Thursday, May 31, 2007

New NSF proposal guidelines

Our Office of Sponsored Research and our institute business office really want us to know about this, because they have sent this message out several times. New preparation guidelines for NSF proposals go into effect tomorrow.

Only the following typefaces will be acceptable (note that Times New Roman is not among them): Arial or Helvetica for sans-serif fonts, Palatino or Georgia for serif fonts, or Computer Modern for LaTeX users. A Symbol font may be used for Greek letters and other special math characters (such fonts are obsolete on platforms that support Unicode character sets, which MacOS 10.4 does). Font size must be 10 points or larger. Type density is limited to 15 characters per inch and 6 lines per vertical inch.

One of the e-mails notes reports of shrinkage during the PDF conversion process, and therefore recommends a minimum of 11 point type.

The type density and line spacing are simple to do. In the PostScript era, one inch is 72 points. (Other definitions have been used: Donald Knuth, in The TeXbook, gives 72.27 points to the inch.) As long as you do not choose a condensed version of your font, the 15 characters per inch should take care of itself if you meet the 10 point requirement. Likewise, setting your interline spacing to at least 12 points (13 if you are worried about shrinkage) will take care of the 6 lines per inch requirement.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

All your scientist are belong to us

Another scientist has joined our group: Larry Kepko, formerly of Boston University.

Additions to the pile: Week of 28 May 2007

One paper and one correction (oops!) this week:

Chaston, C. C., A. J. Hull, J. W. Bonnell, C. W. Carlson, R. E. Ergun, R. J. Strangeway, and J. P. McFadden (2007), Large parallel electric fields, currents, and density cavities in dispersive Alfvén waves above the aurora, JGR 112, A05215.

The corrected paper (which I seem to have missed the first time around) was Yamamoto, T. (2006), A theoretical model for the distribution of latitudinal extents of field-aligned electron acceleration, JGR 111, A11217.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday music mix: Star Wars

Thirty years ago today, the original Star Wars (now known as Episode IV: A New Hope) was released. Among the many innovations was a soundtrack consisting largely of epic concert hall music written specifically for the movie. There had been other examples of classical music used in film (the most famous being Rossini's William Tell Overture for The Lone Ranger and Richard Strauss's Also sprach Zarathustra for 2001: A Space Odyssey). There had been original scores of orchestral pops music (e.g., Rocky). But the score by John Williams introduced what many would consider serious original classical music to films. So this week's selections are taken from the soundtracks to five of the six movies (I do not own the soundtrack to Episode II: Attack of the Clones).

Episode I: The Phantom Menace: Duel of the Fates; Qui-Gon's Noble End; The High Council Meeting and Qui-Gon's Funeral
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: Anakin's Dark Deeds
Episode IV: A New Hope: Imperial Attack; Cantina Band; The Trash Compactor; The Throne Room/End Title
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back: The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme)
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi: Emperor's Throne Room

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

On finding a "lost" classic

Whenever a reviewer complains that the authors of a paper have failed to cite one or more relevant references, the reviewer is almost certainly right. There are so many papers published that the probability of overlooking a relevant paper approaches 1.

I just encountered such a "lost" classic. I knew that the authors of the paper had done this work, which is relevant to my research, and I have seen the key figure many times, but I discovered to my surprise that I have never actually read the paper in question:

Newell, P. T., and C.-I. Meng (1992), Mapping the dayside ionosphere to the magnetosphere according to particle precipitation characteristics, GRL 19, 609.

I've added it to the pile.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Additions to the pile: Week of 21 May 2007

Papers of interest in AGU journals last week:

Millan, R. M., R. P. Lin, D. M. Smith, and M. P. McCarthy (2007), Observation of relativistic electron precipitation during a rapid decrease of trapped relativistic electron flux, GRL 34, L10101.

Volwerk, M., K.-H. Glassmeier, R. Nakamura, T. Takada, W. Baumjohann, B. Klecker, H. Rème, T. L. Zhang, E. Lucek, and C. M. Carr (2007), Flow burst-induced Kelvin-Helmholtz waves in the terrestrial magnetotail, GRL 34, L10102.

Vapirev, A. E., and V. K. Jordanova (2007), Calcualtion of bounce-averaged velocities and hydrogen densities for a storm-time magnetic field, GRL 34, L10103.

Jacobsen, S., F. M. Neubauer, J. Saur, and N. Schilling (2007), Io's nonlinear MHD-wave field in the heterogeneous Jovian magnetosphere, GRL 34, L10202.

Hsu, T.-S., and R. L. McPherron (2007), A statistical study of the relation of Pi 2 and plasma flows in the tail, JGR 112, A05209.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday music mix: Celebration!

It's Commencement Weekend here, so let the celebrating begin!

E. Power Biggs -- Triumphal March (Karg-Elert)
The Guo Brothers -- Dancing and Singing in the Village
Gustav Holst -- Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity (from The Planets)
Wayne and Shuster -- Happy Birthday to Us (Canadian Centennial Song)
Andrew Kazdin -- Prelude and Happy Dance
Cat Stevens -- If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out
Alexander Borodin -- Polovtsian Dances
Fleetwood Mac -- Don't Stop
Chicago -- Beginnings
John Williams -- The Throne Room/End Title (from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope soundtrack)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Recent additions to the pile

Some articles of interest from the last few weeks:

Araneda, J. A., E. Marsch, and A. F. Viñas (2007), Collisionless damping of parametrically unstable Alfvén waves, JGR 112, A04104.

Hasegawa, H., B. U. Ö. Sonnerup, M. Fujimoto, Y. Saito, and T. Mukai (2007), Recovery of streamlines in the flank low-latitude boundary layer, JGR 112, A04213.

Watt, C. E. J., and R. Rankin (2007), Electron acceleration due to inertial Alfvé waves in a non-Maxwellian plasma, JGR 112, A04214.

Morley, S. K., and M. P. Freeman (2007), On the association between northward turnings of the interplanetary magnetic field and substorm onsets, GRL 34, L08104.

Vaivads, A., O. Santolík, G. Stenberg, M. André, C. J. Owen, P. Canu, and M. Dunlop (2007), Source of whistler emissions at the dayside magnetopause, GRL 34, L09106.

Arridge, C. S., C. T. Russell, K. K. Khurana, N. Achilleos, N. André, A. M. Rymer, M. K. Dogherty, and A. J. Coates (2007), Mass of Saturn's magnetodisc: Cassini observations, GRL 34, L09108.

Divin, A. V., M. I. Sitnov, M. Swisdak, and J. F. Drake (2007), Reconnection onset in the magnetotail: Particle simulations with open boundary conditions, GRL 34, L09109.