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Sounds from Earth

The recording starts with the patter of a summer squall. Later, a drifting tone like that of a not-quite-tuned-in radio station rises and for a while drowns out the patter.

These are the sounds encountered by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft as it dove through the gap between Saturn and its innermost ring on April 26, the first of 22 such encounters before it will plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere in September. What Cassini did not detect were many of the collisions of dust particles hitting the spacecraft as it passed through the plane of the rings. “You can hear a couple of clicks,” said William S. Kurth, a research scientist at the University of Iowa who is the principal investigator for Cassini’s radio and plasma science instrument.

Recording dust hits

Yacht on the seaThe few dust hits that were recorded sounded like the small pops caused by dust on a LP record, he said. What he had expected was something more like the din of “driving through Iowa in a hailstorm,” Dr. Kurth said.

Since Cassini had not passed through this region before, scientists and engineers did not know for certain what it would encounter. Cassini would be traveling at more than 70,000 miles per hour as it passed within 2,000 miles of the cloud tops, and a chance hit with a sand grain could be trouble.

The analysis indicated that the chances of such a collision were slim, but still risky enough that mission managers did not send Cassini here until the mission’s final months. As a better-safe-than-sorry precaution, the spacecraft was pointed with its big radio dish facing forward, like a shield.

Not only was there nothing catastrophic, there was hardly anything at all.

The few clicking sounds were generated by dust the size of cigarette smoke particles about a micron, or one-25,000th of an inch, in diameter. To be clear: Cassini did not actually hear any sounds. It is, after all, flying through space where there is no air and thus no vibrating air molecules to convey sound waves. But space is full of radio waves, recorded by Dr. Kurth’s instrument, and those waves, just like the ones bouncing through the Earth’s atmosphere to broadcast the songs of Bruno Mars, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, can be converted into audible sounds.

Bottom line

Dr. Kurth said the background patter was likely oscillations of charged particles in the upper part of Saturn’s ionosphere where atoms are broken apart by solar and cosmic radiation. The louder tones were almost certainly “whistler mode emissions” when the charged particles oscillate in unison.

Swimming beneath the ocean

Swimming hundreds of feet beneath the ocean’s surface in many parts of the world are prolific architects called giant larvaceans. These zooplankton are not particularly giant themselves (they resemble tadpoles and are about the size of a pinkie finger), but every day, they construct one or more spacious “houses” that can exceed three feet in length.

The houses are transparent mucus structures that encase the creatures inside. Giant larvaceans beat their tails to pump seawater through these structures, which filter tiny bits of dead or drifting organic matter for the animals to eat. When their filters get clogged, the larvaceans abandon ship and construct a new house.

Laden with debris

Laden with debris from the water column, old houses rapidly sink to the seafloor. In a study published in Science Advances on Wednesday, scientists near California’s Monterey Bay have found that, through this process, giant larvaceans can filter all of the bay’s water from about 300 to 1,000 feet deep in less than two weeks, making them the fastest known zooplankton filter feeders.

Illustration of boats in a styled navy frame

In doing so, the creatures help transfer carbon that has been removed from the atmosphere.

And given their abundance in other parts of the world, these organisms likely play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle. When it comes to the flow of carbon in the ocean, “we don’t know nearly as much as we should,” said Kakani Katija, a principal engineer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the study’s lead author.

Carbon in the ocean

“If we really want to understand how the system works, we have to look at all the players involved. Giant larvaceans are one important group we need to learn more about.” In the past, other scientists have tried studying giant larvaceans in the laboratory. But these efforts always failed because the animals’ houses were too fragile to be harvested and collected specimens were never able to build houses outside the ocean.

Zooplankton

To study the zooplankton in their natural habitat, Dr. Katija and her collaborators developed a new deep-sea imaging instrument, called DeepPIV, which they paired with a remotely operated vehicle. DeepPIV projects a sheet of laser light that cuts straight through a larvacean’s mucus house.
A high-definition camera on the remotely operated vehicle can then capture the inner pumping mechanisms illuminated by the laser.

