Raw Data From The Cassini Mission and Possible Life on a Small Moon Orbiting Saturn?
You've Never Read a PostgreSQL Book Like This One
"A TREASURE TROVE"
I’ve found the book to be a treasure trove of Postgres features. CTEs are blowing my mind right now. I’m a backend engineer, and I’ve been sharing what I’ve learned with my coworker who is a DBA. She is picking up some tips through me now! I haven’t found a good, engaging tutorial for these intermediate/advanced Postgres tricks, and "A Curious Moon" fills this gap. As a bonus, I’m also picking up some bash tips from the book.
A Little SciFi, A Database Tutorial and a Whole Lot of Data From Space...
Red:4 is bidding on a mission to one of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus, considered to be a primary candidate for alien life. Dee needs to assemble, normalize, query and optimize data from the Cassini mission so it can go along as reference material for SELFI, NASA’s next-generation sensor that has a singular job: verify life under the ice of this remote moon.
I am loving the book!
"The narrative format is like no other programming book I've ever read, and it's really keeping me engaged and interested. I've struggled in the past to keep pushing through programming books that are dry & stock standard, but the characters in A Curious Moon make the book relatable and it makes me want to learn... thanks for creating something special"
A Ton of Code With a Real World Narrative Element in the Spirit of The Martian.
Sure you can learn PostgreSQL from boring, PowerPointy online tutorials from a mega-training shop, practicing "select * " queries until you fall asleep OR you can get your hands dirty and learn this magnificent system like they do in the real world: under the gun with the clock ticking!
I won't waste your time with sleep-inducing demos and examples - we're going to hit the ground running by important millions of records into PostgreSQL right from the command line and then we're going to interrogate it for correctness. From there we put our detective hats on and get to work.
You will be thrown into the database deep end:
We don't have time for fluffy tooling! Yes there are GUIs and visual tools out there, but SQL with PostgreSQL is simple and easy to use when describing the precise table and index set that you want.
You'll import data like a pro, using the command line and a Makefile. Again: there are GUIs you could use, but here at Red:4 we believe in keeping things simple and powerful, so we use Make and shell scripts with psql.
You'll audit and sniff out crap data as you become "data minded". Never trust a spreadsheet – this is the mandate from our data magistrate, M. Sullivan. You'll go through a basic audit process from real, raw data from JPL. It doesn't matter where the data is from, it will always have errors you'll need to correct.
You'll sleuth through raw Cassini data using basic queries. Pulling data in is only part of the process – looking for clues and understanding what you're seeing is the next step. Dee needs to gather data to support the next mission plan, and you're going to help her by using Common Table Expressions, Full Text Search indexing and Windowing Functions.
You'll speed up slow queries with built-in analysis tools and objects. The Cassini data dump is gigantic, and sifting through the analysis records can be time consuming! You'll use EXPLAIN and ANALYZE to figure out where to put your indexes and when it makes sense to build a materialized view, which is data cached on disk.
NASA is a very thorough organization, but it's staffed by humans and humans like spreadsheets and spreadsheets destroy data. You'll use mathematical analysis to verify flyby altitudes and speeds using data from the INMS during the 22 close encounters with Enceladus.
You'll finally perform the ultimate analysis on very real scientific data: Is There Life Under the Ice of Enceladus? You will have all the data you need to support this claim: thermal, chemical and mineralogical results from two of the most sensitive instruments humans have ever created. You'll run the query and see the results for yourself!
Compulsively readable. Recommended
"Reading through A Curious Moon... It's like reading The Martian, only instead of trying to survive in the hostile environment of another planet, it's about trying to survive in the hostile environment of snarky DBAs. Compulsively readable. Recommended."
You Will Learn PostgreSQL Like a Pro
One of the best technical books I've ever read
"I really enjoy your book! It is one of the best technical books I've ever read, and I read more than 40 books per year (technical and non-technical). What I like most about this book is that you mixed a sci-fi story with technical writing. It is like a novel for geeks!"