Catching up

Another Monday closer to … whatever Mondays get you closer to. I suspect it’s a bit different for us all: the weekend, the next vacation, seeing the kids, a three-day weekend, existential dread, a trip to Disney World. We all have things for which we are marking off Mondays.

Saying spring, for me, is obvious and easy, and 21 Mondays away. Anything else would probably run out much longer.

The holidays! One could mark Mondays until the holidays. That’s a good one.

Being the first of the month, I did the monthly computer maintenance, updated files for the site, removed October stuff to make way for November material, put in the newest data for spreadsheets and similarly interesting stuff. I also ran across one of those “Things to watch this month” lists, and there are some things worth giving a try. One of them starts next week. So it could be that I am just marking Mondays until … next Monday. Incremental progress being more readily achieved than medium- or long range counts.

And no one wants to hear about your upcoming trip to Disney World on a Monday. Talk about your existential dread!

Here’s a podcast I recorded on Friday. As you have no doubt read around here, I find it fascinating when you find a scientist trying new techniques in their research field. In this case, some of the people working in the IU School of Social Work are using machine learning — data analysis that automates analytical model building — to study almost 30,000 cases using about 100 variables in a decade-long longitudinal study. It makes for some really cool innovation and, as is often the case, this is the beginning. So I’m getting you in on the ground floor here. Check out this conversation.

We’re in a fine spot with the podcasts just now. I rolled this one out today. I have one scheduled for Thursday, and another big one slated for some time next week. And there’s one I have already produced that will get published after those two. Sometimes you just get lucky with the timing of these things, I guess.

Let’s check out a few photos from the weekend, shall we?

We had clear skies Saturday morning. It was not to last:

It got pretty dynamic the rest of the weekend:

Here’s a random tree I shot on our Sunday walk. This is the obligatory “No matter how many pictures of autumn leaves you take, you can never capture the real sense of autumn in a photo” photograph:

Maybe we’ll be able to do so on a later version of smartphones, but there’s just something about the sound of leaves and the smell of the air and that odd sense of happy optimism you can’t get into a photograph, yet.

Saw this guy, too, the banded woolly bear caterpillar:

This is the larval stage of the Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrharctia isabella). It is found throughout the US and southern Canada, anywhere there’s plant growth. But you’ll also find them well into the Arctic. Soon, this caterpillar will literally freeze. It’ll thaw out in the spring.

In some places, this caterpillar is a weather forecaster. The wider the brown band, the milder the winter weather. But that’s just folklore. The bands seem to have to do with genetics and age of the larva with respect toward the molt.

Places in Ohio, North Carolina, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and New York have festivals, costume contests, weather predictions and more. The one in New York started in 2012. If that little guy is going, though, it better get a move on.

Like the new little section-break banner? It was time to add a new one to the new rotation, so we’ll give this one a try for the week. And speaking of leaves, I have updated the theme on the front page of the site. Here’s a hint:

And if you click that image you’ll go to the front page and see the whole show. It looks quite nice, and should get us through the next few Mondays.

See you Tuesday! If you have some more time to kill right now, however, there’s always more on Twitter and check me out on Instagram, too. Speaking of On Topic with IU podcasts, and, oh hey, did you know that Phoebe and Poseidon have an Instagram account? They do.

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