Friday, April 30, 2010

[jules' pics] 4/29/2010 06:59:00 PM

Japan Railwayman, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

I couldn't fit this is to my little selection of candid shots based on wot people do in Japan, because I am not sure wot he was doing. He works for Japan Railways, and appeared to be photographing the railways tracks at Ishikawacho station.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/29/2010 06:59:00 PM

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

[jules' pics] Wot people do in Japan

Go to work

Tsukuba Express

Be samurai

samurai in the street

Ride bicycles


Take photos

photographing the sakura

Do gardening


Worship dragons


Climb mountains

walkers, myoujin-ga-take, Hakone

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/28/2010 07:05:00 AM

Curried leftovers

The real news is that our last guest finally managed to get a flight back to the UK. But as for the latest froth on the blogosphere, I'm late to the party again, and grovelling around for the scraps...

Actually, I don't think there is much point. Stoat covers it pretty well [1, 2, 3], and I can't find much to fault in his analysis, so I'll just provide a few excerpted highlights. Judith Curry gives every appearance of basically channelling the sceptic talking points, sadly (for her) without being aware of the underlying facts. I particularly liked her OTT condemnation of DC when he accused Wegman of plagiarism, followed by hasty attempts to change the subject when it turns out that he was undeniably correct. Much of the exchange can be found on the lengthy comment thread on this post.

Let me say that this is one of the most reprehensible attacks on a reputable scientist that I have seen, and the so-called tsunami of accusations made in regards to climategate are nothing in compared to the attack on Wegman.
Hyperbole much, Professor Curry?

With commenters repeatedly pointing to the mountain of evidence in support of the claim, as posted on DC's excellent blog (not to mention various other bogosities in the report itself, and Curry's unfortunate misapprehensions as to its origins):
On comment regarding my comments on Wegman (not the Wegman report per se). The whole host of issues surrounding whether or not he is biased, the plaigarism accusation, and whatever else, are issues that I have not investigated in any detail (and don’t intend to). So my comments on this should not receive any undue consideration; they were made when i thought my mention of the Wegman Report was going to be hijacked by the plaigarism issue being raised at deepclimate. This is last word on that subject, and request that Keith not allow any more comments on this topic of plaigarism.
Bottom line is that I just don’t know that much about the Wegman situation, I have acknowledged this several places in the thread. Given this, I hope we can move off the Wegman topic.
Yeah, I bet you do. Some might consider an apology would have been much more appropriate.

The whole anti-IPCC schtick is pretty tired too, and the "failings" of Oxburgh etc, as Stoat covers. Plus:
In my opinion, there needs to be a new independent effort to produce a global historical surface temperature dataset that is transparent and that includes expertise in statistics and computational science.
Good luck with that. It's not like there are already 3 or 4 major groups around the world with decades of experience in this work. Oh wait, actually there are. And they all get the same results (modulo a few details for which there are well-known explanations, such as GISS extrapolating over the Arctic). Oh, but that just means they are all in the conspiracy together, right? And they are all discredited because of Jones being rude about someone behind their back, or the hockey stick, or something like that. Really, I have to wonder whether she has investigated the other issues in more detail than the ones relating to Wegman, that "should not receive any undue consideration"...

[jules' pics] 4/27/2010 09:01:00 PM

Sakura at kenrokuen, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Cherry blossom was all over a while ago, but it took me all this time to decide which picktur to blog. This one is from my new girlie-weight "full-frame" camera. ...a Nikon N80.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/27/2010 09:01:00 PM

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

[jules' pics] 4/26/2010 08:12:00 PM

Took my ace wide-angle lens* up the mountains at the weekend, which enabled me to photograph the local architecture - mountain huts

[*Tokina 11-16mm]

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/26/2010 08:12:00 PM

Monday, April 26, 2010

[jules' pics] 4/25/2010 04:05:00 PM

Yesterday sister-in-law Helen had another last day in Japan. We spent much of it gawping at Fuji-san.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/25/2010 04:05:00 PM

Friday, April 23, 2010

[jules' pics] 4/22/2010 11:27:00 PM

boke - flowering quince, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Time for some more flowers. Red stuff comes out really rubbish on my digital camera. I knew there was no way I'd get the blood red petals of our little boke bush to look sharp. Even with lots of underexposure, red come out kind noisy and fuzzy looking. So instead I decided to just let go and make everything noisy and fuzzy. Did this my cranking the iso up to 1600 and the focal length to 300mm. I think the result is quite interesting....especially viewed small from a distance :-)

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/22/2010 11:27:00 PM

Thursday, April 22, 2010

[jules' pics] 4/22/2010 06:35:00 AM

The trunk of the ginkgo tree which has been on display at Hachimangu since the tree fell down, was tonight wrapped up and lifted by crane onto the back of a very large truck. I wonder where it is going...

