Blowing our own …..

….. not quite trumpet, but one of our number does play the cornet!

We’ve been writing this blog since c. October 2015, so about two and a half years, documenting our activities delivering data acquisitions in the marine environment – the challenges, the thought processes, the planning and even our attempts to design and build new instrumentation.

As with all things, the time eventually comes when we wonder if anyone is actually reading it?

So the topic of this blog is – our readership!

Where are you and how often do you follow our progress?

As you know we use the WordPress service to deliver the OBS’ing at Sea blog.

The service has embedded within it statistics generating tools so, today, we’ve had a look to see what are readership is, and we were quite surprised at some of the statistics.

Let’s start with a map of where our readers are:

Since October 2015 we have posted 165 blogs, had 21404 reads, or hits, on our blog site, of which 20018 were from the UK.

It’s not a surprise that our readership are mainly in the UK; what is a surprise is how many times the site has been visited – it averages to about 23 times a day! In fact, our highest hit count on any one day has been >200.

The top 10 viewing nations are:

UK – 20018

France – 412

Norway – 159

Russia – 115

United States – 101

South Africa – 94

Trinidad and Tobago – 66

Netherlands – 59

German – 57

Mexico – 51

The most read blog is, apart from the home page, a blog about Boyle’s law – the relationship between pressure and volume – who’d have thought that!:

closely followed by the Valentine’s Day blog of 2016, The Roundabout that is OBS work – in the sunrise on the starboard side of the RRS James Cook.

As we can see we have a fair footprint of the dry part of the planet left to conquer, so readers, if you happen to find yourself in some far flung places, look us up and let’s see if we can turn the map entirely yellow.

So for a small group, doing an unusual thing – we will blow our own trumpet a bit and suggest this is quite a large readership.

What else have we been up to of late?

Well the Boss has been to Belfast – she was invited to give a keynote talk as part of the Northern Ireland Science week. So a visit to Queen’s University Belfast, was followed by a trip to the new Titanic Museum in the docks, of course.

Each side of the building is supposed to represent the prow of the Titanic and, in particular, the height of the bow above the water line. No sign of Leonardo or Kate though.

In here, the Boss had a reminisce – there is an exhibition about the James Cameron expedition to find the Titanic on the seabed off America – and – low and behold – some technology from the past. The instrument below is a side scan sonar in the days when the data only came on paper, printed in the same manner as the receipts you get from credit card hand terminals. The Boss tells us that these systems used to have their own “smell” – of burning. We’ll stick to our computers.

Across the road from the Titanic museum are two very famous Belfast landmarks – Samson and Goliath – the big gantry cranes of the Harland and Wolf ship yard. You can see these from everywhere.

Back in the lab – the Boss’s research group have outgrown their data storage – again. How much of this do they need?

And we have loaned them a slot in our racking system where we keep the facility data store, to house their latest new toy – a network attached storage system or NAS. Here is the frame and it holds 12 hard drives like you would find inside your own computer.

Below are the raw hard drives, each one containing 8 Tbytes of storage – that is nearly 2000 DVDs each.

And each hard drive slides into its own bay – or tray – here are three.

So this storage system will hold the equivalent of the contents of 24,000 DVDs. That’s a lot of movies.

Elsewhere, we have been trying to figure out why some of our new sensors have been doing some odd things – or rather – why they are temperamental. These sensors are designed to record “broadband” signals – or to you and me, that means over a wide range of frequencies.

We use them to record earthquakes that travel from one side of the planet to the other, which are signals generally of a few Hertz or less.

To do this these sensors have to be absolutely upright or vertical.

These two seem to only set themselves vertical when they feel like it and we are trying to get to the bottom of why.

The sensors above are semi-intelligent, in that they should measure how vertical they are, and if they are not as vertical as they should be, then they should adjust themselves so that they are.

So not only do we need a computer to talk to them, we also have to use a datalogger to record the measurements they are making. So we’ve put one of our seabed instrument dataloggers into a metal box to save lugging the big pressure tube around.

Nice tidy job this one.

It needs to be a metal box to act like a Faraday Cage – what’s that?

Well it a mechanism to screen out electrical signals that swamp the environment, and it acts like a shield.

This is why your mobile phone does not work inside a lift.

The atmospheric stray electrical signals are bigger than the small signals our dataloggers and sensors are designed to record so its either a metal box, or we have to take everything outside and do jobs like this inside one of our 20′ metal shipping containers.

Given that its currently minus degrees outside and snowing  – we’ll stick with the box in the lab.

However, Spring looms, and even in the northeast of England snowdrops are starting to appear, which also reminds us that its our roaming team member’s birthday! Happy birthday, slightly belatedly, team member.

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