRY)
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
1. Okay, hold onto your hats, folk who've been around for a while: middle brother and I haven't argued yet. Not only that, we have cooperated in moving furniture for my mum (and despite having worked construction over last summer he didn't think crippy ol' me was totally useless, which was nice ;) and have managed to talk about science in a way that didn't end in bloodshed! I am... kind of astonished, and really hoping it manages to hold for the next few days. (I leave on the 27th, you see.)

2. I swung by college when in town running errands earlier, and spent a little while sat in the chapel and a little while sat on the back wall swinging my legs over the river. Seven or eight years ago I stood on that bridge and looked into the library windows and said "I'm going to be one of them"; it turned out the floor I was looking at was the sciences one. So -- yes, I sat on the wall with my legs over the river and the punts dry-docked behind me and watched people walk over the bridge and listened to the single solitary punt guide and -- yes. This, too, is home.

3. DRD HAS PUBLISHED THAT ONE PAPER I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR HIM TO GET AROUND TO PUBLISHING. Seriously pleased about this. It is A Big Deal in terms of mantle plumes, and I think his work is solid.

4. I have played the piano some! Really badly, but less badly than I did this weekend. My hands and elbows and shoulder blades really bloody hate me and, well, this is why I don't play any more, and it's extremely bittersweet to be stumbling over playing stuff that is fundamentally still in my muscle-memory and completely incapable of sightreading, but -- I made music, I made music, and I didn't end up crying on the sofa like I did this weekend just gone, and -- it is a comfort and a blessing that I still have this. Also, I am starting to remind myself how to sight-sing.

5. I have had a lovely time interacting with baby brother also. We have been being gently rude at each other and very affectionate (hugs! hair-ruffling! sarcasm!) and he popped his head round my door earlier to be all "SO I thought of a PRESENT for you do you want a slow-cooker" and I was all "that's very sweet but thank you no my housemate has one" and he was all "awwwwwww I was gonna say, coz I want a blender, and if we both just had to go to the same shop..." -- so I provided him a list of DVDs I'm after in decreasing order of priority (and I think he's picked up lots of them?!) and then I was mildly profligate but it is a blender that should last him a good long time, so. I also acquired gjetost for my mother and consequently we have a mildly ridiculous cheeseboard, which makes me very happy. (It is my major contribution.)

6. My mother is making tiramisu as we speak. :-)

7. I am hoovering up Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis series courtesy of my housemate's copies, and am Forming Several Opinions. Some of them are favourable; some of them are really not; but I am at least enjoying thinking about them.

8. I appear to have been wearing Liminal and only Liminal pretty solidly since Friday. It feels right for this time of year, and for reorienting myself and taking a moment to be inwards, and so on.

9. My mother made a somewhat involved and very tasty dinner, and we had it with wine from one of my favourite Austrian grapes that I very rarely actually get around to drinking, because it's not really worth getting a bottle when it takes me well over a month to get through one if I am working at it, and I think of it as A Special Treat To Be Savoured because it's slightly hard to acquire and therefore wince at people gulping it; perhaps the moral of the story is that I should host more dinner parties, but in any case, it was tasty and I am happy and contented.

10. Kinda intimidating emotional work/conversations have been going well, and it is a relief and a comfort. AND I SOLVED AN ENTIRE GRAUN CRYPTIC CLUE ON MY OWN. ONE WHOLE ONE. Now to try for a few more. ;) (Why do I list them together? Partly because I have run out of ten, but also partly because they feel like similar amounts of thinking sideways around a corner to work out solutions.)

kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
Geochemistry is a compilation of imprecise, irreproducible and uncoordinated analyses.
(i) Keep the rocks in mind, for they cannot be reduced to analytical measurements; (ii) (from O. F. Tuttle) minerals are the archives of the rocks; (iii) keep filing [your] fingernails while waving [your] arms.

Relatedly: a lecturer's assertion during my undergrad that fundamentally you cannot argue with the rocks [ergo any theory you develop must be supported by the rocks], hence in part this poem of mine; and the general feeling among my group's principle investigators that geochemistry is fundamentally characterised by paranoia, and how relaxed you're willing to be about cleanliness.
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
0. PHILAE. xkcd on the topic is fantastic. As we approached landing o'clock, the rest of the kids in my pod gathered around the person with the most monitors (three goodness knows why) and we watched the live coverage en masse, on the grounds that anyone who didn't want to know about SPACE ROBOT LANDING should probably not be on an open-plan floor full of geology PhD students. I have done some small cries - my feelings about space robots are v similar to my feelings about life boats. Quoth my supervisor, on the topic of the live coverage, "This is like some messed-up space version of Eurovision - there's that lady who came on stage and was all 'and now, Germany...'". :D

1. We have changed ISP; the switchover will happen on the 24th, at which point I might have a more reliable internet connection at home (as of this morning still no connectivity, nor has there been for a week).

