Almost a bump

Bumps again, hurrah. The distant sound of gunfire. The culmination of a lot of peoples training for a long time. And, as I discovered once again while waiting for the start, a deeply unpleasant / scary / unnerving experience. It didn’t help that we had to stand around for 20 mins waiting for the 4-minute gun, wondering what the hold up was: it turned out to be the bloody Georgina. Meanwhile we’re chatting, thinking, looking about, going for a wee, trying to dispel the nerves. Early rain had given way to a beautiful evening, though getting dark now. We’d done a good start after the railway bridge and a superb one after the Plough – oh no, I though, there’s our best start of the night wasted in practice. We know little about the crews around us.


(no, that isn’t us, that is M3 going round Grassy)

4 minute gun; back in the boat. Minute. Count down: push off at 30, light tap from bow (me) at 15 to straighten us off. We’re starting 14 so can cut the corner. Square at 7. Gun.

bumps-map A fair start, we’re off, nothing is happening, exactly as expected. We get through the choppy water under the motorway bridge and are settling – possibly just a bit too settled for maximum speed. Nines (3) behind us aren’t closing. Faint whistles, but not for us. First post, and behind us Nines are bumped by Champs 2. Into the gut and it starts to feel good; still no whistles for us. We expect Tabs 3 to be fast off the start. Suddenly, after the Plough, we’re screamed at to hold it up. I turn round and slap their stern in brief joy – but no, we haven’t bumped them, they’ve bumped City 3 who failed to clear. So we have to stop and restart. If it was a close race, or there was stuff behind us, this would be a disaster. But it isn’t and there isn’t, so it really doesn’t matter. Having been forced to stop for 10 secs the overbump is clearly unrealistic but James pushes us down the Reach anyway; not sure that was a good idea.

Brief stop at the beer tree, to talk over the race. Back to the boat house, more talk. To the Waterman, for some more and some beer. Delightful. Agree that tomorrow will be the test: City 3 are there for the taking, if we row well, and stay away from Champs 2.


* Chesterton club blog
* GPS track

The greenhouse effect is not the effect that warms greenhouses

Every now and again, people get a little bit confused when they realise that the thing we all call the “greenhouse effect” is not the mechanism that warms greenhouses. This is nothing new; R. W. Wood: Note on the Theory of the Greenhouse pointed it out in 1909. The wikipedia [[Greenhouse effect]] page states this explicitly (because I added it. I had a very long edit war with some bozo who didn’t believe it). Sometimes septics – or simply the badly confused – get very excited, because they think it tells you something useful about the actual greenhouse effect – usually, they think it proves it doesn’t exist. Of course, it tells you nothing useful about the physics of the greenhouse effect – this is simply a nomenclature issue. To re-use some old text: this is like asserting that the US political party called the “Democrats” must be, um, democratic; and their opponents anti-demoncrats, smimply based on names.

The latest froth around this is BREAKING NEWS: Greenhouse Gas Theory Trashed in Groundbreaking Lab Experiment by John O’Sullivan, guest post at Climate Realists which claims that “Nahle Nails Shut Climate Scare Coffin”. The poor old climate-scare-coffin has had so many “last nails” put into it over the years (if you believe folks like these) that you’d think there was no Wood left.

The source of the froth appears to be Experiment on the Cause of Real Greenhouses’ Effect – Repeatability of Prof. Robert W. Wood’s experiment who confirms that – err, yes, exactly what we knew already. Wood’s experiment is repeatable. Nahle himself makes none of the frothy claims, as far as I can tell [I’m wrong: see below]: all he says is, I reproduced Wood’s exp, and it worked. His failure, I think, is in not doing his back ground reading; perhaps this post will help him.

I wonder if any of the usual-suspect septic folk will be dump enough to fall for this?

[Update: I gave Nahle too much credit. He doesn’t claim that the (atmospheric) GHE doesn’t exist in the initial page or abstract, but he does claim it in his “sixth experiment” in the detailed PDF. This is fairly wacky: if you’re going to discover something as exciting as this, you’d put it into your abstract (unless you were hoping to sneak your paper past inattentive reviewers, that is).

