Before I start this I want to ask people to help me survive this month by donating to me. This website is a lot of work and I do not get paid a lot of money for it and it is a well established fact that my social welfare from Iceland is not enough for me to live on at all. I can barely pay my bills with that income and Iam just two steps from being really poor and at the moment I am highly poor. Why you should donate to me is also going to be explained below. If you don’t want to donate to me is good too, not everyone who read my blog can donate. If you plan on buying something from Amazon, by clicking through the advertisements I have and buy from there means I get 5 to 10% of the sale price as an return from Amazon.
What my work involves
What I work with on daily is simply this. I keep eye on current activity in Iceland and Europe, even during a quiet period as is currently taking place in Iceland. Since even it is quiet there is always something going on. Unlike other (and this makes me rather unique) I collect my own earthquake data, traces plots of earthquakes, tremor data and so on. This is going to be expanded in the future as my plans are going to grow with time (more on that later in this blog post). I also estimates the risk of big earthquakes taking place in Iceland, or if an earthquake swarm is going to start or if the earthquake activity is related to magma movements and what the risk of eruption is at current time.
Earthquake from the earthquake swarm in TFZ last year. This image is released under Creative Commons Licence. Please see CC Licence for more details.
I also plot earthquakes when needed (but I have been awfully lazy doing it for the past two years, more on that later), mostly during earthquake swarms or when other interesting activity takes place. This is part of my work, even if I have not been attending to it as I should. That is going to change now, but more on that later in this blog post.
Constantly at work, with few breaks
Nature never sleeps and that is a fact. Most days of the year there is always something taking place in Iceland, be that earthquake swarms or minor earthquake activity. Changes in volcanoes, glacier floods and so on. I am always monitoring this and ready to write a article on what is taking place, forwarding information to Erik Klemetti when needed. Since I regard science about sharing information, not hoarding them as they were gold in a chest.
I almost never get a break and it was starting to wear me out a little. I am also constantly broke due to the ridiculously low income that I have from Iceland and that is weathering me down faster than just the normal workload, since I can adjust to the work load. What I can’t adjust to is the constant worry about money and constantly having to worry about if I can pay my bills or buy food this month or next month. It is mentally breaking and wears a person out faster than any workload that I know of so far.
Besides running this blog and Europe geology blog (and few others non-geology blogs) I run a geophone network in Iceland. It is currently not large geophone network, just four geophone stations at the moment. I plan on building it up in the future, add more stations and make improvements to it as I can advance the build of it. This costs me money, since I have to buy the hardware and the 3G connection in at least two locations. In the future I plan on moving from Windows XP to FreeBSD (or other BSD variant), since it is more stable and easier to maintain. I am also going to move to smaller computers, rather then using the normal PC sized computer with fan and many other parts that can break down at random times. As that is my biggest problem today.
Post rate and influence of this blog
While this is not officially an news site (since I am not officially a reporter) this blog has great influence. I know from my conversations with staff at Icelandic Meteorological Office that this blog is read all over Europe by government people. Who at times have called and bothered the staff at Icelandic Meteorological Office due to a blog post that I wrote here, even if I was really careful in my wording (this was mostly Katla activity updates). I want this blog to be about facts and good information (or to have them as good as I can get them), this is not an entertainment site , I won’t post quiz posts about volcanoes or earthquakes here. That is not what I want to do, the internet is an big place and there are places for quiz and entertainment on it. I do write entertainment material, after all, I am an writer, that material can be found (or more is going to be found) here on my website that is going to host my really short stories that I write for it.
I aim for quality in the post I put on this blog, rather then high amount of blog posts with nothing in them. I do not go after sensationalism [Wiki] that is so common today on blogs and news sites. I find it boring and counter productive, even if such things are traffic enabling for blogs, news sites and so on. As it undermines the trust and quality for the reporting that needs to be out there when it comes to reporting natural phenomena in Iceland and elsewhere. This was properly explained by Cracked few weeks ago here [Cracked.com].
As I did say above this is not a entertainment website. During the early years of this blog a fight broke out between me and then readers (who felt more like editors since then wanted to control what I wrote on my own blog) then wanted entertainment on this blog. I told them no, I told them that I was ready to provide them with a forum where they could place entertainment material online if they so wanted. I put up the forum [the link works, but there is nothing there and I am just waiting until the domain expiers] and it completely flopped big time and was not used at all. The people who wanted the entertainment did go somewhere else and I have not seen most of them on this blog site since. This also had an huge effect on traffic as this image shows.
Traffic on this blog site from the start. Copyright of this image belongs to Statcounter.com
The most traffic is around 11-November-2011 on this graph. It does not show it clearly. After that it has only been around 300 to 2000 pageviews after that, even during interesting earthquake swarms in TFZ last year. No major or minor volcanic activity has taken place since November 2011, the steam explosions in Kverkfjöll volcano are not volcanic activity as such, even if they have there origins in hydrothermal vents in Kverkfjöll volcano.
There is little that I can do about people behaviors. I however hope that traffic is going to recover in the future since I am making big plans for this blog and other related projects (more on that later in this blog post) when it comes to this earthquake and volcano hobby that I have. Since I am nothing more than hobby scientist in the field of geology.
My current and ongoing financial crises
I have problem with money, my problem with money is that I do not earn enough of it to make it through the month. I often can barely just pay all of my bills and buying food after that is often not something I have a lot of money to do. As I explained in last blog post. My income is at the moment only donation and my social welfare. What I get in donations is little, I got two people (whom I am really thankful for) donate €40 each month, sometimes more. It is not enough to cover all my bills, but it helps me a bit to stay afloat during during the month.
