November 22, 2005

I made an age-depth model

Yes, this morning I sat down and made an age-depth model for the one core that I have fully dated. I did get those radiocarbon dates which I was waiting for to see how old my records are, and now I'm waiting on some 210 Pb dates from the tops of the other two cores. When you have both 14C and 210Pb dates from a site, you can put them together and make a pretty graph. So that's what I did. Here is that nice graph:
Isn't it pretty? I fit a 3rd order polynomial to the data (black line) which is the actual "model". Now I use that to make my charcoal data into a time-series. Then I can start doing all kinds of fun statistics on it. I am looking forward to getting my other lakes age-depth models worked out because one big thing I want to look at is possible correllations between lakes.

November 17, 2005

Shot day

Today was flu shot day. My husband and I both got them this year. I can't even remember the last time I had a flu shot. It must have been years and years ago.

Today was also nap-at-work day. Whew! I was so exhausted that I fell asleep in my chair for about 20 minutes. Then when I woke up I was all out-of-it. Needless to say, I haven't gotten much done today other than that flu shot.

I did grade tests, and I'm about to go get some dirt out of the oven and then go to class. I'm still way tired and just sluggish. I'm so glad the semester is almost over!

November 15, 2005

Well, well

Another week. I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving is next week! My husband and I are leaving on Wednesday for his mom's house. We're coming back the following Monday. Should be a nice vacation - if I could be assured of not being airsick.

The week after Thanksgiving I have a committee meeting that I have to prep for, and I have another presentation that week too. Ugh. At least the semester is almost over. I'm just looking forward to the break from classes. Yes, I have to work a lot over Christmas break, but at least I don't have to go to class at certain times. I'm getting really tired of that.

I have to go use the printer now to print some papers I need to read for class tomorrow. I completely forgot all weekend, and yesterday, so now I have to catch up. Yay. My brain is addled.

November 10, 2005

Long weekend!

I didn't realize until yesterday that tomorrow is Veteran's Day and that means no classes! No statistics tomorrow, yay! A long weekend will be nice. I don't know what we're going to do, but we'll do something.

I feel like I'm plodding along so slowly in my research. Now I'm supposed to finish by the end of June, and that doesn't seem plausible to me. I still have to count all the pollen samples, and then I have to do a whole bunch of data analysis, and write my actual thesis. I feel like maybe I could finish by then if I worked non-stop. But I can't do that. If I did I would just go crazy. Plus I still have to take classes next semester. Aargh! I'm a little worried about this. And I STILL have to go back to Jackson one more time to look at photographs. I don't even know how I'm going to work the photograph thing into my thesis. Yes, this week I'm supposedly "powering" through another round of thesis questions - so that I really can start writing my intro and methods and that preliminary stuff. I'm kind of stuck though. I guess I just have to sit down and think for a while - something I haven't had time for.

On a completely random side note, the strangest things can cheer me up. Just now, I was thinking about the above paragraph and looking at my desk when I realized that I still have these two fake rocks that are models of rocks on Mars. They're fake because they're not really from Mars and they're man-made. But they're pretty cool! That just made me a little bit happier.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Relax a little...

November 07, 2005

To do this week

I had a meeting with my advisor this morning to talk about the dates and the next step in my project. So now I have a list of stuff to get done by next Monday. It's kind of nice to have research meetings on Monday. Here it is:
  • rewrite questions in proposal - to get ready to start writing actual thesis
  • "play around" with 14C and 210Pb dates from one core and see if they can be correllated
  • figure out a temporally equal sampling interval for pollen in all three lakes.
This stuff won't take me too long. Except maybe "playing around" with the dates. That one's a little weird. This week I have a lot on my plate though. I also have:
  • doctor's appointment Tuesday
  • car appointment Thursday
  • haircut (!) Tuesday
  • read for veg history by Wednesday AM
  • statistics test in less than 1 hour
At least the test will be over 2 hours from now. Whew!

November 03, 2005


I finally got my radiocarbon dates! Now I have to make sense of them. This can be a little tricky. My biggest problem? Two dates from the same centimeter (one bulk sediment and one macrofossil) came back different. Very different. Not even close to being within one standard deviation. This is the biggest problem. The others I can probably work out.

I feel extra busy right now. I need to really get cracking on my presentation for veg history. I'm giving it on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving. I'm also setting up a committee meeting, which I think I'm going to have the Friday before Thanksgiving. Now I have to get cracking on my thesis again. I guess I feel like I haven't been working on it much, because I haven't been writing or anything. Now I can actually start writing something, and be writing as I count pollen. Processing starts next week hopefully!

Now I have to eat my banana.

November 01, 2005

AM pollen

This morning I decided I'd better get my pollen samples ready for processing, since I need to finish up my thesis next summer. In order to do this I needed an actual physical accounting for each sample that I have. So, I went down to the refrigerator in the basement to grab my sample box. I had to transfer everything to a larger box, since I had some extra that wouldn't fit. While doing this, I spilled everything on the floor! Ugh. It only took me a few minutes to pick everything up. Sheesh.

I got to my desk and started an Excel spreadsheet for all the samples. It took quite a while to write in all the numbers, since I have hundreds of pollen samples. Once that was finished I got to choose which ones I will process. I chose every 7th for each core for the low resolution record. I haven't chosen a higher resolution portion yet, so I can't pick those samples yet. Total processing amounts to 61 samples for the low resolution record. Not bad. I don't know the time-resolution that the pollen will be yet; I'm still waiting for radiocarbon dates. Now I need to start processing and then start counting! It'll take a little bit to get used to counting pollen, but I learn that sort of thing quickly, and I don't see it taking too long. That's the last thing before real data analysis! Oh, plus the January trip down to Jackson to look at historical photographs. I'm looking forward to that too.

My advisor wants me to help the new grad student in our lab write her proposals. She needs to write one for the department, and for Yellowstone NP, and she's applying for the NSF graduate fellowship (which I did last year, to no avail). Apparently my advisor thinks I write much better than the girl does, and she wants me to "coach" her. I don't really know about my coaching abilities in writing. I've never actually tried to help someone write a long paper before. I've edited or put my comments on a few longer papers, but I'm not really sure how to coach someone! I'm not even sure how I learned to write well!

I do remember the first time I tried to write a scientific paper. It was the end of my sophomore year in college, and I was taking a very awesome field geology course. We had to map a different area every few weeks, and then analyze the maps and come up with a geologic history of the area and present it in a scientific paper. It was one of the best classes I took. I remember getting that first paper back with a very bad grade, and hence learning what NOT to do in a scientific paper. I guess since then it has gotten easier.