Monday, February 13, 2017

SEN at CSDMS annual meeting in May 2017

SEN will be organizing a clinic on the Sediment Experimentalist Network Knowledge Base (SEN-KB) at the upcoming annual meeting of CSDMS (Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System) on May 23-25, 2017 at CU Boulder. As we did at last year's meeting, we will provide an introduction on how to use the SEN-KB resource and the associated SEAD (Sustainable Data Actionable Environment) data sharing platform. Then, like at our recent DataThon, we will be working together to contribute new entries to SEN-KB and to evaluate the usefulness of existing entries. Our activities at CSDMS will follow immediately after the international SEN workshop at Tsukuba University, Japan (May 18-19, 2017), during which participants will be performing a community experiment on a topic of sedimentary interest, which will form the basis for many of our new contributions to SEN-KB. At the CSDMS SEN-KB clinic, we will also briefly discuss ideas for the future of data sharing in the sedimentary research community following the completion in summer 2017 of the NSF Research Coordination Network grant for SEN. If you are interested in attending the CSDMS annual meeting and our SEN-KB clinic, we have funding to support a limit number of attendees. Please email us at sedimentexp@gmail.com for more information.

SEN Datathon a Success!

On Sunday, December 11, 2016, we gathered a group of 11 sediment experimentalists on the campus of UC Berkeley for the first ever SEN DataThon. With the help of coffee and pizza (and Alex Bryk from UC Berkeley!), we spent the afternoon contributing entries to the SEN Knowledge Base (SEN-KB) experimental wiki and the SEAD (Sustainable Data Actionable Environment) data sharing platform. We also discussed ideas for improving the SEN-KB and SEAD resources in the future. Through our combined efforts, we added (or updated) 16 entries on the SEN-KB. We are looking forward to organizing a similar type of DataThon at the upcoming annual meeting of CSDMS (Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System) on May 23-25, 2017 at CU Boulder. If you are interested in attending this event, please see below in the newsletter for more information.

February Experimentalist of the Month: Leonard Sklar

February Experimentalist of the Month:

Leonard Sklar

San Francisco State University



1. How did you first get involved with SEN? I first got involved with SEN when Leslie Hsu asked me to consider serving on the steering committee. I’m glad I said yes! My unique contribution has been to be a test case for getting an old-school, dark-data-generating, non-socially-networked experimentalist to adopt the enlightened data management practices of the 21st century. 

2. What different types of experiments have you worked with? The types of experiments I’ve worked with include: erosion of real and simulated bedrock in flumes, rotating drums, and abrasion mills; gravel and sand bedload sediment transport in flumes of various sizes; channel meander migration in two laboratory basins; particle wear in anular flumes and rotating drums; fine sediment infiltration in gravel beds; gravel bed stabilization by net-spinning caddisfly larvae; and impact erosion of water ice at ultra-low temperatures.

3. What is a favorite memory of yours in the lab? A favorite memory from the lab was the first time we turned on the 4 meter diameter rotating drum when it was filled with as many cobble-sized particles as we thought we could fit in, which turned out to be about 2 tons of them. Our goal was to measure the rate of particle wear across as wide a range of drum sizes as possible, to develop a relationship for scaling particle wear rates from the lab to the field. When we hit the start button we didn’t really know if the wheel would turn, and keep turning without bursting or falling over or suffering some other calamity. But it performed flawlessly, turning at 1 meter per second tangential velocity, creating a deafening roar from the vigorous particle collisions.  As if they were as excited as we were, some particles leapt out of the drum and slammed into the support beam or the floor, showing that we had slightly overestimated the volume capacity of the drum. Looking back on that day, I’m pleased to say that the drum is still standing tall and spinning true, and we achieved our scientific goal, finding that wear rates scale as a power function of the rate of energy expenditure.