So, he says:

The Greenhouse Effect hypothesis is founded in the argument that the atmosphere inhibits the direct outcome of longwave infrared radiation from the surface to the outer space… The hypothesis says that a great part of the solar shortwave radiation incoming from the Sun penetrates the Earth’s atmosphere and strikes on the surface -land and oceans- heating it up. As the solar shortwave and longwave infrared radiation is absorbed by the surface, the latter starts radiating longwave infrared radiation that is effectively absorbed by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, stored by them and reradiated towards the surface heating it up more and more.

The principle adduced by the greenhouse effect promoters is based on the idea that, in a real greenhouse, the glass panels permit the solar shortwave irradiance to penetrate into the enclosure but does not permit the longwave emitted by the inner surfaces of the enclosed space to go out.

Note the total non-sequitur in the second paragraph. The (atmospheric) GHE does not depend in any way on what happens in a glass greenhouse. Nahle is just one of the many people confused by names. Hopefully he’ll read this post, and be enlightened (he has already commented on, but clearly not read, this post).

Phone hacking

There is an excellent article from Light Blue Touchpaper about securing information (just in case you don’t get the delicate joke: Cambridge’s colour is light blue, as opposed to Oxford’s true blue; and of course “light the blue touch paper” is on the instructions of fireworks).

Part of it is just the obvious problems – people no changing their default PINs – and part more disturbing – the lack of ethics amongst a section of journalism, and more importantly the corruption of the police. And I could rant about how rubbish banks etc. are about their ridiculous phone “security”. But the more interesting bit is about designing the infrastructure to make this harder. I could talk about that I suppose but you’re better off reading LBT.

[Pulled to the top again because of the ZOMG news. Plod has pulled in Wade – but is this plod finally showing some backbone, or merely trying to look good, or just more collusion with the journo’s: where better to be at this point with a Parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday looming than snug and warm in custody, happily shielded from embarrassing questions? Big Plod has gone too – but of course saying he had done nothing wrong, ho ho.]

[Update: not-quite-so-big Plod has gone too. Unlike Big Plod, who pronounced himself totally innocent of any conceivable offense, nqsb Plod is silent so far, and “Mr Yates’s resignation came after he was informed he would be suspended pending an inquiry into his relationship with Mr Wallis.” [Updated: when will I learn to take copies? I think the Beeb have silently updated their report. Anyway, predictably enough nqsb Plod has declared himself entirely innocent, quelle surprise: “He said his conscience was clear”.]

[The picture is totally irrelevant, if you were wondering, and is from Early Warning]

New watch, old watch, still the same

DSC_7516-forerunner-110 About a year ago I enthused about my new watch, a Garmin Forerunner 110. Since then it has become ever-more-vital, sustaining me through any number of runs. However about a month ago it started to mist up inside. I took the back off and it dried out, but then I had two wet outings, it misted up, I didn’t get round to drying it out, and it has never been the same again. In fact it no longer works. Score -1 for Garmin.

During the year I’d got rather annoyed by a couple of other flaws with it: it really won’t act as a GPS-on-the-move, in particular it won’t tell you its height; and the whole thing is a bit clunky compared to the glorious apps that Free Enterprise has created for iPhones and Androids. Music would be nice to. So I’d half convinced myself that if’when the time came to replace it, I’d just by myself an HTC or somesuch. Score another -1 for Garmin.

However, when it actually came down to it I just bought another forerunner, so the final score is in Garmin’s favour. Reasons: well, what I want is a sports watch, so I might as well buy one. At £110 it is considerably cheaper than an Android. The GPS quality in it is rather better than you get in most phones, and I couldn’t be bothered to hack through endless phone pages to try to work out if theirs was any good. I didn’t need to bother buy a new heart rate strap because (a) the old one is still good and (b) I don’t bother with it anymore anyway. But I may try to be a bit more careful about keeping it dry.

