A Step Back, A Step Forward
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A Step Back, A Step Forward

July 31, 2019 |  Categories:  Miscellaneous   Learning  

Can you believe it’s almost the end of July? I certainly can’t. Over the weekend, I decided to ease off the gas pedal a little bit with respect to my coding work. I’ve been pushing really hard for the past two and a half months, and I could use a little break. Thankfully for me, my long awaited trip to Mexico City is coming up in just two weeks, and I can hardly wait! ![Picture of the Mexican flag][1] After work yesterday, I finally sat down to plan out my itinerary for the trip, and it was harder than I thought it’d be. There’s so much to see and do in DF that I’ll hardly scratch the surface in the four days that I’ll be there. Once I have the rest of the details hammered out, I’ll be sure to share them! Even though I’ve slowed down a bit in my programming work, I’ve still been making incremental progress in a few areas. On Monday, I continued working through some of the exercises in Miller and Ranum’s Problem Solving with Algorithms and Data Structures. Before I became consumed with building this website, I had just finished chapter 4, which dealt with recursion and dynamic programming. These concepts are difficult enough as they are, and a month and a half layoff certainly did me no favors. To get back up to speed, I skimmed back through the chapter and watched a couple MIT lectures. Although I’ve been able to grasp recursion quite well for simple applications, some of the books exercises appear to be extremely complex! One of them asks the reader to write an algorithm capable of generating a fractal mountain, and I still haven’t been able to figure out what a fractal mountain even is! It’s all a part of the process though, and I might just highlight a few of these more difficult problems and return to them a few months or years down the line once I’m more experienced. A major success that I did have, however, was in writing an algorithm to draw a 3rd order Koch Snowflake using the Turtle graphics package in Python. Essentially, a Koch Snowflake is a geometric pattern generated recursively via the replication and manipulation of a simple line. The image below displays what a third order Snowflake looks like. ![Screenshot of a Koch Snowflake][2] In other news, I’ve started to revisit some of my old research figures as I continue to prepare my study for publication. One of the most important contextual graphs I’ll need is one that characterizes the hydrologic conditions observed in my study area for the past two and half years. More specifically, knowing how precipitation, surface water discharge, and groundwater levels have varied over the study period will be crucial in understanding the movement of water throughout the system. Because water is the medium in which the excess nitrate is suspended, knowing how it moves will shed light on the processes that may be transforming and, ultimately, removing it from the ecosystem. At any rate, I finally updated my datasets to the end of January, 2019, wrangled the data into a more friendly format, and revitalized my plotting script to produce a clean, easy to interpret graph. ![Image of hydrograph][3] Let me know what you think, as figures and visualizations can often be interpreted in vastly different ways by different people. By the end of the week, I’d like to have the rest of my correlation matrix scripts updated and have a few hundred words written about the trends I’m beginning to notice in my data. Until then, that’s all for now! -Joe [1]: https://pickert-website-static.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/blog/31-7-19/Mexico.png [2]: https://pickert-website-static.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/blog/31-7-19/Screen+Shot+2019-07-31+at+2.28.26+PM.png [3]: https://pickert-website-static.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/blog/31-7-19/Image+7-31-19+at+1.19+PM.jpg

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I'm Joe Pickert, and welcome to my blog.

Here, you can find a collection of my thoughts both tech-related and otherwise.

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