Monday, November 7, 2011

SciWrite Writing challenge update: Week 1

Figure 1: twitter hashtag...
So a week has gone by since Anne at Highly Allochthonous issued a writing challenge to meet a deadline before the annual AGU conference in San Francisco. Many people have joined the challenge and have been tweeting updates of their accomplishments on twitter with the hashtag #Sciwrite. Anne  posted an update today, which reminded me that I needed to post mine!

In Anne's update she also includes a "backwards calendar" listing the deadlines she needs to accomplish before AGU.  I'm going to set this up and share it to make myself more accountable.

How's it going?
This week I've been working to collect more microstructure data. This consists of circling grains in images of thin sections. It's dreary work, and very easy to brush aside with a "I'll do that later." To make myself get it done, I made a bet with my officemates. If I did not have all my data collected by November 7th I would spearhead getting us a coat rack or improve our office in some way (or beer). So far I'm the only one who has adopted this motivation method of negative consequences.

Anyway, I've been circling away in illustrator with an awesome tablet my adviser bought for our research group. It makes the circling go way faster than with a mouse.

Why circle grains? I'm processing them with an image analysis Matlab script that gives me tons of information including the area of the image that is grains, area that is matrix, grain orientation, aspect ratios, ect. I'm working with a lithic arenite, so the script needs a bit of help with picking out the grains. That's where the dreary task of hand circling grains comes in.

Am I making process?
Short answer: Hell Yea!

Long answer: Now that my data has been refined, some statistical differences between images that previously went unnoticed are now apparent (sorry no details until AGU!). This is great news to us as it gives us something better to work with. Data to back up hypothesis? YES!

At AGU I'll be presenting a poster. I plan on printing my poster using their in house poster service. The deadline for that is November 25th. So essentially I have two deadlines running. One for poster printing (very high priority) and one for manuscript (slightly less, but still very high priority).

So as for my backwards calendar, here goes:
December 4th, 8am: Fly out to San Francisco for AGU.
December 3rd, 5pm: Department Christmas party. Definitely no work is getting done after this. Must be packed for AGU, and cook a dish for the party. Manuscript should be done and off my desk.
December 1st: Abstract done. Off my desk for revision.
November 25th: Poster deadline for AGU print services. Poster must be completed, reviewed, completed again. Includes all new data, figures, ect. This is the BIG ONE.
November 14th: Discussion will be written. After this I'm going into 100% poster mode to get my figures done.
November 12th: Results and Interpretation will be re-written to incorporate new data.

This feels pretty tight as it is. Then I remember all the stuff I have to do for classes... busy end of the semester! Let's GO!

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