Thursday, December 17, 2009

5 good minutes with GeoPigeon

Without a doubt the star of this fine meeting has been GeoPigeon, who I’m sure most of you have seen popping in and out of various sessions. The heck with TigerGate, inquiring minds crave to know who is this bird and why is he attracted to geophysics? @purplecrowlidar sits down for 5 good minutes with GeoPigeon.

Me: Dude, thanks for taking some time off feeding to talk to me. So what about AGU09 interests you?

GP: For a pigeon-centric point of few, and let me say right off, that is what matters to me and in fact to most other pigeons, I’m worried about what humans are doing to the environment. Not the climate. We can handle that. The magnetic enviroment.

Me: How’s that?

GP: You humans are visual and essentially tuned out otherwise. We’re visual but also very tuned into magnetic fields. We got this little “box” in our heads that is like a serious antenna for detecting fields. It’s a whole different world for us. I mean when we’re young you learn to fly and like right away you’ll get lead miles from your nest and your Dad will just say lead and you find yourself heading right back to wear you started, unconsciously. Wow.

So as you get older you realize this orientation thing you’ve got going on. And for me, I’m worried about the changes I hear. From what I’m gathering the magnetic field can change violently, catostropically. What would that mean for us?

Me: Yeah, but time scales, you’d adapt as the field changed, right?

GP: Probably, but then what about change and space weather? I mean I’ve flown through a few magnetosphere/ionosphere sessions and I’m grateful for what a low solar minimum we’ve just had. But what happens if we come out of this minimum into a big maximum. You leave home one day then bam, you fly back to another country. This blows my mind man.

Me: Did you catch some of the nonlinear sessions talks on the magnetosphere?

GP: Yeah, that network stuff you’re starting to compute, we’ve done for a long time. We minimize long-range correlations in our magnetic phase space all the time, its an effective homing technique, especially if you’re hammered.

Me: Gotta ask. You really a seperate bird species related to Dodos?

GP: (sighing) always haunts us. Yes, but you’re not a monkey and I’m not flightless. Nuff said?

Me: Why’d are you basing out of Moscone South rather than West?

GP: Oh, come on. The Expo. The Donor Lounge. And mostly the posters. I’m a bit slow and didn’t go to University so I like taking my time and studying the posters. I get a different angle on them then you do, what with my eye placement.

Me: Yeah, head on a swivel, eh? One last question, who you got tonight, Penguins/Flyers?

GP: You kidding? Flyers are still trying to define themselves under Laviolette, and what’s this Richards, I mean the Captain sayin’ "We're not playing with enough heart right now to win”. He’s calling ‘em out, it’s a home game and it won’t matter that Sid is healthy. The Pens are going down tonight.

Me: Alright then, peace bro. Hey they hassled you at the Donor Lounge the other day, sorry about that, mention you’re my guest and we’ll chill later.

GP: I’m down. See ya’.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Up to swim in the hotel's 20 yd pool with the shallow end at 80 cm, so even I can't flip turn! Only the underwater pool lights were on, kind of surreal swim particularly with dark tint googles.

Exciting day continued with the CDN Schmooze Breakfast, great turn out, yummy food and best of all for geophysicists: free! Onto some interesting posters, if your interest in the science stuff check out the Purple Crow Lidar twitter page.

The Brew-Crew, Pat and I went down to the far end of Chinatown for awesome dim sum, the old skool kind in the big room with the carts coming by with food. Everything was to our tastes but the desserts, maybe not sweet enough by our standards? Nice day for walking. Got back for some more science, an interesting poster and the talk associated with the previous blog post.

On the way back to the hotel saw some awesome bikes, I love my fixed wheel bike and SF is a great town for ogling some sweet rides. Did see my first poser PUSHING a way too new looking Bianchi. No class man.

Brew Crew and us took it easy, went out to a pub for a nice meal, a brew and some good times. Sleep time, dig the electric lights on the buildings (at least I saw them like that).


