15_the_circle: (cottage autumnal)
Sunday, May 25th, 2014 11:03 am

Just a reminder that everything is over on Google+

Updates on medical misadventures are on an opt-in basis, comment on any entry over there for access. 

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15_the_circle: (hummingbird)
Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 10:41 pm
... time to start keeping an eye on the annual hummingbird migration
15_the_circle: (cottage autumnal)
Friday, December 30th, 2011 07:21 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

The sunrise colours are so lavish this time of year. 

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)




(HDR image from Android 'phone)

15_the_circle: (amtrak)
Saturday, December 24th, 2011 08:21 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

This image was yesterday morning's consolation prize. 
Shorter days and longer nights this time of year mean that one has to leave the Grove before there's light, and return to it in darkness.  The situation wasn't helped by some sort of operational problem on the railroad that caused the cancellation of our train (it's more of a big deal for us because there are only three of them in the morning). 

When this happens the fallback is to cross the tracks and take the No. 61 Ride-On bus to the Metro.  The resulting 20 minute time offset gave this splashy sunrise a chance to happen, us a chance to see it, and me the opportunity to share it in this space. 

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)




(HDR image from Android 'phone)

15_the_circle: (calcifer)
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 09:56 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

This was not the alien robot invasion. 
But before complacency sets in, consider this: there was a thermonuclear reaction a mere eight light minutes behind these brooding shapes. 

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)




(HDR image from Android 'phone)

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15_the_circle: (GITS laughing man)
Saturday, December 17th, 2011 12:44 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

Downstream from the Supply Chain is: the Removal Chain, visualized here by MIT

But even more interesting was this teaser: "TrashTrack uses hundreds of small, smart, location aware tags: a first step towards the deployment of smart-dust - networks of tiny locatable and addressable microeletromechanical systems.  These tags are attached to different types of trash so that these items can be followed through the city’s waste management system [...]"

(from Ateneo Naider)

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15_the_circle: (GITS laughing man)
Monday, October 3rd, 2011 08:00 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]
[Crossposted from G+]

Highly effective visualization compresses high volume data - in this case, 55 years worth of Fortune 500 company stats. 

Source: Fathom Information Design via Visual News

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15_the_circle: (GITS laughing man)
Monday, September 26th, 2011 10:19 pm
"We don't allow faster than light particles in here" said the bartender.  A neutrino walks into a bar.

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15_the_circle: (GITS laughing man)
Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 10:09 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

This fascinating link comes from my favourite postgrad student.  Culturnomics 2.0: Forecasting large-scale human behaviour using global news media tone in time and space

"News is increasingly being produced and consumed online, supplanting print and broadcast to represent nearly half of the news monitored across the world today by Western intelligence agencies. Recent literature has suggested that computational analysis of large text archives can yield novel insights to the functioning of society, including predicting future economic events. Applying tone and geographic analysis to a 30–year worldwide news archive, global news tone is found to have forecasted the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, including the removal of Egyptian President Mubarak, predicted the stability of Saudi Arabia (at least through May 2011), estimated Osama Bin Laden’s likely hiding place as a 200–kilometer radius in Northern Pakistan that includes Abbotabad, and offered a new look at the world’s cultural affiliations. Along the way, common assertions about the news, such as “news is becoming more negative” and “American news portrays a U.S.–centric view of the world” are found to have merit."

Yet again, once information gets into machine readable form there's no limit to the interesting things that can be done with it. 

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15_the_circle: (GITS laughing man)
Saturday, September 10th, 2011 10:44 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

An interesting side effect of network visualization tools is the resulting incidental imagery.  I found this one particularly engaging. 

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)




Separated from the context of underlying data the image becomes whatever the viewer makes of it.  Fish?  Hummingbird?  Leaf skeleton?  Steampunk ornithopter?  It's up to you to decide ...

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15_the_circle: (capital bikeshare bike)
Monday, August 29th, 2011 10:02 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]
[crossposted from Google+]

Quick (fire)house call on the way in this morning in response to a call for assistance over the radio.  On the way out observed to the engine officer that one thing we share is the use of shiny bright red city-owned vehicles. 

15_the_circle: (state flag MD banner)
Sunday, August 28th, 2011 11:04 am

[OT from cottage renovations]
[crossposted from Google+]

A couple of big tree limbs came down across Grove Road (one across from the ballfield, the other near 7th Avenue) but other than that things are OK, we've even had reasonably continuous electrical service. 

I couldn't sleep anyway and went out for a walk in the height of it - pretty spectacular with trees moving all around in the gusts.  Figured it wasn't any less safe than staying here, considering prior experience.  One thing I found interesting was how the rain was steady but didn't ever come down in absolute torrents as I would have expected.  What it lacked in volume it certainly made up for in velocity. 

