Month: March 2017

Day 24

I was back at Joanne’s today, and I worked on creating some more stenciled and ink printed designs. 

Yesterday I worked on gluing together a 3D collage of sorts, using materials with different textures. 

I had a misunderstanding and though that I would be using this collage like a rubbing plate, and would be apply paint to the fabric while it was on top of the collage. Instead paint was applied directly to the collage, and then it was printed. This difference in what I believed was going to happen resulted in some of the areas of th collage not printing very well, as there were areas with sizable height differences. Below is the print of the top section of the collage. 

After working on this, Joanne showed me how to draw into styrofoam board to get a print. I simply drew the lines of the image I wanted to print, which was my motif, and then rolled ink onto the board. 

The board after 1 print

In the afternoon, I made some more stenciled pieces. In the piece below I used a rubbing plate for the center square, and stenciled the surrounding leaves. 

VOP, Provenance, & Conservation Wrap Up

VOP, Provenance, & Conservation Wrap Up

This week I started my annotation of an interview of Kate Albers for the Voices Of Photography archive. She’s currently a professor at the UA and I actually got to meet her when Jae gave a talk about W Eugene Smith’s unpublished Big Book for a mixed level history of photography class. Besides showing the Big Book to Dr Albers’ class, Jae and I went over what a conservation portfolio should include pre-program, post-program, and then professionally. It was really interesting and I realized that internships are so important in this field.


This is my setup in the Volkerding Study Center. I promise the entire video doesn’t look like what’s on the screen above. One of the things I found most fascinating about Dr Albers is her variety of experience in both commercial and educational curation. She worked at the James Danziger Gallery in New York and gained experience with finding photographs with the intent to sell them. Then after moving from NY to LA for her Master’s program at UC Riverside, she started to work in the museum setting where the intent is for the public scholarship rather than profit. Hearing her talk about that transition was really interesting for me because for some reason I haven’t consciously  identified the difference in what a gallery’s versus a museum’s purpose might be and this just provoked another mindset for me.


Also this week I attended this webinar meeting, which can be watched here–o, about how and why museums establish provenance. It was really interesting to watch as I have read about museum ethics before and provenance (a record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality) was something I didn’t have enough knowledge about the interworking of archives to understand to the fullest extent. So webinar is about a in-progress program that would allow researchers to look at a standardized and interactive  provenance document. The idea is basically that you can search for a specific painting and get the list of owners with dates as well as a timeline using that information. With this kind of information, researchers could then piece together original collections. For example, let’s say that a church in Italy had a grand altarpiece way back when but now that altarpiece that was composed of 8 different pieces in split up into 8 different museums. This program would allow a researcher to see all 8 pieces together online instead of having to travel to 8 different museums and only getting to see one piece at a time. It’s an in progress concept…there’s a lot of coding involved which I don’t understand at all but it’s still pretty cool. One of the questions asked in the Q&A section that I found interesting addressed how difficult it would be to get institutions to release their provenance data to the public essentially. This is especially relevant in our era because museum ethics are becoming more and more under watch. For example, the art that was stolen by the Nazis from Jewish collectors. Shouldn’t that be returned? But if there is no living relative, who owns it? Or in terms of archaeological materials before regulations were put in place, can museums claim ownership over pottery that was looted from an excavation site? The answer is complicated. So you can get a sense of the debatable pros and cons of this program required provenance data and how museums might be hesitate to participate.


In other news, this was my last week with Jae before she started her new position as the Director at the Image Permanence Institute in Rochester, NY. I wish her the best of luck!


Day 33- Timmy’s Glory

Day 33- Timmy’s Glory

Quote of the Day: No one was really here.

Music of the Day: Volbeat again.

I didn’t really have anything to do today, so I just got some pictures of Timmy and called it a day.

Unfortunately I can’t post a video of Timmy in action, but here are some pictures:

Timmy in all of his glory. He got fancy new textures.
I got hit by the gummy shot. Caught it just as it started to explode.
The gummy shot in the air.
After it explodes.
See that big shadow? Yeah that would be Timmy.
Uh oh.


If you’ve made it this far, congrats! These are beginning to feel more and more like that movie trope of a shipwrecked sailor’s diary with the titles. “Day 33, food is scarce and I’m beginning to hear noises in my sleep. Will have to begin rationing gummy bears.” Or something like that.

