More misc

When we all wake up by the Onion.

Spam: I wrote a website for a friend who does English/German translation. This is my attempt to push it up the google rankings and maybe even get her some business:

ScruffyDan on the incoherent septic response to Siddall et al.

Daniel: stronger than 3/4 of a sausage.


We were going to the Head of the Trent tomorrow (well, today now, cos I delayed this post) but the forecast is looking awful: Div 2 and the novices are already cancelled (for some mad reason we were entered as IM2). Since that means I don’t have to get up at 5 am tomorrow its not all bad news :-). This afternoon I wandered down the river to watch the Lents, or at least the first two divisions with the most amusingly dubious rowing.

DSC_3955-nb-by-tree-close In between races it is quiet and peaceful.

Continuing: as it turned out, the Trent *wasn’t* cancelled but we did wimp out of our sunday morning outing and do a few ergs instead. Our thin excuse was that we couldn’t see the edge of the river: wading out with waders rather than boots it was possible to poke a pole in to mark it, but no-one was keen. Perhaps a slight lack of determination there.

Sorry, this seems to have morphed into a diary entry. Ah well.

Image0004 On the way back home: if you know this bit, it is the little triangle of land behind the UL near the ?real tennis? courts on the footpath towards Coton; normally a humble little stream but today a roaring torrent, or not quite, because the rain abated. Appalling picture quality due to my phone’s camera; still it was nice to have. And due to the power of – aha – Bluetooth, I xferred the photos to M’s laptop, with only a certain degree of cursing (eventually realising that the laptop wasn’t going to offer a removable-disk type option and I’d have to xfer each from the phone view’s “send”).

Late addendum: you must watch the EDSAC film. As well as being ‘istorical it is wonderful fun. Committees! People with mustaches! Punched tape! What more can you want.

And another:


Thisis me being narcissistic, of course. Of the two ergs, the second was on a machine with a functioning display 🙂 and it seems I do better when pushed by a time. Next stop, 30m with a monitor.

Yet more more misc. Isn’t that just… awesome?

Wireless mice and google buzz

Google has signed me up to their “buzz”, which seems to be like facebook but with fewer people and no silly games. This link might work, or it might not. Who knows. Is it any use? I don’t know.

Which brings me on to wireless mice. I’ve had a lot of trouble with my wireless connection over the past couple of weeks, and very annoying it is too. Eventually I realised that this coincided with Miriam buying a wireless mouse. And sure enough, now I’ve turned the silly thing off things are much better. This seems really dumb: everyone is going to want to use both together. She should have got a bluetooth one :-).

More snow

Yet more snow. This lot only just settled; moderately thick, but turned to slush later in the day. In particular, the puddle of dirty roadside slush I feel into was cold and wet. But along the footpath it was still beautiful:


This is to prove to Jules that the UK isn’t all bad.

CSR is less enchanting, but even so the symmetry is appealing.


As to ENSO… hmm. Don’t get your hopes up.


Von S has an excellent article on adaption and mitigation (it isn’t excellent because it says anything new or interesting – indeed, I’d regard it as the bleedin’ obvious – but just as a fairly sane and readable restatement of the obvious). Plus this allows me to “reach out” as I believe the phrase has it to someone I’m supposed to disagree with somewhat.

Deep Climate‘s look at the “independent” Wegman report is worth a glance. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

DenialDepot as usual is on form to keep the warmist to account. And even drags Lubos into it. Speaking of Lubos, CIP has a nice post about meta-directions in physics.

Nurture says de Boer has gone. Who? You might well ask. Him I’d reply. A sort-of good enough bloke, but not really up to the job. Hearts-in-the-right place kind of stuff but got captured by the conference circuit and ended up doing nothing useful other than causing vast quantities of CO2 to be emitted by the conference glitterati. Pardon?

Yet more Nurture reports that apparently the folk appointed to look into the CRU hacking stuff are obliged to be clueless. Seems a bit odd, but then presumably the idea isn’t to get at the truth. Speaking of clueless, CM rips into the media; though I really think that by now Jones ought to know how to answer questions like that without feeding the fools.

The ever-sensible mt is still trying to make us see the obvious about climate change. But no-one wants to know :-(. Perhaps a little accountability might help?

Now I am down to only 51 unread items on my google-reader feed. Will people please stop writing stuff. Did I mention that I finally got back up above 75? 7508, so hardly a triumph, but there I am. Then Tom W did 8240 or something, so I’m sad again.

Pelléas et Mélisande

I was dragged screaming from work at the riducously early hour of 7:20 on friday night, by my wife, to listen to this. Being a barbarian, and knowing only that it was by Debussy, I assumed it was a concert. But no, ’tis an opera, although possibly a slightly odd one, since it is largely a transcription of Maeterlinck‘s play in which people sing lines others would just say. As the opera notes said, and wiki later confirms, this is a “symbolist” play, and we had good fun spotting “symbols”, which was most of it. For example at one point there is an odd scene in which Yniold sees the sheep not going back to their stable – gasp. If you’re a barbarian, its just a somewhat incomprehensible scene. If you’re a symbolist, though, you know that they sheep are off to the slaughterhouse, aha, definitely an omen or indeed a symbol for the ending. There is other odd stuff: at one point Golaud stabs himself (presumably to death) but in the next scene he has come back to life but Melisande is dying, and has a daughter. Ah well, perhaps there is no great need to dwell on all the perplexities, and one can simply enjoy the opera instead.