Thoughts from Zorita

Eduardo has quite a nice post at KZ. I say “quite nice” because it is definitely one for those deeply emeshed in the debate and familiar with it, yet not wanting to be part of the rancour.

Point 1 should be required reading for all the septic folk out there:

The main question here that any scientist would like to answer is what are the factors or combination of factors that have caused this warming. Note that even if temperatures had been much higher in , say 1800, even much higher than today -which I doubt – this question would remain. We see a change and we have to find an explanation for that change… By this I mean among other things that, for instance, ‘recovery from the Little ice ‘ is not a known physical process that is described by any known equation. Also, natural oscillations are not a known physical phenomenon per se. If there is a ‘natural oscillation’ there is something that oscillates and for some reason. What is that and what makes it (quasi) oscillate ? Neither is an answer of the type ‘it was warmer in the Medieval Warm period, so I dont care’ permissible. I think t we all should require physically consistent explanation from any theory of climate change, and not only from the anthropogenic greenhouse effect.

Quibbling, it would have been nice if he had added that AGW does provide an explanation, and nothing else (so far) does; but as I said, this is for those emeshed in the issue and that can be justified as implied background.

His point 2, though, isn’t so good. Its more of a speculative by-eye assessment of the graph and doesn’t help anything much. Point 3 is interesting speculation.

Richard Black winds up the wackos

Further proof of the polarisation in this “debate” comes from Climate: Cherries are not the only fruit by Richard Black. This all stems from Reconciling anthropogenic climate change with observed temperature 1998-2008 by Robert K. Kaufmann et al., who come to the not-desperately-exciting conclusion that things are pretty much as we thought they were: recent global temperature records are consistent with the existing understanding of the relationship among global surface temperature, internal variability, and radiative forcing, which includes anthropogenic factors with well known warming and cooling effects.

The GWPF cherry-picked Kaufmann et al. using their favourite “all records start from 1998” trick, so were a bit narked when Black called them out. And they seem to have a guest posts at Watt’s which basically says “yes we did cherry pick, but now we’re going to shout loudly and hope you don’t notice”.

That wasn’t very interesting.

[Update: by happy chance, Tamino has a nice post about cherry-picking by Steve Goddard.]

Case for High Speed Trains considered unconvincing?

Ripping off Timmy:

Laptops and mobile phones mean that at least a modicum of work can be done while travelling. So the value of time saved by fewer hours travelling should fall. In fact, we can almost certainly go further. Sitting with a laptop, a phone and a decent internet connection in a comfy seat on a train is, these days, almost as productive as being in a nice office in a comfy chair with a computer, phone and decent internet connection.

In which case the value of the reduced transport time for these very important people collapses down to almost nothing. Something which rather explodes the cost benefit analysis of having the fast trains at all for the benefits rely so heavily on the high value of the time of these very important people not doing anything.

In short, forget making the trains faster and just install decent in carriage Wi-Fi. We get the same benefits at vastly reduced cost: and what can be bad about that?

Having just travelled through the lovely near-Wendover countryside to Princes Risborough, I have a vague interest in this. But I’m also deeply suspicious of HST II. This looks to be one of those Ego / Boondoggle projects that are doomed to go ahead whilst other more useful things languish (example: running moderate speed sleeper services through the chunnel would have been far more use to me, and I suspect many others, that the big-willy fast trains, no matter how pretty and thrusting they may look).

I had a quick look at the HST II website, in the hopes that they might tell me why they were doing it. But all I found was them saying that ministers had told them to. So I’ll guess: this is a flight-replacement thingy. Well, maybe. But there are lots of problems: running high speed trains through peoples back gardens does rather tend to annoy them. And as Timmy points out, a rather more honest assessment of costs and benefits might well show that the costs exceed the benefits. High speed trains throw out lots of CO2, too (especially if you’re going wobbly on nukes), so it isn’t some majick fix for that problem either.

Refs – The Other Side. I ripped off their logo. Pity they can’t spell.