What is this?

This is a collection of a few short papers or articles that I completed quite a while ago. It encompasses work ranging from anthropology to an article summarizing some of the then-current scientific literature on cosmic microwave background weak lensing. Some of these articles were completed as part of my curriculum at Cornell. Some are projects that I completed in my free time. Hopefully, some of them are interesting!

Links to the work

In this paper, I summarize and discuss the results of Madhavacheril, et al., who use new data from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope Polarimeter (ACTPol) in conjunction with the positions of constant mass (CMASS) galaxies chosen from the SDSS-III/BOSS survey to detect the presence of dark matter halos on a smaller scale (clusters and massive galaxies) than ever before with a signal significance of 3.2σ [1]. In addition to concisely summarizing their processes and findings, I provide some physics and technical background and explain the significance of their work and possible future work in the context of modern cosmological theory.

For about the past century, humans have been broadcasting low-power radio messages into space. An extraterrestrial intelligence could seemingly detect our internal communications if they had a detector with the required sensitivity. Maybe this extraterrestrial civilization wouldn’t even know how to interpret these broadcasts. Similarly, perhaps we can receive their messages. As it turns out, our ability to detect the existence of an extraterrestrial civilization may very well be correlated with our ability to communicate with them. Different media may make ideal modes of communication across interstellar space, but regardless of which is superior, it will still be limited by the speed of light. Sending physical objects into space that can serve as messages (e.g. Voyager and Pioneer) is even more greatly limited by Special Relativity, but probes offer other advantages. Our ability to detect and send up data is only half of the equation. Astronomers must also be able to analyze and interpret data to differentiate noise originating from space (pulsars, quasars, etc.) from an obviously artificial message. Scientists must also be able to use and understand a language based on a shared understanding of science and mathematics in order for communication to become a reality.

A “book report” on Clive Finlayson’s The Humans Who Went Extinct and how it fits in with contemporary thought on Neanderthal extinction.

This is a “fun”, short project that uses data available publicly from data.seattle.gov. I study changes in traffic flows on 270 arterial roadways located within and outside of the downtown area from the years 2007 to 2009. The primary purpose of this project is to figure out some basic in- formation that’s present in the data set while also becoming more familiar with R. I study the overall distribution of traffic counts, determine large trends in traffic flow, compare the downtown and out-of-town traffic flow, and perform a street level analysis.