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15_the_circle: (calcifer)
Saturday, August 27th, 2011 11:26 am

[crossposted from Google+]
[OT from cottage renovations]

The first of the rain is only now just starting ...

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15_the_circle: (façade afternoon light)
Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 08:22 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]
[crossposted from Google+]

Sanborn fire maps are a familiar tool to anybody who has ever needed a times series of historical maps for some location.  Mapping the as-built conditions was intended to provide a baseline for any claim adjudication, valuation and reconstruction that might might follow a natural (or unnatural) disaster.  Periodic updates and secure storage made them a natural for other historical purposes. 

These UK before-and-after news images show an interesting use of GSV imagery for the same purpose. 

(click past these samples for interactive before-and-after imagery)


images: telegraph.co.uk

[edit: added link to wiki page]

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15_the_circle: (capital bikeshare)
Monday, July 11th, 2011 12:50 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

More bikeshare system performance metrics: station availability for several systems in the US and Canada:

Having tracked Capital Bikeshare station availability for a while, it seemed an obvious next step to see how we are doing compared to other systems, at least those for which system status information is readily available. 

Bikeshare Station Availability by City
previous 7 days


  • Our availability, though showing room for improvement, compares favourably to the other systems. 
  • Of the five cities shown above, only ours operates year 'round.  The others are too far north to offer anything other than seasonal service. 
  • Toronto's system is relatively new, having launched a little over a month ago. 
  • Boston will be launching within the next few weeks; their data will be included as soon as it becomes available. 

A side effect of checking availability for these systems is that their respective details (current and previous day bike/dock depletion and station availability maps) are now also available. 

[Edit: added London and Melbourne]

15_the_circle: (hummingbird)
Friday, July 1st, 2011 01:18 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

First hummingbird!




better late than never, and a wonderful way to celebrate Canada Day, eh?

15_the_circle: (hummingbird)
Sunday, June 19th, 2011 06:55 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

Here in the Grove it's Music Weekend.  Though often overlooked by some, the children's recital is always one of the high points. 

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)

Under the supervision of the choreographer, the first in a queue of dancers can be seen waiting in the wings to perform in McCathran Hall on Saturday morning. 

15_the_circle: (capital bikeshare)
Sunday, April 24th, 2011 02:01 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

Rumour has it that Capital Bikeshare will soon be releasing systemwide usage data.  For those of us who derive amusement from such things the data will be interesting to play with analyze and may even yield useful insights. 

This could be quite timely as system usage is on the rise and demand is occasionally approaching or exceeding capacity, fueling much discussion among users and interested observers.  An assertion has been made that one cause of the distribution imbalance is a tendency of users to ride the bikes downhill and then choose some other mode for their return journey, leaving the bikes behind. 

A few days ago over on Housing Complex, Lydia DePillis released a preview containing station usage counts through 9 April.  Even in the absence of trip origin/destination and date/time detail, the usage totals can be used for a simple test of the "lazy user" assertion in the aggregate.  For each station: 

  • compare trips in and out and determine net flow of movements in or out as percentage of total trips;
  • determine elevation by feeding latitude/longitude to the SRTM elevation model via EarthTools web services.



The resulting chart is pretty straightforward, showing clearly that stations at higher elevations tend to be net exporters of bikes and the lower ones tend to be net importers. 

It goes to show that the bikeshare system is just like a railroad: it's necessary to haul those empties back up the hill for the next load. 

15_the_circle: (capital bikeshare)
Sunday, April 24th, 2011 12:46 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

Spring is sprung and as the weather improves Capital Bikeshare usage is experiencing a large but predictable seasonal upswing, augmented by a recent fire sale promotion which doubled membership. 
There are now over 10,000 subscribers. 

The bikeshare system is completely addictive and over the winter was easy to use but it is now becoming increasingly difficult to find a bike or dock when needed and the system operator is having to scramble to keep up with demand. 

It all happens on the margin: each station without a bike is a trip that can’t start (or without an open dock is one that can’t end) representing a service failure for the next subscriber who comes along. 

Since system status is available as a near real time XML feed it didn't take much effort at all to put together a simple page showing bike and dock depletion updated hourly throughout the current day, as well as another one for the previous day’s performance.  If nothing else perhaps they can help subscribers and other stakeholders assess how the operator deals with the situation. 

15_the_circle: (rosette raindrop)
Monday, March 28th, 2011 09:33 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

What does one do for one's dear sister's birthday?
Give her flowers, of course. 

These were taken out on the Circle and in the cottage garden while wishing you birthday greetings by (very) long distance 'phone. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)


Scilla siberica


Scilla siberica


Forsythia