A friend pointed out just recently: we usually measure a car’s fuel efficiency in Miles per Gallon. But some would like us to switch to the more logical Gallons per Mile (or 10,000 miles, to make the numbers more convenient, or whatever), which would be the fuel consumption. But that, technically, is an area, so for example a car which gets 55ish mpg actually has a fuel consumption of 0.051 mm^2 (ht: A/S).

Eating their own

Header shamelessly stolen from Coby. But his post is so wonderful that I can’t help re-saying it.

So: Roy Spencer says that the basic greenhouse effect mechanism is sound; or perhaps, more weakly, that the basic mechanism is phyically possible. You might think that is not very strange, after all it isn’t really very dificult. But alas so many poor innocent young and not-so-young wannabe “skeptics” have been exposed to the denialist meme “cold things can’t make warm things warmer; the upper atmophere is colder than the surface; therefore the atmosphere doesn’t heat the surface; therefore the GHE is wrong” that even Spencer, long a poster boy for the sketpic “side”, gets savaged by some ignorant drivel in the Canada Free Press.

As Spencer says in his comments,

The reason I am addressing this issue is that there is an increasing number of people who are advancing the notion that there is no such thing as “back radiation” (or that “more CO2 is incapable of causing any warming because…”), and as a result I am deluged with e-mails from them and the public asking me for my opinion.

So, all credit to him, he has actually started doing some experiments, although (as he points out) it is all a bit odd, because you can just as easily point an infra-red thermometer upwards at night.

If you actually want some good facts and discussion on the “back radiation” stuff, then Science of Doom has a good post [Update: and even more excuciating detail on the key error in part III], and followups – people really are astonishingly reluctant to accept something very simple. If you can cope with a bit of maths, then [[Idealized greenhouse model]] will help. If you can’t cope with maths, then it really is very simple: the earth is warmer than it otherwise would be because it receives radiation from two sources: the sun and the atmosphere.

This is all yet another example of the “Dumb America fallacy” – people too ignorant to know how ignorant they are. Yes, I know, daarhling “skeptics”, if I was all out to convert you I’d omit that last bit.

[Update: see-also Our Deliberate Slide into Ignorance]

New watch

I have a funky new watch, a Garmin Forerunner 110. It lets me do kewl stuff like:


although you only get that after post-processing, of course. In fact I haven’t even worked out how to make it work like a GPS when running, i.e. display lat/long or grid refs. Nor have I worked out how to persuade the stupid post-processing software to give me mph instead of mins/mile like all the hard-core runners want, pah. But the upload-from-watch (via the provided nipple clamp) to-web-and-graph is impressively smooth and painless.

You’re fascinated – I know – so let me tell you that we did two laps: the first, slow, included the lake. The second was faster. And then at the red line I ran a bit faster back to the mothership. The heartrate peak of ~180 is when I sprinted up the A14 bridge.

[Update: give me mph instead of mins/mile – well, it has now swapped to mph, which is good, but I don’t know why, which is less good -W]

[Update: twice now the watch has frozen / locked up on me, both times when attaching it to the computer: I think it happens when you don’t get the clamp on quite correctly and it briefly connects / disconnects. If that happens, you have to reset it by pressing the “light” button for ~7 secs. But you lose all your data. Others have the same problem. Possibly press and hold Lap/Reset and the Light buttons simultaneously may be a better way of resetting.

Update on that: the problem mostly occurs if you *haven’t* “reset” the activity before trying to upload – somehow it can’t cope. So always remember to do that first.]

[Update: I’ve realised something about the tracking / recording, prompted by DHW: that although the max sample rate appears to be every-5-sec (and this isn’t configurable), it will drop samples that are “uninteresting” if it wants to. In particular, if you are erging, so the position is constant, it will quite likely not record many heart rate samples. The only solution I’ve found it to keep the watch on your wrist to generate movement and hence more logging.

Another whinge while I’m here: there is no “turn the light on and keep it on” mode, which would be useful for night time outings.]

Kkinky again

mt discusses Denialism, Informational Conformity and New Coke. Go read it now, if you didn’t when he first wrote it.

Paul Graham propounds the concept of the top idea in your mind which might partly explain why rolling out a broken AUP is a really bad idea; less for the policy itself, which people will just make jokes at, but because it distracts.

Can’t remember where I got the pic from now (M-san has found the source).

Listening to Peter Gabriel – I have the touch.

Rabbett attacks that dork Cuccineli but the links to the docs are interesting.

