planetwater

ground- water, geo- statistics, environmental- engineering, earth- science

Thermally Enhanced Wall Vapour Extraction

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It’s been awfully quiet around here. My delightful New Year’s resolutions are already in the can, and it’s only early March. As if there were not sufficient issues with a raging pandemic.

Maybe the picture below tells you a little bit about my state of mind. This is how my bedroom and office has been looking. Thermally enhanced wall vapour extraction. The person who built a wastewater pipe in the shape of a double-S (yes, literally) should be ashamed for a long time.

Wall
Progress has been made!

Written by Claus

March 9th, 2021 at 4:47 pm

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Too Many Meetings

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It’s mid-January. I had great New Year’s resolutions. I have already downgraded to “blog more”. Brian Romans started what he calls “friday links” on twitter. Let’s say that I aim for something similar, but here on my blog. Which I have been neglecting. Starting to write again on a blog that has been neglected, is in style.

The thing that has been bothering me substantially before Christmas: too many meetings. To some extent, the “too many meetings” problem has been going on before Corona. At the early times of Corona (Spring 2020), there might have been actually less meetings. Currently, the situation seems as bad as it has ever been. One Webex or Zoom, meeting after meeting. It’s difficult to find time to get anything done. This has become very clear over the Christmas holidays.

This article (via Rui Carmo) gets many things right. This I found particularly interesting:

It’s even worse when a worker has several meetings that are separated by 30 minutes. “Not enough time to transition in a non-MRS situation to get anything done, and in an MRS situation, not quite enough time to recover for the next meeting,”

One remedy sounds simple but I am not sure how to achieve this: less meetings

Less time in meetings would ultimately lead to more employee engagement in the meetings they do attend, which experts agree is a proven remedy for future cases of MRS.

So, “just” saying “no” more often!(?) Maybe more tools and automation? Maybe this high – profile advice will help me to decide if I should accept a meeting. Also important: he emphasises that everybody should be prepared, everybody should speak. Breaks sometimes are no real breaks but are giving your brain time to digest thoughts. Even more, breaks are always necessary. And: everything is uncertain!

It is one thing to realise that everything is uncertain, but as @dougmcneall points out:

Making constant risk decisions is exhausting.

This brings us to Corona. During which the usual exhausted-ness seems to be amplified, e.g., with sub-optimal working conditions, and with kids at home. Like Hayley Fowler points out: I’m just tired of everything. Like Brent Simmons point outs:

“I’ve been haunted since hearing, in the early days of the pandemic, that if we all wore masks for six weeks this thing would be over. I was there. I’ve done that for six weeks, and another six weeks, and another. And now it’s worse than ever. It’s a challenge not to be angry. There are healthy, uninfected people right now, today, who are excited for the vaccine and who will die before they get it.

Teaching Experiences

  • webex (which we use at the University of Stuttgart), has now the ability to share the iPad’s screen! It might have been there before, but I realised it existed only on Monday. Before, I knew that zoom can do it. Anyways, this has proven to be a nice tool for teaching sequentially and more spontaneously than an animated slideshow.

  • I’ve upgraded to JupyterLab 3 with it’s visual debugger. Very nice, also for teaching! This ranked list of awesome Jupyter Notebook, Hub and Lab projects (extensions, kernels, tools), that is updated weekly, provides also very many useful hints!

Ending

With Input from

Written by Claus

January 18th, 2021 at 5:03 pm

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Pickup Basketball

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Life under COVID is all organized virtual play dates and no unexpected pickup basketball.

I’ve never played much basketball, but there was always a game of soccer going on on the streets or on the field in the neighbourhood where I grew up. I’ve never even considered that as “important”. Still, Peter’s statement resonates very well with me. It’s likely the same reason why I miss having a “break” with colleagues.

What can we do about it? How can we keep up with colleagues as easily?

This won’t solve everything. In an attempt to at least get out more (turns out, sitting in front of a computer all day does not make me more productive, d’oh), I followed Sina Trinkwalder’s motivation #lockdownlaufen #movemeber.

Walking

Written by Claus

December 3rd, 2020 at 5:11 pm

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Adventskalender

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Can you have too many Advent Calendars? — I don’t think so!

Here is a wonderful python related one!

