Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Collaboration: it's what makes science work

I've been gathering a ton of data on the Emriver color-coded plastic media - I've got another batch of specific gravity measurements that I'll post either today or tomorrow, and an update on using image processing software to analyze time lapse photos. But I came home after seeing a movie with my wife and some friends to find that Steve Gough had posted a shout-out with some very kind things to say about my analyses of their coded media.

I must say - their four years of R&D really shows through. Every time I look at this stuff, I notice that its characteristics are really appropriate for these small to medium scale stream systems. It's got the right amount of fine material to hold valley walls together until oversteepening due to lateral stream erosion causes bank collapse, but not so much fine material that you find it clinging to everything or that it's all fallen through the sediment net in the reservoir and gummed up the pump filter. The coarse and medium fraction is large enough to show up at reasonable time-lapse photo distances.

And the colors. Don't forget the colors. Steve mentioned my frequency distribution chart was "Tuftonian." Which it was, but that was in large part due to LRRD's choice of colors to begin with. They are easy on the eyes, show up well in person and in photographs, and look gorgeous moving around in the stream table. So Thanks Steve, Alee, Lily, Meriam, Christina, Nathan, and Jim for the tip of the hat. I'm grateful that there are people like you working on making geoscience education easier for all of us. I feel like I've got a new car - I'm almost done driving this thing the required break-in distance and am ready to get onto the highway and give it some gas to see what this thing can really do.

And I realize that for many of us, many of the really high-end tools (like the Em4, or even the color-coded media, or just the basic Em2) are beyond the means for so many deserving and qualified outreach and education professionals. One of my goals is to bring a little bit of that to you and show how you can accomplish many of the same features with a reduced budget. If you haven't yet emailed LRRD and at least talked to them about what they might be able to do for you, please do. They're very busy, but they've bent over backwards to help me and I'm sure they'd do the same for you. Or you can check in with me, or any of the 100+ owners of their stream tables around the world.

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