Now Curating Games on Steam

If you fancy yourself a gamer, then follow along with my reviews on Steam. As a lifelong video game enthusiast with roots in the NES era, I’ve enjoyed immersing myself in the vibrant community of modern indie gaming.

My reviews only feature games playable through Linux with full controller support. I focus primarily on games from small and independent developers in the role playing game, point-and-click, action-adventure, and puzzle-platformer genres. And with a bit of aesthetic discourse added into the mix, we get my aptly-named steam curator: Linux Gaming Philosophy.

Mysterytrain 2018 Schedule

We’re enjoying festival season this summer with plenty more to come in the fall. I’m really to have a new van for traveling to shows.

February 16-17 – The Pajama Jam (Tipton, PA)

April 13-14 – Willie’s Midnight Crazy Train (Lehighton, PA)

May 19-20 – Private Party (Chalfont, PA)

June 29-30 – Grateful Getdown III (Biglerville, PA)

July 28 – Pinnacle Jam (Strausstown, PA)

August 2-5 – 13th Annual Bears Picnic (Blain, PA)

August 24-25 – Festival in the Field (Millersburg, PA)

August 31-September 1 – Peace of Mind (Laurelton, PA)

October 18-20 – Panda Fam Fest (Forksville, PA)

November 24 – Thanks for Giving (Tipton, PA)

We now offer online ticket sales on the Mysterytrain website. Contact us if you’re planning on going to some of these events, and plan on camping with us, too!

More on Mars Climate Cycles

Fluvial features on Mars seem to indicate that liquid water once flowed on the surface, yet climate theorists remain divided among how the red planet was able to sustain warm enough conditions in the distant past when the sun was fainter. Popular ideas include a dense greenhouse atmosphere of carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and other gases permitted a lengthy period of warmth. Another option suggests that periodic impacts caused enough warming to carve the features in a shorter time.

My co-authors and I have argued in previous papers that climate cycles on early Mars could have been driven by oscillations in the carbonate-silicate cycle, which would have provided transient warming from the accumulation of greenhouse gases by volcanoes and subsequent loss by weathering. In a new paper, we respond to a critique of the limit cycle hypothesis in our “Reply to Shaw.”

We acknowledge that the biggest obstacle to any explanation for warming early Mars with carbon dioxide is their ultimate fate: are there carbonate rocks buried underneath the martian regolith? If not, where did all the carbon dioxide go? Even so, we maintain that the early Mars climate cycle hypothesis remains consistent with observable geologic evidence and could have played at least a partial role in providing warm conditions on early Mars.

Circulation States of Synchronous Rotators

Some planets around low mass stars are expected to be in synchronous rotation, so that the star is continually fixed upon one side. This not only causes one hemisphere to experience permanent day and the other to reside in permanent night (with perpetual twilight along the “terminator” at the edges), but this also drives the climate into a regime fundamentally unlike any seen in the atmosphere of Earth.

In a recent paper titled, “Demarcating circulation regimes of synchronously rotating terrestrial planets within the habitable zone,” my co-authors and I analyze a set of climate model calculations to examine the dependence upon stellar effective temperature of the atmospheric dynamics of planets as they move closer to the inner edge of the
habitable zone. These results show that the surface temperature contrast between day and night hemispheres decreases with an increase in incident stellar flux. This trend is opposite that seen on gas giants, where the same forcing shows an increase in the day-night atmosphere temperature contrast.

We define three dynamical regimes in terms of the dynamical quantities known as the Rossby deformation radius (the ratio of buoyancy to rotation) and the Rhines length (the maximum extent of turbulent structures). The slow rotation regime is characterized by a mean zonal circulation that spans from the day to night side. Slow rotation requires that both the Rossby deformation radius and the Rhines length exceed planetary radius, which occurs for planets with rotation rate > 20 days. Rapid rotators show a mean zonal circulation that only partially spans a hemisphere, with banded cloud formation beneath the substellar point. The rapid rotation regime is defined by the Rossby deformation radius being less than planetary radius, which occurs for planets with rotation rate < 5 days. In between is the Rhines rotation regime, which retains a mean zonal circulation from day to night side but also features midlatitude turbulence-driven zonal jets. Rhines rotators are expected for planets with rotation rate between 5 to 20 days, where the Rhines length is less than planetary radius but the Rossby deformation radius is greater than planetary radius. The dynamical state can be inferred from observations of orbital period and spectral type of the host star as well as from comparing the morphology of the thermal emission phase curves of synchronously rotating planets. Such phase curves will be potentially useful tools for characterizing planets with the next generation of space telescopes.