May 13, 2009

Science Makes Me Want Things

I'm back in SF to do my research on weed removal projects and recovery in urban habitat fragments this summer. Yes, I'm serious. And yes, I'm excited. Sure, some of my coursemates are in big wildernesses in Kenya, Brazil, or Ecuador, but I love my urban wildlands. And there is some pretty amazing stuff happening in SF. For example, the endangered Mission Blue Butterfly was recently re-introduced to one of the parks that I worked in last year. I pulled invasive French broom in Mission Blue habitat to ensure the persistence of native plants, such as the silver lupine (larval food plant for the Mission Blue). This year I'm mapping French broom and Cape ivy in several parks. It's all connected, I swear.

But to the point: Science makes me want things. I've had some minor disappointments on the equipment front in SF. And suddenly I want a very fancy GPS device. I'd like a clinometer. I'm keen to have a copy of Windows for Mac as well as ArcInfo. While I'm having this stuff fantasy, I'll toss in some new panniers and a hat. Oh, and paint for my room - wait, that's got nothing to do with science.

Yeah, I want fancy gadgets and kit. I can't afford that stuff, and I don't need them as an individual. But I want them. I've put in a request at San Francisco State (my alma mater) to see if I can borrow a GPS and clinometer. I have access to ArcView with the Natural Areas Program. But I need ArcInfo if I'm going to generate random plots so I'll be reverting to my UCL remote login for some functions. That's annoying and slow. Luckily I won't need it much.

It's unfortunate that conservation is so stinkin' costly. I'm moving into consultancy with my new skills and so getting some of this equipment or software is going to become necessary. I've got to find a way to do it affordably and responsibly. I started looking at GPS devices on Ebay and almost fell out of my chair when I read some of the prices. ArcInfo is so expensive that they won't even list the price online. You have to call to get it. Well, maybe it's because depending on your use of it the price changes. I don't know.

On the domestic front, I've moved back into my place. I want to paint my room so about 4 hours after I got home I went to the hardware store and bought a mixed paint reject. It was a deep red. I want a light color so I added white. How I didn't know that it would turn out to look like pepto bismal is beyond me. This reminds me that I have a Freecycle post to write. Someone painting a nursery is going to be stoked.


Beth! said...

Hey - maybe I can help you with some of this stuff. I have a can of light green paint I could give you (not sure how much is in the can - maybe half a gallon?). I have a Windows Service Pack 2 install disc for putting on Mac if you have Bootcamp running. There are some clever ways to get GPS coordinates/info based on your mobile phone - we can discuss when I'm in your neck of the woods soon :)

Kiera James said...

I can for sure help u out with windows! Email me bout it!

AK said...

Hi, I've been following your blog for sometime and have thoroughly enjoyed it :)

I just wanted to post to ask if you have tried the geocashing communities, as they all have GPS and I am sure some will have a spare one collecting dust! Also, they are very knowledgeable on how to implement GPS using other devices.

Hope this helps :)

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