However, don’t let me spoil the story for you, if you don’t know it.

The Cambridge Student does a write-up, and is (in my not-very-well-informed opinion) properly complementary about the very high quality of the music, singing, acting and setting. Melisande, Golaud and Arkël were especially good, in that they sounded and looked superb (the phot in that link does no-one any justice; the blue cast there washes out detail, whereas most of the light was bleak white. I wish I’d taken my camera, I could have done a lot better). Pelleas suffered in my view from looking too much like Gilbert O’Sullivan. The para beginning The biggest thing which let the show down though was simply a lack of polish… is just wrong; or maybe it has got polished up a bit since the first night.

Since I’m too barbarous to fully appreciate the music (M isn’t, and did) I’ll comment on the staging and costume, which was excellent, and would have made for some superb photographs (which is why I find the accompanying one so irritatingly bad, not that I intend to harp on about it, mind you). Ash-white on Arkel; the paint-splattered dress; the spare scenery;all great and fitting.

Anyway, jolly good, go see it if you’re in Cambridge. Except you’re too late! Last night was tonight. Oh well, sorry.

Oh yes, I was going to say: and all this is thanks to my mother, who is looking after our children for a few days. So we get to be free adults for a couple of days. A b rief taste of freedom, we really don’t know what to do with it.

Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall is a now-immensely-well-known tale of a slice of Henry VIII’s reign; a period I know little about: we skimped it at school and it gets throroughly mythologised anyway. The chief hero is Cromwell (not Oliver) who is portrayed (correctly,as I understand it) as a brilliant administrator and generally competent chap; as to whether he was really nice underneath, I neither know nor care.

What is chiefly interesting is the playing out of certain grand themes in the period. It was part of the development of civilisation, really, a time when people, under pressure of necessity, realised that quite a lot they had thought was true, wasn’t. Which is to say, sorting out the role of church and sovereign, and the succession (and perhaps the influences of bankers over lords; but that is another matter). Which in both cases amounted to a de-mythologising, or a decline in the importance of religion.

Continue reading “Wolf Hall”

Death at UAH

As I was about to write up the latest smoggy stuff, I thought I’d better check out Eli in case he had written it up first. And lo, I thought, Condolences referred to the death of Christy’s scientific reputation. But no, it is about real death. So I need to press on.

[[John Christy]] has been a bit of a skeptic for ages. Quite where he gets it from is unclear – perhaps because he and Spencer did the first version of the [[satellite temperature record]] and, well, they got it wrong. In that it showed cooling, and so they became the poster boys for the real septics like Singer and Michaels and Inhofe. Perhaps some of that seeped in. But it turned out that a longer record showed a different answer, and that their version needed a pile of corrections, and when you do all that it shows warming. In the course of this long slow unravelling they got a fair amount of justified stick; and perhaps that pushed him towards the Dark Side.

But he was still a reputable scientist, somewhat in the mould of Lindzen though less eminent. Whilst clearly on the skeptical side he retained his k. The wiki page can’t really work out what to say about his views, which is correct, as it is hard to wade through the morass of conflicting stuff, and ends up with While he supports the AGU declaration and is convinced that human activities are one cause of the global warming that has been measured, Christy is “still a strong critic of scientists who make catastrophic predictions of huge increases in global temperatures and tremendous rises in sea levels.”

However, he got sucked in the the septic tide and published some stuff with Douglass in IJC in 2007 that was fundamentally flawed (Santer’s letter explains the details). The septics puffed it up; but it all fell apart a year later when Santer et al. ripped it to shreds, but of course there was a year of PR down the drain by then. Now Christy, I think, is not very strong on stats, and may well not have realised the error at the time of publication (though he should have known, because it had already been rejected from another journal for the same error). And a combination of pride, and of refusing to be corrected by the “other side”, and perhaps pressure from his co-authors, meant he never admitted to the error. Nor, as Santer points, did he ever attempt to defend it – defend in a proper scientific sense that is, not just in the sense of saying “we were right”. Instead he has a rather nasty piece which entirely evades the scientific issues (I don’t think their appendix A cuts it). They seem to complain that they never had a chance to respond to Santer’s paper which is odd – they had, and still have, every chance to write a proper response. Just like Santer et al. did. Instead, they chose to evade and whinge.

As Santer said, the paper that ended in IJC was intended for GRL. GRL is a far higher status journal, and has better quality reviewers, including Santer, and these reviews had already spotted the error. IJC is quite a lowly journal, and an odd choice for Americans, and looks like it was deliberately chosen as a journal of last resort for a dodgy paper. Christy relies rather heavily on selective quotes from leaked emails to make his case that the world is against him; it would be rather interesting were he to release the review comments on his paper.

[Update: Santer’s appendix A is here. Thanks Eli -W]