Eleven Crazy Days

A few days before the vernal equinox, I wrote about an unusually eventful week. Well, the autumnal equinox just passed, and we have had 11 eventful days. In short: Caltech job, StratOS paper, Heatstroke, European Wax Center, Galaxy S6, and System76 laptop.

On September 23rd, I drove to Caltech to find out more about a position that some colleagues had informed me about a few weeks earlier. When I arrived at the parking lot, the first vacant spot that I saw was Kip Thorne's (see photo). Two days later, I was officially on the SPHEREx team. As it currently stands, I will be working on the project for at least seven months. I've been tasked with improving the robustness and performance of the photometric redshift data analysis pipeline (i.e., code that automatically determines the redshifts of galaxies observed by the proposed SPHEREx satellite / observatory). It appears that my StratOS code could become quite useful for this if SPHEREx becomes a reality because roughly a petabyte of data will need to analyzed fairly quickly. This is exactly the sort of task for which StratOS is intended. My funding comes from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but it is being funneled through UC Riverside, so my official employer is still UC Riverside and my title is still "Assistant Project Scientist." Although I'm not an offical Caltech employee, I have an office at Caltech in the Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, I will have a Caltech e-mail address, and they are providing me with a laptop computer of my choice because my old one broke nearly two years ago and I haven't been able to afford a new one. The laptop arrived today!

Since I'm still technically working for UCR, I still have some duties associated with my existing position. On September 23rd, I finally received a response regarding the StratOS announcement paper that Miguel and I submitted to Astronomy and Computing. The first reviewer gave pretty much the expected response, noting areas where more detail should be added. The second reviewer, on the other hand, responded with complete nonsense. It seems that the second reviewer didn't really read the paper. We will modify the paper and submit to a different journal because we are fed up with Astronomy and Computing; six months is a ridiculous amount of time to have to wait to get a nonsensical report. We'll probably submit it to a journal that is more focused on computing.

In the lab at UCR, we finally received a new high-throughput machine that we've been waiting for since December. It was free, so I guess we can't complain about the delay. This machine will serve as our new gateway node to the Internet when UCR's new 10 Gbps network reaches the lab. It can also accommodate our two Xeon Phi cards. While I am working on the SPHEREx stuff, I'll need to set this computer up along with the new 10 Gbps network switch.

A few weeks ago, I gathered seeds from the same acacia tree that is the parent of my acacia bonsai. On Friday, the 25th, a seed sprouted, so I now have two acacia bonsai. Later in the day, my mother-in-law, Christina, rented a car with a broken (or difficult to use) air conditioner. After driving with no AC and having no water to drink, she had a heatstroke. She was hospitalized until the evening of the 27th. The doctors in the hospital (Kaiser Permanente on Vineyard Avenue in Ontario) were worried about the high level of lactic acid in her system and her high white blood cell count. The white blood cell count prompted them to treat her as though she had a mysterious infection. I am guessing that these particular doctors were not very familiar with heatstroke; a simple Google search reveals that high lactic acid levels and very high white blood cell count are common after heatstroke. Anyway, Christina stayed at our apartment until October 1st. She seems to be in approximately the same condition that she was in before the heatstroke.

Melissa went on several interviews at European Wax Center and she was selected to begin training. It appears that she will be working on weekends and one evening during the week. Training begins about two weeks from now. She'll be shutting down her spa here at the apartment complex and selling most of the equipment.

I finally got a new phone to replace the Samsung Galaxy Nexus that I've had since December, 2011. My new phone is a Samsung Galaxy S6. It has a $50 rebate and it looks like our VerizonWireless bill will now be $50 cheaper per month because of the way that VerizonWireless handles billing / data plans. In short, getting a newer phone ends up being cheaper than keeping my old phone with my old data plan.

In national news, Pope Francis visited the United States for the first time and became the first pope to address congress. The next day, John Boehner announced that he was retiring as Speaker of the House. The presidents of China and India also made fairly high-profile visits to the U.S. during this period. A historic flash food occurred in Virginia, and a few days later Hurricane Joaquin began causing wind and precipitation.

Astronomically, the 23rd was the autumnal equinox and then on the 27th, we had a total lunar eclipse while the moon was near perigee (a so-called "supermoon").

3 Responses to “Eleven Crazy Days”

  1. instagram viewer Says:

    Beautiful photos.

  2. williamcgriffin Says:

    Publishing a paper within a reputed journal is a great deal. Lots of research work has to be done to complete a research paper successfully. We have to send our work to different journals repetitively to get them accepted. Your work is based on a relevant field. I hope it will be published successfully very soon.

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