There’s video in this post

Their new technique, described in a study published on Thursday in the journal Science, promises to open new avenues of research into human prehistory and was met with excitement by geneticists and archaeologists.

“It’s a bit like discovering that you can extract gold dust from the air,”

said Adam Siepel, a population geneticist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
“An absolutely amazing and exciting paper,” added David Reich, a genetics professor at Harvard who focuses on ancient DNA.

DNA from fossil bones

Until recently, the only way to study the genes of ancient humans like the Neanderthals and their cousins, the Denisovans, was to recover DNA from fossil bones. But they are scarce and hard to find, which has greatly limited research into where early humans lived and how widely they ranged.

The only Denisovan bones and teeth that scientists have, for example, come from a single cave in Siberia.

Looking for these genetic signposts in sediment has become possible only in the last few years, with recent developments in technology, including rapid sequencing of DNA. Although DNA sticks to minerals and decayed plants in soil, scientists did not know whether it would ever be possible to fish out gene fragments that were tens of thousands of years old and buried deep among other genetic debris.

Long way

Bits of genes from ancient humans make up just a minute fraction of the DNA floating around in the natural world. But the German scientists, led by Matthias Meyer at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, have spent years developing methods to find DNA even where it seemed impossibly scarce and degraded.

“There’s been a real revolution in technology invented by this lab,” Dr. Reich said. “Matthias is kind of a wizard in pushing the envelope.”
Scientists began by retrieving DNA from ancient bones:

  1. first Neanderthals,
  2. then Denisovans.

Suprising findings

To identify the Denisovans, Svante Paabo, a geneticist at the Planck Institute and a co-author of the new paper, had only a child’s pinkie bone to work with. His group surprised the world in 2010 by reporting that it had extracted DNA from the bone, finding that it belonged to a group of humans distinct from both Neanderthals and modern humans. But that sort of analysis is limited by the availability of fossil bones.

“In a lot of cases, you can get bones, but not enough,” said Hendrik Poinar, an evolutionary geneticist at McMaster University. “If you just have one small piece of bone from one site, curators do not want you to grind it up.”

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Post with comments disabled

Their new technique, described in a study published on Thursday in the journal Science, promises to open new avenues of research into human prehistory and was met with excitement by geneticists and archaeologists.

“It’s a bit like discovering that you can extract gold dust from the air,”

said Adam Siepel, a population geneticist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
“An absolutely amazing and exciting paper,” added David Reich, a genetics professor at Harvard who focuses on ancient DNA.

DNA from fossil bones

Until recently, the only way to study the genes of ancient humans like the Neanderthals and their cousins, the Denisovans, was to recover DNA from fossil bones. But they are scarce and hard to find, which has greatly limited research into where early humans lived and how widely they ranged.

The only Denisovan bones and teeth that scientists have, for example, come from a single cave in Siberia.

Looking for these genetic signposts in sediment has become possible only in the last few years, with recent developments in technology, including rapid sequencing of DNA. Although DNA sticks to minerals and decayed plants in soil, scientists did not know whether it would ever be possible to fish out gene fragments that were tens of thousands of years old and buried deep among other genetic debris.

Long way

Bits of genes from ancient humans make up just a minute fraction of the DNA floating around in the natural world. But the German scientists, led by Matthias Meyer at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, have spent years developing methods to find DNA even where it seemed impossibly scarce and degraded.

“There’s been a real revolution in technology invented by this lab,” Dr. Reich said. “Matthias is kind of a wizard in pushing the envelope.”
Scientists began by retrieving DNA from ancient bones:

  1. first Neanderthals,
  2. then Denisovans.

