Ruderhofspitze: fail

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Another in the line of mountain climbing posts; I need to get them all out before next year. This one contains few decent photos because I failed due at least in part due to cloud; but its still quite instructive I think. Here’s a portion of the GPS trace for orientation:


The green dot on the left is the summit, 3474 m. We’ll be going back there in a future post. My high point this day was 3230 ish, say 250 m short, but more than just distance I had very little clue where to go. The green dot on the right is the col, with the Neue Regensburger hut much further right. I got up, pre-packed, for breakfast at 6:30; and gave myself 7 hours, because we wanted to go off to the Franz Senn in the afternoon. That’s a bit tight, but not much, as the most likely fail was what happened, viz, not being able to find the route.

Summitpost waxes quite lyrical about the Ruderhofspitze: Of the 7 summits of the Stubai range over 3400m, Ruderhofspitze is the most central, the 3rd highest, and probably the most remote. This combined makes it a really great mountain and a noble aim. Which is quite Germanic, but also true.

The day started well, with a beautiful cloud sea below the hut:


However, the clouds somewhat unsportingly chased me up the valley. By the time I’d got to the col (see end of prev for views up to the col) and looked up, I saw this:


The central spire is the beginning of the Grawawand, clear enough as the long spine just north of my route. At that point – though I didn’t really notice it at the time, and have only just realised it – the cloud is thin enough that the snow couloir leading up into the ?first? snow bowl is visible in the distance. Its more clearly visible in this Summitpost pic and looks somewhat intimidating in that picture. Quite what I’d have done if I’d managed to get that far in decent viz I don’t know.

However, the cloud got worse. Here’s me, a bit further up, sitting on the rocks for 15 mins or so thinking “I wonder if there’ll be a big enough tear in the cloud to give me some hint of where to go”:


And here, roughly, is my high point, with me thinking: I really don’t know where I am:


But judging from the GPS trace, I needed to be off left beyond the rockfall, probably going up the only-vaguely-visible snowpath leading upwards. Or maybe even further left, out of the pic. I’m really not sure. Anyway, at the point the weather clearly wasn’t going to improve, my time was starting to run out, my appetite for wandering around unknown terrain on a day when it was pretty certain no-one would be around to hear my screams had declined, so I turned around and went back.

And, here’s the hut:


Where are they now?

I wander thro’ each charter’d street,
Near where the charter’d Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear

Over the year a number of things have seemed dead exciting, or at least a bit important as viewed from this tiny corner of the blogosphere, but have then faded as duds. Let’s pull them back from obscurity and poke them a bit, pull their strings, and make it look as though they’re alive and laugh at them, before tossing them back on the heap of tossed things.

First off the block, and a worthy example of the genre, is Pattern Recognition in Physics (aka pRIP; thanks DM). Killed by Copernicus for being wank, it was re-started by Morner so he could fill it with wank. It seems to be having a thin time: there’s a paper from July, which actually references a WUWT blog post presumably so that even the most dim-witted can tell that its nonsense; and one from November featuring a pentagram.

Rather duller, in April AW proposed some kind of “” but I think even he realised is was a dumb idea; AFAIK it was still-born; similarly the NIPCC. The long-awaited AW et al. “paper” remains at the concept stage and so forgotten that only I seem to bother mock it. [Update: DM (see comments) reminds me of the which is effectively; and appears to be ditch-delivered by a drab; [Update: revivification effort / assertion spotted in the wild by MMM; see here]; [Update: and Sou sees more]]

Perhaps the best WATN was l’affaire Lennart Bengtsson in May (for those who forget easily: LB had a paper rejected for being unoriginal; got miffed, and joined the GWPF in a fit of madness; left when all his friends told him the GWPF were nutters; and then blamed everyone but himself for his poor judgement). Its all gone quiet now; spies report that LB has gone back to writing right-wing non-climate politics on climate blogs. But since he has had the decency to do this in Swedish, no one has been reading what he has written; I’ll assume that’s deliberate on his part, and respect his privacy. You can read an analysis of it here (well, actually you probably can’t cos its in foreign, but you can try google translate; or Eli has some earlier stuff, it all looks very similar).

