Sunday, January 10, 2010

[Tanya] Jan 10

The projects got under way. There is a large team doing social behavior of sheep (yes, sheep, but Kenyan sheep are different and behave differently, so we did have to come to Kenya for those). Another team is doing acacia ants, there is a butterfly team, a bird team (of one, Maria), Sebastian will do something with scat ☺ and Mayank and Qing will go to Ol’ Pejeta to work on zebras. More or less.

So the first thing we did was test the GPS (iGotU) accuracy. We designed a few controlled experiments: a chain of 7 people walking in a file, holding hands (so cute) in a large circle, a chain of 7 walking in a straight line, making a step every 15 second (sooooooo boring), etc. Turns out the GPS SUCK! Big time! Though some of them may be ok. After being depressed about the complete failure of technology (the high def cameras are not charging the extended life battery I bought for them), we think that there may be some useful data after all. We shall see.

Mike, the Mpala ranch manager, said he would create a heard of 30 female sheep for us. Tomorrow morning at 8 am we will be at the boma (a local word for ‘corral’) collaring the sheep.

At 5pm today there was a soccer game between the Mpala staff and our students. We all drove to the ranch house (saw kudu, guinea fowl, dik dik, giraffes), piled out on the field and that was the first time our team got a ball and realized they had to play together. Mayank on the goal, Sebastian defense, Xing Li, Alison (a researcher here), Qing, on the offense. We scored a goal in the first 5 minutes!! It was magnificent. A beautiful play by almost the entire team, resulting in Alison’s delivery. Unfortunately, I was so engulfed watching the game that I forgot to take a video. Then we got creamed. Kenyan side had incredible runners! Mayank, our goalie, had a save ratio of about 5/6 (including taking one in the stomach) but we still lost at the end 8:2. We’ll try to get even next Sunday. We need a good name for the team. In the course of the game we went from “geek team” to “compbio” to just “team”.

While the game was going on there were giraffes in the distance on the slope, just munching on the leaves. Surreal.

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