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06/26/08

Permalink 01:24:48 pm, by millercommamatt, 98 words   English (US)
Categories: Meteorology

Time Lapse Cloud Video

As part of an educational project my lab group is working on here at NCSU, I've put together some time lapse videos of clouds as observed from my office in Jordan Hall. You can see an example below.

This video is from 18 May 2008. The camera is located on the fifth floor of Jordan Hall in Raleigh, NC and faces SSE.

This video shows the evolution of clouds throughout the day starting in the early morning. At the end of the video some rain moves across the area and leaves us with a nice rainbow as the sun sets.

06/25/08

Permalink 01:59:07 pm, by millercommamatt, 429 words   English (US)
Categories: Fan Fiction

Harry Potter / Firefly Crossover Fan Fiction

Those who know me well know that I'm a fan of Harry Potter fan fiction. Fan fiction is a very peculiar thing. Everyone who writes it does so for fun and as a creative outlet. However, skill is by no means equal between authors. Sadly, the majority of fan fiction is written by people who would fail sixth grade composition. Nevertheless, there are a handful of exceptional fan fiction authors out there and I'm on a continual search for more.

Fortunately, the good authors tend to band together at websites like fanficauthors.net. However, there are other good authors that can be found at other places. One of those authors goes by the name nonjon. Nonjon is a talented writer and most of his work is comedic genius. However, one of his more serious stories is entitled, Browncoat, Green Eyes, and is a crossover story between the Harry Potter universe and the Firefly universe.

A crossover story is simply a fan fiction story that combines characters and elements from two or more different fictional universes. For example, a story where Darth Vader has to match wits with the valiant crew of the USS Enterprise would be a Star Wars / Star Trek crossover.

Browncoat, Green Eyes is a very well written story that follows up two years after the end of the Firefly movie, Serenity. The author is very clever in how they incorporate elements from the Harry Potter universe into the Firefly universe and they do so in a way that is both plausible and significant to both storylines. I highly recommend Browncoat, Green Eyes to anyone who is a fan of both Harry Potter and Firefly. To get the most out of this story, I recommend that potential readers be quite familiar with the Harry Potter series through the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and with all 14 Firefly episodes as well as the movie. You can catch up on the the 14 Firefly episodes for free at Hulu.

As for nonjon's other work, I highly recommend it. It's very zany and quite hilarious. If you don't literally laugh out loud at least once a chapter, I suggest consulting a medical or psychological professional. Specifically I recommend:

A Black Comedy

The Where in the World is Harry Potter Series
Where in the World is Harry Potter?
The Untitled Cheekquel Project
You Did What!

Another author, Rorschach's Blot, has a story in the the same vein as nonjon's comedic work entitled, Larceny, Lechery, and Luna Lovegood!. It's hilarious and I also recommend it.

Good reading everyone!

06/19/08

Permalink 11:42:06 am, by millercommamatt, 120 words   English (US)
Categories: General, Meteorology

GRL Page Proofs

I got the page proofs for my GRL article yesterday. It's exciting to me because I get to see what my article will look like when it's published. The purpose of the page proofs is so I can inspect the article and make sure everything is correct now that it's formatted for publication. The total article length is seven pages mainly because they did some strange things with the figures. For instance, page 3 is just a figure. The only mistake I've seen so far is some errors with italics. Otherwise, everything looks good and it feels good to know that I'm one step away from from seeing my first peer reviewed publication in print and circulated among the scientific community.

06/13/08

Permalink 09:13:07 am, by millercommamatt, 184 words   English (US)
Categories: General, Meteorology

Atmospheric Optics

In my opinion, one of the coolest non-precipitation atmospheric phenomena are ice halos.

Ice Halos
Ice Halos

Ice Halos are caused by the scattering, reflection, and refraction of light by microscopic ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere. Depending on the size, shape, and orientation of these ice crystals in relation to the sun or other relevant light source they can create a wide variety of pillars, arcs, and bows.

A website called Atmospheric Optics does a wonderful job at describing the science behind these breathtaking phenomena and has a large gallery of beautiful photos. I highly recommend this site to anyone at all interested in rainbows, glories, arcs, and halos.

A few days ago, my office mates and I were lucky enough to see a circumhorizontal arc in the sky over our office. Hexagonal plate-shaped ice crystals in an overhead cirrus cloud created a vivid rainbow arc that spanned horizontally across the sky to the southwest of the building I work in. It was quite beautiful and it left me wishing I had my camera with me that day since that particular phenomenon is rather rare.

06/11/08

Permalink 04:40:47 pm, by millercommamatt, 166 words   English (US)
Categories: General

Violent Acres

Today, I discovered a very interesting blog-like website (the author despises being labeled a blogger) called Violent Acres. Violent Acres is written by a women known only as V. The blog consists of her rants about common courtesy, raising children, the trials and tribulations of growing up (often in a dysfunctional environment), and the depressing lack of common sense and decency in the world at large. In fact, that description is by no means all encompassing. To really see the scope of everything this blog offers, you have to read it for yourself. After all, the author is just like you, but with poor impulse control.

I strongly suggest reading everything under the most popular posts section. Highlights include:
How To Fight
It Take Two Parents to Raise a Successful, Functioning Child
How to be a Girl Bully
How the Me-Generation Ruined Modern Conversation
and more!

Warning: Violent Acres contains adult language and frank ideas that may be uncomfortable to the overly sensitive or the self-delusional.

06/10/08

Permalink 01:38:15 pm, by millercommamatt, 160 words   English (US)
Categories: General

Tuberculosis Test

I went to the Wake County Health Department to get a tuberculosis skin test this morning. I have to have a recent one in order to complete the health paperwork I have to have on file with NOAA for the VOCALS research cruise I'm going on in October.

The test went as it usually does. The friendly nurse injected the PPD solution under my skin and I was on my way. However, I had to wait quite a while in the waiting area to get my test after I checked in at the immunization clinic. The health department immunization clinic was very busy with Mexican families getting their children immunized and teenagers getting the boosters that are required for college. Anyway, if everything goes well, I'll go back to the health department on Thursday were a nurse will verify my negative result and I'll be able to send off all the health information I need to for my research cruise.

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06/03/08

Permalink 02:09:44 pm, by millercommamatt, 107 words   English (US)
Categories: General, Wine

First Anniversary Dinner

Christina and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary yesterday. To mark the occasion, I cooked a pretty fancy dinner. The appetizer course was homemade potato chips with freshly made aioli (garlic mayonnaise). As an entrée I braised lamb shanks with caramelized onions and shallots served over wilted red chard and shitake mushrooms. For desert I made chocolate soufflés with white chocolate whipped cream. We shared a rather disappointing bottle of 2000 Château de Cruzeau from Bordeaux. The wine was thin and somewhat tart. Nevertheless, despite the wine, I think the meal was a success and the soufflés were sublime. I'll be making those again.

05/30/08

Permalink 03:01:16 pm, by millercommamatt, 119 words   English (US)
Categories: General, Meteorology

I'm Back from the 2008 AGU Joint Assembly

I'm back in the office today. I've been in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the 2008 AGU Joint Assembly. I gave a talk outlining a false positive precipitation indication in the passive microwave dataset from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite and the potential to use passive microwave sensors to classify low clouds based on thickness.

The talk seemed to be well received. I always take it as a good sign when people say "good talk" before asking questions at the end of your presentation. I also received some good feedback and some useful suggestions to aid and direct my research. From the perspective of wanting to communicating research results and acquire useful feedback, I think the trip was a success.

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