My welfare is in Icelandic Krona, due to the economic collapse in Iceland in the year 2008 it is in wekaned state and is going to remain as such for a long time. This is my main problem when living in Denmark, since I am taking the fluctuation of the ISK directly. For people living in Iceland there is a delay in the effects of this exchange rate when it comes to food prices (and so on). For me the change is instant and felt right away, there no delay for me.
This year have finished writing three short stories, with two others currently in the work. This is good performance for me in terms or work. Two of the stories need some re-writing and the third one needs a spelling check before I can publish it, along with a cover and other things before I can publish it, so there is still some work needed to be done. I do not have any idea how many short stories I am going sell in the future, I might sell plenty or I might not sell anything. I have no way to know and I cannot trust the income from that until I know it is stable and secure.
As for September, I am going to be lucky if I can buy food this month. Not sure how I am going to make this month properly, all I know at the moment is that I can just pay the bills, as for buying food that I need for the month. I am not so sure at the moment. I am having a minor stress episode over this money issue, but it is not nearly as bad as the one I had in February-2013 when I almost did go over due to financial worries.
I currently have a cable service from Yousee. I am going to cancel it, I do not use it at all and I do not need to pay for it. There is a good saving in doing so. I am also going to switch to cheaper mobile subscription, my current one is too high since I hardly make a phone call here in Denmark anyway (I do not know that many people anyway).
Since the year 2010 I have been having a identity crisis [Wiki, extra link here], not sure what type I did go trough. However I did make a decision two days ago that seems to have resolved this identity crisis that I had. I have not changed, since what once was has been observed into my new identity (what fits) as a person. As for other things, it is going to sort itself out in few days to weeks time. At least I now feel like a whole person again, first time for an long time. I cannot live in Iceland, since I am not a fit with Icelandic culture and ways and that is not going to change any time soon.
What I have decided is the following
1: After 5 to 15 years or when money allows I am going to move to Azores Islands. To start with I am going to move to Ponta Delgada (Azores). I am also going to buy a house in Flores Island (Azores) in a town called Ponta Delgada, Santa Cruz das Flores. While I do not know when this fully materializes since it depends on my income and if there are any house to buy at that location to start with.
2: I am going to build a geophone / seismometer network in Azores Islands. It is going to be based on 4.5Hz geophones that I am using today and Volksmeters (for detailed volcano monitoring). I am going to keep my Icelandic geophone network in Iceland up at the same time and make improvements to it as the time passes. Including adding Volksmeters to it for improved monitoring of volcanoes and distant earthquakes.
3: I am going to establish a database on volcano activity. Since Global Volcanism Program website has gone from good to awful when it comes to search for volcano information. Fancy layout does not mean it is efficient and good to work with, as is the case at the moment with Global Volcanism Program website. I am not sure when it is going to be ready, since I have to learn how to use Wikimedia format for it, or something close to it. I have to learn on it and buy a domain (I can’t afford to buy a domain at the moment).
4: I plan on writing my own software for earthquake and volcano eruption detection. First I have to learn how to program and I am not sure when I can start doing to since I have to buy books for it and now I do not have any money to do so. I hope it won’t be any later than after 10 years, until then I plan on reading as much material that I can find online to prepare my self for this change. Since I am going to be learning new languages and that is hard work.
The reason I am going to be living in two places is that I need a good place to write my stories and make experiments with hardware, programming and just general quiet periods (my Aspergers syndrome sometimes likes that). I also need some mixture of social connection, go out and see people and such things. That is why I need to be in densely populated areas sometimes.
Geophone network plan
As I say above I am going to establish an geophone network in Azores Islands. I am going to do so that I can monitor most of the activity that takes place in Azores Islands, since they are almost all active today (maybe not Santa Maria Island) and have erupted (many of them) since they where settled few centuries ago. All the computers used in Azores Islands are going to use FreeBSD for this when the time comes.
I am going to keep my geophone network in Iceland up and running for a long time. Locations of geophone and Volksmeters might change over time, since not everyone can keep my hardware for a long time. With time I am going to replace the Windows XP PC’s with FreeBSD or other distro of *BSD and use embedded computer or micro computers. I am also going to make the network failure proof, or as failure proof as I can make it.
I am soon going to add a new page for Azores Island geophone network on my webicorders website. It is not going to be a big change, but I am also going to add more details on how this works in special websites as the time passes. Currently I am not sure when this is going to be up and running, it is going to be soon.
A scientific hobby and a job
Monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes is not just a hobby for me now. It is also my work, my job and I love it. All I wish is that did return more money into my pocket since I need to make a living same as everyone else. I have had interest in volcanoes and earthquakes since I was 10 years old, it is a passion that I have and it is never going to stop or die for me. This is something that I need to do and I can help the world in my view. Since I can provide data and maybe insights into what it happening when it comes to volcanoes or how earthquake works once I have collected and worked on enough data.
That is why I do it, this is not something I do just to make money. I love this as much as I love writing (writing goes slower for me since I spend great deal of time on working out ideas and figure out what works and what does not work. A different work then when I am just processing raw data on what is happening in a volcano or an earthquake swarm).
I hope that people don’t mind this long blog post (it is on par with some of my short stories in length). I had a lot to say and I am such a person that when I have something to say, I say it rather then remaining silent person. That is how I work and I am always going to work that way.
Thanks for reading and I hope that you can support me (I am not sure what I might risk when it comes to this month in terms of not having any money to buy food).
Note: I am going to update this blog post if I forgot to write something in it. I do not think that I forgot anything, but I might have.
Blog post updated at 00:36 UTC on 2-September-2013.