Mothers Day

Mothers day, and so like all good fathers I went off rowing, only in this case I went Off a little further than normal, since we were competing in the Hammersmith Head.

First, however, I did my fatherly duty by assisting Miranda (who woke up especially to remind me that it was mothers day and that she ought to do this) to make M a cup of tea, and to set out her breakfast when she came down, and presenting the paper bouquet carefully.
Continue reading “Mothers Day”

Old boat, new boat

Warning: this post is of limited general interest, unless you (like all right-thinking people) are interested in rowing. More photos than you could ever wish to see are here.


We got a new eight today (well actually it turned up during the week, as Amy already noted; but this was the first outing); “we” being Chesterton Rowing Club (yes, I know, the site is in bad need of update). It is a shiny new Janousek, though I’m sorry to say I don’t even know exactly which model. Having looked for a long time for a decent affordable second hand boat we eventually said “b*gg*r it” and bought a new one, mortgaging our souls in the process. Still, it is lovely. The only downside, as someone pointed out, is that we have no excuses any more: no longer can we blame the boat for our rowing.

DSC_3991 Anyway: the main pic: new eight (so far unnamed) in the water, K8 (the Karlisch VIII; maybe the same make as FaTs? Curiously enough, the new J is modelled on a K shell) on trestles, and in the background Peterhouse boathouse which we (the men) boat from. It is conveniently opposite the Fort St George and just down the road from the Old Spring, which does better chips. The little pic shows James the Captain pouring celebratory champagne and misc folk drinking it.

Meanwhile, what about the poor old boat?


Look closely: you can see the words “PYE RC” dimly visible under the varnish.

DSC_4032-beautiful-patches The build quality and joinery of the K8 is a delight to behold. Even some of the patching it has had is splendid. The new boat is unlikely to last nearly so long. But alas it is definitely in need of some care and repair because the sticking tape was beginning to wear out. And also, although the build quality was superb, 40 years of use had definitely loosened its fibres; it was the only boat on the river that could be down to bowside in the stern and down to strokeside in the bows. Now it sits on blocks, awaiting renovation – it will still be used.

The most obviously thing about the new boat is that nothing is broken. Second, the slides: gloriously smooth and silent. It makes rushing the stroke a seductive pleasure. Thirdly the stiffness, though this was less obvious on the first outing: we sat it better, and were able to sit it better, though I think it will take a while to bed in properly. We need a new rowcoach / impeller, though: the one we had wasn’t showing nearly enough improvement πŸ™‚

Update: nice ejector crab from Queens this Lents. HT: Paul “Lycra King” Holland.

Uupdate: it turns out we also have new sponsors, so I’d better puff them here: Are you looking to advertise in Cambridge? We have highly prestigous side-of-boat space going at quite reasonable rates πŸ™‚

Time considered as a helix of semi precious stones

From William Leeman but found via SkepChick, in turn found via The Penguin.

(If you’ve never read Time considered as a helix of semi precious stones you should; though it isn’t quite as good as its title).

While I’m here, do you fancy some of that John “wacko” Donne?

BATTER my heart, three person’d God; for, you
As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow mee,’and bend
Your force, to breake, blowe, burn and make me new.
I, like an usurpt towne, to’another due,
Labour to’admit you, but Oh, to no end,
Reason your viceroy in mee, mee should defend,

But is captiv’d, and proves weake or untrue.
Yet dearely’I love you,’and would be loved faine,

But am betroth’d unto your enemie:
Divorce mee,’untie, or breake that knot againe;

Take mee to you, imprison mee, for I
Except you’enthrall mee, never shall be free,

Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee.

All a bit intense. Maybe Marvell.

Keep your eye on the ball

[This post got extensively re-written (you can tell that, cos it has a title that doesn’t fit its URL πŸ™‚ after I realised that I, too, had been fooled by the septic FUD. Oh dear. I’ve stopped now: you can read on without fear that the words will change under you.]

The septics are trying to pretend that there is a spat between the Swedes (SMHI) and CRU, but this is just smoke-n-mirrors. Lets quote the final letter first:

With reference to the current debate regarding, amongst other things, access to climate data we have found that our letter to you dated 21 December 2009 unfortunately have rendered bad publicity both to SMHI and to the climate research community. We understand now that our response to your request forwarded by UK MetOffice 30 November 2009 may have been misinterpreted, maybe due to the fact that the formulations may have been a bit harsh. Our response was based on your information that it was likely that the version held by you would most likely differ from our current holdings. It has never been our intention to withhold any data but we feel that it is paramount that data that has undergone, for instance, homogenisation by anyone other than SMHI is not presented as SMHI data. We see no problem with publication of the data set together with a reference stating that the data included in the dataset is based on observations made by SMHI but it has undergone processing made by your research unit. We would also prefer a link to SMHI or to our web site where the original data can be obtained.

