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”