Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Additions to the pile: Weeks of 23 and 30 July 2007

Catching up on the literature after a week away.

Lavraud, B., J. E. Borovsky, A. J. Ridley, E. W. Pogue, M. F. Thomsen, H. Rème, A. N. Fazakerley, and E. A. Lucek (2007), Strong bulk plasma acceleration in Earth's magnetosheath: A magnetic slingshot effect?, GRL 34, L14102.

Phan, T. D., G. Paschmann, C. Twitty, F. S. Mozer, J. T. Gosling, J. P. Eastwood, M. Øieroset, H. Rème, and E. A. Lucek (2007), Evidence for magnetic reconnection initiated in the magnetosheath, GRL 34, L14104.

Schwadron, N. A., and D. J. McComas (2007), Modulation of anomalous and galactic cosmic rays beyond the termination shock, GRL 34, L14105.

Tokunaga, T., H. Kohta, A. Yoshikawa, T. Uozumi, and K. Yumoto (2007), Global features of Pi 2 pulsations obtained by independent component analysis, GRL 34, L14106.

Liou, K. (2007), Large, abrupt pressure decreases as a substorm onset trigger, GRL 34, L14107.

André, N., A. M. Persoon, J. Goldstein, J. L. Burch, P. Louarn, G. R. Lewis, A. M. Rymer, A. J. Coates, W. S. Kurth, E. C. Sittler, M. F. Thomsen, F. J. Crary, M. K. Dougherty, D. A. Gurnett, and D. T. Young (2007), Magnetic signatures of plasma-depleted flux tubes in the Saturnian inner magnetosphere, GRL 34, L14108.

Hellinger, P., P. Trávniček, B. Lembège, and P. Savoini (2007), Emission of nonlinear whistler waves at the front of perpendicular supercritical shocks: Hybrid versus full particle simulations, GRL 34, L14109.

Gary, S. P., and S. Saito (2007), Broadening of solar wind strahl pitch-angles by the electron/electron instability: Particle-in-cell simulations, GRL 34, L14111.

Chen, M. W., C.-P. Wang, M. Schultz, and L. R. Lyons (2007), Solar-wind influence on MLT dependence of plasma sheet conditions and their effects on storm time ring current formation, GRL 34, L14112.

Kawano, H., and D.-H. Lee (2007), Gradient methods applied to simulated ULF data: The effects of the ionospheric damping factor, JGR 112, A07212.

Gjerloev, J. W., R. A. Hoffman, J. B. Sigwarth, and L. A. Frank (2007), Statistical description of the bulge-type auroral substorm in the far ultraviolet, JGR 112, A07213.

Hu, Y. Q., X. C. Guo, and C. Wang (2007), On the ionospheric and reconnection potentials of the earth: Results from global MHD simulations, JGR 112, A07215.

Toivanen, P. K., Deformation method for electromagnetic magnetospheric fields: 2. Application to the earth's magnetosphere, JGR 112, A07216. Presumably the companion paper to Toivanen's paper earlier this month.

Liu, Y. C.-M., M. A. Lee, H. Kucharek, and B. Miao (2007), Ion thermalization and wave excitation downstream of Earth's bow shock: A theory for Cluster observations of He2+ acceleration, JGR 112, A07217.

Matsui, H., P. A. Puhl-Quinn, R. B. Torbert, W. Baumjohann, C. J. Farrugia, C. G. Mouikis, E. A. Lucek, P. M. E. Décréau, and G. Paschmann (2007), JGR 112, A07218.

Thesis defense yesterday

Congratulations to Dr. Alexander Vapirev.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday music mix: Summer

I'll be on vacation next week, so (finally) I can do my summer theme list.

