Hack Day Ideas

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Hack Project Ideas

Feel free to leave your name next to your idea (although there's no obligation!)

  • ArXiv alerts. Allow users to personalise paper listings from the arXiv and track authors and keywords. [Ruth]
  • haikubot. Make a bot that tweets haikus found in arXiv papers posted that day. [Ruth]
  • Outreach Map. Create a map which indicates the nearest professional astronomy department for any place on the British Isles, count the number of people in each "catchment area", and compute the number of professional astronomers per citizen within it. [Geert]

(Love the idea of "Voronoi binning" the UK based on proximity to a professional astronomy group! [Karen])

  • Acknowledgement Parser. Parse the acknowledgements section of a large number of papers, identify the people and software that are most frequently mentioned, and give these credit on a web page. [Geert]

(Partly already available at ADS: in the search box use ack:"XXXX" to search the acknowledgment section [Karen])

  • Reference Gender Checker. Is your letter of recommendation too gendered. Are you using more communal adjectives (e.g. affectionate, helpful, kind, sympathetic, sensitive, nurturing, agreeable, tactful, interpersonal, warm, caring) and not enough agnetic adjectives (e.g. assertive, confident, aggressive, ambitious, dominant, forceful, independent, daring, outspoken, intellectual) for letters for your female students or postdocs compared to the men? I'd like to develop a service which allows plain text upload of letters, strips them for these and other adjectives and gives an objective answer to this dilemma. Idea inspired by Madera, Hebl and Martin 2009 paper which suggests this type of language difference is typical, and damaging to careers of women in academia. [Karen]
  • Daily Astronomy Tip. Create a Twitter account which automatically tweets a daily astronomy tip, similar to e.g. the @SciPyTip and @climagic accounts. The tips could be about astronomy computing in particular, or about astronomical techniques in general. Multiple people can aid this hack by creating a list of useful 140-character-long tips. [Geert]
  • How far back?. For a given astronomical distance provide a world event (scrape Wikipedia) that was occurring when the light we are now recieving set off. Useful for outreach e.g Cygnus X (MSF region) at 1.7kpc ~ 5500 light years so it set off in 3500BC when... "The Sahara desert starts to form from semi-arid savannah, through desertification." Clearly it'll be more fun the closer you get to home... [Adam]
  • Astronomy lit reviews. Create a place for astronomers to post their lit reviews. [Ruth]
  • Gender of conference speakers/questions. Interesting study at AAS 223 of who asks questions after talks - see here - might be interesting to carry out at NAM2014 or set up for future NAM. Please help us collect data for this Hack by submitting data using this web form on the gender of the speaker, chair, and question askers of the NAM talks you attend! [Jonathan and Karen]
  • Automated demographics of conference from participant list. Vaguely related to the above. Would be fascinating to be able to parse a list of conference attendees and use that to construct numbers, gender balance, academic age (years from 1st paper) via ADS, and maybe a metric of academic diversity (mean number of coauthors also present per attendee?). [Jonathan]
  • Construct-o-Cosmos. Teach yourself a craft off YouTube, and contribute some Dark Matter to a galaxy cluster in formation. Prototypes made at UPortsmouth Art & Design will be provided! [Jane]
  • Best Scale Model. A quick tool to let you find a common object to represent a given scale. [Jen - but Karen uploaded it]
  • Visualising Textual Data. HMNAO provide an online service named Websurf - see here. It provides rise/set times, azimuth and altitudes, Islamic Prayer Times, First Sighting of New Crescent Moon, Moon Phases, Equinoxes & Solstices and an Almanac giving solar, lunar and planetary data for a specific time and location. It has recently gone through a phase of redevelopment to make it more user friendly. One item that is still in development is the output and output formats. We have various output formats that we are looking into but what would be useful and possibly attract users from all backgrounds would be visualising some of the outputs. For example, ideas on how to visualise a years worth of sun rise/set and twilight times? [Paresh Prema, HM Nautical Almanac Office]
  • AstroPy API. Should we expose some of AstroPy's functionality as a web API? What are the use cases? [Geert]
  • Telescope tracker. Which telescopes provide up-to-date information about what they're observing? Can we turn this info into an interesting tool for people to see what astronomers actually look at? The AAT logs become available each morning - what else is out there? [James]
  • Visualise ESA's Planetary Science Archive: I would like to make a video showing ALL the imaging data taken by one of Europe's spacecraft, e.g. Venus Express. This needs a planetary scientist to help us make sense of ESA's archive. [Geert]

Interesting Data

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