[Update: this post of mine on LB from 2006 is worth reading in the light of today.]

Does the battle of the graphs qualify? In it, Monkers threatened to sue the pants off almost everyone, and then quietly didn’t. But that’s hardly news.

Not-Prof Salby was so 2013 (some took a while to catch up; post to the antipodes can take a while), but questioning the idea that the CO2 rise is anthro seems to be flypaper that every wacko gets stuck to eventually as they buzz around aimlessly. AW hit it, several times but the slightly-surprise victim was “Dr” Roy Spencer who you’d have thought would know better.

Sea ice in 2014 was dull, like 2013. There are still a few – Wadhams springs to mind – who predict collapse-within-a-few-years but I don’t think anyone is listening. The denialists wouldn’t bet on the future though others will. Its still all to play for in the coming years.

Oh, and not-really-fitting but close enough for government work is Spirit of Mawson which returns in the Graun.

Did I miss any?

[Update: on twitter, Andrew Dessler ‏@AndrewDessler asks: “Whatever happened to Sallie Baliunas? She was an original skeptic, but she seems to have disappeared years ago”. Which is true; she doesn’t make it onto the 2014 WATN because she was nowhere in 2014. Google scholar, or news, doesn’t show up anything even vaguely recent. She was born 1953, so may have simply retired. Anyone know? [Yes: she is.]

Update: RA reminds me of Force X from outer space, which I really should have included – how could I have forgotten the most revolutionary breakthrough in science since the bluetooth-enabled toothbrush?]


* London, by Blake

And that’s how successful our “intervention” in Afghanistan was

Aunty has a story about how Nato has formally ended its 13-year combat mission in Afghanistan. I got to watch it on TV, and noticed that the ceremony looked odd – like it was being held in a gym. And indeed the Beeb article sez Sunday’s ceremony was low-key – held inside a gymnasium at the alliance headquarters away from the public. What that article doesn’t quite bring itself to say – but the TV did – was that the ceremony was effectively held in secret, for fear of attack by the Taliban. That’s the measure of how disastrous a failure its all been. They didn’t add that last sentence, oddly.

And that's how successful our "intervention" in Afghanistan was

Aunty has a story about how Nato has formally ended its 13-year combat mission in Afghanistan. I got to watch it on TV, and noticed that the ceremony looked odd – like it was being held in a gym. And indeed the Beeb article sez Sunday’s ceremony was low-key – held inside a gymnasium at the alliance headquarters away from the public. What that article doesn’t quite bring itself to say – but the TV did – was that the ceremony was effectively held in secret, for fear of attack by the Taliban. That’s the measure of how disastrous a failure its all been. They didn’t add that last sentence, oddly.

Tee hee

VV has the main story but this little pic tells the tale…

…that “Stoat” is in bigger letters than just about anyone else other than RealClimate (well, duh) and ATTP (gnashes teeth).

Actually, that’s not the story. The funny bit is the “yellow ghetto” featuring the anti-science folks: WUWT, BH, and Climate Etc, tee hee. La Curry is not amused, as you’d really rather hope. I imagine Mark Lynas isn’t desperately happy either. von S is welcome to the ghetto after publishing tripe from Alex Harvey; and CA? Well, pffft.

Update: there’s now an updated graphic, (h/t A), which allows me to discover:

Incoming (4)

Outgoing (3)


* A Network of Blogs, Read by Science Bloggers
* Great Blog Galaxy – Almost big enough to be seen! – TPP
* WUWT finally notices but can’t read it; some amusing self-delusion.
* No, Willis – WUWT is not a science site – eg CO2 in the atmosphere

The year in stoats: 2014

I see I’m keeping up my habit of posts that are near-incomprehensible even to me after only a few months; its just like writing Perl. Anyway, here’s my pick of the year, whilst we’re in that grey quiet phase between Christmas and the New Year.

