Bad Beekeeping

The good beekeper keeps a close eye on his or her bees, carefully checks the weight of the hive during the winter to make sure they aren’t starving, and pays particular attention during May for ’tis the season to be swarming. It will come as no great surprise to my readers that I don’t fit this category: my bees mostly look after themseleves at the bottom of the garden with minimal attention from me. But come the end of the Rape season, which is just about now, the honey has to be taken off before it sets solid in the hives. So I borrowed my jacket back off Nikola and set to removing the supers. I only seem to have two on at the moment, probably a mistake because they were both packed full. I imagine my bees have probably swarmed at some point.

However, the point of this was the picture of a frame, above, which from its geometry you will immeadiately see is a super frame, and yet it has brood in it. Oops. Although the “arc” pattern is rather good. This means, I can only suppose, that the naughty queen has wriggled through the queen excluder and ventured upwards where she should not be(e). About three frames were heavily brooded – one even had a queen cell on it. The photo shows a few cells sticking out – those are drone (male) cells and somewhat bigger. The others are workers. The sides have capped honey, which is what should be everywhere. The problem with the brood is that it makes the frames hard to spin – no one wants icky white bee larvae in their honey, especially since they are rather fragile and tend to explode into goo.

Um, did I mention that my honey is for sale, just £3 / lb if you’re in the Coton area. [Update: I should point out that the honey I sell really doesn’t have any larvae in it, since frames like tha above simply can’t be spun -W]

Global cooling awareness in the 60’s?

I apologise for the brief intrusion of something vaguely related to climate science on this rowing-n-wiki blog; we’ll return you to your usual programming shortly.

Maurizio Morabito attempts to establish that there was a consensus for global cooling in the 1960’s (this is all part of a rather dull campaign to discredit the mighty number one climate paper “The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus”; generally he appears to have failed to understand what we said, so I won’t bore you by attacking it further). Evidence is apparently found in a 1961 UNESCO / WMO conference Symposium on Changes of Climate with Special Reference to Arid Zones which UNESCO have had the good manners to put online. Well, fascinating stuff, let’s read on…
Continue reading “Global cooling awareness in the 60’s?”

Wiki politics

There is an interesting (if you like that sort of thing) insight into some wiki-politics available from a recent RFA (which stands for [[Wikipedia:Requests for adminship]]. Not to be confused, obviously, with RFA which stands for [[Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests]]). Admins are the folks who do exciting things like blocking vandals (well, and other. My own log is here if you’re interested), deleting pages, and a pile of ill-defined miscellaneous tasks. Once upon a time adminship was handed out to anyone who wanted it and who wasn’t obviously mad; there is still a token pretence that adminship is “no big deal” but it isn’t true, obviously. Edging closer to the politics, there are loose groups of admins (and indeed of other editors) but lacking any interest in wiki politics I don’t know what these groupings are. Charles knows all, and indeed at one point attempted to explain it to me, but alas I failed to listen, since I didn’t care. So who gets to be an admin matters, somewhat, because… well I’m not fully sure. It affects who gets blocked, a bit, at least in extreme cases. The point is that everybody cares, though in my case not enough to bother monitoring RFA’s.

Anyway, the RFA I’m talking about is that of Flying Toaster (as far as I know FT (not to be confused with FT2 of course) is the innocent battleground on which others are playing out their humours). My witty and amusing support vote is here, which will make no sense to most people but is obvious enough to those who were intended to read it (happily enough I would have voted support anyway, not quite sure what I would have done had I felt inclined to oppose. Indulge me here a moment, because now I’ve forgotten how I ended up getting there; a moment before I’d voted for Kotra, which is unusual, as I last voted oh ages ago. I think it must have been this at Wikipedia:Administrators’ noticeboard – that would explain things neatly).

Anyway, I think I’ve at last got to my point, which is there is an interminable “discussion” about how much wiki-management should be done on and off wiki (it long ago became clear that further discussion was pointless and I stopped even attempting to follow it; but people still care). There is a wiki IRC channel (which I read once upon a time, but not for ages) where people, from what I recall, mostly chat. But maybe there are Sekret channels too. Who knows. Anyway people get upset about this, and so you end up with block-voting of the on-wiki folk against the off-wiki folk and so on. Which is what otherwise incomprehensible votes like this mean. Then you get the fanboi’s jumping on the bandwaggon and it becomes rather funny, because when it is pointed out that the “per” they have given is unintelligible, they immeadiately switch to another reason. Tex, at least, had a bizarre sort of integrity: his opposition was incoherent, and remained unapologetically so. I thought it might be fun to tweak him, so I followed up; alas he wasn’t very interesting and was unable to disguise his slavishness.

Incidentally, while I’m talking about wiki to a group of technically literate people, does anyone feel like improving [[Distributed Inter-Process Communication]].

[Update: it all ended in tears (?) -W]

We’re not Kings

At least not Kings I. But we did have a really quite decent outing tonight (rather more fun than the ladies on sunday; we rowed in the Champs head on sunday, which was an experience but not really fun. James H’s take on it is here). We weren’t exactly solidly balanced, but the wobble was small, not dramatic, controllable, and didn’t get in the way of a decent stroke. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though I was rowing strokeside, which is not my native side. We met up with CS at the head of the reach with his Kings crew and challenged them to a side-by-side race down to the railway bridge. Oddly enough they stuffed us (well they were all wearing the same colour; and perhaps more to the point had been rowing with the same crew together for the last n months), and indeed the “race” was probably our worst bit of rowing. But as usual, after that, we settled down, and coming back past the boathouses was quite decent. A lovely sunset as we walked over the bridge to the Fort capped it off.

Meanwhile, the Ducks appear to have found an edible version of settlers of Catan, which is coming close to taking over from monopoly as our family game (deservedly so; it is a better game). James H apparently wants a boaters-vs-rowers version for the Cam; I think there should be one where your aim is to get your narrow boat mooring into number one position.

i-57df3e72a0bfaecd1977ef6ba8021f3b-ChampHead-17May09-117-ChestertonCRA-02_s.JPG

Here is our Heroic Champs heads crew (photo credit: Pete Twitchett, http://www.flickr.com/photos/rowrowphoto/). For those not up on the technica, stroke is the oarsman nearest the cox, and strokeside is the side and those rowers on the same side as stroke (unless you have a bow-rigged boat, when it gets confusing). I’m at 5, on bowside, as you’ll have noticed. This is outside the Plough, so is probably our start.

Finance question

One thing that has puzzled me for a bit about the current mess is the intereaction between the Government and the Central Bank (Bank of England or BoE, in our case). So the government is raising money by selling Gilts, in quantities that I forget but of the order of £200b when I last looked. Meanwhile, the BoE is indulging in Quantiative easing, a process whereby it pumps money into the economy by buying various bonds, but mostly Gilts, of the order of £20b.

This appears, at least at first sight, to be pointlessly self-cancelling. The government is selling gilts to itself (unless we pretend that the BoE isn’ t an organ of the government – are we supposed to pretend that?).

On the other hand, perhaps the point is that only the BoE is capable of creating money out of nothing – maybe the government strictly defined has no mechanism to do this. So it is obliged to go through the slightly strange dance.