4. What do you hope SEN will help the experimental community to achieve? In addition to the excellent goals that SEN was created to achieve, I hope SEN can help the experimental community stand together as one to protect our scientific enterprise from the anti-science rhetoric and policies of the new administration in Washington, and find ways to share with non-scientists our fascinating stories of discovery and the important contributions we make to understanding our world.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

EarthCube Tools webinar on Jan. 20th - CINERGI: Community Inventory of EarthCube Resources for Geoscience Interoperability

Check out this upcoming EarthCube Tools webinar being organized by the EarthCube Science Committee on CINERGI (Community Inventory of EarthCube Resources for Geoscience Interoperability):

"We are excited to continue the webinar series: Doing Geoscience with EarthCube Tools, on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at 2 pm EST (11 am PST) with our guest Ilya Zaslavsky of the San Diego Supercomputer Center on CINERGI: Community Inventory of EarthCube Resources for Geoscience Interoperability. CINERGI is an EarthCube tool that enables and accelerates data discovery and access across multiple disciplines. It is currently being further developed to provide additional significant capability, and serves some important functions of the EarthCube Architecture being designed."

Find call and event details here and links to all tools webinars and resources here. The webinar is free and all are welcome.

More on the upcoming CINERGI presentation:
CINERGI: Community Inventory of EarthCube Resources for Geoscience Interoperability.
Discovering, interpreting and re-using data across geoscience domains is a core EarthCube challenge. Metadata is often inconsistent and incomplete; repositories follow different domain standards and semantics; many datasets aren’t registered in catalogs and exist on individual web sites – these are some of the key obstacles faced by researchers. CINERGI is an EarthCube Building Block project (http://earthcube.org/group/cinergi) to create technology components that enable cross-disciplinary data discovery. Metadata descriptions harvested from geoscience repositories and through community contributions are automatically enhanced, which includes generation of relevant keywords based on text analytics, derivation of spatial extents, and validation of organization names mentioned in the metadata. Automatic generation of keywords, in turn, is based on a cross-domain bridge ontology, which integrates several existing geoscience ontologies and controlled vocabularies, and on GeoSciGraph, a system for text parsing, vocabulary management and semantic annotation. Once processed, the metadata records are indexed and republished as ISO-19115/19139 documents with embedded semantic references to the ontologies integrated in CINERGI, along with provenance information for each record, and made available via a search portal and web service requests. The webinar will describe the main system components (the metadata augmentation pipeline; the underlying CINERGI ontology and semantic services; services and user interfaces for resource discovery and access; and accompanying provenance and validation services), present the current state of the system, and demonstrate its use in several cross-domain data discovery use cases.

More on the EarthCube Tools series:
The EarthCube Tools webinar series, organized by the Science Committee of the NSF-sponsored EarthCube program, provides practical demonstrations of how EarthCube projects can help you to collect, access, share, and visualize geoscience data.  Each webinar begins with a showcase of an EarthCube funded project followed by ample time for questions and conversation.  Wary of EarthCube jargon?  Presenters will describe their projects in plain English for scientists in all disciplines who may be unfamiliar with EarthCube.  Here’s a chance for you (and your colleagues, team members, and students) to learn about EarthCube and how it can help to advance your scientific work.  More information on the webinar series is available here.  Archived video will be available on the website about one week after the webinar.

Friday, December 9, 2016

SEN DataThon this Sunday at UC Berkeley

In collaboration with SEAD (Sustainable Environment Actionable Data), the NSF EarthCube-sponsored (Sediment Experimentalist Network (SEN) will be hosting a "DataThon" this Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016, at UC Berkeley to advance the cause of data sharing and reproducibility. A core group of early-career and more senior scientists, we will spend the afternoon uploading our datasets to SEAD 2.0 project spaces and describing our datasets and methods on the SEN Knowledge Base (SEN-KB). Let's make open data a reality!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

More SEN and EarthCube events at AGU 2016

If you are attending the AGU 2016 Fall Meeting, here are some events in addition to the SEN-related presentations we recently posted.


  • Raleigh Martin of SEN will be at the EarthCube booth #509, Wednesday 11:30a-12:30p if you'd like to chat about sediment experiments and the tools and resources we are trying to share.