Off Balance Sheet Data Collection

Hello again,

It has been a few weeks since my introductory post telling you all about my summer research project, and now I feel that I have hit a big enough milestone to fill you in on my progress so far.

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Determining Dynamics

What have I been up to since my last post?

Well…a lot more math.  We finished calculating the sensitivities of the model with respect to each parameter: development, mortality, and birth.  These terms are dependent on temperature so then we calculated the sensitivity with respect to temperature.  Sensitivity tells you how the eigenvalues of the model change as the parameters change.  The eigenvalues are indicators of the behavior of the model.  Basically we were using the techniques we learned with the smaller models from last time to understand the dynamics of the zooplankton model. We also looked at how the parameters change over time, so that we can make connections between the sensitivities and the model’s dynamics.

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E Prime: When Learning Isn’t Fun

E Prime With its Many Confusing Symbols, http://www.pstnet.com/images/gallerytabs/EP_01.jpg

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MATLAB Clauset Codes

After spending a week staring at a computer screen filled with numbers and strange codes, I have gotten a good handle on the MATLAB Clauset codes we are using to analyze blinking traces. Aaron Clauset created 3 MATLAB programs to fit blinking data with a probability distribution function and then asses the accuracy of this fitting. A power law distribution has commonly been seen across literature as potential probability distribution function for blinking traces. Because of this, the Clauset codes focus on the power law.

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Crescent City Farmer’s Market

My first stop was at the Farmer’s Market in New Orleans. Having lived in New Orleans for 19 years, I have grown close to many of the farmers at the market held three blocks away from my house every Tuesday morning. The farmers were incredibly helpful and more than willing to help me with my project! I spoke to a dairy farmer who had worked in his three-generation-family business his whole life, and when I asked him whether we should be eating locally he replied “People should know where there food is coming from. Today, the way that they do things with the bst, the hormones, it can’t be good for you. Buying from someone like us, just a local farmer, what you see on our tables is what we do. We make produce our milk, we grass feed our cows. Not because the government tells us to, but because it’s the right way to do it”. Not surprisingly, I consistently found the farmers adamant that more individuals should be visiting the Farmer’s Market for local and fresh food. I heard many stories of how farming is a difficult and tedious job, especially when many tend to leave the occupation to work for the power plants that came to the city. Every one that I spoke to was enthusiastic about their profession and was disappointed that so many farmers had moved on to other lines of work. One vegetable farmer commented, “That’s why in our area we hardly have any farmer’s left. In the river parish area, St. Johns, St. Charles, St. James Parish there is so much industry that the youngers fellows go there. In the last 50 years they have gotten slowly away from farming to go work for the plants. And I know both ends of it, I worked for the plants too and it’s much easier, you get all kinds of benefits you get vacation, hospitalizations whereas farming you are on your own. You have to be willing to work seven days a week”. Overall, it was a wonderful morning. One of the individuals that I interviewed even convinced me to try steamed kale, despite its daunting foot-long leaves. My next stop is interviewing Dickie Brennan, owner of three wonderful restaurants in New Orleans. As I move between individuals and hear such fascinating stories, I’m beginning to see just how many angles my project can take on.