February linkfest

The linkfest is back! All the best bits from the news feed. Tips? Get in touch.

The latest QGIS — the free and open-source GIS we use — dropped last week. QGIS v2.8 'Wien' has lots of new features like expressions in property fields, better legends, and colour palettes.

On the subject of new open-source software, I've mentioned Wayne Mogg's OpendTect plug-ins before. This time he's outdone himself, with an epic new plug-in providing an easy way to write OpendTect attributes in Python. This means we can write seismic attribute algorithms in Python, using OpendTect for I/O,project management, visualization, and interpretation. 

It's not open source, but Google Earth Pro is now free! The free version was pretty great, but Pro has a few nice features, like better measuring tools, higher resolution screen-grabs, movies, and ESRI shapefile import. Great for scoping field areas.

Speaking of fieldwork, is this the most amazing outcrop you've ever seen? Those are house-sized blocks floating around in a mass-transport deposit. If you want to know more, you're in luck, because Zane Jobe blogged about it recently.  (You do follow his blog, right?)

By the way, if sedimentology is your thing, for some laboratory eye-candy, follow SedimentExp on Twitter. (Zane's on Twitter too!)

If you like to look after your figures, Rougier et al. recently offered 10 simple rules for making them better. Not only is the article open access (more amazing: it's public domain), the authors provide Python code for all their figures. Inspiring.

Open, even interactive, code will — it's clear — be de rigueur before the decade is out. Even Nature is at it. (Well, I shouldn't say 'even', because Nature is a progressive publishing hose, at the same time as being part of 'the establishment'.) Take a few minutes to play with it... it's pretty cool. We have published lots of static notebooks, as has SEG; interactivity is coming!

A question came up recently on the Earth Science Stack Exchange that made me stop and think: why do geophysicists use \(V_\mathrm{P}/V_\mathrm{S}\) ratio, and not \(V_\mathrm{S}/V_\mathrm{P}\) ratio, which is naturally bounded. (Or is it? Are there any materials for which \(V_\mathrm{S} > V_\mathrm{P}\)?) I think it's tradition, but maybe you have a better answer?

On the subject of geophysics, I think this is the best paper title I've seen for a while: A current look at geophysical detection of illicit tunnels (Steve Sloan in The Leading Edge, February 2015). Rather topical just now too.

At the SEG Annual Meeting in Denver, I recorded an interview with SEG's Isaac Farley about wikis and knowledge sharing...

OK, well if this is just going to turn into blatant self-promotion, I might as well ask you to check out Pick This, now with over 600 interpretations! Please be patient with it, we have a lot of optimization to do...