Suprising findings

To identify the Denisovans, Svante Paabo, a geneticist at the Planck Institute and a co-author of the new paper, had only a child’s pinkie bone to work with. His group surprised the world in 2010 by reporting that it had extracted DNA from the bone, finding that it belonged to a group of humans distinct from both Neanderthals and modern humans. But that sort of analysis is limited by the availability of fossil bones.

“In a lot of cases, you can get bones, but not enough,” said Hendrik Poinar, an evolutionary geneticist at McMaster University. “If you just have one small piece of bone from one site, curators do not want you to grind it up.”

Comments example

Swimming hundreds of feet beneath the ocean’s surface in many parts of the world are prolific architects called giant larvaceans. These zooplankton are not particularly giant themselves (they resemble tadpoles and are about the size of a pinkie finger), but every day, they construct one or more spacious “houses” that can exceed three feet in length.

The houses are transparent mucus structures that encase the creatures inside. Giant larvaceans beat their tails to pump seawater through these structures, which filter tiny bits of dead or drifting organic matter for the animals to eat. When their filters get clogged, the larvaceans abandon ship and construct a new house.

Laden with debris

Laden with debris from the water column, old houses rapidly sink to the seafloor. In a study published in Science Advances on Wednesday, scientists near California’s Monterey Bay have found that, through this process, giant larvaceans can filter all of the bay’s water from about 300 to 1,000 feet deep in less than two weeks, making them the fastest known zooplankton filter feeders.

Waves illustration

In doing so, the creatures help transfer carbon that has been removed from the atmosphere.

And given their abundance in other parts of the world, these organisms likely play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle. When it comes to the flow of carbon in the ocean, “we don’t know nearly as much as we should,” said Kakani Katija, a principal engineer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the study’s lead author.

Carbon in the ocean

“If we really want to understand how the system works, we have to look at all the players involved. Giant larvaceans are one important group we need to learn more about.” In the past, other scientists have tried studying giant larvaceans in the laboratory. But these efforts always failed because the animals’ houses were too fragile to be harvested and collected specimens were never able to build houses outside the ocean.

Zooplankton

To study the zooplankton in their natural habitat, Dr. Katija and her collaborators developed a new deep-sea imaging instrument, called DeepPIV, which they paired with a remotely operated vehicle. DeepPIV projects a sheet of laser light that cuts straight through a larvacean’s mucus house.
A high-definition camera on the remotely operated vehicle can then capture the inner pumping mechanisms illuminated by the laser.

Formats button styles preview

Text styles

Dropcap text. Apply this format on a text paragraph. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat voltu.

H3 with Heading 1 style

Uppercase text. Duis autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit in vulputate velit esse.

Paragraph with Heading 2 style

Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, highlighted text (marker) here, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper, small text here, suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat, superscript, subscript.

Paragraph with Heading 3 style

Heading style texts can be used to force heading 1-3 display style on a different element, such as paragraph or any of HTML heading tags. Thus allows keeping the semantic markup, but styling it a bit differently.

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Style guide

Below is just about every HTML element you might want to use in your blog posts. Check the source code to see the many embedded elements within paragraphs. This is also an example of text paragraph with dropcap first letter. Simply add class="dropcap-text" on the paragraph HTML tag where you want to display the dropcap.


Heading Two

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, test link adipiscing elit. This is strong. Nullam dignissim convallis est. Quisque aliquam. This is emphasized.

Heading Three

Donec faucibus. Nunc iaculis suscipit dui. 53 = 125. Water is H2O. Nam sit amet sem. Aliquam libero nisi, imperdiet at, tincidunt nec, gravida vehicula, nisl.
The New York Times (That’s a citation).

Heading Four

Underline. Maecenas ornare tortor. Donec sed tellus eget sapien fringilla nonummy. Mauris a ante. Suspendisse quam sem, consequat at, commodo vitae, feugiat in, nunc. Morbi imperdiet augue quis tellus.