Screenshot 2020 12 03 at 16 07 28

PS: I already needed help from wtfpython

PPS: A colleague recommended this… interesting…

def (a, b=None):
    if b is None or a / b < 0:
        return a
    return a / b

Written by Claus

December 3rd, 2020 at 4:07 pm

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Tagged with

Yay to Automation on the Mac

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Generally, I am more happy about automating things on the mac than on windows. Being positively minded, there are even some novel sparks in the automation-scene: there is a relatively new podcast, there is hype as a popular image-app just added Apple Script support. Sounds svelte. Note that Apple Script has been around for quite some time.

In a efflorescence of presumption I wanted to export an image from the Photo.App using the time-stamp of the date it was taken as the start of the filename. Something I do regularly with Matplotlib images from python. I’m not the expert, but it seems to me that this is not possible directly from within Apple Script! — Please please tell me that I am wrong and demonstrate me that it is in fact possible!

Nevertheless, I hacked (there should be a word with even more negative connotation) together the most horrible thing I ever done, using Keyboard Maestro. As they say, there is nothing better than a good previsionary arrangement.

Now I can do this:

  • select an image in Photos.App
  • the date the photo was taken in ISO format is the start of the filename. However, as this is not directly possible, it is passt to a KM variable
  • the photo is exported into a folder of my choosing
  • a Finder prompt asks me to select this photo
  • another prompt asks me to enter the description part that is appended to the ISO-string
  • a html-string for an image (using the correct file name) is put into the clipboard that I can use in my writing app of choice

Hopefully I remember what I did in a couple of days…

Hack KM
One of my biggest hacks in a while.

Written by Claus

October 4th, 2020 at 9:13 pm

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Peter’s Blog Roll

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A lot of cool people with lots of cool content are on Peter Rukavina’s blog roll!

Written by Claus

June 12th, 2020 at 5:29 pm

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On Twitter

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I have been using twitter on and off for quite a while now. In fact, a few days ago was my 13th twitter anniversary. This means I am in puberty, and I have a few thoughts!

Screenshot 2020 01 28 at 12 47 38 e20e9d52d75548df9bf481056c8ed692
Magical Twitter – 13.
To be honest, I am a bit in a cool phase in my twitter relationship. I am trying really hard, and I want to improve our relationship. As motivation to improve things, I did sign up for a week with “Real Scientists” / @realsci_de. It will be my turn to take over their twitter account in May. I really liked and was inspired by Wiebke Frey (@wiebiwetter), recently. Despite some problems, I do have a growing network of wonderful twitter friends. Maybe some of you can help.

I do have problems:

  • It’s too much! Besides all my other work, there is no chance I can read my entire timeline every day anymore. But if I can not do this – what’s the point? Who has the same problem? Is nobody reading the entire timeline on a daily basis?
  • I could get rid of a few subscriptions (unfollow more often, follow less often). Fair enough. But what if I want to filter… say I want to read the posts of only a subset of friends? Ok, I could do lists. But then the ones I read in a list do still show up in my timeline (don’t they?). There is no “marked as read”, is there? Also, I might not see posts of all the participants in a list every day, i.e. I don’t like static lists but rather dynamic filters. Also lists seem not to be a core feature of twitter that developers spend a lot of time on.
  • Threaded tweets? Really? If you have things to say that don’t fit into 140 (or whatever the current limit might be) characters – write a blog post! It’s also easier to read, despite Twitterrific’s recent improvements for composing and reading threaded tweets.
  • Generally, the direct feedback of likes and retweets is a key advantage of twitter (granted, there are option for implementing similar things for blog posts, “webmentions”, explained by Peter Rukavina and by Brett Terpstra). The functionality of direct feedback is largely broken for third party Twitter clients.
  • Speaking of blog posts: All in all, RSS seems like a much better solution to me. However, unfortunately, not many people are using it, it seems to me (there are some exciting new open source activities). Maybe this is a sign for me being old, but RSS facilitates way better sorting, both by author and by time. it’s much easier discernible what I have read before and what not. Granted, posting on a blog is a bit more involved (a few steps more) than posting to twitter, but isn’t it much better? There are also more open
  • There are problems. I haven’t had any related to bad interactions / trolls. But great also have problems, for example Emily Hunt, or DrDrang
@drdrang: Don’t want to make a big deal about this, but I assume some of you will want to know. Casey Newton’s recent articles about content moderators have made me question whether I want to have anything to do with any social media. (1/2)

Solutions?

