MaverickSpartan FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Haz Reconz

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  • Activity

    • Change of pace: Music and Computer

      1 month ago

      MaverickSpartan Haz Reconz

      I know I have no delusions at the time of this writing I have effectively no audience. You know what? That's fine. No exposition is a success immediately, and many never succeed at all. It's still worth it to make the effort. But enough of that, let's change it up a bit, music *jazz hands*

      So I'm looking for a new computer I can carry in to work (I'm a grad student so work/school). Naturally I have been looking at thin and lights and ultra books due to the portability. I have a gaming desktop and a workstation laptop at home I use for editing (Premiere/Photoshop), sopme python coding, and running intensive programs *cough GIS* and it works fine but it's heavy and has an abysmal battery life. Hence the search for portability. 

      So, you know I'm looking at these computers and come across three sort of front runners: Macbook Pro, Dell XPS, and the Microsoft Surface. Now I used to have a Mac. 2008 first brushed aluminum model. I miss that thing, but as a grad student I straight up cannot afford a new one (their education "discount" is pitiful). Couple that with the butterfly keyboard and the issue/nonissue depending on who you talk to and a Macbook Pro is purely wishful thinking. I miss Mac OS, but I don't use iPhone, and have a windows editing machine, so not a huge loss. Okay well what about Dell? This guy is my current front runner, I'm waiting on the XPS 15 refresh to come out later this month to see how it performs vs the XPS 13. The biggest issue with these guys is the Dell quality can be hit or miss, but that's true more than most people might think and a little toruble shooting goes a long way. I'm not saying I can fix everything, but I survived a nightmare of an Asus laptop before my Lenovo editing machine, so I can weather a lot. That brings us to the Surface. Admittedly I never gave these guys much consideration, but we are subject to the media we consume and I have to say: Burnie's looks nice. The big thing working against the surface is the fact it's extremely hard to fix and it is practically the same price as the Mac for one that isn't a waste of performance. I'd rather have the Mac.

      Okay well what about some other options? Thinkpads? Not big on the touchpads, love the keyboard though. Huawei Matebook? This would be the front runner were it not for the fact the US basically gutted Huawei competition in the states, RIP. Razer Blade Stealth? It's Razer, I don't trust their quality control on anything more expensive than a keyboard. The customer support has never "wowed" me either. It's the Dell issue, but worse to the point I am not optimistic.

      So, computers. During this research I came across something. I was watching a Linus Tech Tips video about the Surface Laptop and I saw an amazing scene. A video with dancing crabs.

      Naturally I stopped the video discussion about the speakers on the laptop (most laptop speakers are crap, even the "good" ones) and looked up this crab video and I found it.


      Now I'm a pretty big Electronic Music buff. I grew up listening to it, and while this is a fairly simple song it's just so......happy. Maybe it's the dancing, but the beat itself is so upbeat with the synthesized steel drums and I am just weirdly obsessed with this song now. Of course I busted out my reference headphones (Focal Clears, I can post a review on these if people who read this [hopefully?] show interest) to get the delicious micro-detail of the song.

      But my god, it's even more catchy with the fancy audio equipment. I encourage you to go watch the crabs. And listen.

    • Natural climate

      1 month ago

      MaverickSpartan Haz Reconz

      Today I watched the Rooster Teeth podcast earlier and at one point Burnie discusses the natural heating of the planet due to climate change. I have tried to stay fairly neutral about modern climate when I post my educational series on my profile about climate. This discussion, however, provides an important segue to discuss: natural heating of the environment.

      The planet has warmed and cooled many times throughout its history. It has been very warm. It has been very cold. Whether or not you believe humans are causing climate change is irrelevant in Geologic time: it will continue to oscillate on its own long after the people alive now have turned into dust and ash. The causes of this oscillation are variable. Our atmosphere has a big impact, plate movements and tectonics cause changes, but so too does our orbit around the sun and the movement of the earth on its own.