Out in the cold says Nurture, The parlous state of the US icebreaker fleet could soon put a freeze on the country’s polar research On 25 June, the US Coast Guard announced that its only operational heavy icebreaker, the Polar Sea, was operational no longer. The ship had suffered ‘an unexpected engine casualty’ and limped back to its home port of Seattle, Washington, where it will undergo repairs until January 2011. A refurbishment in 2006 had supposedly extended its operational life to 2014. The announcement underscored the decrepit state of America’s ageing icebreaker fleet — a situation with many troubling implications for the United States, not least its ability to carry out Arctic and Antarctic research.

DA wonders why he blogs. I wonder why I do, sometimes (no, that isn’t a cue for sympathy). As he says I watch Oliver, who is so little, and to whom everything is a wonder. Just jumping around is, for him, a definite joy. I remember that feeling, sort of — do you? — and I envy him. I still feel that, sometimes. Not often, but enough to make it worthwhile. Most outings there is one perfect stroke where you know that on *this* stroke the boat will be perfectly sat and you can fully reach round the rigger and feel your whole body streched and alive and working. Or coming back to the hut after a long day alone in the mountains barely able to walk and sitting down leaning back feeling exhausted. Ha, I’ve just noticed that is all physical joy. Intellectual is mostly work nowadays and I can’t talk about that.

A mistake with consequences?

There is an interesting new post up at KlimaZweibel about a paper by Smerdon et al.. This is going to be all over everywhere very soon, so I may as well jump in.

The title, of course, is a snark at RC; see the article A Mistake with Repercussions which points out some errors in a Zorita and Von Storch paper (they got their model setup wrong). [I’ve just snarked them in their comments; it will be intersting to see if it stays]

In this case the problem is rather more arcane, but worth explaining, so let me do that first.

[Update: no, let me first point out that there is a response by Rutherford et al. which appears to say that they fixed all these problems ages ago.]

[And second, let me recommend that instead of reading about yet another minor fuss, you read the lovely post about DLR by SoD.]
Continue reading “A mistake with consequences?”

Day 4: down

DSC_5159-corpus-blades Oh dear, and we were rowing so well, too. Our best row of the week, and we pushed hard to get Cantabs, but while we closed on them (again!) it wasn’t enough to hold off the Leys who came up astonishingly fast to get their blades.

But a good night for the club overall. M3 put in some very tenacious rowing to hold off City 10, who were on for blades, until Grassy. With a large overlap (but not quite big enough for an automatic bump without touching) Emma Howard steered a brilliant line, helped (apparently) by M3’s natural tendency to turn to strokeside. And then City’s cox put too much thought into bumping and not enough into steering, and wanged into the bank, freeing M3. Very sad for City, but that is how things go.

W2 went up again, so they get their blades, very well done to them (I like to think I helped, just a little: last year I coxed them and they went down 4 places, thus carefully positioning them for this year). W1 rowed over for an overall count of up 2.

M1, who were bumped on thursday, put in an epic row and nearly caught the boat that bumped them before.

And then we washed down our borrowed boat, racked up the blades, said goodbye to the bumps for another year, and all went to the Fort.
Continue reading “Day 4: down”

Day 3: row over

A somewhat disappointing day today: we rowed well, but only achieved a row-over. Nines 5, as expected, succumbed quickly to Leys behind us, perhaps depriving us of that vital spark of being chased. But while we closed to within a canvas of Cantabs 7 just before Grassy we didn’t quite have the oomph to catch them. So here is a picture of us from yesterday, rowing up to the start.

Day 1 | Day 2


Pic courtesy of itinerant bow-bobble supplier Andy Nicol (well, when I say courtesy of, I mean I’ve ripped it off but provided you with a link to him. In fact Andy credits “Ivan Edwards” with the photos, so thanks to Ivan).

But how was our row, I hear you cry? Well actually it was good, the best we’ve managed so far. We get better every day (which bodes well for tomorrow) and weren’t noticably down to bowside today. A good start, and the satisfaction of watching the Leys catch Nines well in our wake. They caught them before the motorway bridge, but only a little before: pertty well where we did, minus a place, which makes the Leys about as fast as us, perhaps a little faster. Certainly fast enough to make tomorrow exciting (not that today wasn’t; I still nearly fall apart just before the start every time). We gained on Cantabs 7, and were down to a canvas coming into Grassy, but there we lost it – Emma says bowside (thats me :-() didn’t pull the corner enough; perhaps strokeside failed to ease off just that fraction; either way, we went wide and never really recovered the distance. Cantabs didn’t tire quite as we’d expected them to over the second half; motto, I think, is to push ourselves harder in the first half tomorrow.