I’m curious how other people see this! Maybe you can offer suggestions on how to circumvent this.

  • I’ve started playing with more open alternatives to twitter (@planetwater on micro.blog), but it seems like there is not yet sufficient critical mass. This has the advantage that we own our content.
  • However, I feel like the real question is this: What is the best content for twitter?
    • let’s look at two successful twitter accounts that I subscribe to
      • @LaurelCoons posts multiple times per day a few key facts on various topics
      • @Muschelschloss posts multiple times per day on news related (“faster than Reuters”)
      • @WaterWired posts mostly what he calls “Water Daily” summary posts on water-related issues/news in a certain region (of the US)
    • I have a really hard time posting every day let alone multiple times per day every day. Also I am not sure if this lends itself well for science / science communication
    • I follow a reasonable number of researchers and scientists who once in a while post really interesting things. And I would put myself in this category. I do see that these posts get lost in the noise (see above… too much…)
    • Twitter seems like a good place for scientific job / MSc / PhD postings and announcements. On aggregator accounts, but also on accounts of individual researchers. This is useful, but twitter is not the only option for such announcements.
  • Tools: I use twitter online and twitterific on macOS and iOS. Are there better tools than that?

The key question that remains for me: How do I get from nice quick interactions, pointers to webpages and books (that are really useful) to more substantial things? I will think about this and maybe some of you have some thoughts – I’d appreciate it!

Written by Claus

February 7th, 2020 at 9:46 am

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Climate Catastrophe Across Europe Including Venice

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Nothing could give us a visual reminder of what happens when the sea rises than the city of Venice. It has experienced the highest tides in Venice in 50 years, which is putting the entire town at risk. And yet, politicians are dragging their feet and lining their pockets.

from: Om Malik: “Venice and Climate Change

Catastrophic Weather around the Mediterranean. The biggest flood in Venice since the 60’s caused the largest publicity, but also other severe events

There are multiple lines of evidence:

The Washington Post reports in “Venice floods threaten priceless artwork and history — and a unique way of life”:

Flooding in Venice is not merely an inexpensive inconvenience. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, Venice is home to priceless works of art by such Italian Renaissance masters as Tintoretto, Giorgione and Titian; historic basilicas; and a unique way of lagoon-based metropolitan living for about 50,000 residents. According to experts, it’s also a sobering preview of how climate change, accelerated by human behavior, will not just complicate Venetians’ unique and fragile way of life but wash it away entirely.

and a quote from Michael Oppenheimer:

The threat is if Venice becomes uninhabitable by normal humans beings. One of the great things about Venice is that real people live there and go about their daily business

(Venice also hosts many old texts in the Biblioteca Marciana)

The German weather service (DWD) explains the meteorological cause for this havoc in many parts of Europe: relatively stationary conditions of a high pressure in eastern Europe, and low pressure over France. This leads to cold air with polar origins being drawn into western Europe at the western side of the low pressure system, take up moisture over the still relatively warm Mediterranean Sea, and are being moved northwards, against the Alps on the western side of the high pressure system.

The jet stream, as discussed by Stefan Rahmsdorf, tells the same story: southward movement of air west of the UK, movement across the warm Mediterranean Sea, and northward movement over Italy.

NewImage
The jet stream during the recent unusual weather events across Italy, Austria, and large parts of southern central Europe.

But, not only in Europe: No rain together with fires in Australia.

Written by Claus

November 21st, 2019 at 9:03 pm

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Water Risk Atlas

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The Water Resources Institute released their “Water Risk Atlas“.

Screenshot 2019 08 20 at 16 30 51
A screenshot from the WRI’s Water Risk Atlas – dark red indicates high water risk

A German and an US newspaper have recently posted their perspectives:

Written by Claus

August 20th, 2019 at 4:35 pm

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Water in the News

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Water in the News

Here are four recent articles (three in German) about water-related issues:

Written by Claus

July 12th, 2019 at 9:11 am

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