Monday, March 22, 2010

Traveling, again

I took a train across the Alps today, and was reminded, yet again, how much happier I am when surrounded by mountains. While I love my current job, I really do hope that whatever I find to do when this contract ends in December is located in a mountainous area. There is just something about topography which makes me happy. When the topography comes complete with glacially-sculpted valleys, craggy peaks and clearly visible fold and fault structures it is even better. Even though today was a cloudy day, and the southern Alps were barely visible through the lower parts of the clouds, still I spent most of the trip looking out the window (save for the times we were in tunnels, of course—they don’t light those up enough to see the rock-walls, and, I suspect we were going too fast to get a good look at the tunnel-walls even had they been lit up.) The clouds over the northern Alps were nice and high, so my views were clear. The central portion, where there is still snow on the ground was, by far, my favorite part. I so love snow, and miss living places where it stays on the ground after falling.
I am now settled into a hotel room in Zurich, where I will live for the next four days while I attend a scientific writing workshop. It is designed to assist us with every step of the process, from creating a proposal to publication. I am really looking forward to it. While I’m comfortable with the skills required to craft a sentence that says what I meant for it to say, I’m not so comfortable with the process of deciding what parts of an accumulated data set are worth sharing with a general audience—how much is too much, or enough, or not enough? When one knows the flaws in the data, is it still ok to draw some conclusions from it? These are the issues I hope they address this week. However, other students will likely have different needs. It will be interesting to see how it all comes together.

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