Short Update About Model Functionality

Over the past few days I have mostly been working on improving the functionality of the model, as well as checking the peculiarity described in the last post. From what it looks like, the fact that the inner boundary is halfway between the star and the outer boundary appears to be an intended part of the equations and is not some mistake made during the creation of the model. Other than coming to this conclusion, I have successfully implemented a button that will overlay the orbit of the earth on top of the habitable zone for comparison (shown below). I also added labels to the star menu so that it is possible to know which row of numbers corresponds to which property of the star. I also made it so that clicking these labels will sort the corresponding category (clicking the name header will sort stars alphabetically, clicking the spectral type header will sort by spectral type,etc).

I think that there are one or two more functionality things that I would still like to add, but other than those, I am getting pretty close to finishing the model. Hopefully sometime next week I will be able to finish it and release it for download so that people can mess around with it as much as they want.

With Earth
This picture shows the added button and how it adds the earth’s orbit to the model(clicking it again removes the orbit and reverts back to just the habitable zone)

Without Earth


Week 6 Recap

I wanted to use this blog post to clarify and distinguish my project from that of Brendan and Andrei. As many know, the three of us are working at the same internship with the same overall goal but each of us have a different approach or part of the project. The overall goal of our project is to assess where habitable planets could be around stars within 10 parsecs and prioritize, determine which stars are already known to harbor planets, and create a target list for a future telescope biosignature survey. The project was split into three sub-projects that complement each other to create a final product. Brendan is the theoretical astronomer, Andrei is the observational astronomer, and I’m the instrument scientist. I focus on, as many could extrapolate from my posts, the actual telescopes and their capabilities.

Brendan and Andrei do most of the actual programming since they are far better than me, seeing as how both took computer science while I did not. The target list were working on includes stars and exoplanets that were discovered using many different ground based and space telescopes that I’ve been researching, but 10 parsecs is not that big a range it’s only 1.88 x 10^14 miles, so as telescopes advance the farther astronomers can look for habitable planets. My research is what helps define the limits for our target list and the exoplanets and stars on that list. Monday/ Tuesday I’m gonna post a bit more on some of the limitations that current telescopes have and how far they can really see.

JG Week 8

This week was like any other… Linear Track and W-Maze. Because two of the rats reached learning criteria, they were put on the W-Maze. They are doing well on the W-Maze. Thursday was pretty exciting because another team needed help on the Water Maze, so I was able to help them when I finished up with my rats. I had not done the Water Maze for a few weeks! My favorite test for the rats is actually the Water Maze. It is very fun to watch the rats learn how to use visual cues to swim to a hidden platform. There happened to be a stark difference between the performance of the younger rats and the older rats. The older rats were a lot slower and most could not find the platform even after a minute of swimming. This is all I have to say for this week!

Day 32- Timmy’s Ascent

Day 32- Timmy’s Ascent

Quote of the Day: The entire conversation we had about Macs vs PCs. It was very heated and amusing.

Music of the Day: Halestorm and Volbeat, along with some Def Leppard.

I came in today and sort of fiddled around with a few things before finally moving on to fixing the gummy shot. Jeremy had given me a possible solution, and with a few modifications I was able to apply it. If you remember, the issue was that I could either have a projectile that moved or exploded, but not both. The solution: have both. Just at different times. Basically, I made a copy of the projectile with all of the rigidbodies on the gummies gone, and kept the original. This way, I instantiated the one without rigidbodies to have it fly towards the target, and as soon as it came in contact with something the exploding projectile is spawned in at that same location and the original is destroyed. Worked like a charm. With that done, I went to work on Timmy’s other ability, jump smash.

If you recall from ages ago when I started on Timmy (then Timmy 2.0, Destroyer of Average-Sized Cities), his other ability was to jump up and smash down on the player if they got too close. Well, when I last left it we didn’t have an animation for it, so he just sort of snapped onto the player and did a bunch of damage. So not a lot of counter play. But going back to it, I realized that instead of waiting for someone more talented than me to make an animation, I could instead use the same projectile motion I had just finished, but on the boss itself. I could make him literally jump and squash at a target area. The code wasn’t too hard, I basically just slapped in my gummy projectile script and changed a couple of numbers to fit Timmy. And voila… kind of. Timmy did indeed jump, the issue was that he didn’t ever come down. I realized I hadn’t ticked the “Use Gravity” box on his rigidbody. With that done, I was ready to watch the majesty of a giant jumping gummy bear. But again, I ran into a problem. This time, he just fell straight through the floor.