2. I am listening to Hymn of Acxiom on loop, partly because of something [personal profile] recessional said and partly Just Because; I am currently comparing-and-contrasting with Collecting You by the Indigo Girls.

3. Last night I made mattar paneer for the first time; some things I would change, but fundamentally a plausible thing (I was genuinely baffled by the oddly specific quantities in many recipes I found - 6-7 cashew nuts? really???) that I can make again in future.

4. Also pear-and-cinnamon-and-hazelnut brownie! Much as previously discussed, only this time I stuck in a good teaspoon of ground cinnamon, coarsely diced two slightly underripe pears to have small lumps, didn't add any extra sugar, and replaced 100g of the flour with roasted hazelnut meal. Friend-whose-face-I-get-to-put-my-face-on approved.

5. ... friend-whose-face-I-get-to-put-my-face-on. During yesterday's conversation I realised to my horror that in much the same sense that vocal conversations can suffer from miscommunications arising from ambiguous or incorrect bracketing, the ways I communicate involve meaningful whitespace. (This is clearly not unique to me, but I was briefly very distressed that spoken interactions involve meaningful whitespace, because it was the thing that scared me off python for years. :-p)

6. FWFIGTPMFO fixed the lights in the kitchen -- I had replacement bulbs, but I'd had about five people (including myself) look at the wretched light fittings and be completely baffled as to how to extricate them; this is something we have been trying and failing to fix since we moved in at the beginning of January.

7. [personal profile] sebastienne enthusiastically livetexting me reactions to Orphan Black and Elementary because I can't do my normal watch-along wossname over IM given hometernot <3

8. ahhhhhhhhhhh part one of pre-Ancillary-Justice short story available!!!

9. Some science progress today in lab! And uh mostly lab-progress because I've spent the rest of the day going AAAAAAAAAAAAH SPACE ROBOTS and grinning ridiculously (rather than making algebra bend to my will) BUT more of that will occur tomorrow... and in fact this evening if I want to hit milestone goals from supervisor >_>

10. Osteopath yesterday morning positive. She was competent at going "... you want to be seeing an NHS hypermobility clinic, not me" and is telling the GP who referred to me so; she agrees that I obviously have hypermobility syndrome; and is impressed by my feet + ankles being basically fine given what my knees and elbows and hips are like. Have been given some hypermobility-focussed physio (practising balancing on one leg; do for both sides, 3x45s per leg per day, shut eyes if I can manage it, one finger only on supportive surface for balance; if doesn't cause problems, move up to balancing on ball of foot instead of foot flat to ground).

Tomorrow I have follow-up on the depression-related bloods, and tomorrow evening I have counselling...
kaberett: curled decorative end of curtain rail casts a heart-shaped shadow on a wall (heartfruit)
Love is a universal constant:
by which I mean it is
as remote, pervasive, and unimaginable
as the speed of light,
as ir/relevant as Planck or Avogadro,
and as varied and as integral.

You are loved
and love is absolute.
Years of light may separate you
but distant stars are no less hot,
burn no less bright:
you are a vantage-point, alone.

And you are an alchemist
of people: you have spent
your entire life in study,
the weights and measures easy in your hands
as flight, as wings.
You are a scientist. You choose
how to employ your tools,
what to discount, how best
you might experiment.

Love is not an answer, nor a framework,
nor a limit: it is a block, an element,
a piecemeal part of firmament
and you are gravity, mortar, gluon--
choose your scale: you,
sine qua non.
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
... on checking the work calendar to determine whether you can manage an overnight run on a Friday, you establish that in fact you can because nobody has the machine booked on the Saturday or Sunday and consequently you start seriously considering blowing off (1) a friend's housewarming and (2) your mum's birthday, because data.

(Relatedly: dear Wednesday!Alex, thank you heaps for making an enormous vat of leek-and-potato soup to be eaten straight from the fridge. Love, today!Alex, who has eaten about three portions of the stuff.)
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
Content notes: reference to depression, weight loss, survivalism, discussion of SSRI efficacy.

