Can’t think of any more amusing Curry jokes

Not that any of the existing ones are that good, either. Anyway: I slagged off her post on attribution a while ago, and then forgot (or couldn’t be bothered) to slag off the nonsense she wrote about uncertainty (although my Judith Curry is now blogging, which is probably a good thing, because now instead of nitpicking other people’s blogs she is now attempting to say what she thinks. Unfortunately this results in some very strange things is becoming every more clearly correct. Having to make a coherent argument is quite hard; Curry needs someone to read her stuff before she posts it). Anyway James (who can do the probability stuff better than me, and is certainly more authoritative than me or Curry on whether it makes sense) is unimpressed, and conveniently points to mt quite forthright.

But since I’m here, I wanted to talk about Heresy and the creation of monsters wherein Curry talks about Climate Heretic: Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues which plaintively asks Why can’t we have a civil conversation about climate? And the answer, at least in Curry’s case, is that she often doesn’t know what she is talking about (see the above) but has frequently seen fit to say it in various blog comments, and subsequently failed to apologise for her errors. The ones that stick in my mind is Currygate and her denigration of DC’s charges of plagiarism against Wegman, for which she now looks very stupid (there are far more, those might not even be the most exciting, but they are the ones I can remember). It is very difficult to have a “civil conversation” if people have, effectively, no honour – if they feel able to make false statements and then run away from them. In fact this is very much a divide between the “skeptic” and “science” blogs – all the “science” ones I know of, and bother read, make an effort to be accurate and correct errors.

So, to conclude: of course Curry is happy to attack and discuss the SciAm article – because that article has completely missed the point of the criticism of her. Whether Curry has, and is evading it, or it has just passed her by, I don’t know.

[I had hped not to have to say this: but this and its comments is not the place for PA’s on Curry]


* Attribution errors
* Round in circles with Accelerated warming of the Southern Ocean and its impacts on the hydrological cycle and sea ice?
* Currygate, part 3: the key papers exposed
*(S)He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense
* Nice comment at RC
* Judith Curry goes from building bridges to burning them
* And even “Jugular” Zorita
* apsmith
* Gf thinks I’m too kind to Curry / SciAm

Bad beekeeping

The latest in a long stream of posts avoiding more important matters. But you take what you can get, I think. This one is about my continuing wanderings in bee land.


Some comb, as you’ll doubtless recognise. Don’t be too hard on the poor things, as the frames have been re-ordered as I was taking them off, which is why they don’t fit together as you’d expect. The stuff off to the right is what they do when you don’t give them frames to work on (who would be so careless as to fail to do that?). You can see the bee-space (1/4″ I think) that they like to give themselves, and the maximum thickness they will make. But you can also see how prettily they construct space-filling patterns. It reminds me of zebra stripes or somesuch. Of the others, only the fat one near the middle is good, the others are all lopsided or too think. But then, I often put them in like that – it has been a long time since they have had a clean set of frames to work from. This time I needed to melt a lot down – lots of rape honey from the spring set in the combs, that I didn’t deal with at the time – so maybe next year they will have a better chance.

I see this photo was taken on 9/13, which is when I took the honey off and put the bayvarol in. Or thereabouts. So today is about 6 weeks on, which is happily when I was supposed to take the bayvarol out, and indeed I did. So that was good.

This has been quite a good season. Lots of honey in springtime and (unlike last year) plenty in autumn too. I really should have done all this taking off about a month earlier, but summer is always busy.


* 2010/06
* 2010/05

Bruce Schneier knows Victoria’s Secret

Or, more oddities in the Cyberwar stakes. I can’t help thinking that the cyberwar stuff, much like conventional terrorism, is vastly overblown as a threat to national security, or indeed anything. A case in point is the normally very sensible Bruce Schneier with a short recommendation of a New Yorker piece about the crashing of a EP-3E Aries II in 2001 in China.

So, to recap: the pane is monitoring Chinese comms, crashes, and so is physcially in the hands of the Evil Hordes of Fu Manchu who naturally take it to pieces. Apparently this included operating system created and controlled by the N.S.A., and the drivers needed to monitor encrypted Chinese radar, voice, and electronic communications

Certainly, from the reports, it appears that whoever spend zillions of dollars on this expensive system failed to think of the possbility of it falling into enemy hands, and the cunning plan to destroy sensitive instruements in the event of capture was to pour coffee on them. This is imbecility of such a high order that only military intelligence could have done it.

But more than that, the NY gushes that the Chinks were

reverse-engineering the plane’s N.S.A.-supplied operating system… Mastering it would give China a road map for decrypting the Navy’s classified intelligence and operational data.

