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

Archive for 2020

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.


Written by Claus

December 3rd, 2020 at 5:11 pm

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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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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)


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, 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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