Eric Fnorrd and his Ouija Board?

SEPP has alwys been a one-man-band, that one man being Fred Singer of course (Do you know the dirt about Singer? He was once sane. BTW, if you’re here from wiki, don’t miss a post I did on Lindzen).

But being a one-man-band makes it look like you’re a wacko (err…) so obviously you need an organisation, and obviously that organisation needs a board of directors, science advisors, you know the kind of thing: pad it out with some names to look impressive. So Singer did, the SEPP website proudly proclaims:

The following serve on the Board of Directors of The Science & Environmental Policy Project:

* Frederick Seitz, Ph.D. (Chairman)
* (etc)

(see Note to SEPP: I’ve saved a copy, and so has the internet archive, so don’t bother trying to change it and pretend there was no problem).

There is only one problem with this (well, other than that Seitz was also a bit of a wacko on GW, but let’s skip over that): Seitz is pushing up the daisies. It must be true wikipedia says so.

And: The following individuals serve on the Board of Science Advisors of The Science & Environmental Policy Project:

* Bruce N. Ames
* C.J.F. Böttcher
* Tor Ragnar Gerholm
* Michael J. Higatsberger
* Henry R. Linden
* Sir William Mitchell
* William A. Nierenberg
* Michel Salomon
* Chauncey Starr

Again: nice people, kind to children and animals, a bit loopy perhaps, but suffering from a major problem: most of them are six feet under (fun game for a wet half-hour: work out which few of them *aren’t* stiffs).

However, it was suggested that they might be contactable via Ouija Board, so I’m wondering if any of the more cartoon-ly talented would care to try their hands at a Viz style strip. Unfortunately “Singer” doesn’t rhyme with “board” and that is an absolute requirement. You’ll never get close to the heights of Mickey’s monkey spunk moped but it might be fun anyway. Alas I can’t find a reprint of that cartoon on the web anymore.

[Current best version is “Septic Fred, he talks to the Dead” slightly modified from the comments]

Champs Head

DSC_4609-champs-head Sunday was the Champs Head. It is a slightly odd head race: a short course (1200m, from the Plough to the Pike and Eel) from a standing start, but the start is just for fun, since you get timed from a few strokes in. It was a blazing day, it felt like the heights of midsummer not late spring, lovely to be out on the river.

I rowed for our M1 in the first division at 12, which was a fair enough race. James Tidy won the not-quite-too-far-over-the-top total coxing arrogance prize by overtaking everyone dawdling about by the railings. This raised a few eyebrows (this is England, don’t y’know, not Italy) but actually there is no real point to the queues there. And anyway, everyone needs to get to the top and spin anyway. We said Hello to Elspeth who was marshalling in the shade by Chesterton bridge, very nice for her. As for the race: well. We were 39th with 5:16 (winning: Downing M1 with 4:33; a very cool result :-). And the Hornets beat us. Opinions amongst the crew were somewhat divided: some thought it was a good row, and in some ways I agree: we were balanced, and together. We weren’t as strong as we could have been; not enough oomph, some holding back perhaps. But more than that, I thought we lacked a certain degree of class; things were just a bit blurred when they should have been sharp. And perhaps a couple of pips on the rating might have been good? We were very comfortable at 30, but perhaps too comfortable.

A post race pint in the fort for analysis and digressions, siting by the river watching the boats go by: very pleasant. Leading on to division 3 at 3 o’clock.

Our second men’s boat was a bit short of manliness in some respects, as my picture shows. I was coxing, because I enjoy it. After a while I worked out how to plug the speakers in, and could stop shouting, which was a relief to all. I remember the good old days when I started: only M1 had a cox box, these things were luxuries (did I tell you I grew up in a cardboard box in the middle of the road?) Due to injuries, and stuff, we ended up with four guest ladies, and by chance they were all strokeside, leading to what might have been a rather unbalanced boat, but wasn’t. In fact it was better than I’d thought it would be, but ultimately underpowered and suffering from never having rowed together before. But never mind, we rowed a good race and they were kind enough to be kind to my coxing (having to drag around a cox heavier than all but a few of the crew didn’t help, of course). In my pic: Laura (stroke), Dave R, Ev, Tony M (look at that grin), Emma B, Dave B, Lorraine, Simon (bow). Even if you can’t see the front few. At this point, we’ve spun under the motorway bridge and are heading back down towards our marshalling station. Our time was 6:30, irritatingly 6 seconds slower than our W1, but they have been rowing together for a while and would probably have been rather p*ss*d off if we’d beaten them, so perhaps it is for the best.

After which it was back home to cut the grass, plant the sweet peas (I know, I’m late) water the veg, weed the beds (nowhere near finished) drag away the cut-down trees, have dinner, finish the bow-and-arrow holder, stop the cat bringin live voles into the house (I never knew there was so much wildlife in the garden until the cat started killing it), and all the normal stuff of a sunday afternoon shading into evening.


* M1 near the start
* “M”2 just on the finish line

from DBP photographic

Also, the hydrofoil scull video is worth a look, as is the hydrofoil kayak]

Three views of sea ice

The troops are getting restive. What wil happen to this year’s sea ice? Rumours abound. Let’s look at some pictures.


Probably the least interesting is this one from NSIDC. But it looks exciting, doesn’t it. Woo-hoo, look, the sea ice now is lower than it was in 2007, that means it will be at minimum, too, doesn’t it? Well no, of course not. Look at this one from AWI:


2006 was well below 2007 at this point, and turned out to be uninteresting. As far as I know, no-one believes in predicting the minimum (which, of course, is the only number anyone gives a toss about) based on previous months. And when I say no-one cares about anything else that isn’t really true; various people have started caring about the ice volume instead, but I’m a bit dubious about how exciting that is.

