Tool for Marine Biologist

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

My brother-in-law is a marine biologist and he often will do ocean surveys as a contractor. Recently, he did a survey to measure the amount of eel grass in a certain area. The way that he does this is via scuba and a GPS unit. He essentially gathers data, in a methodical way (I’ll spare you the details), and then uses the data to generate a black & white pixel map. Black areas indicate that eel grass is present. He then usually brings this map into a really expensive software to calculate the total area of eel grass.

I recently happened to be tooling around in Processing and decided to make a very quick and dirty tool to do this calculation. You run this program, pick the image, set the pixel measurement for your area unit, and the software will tell you how many area units you image contains. The interface is not pretty…just functional.

Transit Strike

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

Well, this morning we woke up to the news that the Transit Worker Union rejected the MTA’s offer and are striking.

So, Rachel and I decided to give the LIRR a shot. We live in Brooklyn, about a 10 minute walk to the Flatbush Avenue stop. (We didn’t know how long it would take to walk or to go by car.) When we got to the station, there was a line for purchasing tickets. We spend about 20 minutes on line and bought a ticket to Jamaica and bought another ticket from Jamaica to Penn Station. We didn’t know that would be the worse decision we made that day!

The night before I had done some research into using the LIRR for getting into the city. According to the schedules, the ride into Jamaica took about 15 minutes, and then from Jamaica to Penn, it would take about 20 minutes. The travel time on the train was not the issue. When we got to Jamaica, the LIRR workers, directed us outside to what seemed like a line down the block and then back into the station. To our surprise, when we reached the end of the block the line too a 90 degree turn to the right…we had to go down that block, then back, past where we had turned, then the line snaked around a few more times before we entered through part of the station, then back out again, and finally the line led us back to where we started, and then finally into the station and onto track 5 for a Penn Station bound train! All in all, we waited about an hour and a half in freezing weather. Near the end, we started to lose feeling in our toes. That day, I left at around 8:10 in the morning and got to work at around 11:45. (After arriving at Penn Station I had to walk from 34th street and 8th Avenue to 18th and 5th.)

The commute home was a totally different adventure.

Jeff, my friend who lives downstairs, had left his bike at work. So, he borrowed my bike today so he can ride into Manhattan. Later that day, I figured that I would need my bike and also he needs to bring his bike back, so after work, Rachel and I met him at his office on 45th and Lexington. Jeff had a friend with him and we both were going to take a stab at riding with a partner in the seat while we peddled from a standing position. Well, first of all, it was freezing and I didn’t have gloves with me. We stopped at a store to buy some gloves for Rachel and me. Second, I wasn’t sure what I was thinking today, but I just wore long johns and a long sleeve t-shirt underneathe my down vest and jacket outer layers. Third, through out the day I couldn’t help but think of all the crazy accidents that can happen to us while we were on the bike!

Anyhow, we started our trip by walking our bikes to 5th Avenue, where they had restricted traffic to emergency vehicles, and decided that was a safer road to bike on. Jeff and his friend were quickly out of sight. Rachel and I took it easy and alternated biking and walking just to be safe. We started at around 7:30 PM and got home at around 9:00 PM.

What a day! Rachel and I were both relieved to be home in one piece and also not frost-bitten. We’ll see what happens tomorrow, but we’re planning on biking in (each on a bike this time!)

My first acupuncture session

Monday, October 24th, 2005

I heard about the Swiss Institute College of Health Sciences from someone that I had sold my old Wacom tablet to. She was studying massage therapy there. Later a friend’s wife told me about their clinics. Students (ones who are in there last year of study) treat patients over the course of the semester. They, with the help of their teacher, perform a diagnosis and prescribe a set of treatments. She informed me that the massage clinic is always full and that the acupuncture clinic will usually have openings.
So finally, I did the necessary research (aka Google) to see what this school and their clinics was all about. I called up the school during work hours and was greeted by Bernadette. She informed me that there is 2pm Thursday slot open and that she can sign me up for that slot if I wanted to. I was excited that there was an opening and I told her that I would be over shortly. Work was about 15 minutes away, so I quickly pu on my jacket and headed toward the Institute. On the way, I had second thoughts about this slot, because it was during work hours. When I arrived there, I told her that I would prefer an evening slot and she told me to show up on Monday for an appointment. She couldn’t guarantee that I can have that slot, but at least the upcoming Monday was available for one treatment.