That is from SMHI and is dated 4th March. So: Jones asks SMHI if he can release their data (via the UKMO, 30th Nov 2009; apologies for dodgy source). They say no (21st Dec 2009). He tells people that SMHI has said no. This looks bad, so SMHI changes their mind, as long as the data gets a disclaimer as to its source and processing. All is well, perhaps.

[Update: apparently some Swedish folk are watching GA, but they are doing it in Swedish :-). This one I lke, though.

There is More from Max Andersson. He makes an interesting point – that if you actually *read* the transcript, most of the quotes attributed to Jones come from Acton:

Professor Acton: Unfortunately, several of these countries impose conditions and say you are not allowed to pass it on, so there has just been an attempt to get these answers. Seven countries have said “No, you cannot”, half the countries have not yet answered, Canada and Poland are amongst those who have said, “No you cannot publish it” and also Sweden. Russia is very hesitant. We are under a commercial promise, as it were, not to; we are longing to publish it because what science needs is the most openness.

Some license agreements here.

Also ClimateWTF.

Just to make it clear: despite what misc septic blogs are saying it is *not* true that Dr. Jones asserted that the weather services of several countries, including Sweden, Canada and Poland, had refused to allow their data to be released – see the transcript. I think Max A is the first to notice this. The lesson, again, is not to actually believe anything the skeptics say without verifying it first.

Yet more update (thanks C): OK, so while the above certainly is true, and the septics clearly have mistaken Acton’s words for Jones’s, Jones does touch on the same subject: he says (Q113) Professor Jones: It is not that sensitive. Canada, for example, says they would rather we sent requests for Canadian data to their website; they do not want us to put their data on our website. and (Q146) Professor Jones: Not in that way. We did, with the help of the Met Office, approach all the countries of the world and asked them whether we could release their data. We have had 59 replies of which 52 have been positive, so that has led to the release of 80% of the data, but we have had these seven negative responses which we talked about earlier, including Canada. That all seems entirely reasonable to me; it all rather fits with the NMS’s usual paranoia.

Continue reading “Keep your eye on the ball”

IOP: I hate it when they do that

The ever-vigilant BigCityLib has spotted some revisionism by the Institute of Physics: they have silently updated their “clarification”: the link now points to a statement dated 5th March, instead of the original, which was 2nd march. What a bunch of slimy little toads: they pretend to believe in openness, they won’t tell us who wrote their statements, then they silently airbrush out embarassing words afterwards.

Refers: Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes and The IOP fiasco.

This post doesn’t analyse the changes; as far as I can see they have retreated a little but not much; and importantly they still stand behind their submission to parliament, which is the bit that counts.

No, what I’m complaining about here is their absolutely appalling standards in silently changing their post. Bastards. Note even a hint in the new version that it is an update. what should they have done? The obvious: leave the old one up. Put a note on it saying that a revised version is available.

Lets have a quick poke to see if we can tell they really have done this, and its not some freak of googles cache: the link is news_40679.html (this is a teensy bit confusing: the equivalent press release, which appears to be the same text with a different image, is press_40680.html; one digit different). And if we look at some other stuff, with publication dates:

* 4th: press_40762.html
* 2nd: press_40662.html
* 1st: press_40659.html
* 25th feb: press_39101.html

So as you’d expect, their web software gives files an id number, sequentially. The one now claiming to be march 5th is out of sequence: you can tell it was originally published somewhen between the 2nd and 4th.

Also, the IOP has a blog, and is the text of the 2nd. I’d better go copy that too before they realise.


* Concerns raised over Institute of Physics climate submission – even bits of the IOP admit the problems.
Continue reading “IOP: I hate it when they do that”

Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes

A headline stolen blatantly from HH. But it seems rather applicable to the Institute of Physics. The Grauniad are still pushing them (go big G!) but the IOP are stonewalling: they won’t say who wrote their pap; but it seems one Peter Gill was involved.

In an apparent attempt to take the Irony Prize back from the gunmen of Caracas, the institute supplied a statement from an anonymous member of its science board, which said: “The institute should feel relaxed about the process by which it generated what is, anyway, a statement of the obvious.” It added: “The points [the submission] makes are ones which we continue to support, that science should be practised openly and in an unbiased way. However much we sympathise with the way in which CRU researchers have been confronted with hostile requests for information, we believe the case for openness remains just as strong.

I’ve added the bold myself, because the IOP somehow failed to link the two halves of their statement together. Ho ho.

The IOP fiasco refers.