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/22/2010 06:35:00 AM

[jules' pics] 4/21/2010 06:44:00 PM

azalea, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Number 3 in the series "the toxic waste part of town where we work".
Numbers 1 and 2, here and here.

It's raining all day today, and the steerer of the tandem refused. That's him in the distance. The azaleas are just outside our workplace. While the flowers are bright, it is no where near enough that one could say they "brighten up" the dismal surroundings, even though I hope the illusion caused by this wide-angle photograph may lead you to think otherwise.

I wonder if I could make even better illusions with one of these...?

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/21/2010 06:44:00 PM

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Plane sailing

Perhaps prompted by Helen's pleas for a little more notice, a more agreeable email arrived last night, offering a flight on the 26th (of April, fortunately). So now there's time for a little more proper holiday - without feverish checking of web sites and the stress of wondering if and when it will end - and I'd guess things will be back to normal by then.

Shame it seems to be set to rain for the next couple of days...the weekend may be fine though.

[jules' pics] 4/20/2010 09:50:00 PM

fish on a stick, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

While enjoying your luncheon of a great big squiddy on a plate don't forget to leave room for a little fish-on-a-stick-dessert.

The problem with fish-on-a-stick is that it is often not gutted. The bitter gutty taste contaminates the whole fish and makes it taste quite horrible.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/20/2010 09:50:00 PM

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

[jules' pics] 4/19/2010 08:26:00 PM

squid lunch on Enoshima, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Happy to report that my digestion is now fully recovered from this delicious luncheon, consumed a mere 10 days ago.

[Historical accuracy note: My main meal was a whole raw horse mackerel, while the photo is of sister-in-law's squid, which I helped her finish.]

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/19/2010 08:26:00 PM

Monday, April 19, 2010

Place your bets

So after a weekend of wondering what to do (and trying to work out how to enjoy the enforced holiday extension), Helen went to the Air France ticket office in Tokyo this morning. They weren't prepared to re-book her flight, saying there was no chance of flying in the next few days anyway, but took contact details...

...and tonight an email arrived assigning her a seat on the 13:30 tomorrow to Schiphol (and thence onwards to Manchester, her final destination).

I wonder what would be fair odds on that working out smoothly? At time of writing, all flights are still blocked indefinitely (and the UK is specifically shut down till 1am Tuesday), but of course it will be well over 24h before she gets to Schiphol even if things go well, and people are talking about re-starting flights, so it is not completely out of the question that the trip will go ahead. She had actually resigned herself to making the most of another week here, so a rapid re-pack and early start is a bit of a shock, especially as she said she had accommodation sorted and was not a particularly urgent case. Best case scenario is probably waking up to find the flight is already cancelled tomorrow morning before the tedious and expensive trip to Narita. Worst case, she'll get dumped in Amsterdam (or some other random destination - the last couple of Paris flights seemed to end up in Lyons and Toulouse), with nowhere to stay and no reasonable means of onwards transport...

Meanwhile, according to the news:

Nicolas Ribard, 29, from Avignon, France, was among about a dozen stranded tourists squatting on sleeping bags that Narita airport officials had lent them. He and three other friends had about 3,000 yen between them, and were surviving on airport-issued crackers, bottled water and coupons for one free shower a day.

Their earliest possible flight would be Taiwan’s EVA Airways on May 12—but only if they are willing to pay an extra 150 euros ($200). Otherwise, they have to wait until June, Ribard said.
Hard to see how Helen could have deserved to jump the queue so comprehensively. Perhaps her mistake was to buy a "Premium Voyager" ticket (but only cos the cheapest ones were sold out by the time she got round to booking...).

Stay tuned for the next thrilling instalment!