Jan: Science (and the related Peer review)
Feb: The idealised greenhouse effect model and its enemies. Or, if you prfer politics, my lack-of-prescience over the Ukraine.
Mar: Investors warn of ‘carbon bubble’ as Shell predicts climate regulation will hit profits?
Apr: – not in itself desperately exciting, but I’ll add it as a marker to what I don’t want to do, which is to spend too much time discussing the clowns. Other people do that better.
May: Adventures in the denialosphere; that’s just about compatible with my text of April, in that this is me bearding the clowns in their playpen over l’affaire Bengtsson. Andy Lacis’s comment on “What is it that determines the terrestrial climate and how it changes?” is also worth reading.
Jun: The Iraqi government really is rubbish, isn’t it? (eschewing Monkers, and with fall-back tale of local boy dun good). [Update: and a mention for Force X from outer space, since I spent some time commenting there.]
Jul: The Bomb Plot.
Aug: The fruitarians are lazy.
Sep: Stubai: Wilder Freiger to the Muller Hutte – this one can stand for the rest. The other half of my summer hols was the Peloponnese.
Oct: Wadhams and the mighty [sh|tw]it storm in honour of this year’s sea ice being dull. And, of course, “Chopper” responds. But I also like Limiting global warming to 2°C: the philosophy and the science?
Nov: The dim and distant history of climate blogging.
Dec: A clever compiler is indistinguishable from malice.


* 2013
* 2012
* 2010
* 2009
* 2015 Gardening Resolutions – TPP

Happy Christmas

I was going to do something for a Christmas post, but find I can’t do much better than this image (which is via TPP via BA) and (lightly edited) TPP’s words:

Think about how many stars are in such a galaxy. Then think about all those other little lights in the background that are also galaxies, and just in this one little bit of space. Some intellect out there is probably pointing their see-far thingy at the Milky Way, and saying, let me write a blog about how amazing this is.

There’s probably a moral in that, somewhere. Maybe more than one.

History of programming languages – Ada

I’ve been reading History of programming languages—II which is a book of a 1993 conference. There’s lots of interesting stuff, if you like that kind of thing, but I’m particularly struck by the section on Ada. There’s fun like the distinction between general-purpose and “embedded” computing, which is always somewhat hard to define:

In the early seventies these were generally called “weapons system computers.” A short time later they were called “embedded systems,” to convey the message that they also included functions such as control, communications, and intelligence as part of an overall system, not to their physically being “embedded” in a weapon… Later an Appropriations Act invented the name “mission critical,” which is certainly morale boosting anyway. Any attempt to parse these terms out of historical context is doomed. These distintions may seem esoteric to an outsider, but within the DoD the great religious conflicts of history pale to insignificance by comparison…

But the bit that struck me was at the far end, once they’d defined their language, they needed actual compilers for it:

It was never the intent that the HOLWG [High Order Language Working Group] would implement compilers. This was the prerogative of the individual Services and of industry. It was hoped that settling on one language would make it attractive for the industry to produce compilers as commercial products, without government funding or control (as it has worked out). However, it was important that the Services show support for the standard by putting their money into some products. If no one thought the Services were interested (and money spells interest), then why should industry risk its own money? It was not actually necessary that the the Service programs be successful, just that they exist. Indeed, there was a certain inhibitory factor; a company may not want to invest in a compiler for a particular machine if the government was doing the same and it might be available for free later.

(More here, that’s in the Language control section). I find that a rather nice statement of a general problem; and its good to see a govt organisation actually thinking about it.

I’ve no familiarity with Ada itself; on a quick glance, it looks clunky. But I’m a serial zealot – I was a Fortran zealot, then a Perl zealot, and am now a C zealot, so don’t expect me to impartially evaluate anything.