      Orbital parameters are the easiest point to discuss. The earth shifts in three major ways: 1) our orbit around the sun changes between circular and elliptical; 2) the tilt of the earth changes; and 3) the earth “wobbles” on its axis. These three movements are called the Milankovitch cycles after the work of Serbian scientist Milutin Milankovitch, or the Croll-Milankovitch cycles if we honor the works of Scottish scientist James Croll. These three cycles have specific names 1) is often called eccentricity, 2) is obliquity (or just tilt), and 3) is precession of the axis. At many times in Earth’s history, these have worked with and against each other to have varying degrees of effects. They can both work with and against each other given the variable timescales on which they occur. Eccentricity, for example occurs in cycles of approximately 100,00 years and 400,000 years (the 400k cycle being variations of multiple 100k cycles). Obliquity operates on a ~40,000 year cycle, with precession being the shortest at ~20-25,000 years. As we can see there will be times when all three overlap at once, or when 1 or 2 work against the third, etc.

      What are the impacts of these cycles though? Primarily it is changes in the seasons or intensity of seasons depending. Eccentricity, for example is not just the change in shape of the orbit, but also the change in where the sun sits within the orbit. The change in shape changes where the sun sits relative to the equinoxes and solstices of the planet. Imagine a hula-hoop where the person in the middle is the sun. At some points the ring of the hoop will be much closer, and at others it will be further away. The close and far points are call perihelion and aphelion respectively. Now, currently perihelion occurs in early January, shortly after the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. What this translates to is the Northern Hemisphere winter is closer to the sun than the Northern hemisphere summer. Consequently, the Southern Hemisphere summer is closer than the Southern Hemisphere winter. What this does is enhance the seasons in one hemisphere and mute the seasons in the other. In the above example Northern Hemisphere (N.H.) winters are made warmer, and summers are made cooler, muting them. While the Southern Hemisphere (S.H.) winters are colder and the summers warmer. You may wonder, if the N.H. winter is closer to the sun, why is it winter? The answer is obliquity.

      Obliquity, or tilt, if how much the planet leans. The North and South pole are not perfectly perpendicular to the sun, they are tilted between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees. Now winter versus summer is just a matter of which hemisphere is tilted towards the sun versus tilted away from the sun at any point. N.H. summer is when the N.H. is tilted towards the sun, and the S.H. is when it is tilted towards the sun. Obliquity, then, controls which hemisphere gets which season. They change in the amount of tilt adjusts the intensity, with the 24.5 figure having more intense summers and winters.

      Precession is the trickiest to visualize of the three Milankovitch cycles. The best way to describe it is like a top. A top is a small toy you could spin and it would remain standing straight until it began to slow and wobble until it eventually fell down and stopped spinning. Anyone who has seen the movie Inception has seen a top, it was the device Leonardo DiCaprio used to determine if he was dreaming. Precession is the “wobble” of the earth’s axis, like a top. Its primary effect is shifting when the equinoxes and solstices occur by changing where the axis is pointed. So the axis stays tilted, but precession is the sway changing where it aims. Precession tends to work most with eccentricity in terms of effects, either making eccentricity minimal or more powerful depending on timing.

      Orbital parameters are fairly powerful effects and are often interpreted to be the main drivers of glacial versus interglacial (warm periods) cycles. But these are not the only answer. If they were, we’d expect the North and South Pole to be more variable between seasons, but also for the equator-to-pole temperature gradients to be more pronounced. The reason these factors aren’t as intense as expected is due to the atmosphere. Atmosphere moves raw heat from warmer to colder locations via temperature gradients, pressure gradients, and currents (e.g. jet streams). The movement of heat in the horizontal axis (relative to the surface) explains why the poles are warmer than expected based on the equator temperature gradient. Trace gases in the atmosphere cause the Greenhouse effect by trapping some outgoing radiation from the planet (specifically long wave radiation). I am glossing over this section because there are entire careers dedicated to atmospheric science, but the premise is that the atmosphere, and the oceans for that matter, are very effective at distributing heat across the planet.

