Archives for the month of: April, 2010

With the recent release of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx, repository mirrors have been slowly chugging through the onslaught of requests. Here are two images I captured from the Argonne National Laboratory’s mirror just a few moments ago (20:50 local time, or 01:50 UTC). The top image plots IPv4 traffic while the bottom image shows IPv6 traffic. You can clearly see the massive spike in traffic as the Ubuntu release went public.

ANL IPv4 Traffic on 2010-04-29
Argonne National Laboratory IPv6 traffic 2010-04-29

In this kind of bum-rush, trying to update, upgrade, or otherwise work from these servers takes a painfully ridiculous amount of time. One way to alleviate this pain is to encourage downloaders to use torrent files. While an options for users who don’t need to download an entire distro release is to let Ubuntu select the best server for you. This is extremely easy for anyone to do, requiring no command line work, yet sadly, few people are aware of how to do this.

Screenshot demonstrating how to select your optimal Ubuntu software server.

Begin by going into SystemAdministrationSoftware Sources. Now select the menu beside Download from: and choose Other…. A new window will pop-up and from here, press the Select Best Server button. It will then take a few minutes to go about pinging various download servers until finally one server will be selected for you and you can press Choose Server and you’re done.

Your mileage may vary, but every little bit helps.


These are a couple classic critter videos from Youtube. Here is a great clip from David Gallo’s TED talk: There is also a great video of an octopus pushing itself into a beer bottle but I can’t find that clip.

Pistol shrimp use cavitation to stun prey. It’s extremely cool: A slightly more academic video if your not too crazy about gun sound-effects:

I jumped the gun and launched my blog before writing up a manifesto, or more accurately, a fuzzy idea of what this is all about. Hopefully this post will serve that purpose.

To be honest, I’m not yet sure what direction I want this blog to take. Part of it is a writing exercise for my own benefits. Part of it is a way for me to share the odd little clips and blips that catch my fancy. And yet, another part of it is a way for me to share what I’ve learned from my projects and my work. There are very few blogs out there written by scientists who share (in nerdy detail) how they go about tinkering and conducting research. I would like to think that I strive for a certain transparency and openness, both in my own work, and in the tools that I use. So, I suppose you might say that this is partially an experiment in open research, not only to inform a larger public, but also share and collaborate with my peers.

Some posts I would like to make:

  • Why I enjoy pain and prefer using Ubuntu (linux) for my work
  • Ideas on the role of Open Source in science (I would also like to tackle scientific journals, but that is going to be a big fish to bring in)
  • Gross details about the project I’m working on now. It’s pilot project using empirical data on urban heat islands and snow. The data set is huge (for a project of this size). Mostly patched together with Python and R.
  • Various other little things

I want this to be a resource to those noobies who’ve realized that they have a similar curiosity about the world and a passion for research. But, I’ll also be the first to admit that I’m approaching this as a naive, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed young researcher. It may be interesting to trace how these ideas and interests change with age and experience.

It would be great to hear what you, oh-wise-reader, have to say about this. I love input.

Oh, and btw. I’ve changed the license of the blog to CC 3.0 BY-SA.

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