Peter Gabriel -- The Rhythm Of The Heat
Kings of Convenience -- Summer On The Westhill
Journey -- Stone In Love
Modest Mussorgsky -- Tuileries (from Pictures at an Exhibition)
ABBA -- Summer Night City
The Beatles -- Sun King
Michelle Shocked -- V.F.D.
Enya -- Caribbean Blue
Don Henley -- The Boys Of Summer
Cat Stevens -- Silent Sunlight

Triple 2007s

If I've timed this right, the timestamp will be (in European format) 20-07-2007 20:07.

We'll get one of these a year until 2012, then not until 2101.

The joy (ha!) of NSPIRES

My Geospace proposal went out the door this morning.

Proposing to NASA is a frustrating process. Requirements and formats change annually, and we have to use the user-hostile (as well as Mac-hostile) NSPIRES system. We can also use grants.gov (which I have not yet done), but reports are that grants.gov is even worse than NSPIRES.

An example of the frustrations of NSPIRES: In our budgets, we have to put in "Faciltites and Administrative" (a.k.a. overhead) costs. NSPIRES asks for the cognizant federal official for F&A rates--which must be put in separately in each year of the budget. Never mind that the cognizant official is the same for everybody at a given institution and does not (usually) change during the middle of a proposal preparation round. If the designers had thought for even one minute, they could have put in a lookup function for that, rather than make us supply that information repeatedly in a given proposal. There are also all kinds of hidden buttons and whatnot which make NSPIRES so user hostile.

NSPIRES is a later generation system. It came on line about three years ago to replace an earlier clunky system which had the ironically appropriate name SYS-EYFUS. (If you are unfamiliar with Greek mythology, click the link to find out why the name is appropriate.) But NSF had already developed the much more user-friendly Fastlane system. Fastlane was designed with its end users in mind, and it works much more effectively than NSPIRES.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


The geniuses who "designed" our air conditioning "system" have struck again.

Sunday afternoon there was a series of thunderstorms in the area. Nothing severe hit Durham, although Rochester was hit with a microburst.

Nonetheless, Sunday's storms are being blamed for toasting a relay in the chiller plant. As a result, we have no air conditioning until further notice. They don't know when a full-fledged replacement transformer will come in, so they are promising that they will try to get something rigged up--but that will probably not happen before the middle of next week.

Air conditioning system failures have long been an annual (or more often) occurrence here, but this is absurd. Being honest-to-goodness rocket scientists (yes, we build space flight hardware here), we know better than to design systems with easily avoidable single point failure modes, especially in critical components. This is exactly what our B&G people are claiming we have here: one component failed, supposedly during a non-severe thunderstorm (not exactly a rarity in the summer), and we have to sweat it out for more than a week.

I want to hope that the university didn't pay a lot for this system--after all, air conditioning systems have been around for decades--but I'm sure they paid too much.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Additions to the pile: Week of 16 July 2007

A busy week on the publication front, including a comment-reply exchange and a preprint on which my name is listed:

Golovchanskaya, I. V. (2007), On the seasonal variation of electric and magnetic turbulence at high latitudes, GRL 34, L13103.

Karimabadi, H., W. Daughton, and J. Scudder (2007), Multi-scale structure of the electron diffusion region, GRL 34, L13104.

Singh, N. (2007), Interpretation of solar wind reconnection exhaust in terms of kinetic Alfvén wave group-velocity cones, GRL 34, L13106.

Lukianova, R. (2007), Comment on "Unified PCN and PCS indices: Method of calculation, physical sense, and dependence on IMF azimuthal and northward components" by O. Troshichev, A. Janzhura, and P. Stauning, JGR 112, A07204. The original paper is JGR 111, A05208 (2006), and these authors reply at JGR 112, A07205 (2007). (Ed. note: It's never a good sign when a comment runs to 8 journal pages.)

Singh, N. (2007), Group velocity cones in diverging magnetic reconnection structures, JGR 112, A07209.

Liu, W. W. (2007), Polar cap potential saturation: An energy conservation perspective, JGR 112, A07210.

