Christmas in San Francisco

I tend to gravitate toward more open, natural spaces when I have a choice in travel, but there’s just something about Christmas in the city that can’t be beat. Almost any city will do, but San Francisco is high in the rankings of Christmas joy this time of year.

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The Coffee Crusade

This week I’m at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting. The AGU Fall meeting happens every year at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, probably because it’s one of the only conference centers in the country with the capacity to house a conference so big. More than 25,000 people attend every year, primarily geoscientists, but also journalists, educators, and folks in related field of private industry.

Below is a small subset of the AGU population in part of the poster hall. The conference consists of a few football fields of posters, fresh daily, plus roughly 100 rooms where 10 to 60 minute talks are occurring basically nonstop between 8am and 6pm Monday through Friday. Posters and talks are an attraction at AGU, but networking with colleagues and collaborators is another great reason to go and often fills the in-between meals and breaks. It’s a busy week for sure.

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The PhD process begins for real

I’ve been taking baby steps toward my PhD for a long time now, but I think I can officially say that I’m heading down the rabbit hole now. A few weeks ago I put together a committee for my qualifying exam and submitted the necessary paperwork.┬áSince then, I’ve begun the process of drafting my PhD proposal, which I will present to my committee during my Qualifying Exam in the spring. This comic has been leaping to mind as I go along.

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My Chevy Volt Experience

SXSW Eco, like most conferences of that ilk, are rich with “swag”, cool freebies that companies are dying to give away. This year, Chevy was a major corporate sponsor of the conference so the place was crawling with Chevy employees. On top of it, they were pushing free test drives in Chevy’s electric car, the Volt.

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So this climate walks into a bar and the bartender says, ‘Who’s the hottie?’

I’m in California with Brian and his parents! The trip has been great so far and I’ll post a bit about it when I get home. In the meantime, I’ll share what I was up to last week: the SXSW Eco conference.


SXSW is well known as a big conference that meets in Austin every year in the spring. There are several aspects to it: music, film, and interactive. The Music festival brings word class talent to Austin, contributing to our reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World. The film festival is probably the least well known amongst the general public, but it’s still considered the place to be for celebrities that week. And the interactive festival is renowned for attracting the up-and-comers of the tech world and being the platform of choice for publicizing new startups that have later gone on to fame and fortune, like Twitter.

Recently, the SXSW enterprise has started sponsoring a few other conferences, like SXSWedu for education and the one I attended, SXSW Eco, covering environmental innovation and design.

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