Sunday, November 20, 2016

Photogrammetry, a Don't Do This guide to 3D modelling

Photogrammetry is a technique that stitches together pictures into a 3D surface, which is quick and useful for paleontologists, and also really impressive to their parents (OMG IS THAT 3D? YOU WORK IN THE FUTURE AND THE PAST ALL AT ONCE YOU MAKE US SO PROUD).

One of the big advantages of photogrammetry over 3D scanners and microscribes is speed and information quantity: it takes Meaghan only 15-20 minutes to photograph a specimen at a museum, which makes her visits much shorter and saves her money. This has sped up her collection time so that she now has a dataset of hundreds of oreodonts and modern animals with which to do her dissertation - too much data, if you asked the rapidly-panicking grad student who saw all this work looming on the horizon last year.

One thing that Meaghan is chronically bad at is following any sort of verbal or written directions (worst navigator of all time), preferring instead to stumble blindly through making hundreds of her own mistakes. So since Meaghan is now an expert in "how to mess up Photogrammetry" we thought it was time to lay some of that knowledge onto you, dear readers.

Have you ever struggled to use the program Agisoft Photoscan to make 3D models of skulls? If so, you're part of a very niche group of nerds we here at the blog would like to address in a short segment we call "Dear Photoscan Princess," which is code for "Dear blogger who spent too much time in the basement at University of Oregon screaming at her computer," and also code for "Dear Meaghan." To save us time and effort, let's just stick with the last variant and answer a few questions that Meaghan made up for herself as a writing tool so she could write a blog post on how to suck less at using this program.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Meaghan's Tips for Taking Your Comprehensive or Qualifying Exams

In Meaghan's department, they're called comprehensive exams, or comps - in many others they're called qualifying exams or quals. These are mid-Ph.D. exams, and they are by far the most difficult and terrifying part of a Ph.D (except for trying to get a job after you're finished hahaha aaaaaaaaaaaaaah). Each department in each school does them differently, but essentially the gist is this: are you good enough to learn what you need to learn so that the department will ever feel confident in giving you a doctorate?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Love Letter to Zotero, and Other Helpful Graduation Tips

Meaghan recently completed her Ph.D. (FUCK YES SHE IS FREE SHE IS FREEEEEEEEEEEEEE) and Amy is working on her Masters, so we thought it was time to compile a list of things we are fantastically grateful for, even if these people/services/programs have no idea that we exist

Friday, September 16, 2016

Creepy Photos of White Dudes with Fossils

Amy spent lots of time going over the history of paleontology in Big Bend National Park as she worked there this summer as a paleo intern (more on that later). This mostly means she learned about all the old white dudes who found some giant pre-chicken bones out there a hundred years ago (blegh, dinosaurs). Occasionally the pictures of these old white dudes with fossils are not just irritatingly cliche but also incredibly, exceptionally creepy - which led to Amy frantically googling "old men with skeletons," which led to this blog post.

Who knew Nosferatu was a vampire AND a paleontologist!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Meaghan's New Career Goal: Sheep, Sheep, and More Sheep

So Meaghan just got married (more on that in a future post) to a lovely gentleman named Logan whose family owns a farm down in Roseburg, Oregon. And on that farm they have wine grapes and apple trees and coyotes and a surprising number of cougars, and most importantly... sheep.