Creating Topics

It’s occurred to me that to keep this running I need a list – a good, long and growing one – of writing topics. Keyword prompts for writing, to get me going when I’m drawing up blanks or stickman-equivalents of real topics. (Reading back over the last month, that’s most of them, and this one too). Thinking out loud should be done in private.

So here’s that list:

Open consultancy model. Google Earth Pro vs. LiDAR vs. other data. To desk or not to desk? [Basically any organism and its relationship to agriculture]. The value of animal training.

Okay I’m bored already, but I get the picture: I could pick at random from any number of thousands of things, but as I think about what I want RAS to become, and more importantly, to provide to the regenerative agriculture and permaculture communities (which overlap, but do not perfectly or sometimes, even peacefully, coincide), I see one word: DATA.

We need more data. We need not only peer-reviewed studies from the past, but good, clear data marching backward from now into the future. I want to pull out old soil tests and have a look; compare them to new ones, and talk about why Soil Test A in 1992 will almost never make a good baseline for comparison with Soil Test B in 2019. I want to look at code and programs – geek corner! – for doing better analyses and more interesting, innovative, and accurate things with data coming out of agroecological systems. I want to explore different statistical methods and their applications to ecology and agriculture, because I’m really betting that there are some super cool methods out there that stay in the math and statistics departments simply because, well, good field ecologists want to be in the field, and good statisticians and modelling folk (that’s computer modelling, of course) ted to generally avoid rain, bugs, dirt and pretty much anything not climate-controlled, with coffee. So rarely do their paths cross, or at least: rarely within the same brain the twain shall meet, and thus, it takes a concerted effort to bring them into the same room, whether virtual or physical. Such is life in academe. It’s not all bad, and it can be a lot of fun, but bringing the dirty, rainy, biting, grassy real world into theoretical line can be a challenge. I think it’s an interesting one.

Now, of course, I need to see if I can reteach myself R, and learn QGIS, and get a handle on this whole GitHub thing that everyone’s using. (At least I have an account already). I could even, apparently, be blogging in R, which sounds useful. Now if I can integrate my blog through R while formatting in LaTeX using MultiMarkdown language, and writing in Scrivener… I think I just fried a wire. So cool.

And yet — building those skills takes time, and that time is preciously limited. More so now, than ever. Time away from my kid, husband, livestock, outdoors, skill-building in other, physical areas.

It really is damn hard to know what to do with one’s life, isn’t it?

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