Python wrappers for the Generic Mapping Tools on the way

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An interface for interoperability between the Generic Mapping Tools (GMT), a tool used by geophysicists to create research-quality figures, and Matlab has recently been developed that allows GMT users to interact with Matlab and Matlab users to make use of GMT.

GMT wrappers are currently also being developed for the Python programming language, particularly to be used in the IPython/Jupyter notebook due to an initiative by Leonardo Uieda (and his professor Paul Wessel) whose Postdoc is being funded by the NSF. You can watch his talk at the SciPy 2017 conference below.

Some of the mentioned advantages to which I attest  include:

  • Begin and End statements are introduced to eliminate the need to pipe postscript results into a file in each line of code being written. This also eliminates the need to use the -K and -O flags which keep the file open and updates it, respectively. The -K and -O flags are a major confusion for newcomers to GMT.
  • temporary files are created under the /tmp directory, in Linux, so they will automatically be cleaned once the jupyter notebook is closed or the operating system is rebooted. Moreover, every project will have its own  directory so files from different projects don’t get mixed up.
  • GMT documentation straight in the Jupyter notebook
  • Matplotlib- & Basemap-like behaviour, particularly inline viewing of figures, using gmt.show()
  • Pythonic aliases make the compact GMT flags

To contribute: github.com/GenericMappingTools

Reference

Cook, T. (2017), A powerful new tool for research, Eos, 98, https://doi.org/10.1029/2017EO077489. Published on 17 July 2017.

Converting Greenhouse Gases to Rocks

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One of the ways scientists are attempting to reduce greenhouse gases is to inject these gases into the ground. Specifically, they are testing injecting them, into basalt which is type of igneous rocks usually forming the first (rock) layer (sandwiched between the sedimentary & gabbro layers) in the oceanic crust basalt and in volcanic regions.

The above video features Iceland and its geothermal plants. Iceland is a heaven for geothermal energy as it lies along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) (i.e. where Mid-Atlantic ocean floor is spreading apart in opposite directions forming a ridge). Most notably Iceland lies along the V-Shaped Reykjavik ridge (figure below; Google maps) which is part of the Norther MAR.

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Radio interference around & Salinity in the Mediterranean

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When ESA’s SMOS satellite was placed in orbit in 2009, it transpired that its signal was being interrupted by numerous illegal transmitters around the world. However, by working with national frequency protection authorities, 75% of these transmitters have now been shut down. Nevertheless, this is a laborious process and some regions, such as the Libyan coast and the eastern Mediterranean Sea, remain contaminated where mitigation strategies have not yet been successful. Source: ESA

Thanks to new processing techniques, information from ESA’s SMOS mission can be used to map salinity in the surface waters of the Mediterranean Sea. For example, daily maps can be created using DINEOF, which reduces noise and other sources of contamination. The image, which captures salinity on 3 March 2013, shows the fresher water from the Atlantic Ocean flowing through the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. Source: ESA

Cassini – An exhilarating story of planetary exploration

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For more information: Cassini at Saturn

More on the Grand Finale (2nd dive: May 2, 2017; End of mission: Sept 15, 2017)

Animation of the Italy Earthquake’s Seismic Velocity

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A “real-time” animation of the seismic (vertical) velocity of Italy’s 5.5 Mw earthquake that hit between the Aquila and Rieti provinces. The second half of the animation shows the whole country and surrounding area.

Real-time indicates that the video reflects how the waves propagated in real-time. It’s neither slowed down not sped up.

Red color indicates relatively higher vertical velocities indicating the ground is moving upwards while the blue color indicates the lower (negative) velocities indicated a downward movement of the ground. Color intensity refers to the magnitude.

Jacqueline du Pré – Interview & Dedication

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In a previous post you read about Jacqueline du Pré‘s loss of ability to play. In this post I share with you a previously unpublished interview with her from 1980. Following that is a re-edited version of a film made in 1967. She was in love with Elgar’s concerto (see previous post for her performance)

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Facebook Introduces Physical Keys (FIDO U2F) as Security

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Today, January 26, Facebook announced that they have introduced ‘physical keys’ (i.e. usb keys) as an option of the two-factor authentication. Google has already introduced this two years earlier.

A few years ago two-factor authentication was introduced by Google and Facebook among many other companies which allowed the user to set an extra security measure to avoid loosing their account in case their password was stolen. This extra layer required the user, if using a new computer or IP, to enter an authentication code generated (regularly) through an app (e.g. Google’s authenticator for Google accounts).

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