08 March 2018

Last Post

So, yeah, I haven't posted here in more than a year. Within that time I completed and defended my Ph.D. dissertation and now have those little letters after my name. Life just seemed to get busier, of course. As I was nearing the end my dissertation work I started on a new project with my US Forest Service collaborator (and with a number of Canadian Forest Service collaborators), with whom I'm now working in my post-doctoral time. I haven't moved from UW-Madison yet, but I can't quite tell what the future holds in that regard. I'm still working out some of the products of my dissertation research, a lot of modeling results that I haven't analyzed yet. My work on climatology and phenology made it into my dissertation, but my intended work on forest disturbances did not. I'm still interested in it, though. So I have publications to write and data to analyze and presentations to make and a new project to work on and proposals for yet more analyses in new locations and yet more ideas of my own, not to mention looking for a permanent research position somewhere that will suit my interests and skills. Your suggestions and contacts are all welcome!

This will be my last post here. I'll leave the blog up for another month or so, then remove it. You can keep up with my work and keep in touch with me through my new professional website, matthewgarcia.tech!

10 December 2016


It's been 9 months since my last post. What have I done in that time?

  • Prepped and taught beginning Python lessons at two Software Carpentry workshops at UW–Madison.
  • Started the process to become a certified SWC instructor with a teaching workshop earlier this Fall.
  • Started teaching my labmates how to use our on-campus Center for High Throughput Computing, which has been a boon to my own research.
  • Wrote software for my Ph.D. dissertation project (two repositories and counting on GitHub).
  • Made a GitHub website for one of those repositories.
  • Published a paper on climate change in the Lake Superior region based on my work with that software.
  • Started my next paper, extending that climate change work to forest phenology analysis using remote sensing, which (of course) includes a lot more software.
The goals of my dissertation work are (1) three published papers based on probably (2) four software packages/repositories that are all to be released as open-source code available for others to apply elsewhere. Stay away from the forests around Lake Superior, though—those are mine! I'm feeling a little pressure at this point, as I'm expected to complete my Ph.D. in May 2017. I write when I can, but most of my time is spent building analysis routines in Python and testing and running them for an area that turns out much more insight-rich than even I had anticipated. I wouldn't change the location, but if I had to start over again I would probably choose a smaller area to cover for my research. I would also tell myself to plan farther out and work harder on the software in the early stages of my research so that I don't feel so crunched later. C'est la vie.

I am motivated to write non-work things again. Politics is rearing its unexpectedly ugly head in the world again, and it's directly relevant to my life and work. I had started to opine on some of these issues elsewhere, anonymously, but I've decided I'm comfortable putting my own name on it and calling a spade a spade in my own, established outlet. I'll rewrite some of those things for this blog, and add new things as my time permits.

09 March 2016


My friend @Dr24Hours took up a fun challenge earlier this morning and tagged me to carry on the challenge: name 5 fictional characters from TV or movies that I would want to come to my aid in a bad situation. While I agree with at least one of his choices (*ahem* Evelyn Salt *ahem*) I didn't want too much to repeat, but then I don't watch much TV (mostly movies in my spare time) and some of my own may be obvious choices while I also have a penchant for movies in which awesome women kick ass. So here's my overall list:

  1. Special Agent Dr. Dana Scully: because it's Scully. Hey Scully. How you doin'?
  2. Tony Stark / IronMan: billionaire genius playboy philanthropist. Can I borrow that centurion armor battle suit?
  3. Sgt. Rita Vrataski: a.k.a. "Full-Metal Bitch."
  4. Jack Bauer: bring the JackSack, you never know what we'll need that you keep stashed in there.
  5. Jason Bourne: obvious reasons.
And then there's my kick-ass all-women list:
  1. Ilsa Faust: the bright future of "Mission: Impossible."
  2. Chloe O'Brian: Jack's best partner.
  3. Renee Walker: Jack's other best partner.
  4. Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow: obvious reasons.
  5. Hermione Granger: the finest witch of our age.
Hmmmm... who to tag to carry it on? How about @katiesci, @LaSaks87, @seelix, @scicurious, and @drskyskull next!