Rodger, C. J., M. A. Cliverd, D. Nunn, P. T. Verronen, J. Bortnik, and E. Turunen (2007), Storm time, short-lived bursts of relativistic electron precipitation detected by subionospheric radio wave propagation, JGR 112, A07301.

Yao, Y., K. Seki, Y. Miyoshi, J. P. McFadden, E. J. Lund, and C. W. Carlson (2007), Effect of solar wind variation on low-energy O+ populations in the magnetosphere during geomagnetic storms: FAST observations, JGR, to be submitted.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday music mix: Proposal crunch time

NASA's Geospace proposals are due in a week, and I'm trying to write one. So this week's theme is about money.

Dire Straits -- Money For Nothing
The Beatles -- You Never Give Me Your Money
John Dowland -- Fine Knacks For Ladies
Alan Parsons Project -- May Be A Price To Pay
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young -- Find The Cost Of Freedom
Pink Floyd -- Money
ABBA -- The Winner Takes It All
Paul Simon -- Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
Modest Mussorgsky -- Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle (from Pictures at an Exhibition)
Midnight Oil -- Blue Sky Mine

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

You're giving away what?

I got an invitation in the mail, allegedly from The Donald, to a seminar being given by his son Eric in Portland on 27 July. The invitation waives the "suggested tuition fee" of $149 and claims that I would "learn what others have paid over $20,000 to learn."

I smell a scam. People just don't give away $20K of information like that to strangers. Especially when they involve "government approved investments guaranteeing 9.6% to 32% return." I'm no expert on investments, but I didn't just fall off a turnip truck, either.

One other oddity. The return address on the envelope gives an address in DC (zip code 20036), but the postmark gives only the zip code 84199, which is in Salt Lake City.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Additions to the pile: Week of 9 July 2007

Three papers and a preprint in the last week:

Carlson, H. C. (2007), Role of neutral atmospheric dynamics in cusp density and ionospheric patch formation, GRL 34, L13101.

Katoh, Y., and Y. Omura (2007), Relativistic particle acceleration in the process of whistler-mode chorus, GRL 34, L13102.

Šafránková, J., Z. Němeček, L. Přech, J. Ṧimůnek, D. Sibeck, and J.-A. Sauvaud (2007), Variations of the flank LLBL thickness as response to the solar wind dynamic pressure and IMF orientation, JGR 112, A07201.

Hwang, K.-J., R. E. Ergun, L. Andersson, D. L. Newman, and C. W. Carlson (2007), Test particle simulations of the effect of moving DLs on ion outflow in the auroral downward current region, JGR, to be submitted.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Friday music mix: Happy Birthday, USA

Ten songs about the promise and dream (and reality) of America:

The Star Spangled Banner
Bruce Springsteen -- Born To Run
Aaron Copland -- Lincoln Portrait
Simon and Garfunkel -- America
Harry Chapin -- W.O.L.D.
America -- A Horse With No Name
Supertramp -- Breakfast In America
Sting -- Englishman In New York
Bob Seger -- Hollywood Nights
Paul Simon -- American Tune

Monday, July 2, 2007

Additions to the pile: Week of 2 july 2007

Three more papers on the pile:

Zong, Q.-G., X.-Z. Zhou, X. Li, P. Song, S. Y. Fu, D. N. Baker, Z. Y. Pu, T. A. Fritz, P. Daly, A. Balogh, and H. Rème (2007), Ultralow forequency modulation of energetic particles in the dayside magnetosphere, GRL 34, L12105.

Morioka, A., Y. Miyoshi, F. Tsuchiya, H. Misawa, T. Sakanoi, K. Yumoto, R. R. Anderson, J. D. Menietti, and E. F. Donovan (2007), Dual structure of auroral acceleration regions at substorm onsets as derived from auroral kilometric radiation spectra, JGR 112, A06245.

Woodfield, E. E., M. W. Dunlop, R. Holme, J. A. Davies, and M. A. Hapgood (2007), A comparison of Cluster magnetic data with the Tsyganenko 2001 model, JGR 112, A06248.