      Tectonics. Now this is the one people often underestimate. Why” Well, truth be told is takes massive amounts of time to have an effect, and when it does it is primarily by affecting the atmosphere and in particular the ocean. Ocean currents are incredibly powerful forms of heat transfer. Our current system is situated well to our modern continental positions, with the North Atlantic being of huge importance. You see, the North Atlantic is a heat dump. Warm currents run up to around Iceland, give off heat to the air, then have a massive downwelling to form what we call the North Atlantic Deepwater formation (NADW), this heat dump is what keeps places like Iceland and Scandinavia from being as cold as parts of Siberia. Now, tectonic can interrupt these current systems by moving the plates and the continents. South America and Africa used to be connected, the NADW runs right through that gap on the way to the Antarctic, but warm waters also travel north through here as well, meaning were those continents still connected there, the climate of Western Europe would be drastically different from today due to different movements of oceanic heat and water. Additionally, tectonics can interfere with winds and cause changes within the continents. The Himalayas are an example. Winds blowing off the Indian ocean are warm and full of water vapor, they hit the mountains and are pushed up, which causes clouds and rain to fall (complex processes I may discuss at a later date). Dropping rain here makes the wind that goes to the other side of the mountains dry leading to what we call a “rain shadow” on the downwind side of a mountain range. This effect can be seen in North America as well. The Rocky Mountains cause a rain shadow wherein the west side has much higher precipitation, while the east has much less. This example of tectonics does not even address the roles of volcanoes, which have complex roles in introducing both ash and greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, but also arise from tectonics.

      I mention all of the above given that they are natural processes that balance and interact with each other through time. There are always other factors to take into account (e.g. sunspots on solar output), but entire careers have been made discussing the innumerable ways different earth and space variables interact to make our climate.

      So how does this relate to the RT podcast?

      Well, above I tried to outline how nature shifts itself regarding climate. There have been extremes of cold and warm in antiquity. An example of very warm conditions for example comes from the Cretaceous where there were crocodiles found at the North Pole. Crocodiles, for those not versed in reptilian biology, need to keep their temperatures around 77 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning they need fairly warm conditions in order to survive. To find them at the North pole is significant, meaning it was much warmer in the Cretaceous. This warmer period was due largely to a more greenhouse gas intensive environment causing warming, so it was a lot of the atmosphere being involved. This all relates to Burnie’s comment about the changing conditions possibly killing us.


      Well the earth is constantly in a balancing act between the inputs of climate. Fundamentally, even if we go back to Cretaceous levels of heat the planet itself won’t “kill us” because when it warms the equator is one of the least affected zones, all the heat does is 1) move equator-ward climate regimes pole-wards and 2) cause heat changes to affect winds, currents, etc. Fundamentally, even if we had those conditions today, the big thing of note is that where rain occurs, where plants grow, and things like sea level will change. Humans will be able to survive quite easily, but where we live will be drastically affected. Cities like New York will be negatively impacted or even uninhabitable depending on the sea for example. Areas with drought may become drier, areas with rain may flood more. You remember the planes in Phoenix getting grounded a year or two back? Things like that will affect human society as well. The exact changes are extremely hard to predict.

      One thing is clear. We are not killing the planet. The planet (as in the big spherical body) existed before life formed its first shred of DNA. It will exist long after until the sun expands and consumes everything we were, are, and will become. What is changing is how and where people and other animals may live on the Earth. Our trash problems are an example of humans affecting stuff, but that is not the point here. Regardless of if people are causing climate change or not. Eventually climate will change, and our species will face it.

      Now, that said, it is worth it to invest in things like clean energy. Even if you don’t think humans are causing change, fossil fuels are of limited supply. Even if they last a millennium, they will run out eventually, so it makes sense to transition off of them while we can. If we do, we can say: even if climate does change, we are not actively working to cause said change. There are plenty of benefits.

