Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Look Ma, I Created an Anaglyph!

I just stumbled across a pretty sweet Matlab-framework tool called Mirone that allows you to do all sorts of analyses to various grid/image formats.

If you do not have Matlab, there is a standalone version that runs on Windows. For Mac folks, it will run under Snow Leopard if you have Matlab 2009, but sadly does not seem to work in Matlab 2007 on 10.5.

I am currently running it on my Windows desktop at school using Matlab 2009b and I am pretty impressed. It has a bunch of image processing/geophysical tools at its disposal. In just a few minutes of playing, I was able to open a GMT grid and plot plate boundaries and earthquake epicenters on it.

What mainly got me excited about it was that I was also able to generate a pretty sweet anaglyph. If you have a pair of red-blue glasses, give it a looksie! The area is the Carlsberg Ridge in the Indian Ocean. I recommend double-clicking the image to open it in full-size.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Maybe I should work at Google...

I love my job. Well, more precisely, I love being a graduate student in oceanography. I get to do amazingly cool research, and get to go to amazingly cool places as well (even the Arctic! - no pun intended). However, every now-and-then I come across something that causes me to daydream about what it would be like to be in a different field. Today's daydream came courtesy of Google and their Google Lat/Long blog.

Recently they rigged up a Google "Street View" snow mobile to give us a true 3d look at the slopes for the upcoming Winter Olympics. People actually got paid to snow mobile around the slopes for a day!!!

Street View Hits the Slopes at Whistler

Evidence confirms mud-volcano was man-made

Mud Volcano Was Man-Made, New Evidence Confirms

This article discusses the findings of Richard Davies, director of the Durham Energy Institute and co-author of a new paper in the journal Marine and Petroleum Geology. The results of his analysis is that the Lusi mud volcano in Sidoarjo, Indonesia was indeed caused by the drilling company when they pulled their drill out from an unstable hole. Since its first eruption May 29, 2006, Lusi has dumped out 100,000 tons of mud a day. It now covers almost 3 square miles to a depth of 65 feet, and displaced thirty thousand people. The drilling company maintains that an earthquake that occurred 175 miles away on May 27, 2006 is the real cause of the mud volcano, although there is plenty evidence to the contrary.

One of the things I find interesting about this story is that both scientists working for the drill company and independent scientists have papers about this very issue in the journal of Marine and Petroleum Geology. The scientists working for the company all find that the real cause of the volcano was the earthquake, which in turn means that their company should not be held financially responsible. The independent scientists all find flaws with that reasoning and claim that the earthquake could not have been the cause. Clearly, the drill company scientists have every reason to be biased. If their results indicate the drill company was at all responsible, not only would they probably be out of a job, but they would be setting the company up for a huge financial burden. So how can we as a reader, or the journal for that matter, look at this article objectively? It is hard to see it as just another scientific exploration and discussion of a dataset. Furthermore, I am curious if this article mentions that the authors work for the company in question. Surely that disclosure should be made somewhere where the reader can easily find it, shouldn't it?