Now, I knew why this happened. It was because Timmy was ticked as “is Kinematic,” which basically means that his rigidbody was ignoring any and all forces and collisions on it. Unity lets you do this if you want to control something exclusively by code, rather than having the possibility of other objects in your scene screw with that object. Of course, this also means that he was ignoring the well-established fact in physics that a floor tends to stop things falling. So I un-ticked that box. And lo-and-behold, another problem. Now I couldn’t change his velocity via code. Thankfully, the solution to this one come to me pretty fast. Basically, I forced Timmy to turn off his kinematics while in the air, and anytime he touched something tagged as “Floor” (or the player), it was turned back on so he didn’t fall through the floor. And boom, there you go. A high-jumping gummy bear. Last thing was to add in the code that allows enemies to rotate towards the player, and I had a complete boss.

Although Timmy was now feature-complete, there were still some things that I wanted to streamline and improve. Most of them were small texturing issues or little issues with the behavior of the projectile, but those were finished very quickly. The main one I wanted to address was with his just-finished jump smash ability. Because of the nature of the gummy projectile, I had opted to lock the angle of fire at 70 degrees, so that it could fly up and over obstacles rather than shooting right into them. It stopped the player from finding a spot on the level that could shield them. With jump smash though, I didn’t want the angle to always be that high. If it was, the player would have far more time to react and move out of the way the further from the boss they were. Instead, I wanted the angle to range between 45 and 90 degrees, depending on how far away the player was. The math for this was pretty simple, I just took the ratio of the maximum distance to the actual distance and multiplied by 45. That way, if the player was exactly as far as the max range Timmy would jump at a 45 degree angle, but as the player got closer the ratio would increase and so would the angle.

That implemented, I went to test it. And immediately ran into one of the most frustrating problems I have yet experienced. Occasionally, with no correlation to anything I could see, I would get an error saying that the velocity I gave Timmy was “{NaN, NaN, NaN}.” NaN stands for “Not a Number,” and somehow Timmy was getting 1 of those in the x, y and, z directions. This wouldn’t have been a big issue if Timmy just recalculated the velocity, but even though he did that something got screwed up and he would begin his good old routine of falling through the floor. Usually that error meant that there was a division by 0 somewhere, so I went through and checked each of the divisions individually. And none of them ever equaled 0. The only thing I knew for sure was that it was somehow caused by my angle calculation, because after I hard-coded in a value (set it to a number by force), I couldn’t get the error. Even then, I had no idea why it was happening. The error had no relationship with the distance from the boss. I had it happen very close, at maximum range, and everywhere in between. in the end I just left the angle hard coded in as 70 degrees, much to my chagrin. The code for angle calculation is still there, just deactivated.

As unhappy as I was about that though, I was very glad to have Timmy done and ready to go. Hopefully he will be implemented into the game in the near future. At this point I was ready to leave, but the aforementioned conversation about Macs vs. PCs ensued, and I stayed for almost 2 extra hours talking with everyone. It was a good time.

If you’ve made it this far, congrats! I will try and remember to post pictures of Timmy tomorrow, and potentially take a video of his abilities in action. Until then!


Week 5 Recap

Week 5 I shifted focus towards upcoming space telescope projects. Not only has there been lots of advancements in ground based telescopes but space telescopes as well. Many new and upcoming space telescopes will be able to see far into the depth of the galaxy. One of those upcoming space telescopes is the James Webb space telescope scheduled to launch in October 2018. The James Webb space telescope will provide unprecedented resolution and sensitivity. This telescope will allow for a broad range of research in astronomy and cosmology. The telescope should be able to see some of the most distant events and objects in the Universe, such as the formation of the first galaxies. This is far beyond the capability of any current ground and space based telescopes. It will also be used to study the formation of stars and planets capable of using direct imaging of exoplanets. Unlike other telescopes it will have a greater capacity to perform infrared astronomy which will help accomplish it’s goals better than visible light or ultraviolet astronomy. The astronomical scientists are very excited for the launch of this telescope.


