Berkeley, Friday, March 13, 2020 3:13 AM
Definitely an odd day. Not because of intensity, nor even because I missed a deadline of lab report at 2 PM, but because two things: (i) I did very stupid mistake during a presentation, (ii) I did not fulfill to set up the equipment in the computer lab at 11 AM as I offered on Tuesday.
I learned and realized of my mistake after the presentation, during the time my peers where presenting. I did not took the opportunity or realized of it when Prof. J.R. provided a hint for correction.
I was modeling fire spread into a canyon. Modeling is a good technique because it helps us to understand the processes and so to do a better decision making. History is too easy to forget if a natural disaster is not frequently recurrent. Then, we, humans, end up building houses or settling in some ways in dangerous places, such some kilometers downhill a landslide prone are that years ago could have recorded a mud flood, or huicos, that costed the lives of plenty of people. That for example is a good lesson for not filling natural drainages. We can control many things, but not yet, and do not if ever, hopefully not, we can control when it rains and how much it rains. So in areas with low annual precipitations rates, when you get a once in many years high intensity precipitin for several days. I actually will say that intensity does not matter if it is that high, but the duration matters more in that case. Which means a season with several continuous days of rainfall, even if it is small. The soil is so saturated that with one even within those days with a rainfall with relatively high intensity those filled channels will blow up, landslides might happen, and so it would result on a mud flood.
Those kind of events are not that frequent in parts of the world, fortunately. The problem is that the knowledge of their danger might not pass from generation to generation, or even in one generation. So active engagement in prevention becomes weaker the farther one gets away from the event.
Then modeling is an important for those who listen to the visionary, the historian and the modeler itself, who has to understand those procedures to be able to communicate its relevance and risks.
The modeler faces the task of constructing a clear picture or a series of pictures of an event, with putting together the amounts of data that we humans have figured out on how to measure. Then rely on mathematical equations, or software, or construct its own statistical relationships to describe a problem. Even an expert might ran away if one goes into the details of data or aimless charts. Then, the charts need to be informative.
Great. In the weeds of these, within the boundaries of time, one needs to make decisions, in the numeric language. In modeling these processes, one objectify elements in the landscape with numbers.
My mistake was that I my management technique for land management in a small watershed prone to wildfire, I changed 1 for 10. Of course I fail in the stupidity without further time to make a decision that 1 spread faster and 10 slower, and that was it, when 1 is grass and 10 was conifer trees.
Then, I invested my remaining time on making a comparison to original conditions of the actual historical fire. Yes, the representation of the historic fire were correct. My management plan was stupid. It might fail either in the larger scope of management time. i did indeed got further informed about the actual fire to being able to apply this model. However, I made a numeric decision, a map classified decision, not a conceptual decision, and and even the concept name sound vague there, not a common sense decision from an awake individual. The latter was also an issuer nearby the deadline.
Of course trees, I guess any tree burn stronger or harder or radiate more than grass. I got lost or either focused in one number and I could not see the the real meaning of the decision.
What a stupid action.
I think I realized partially after thirty minutes, when the class was still ongoing. While I spoke up, in those online Zoom classes, and recognized the mistake, which was good. OK. That is. And this works for my own understanding of the mistake. Perhaps, someone else can benefit as well, to learn to always make a stop and understand the problem well while modeling.
The caveat is that the purpose of school, first. Second, there are different levels of modelers and experts. So being close to the experts and having the opportunity to works on problems, provide the opportunity to learn from mistakes and corrections.
There are different kinds of mistakes. That is an essential example.
I stop there because. It seems that I already release that uneasiness. It is way past time of sleep as well.
Oh the other mistake was that I took a nap this morning to at least being able to present. So I came from campus to home. Then, I woke up around 10:50 AM. I know it was extremely late, yet the sleeping hours was short, and at least one product was released.
At 11:03 AM I decided that it was too late for arriving to campus with the mission of setting up things in the computer room, as I committed previously. i apologized for that, and started the lecture at 11:10 AM from home, and the followed up at 2:10 PM same place in front of the computer.
Restroom breaks become though, because at least I tend to drink plenty of water while I am at home in front of the computer. In any case it was an odd day. The schedule and fight against the corona viruses will continue strengthen is the topic from the next post.
Oh one additional comment. There are plenty modeling techniques of course. On the passerella, on the computer, in the lab, etc. A topic for discussion and critic of the relevance and purposes for another opportunity. Meanwhile on regard to myself, model builder in ArcGIS and Arcpy are key components during this semester.