SF Dec 13, 2009

Just some quick thoughts on Dec 13 cause now it is today and that was then is this is now, right? And I'm into the AGU meeting now...Here are some photos from yesterday and some awesome run up the Embarcadero, so recon on the Escape Tri course. AO: the photo might be us in June! Water did not look bad at all, some people were swimming. Juiced the Fort Mason hill.later am: Brunch at

Whipple Lecture: JP Bibring

Too much in Dr. Bibring's lecture for a proper tweet, here's a summary.

Mars can teach us "Why Earth is unique and what drives its evolution"

Results from OMEGA Near IR imaging.

1. Mars clouds and climate change.
Most clouds water vapor
Localized mesospheric (80 km) CO2 clouds, maybe nucleated from magnetite.
(my comment: if so, can solar wind directly help in the lofting of these particles?)

2. Mars a dead planet?
Appears to be no more outgassing is what is thought.
In North polar region dark gypsum dunes around H2O on caps, could be last places with venting.

3. Where is the Co2. Ice? Carbonate?
South Pole has CO2, but mostly H20.
No significant carbonate (which would be made by liquid water).
N2 and CO2 lost (probably) by atmospheric escape, not in ice or carbonate

4. Altered materials?
Rust layer VERY thin, NOT in cratered regions. Not due to liquids. Due to slow atmospheric over millions of years with H2O2.

"red --> rust --> water --> life --> NO"

Hydrated phyllosilicates (not clays) could be association with life.

Consider this figure. If picture of ehb/lhb (e.g. secondary peak) is correct liquid water may (and habitability) may have occurred between the 2 (on Earth as well). On Mars the dynamo shut off during lhb, and with no field to hold off energetic solar particles dense atmosphere/water lost after this. Mars data consistent with this, volcanism occurred after this time and not associated with liquid water and no magnetism (cause Mars not massive enough, insufficient mantle convection). So "poster" picture you see sometimes of a Mars with active volcanos AND oceans is wrong.

5. Phobos and Deimos are more likely parts of Mars after impact like the Moon. Not captured asteroids.

I'm probably not doing this justice but it was a interesting, thought provoking talk, I enjoyed it. Notion of Earth having ocean/life between the ehb and lhb has legs as far as I'm concerned, as pointed out we say life started after but we have no Earth left accessible to us to tell if indeed life was there before. Bibring claims only 10-15% of ocean would evaporate during lhb on Earth.

My battery (laptop and body) needs recharging, I'm out of here.

ps: "geo-pigeon", the renegade pigeon who appeared during the talk and has visited the Donor lounge twice whilst I type this appears to be gone for now.

SF Dec 13, 2009

Just some quick thoughts on Dec 13 cause now it is today and that was then is this is now, right? And I'm into the AGU meeting now...

Here are some photos from yesterday and some context....

am awesome run up the Embarcadero, so recon on the Escape Tri course. AO: the photo might be us in June! Water did not look bad at all, some people were swimming. Juiced the Fort Mason hill.

later am: Brunch at The Delancey Street Restaurant. Read about the foundation and what they do here. Inspiring. Awesome food and very reasonably priced. Mamma omelette apple smoked bacon, avacado, white cheddar yum!

Early pm: Hung out in Hayes Valley, sun finally came out, Bluebottle coffee (the best)

Late pm: junking in the Haight. Pat got a god-awful coat and I get a sweet bike jersey for only $10 (they offered Pat the seniors discount and she took it with no hesitation, I love this woman.

Dinner and drinks in Chinatown.

On to today!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chrome Bag Store - SF


Saturday, December 12, 2009

SF Dec 12, 2009

Jet lagged to the gills so not much I can say except it rained a lot and didn't feel much warmer than London. Planning on a run in the AM before Sunday brunch, sure hope my suitcase gets here.

BTW: don't fly Delta/NWA if you can help it. They are charging me $24 to deliver my suitcase THEY lost. Can you believe it? The "free" option is if I game back to the airport and picked it up myself!

Here's some of the day in pictures.


SF is naughty at Xmas I


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What’s this in the lab?


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

First snowman of Winter 2010