* Fiordland rangers prepare for stoat plague
* The Top 10 Retractions of 2014
* Does irony have a place in science?
* TIOBE Index for December 2014 – C wins; – C wins; ieee – Java edges out C (boo!); Redmonk – C doesn’t win :-(. Ada is hard to find in all of these.

Preliminary evidence essentially exonerates humans as the source of CO2

ahah Every now and again its nice to be reminded that the Dork Side really are a bunch of swivel-eyed loons. So I’m thankful, so to speak, to Eli (and, now I look, Sou) for pointing me at Settled science? The IPCC’s premature consensus is demonstrated by the Orbiting Carbon Observatory. I didn’t bother read the rest, because that they’re nutters is all you need to know, the exact fuckwittery is only of interest to scholars of denial. Thrust, ah ha, king of the Impossible, and so on, in the unlikely even that anyone cares.

As to the headline: I thought I’d leave out the question mark just to wind you up :-). You get a prize if you can identify the source of the image, without looking at my Flickr feed. Though you might not want to admit to it.


* Despair of the Dork Side
* Oh good: the dork side still don’t like wiki
* Peer review isn’t good at “dealing with exceptional or unconventional submissions,” says study

Foundation and Empire, part II

20130810_WWD000 Following up on my brilliantly prescient Foundation and Empire from April, the current economic situation in Russia is worth commenting on. The Russian rouble [is] in free-fall despite [a] shock 17% rate rise says Auntie (and she really does, doesn’t she, which is silly: rates rose to 17%, not by 17%), and Timmy has some notes about 17% interest rates.

(Its not quite the right cartoon, obviously, but it does show the fundamental silliness of Putin well.)

The acute problems with the Rouble stem from the oil price fall, of course, and not Western sanctions (The Graun thinks otherwise, but I wouldn’t trust them on finance; Timmy also suggests otherwise, but I think he’s being slightly over-cute). Their longer-term problems stem from them being an unreformed economy propped up by oil; and Putin bears a lot of responsibility for that lack of reform – as, of course, do the bozo Russkie electorate who keep re-electing him, bribed with their own money, the idiots. But I’ll certainly hope that sanctions are making a bad situation worse. All this leads to wild paranoia amongst the nuttier Russkies.

However, its quite hard to see a good way out of this. Well, I can see one: Putin says “oh, rats, its all going horribly wrong. I’ll pull all my troops out of Eastern Ukraine (and Crimea!?), stop propping up the bandits, and give up the hopeless yearning for the return of the Evil Empire. And reform the Russian economy and political system”. In return for which the West removes sanctions, and leans on the Saudis to cut production, and we all waltz off into the sunset holding hands. The trouble is, I can’t really believe it. [CIP provides a slightly more believable and far less pleasant scenario.]

Incidentally, I’ve seen several “ZOMG! What are we going to do now that oil is $45 a barrel” type posts{{cn}}. But this isn’t going to last. Its just the Saudis making a doomed attempt to knock out the frackers. Prices will go back up, though perhaps not to a level high enough to prop up the Russkies – who are not the only people in trouble with oil at this price.

[Update: nice article from Krugman. Who makes one interesting point: the Russian current account balance… has been in consistent large surplus, with a cumulative surplus of more than $900 billion. Russia should not be a debtor country. It has managed this nonetheless, presumably because corporations and banks have borrowed abroad, and somehow that money has ended up invested in luxury London real estate and other things. Which is yet another way of saying this is down to the twisted nature of Russian politics.]

[Update: a falling oil price doesn’t just hit the Russkies, of course. More parochially, Auntie says North Sea oil collapse fears ‘too dramatic’, which is a response to the breathless “It’s A Huge Crisis” – The UK Oil Industry Is “Close To Collapse” type folk -W]


* The Economist on how the crony system in Russia insulates people in power. But only to a certain extent.
* Goodbye, Rouble Tuesday – FT
* Putin’s Racket by CIP