Yes, they are mad

One of the more regrettable aspects of having children – other than the entire lack of a life – is interaction with the school inspectors. And the insanity reaches its peak in the inspection of after-school clubs. Its all such an utter waste of time that I’d rather ignore it than bother mock it, but since my wife was reading “Practice Guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage” and found this, I had to share it:

From the “Numbers as Labels and for Counting” section, under 40-60+ months:

* Use rhymes, songs and stories involving counting on and counting back in ones, twos, fives and tens.
* Emphasise the empty set and introduce the concept of nothing or zero.
* Understand the limitation of Riemann integration and the need for Lesbegue integration.

OK, I made that last one up. But hands up all those who have failed to emphasise the empty set to their three year olds.

Turkish Delight

MW points out the regrettable Global Conference on Global Warming 2008 (GCGW-08). The wot? you might well say. Its not one of those, is it? It doesn’t quite appear to be one of those. In fact, it even appears to have some fairly sensible people associated with it. Although rumour has it that they didn’t quite know what they were associated with. “Imagine Borat organising a conference” said one source, who rather strangely would rather remain anonymous.

So how come it ends up awarding a conference prize to “GLOBAL WARMING IS GLOBAL ENERGY STORAGE”, B. Nordell, B. Gervet, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden? If you’re lucky, at this point you say “who is this man?” and pass on; happily he hasn’t troubled this incarnation of Stoat. But you can find him from a former life, because he is the #1 hit from nordell mustelid. Or to be less opaque, Global warming is not from waste heat (2). The new paper appears to much of the same, all over again. Sigh.

Anyway, the question was, how do these apparently naive but apparently well meaning folk end up at their decision? You could ask the conference organiser, and he might reply “One can think that it is none of your business. If you visit the website you will find the answers for your questions.” So I did, but I didn’t. Ah well, best given up as a bad job at this point I think.

Fun with correlations

Fergus is interested in the effects of El Nino on sea ice. So I looked at At first I thought it didn’t have sea ice, and it doesn’t in the indices, but it does have in the monthly data, which you can average. And then end up with:


The shows Arctic sea ice correlated to SST over the sea. I used the Reynolds SST, so its 1982-2008. Oddly enough, more sea ice makes it colder in the Arctic. More interestingly, this applies to the Atlantic, but much less to the Pacific, though there is some effect (but outside Nino 3.4?). This is all months, as I failed to persuade it to do just September.

Though if you’re interested in the monthly anomaly plots, it will do them: click here. Very nice.

I’ve just realised that sea ice against Nino 3.4 is probably more interesting, in principle. Here it is:


Hmm, needs more work. Fergus asks, what about a 6 month lag? Not done: an exercise for the reader. The site supports it.

Disclaimer: I’m only playing.

One-metre sea-level rise this century, scientists say?

So says Schellnhuber (ht ht). I imagine he really did say it, because its in quotes. But the same page says “Schnellhuber charged that 20 per cent of the loss of the ice sheet on Greenland could be directly linked to the added carbon dioxide emissions from new Chinese coal-fired power stations.” This I find rather hard to believe. The Chinese produce produce about 20% of global emissions, true, but not all of that is from power stations; and besides which its the atmos concentrations that matter, not the instantaneous emissions, and they have a long way to go before they catch up with a West on that score. So I imagine they have garbled that bit.

There is some RC stuff on SLR; but the basic answer is “no-one really knows yet”.

Bee blogging

In theory I have a blog about bees, called with a stunning lack of originality williams bees. However, its moribund, and I can’t be bothered to maintain more than one blog, so for the record: I’m down to one hive now, the one pictured, except I’ve cut the nettles back a little. Spring brought a reasonable crop, mostly rape of course; also at least one swarm, which went to Nikola. Summer was disappointing in England, in general quite wet, and come the autumn my harvest was essentially nil. I could have spun off a few frames, maybe six; but I preferred to leave them the honey to overwinter with (after my very first year of beekeeping I have had no truck with the technique of taking off all the honey, then feeding them sugar syrup to keep them going. Its messy, tedious, pointless and expensive for an amateur like me). The anti-varroa treatment this year is apiguard, which is more tedious to use than bayvarol or apistan, but I took the second treatment pan out today. So hopefully they are now set for the winter.

A reflection

With regard to our BAMS paper, and the links to various commentaries at the bottom, John says: I actually have begun to feel despair every time I read a comment thread on a blog post about the paper… people generally don’t read it, but rather use it as a starting point to share the opinions they already had, informed or not. This is frequently the case even with those who agree with us. Sigh.

Alas, its too true, and not just about our paper: people are just looking for excuses to push their own views. Except me, of course, or my respected readers.