What did I do this month? Let’s see.

Machine learning/data science

  • More work on MLHub’s Earth observation & machine learning bootcamp

  • Participated in Kaggle’s 30 Days of Machine Learning course/contest. Some of it was stuff I already knew, but it was a good prod to do a bit of ML (nearly) every day.

  • Automated importing walking data from my phone. Since I’ve got an iPhone (sigh) and Linux, this means exporting data from the Health app, emailing it to myself, then processing it with Python to add it to InfluxDB with the help of this repo. Since I got my phone in 2018, I’ve walked about 7,650 km – here to St John’s, Newfoundland is only 6,800 km.

  • Also automated importing air quality data downloaded from the BC government.


Hardware hacking

  • As I mentioned last month, I began some experiments to track the running time of some battery-powered fans – some with batteries built in, some that rely on external batteries through USB connections. I got one of the ubiquitous USB voltage meters, and it’s perfect for this.

  • Began monitoring sound levels in my office with a Raspberry Pi and the Seeed ReSpeaker 2-mic hat. It would have been really good to get this working before the pandemic hit, because I think it would have demonstrated the change in traffic noise due to the pandemic…but better late than never.

  • Finally added soil temperature probes to my father-in-law’s garden. We’ve got three at different depths: 1 foot down, 2 feet, and 3 feet. The trends so far have been pretty cool:

Grafana temperature graph for August 2021

Note the dual scales – air temp (green shaded line) on the left, soil temp (yellow/blue/orange) on the right. Fascinating to see how the change in temperature is buffered at different depths.


  • More GIS podcasts/courses.

  • I made a dirt-simple Arduino GPS logger that used a small GPS module I got as a gift from my father, and managed to map the results.

  • I fired up a long-dormant account on OpenStreetMap.org and added a bunch of little free libraries (“public bookshelves” is the tag OSM uses). Fun to do.


Climate emergency

  • Letters every Sunday to government – mostly provincial, because of the Federal election in progress right now.

  • Submitted a letter against the Tilbury LNG port expansion, which is right near me.

  • Joined Follow This, an organization dedicated to shareholder activism in energy companies – Shell, BP, Chevron and Total.