ICESat and ICEsat-2

So as I mentioned a few of weeks ago, I got to spend a Friday at NASA Goddard, chilling and talking about their new projects. One of the projects we learned about is called ICESat-2. The original ICESat flew from 2003 to 2010 and measured the height of the terrain below with a laser rangefinder. You can buy a laser rangefinder from Amazon and this one works on the same concept. It shoots a laser and measures how long it takes for the light the come back. ICESat and ICESat-2 work the same way, they just shoot the laser from

Ethohistorical Note on Dharma

Like Buddhism, Jainism sprang from the fount of dharmic religions in India, more than two thousand years ago. Each stands apart from traditional Hinduism in that they reject the Vedas as written and find authoritative teachings in new writings and philosophies. Distinct from each other, the two philosophies developed rigorous moral codes to define the conduct of adherents, each designed to create an ethical path for followers to take. The Buddhist tradition is perhaps the more well known of the two and is known as The Noble Eightfold Path. The Noble Eightfold Path includes things like Right Action, a proscription

Lottery Luck in the Tax Proposal

The new Republican tax plan has a lot of people up in arms. Mostly rightly so, but I had a realization today about just how bad it was. Imagine a hypothetical winner of a $100 million lottery. That’s a nice payday and the taxman comes along for his share. The IRS, under the current regime, takes 39.6% of that, or $39.6 million dollars. Of course, if one is wise, one calls a lawyer first, who sets up a pass-through entity, like a limited liability company or a subchapter-S corporation. But that’s just a matter of doing business. Now, under the

XSEDE is Awesome

I’ll be writing about my trip to Goddard in the next week or so. But first, I feel like I should write about this Comet I have been playing a bit with. When I was a kid, supercomputers were these giant mythical beasts. We didn’t know what they were good for, but we knew NASA and Lawrence Livermore had them. They must be cool. Of course, there was one in Wargames: Around the mid 1990, some guys at Goddard figured out a way to link a network of workstations into a high throughput computer and called it a Beowulf cluster.

Bald Eagles and Bioaccumulation

America’s favorite symbol is the glorious bald eagle. The bald eagle lives across the country and is endangered. This story goes back to 1962 and the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which detailed the effects of pesticides. In particular, Carson focused on DDT, widely used to combat disease-carrying insects. And despite low background levels of DDT in the environment, high concentrations were found in dead eagles and it was thinning their eggshells, too. These thin eggshells often broke during incubation, killing the eaglet and drastically cutting the population. But eagles are not particularly susceptible to DDT poisoning. What happened

Syllabus for People and Project Administration

Here’s something interesting. Despite having my work spread all across multiple fields, which I kind of like, I rather want to make sure I keep a connection to my home field. The problem is, I can no longer tell if that is mathematics or public policy. So I teach. Both. And this spring, I will again be teaching for Central Michigan University‘s master of science in administration program. And this spring, I will be teaching something different, People and Project Administration]( This is not a personnel administration course as one normally finds in a public administration program. Rather, this is