So, with a little apprehension(because a student was going to stick needles into my body), I showed up at the clinic yesterday evening.
So when I got there, Bernadette (the receptionist) informed me that I can actually have this Monday slot until the end of the semester and that it would cost $160 for the 7 sessions. I stepped out, got the cash, came back upstairs, andBoris was waiting for me.
He led me into an examination room with lots of curtained off sections. Each was a semi-private area for a student to work with his patient. Boris started by asking me these 10 questions. He also examined the top and bottom of my tongue. I told him that I had some, what I think, are muscular issues with my upper back and neck so he examined those areas a bit. He stepped out for a few minutes to consult with his teacher to recommend a course of treatment. In the adjacent examination area I can hear loud snoring. I assume that the person is currently undergoing treatment and has fallen asleep on their back or stomach. (I also thought that it would be funny if it were an overworked student catching a quick nap!)

Boris returned after what seemed like an eternity, and said that we’re going to do some acuncture and cupping treatments today. He put a piece of cover paper on the face rest, I took off my shirt, and I laid face down on the table. I asked him why the needles will help my condition. He says that part of the the muscle issues and the sore neck could be from the Qui becoming stagnant. So the needles would help move the Qui in that area. He then proceeded to put couple of needles on the right side of my neck and then the left side of my neck. With each needle, I think he pinched my skin a bit, gently inserted the needle at the surface and then tapped the head of the needle to reach the rigth depth. He then felt along the muscles of my left upper back, sensed tight spots, ask for my confirmation, and then he inserted needles into these areas too. In total, I had about 10 needles on my back. I thought we were done, but he said there was one more needle left. He put this one at the first joint near the tip of pinkie of my left hand. He warned me that this one would hurt a bit. It actually didn’t hurt that much but it did feel like a pin prick. He stepped out of the room and left me there for about 5 to 10 minutes.

I definitely felt something. It seemed like maybe there was more blood circulating to the areas. It could have been all mental. I also wasn’t use to lying on that kind of table, with my face in this cushioned donut. I felt my arms, which were by my side, tingle a bit, but it could have been because of lack of circulation. :) Anyhow, he came back after some time removed the needles and told me that it was time for cupping. He put some kind of ointment on his hands and rubbed it around my upperback. Then I saw a flickering light cast onto the curtains; it was obvious it was from a flame. He didn’t give me any warning, and I felt that he was rubbing something, something that felt like a blunt rubber object up my back and onto my trapezius muscles. He traced this path back and forth a couple of times and near the end it felt like he was exerting increasingly more downward force as he was rubbing. Then I heard a pop! He had been moving the cup around the surface of my body. I had envisioned that cupping was a static treatment. I’ve seen pictures of people lying there with transparent cups on their back. I just assumed that that was all there is to cupping. Boris warned me that there will be markings on my back…and here’s what my back looked like last night.

Full View  Side View

Close Up

After that he said “See you next week.” I put got dressed and headed out into the rainiest NYC week in history. On the way home, I think I felt more relaxed and maybe the muscles had loosened up a bit.

Family matters

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

I’m still in shock at the passing of my uncle. He was born February 11, 1949. He passed away on April 12, 2005. He had a 105 degree fever for a couple of days. Finally, he went to see a doctor who insisted he go to the emergency room at a Brooklyn hospital. His niece accompanied him to the hospital and for some reason, he was not getting the attention he needed and the fever finally took it’s toll on his body. He is survived by his wife and his 12 year old son.