Read more... )
kaberett: A stick figure wearing safety goggles taps their fingers together, standing over a pressure cooker on a stove. (xkcd-science)
Subject: Re: [ISOGEOCHEM] Is CaF2 safe in an EA

Thanks you all for the responses. I vaguely remember an old micro-chemical technique for mineral identification that uses powdered fluorite to produce HF, through some means, and remove silica so that the specimen can be further tested. I don’t remember the details of that technique but the idea of running CaF2 in my EA in the presence of organics did have me concerned. I’m relieved to learn that it can be done safely.

Thanks again.
-- Steve

... followed shortly afterwards by...
We used to do something like this in the lab! And we are still alive. Vogel spot test, maybe.

Fluoride + H2SO4 -> HF + .... over a burner to heat.

You do it in a test tube. Then you dip a wet glass rod into the vapours, and if it etches it, then there is fluoride.

Very cool. And QUITE safe ...

kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
I kind of want to be excitable at people about my work (and I kind of want the human contact without needing to actually parse audiovisual cues as required in in-person conversation), so... if you are curious please Ask Me Things? <3
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
The age of the Earth and of the Sun and the Universe are central questions for mankind.

Until the 19th century the ages were unknown; however, at that time with the advent of modern time, a significant debate arose concerning the age of the Earth. Geologists with their prestigious leaders Lyell and Darwin defended an old age, estimated to be several tenths of billions of years, while physicists tended to defer to Lord Kelvin who claimed that the Earth was not older than a few tens of millions of years.

Whereas physicists have physical laws and calculations, geologists only have simple observations of geological phenomena: the erosion rates of mountains, sedimentation rates, and the amount of volcanic eruptions today compared to the total amount of volcanic rocks, and maybe just intuition, but geologists were right (Thomson (Lord Kelvin), 1899; Darwin, 1859; Lyell, 1930; Rutherford and Soddy, 1902). The Earth is not 20 to 100 million years old as Kelvin thought, but rather billions of years as Lyell (1930) claimed. the debate was resolved when the physicist Rutherford (1929) used the newly discovered radioactivity for measuring ages of rocks and soon obtained an age of billions of years using the U-He method.

In the middle of this century, Hubble's observations initiated a second debate. This time the target was the age of the Universe (Hubble, 1929). Astronomers and geologists fought about that, and again the geologists were right.
CJ Allègre, G Manhes, C Göpel. 1995. The age of the Earth, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 59:1445--1456
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
Expanded on for [personal profile] swaldman. I'd kinda hoped I'd feel like expanding on it in actual words, but I appear to be pushing myself a bit too hard for that at the moment, so you get this (though by all means ask me questions in comments, because that lets me have the social interaction without the inventiveness.)

The short version is: I don't give a shit about the human impact of my research. Not even a tiny one. I full-stop do not care. I mean, I think oil and mining are unethical so I'm not willing to do them, but that's more out of concern for my mountains that it is out of feeling for my fellow man. I did climate science only reluctantly because so much of it is focussed on people; my uncle, who visited the place before it had to be evacuated due to volcanism, is gently horrified by my attitude to Montserrat.

Whereas in my activism I care very, very little about the long game of trying to tear down our societal structure as a whole and rebuilding in the mould of something better. Not interested; not the place I think my energy is best spent; not the work I am best placed to do. I'm not going to object to other people doing it, but what I want to do is - to the best of my ability - help this person, right here, right now.

I'd got as far as "I consider science a hobby", but Housemate pointed out that the activist work I do is fundamentally about trying to Make The World A Better Place, where people can live more fulfilled and less fear-filled lives; and that science is something I personally find fulfilling without any human element. It makes an awful lot of sense to me that I'm so reluctant to drag "helping people" into the thing I do for fun, given that it's what I spend a lot of my "leisure" time on...
kaberett: Malachite structure strongly resembling cock & balls (geococks)
I am increasingly convinced that the reason labs are so often located in the basement has nothing to do with technical reasons (weight of equipment; minimising vibrations; etc) and is instead 100% concerned with convincing you that you will never see the sky again.

(Lab is 15degC and falling. I have at least an hour to go. Group pub outing started twenty-five minutes ago. And it is still the case that I really love my job.)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
I understand I'm not always great at explaining what I'm up to here, so -- if you have questions about how things are going for me or what I'm doing or how exactly my life fits together, please feel encouraged to ask. <3

(Today on my way home from work I saw: (1) someone busking with a tuba that belched flames every time they played a note; (2) a cavalcade of police motorcycles, blues flashing, who as far as I can tell were learning how to halt a busy junction in the rush hour. It was kind of endearing.)


kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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