Update, 6:30am: That didn't take long (click for big). We'll probably get a new email demanding an early start tomorrow. Lather, rinse, repeat as necessary...

[jules' pics] 4/18/2010 09:24:00 PM

Kamakura cherry blossom, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

A street near our house.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/18/2010 09:24:00 PM

Sunday, April 18, 2010

[jules' pics] 4/18/2010 06:01:00 AM

Crab apple (kaidou) flowers at about the same time as cherry blossom. A few temples in Kamakura have special kaidou trees, although many trees can be spotted in gardens once you know what you are looking for: hot pink buds and distinctive groups of leaves behind the clusters of blossom. The blossom in this picture was just about the first to open on one of two feature trees positioned in front of the main temple building at Myohonji .

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/18/2010 06:01:00 AM

Saturday, April 17, 2010

[jules' pics] 4/16/2010 07:51:00 PM

Deva gate, Myohoji, originally uploaded by

Myohoji was Nichiren's base, from where he went street preaching in Kamakura. While the front garden and buildings of the temple seems normal enough, behind the Deva gate is a damp dilapidated world of green whose centrepiece is a very green staircase.

Moss stairs, Myohoji, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/16/2010 07:51:00 PM

Friday, April 16, 2010

On hold

Apparently, if you are in Japan, with a cancelled Air France flight to Paris on a code-share that is actually flown by Japan Air Lines, bought through a bucket shop internet travel agent (Expedia) it is completely impossible to find anyone prepared to speak English on the phone to arrange a re-booking.

Not perhaps the safest-for-work video I've ever posted - you have been warned. The wall of our semi-detached lounge is currently being knocked through into next door...

(We're not quite up to 93 hours yet, though.)

Update Email received @ 21:15 "Le vol AF271 16/04 Tokyo Paris est annulé. Please do not reply to this email." (NB the scheduled take-off time was 11:05 this morning, this is the first contact from Air France about this flight.)

Phil Jones exonerated part 2

I've been remiss in my blogging duties due to a lengthy invasion of Annans, which was due to be over today, though one straggler is still awaiting the reopening of European air space...

Anyway, here's an straightforward opener to ease myself back into the swing of things.

Phil Jones has been exonerated again, this time by Lord Oxburgh's enquiry:
The inquiry, the second of three set up in the wake of the controversy, found "absolutely no evidence of any impropriety whatsoever", according to Lord Oxburgh, who led the investigation.
That follows hard on the heels of the previous exoneration. I suppose this must prove the great climate science conspiracy is still growing! But though I am sure there are some ongoing sighs of relief that the charade is at least coming to a sane conclusion, there actually isn't anything of interest that the climate science community hasn't been saying for months if not years. See mt, Stoat and RC for more on the story. Or perhaps I should say, more on the nothing that has been turned into a story.

One minor point to highlight is that I was pleased to see Lord O explicitly draw attention to the part the Govt has played in the "culture of secrecy" though restrictive IP agreements and policies. I don't think this is necessarily a free pass for scientists, who have sometimes been a bit too possessive for my liking, but it is certainly a factor which should be recognised and taken into consideration (unlike the previous HoC investigation which didn't seem to be aware of it, or perhaps preferred to gloss over their contribution to it).

[jules' pics] 4/15/2010 07:21:00 PM

What with all the tour guiding, we saw a lot of cherry blossom this year. Unfortunately for the inlaws, it was not such a good season as last year. Not only were the skies rather grey, but the unreasonably cold weather prevented the flowers from blossoming simultaneously. Nevertheless, many people enjoyed cherry blossom viewing.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/15/2010 07:21:00 PM

Thursday, April 15, 2010

[jules' pics] 4/14/2010 07:48:00 PM

Helen, my tall sister in law, is very good at spotting birds. Here is one she found yesterday on the Hakone side of Myojin ga take. Japanese white-eyes are fairly common here, but this was bigger, browner, with a bright yellow beak and different shaped spectacles.

Does any one have any idea what it is?

Update 16/04/2010: It's a Hwamei or Melodious Laughingthrush. Thanks to andrewt.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/14/2010 07:48:00 PM

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

[jules' pics] 4/11/2010 10:54:00 PM

chihuahuas, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.


