Friday, December 23, 2011

AGU 2011

I want to write about all the people I met at AGU to share my experience, as well as help me remember some of the great ideas and details I came across at AGU.

I am posting all my photos to my flickr page:

I met a lot of people so I will create a list below. I know the list is incomplete, but I hope I have included enough to spark my memories in the future!

Of course I met with my Korean Colleagues:
Sang-Mook Lee, Changyeol Lee, Byung-Dal So

Then I met with people I know from the University of Minnesota:
David Yuen, David Kohlstedt, Evan Bollig (now at FSU and NCAR), Shunichiro Karato (now at Yale), Saswata Heir-Majumder (now at Maryland), Matt Brotten, Gretchen Beebe

Then there are people I have never worked with but met at AGU (some I knew before others I met for the first time at the conference).
Klaus Regenauer-Lieb, David George, Donald Turcotte (for a brief hello), Paul Tackley,  Yoshi JBD Kaneko, Yichen "Jack" Zhou, Liang "Larry" Zheng, Thomas Geenan, Geraldine Robbins, Yoshio Okamoto, Chris Atchinson, Gina Applebee, and many others I can't recall at the moment.

I had some fantastic conversations with a lot of people at AGU.

Gina Applebee is hands down one of the coolest new people I met at AGU. She is a graduate student in geosciences, but what is really cool is the way she is working to help create educational experiences for the blind. I am unsure of her complete story, but I know that she used to be able to see but has lost her vision, and we had a talk about the tools she uses to help her study. I have a lot of interest in teaching the blind because I want to know more about how to create resources to help the blind learn learn mathematics and computer programming. She is a very cool person, and my description does her little justice. I plan to be in touch with her more in the future.

Yoshio Okamoto, is a high school teacher in Japan who is using  spectral 3D technology to visualize seismic data using POV-Ray. I thought he was a real cool guy doing something I wish I had done years ago! POV-Ray is some fantastic software especially for visualizing simple objects. It uses a syntax similar to C++/Java and allows users to create 3D graphics using basic geometric primitives.

Saswata Majumder was a graduate student when I first met him at the University of Minnesota, and now he is all grown up and a professor at the University of Maryland! It was so good to get caught up with him at AGU; I would often find myself wondering what Sash was up to these days. Now I know and I am very happy to be back in touch with him. It is also really cool that he has come to the dark side of computation and spends a lot of time working on computational geosciences!

I spent about 2 days discussing various computational ideas with Evan Bollig. Back at the U of MN he was an undergraduate at the U of MN with basic math and general computer science skills, and now he almost has a Ph.D. in Computational Science and he has a thing or two to teach me about mathematics! We have a lot of common interests, we both bought "Computational Geodynamics" by Taras Gerya, and the last one to work through all the examples in C++ and Matlab has buy a pitcher of beer.

David George was at AGU for a few days and we had a good chance to talk and I am really hoping to continue working with him in the future. He is a mathematician who works for the USGS developing software solutions to mathematical problems that relate to geophysics. He has written the best software to solve the shallow water equations I have seen, as well as applying the software to work on debris flows and other situations that normally aren't accessible to programs solving the shallow water equations.

So that is a brief recount of people I met and some of the topics I discussed at AGU. It is only the tip of the iceberg, but I don't want this post to go on forever so the rest will have to live in my memories!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kim Jong Il is dead

I just learned of the passing of Kim Jong Il, the former leader of North Korea. He is often viewed by many as the last ruler of the last dictatorship on the globe.  I'm sure that many people will celebrate at his demise, yet I have never felt right celebrating the death of another human, no matter how evil I think they are. People die every day, some are evil others are great.

I hope that this opens a door for reform and change in North Korea, and hopefully the nation will be able to begin healing and growing. South Korea has achieved some fame for growing out of poverty and third world status in record speed, and I really hope that North Korea will have the same luck.

I have decided to put together a few links to articles about his death to link to more information about what is going on. I still know very little so please share with me if you know more about how this will affect North Korea, South Korea, and the rest of the world.



Minneapolis StarTribune:

The Japan Times:

The Korea Times:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thanksgiving in Korea!

Dinner at a Korean restaurant
on black friday.
So Thanksgiving came and went in Korea with little acknowledgment. It was a little bit odd for me because I am used to America where it is one of the largest holidays we have. It is like the prequel to Christmas.

So for Thanksgiving Evening Aly, Imcheol, and myself were planning on going to go to Johnny Rockets for an American style dinner. But they were closed by the time we got there. Then we tried a few other places that were all closed. So we ended up going to an izakaya above Johnny Rockets. The izakaya was nice, but the menu was all in Korean so we were glad that Imcheol was there to translate for us. We ended up getting some chicken katsu and cheese katsu. Good stuff.

On Friday some people from work went out to a Korean restaurant were we had a lot of food. It was very good, and they even had sweet potatoes! We decided to call it our Thanksgiving dinner, and it was a lot of fun. There was a large crowd and we ate a lot of food and had good conversation, which are the most important aspects of Thanksgiving.

Can you guess who plays Murder Ball?
After dinner we went across the street to have a beer and continue the good times. In Korean bars it is typical to order food when you go to the bar, so even though everyone was stuffed, we ordered more food and stuffed ourselves even more. This really was a lot like an American Thanksgiving, just more people talking Korean and less turkey. We didn't have a turkey so we did the next best thing and ordered some good fried chicken. It is strange that in Korea they aren't known for fried chicken, but they do a fantastic job of cooking it up!

It was a good night, and I met a few new people, even one guy who used to play Murder Ball. Well they don't call it Murder Ball anymore, now it goes by Wheelchair Rugby. I prefer the name MurderBall.

Sang Mook and members of QoLT
The Bird
After a night of too much food and drinks, and a little more food, I returned home to spend the evening just completely stuffed with Aly. She was not able to join us for dinner because she was working. But we enjoyed our evening together sitting around watching episodes of Star Trek.

Aly had to work Saturday, apparently her job wants to torture Americans for the holidays. Her coworkers were discussing going to Gangnam, which is near our apartment. So that evening we all met in Gangnam where we went to Johnny Rockets and had our fill of good American Burgers, Patty Melts, and Philly Cheese Steaks. After dinner we went to a Board Game Cafe, where we spent a couple hours playing Settlers of Catan. I forgot how much fun that game is, and I think we should get a copy to play in our apartment.

So after our game we decided we needed some ice cream so we headed to "favorite D", they sell Baskin Robins ice cream as well as gelato and a few other specialty dishes, where we had some fantastic ice cream. There we got a giant bucket of ice cream for us all to share. We choose three flavors of ice cream and then they just crammed it so it was overflowing and we got tiny spoons to dig into it. At the end of the night we were proud we made it through the whole thing!