      The moral of this story is climate changes and will continue to change. Humans will be able to survive even if it does, but society and current population levels likely will need drastic restructuring. I know this is a bit of a nitpick on a single comment, but I want to inform and share information with people. Ultimately, however, I agree with the sentiment, and hope we can change our energy uses to prepare for the future. 

    • Climate science is back

      1 month ago

      MaverickSpartan Haz Reconz

      Hello again!

      So, a few months ago I made a post describing how I am seeking to make some posts talking about climate and specifically, how we can see and interpret past climate. I went over the differences between climate and weather as an introductory sort of approach. I want to follow up, finally with a discussion about some of the climate archives we have in modern science, and a general blurb on how we interpret them. Again, this is designed to allow folks to get some introductory data to whet their appetite to learn more detail, but also provide a general knowledge so people can make more informed opinions.

      So, without further delay, let’s begin.

      Climate Archives:

      In reality if we look at climate archives, there are 3 big categories for semi-long to long term records, and several other big ones for shorter term time periods. The long term records are 1) land sediments; 2) ocean sediments; and 3) ice.

      Now the differences in the sediments can be roughly boiled down to land versus ocean like the name implies, but there are differences as well. For land sediments, the source of much of the sediment is from basic erosion by water and wind breaking down rocks into smaller and smaller sizes until we eventually get dust and dirt. Ultimately, most of this goes into the oceans, but we also have some that stays on land. In order to get useful interpretation from land based sediment sequences we need deposition to be largely uninterrupted. As a result, we tend to see the longest records in either continental basins or lakes (many lakes themselves forming in basins). Here the sediment accumulates in the deepest sections, allowing us to get long sequences of deposition through time. Some places have sediment sequences that are almost entirely from wind as well, which can be from the complete opposite part of the earth! Being able to carry dust that far can tell us something about climate and wind speed all by itself. Land sediments can also be found in dunes, glacial moraines (piles of rocks and dirt pushed by glaciers), and soils however all of these tend to be limited in scale before they are reworked or unrecognizable from natural processes.

      Ocean sediments derive primarily from cores taken from either the deep ocean or the continental shelves. On the shelves, the sediment supply tends to be regular via rivers and weakening winds dropping their load of dirt. The amount of sediment deposited tells us a message, but also the grain size and potential presence of organic material can be used to build the past record and possible plant conditions from the source areas. Deep oceans have fairly undisturbed sediment sequences due to material being pushed into the deepest parts by tectonic activity, currents, or some animals in the abyssal areas. They tend to be smaller scale records for individual climate events due to less sediment making it that deep, but can often include more events, making it a very high resolution record.  Here we can use many of the same interpretive techniques of looking at amounts of sediments, organics, and types of sediments to interpret climate. Of particular interest are the remains of small ocean life that die and sink to the bottom of the ocean where they can pile up and tell us something of the productivity of the ocean above.

      The coolest archive to study, however, is the ice record from glaciers and ice sheets.


       Ice grows distinct layers annually in many places, much like a tree grows rings each year. We can count these layers to determine when something happened but also use layers of dust, volcanic ash, and other material caught in the ice to try and determine the age of a sequence of ice. This works particularly well near the top of a glacier where ice is new. Why? Well ice, despite seeming fairly hard to deform becomes misshapen as more ice is put on top of it. The weight of ice on top of older ice causes it to thin and spread laterally. Imagine if you will some playdoh, you make a ball and press down on it, it thins and expands to the sides. Ice does a similar motion. Furthermore, ice also flows like slow rivers making older ice eventually move out from the zone of accumulation to the edges of the glacier or ice sheet. As a result, we need to core to tell how much time ice covers in a particular section, but in several places to find different time spanning portions. Once we get an ice core, the heavily squeezed sections tend to cover a time period, but are not high resolution as to exact times in it unless there are things like ash in the middle we can use to date. So, imagine ice that is 20 cm thick versus 2 cm thick, but both cover a 5000 year time span. In the 20 cm thick sample we might be able to say 1-6 cm is the first 2000 years and 7-8 is another 1000, etc. In the 2 cm thick sample we will be lucky to define a 5000 year period in half, let alone specific intervals across the whole section.