[Yamashita Park, Yokohama]

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/11/2010 10:54:00 PM

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

[jules' pics] 4/06/2010 03:24:00 PM

Matsumoto Castle, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

In daylight this time.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/06/2010 03:24:00 PM

Monday, April 05, 2010

[jules' pics] 4/05/2010 02:18:00 AM

Matsumoto Castle, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Experimenting with life as tour guides. Perhaps we won't give up the day jobs quite yet. Here is Matsumoto castle, which is very nice. The only other place in Japan that I've seen such a high proportion of white people as in Matsumoto, is on Mount Fuji. We have travelled through Matsumoto railway station many times on mountain climbing trips, but have never before passed beyond the ticket barrier. Tomorrow another first - we hire a car - thanks to James' recent acquisition of a license.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/05/2010 02:18:00 AM

Saturday, April 03, 2010

[jules' pics] 4/03/2010 04:24:00 AM

Mini Magnolia, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

After a few days of in-law visitation one may start to feel a little frazzled.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 4/03/2010 04:24:00 AM

Thursday, April 01, 2010

April Fool

Several people have pointed me to this article by John McLean. I don't really object in principle to ABC giving him the space to reply to Stephan Lewandowsky's previous article on peer review and the McLean paper. It's a commentary site, not held to the same standards as peer review journals.

And it shows.

There's plenty of fluff but the central lie remains: McLean claims that they data were not tortured and that anyway the thumbscrews were only used to drag out information about the lag from the evil liberal numbers, but in fact the correlations prominently displayed in the abstract and discussed in the text are actually calculated from the data after strapping them down to a flat board, gagging and almost drowning them. [They also admitted shooting JFK and being the mastermind of Al Quaeda.]

I'm delighted to see that so many of the commenters are by now well aware of this basic point, probably due largely to Lewandowsky's previous article, and are taking great pleasure in pointing it out to McLean in the comment thread. Better still, McLean is busy down there tying himself in knots trying to defend the indefensible. It's good stuff, you can find gems like

"If the SOI accounts for short-term variation then logically it also accounts for long-term variation."

Yes, really, he wrote that. I thought it was worth preserving for posterity, hence the webcite link. He's promising more, to be "published" by SPPI later this week. I can't wait.

At least ABC chose the date well for his article.

Self-serving crap from Nature

Ok, this is a bit of a dog bites man story, but IMO it's pretty poor behaviour, one might even say "reprehensible", for Nature to use its editorials to attack rivals. In particular, their repeated attempts to denigrate the EGU journals is nothing more than naked self-interest masquerading as commentary. It also seems pretty short-sighted, since these journals are actually run by and for members of the scientific community that that Nature claims to serve.

Their most recent attempt particularly criticises the on-line publication of submitted articles:
"But the downside of early online publishing is a confusing array of publicly available article types, awaiting print publication in various stages of editorial preparation. Adding to the confusion, interactive journals such as Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics place papers online first for peer review, and then in their final form."
ACP is the most well-established of the EGU journals, increasingly preferred by high-profile (indeed all) scientists over more traditional routes to publication. Could it be that Nature feels a a little threatened by their huge success? One can only hope so. Of course putting the submitted manuscripts online is a bit of a pre-requisite for any open review system, so their unsupported claim that this is "adding to the confusion" is just a handy way of predetermining their preferred conclusion - that open peer review is a bad thing. Perhaps a watermark on the pdfs - "DRAFT" or similar - would be a sensible step, but surely this is a minor point hardly worthy of editorialising.

What's worse, Nature then states that "uncertainity arises regarding the canonical publication date". Oh no, the horror....although they immediately admit: "Given the way the publishing industry is moving, it seems unlikely that print publication dates will play a role in the long run". So that's all right then. Phew.

The article ends with a real WTF moment:
What needs to be decided is how much a preliminary paper published online should be allowed to change before it constitutes a new paper.
Huh? What actually is the problem here that needs solving?

No, really, who gives a shit about this? I'm wondering how such a bizarre non sequitur passed Nature's own editorial review, as it bears no relationship to the rest of the content, and I've never heard anyone suggest that such a thing "needs to be decided" by anyone other than the editor handling the manuscript in question. But of course we'll never know, due to Nature's secretive publishing process :-) What I'm left with is the impression that Nature is desperately and irrationally lashing out at anything that it perceives as threatening its unhealthy stranglehold on scientific progress.