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   Fridays are my short days at work.  I usually get into the office around 6:40 am, and leave at 4:00 pm.  By getting in early I have time before any distractions to get things done.  It also allows me to beat morning traffic.  This means I have completed my 40 hour work week by noon on Friday.  I had so many hours this week I needed to get to work at 8:00 am so I could stay until noon.  So I decided it was a perfect day to try biking into work.
   The trip is just over 14 miles, and that's not a problem as I have been doing 14 mile trips regularly.  I had already checked and found my work place has a bathroom with a shower.  After a 14 mile ride I would need to rinse off or no one would want to be around me.  My bike has plenty of storage so bringing a change of clothing wasn't a problem. 
   The morning was chilly with the airport was reading 48 °F.  I decided it best to put on a sweatshirt, thermal pants, and a hat.  I was glad I did.  While the air was chilly, the ride was pleasant.  I departed at 6:22 am and arrived at 7:31 am, traveling 14.2 miles.  I was showered, changed, and sitting at my desk by 7:55 am.  At 11:45 am I changed back into biking clothing, but skipped the extra cloths as it was now plenty warm for the return ride.  On the way back I took a different route, stopping at a grocery store to pick up lunch.  This made the return ride 14.8 miles for a daily total of 29 miles. 
   The trip worked well, but I need found I need to make some changes.  First, I need a better bag for carrying cloths in and out of work.  I also need to plan on having something to eat at work.  I burned around 700 calories on the ride in, and had nothing but snack food at my desk.  By the time I was back home I had burned around 1,400 calories and was quite hungry.

August 14, 2014

Day-by-day View Added to Operation Lux

Aging Port Wine

Aging Port Wine

   Added the ability to look at data from Operation Lux on a day-by-day basis.  The previous/next day buttons show a complete 24 hour plot.  If you watch closely as you go backward you can see the the first signs of daylight starting earlier and earlier.  The decrease in total daylight isn't as observable.  But it is clear what days are clear and which are not. 

August 13, 2014

Observing Daylight Loss

   I wondered if I had enough data to see the gradual loss of daylight.  Even if I remove the cloudy days, the is clearly a slight downward trend.  So the answer to my question is yes, I have enough data to see the loss in daylight.  The Y-axis contains the daily energy in watt hours per meter squared for each day.  The X-axis is the day.  The linear regression line has a slope consistent with the shorting days.  The big question is, how much will the combination of daylight loss, and sun's position vs trees effect the light?  I have the equipment in place.  Time will answer the question. 
   On Saturday the repairs to my bicycle were complete.  A new front sprocket, chain, and rear cassette along with a full tune up.  In addition I ordered some new toys for it which had all arrived.  These included a cellphone bracket so I can watch my map while riding, replacement tail light since I somehow lost my old one, and a solar battery for my phone.  The solar battery I picked up mostly for a large battery.  My phone eats a lot of power when tracking my rides and I knew if I was to do any camping I wouldn't have the battery power for my phone to be able to navigate for all of it.  It wasn't until yesterday I had a chance to take the bike out.
   My cellphone bracket is nice.  It does a pretty good job of holding my phone still while I ride.  I had to disable the screen rotation sensor while riding as even on a fairly smooth path the phone shook enough to constantly be rotating the screen.  The part I don't like about this is that I prefer the landscape view, but can't get this view without rotation enabled.  An other downside is the bracket often hits buttons if I'm going over rough terrain.  The solar battery works just fine, but I'll need a longer cable.
   I did a 12.8 mile lap and managed to do it in under an hour.  Seems I am improving.

August 10, 2014

Asteracea Milchillea

   When we last left off, the group was at the arena placing bets.  Annalis had just won a battle and the group had won 450 gold.  Now Marv was entering the pit, and we planned on placing much larger bets.  Marv weighting in at 30 stone faced off against the 35 stone Waldwulf Beornson, slayer of the Ice Dragon, 7 season raining champion.  He fought with a a double bladed ax called Bleeder and sported a stylish red handlebar mustache.  A skills challenge got betting underway.  Ellenoria started with a 450 gold bet against Dorn Redbeard who lost to us the last time.  Annalis pick-pocked some bros cheering for Waldwulf and found they had tricks for cheating.  Andel cast a spell to distract Waldwulf with an annoying swarm of flies.  Marv failed to find a weakness in his opponent, and Annalis failed to search for more tricks.  Andel used diplomacy to increase bets by a further 70 gold.  Ellenoria failed a bluff to increase the bed and we lost the skills challenge, thus no more bet increases.
   The battle between Marv and Waldwulf was almost comical.  Both failed to hit one an other for the first couple of rounds, but then Marv started doing some good damage.  Then Waldwulf fumbled and was off balance.  Marv followed up, knocking Waldwulf's champion belt off and causing Waldwulf's mussels to deflate.  Now the champion, Marv took the belt and urinated on his fallen opponent, much to the dismay of his bro fans.

