Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sediment Experimentalists February 2014 News

  1. SEN and Recent EarthCube Activities
  2. Sharing video files of experiments
  3. Opportunities to collaborate with new projects

1. SEN and Recent EarthCube Activities

SEN is partially funded through the NSF EarthCube initiative, so we participate in EarthCube activities, bringing sediment to cyberinfrastructure (or vice versa). Here are some recent activities:

Funded proposals workshop:

From February 12-14, SEN attended the EarthCube Funded Project (Portfolio) Assembly Workshop. SEN is one of three RCNs (Research Coordination Networks) funded in the first round of EarthCube funding. At the workshop, we looked for synergies and conflicts with other EarthCube projects, some examples of some neat opportunities are listed below!


The CINERGI project is building an inventory of resources to “meet the challenge of finding resources and information across disciplines”. We are compiling a list of SEN-related resources,  many from previous SEN surveys and questionnaires, for presentation to you. (What is a resource? Almost anything - webpage, software, blog, twitter feed, database.) Anyone can add a resource! If you are interested in helping to build our community inventory, email

Field Trip to Yosemite and Owens Valley

The Earth-Centered Communication for Cyberinfrastructure (EC3) project is organizing a field trip to Yosemite and Owens Valley to foster communication between field geologists and computer and cognitive scientists. EC3 recognizes that communication between field scientists and experimentalists is also of great importance, and invites applications to the trip (mention that you are involved with the SEN RCN). Read more about the field trip and apply to attend by March 10, 2014!

End User Communities & Professional Societies Assembly Workshop

March 18-20 in Washington D.C. The goal of this workshop is to facilitate communication, collaboration, and coordination among the scientific and technical professional societies whose membership includes people engaged with geoscience communities. Are you interested in learning more about EarthCube? Registration is open to the public, read more...

2. Sharing video files of experiments

We recently started a Sediment Experimentalists Discussion Listserv. We hope you will Join the Listserv! You can see a write-up about video sharing from the discussion list at:

3. Opportunities to collaborate with new projects

Here are two opportunities to participate in new projects in the second round of EarthCube awards. Please contact Anne or Albert (emails below) if you’d like to join their efforts. 

Participate in a Model-data comparison tool project for the Geosciences

Greetings! My name is Anne Thessen and my colleagues and I are working on a proposal for the EarthCube Amendment III solicitation due March 12. The proposed work is to build a tool for comparing model-output with field data and was originally created for oceanographic applications. We want to make it more robust and capable of serving more communities. The tool would work by iterating over data points in model output and finding its nearest-neighbor in the field data based on space/time. The output would be a data table connecting specific points for input into statistics or visualization software. In order to make the tool useful for different disciplines, we need testers from many communities to try the software and give feedback. We anticipate testing sessions of 30 min maximum every 2-3 months for the duration of the 2 yr project. We would really appreciate it if some of you would be able to test the software and let us know what you think. If you are interested in participating, please email me at We would like to be able to get a letter of collaboration for the proposal.
Thank you.

Participate in inland-waters RCN

The EarthCube 'inland-water bio-geochemistry and fluvial sedimentology' (C4I) community is about to submit a RCN proposal (03/12/14; PIs: Emilio Mayorga, Alba Argerich, Basil Gomez, Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink, Albert Kettner). Therefore we want to reach out to the experimentalists community to seek potential participation. As all EarthCube RCNs this is about data, metadata, standards, cyberinfrastructure needs for now and in the future to advance science, etc, but in the light of inland-waters. Any cross-breading between the communities will stimulate learning from each-other experiences. If you are interested, don't wait, please send an email to with just "SEN-RCN: yes keep me informed about inland-water RCN" as subject; it only takes 10 seconds! Given that the project will be funded, we'll add you on our mailing list. Thank you!, Albert.


Happy experimenting,
The Sediment Experimentalist Network

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sharing video files of experiments

This post is a summary of responses to a video-sharing inquiry on the SEN Discussion List. Join and participate in Q&A about sediment experiments!

Here are some options for a wide range of video-sharing needs - from small to large files, from private to public sharing, from local hardware to cloud services, and from free to paid… This information might be good to keep in mind when planning or budgeting for new projects. Further comments extremely welcome, especially if you’ve had good or bad experiences with any of these platforms.

Review of the problem:
Large number of large size videos to share privately among a dispersed working group.

The winner: QNAP NAS RAID and Multimedia Library

Pro: LOTS of storage. Easy file sharing. Log-ins. Can share any file format.
Con: Requires some $$ and some set-up.

If I were setting up a lab right now, I’d use some start-up up funds to purchase a QNAP NAS (Network-attached storage). If I were writing a proposal, I’d write it in for data storage. 

I’m far from an expert, but a QNAP 22Tb RAID6 (32Tb raw) just arrived at the Columbia Granular Group. (Read wikipedia’s article about RAID, “redundant array of inexpensive disks”.) In addition to abundant storage for a reasonable price, it comes with extremely easy-to-use firmware for file sharing, a video station, and apps (sync with Google Drive or Dropbox).

With log-in accounts and a logical folder structure that is agreed upon by the group, all group members will be able to access and download what they need. Our humongous raw video files will probably be converted to a standard format like .mp4, then stored in a parallel file structure for browsing. This was the best option for the large volume, easy access, privately-shared video issue that initiated this post. 

Other options:

This is not an exhaustive list, but rather some interesting points I just learned from your recommendations and researching the video-sharing question.


Pro: Several levels of membership for different storage volumes, privacy settings.

Although I had seen videos shared on vimeo before, I wasn’t aware of their membership level details. Memberships are determined by the volume of video per week. Basic (free) is 500 MB per week. Plus ($60 per year) is 5 GB per week, and PRO ($200 per year) is 20 GB per week. Those numbers can add up quickly to give you a large amount of storage per year.

There are no file size restrictions and the videos can be as long as you like. This seems like a good platform for sharing videos to illustrate results (better than just posting the link on a personal website).


Pro: Lots of free space, 1 Tb free
Con: Limit of 90 second videos, since it is primarily a photo-sharing site

If you already use Flickr, you may want to take advantage of its generous storage space to share short videos. Flickr video FAQ.


Pro: privacy settings, linked to Google (if you like that kind of thing), live streaming (live experiments!)
Con: ads, high probability of being distracted by suggested videos

More academic projects are starting to use YouTube channels as video sharing sites. By clicking a few buttons, you extend the basic account to share videos longer than 15 minutes, and stream live events. There’s integration with a Google account and Google+, if you already have an account set up for your project.


Pro: store, share, discover, cite, and on a site specifically for researchers

You may want to check out the figshare post "A YouTube for Scientists". Another option for sharing video (in a citable way!). 

Hope to see lots of SEN videos in the future!