I wasn't going to do the meme in which we post the first sentence of the first post of each month. I only started blogging in June, after all. But it does seem like a good way to reflect about the year, so here it is:
- June: NPR has had this series, off and on, in which listeners record interesting sounds and then explain them on the air. (The Sound of Mylonites)
- July: As students walked into my Earth Systems Science class on the first day of fall semester, 2005, they saw a satellite image I had just grabbed from NOAA’s website: Hurricane Katrina, aimed straight at New Orleans. (book rec: Storm World by Chris Mooney)
- August: Chris Rowan had a very thought-provoking post a couple days ago based on a suggestion by Propter Doc: that all scientific journal articles should include (possibly on the web, rather than in a print version) a lay statement written by the authors of the journal article. (summaries for non-scientists: what should they contain?)
- September: I grew up on the second-most-polluted lake in the state of Maine. (of lakes and rocks (or why I do what I do))
- October: I found the pink caldera on the China/North Korean border, so it's my turn to post something. (Where on (Google) Earth #56)
- November: I just got back from a two-day microprobe marathon - two days on what's essentially a scanning electron microscope that can do chemical analyses of very small crystals. (Teeny-tiny partial melt)
- December: My intro students turned in their papers for my new, kind-of-experimental, revised group project yesterday. (Teaching: a comment I like to hear)
I find the end of December an odd time for musing about endings and beginnings. The winter solstice makes me want to hibernate until the days get longer, and feels like a time for waiting, rather than a time for making changes. The equinoxes feel more like a time of change to me - the autumn equinox, in particular, feels like a time for new beginnings. (Maybe that's the result of the academic cycle, though, rather than the cycle of seasons.)
But today's the day that our year ends, so... patterns and resolutions:
- This blog has changed from me talking to myself about things I saw or things I read, to me talking to other people. It's nice to be part of a community, but I would like to go back to writing about odd observations more often.
- As the fall semester progressed, I talked about teaching more and more. Perhaps that's normal, given that I was teaching four courses and three labs.
- It's been a while since I've played Where on (Google) Earth.
- I can't decide which rules to follow for capitalizing post titles. GSA rules, in which only the first letter is capitalized? The rule of titles I learned as a kid, in which all nouns and verbs are capitalized? The Lazy Internet Rule, in which nothing is capitalized unless I want to draw attention to it? I can't figure out what looks best on the blog, and what looks best on the geoblogosphere widget that I haven't figured out how to install.
- I want to do more blogging about peer-reviewed research. (Once a month seems like a good goal - it would make me set aside time to read articles, even during the busy time of the semester.) I love teaching, but it's easy to miss what's new in a discipline when I've got so many classes, and I don't want to become one of those greying professors whose classes forever reflect the ideas that were current when they were in graduate school.
- I'm also going to try to post some kind of photo every month, and talk about what I see. I've got a bunch of digital photos that I took last year, but never got around to blogging about them - perhaps they can fill the time until I can go outside. (Or I can post pictures of deformation in Silly Putty or chocolate chip cookies, for that matter.)
- And there are things that I started talking about last year - things that need finishing. I haven't looked at the pre- and post-tests I gave before showing An Inconvenient Truth, for instance, so I don't know whether the movie was useful at all.