But for no reason that I can strongly justify, I happen to prefer the IJIS AMSR pix, reproduced below:


Which is similar too, but clearly not identical too, the AWI pic. Which shows the obvious: that retrieval from space isn’t exact.

Anyway, so what? So, it is not too late to join in the great predict-sea-ice-this-year party. My entry this year is “the same as” last year: linear trend since 1979, this time *not* omitting 2007 or 2008. As I recall, last year RMG was kind enough to work out what that came to in real numbers; perhaps he will again. As before, the possibility of a bet only really makes sense if people actually think very differently from me: which would be, either they think that there will be substantial ice growth this year, or some sudden collapse.

So, there you go: usual money on offer, which is to say “unlimited”, in the sense that so far no-one has wanted to take me close to my limit. If you manage to get there I’ll let you know.

I’d also be interested in the other betting pools that are presumably around this year.

* Me declaring victory in 2008
* The 2009 results
* Me wondering, in January, what we might bet on this year and various people making impractical suggestions 🙂

[A couple of updates: firstly, I should mention that Gareth has been pushing the ice volume stuff and I admit that picture does look interesting.

and second, NB says “The ice is looking uncommonly mushy on MODIS” which I think I’d pay attention to, and look at myself, if I had the time. Maybe during tomorrows’s batch of compilations.

And third, the default bet is:

That the september mean ice *extent* be below 4.835; but with a “buffer” where we call it a draw: between 4.735 and 4.935, no one wins. I’m taking the “high” side of this; anyone interested in the “low” side let me know. For my part, 4.835 is arrived at as the 1979-2009 trend extrapolated, minus 0.5 which is the SD. It seems to have become tradiational for people to bet small amounts, which is fair enough if we’re just playing. But this was intended to flush out the “the sea ice is in catastrophic decline” people. OTOH, if there are any “the sea ice will certainly recover this year” people then you can get odds on trend-plus-SD, i.e. ice being above 5.835 if you like (note that those are all spuriously precise but never mind) -W]


“Offend Every Religion and Non-Religion Day”

Brian says it is draw Muhammad day so here is a nice pic I found:


I’m afraid I don’t know the original source – it looks to have been a Frog (this *is* offend everyone day, isn’t it?) – oh hold, on, it is Plantu. I’ve delicately altered the original, I bet you can’t tell where :-).

weasels Olde Atrichoke points me to “Jesus and Mo” which has a nice gentle one about excess internet usage, one for the climate-y folk about Denialists. And then there is Today’s.

Predictably enough this offends the wackos which I presume is the point – to try to tire them out. Also predictably enough, there is a wiki page on this: [[<a href=""Everybody Draw Mohammed Day]].



About once a decade (no, I lie – the last was in 2005), our cactus flowers. Here it is again, only this time it has excelled itself and produced four (yes I know you can only see two in this pic). I also rather like the way you can see the flower structure merging into the leaf. There are more pix if you like.

This is also a sentimental cactus: my grandparents used to own it, and more: it was a gift to them from my uncle Roland.

Strangely High Temperatures

David Appell has a rather dramatic graph:

It is from Roy Spencer. As DA says: I’m sure those skeptics who pored over every detail of the sea ice this winter will be touting this picture soon :-).

[Update: BCL points me to which again suggests problems with UAH. Well, we all know we should use RSS anyway. Hopefully they will provide the funky interface

Update: Picture post: ‘hottest April ever’ says Nurture -W]

Bee blogging

Dscn1508-bee-pollen_crop_w800 (for Maz). Perceptive readers will notice that this is a bumblebee, and on a hollyhock, so is anachronistic.

Sunday afternoon, and I finally had time to see to the girls. This was my first visit of the year (oh, the shame) and so finding the beesuit and trousers and gloves was step one. Step two was the smoker, cardboard and matches. Step 3 took rather longer, and was to clear the nettles and general vegetation away from the hive. After that, it was time to open up, and I was pleased to find a happy hive full of bees with the two supers nearly full, but not capped. The Rape is around this year (last year, for a pleasant change, it wasn’t) so I’ll have to Take Off fairly soon. At this rate I may have to add another super first, which will mean digging out some frames or making them up.

Dredging down in the brood box (they were being well behaved) I found a couple of empty queen cells, which tallies with a neighbour a few doors off who had a swarm of bees descend on his house on Saturday and then vanish inside his chimney (yes I went for a look, but since his roof is tall and his fireplace bricked up, there was little to do). Although the hive felt somewhat full for that. Ah well, who knows really. I’m happy they survived the winter – Nikola’s didn’t. is a bit odd – perhaps rather rushed. Braod aspects to be covered will be… suggests that they haven’t even had time to spell check it. That they don’t mention makes me think this is going to be officious ponderous we-need-our-own-wheel stuff. Still, who knows? There is stuff in Nature too. Is this really just the reaction to the CRU email junk that it looks like? If so, it is pointless.

[Update: Peter Thorne comments, and you should be sure to read that -W]

Innsbruck / Stubai

In 2001 I had the chance to visit the Stubai for a couple of days at the start and in the middle of a conference in Innsbruck. It was wonderful, and I didn’t kill myself. I’ve finally uploaded the pix; see flickr if you’re interested.


The mountains are great for either solo’ing, or an easy introduction. And the huts are splendid too. And not all the people look as silly as that, though a beret is remarkably practical.

Miriam and Miranda forced me to shave the beard off, eventually.