Other club news: M1 down (after a long row; they got all the way to the White House on the reach, a painful place to be bumped), M3 rowed over (twice: as head of M4 and then as sandwich boat). they have City 10 on for blades behind them tomorrow. W2 up, and are on for blades tomorrow, needing to catch a weak-looking Nines 4. W1 also up, and have cantabs 2 to look forward to. So that is “-..++” for the night, for a net gain of 1. Pretty graph here.

Top-of-M1-news: Nine 1 have now gone down to Cantabs and Robs, leaving City well placed for a crack at them tomorrow: City were only 1/2 a length down on Robs at first-post so must be in with a good chance: go Savelie! Will Cantabs 2 get Champs? Probably: go Petr!

If you have the right facebook friends: here is us rowing past Grassy with our willow, yesterday.

IOP (oh no not again)

[Tags: climate-wonk incest. Everyone else please ignore]

We interrupt your diet of boatie-type news [update: sorry, late boatie news: a great bow-cam video of Champs 6 bumping the Hornets (sorry Paul)] for something related to climate: BigCityLib notices that the IOP (remember that bunch of revisionist fools?) has deleted the Energy sub group:

Following the meeting of the Science Board on 17 June 2010, it is with regret that I announce that the Energy Sub-group is to be disbanded, immediately.

Or has it? The website still has them [Update: thanks to J who points out that is the Energy Group, not the Energy sub-group of the science policy board, which is apparently a different thing. Perhaps I need to try to understnad their structure. Anyone who thinks they understand it – please comment. Googling around “Peter Gill” found me “http://www.iop.org/activity/branches/South_East/South…/file_29092.pdf” but it seems to have been airbrushed off the IoP website -W] (it would be nice to go back through the internet archive to check up, but the slimey IOP toads block robots in order to hide their airbrushing deeds in darkness; alternatively, they are incompetent. Probably the latter, on reflection).

This all comes from the BH blog, which interestingly has an entire article by Peter Gill explaining how all the crap in the IOP statement is there because he put it in. Full marks for honesty [See update] that man, but none for sanity.

[Updates: I can see this is going to run and run. Hank finds http://www.iop.org/policy/consultations/energy_environment/file_41854.pdf which clarifies the Energy Group / sub-Group somewhat

Update again: I can see I was wrong to praise PG’s honesty. As several commenters have pointed out, he doesn’t actually admit to having messed with the submission, but is still pretending not to have done so -W]

Day 2: four out of five ain’t bad

DSC_5057-pump Yesterday we rowed over, but discovered that we could leave the crew behind us and most likely catch the crew (Nines 5) that Cantabs 7 dropped for us. And so we did, just under the motorway bridge, which was a pleasantly short row. We had just a teensy tiny little moment of panic on the second stroke when someone on bowside got a minor crablet but we recovered from that quite nicely (we had managed a truely storming practice start on the reach that fairly whizzed us along. Alas that used up our one good start of the day :-(). We’ll need to row rather better tomorrow if we want to get Cantabs 7, but that is another day.


Here is us being happy (note willow). For future ref: top row, L to R: Nick Lee (5), Michael Schmidt (3), William Dulyea (6), Kate Hurst (stroke), me (7), Tom Mansfield (4). Bottom row: Dave Richards (bow), Emma Metcalf (cox), Paul Holland (2). We’re outside Corpus boathouse ‘cos we borrowed a Corpus boat, which is why we have those odd red blades with the white stripe. Yes, I know, I look like an idiot and the hat diesn’t suit me but it does keep the sweat out of my eyes.

News from the rest of the club is good: W2 bumped up again, M3 bumped up, and so were sandwich boat in division 3, where they rowed over. Well, the exercise is good for them. W1 also went up, so coming into M1 we were on a clean sweep. Alas M1 fell victim to the mighty Cantabs 2, though they did better than Nines 3 by getting into the gut, and closing to within maybe half a length on City 3.

Tonights list, at the moment. And don’t forget to check Paul Holland’s blog for the Cambridge News.

DSC_5097-remains-of-bow-bobble That is all that is left of our bow bobble. We came into the side rather hard after the bump, this happens in all the excitement. Thankfully Andy “Turkish boat repair man” Nicol had a spare to hand. If you have access to the club website, Chris Wood put up some wednesday night photos of M2 and M3.

Meanwhile, TS says:

It reminds me of Peter Tinniswood’s Tales from a Long Room, as narrated by Robin Bailey. I have only a vague idea what you’re talking about but it’s still amusing.

Ha! This is the premier sporting event of the year that you’re dissing old monster.