Heading Five

HTML and CSS are our tools. Mauris a ante. Suspendisse quam sem, consequat at, commodo vitae, feugiat in, nunc. Morbi imperdiet augue quis tellus.

Heading Six

Praesent mattis, massa quis luctus fermentum, turpis mi volutpat justo, eu volutpat enim diam eget metus. To copy a file type COPY filename. Dinner’s at 5:00.Let’s make that 7. This text has been struck.

No post formats, how come?

What is a post format?

A post format is used by a theme for presenting posts in a certain format and style, such as “standard”, “image”, “gallery” “audio”, “video”, “quote”, “status”, “aside”, “link” and/or a “chat” post. You can actually read thorough explanation of post formats on WordPress codex pages. (Post formats should not be confused with post types!)

There is a problem, though

Post formats styling and support is left solely for a theme you are using. And there is no standardized way of displaying post formats. So, this can change from theme to theme:

  • one theme can only distinguish post formats simply with an icon,
  • the other one goes further by displaying actual format media and/or text automatically, taken from post content,
  • another theme may even require setting up a special post custom field to display post format media,
  • yet another theme may not support all post formats, just a few of them…

This means that post formats are not very future-proof and are actually quite confusing to a lot of WordPress users to set up, and to your website visitors due to display inconsistency.

Besides, a standard post can also be any of the other post formats as well. It can have a gallery or a video, for example. Most users simply ignore post formats because of these decision complications.

Waves illustration

Why this theme doesn’t support post formats?

WebMan Design themes are built for ease of use, reducing decision pressure.

WebMan Design themes are not cluttered with redundant options that might only confuse users or create unnecessary decision pressure on them.

This theme is also not primarily a blog theme, but rather a business one, so, introducing the support for post formats is very questionable and thus it was removed to make things simpler and help you focus on the most important thing of your website: the actual content.

But, I may want to use them in the future…

Well, you can still reintroduce the post formats compatibility in your child theme.

Alternatively you may use post tags: simply tag all your (to-be-)video format posts with a “Video” tag, for example. Then, if you decide to use a theme with post formats supports in the future, you can easily convert all the posts marked with “Video” tag to a video format using WordPress posts bulk edit.

Surely, the child theme solution is preferable as it will prepare your posts much more elegantly, although it is also more technically challenging solution as you have to dive into coding a bit.

And what if I already used post formats previously?

If you used post formats previously on your WordPress website and switched to a theme that does not support them, your posts will simply display as standard posts. To retain the ability to assign a post format for any new post, you can declare the support in a child theme.

Summary

In my opinion, post formats are not suited for business websites (but may be suited for blogs). That’s why this theme does not support them to prevent user confusion.
If you still need to use post formats, declare the compatibility in a child theme.

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Study Plan Project

The current enrolment system and resources available for planning subjects in flexible degrees is difficult to use and wastes valuable student and university staff time.

Our solution: Put the enrolment system and the ability to plan together in one simple and usable environment that helps visualise the structure of the course.

The planning process! Choose a major (or dont!) and then find more possibilities from there
The planning process! Choose a major (or dont!) and then find more possibilities from there

I designed a working prototype for a ‘Study Planner’ application that would help with the enrolling and planning of subjects at university. Together with a student services team leader at a Victorian university, we surveyed people from all areas of academia to conclude that the experience of enrolling in subjects in a flexible course is tedious and involves a large learning curve.

We constructed a small survey relating to the current enrolment process for Australian Universities. The purpose of the survey was to gather views on the current system, how it could be improved and how people personally work out the structure of their degree. The questions were designed to be answered by several main parties: current or past students, university administration officers and academic staff. The reason we interviewed University staff was that they deal with students who are inquiring about enrolment or having trouble with choosing subjects.

surveyScreenShot2

Our application was designed to allow a very simple approach to enrolment, giving the user the ability to easily find out all the subjects that are possible and the planning of a major. This will also reduce the amount of time student services spend explaining the online enrolment process with students. We are still pursuing investment to fully develop and implement this application.