But… why? Surely even people as dumb as military intelligence wouldn’t be putting whatever Sekrit encryption system they use for their own data into a plane they are flying over mainland China? What would be the point? The plane, after all, is gathering a pile of Evil Empire data. That data doesn’t need any specially strong encryption. And even if it did: why would disclosure of the encryption method matter? Just because I lose my PGP password doesn’t make anyone else’s PGP-ed data any less secure. And anyway, the intelligance gathering only needs *en*cryption not *de*cryption.

The NY piece goes on to directly state that whatever came out of this plane allowed the Chinese to decrypt US secrets a few years alter, and that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

The only sensible thing in the entire piece appears to be a comment by Brian W. Point 3 of that comment makes some kind of sense – just possibly, the crypto keys are buried in some hardware (not that the NY article mentions this possibility). But but but – still, why? Perhaps, not to save the intercept data but to communicate back to base? But even then, were that so, you’d know that was the bit you had to destroy.

None of this makes any sense – apologies if I’ve been a bit incoherent here but the NY piece seems so obviously nonsensical that it is hard to know where to start.

Who ya gonna read?

Thank to Hank, who spotted this.

If you go to Nature’s upcoming climate publication, there’s an online quiz they’re using to decide who gets a freebie:

At one point it asks what climate-related blogs you read. Naturally, only the finsest quality blogs are listed. There are three blogs:

_Bright Green Blog
_Real Climate
_Other (please specify)

As Hank notes, “Bright Green Blog” — the Christian Science Monitor’s effort — ended on “February 16, 2010 [a]fter 22 months and some 500 posts”.

So, despite their ability to drink prodigous quantities of beer J+J don’t make the cut (how does she do it? I suspect a switcheroo), much less the likes of RP Sr :-).

Doubtless this posting will help keep me up in the lists of high-content-quality blogs.

Oh, and while I’m here, in a minor gesture towards substance: in Announcement Regarding Supplemental Material the Journal of Neuroscience explains why it is dropping supplementary material. They raise some interesting issues but I’m not convinced by their conclusion.

More wikifun

My previous post refers. There are lots more things to say; this post doesn’t really say any of them but veers off at a tangent. Let me know if you get bored.

The tangent to start with is “no-one from outside understand how wikipedia works”. An obvious example of this is Lawrence Solomon (my apologies for mentioning: it is more honour than he deserves; but he is a convenient example), who says:

Connolley did not wield his influence by the quality of his research or the force of his argument but through his administrative position

There are several problems with this statement: the first is that I haven’t been an admin since last summer (13 September 2009 to be precise; and in case you’re uncertain, that case had nothing to do with Global Warming). But more important are wikipedia’s conflict-of-interest rules, which prevent admins doing controversial things in the topic areas they edit (if they edit; some admins drop down to hardly editing at all once given the bit. Not me). In case you think that rule is just a formality, and as easily evaded on wiki as it is by city dealers: no. All my edits (and admin actions) are and were scrutinised avidly by any number of highly unfriendly eyes and anything violating the rules would have been reported (in fact there is a section William M. Connolley’s use of administrator tools while involved in that previous, remarkably stupid case, but you’ll notice none of those are in the GW area).
Continue reading “More wikifun”

New erg

DSC_5803 I didn’t promise to cull all the boring rowing stuff off this blog, only the routine stuff. And obviously Anticipation of a new ergs arrival, The is far from routine. Let alone the actual arrival.

Here we see Darling Daughter pulling down firmly into her stomach in violation of all the best practices, but never mind, she is but young.

DSC_5800 It comes in a nice cardboard box, and isn’t even especially large – foolishly, I got it delivered to home, which meant I got a phonecall in the middle of the day and had to rush off. Argh. I should just have got it sent to work – it would have fit easily into the car.

DSC_5801 It peeks shyly out of its case like a young maiden awiting her first love. With E’s assistance I put it together in ~10 mins – you screw the front legs on, then clip the slidey-bar into the front unit (which looks to have been improved over the model C fixing). This is a model D – there seemed to be no obvious reason to pay the extra for the E. I’m not even sure the D is that much better than the C, except the rotor-unit seems a bit better. And it comes with a PM3 as standard – I didn’t splash out on the PM4, but now wish I had, since PM3’s won’t talk to Garmin Ant+ heart rate belts. The handle is different to the C: more ergonomically shaped, perhaps. And of course this one is rather cleaner than any unit I’ve ever used before. Never mind: as Julia said, that won’t last.

As to the rowing, it appears to work. 7101m for 30 mins, which is the second in my pyramid starting at 7000m. I’m not sure where the apex will be: probably 7500 for this round because I’m still hoping to actually get into the habit of enjoynig ergs rather than dreading them.