* You can see PG here at… weatheraction! The Corbyn connection emerges, ha.
* A href=””>TERRI JACKSON (where does she fit into this; but she claims to be a “a scientist dealing in climate facts”) writes some tosh in the Belfast Torygraph (is it Tory, over there? I don’t know) whereupon one Peter F Gill pops up in the comments recommedning you google my article in IOP South Central Branch Newsletter April 2008) (and other tosh).
* Scary pic of TG here plus some of her views. Mmmm, sounds just like the sort of person you’d want.
* And (I’m getting lost in this crap; Eli or Frank please help me out) SPPI are now repackaging the IOP junk. Why? Can’t they think of their own junk?
* TG also makes the “650 list“, which is odd, because that says she is a “a physics teacher at Belfast Institute Further and Higher Education for 30 years”. Hold on, *that* is supposed to be a list of scientists. And her letter to the BT said she was a scientist. Could she be… stretching her credentials at all?
* An agenda item for EMG Committee meeting on 21 January 2004: Proposal: what steps can the EMGroup take to suggest how the IOP can become more pro-active in physics related energy matters. This vitally important matter has come from the useful discussions held by Peter King and Peter Gill with Professor Peter Main. (30 minutes).
* More waacko Gill stuff here.
* Deltoid picks up on this.

The IOP fiasco

The “Institute of Physics” sounds jolly reassuring; but like all such things you never quite know what they are going to say. Just recently they have been saying some very silly things indeed in their contribution to the UK parliaments feeding-frenzy over the CRU emails. So the IOP apparently thinks that worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and it goes downhill from there. It reads like a gift to the septics and it could easily have been written down to the septics dictation; indeed, it very probably was.

So the most likely scenario is that a small sub-group have got together to push this junk while the rest of the IOP (nice chaps and chapesses no doubt, but a bit dopey. If you’re an IOP person and object to being called dopey, fine, I eagerly await your personal non-dopey reaction to the IOP statement) slept.

Faced with everyone sane telling them they’ve been hijacked by wackos, the IOP has rowed back a little, but not very much. They explicitly state that The Institute’s response to the Committee inquiry was approved by its Science Board, a formal committee of the Institute with delegated authority from its trustees to oversee its policy work. It reflected our belief that… In other words, yes it may be a bit mad but we stand squarely behind it and refuse to retract a single word. Naturally enough they try to have it both ways, with The Institute’s statement, which has been published both on the Institute’s website and the Committee’s, has been interpreted by some individuals to imply that… but since they are retracting nothing, that is just pap. The “clarification” can and indeed will be read by any septic worth his salt as re-affirming the original; it is trivial to quote-mine it as such: our belief that the open exchange of data, procedures and materials is fundamental to the scientific process. From the information already in the public domain it appears that these principles have been put at risk… etc etc.

However, it looks like the Grauniad may be putting the boot into the IOP: The institute statement says its submission was approved by its science board, a formal committee of experts that oversees its policy work. The Guardian has been unable to find a member of the board that supports the submission. Two of the scientists listed as members said they had declined to comment on a draft submission prepared by the institute, because they were not climate experts and had not read the UEA emails. Others would not comment or did not respond to enquiries. An institute spokesperson said the submission was “strongly supported” by three members of the board. “All members were invited to comment. Only a few did, all concerned approved [the submission] unanimously.”

So there seems to be some hope that good old fashioned journalism may triumph here, if they persist.

Update: a non-dopey IOP person pointed out that the re-affirmation statement links to Physicists’ message to world leaders in Copenhagen and that to a nice pdf. However… that link isn’t too prominent (I know its at the top, but it isn’t in the line of flow; I missed it), but more importantly this misses the point; it appears to assume that some mature, balanced judgement of the IOP’s views is going on in the septic blogsphere and the Torygraph and whatever means of communication those funny colonial types have. That won’t happen; the IOP can say 99 positive things but only the one negative thing will be reported, as indeed we’ve just discovered. The problem is asymmetry: since we all know GW is happening and our fault (even the septics know this in their hearts) all the motherhood-and-apple-pie statements just make us glaze over: yeah yeah, I know that. All the attention goes to the one bit of wacko-dom. The only solution is to retract the wacko-dom; hopefully the IOP will back down before damaging itself too badly.

UUpdate: thanks to EW, who points out this Deltoid thread which links to Sammy’s right, man is not responsible for global warming by… Terry Jackson BSc Msc MPhil (founder of the Energy Group, Institute of Physics, London) Bangor. And reading the article there, it is clear this isn’t any balanced “true-skeptic” stuff, this is out-and-out la-la-land stuff: The total emissions of CO2 from land and sea amounts to 97% while humans contribute a mere 3%. Last summer Dr Zbigniew Jaworowski etc etc.