      Now, how does ice tell us about climate? Well the answer is chemistry, isotopes of oxygen specifically. Oxygen changes the ratio of normal “light” oxygen (O16) and heavier oxygen (O18 or O17). Other isotopes exist but are so infinitesimal we largely ignore them for climate studies. Oxygen- 17 is also very small compared to Oxygen-18 and 16, so we can largely ignore it too. Now, when the temperature of water changes the amount of oxygen 18 vs 16 changes as well due to things like evaporation or freezing. During warm periods, the water in a lake will have more oxygen 18 than oxygen 16. Why? Thermodynamics. In chemistry, we see that when something is warm the molecules in the substance move faster. For isotopes, heavier isotopes are legitimately heavier, meaning they don’t move as fast. In warm conditions, some oxygen moves fast enough to evaporate off into gas, but the oxygen 16 being lighter makes it more likely to “escape” into vapor and later become rain. As a result, it leaves the oxygen 18 behind. Now some oxygen 18 evaporates too, but it also falls out as rain much faster meaning oxygen 16 tends to stay as vapor for longer. This is for a lake though. In oceans, cold periods have more oxygen 18 than warm periods. Why? Glaciers and ice sheets form from rain meaning they initially form from oxygen 16- the oxygen 18 mostly having rained out well before then. During cold periods, more oxygen 16 is “stolen” from the ocean to form ice, and stay as ice, making the oceans more oxygen 18 rich. When warm conditions return, this ice melts and returns the oxygen 16 to the oceans. The amounts of oxygen 16 versus 18 shifts through time, allowing us to reconstruct the temperatures of the globe based on the O18/O16 ratio. This shifting ratio is the basis of what we call oxygen isotope stages (OIS) or Marine Isotope Stages (MIS). Marine samples of carbonate tell much of the same story, but from the ocean point of view instead of the ice, hence the MIS terminology.

      Those were all the “big” records, other climate archives exist too. Corals form growth rings, and of course trees do too; we also can find limestone deposits in caves that grow in layers. The caveat for these guys is that they are all relatively young, meaning they don’t do much for discussing things like the last ice age (unless preserved dead specimens are found, which can and does happen for some plants). Except the cave limestones, some of those guys are pretty old, but they are also very rare. The moral of the story here is that climate can be reconstructed in a number of ways. Trees, while being fairly young can cover several periods of climate change and variability- using the definitions I posted in my last essay. Making them useful for human life-time era data, especially in older trees predating a lot of documentation.

      So a lot of this was me talking about the types of records and a little bit of the “how” truth be told even the simplest ones require a lot of research to interpret and generated data can lead down a number of rabbit holes of interpretation. Sediment records in particular can be very…..variable in how much change they show through time. A lot of that requires more in depth geology to interpret, with sedimentology being of particular note. I encourage folks to look into it if you have questions, and of course I am open to answering in my comments below.

      If you made it this far, thank you for reading. I tried to make this as jargon free as I could, which is harder than I originally thought. So it just means I put my heart into it.

      Thanks! ~Maverick

    • Science

      5 months ago

      MaverickSpartan Haz Reconz

      Hi there! 

      So you may not know me, but I am a graduate student working on a PhD in paleoclimatology. It's a fancy way of saying I study the climate of the past. Now, one thing I notice a lot in modern comments and news these days a bit of a misunderstanding of some of the climate data being generated and used. I am hoping and planning to write an ongoing series focused solely on climate data and what we know, how we know it, and what we can do with it in an effort to spread knowledge

      I want to make something transparent here though: I am not arguing for or against global warming in the present or future in my writings. 

      I study past climate, and am planning on grounding my discourse in past climate aside from necessary jargon explanations and definitions. My goal is to let people better understand climate and data as whole. The reason for this is to 1) further the understanding of fellow people and fans who may visit this site (knowledge!); 2) provide a better background for people to interpret data and formulate their own opinions; and 3) have some fun.

