Trips interstate

I’m writing this morning while sitting in the corridor at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Glebe NSW. I’m down here visiting some collaborators from the UPTECH project, working on reconciling the survey data from the 600 or so surveys that were sent home with school children during the UPTECH project. It’s different work to anything I’ve done because it involves sitting at a desk with another person and working together for the entire day. We’re double checking everything, sorting out our method and then implementing it where normally I’d just be mucking around and seeing what worked. We have a very disjoint set of skills as I’ve got a background in statistical computation and my colleague is an epidemiologist in a medical science group. This has its pros and cons, of course, because we can’t work in SAS/Access (what she’s used to) nor in R/MATLAB (what I’m used to). So a lot of it’s being done in Excel and custom add-ins for the time being. I have a feeling that today will be the day we start rifling through the boxes of paper surveys and comparing them to the double entered electronic versions.

I’m staying with my sister-in-law in Botany while I’m in Sydney this week, which requires about an hour commute each way (if I get the right bus). Long commutes is apparently just what people do in Sydney. My sister-in-law works in Liverpool and drives 1-1.5 hours each way rather than spending two hours on public transport. It’s been a while since I’ve been in Sydney and I forget just how spread out the urban area is. I’m used to staying in Pymble and getting trains everywhere or crashing at friends’ places in the Inner West and being able to walk. It’s two buses from Botany to Glebe and the bus home can take a very long time to get out of the CBD and inner suburbs. Still, it’s nice to be able to walk around Glebe Point at lunch time.

On Friday we’ll probably be visited by a few academics that I met last Friday a the CAR Investigators’ meeting in Melbourne. The meeting was the first time I’d met the group that are funding my 0.75FTE postdoctoral fellowship. It was great to meet the other post-docs (Christine Cowie, Martine Dennekamp, Yuming Guo) and see what they’re all working on. It’s quite a diverse group of people and projects in CAR and everyone was very excited about the prospect of even more collaboration withing the centre. This is the first time I’ve had any real contact with the centre; there are monthly seminars that are hosted using Adobe Connect but I’ve always been tutoring SEB113 when they’ve been on, so I haven’t had a chance to make it to any of them.

I’ve caught up with Steve, a friend from undergrad maths at QUT who now lives down here and is doing computational statistics for an HIV research group. We had a drink and dinner last night (Tipple Bar and Bistro and Yulli’s vegetarian restaurant). We seem to have developed quite similar views on the role of stats in science and Bayesian statistics. We should keep in touch more, though, because it totally slipped my mind that he got married. The colleague I’m visiting here took me out to dinner in Newtown last night with her partner, where we stuffed ourselves full of Thai food and then decided to get some pastizzi but to go for a walk before attempting to eat them. I managed to eat two of them once I finally got home, and there’s a cherry cheese one waiting in my bag for morning tea once we earn ourselves a break (we’re using the Pomodoro technique to great effect). I’m not drinking as much coffee while I’m down here, which is partly due to my brother and sister-in-law not drinking coffee and the Woolcock Institute not being located within a university.

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