   The group was approached by Asteracea “Aster” Milchillea, a tinny gnome with mossy hair that smokes and a weasel hiding in their cloak.  As we were chatting we were approached by the constable.  He said the house we destroyed was spewing out undead.  In exchange for our fine forgiven we agreed to assist his men in getting rid of the undead.  We had two men from the town helping us, but they were not much of a help.  During the battle one was knocked unconscious, and the other fumbled and shattered his weapon.  As usual, we were left with the brunt of the fighting. 
   Most of the undead were skeletons that were easily destroyed.  However, their attacks did a lot of damage, including ongoing poison damage.  Other undead were stronger, but did about the same amount of damage.  We had time to clear the first ally of undead, but there was a lot of area left.  Bruised and two fighters down we must continue the fight.

August 08, 2014

Looking at data from Operation Lux

   So here is a commutative plot of all the data logged in Operation Lux so far, some 21 days worth. The dots are individual data points and they are colored by day.  The solid black line is an average plot of all the data from all the days, where the red plot is an average of only the top quarter of the data.  This shows the general shape of the light curve throughout the day.  There are a couple of artifacts specific to the location on the roof the experiment sits.  Notice how around 9:00 am there is a sudden spike in light.  This is the time when the sun rises over the tree line.  It sets behind the trees again around 5:30 pm. 
   With all the data collected so far we can say that during the summer months this portion of the roof can expect an average of around 3,100 watt hours per meter square of sunlight in a 24 hour period.  To run the Raspberry Pi off sunlight alone on an average day would require a 30 watt solar panel, and an 8 amp hour battery.  Cloudy days will require an external power source unless a larger battery and/or solar panel is used. 
   The days are getting shorter as summer draws on, but the fall equinox is not until late September.  It will be interesting to see how the light is effected as the sun gets lower in the sky, especially with our fairly treeline.  We could try some theoretical approaches to making this estimate.  For example, the sunrise for today in Middleton, WI happened at 5:56 am and the sun set at 8:19 pm for a total of 14 hours, 14 minutes of daylight.  The winter solstice will produce 8 hours, 59 minutes of light—37% less light time than today.  By scaling the light curve to force it into this shorter amount of time will produce a number that would reflect the energy available from the shorter day.  However, it will not take into account the loss of light from the sun's position in the sky (it will never get as high).  So having the Operation Lux take the measurements is still the best way to get this data.

August 07, 2014

ππ Returns From the Dead



   I had pretty much given up hope of getting ππ running, but noticed a thin white buildup on the bottom of the PCB.  They might have been dendrites and I thought I'd try giving them a once over with a stiff bristled brush.  When I did, the Ethernet suddenly started to function!  I then got out some isopropyl alcohol and gave the back side of the board a good scrubbing.  The system now seems fully functional so ππ returned to the roof and is again serving Operation Lux.  Either ππ is a phoenix, or I am a necromancer.  Whatever the case, I am glad to have ππ back.
   Pictured is baby Peakay.  This adorable little calf I found on a bike ride Friday on the corners of county roads P and K (hence the name).  The calf could not have been more than a couple days old as the dried umbilical cord was still prominent.  I couldn't resist visiting, and after petting the calf (who was very interested in chewing on my shirt) I went to look at the other cows that had come to see who was visiting them.  Peakay mooed at me as if saying "Come back!" 

August 06, 2014

Getting ππ's Data

   While the Raspberry Pi might have killed it's Ethernet port, I found the SD card was clearly still functional.  The Pi boots but nothing the Ethernet port never initializes.  The SD card has the data, and I wanted it.  My laptop has an SD card port so getting the data wasn't too difficult.  I modified the server to point the ππ's webpage to a local (and static) site until I figure out what I want to do.
   Due to the chain accident on Saturday's ride I needed to take my bike to the shop.  Both the chain and front sprocket need to be replaced, and with parts on order I won't be able to ride again until next week.  Glum day.