September, 2009

Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

eScience & Technical Computing - Web Services and Scientific Research

September, 2009

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Amazon Web Services support Sloan Digital Sky Survey DR6 Subset


    Now that AWS is supporting SDSS, there is probably useful integration between the Worldwide Telescope and the SDSS datasets that can be leveraged, beyond what is currently supported - such as seeing the all the known galaxies in a 3D view – seeing the lattice structure of the universe.  image

    Search and Browse data from the Virtual Observatory and plot data over imagery: WorldWide Telescope delivers one-click contextual access to distributed Web information and data sources and Interoperates through SAMP and other popular tools like TopCat, Aladin, SAOImage DS9 and many more.

    Data derived from researchers using the AWS datasets can integrate imagery and catalog data directly into WorldWide Telescope using the WWT Developer Kit.  

    Professional featuresimage

    • Virtual Observatory Cone search/registry look up and SIMBAD search
    • Load and Adjust basic FITS images and AVM files
    • SIAP with footprint preview
    • Connect your Telescope to WWT
    • Multi-monitor cluster rendering
    • Visualization of large scale structure
    • SAMP Inter-application communication
    • Full dome projection

    New Public Data Set: Sloan Digital Sky Survey DR6 Subset

    The Sloan Digital Sky Survey, or SDSS, is now available as a Public Data Set.

    Weighing in at 180 GB, the SDSS is the most ambitious astronomical survey ever undertaken. The researchers have used a 2.5 meter, 120 megapixel telescope located in Apache Point, New Mexico to capture images of over one quarter of the sky, or about 230 million celestial objects. They have also created 3-dimensional maps containing more than 930,000 galaxies and 120,000 quasars.

    Amazon Web Services Blog: New Public Data Set: Sloan Digital Sky Survey DR6 Subset

  • Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft

    Achieving Climate Sustainability – Article in American Meteorological Society


    Bill Gail has written a thoroughly thought provoking piece Achieving Climate Sustainability in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.  One of the things I really like about Bill is that he understands the challenge of climate sustainability and the intersection of the Earth system’s three fundamental components: physical, ecosystem, and human. Right now most definitions of sustainability only applies to climate as a physical system and thus overlooks the interactions of the physical system with both ecosystems and humans. 

    Achieving Climate Sustainability

    William B. Gail

    It is often assumed that climate change policies, including the Kyoto Protocol and the follow-on Copenhagen agreement now being negotiated, align well with sustainability's tenets. A closer look reveals this is not the case. First, they treat climate change as a one-time problem - anthropogenic greenhouse gases - with a one-time solution. In contrast, research has begun to reveal that human-caused climate change is far from monolithic. Moreover, the clear trend is for societal climate influence to increase and diversify, not decline and simplify. Second, they fail to address the impact of natural climate change on ecosystems and society, an area that is less-well understood than the public commonly believes. A sustainable framework that guides human interaction with Earth's climate system must encompass the broader aspects of climate change and reconcile the reality of ongoing human influence. This includes the highly-controversial use of overt human influence to benefit society and ecosystems.

    Achieving climate sustainability will be far from straightforward, if we even choose to proceed. The concept unearths deeply-held philosophical and religious conflicts, stretches our scientific capabilities, and forces us to address a considerable spectrum of practical concerns. Should we not choose to embrace it, we will find that our policies become less and less effective with time as climate problems expand beyond society's ability to avoid or eliminate them individually. This article elaborates on the need to include sustainability within the climate dialogue and explores the complex considerations that will quickly become part of the public debate.


    As humans and nature become increasingly interconnected, there is a need for public dialogue about sustainability as a framework for addressing climate change.

    AMS Online Journals - Achieving Climate Sustainability

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