Astronomers have always known that the Hubble space telescope won’t last forever but it sure has lasted longer than expected. If launched the Advanced Technology Large-Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAST) will replace the HST. ATLAST will have the ability to obtain spectroscopic and imaging observations of astronomical objects in the ultraviolet, optical, and infrared wavelengths, but with substantially better resolution than either HST or the James Webb Space Telescope. ATLAST is a planned mission for the 2025-2035 period with the major focus to determine whether there is life elsewhere in the galaxy, many refer to it as the “life-finder.” It will search for biosignatures, molecular oxygen, ozone, water, and methane, on exoplanets. The backronym, ATLAST, is actually a pun referring to how long it took to decide on a true, visible-light, successor for the Hubble Space Telescope, but it’s name will probably change as the project progresses.


Week 7: New coworkers, New substance, New experiences

This week has been filled to the brim with new events happening in the lab. We have gotten our two new workers, and they are research technicians that will most likely be staying here longer than I do. However, since they are new to this lab, they have gotten a similar tour of the lab as I did and they have begun to learn how to work the instruments here. The first day they were working on the HPLC instrument as I had done in my beginning week. I was not able to accompany them for that training because I was working on a new surfactant with a fancy name, Glc-C3-N-C10. Poetic, isn’t it? Anyways, I have ran only one experiment so far on this substance, and the resulting graph and maximum surface tension that I obtained were good, but the CMC value I had gotten had deviated from past experiments, but my sample had been purified significantly more than those before me, so only more experiments will tell. One of the technicians has shadowed me as I run a couple more tests on the mRL.

I have also learned more this week as well. I am learning a new purification process known as re-crystallization, which is partially shown below.

To elaborate, we take the SDS in a solution of approximately 95% ethanol and 5% water and force the SDS to dissolve by applying heat. We then let it adjust to room temperature to prevent any impurity from crystallizing and then put it in and ice bath to form the crystals of the SDS. Then we vacuum pump the crystals and then lypholize it overnight. I also recently found out where we keep most of our bottles of chemicals, like methanol and acetonitrile, for example. That was more for my convenience and not a necessity. I also painstakingly found out that if you create a 600mL solution of acid, its going to take a generous amount of base to get to pH7. I know this is basic chemistry, but going through the process of having to do so while trying to prevent an overshoot can be quite tedious. I am very excited to start diving deep into my work with Glc-C3-N-C10, and I will keep you guys updated on how it goes!

Desert Museum: Week 3

Who’s ready for another fun week of animals? Probably me, I kind of signed up for this.

Over this week I really started planning out the structure of how the graphic novel will work. I decided the book will be divided into several sections of around eight pages each, just to make it convenient for printing. I was mainly writing this week, trying to plan out each section of the comic to be. I settled on these topics:

  • Sonoran Desert Overview: Basic facts and reasons why it is such a biodiverse desert
  • Saguaro Cactus: It’s role as a keystone species and how other species interact with it
  • Hibernation and Estivation: How cold blooded animals beat the heat and cold
  • Nocturnality: How animals avoid daylight to conserve water and stay cool
  • Desert Birds: The unique avians of the Sonoran desert

Each of these chapters are independent of the others, so if I ran out of time, I could simply cut one out without adverse effects on the final product.

Additionally, during this week I got to attend a meeting on working at the stingray touch tank, despite the fact I won’t be allowed to work there anytime soon. Still, it was informative to the behind-the-scenes planning that goes on in a zoo. The basic logistics composed most of the meeting, such as how many people to let in at a time, when to open up and close, what to do if there’s a thunderstorm, and so forth.

One thing that stood out to me were the procedures in case a ray jumped out of the pool. Apparently, rays do jump out of the water occasionally in the wild, but it’s a problem when it happens in an enclosure like this because the ray would be stranded on the concrete. The basic plan in such a event would be to immediately scoop the ray up with a net and place it back in the pool. In case any museum visitors started asking about the ray, museum staff , they are to acknowledge the fact that the ray jumped out, but to explain that this in an occurrence in the wild and that they will have a veterinarian later examine the animal.

Overall, this week mainly consisted of planning.  Next week I’ll start getting into the real nitty gritty of working out this project.