Perhaps this is a good place to point out all the exciting things you’ve missed on the other blog:

* Peterborough half marathon and my pathetic excuses for my rubbish time,
* The Robs Head,
* Rainy tuesday night on the river.

And now for something completely different…

No, not a man with a stoat through his head. Instead, what appears to be an utterly gratuitious waste of time and money:


Yes, its a 5x. WTF? Presumably, these people really do have so much spare cash that they can create a new hull [update: more likely a converted coxed four; though rumour says that German quints exist] just for a video (though some of the shorts of the bow-bobble nearly going underwater suggest they may have got the shape a touch wrong [update: nope, that is probably them being pushed by the barge]). Thats assuming all this isn’t CGI, but I doubt it – some of the shots of them rowing are a bit flaky, though they have clearly had some coaching. But why the Olde Worlde blades?

Please dno’t tell me that 5-‘s really exist. I enjoyed my little rant. Do watch the full video.

h/t: Dr S.

Updates: As JA points out in the comments, there are misc refs to this: Mark Hunter in the ES about teaching them; and a more informative piece in the Henley Standard.

I’ve added a second pic from the video for those from the Blighted States:


A bit shonky I think you’ll agree but they aren’t being held in this section. Also updated 5- to 5x.

Publishing code

Nick Barnes has an excellent opinion piece in Nature. And the comments are good too. There is a comment-on-the-piece by Anthony Fejes which I think is less good: too much like the kind of people who put you off cycling by insisting you have to wear a cycle helmet or walk. And you should read Nick’s follow up a CCC.

I’ve decided that I agree with Nick’s overall argument: yes you should publish your code. Which means, everything that is yours, including the little fiddly bits. Even if no-one will understand them. Even if people will deliberately misunderstand them.
Continue reading “Publishing code”

They make a wasteland and call it peace

No, not the US in Iraq, but a smaller matter: the recent arbcomm case. The case is now closed, and the the usual idiots are as usual getting it wrong (hint: the bit about admin is totally wrong). But then again, no-one from the outside ever understands wikipedia.

At some point I’ll do a long post on this (well, or maybe not. We’ll see. The point is, this isn’t that post). So for now:

The actual decision is available here, though if you prefer to skip over the goo and dribble you can just read the remedies. Though there is a fair amount of goo there too, so you may prfer to skip to just the remedy on me. Note that although that is framed as indefinite, it should probably be interpreted as no-fixed-end rather than permanent. Unless I’m Bad again, of course.

My response is on my talk page; feel free to join in there. One thing that may well be worth noting is that this isn’t a content decision; ie there is no finding at all of whether the climate change pages are in any way biased (so, e.g. Watts is hopelessly wrong. But I told you no-one understands wikipedia from the outside).

It occurs to me that the response may not stay there forever, and anyway maybe you can’t be bothered to click the link, so it is:

Final decision: thoughts

Of the decision:

* the “scorched earth” idea is unthinking and stupid.
* arbcomm demonstrate again an inability to distinguish the valuable from the valueless; indeed, they appear to be too lazy to even try.
* in pursuit of their atque ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant they have failed to notice that peace has already broken out. For two reasons: the worst of the “skeptics” (MN, M4th, Cla, ATren, TGL) are all gone; and the external forcing (Climatic Research Unit email controversy‎) has been resolved in favour of Climate Science. So all the disruption was for nothing.

About the only good thing about the PD is that it is so obviously bad, it is likely to rebound more to the discredit of arbcomm than anyone else.

Of the process:

* more of it should be open. There were very clearly extensive periods when off-wiki emails between the arbs were the main means of discussion. Some of that must be tolerable, but not to the extent that it is done. The arbs have become as addicted to secrecy as the Civil Service, and it is not good: both because of the dark deeds done in darkness (one example: the unexplained but welcome booting out of Rlevse) and because lack of on-wiki information fostered unease amongst the participants.
* the arbs need to be more involved, and to manage the process. Some are lazy, but none are good. This isn’t acceptable. It has become near-expected practice in arbcomm cases for nothing but a few gnomic utterances from arbs during the case. The sheer volume of evidence and discussion produced by petty back-and-forth needs to be rigourously policed. Arbcomm as a whole is fairly lazy, in that they don’t really evaluate the actual abckground to a case – that would be too much trouble, and they never bother. Instead, they rely on behaviour *during* a case, and part of their technique is a deliberate fostering of the possibility for disorder, in order to give them a lazy way of deciding. In this case, arbcomm gave a clear signal right at the start that evidence limits could be ignored. It was downhill from there.

Of the arbs:

* none of them emerge with any credit.

[ps: I changed the name of this post; the original still appears in the file name]