      In this opening entry, I feel it is a good time to differentiate two major terms we see used: weather vs climate.

      So many folks tend to confuse these two words, or at the very least they don't know the big difference. Really it's a matter of scale. So weather is the change in things like temperature, precipitation, winds, etc. on a very short timescale. Weather is limited in scope to weeks, meaning the furthest we can accurately predict weather is only a few weeks out. Beyond about 4 days, however, and the predictive ability declines rapidly though. Meteorologists do some gnarly math to make predictions, and even slight changes can throw it off, mad respect to those guys. 

      To contrast against weather we have climate , average of weather over 30 years, but unlike weather, climate has two different timescales to consider over this time. On the one hand we have climate variability, and on the other we have climate changeClimate variability fits into a middle ground here, it is on the scale of months (seasons) to decades long. One of the most apparent forms of climate variability we can observe is the El Nino that comes every few years and can change things like rain for entire regions of the globe. El Nino causes changes in weather, but also occurs regularly years apart from previous instances. As a result we can categorize this differently than weather. Now climate change is simply the change of the 30 year average. 

      Climate is the average, climate change is the shifting of said average between 30 year periods, and climate variability is large scale changes within a 30 year period. A little jargon, but not unreasonable for definitions.

      Folks often conflate weather with climate though, and truthfully weather is an important part of climate, but ultimately climate as a system is the long term average of weather. 

      On the plus side, weather changes rapidly we're bound to find something people like before long. Weather you like it or not. 


      But hey, thanks for reading! This first entry was a basic introduction to my purpose and a little bit of defining for terms that will come into play later. I'm really hoping to have nice conversation and share some cool stuff with you guys and hopefully will see folks drop in. If you want to ask me questions or whatever, feel free to leave a comment and I will answer as best as I can!


    • Good News Everyone!

      1 year ago

      MaverickSpartan Haz Reconz

      So yesterday in my first post, I mentioned I didn't have the info to my OG RT site account from 2007. Well, I GOT IT BACK!

      I sent an email to support and they got me back in! I've already paid for First on this account so, I'm probably keeping this as my video watching one, but I can go back in to my original account from the days of yore and contribute again! It's eleven years old, so the fact I didn't lose it is tremendous to me. I can work to undo the regret of not being around more back then.

      I know my audience for these is small right now but hey, it's worth writing down and sharing when something good happens and you are excited for it! 

      Now if you'll excuse me, I need to play some GTA V.

      Stay beautiful.

    • Hello there!

      1 year ago

      MaverickSpartan Haz Reconz

      So I've never done one of these before, but you know there is a first time for anything and everything. 

      So, hi! I'm MaverickSpartan! I'm an amateur video editor and a chemistry graduate student working on my doctorate degree. I have been gaming for a long long time. I started with racing games and RTS games on my parent's computer as a kid and Mario Kart at my friend's house- I didn't own a console until the PS2, and only after a lot of convincing. I really hit my prime in terms of enjoyment with the OG Xbox and Halo. Shooters have been my primary focus ever since. I currently enjoy The Division, Rainbow Six Siege, Ghost Recon Wildlands, Destiny 2, and the Fortnite singleplayer on PC. I also still play Halo and Destiny 1 on my Xbox One.

      I really love Achievement Hunter and Red vs Blue (which got me interested in RT originally). I still love all the stuff though!

      I made my original RT site account back in 2007 and made this one when I couldn't remember the password or email for it. I didn't use the forums much in 2007 when I made my original, or in 2014 when I made this one. I want to start changing that now, and actively take part in the community in 2018 and beyond. That's not to say I will post everyday, or even make deep thoughtful comments when I do, but I want to be around and stay around. I'm going to give a solid try to make RTX one year, and look forward to it. I'm glad to be here and look forward to it. 

      Nice to meet you.


    • 2019 years ago

      MaverickSpartan Haz Reconz
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