The Week that Was

Busy, busy, busy. Diane and Gail had a proposal due on Wednesday, so they were putting in a lot of time on that early in the week. Diane went up to Davis and stayed overnight on Thursday. That worked OK, so she is planning to make a weekly stay-over a feature for future weeks, cutting out 2 to 2.5 hours of commuting. This weekend, Diane, Farli, and Ritka went to a hunt test. Despite the heat and a misfiring shotgun, both dogs passed.

Another project was one that carries over from Diane’s time at Berkeley. Researchers at the Institute for Human Development work with infants and assess how perceived movement affects them at different ages. The apparatus is a “moving wall” setup. The current post-data collection analysis software isn’t as flexible as they would like, so Diane and I have been porting the analysis code to the Matlab system, which has very good interactivity. We delivered the first set of M-scripts this past week. Since the goal is to find new ways of analyzing the data, the M-files are predominantly scripts as opposed to functions, which leaves the data in the global workspace.

Diane is also using Matlab for analysis of sound data from the Wyoming field trip earlier this year. I wrote a short M-file while she was at the hunt test to read in a WAV file and display waveforms and spectrograms for each channel.

And I’ve been working on my text matching script in Perl for some analysis tasks at work. I’m working on a wrapper to permit the cross-matching of large numbers of text files. This should allow me to make statements on which files are obviously related by copying of content. My first brute-force approach wasn’t doing doing quite what I wanted. What I would really like to achieve is a semi-automated way to output a variorum view of multiple input files. So far, I’m just handling pairwise text matching.

Another item is getting a paper based upon one of the chapters of my dissertation submitted. I think I’ve got the relevant information from all my co-authors now. This reports on the measurement of pressurization events in the bony nasal passages of bottlenose dolphins during a biosonar task. We found that the average intranarial pressure was higher during those pressurization events that were associated with a whistle vocalization by the dolphin, instead of just a click train.

I’m also working on an install of FreeBSD 5.4 for our file server here at home. This is based on a 300GB drive, with another 300GB drive in an external housing with USB 2.0 for backup purposes. Hopefully, things will fit if we don’t load up the server with data files archived elsewhere and the like. With Samba running, it works nicely with Windows client machines. FreeBSD 5.4 is the version of the OS driving the server for several of our domains, so it’s good to have it running here, too.

Things are hot here in Concord. Keeping all the animals hydrated as well as ourselves takes some effort. Fortunately, I’m continuing to feel better, and I think that my stamina is improving, too. I’ve run the air conditioner for a few hours in the afternoon the past few days, with the thermostat set somewhere between 82 and 85. That’s enough to make it bearable for me inside. We generally step out for a walk with the dogs as the sun is setting. It cools off fairly rapidly with the sunset, so other than the mosquitos also liking that time of evening, things are pretty nice.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.