Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Drainage issues, E-pubs, and Cheese

Walking through campus the other day I came across something unexpected. The path ahead was awash in six inches of water. Ann Arbor has a problem with residual snowmelt. Anytime a foot of the stuff falls, the city is all over it with plows, salt trucks, and snowblowers. Once that snow melts, however, the infrastructure falls apart. Puddles, muddy puddles, are everywhere. This makes my journey from home to lab treacherous. An example of one of my obstacles:

When I lived in Morgantown this never happened because of the mountainous topography; everything drained into the river. Ann Arbor is unnervingly flat. Yet another graduate school adjustment to make.

Speaking of academics, my paper from undergrad is finally available as an electronic publication online. I am now searchable on PubMed, the principle database for biomedical scientific papers. This is cool but, sadly, a little anticlimactic.

An upcoming assignment in my statistics class involves multi dimensional scaling. Don't ask me to describe what that means in depth, but it is an analysis technique for visually examining similarities and dissimilarities among data. MDS might be used by a marketing department to determine how consumers categorize their products into perceptual groups. Sprite and 7Up, for example, would cluster closer than Sprite and some variety of root beer. It's also used for more serious ecology or computer science research.

This is a group project, so I'll be working with the other first-year students from my area. Our subject will be cheese, as per my suggestion. Today I compiled a tentative list of the cultured curds for analysis. Once we finalize this and do our similarity tests, I will post the results, along with some cool graphs. Cheese!

1 comment:

jim said...

Two words: inflatable shoes.