Once the Degree has been chosen, your customisable study plan will appear. You can either choose your major at the beginning (chemistry in this case) or have no major planned and start with a blank slate!
Once the Degree has been chosen, your customisable study plan will appear. You can either choose your major at the beginning (chemistry in this case) or have no major planned and start with a blank slate!

 

 

MUK Website

MUK – Melbourne Ukulele Kollective. A crazy fun ukulele band that I am a member of. But I think there is one major thing stopping new members from finding us. Have a look at their website.

Not responsive! Titles illegible!!
Not responsive! Titles illegible!!

The website is super old. The content hasn’t been updated for years. This gives the impression to those who are interested in possibly joining the club that the club doesn’t even exist anymore.

I remember when I was looking to get involved with Melbourne Ukulele Kollective that I checked out their website and I expected that they must have disbanded. Only until I searched them on facebook did I find that they had recent events and photos which told me that they were still going strong. On their website homepage it said that they ‘have a new practice venue at the edinburgh hotel’, but the post was from 5 years ago. So when I was rocking up the first time I had no idea if they were going to be there or not. This is extremely off-putting. Most people will see the website and feel like not pursuing it any further. We are missing out on heaps of potential interested uke people

MUKnew1

So I am making a new website which will use wordpress and be current and up-to-date. And also be responsive, because at the moment, it is almost impossible to look at it on the phone!

Transport Trevor

In 2014 I completed a subject at the University of Melbourne named Usability Engineering where we gained many UX design process skills such as Paper Prototyping and Wireframing in Axure, Persona Building and User Research, Picture Scenarios, and Usability Testing. Attached below are my reports of my first ever Usability Project. While some of the designs may be quite novice, this at least shows how I learnt and implemented the User-Centred Process. I thoroughly enjoyed this course, it sparked my passion for creating more usable products and services.

The mobile application available for public transport planning in Melbourne is frustrating and difficult to understand. Our solution was to have one simple app that would contain all the functions needed related to public transport.

TrevorLogo

 

These are our reports from the project:

Transport Trevor 1

The first report’s focus is on research of the issue and ideation. It includes :

  • User interview and research gathering
  • Rich Picture to identify all components and stakeholders of the complex issue
  • Personas
  • Journey tasks
  • Paper Prototype
  • Cognitive walkthrough

Transport Trevor 2

The final report is more focused on our prototype, usability testing and continuous optimisation. It includes:

  • Identifying key users of our service and our testing sessions
  • An improved prototype
  • User tasks and method defined for testing
  • Findings from usability testing
  • Recommendations for next steps

I created a quick video of our highlights and results from the Usability Testing Session.

Treehouse iOS Game Development

This game was made through a Treehouse iOS development online course. Space Cat is a simple arcade style game in which the user shoots down enemy mice to protect the moon. In this walkthrough I gained skills in Objective-C programming language and Sprite Kit, a 2D physics engine. My next project after this is to design my own smartphone game.

 

SpaceCat2
Mid-battle!

Treehouse is an online interactive education platform that offers courses in web, mobile and business development. Check them out here.

And here is my profile to check out all the courses I have completed!

IAESTE Website

The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) is an independent, non-profit, student run exchange organisation. It provides students in technical degrees with paid, course-related, training abroad. With over 80 member countries and exchanging over 4000 job offers each year worldwide, it is the largest organisation of its kind in the world.

IAESTE Facebook Page

I have been a member of IAESTE since 2014. My first role was as a University of Melbourne Representative in which I mainly organised information sessions and social events. I still organise a large chunk of our events but now I have also taken on the responsibility of redesigning our website!

There has been a major decline in online activity and presence with the Australian division due to the impractical and aged layout of the current website. Our monthly decreased below 50% of what they were 2 years ago. I led a team to design a new webpage that used a simple structure and clear content to appeal to our target audience of students and Australian technical companies.