Monday, April 30, 2012

[jules' pics] botan

Public holiday today and Kamakura was full... but the crowds of botan (peony) were more photogenic than the crowds of tourists...


[Kenchoji, Kita Kamakura]

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/30/2012 08:34:00 PM

Going dark

May be off line for a while, as we are travelling up to the far reaches of northern England (including the fleshpots of Crewe), and even Scotland, for a while. Not sure if the intertubes have stretched that far yet.

Fortunately (or perhaps cleverly), we chose to avoid Heathrow. So we have at least some chance of getting there tomorrow.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

[jules' pics] blue dots

Not often I take a real macro, but these blue dot flowers were ipsy wipsy.
tiny blue dots
James has recently allowed me to restart unicycling, having previously made me stop while he got sufficiently better than me (this is one activity where helps to not be tall). It is now a race against time, as I must learn to ride faster than a mosquito before the mosquitos learn to fly. I suppose James is thinking that he only has to ride faster than me. I am, as ever, easily distracted by my camera and the blue dots were growing in the wall near where we practice.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/29/2012 08:16:00 PM

We're the best!

You know the old definition of a boat - an expensive teak-lined hole in the water, into which the owner throws money as fast as they can?

Well, JAMSTEC has gone one better. Not content with a mere hole in the water, they have used one of their boats to drill a hole right into the Earth's crust, deeper than anyone else has managed before. And at far greater cost, naturally. Chikyu (the drilling ship) was damaged during the tsunami - it was up in a port on the east coast somewhere - but seems to be back in operation. It's been an amazing money sink over the years and seems to spend a lot of its time getting repaired.

The article doesn't make clear, but I understand that they have gone through the fault and some way out the other side.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

[jules' pics] choclit

...chocolate cookie something frappuccino with white chocolate pudding.
chocolate cookie something or other frappuccino with white chocolate pudding!
We only cycled once last week due to our lingering colds and persistent rain (we cycle in the rain, but not when we are already ill, as it has been shown to make our colds much worse). Shortly we fly to foreign to get even fatter. So, I am not sure why James ordered one of these yesterday. I imagine the chemists at the St Arbucks laboratory doing the tests to make sure the white chocolate pudding in the bottom would go through the straw ... "hmmm...add a little more rubber and a less petroleum extract".

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/28/2012 05:20:00 PM

Lovelock revisited

It seems the blogosphere is all excited by a new Lovelock interview, in which he rows back on some of his most outlandish past predictions. People like Keith Kloor are doing their best to make hay, as per normal.

Of course, several of us got there years ago - though actually Stoat doesn't seem quite as confident in that old post, as he now thinks he was :-)

Anyway, (some of) Lovelock's previous claims were well outside the range of what might be considered scientifically defensible, and although it might be tempting to point and jeer, I'm actually quite impressed that he has managed to revise his opinions. That's not something that many sceptics have managed over the years. And he's 92 after all.

Friday, April 27, 2012

[jules' pics] Blossom fest

Must try and finish off the boring blossom blogposts...
sakura - Shinjukugoen
Having previously only seen Tokyo cherry blossoms in industrial Ueno park, I was shocked by the amazingness of Shinjuku goen. The park is huge, and has lots of enormous cherry trees. There is also a splendid panorama from Shinjuku goen on the "cover" of my facebook page . Google Plus seemed to have caused Facebook to become slightly more elegant than it was so I had a play with it while I was ill last week (I think it helped that I was feeling a bit soft in the head). It seems that for most normal people, Facebook is synonymous with the internet, which is a bit strange, but it is nice to see what people are up to.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/27/2012 03:58:00 PM

Thursday, April 26, 2012

[jules' pics] Pink and blue


[Sakuragicho, Yokohama - wot a lot of depth of field!]


Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/26/2012 10:00:00 AM

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

[jules' pics] It's a tough life


Yes, life's been pretty hard since the start of April when we gave up most of out work responsibilities, and decided to enjoy ourselves instead. What's a massive paycut and less paperwork compared to frolicking in the cherry blossoms?


Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/25/2012 04:37:00 PM

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

[jules' pics] If you know where to go...

It is possible to find pretty much anything in Tokyo...

If you know where to go

If you know where to go

if you know where to go...

If you know where to go

But that's the tricky bit.

[another iPad blogging expt - which didn't really work]

Location:Somewhere in Tokyo

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/24/2012 10:54:00 PM

Monday, April 23, 2012

[jules' pics] While we're doing green...

James and I have both had a cold, so we decided not to cycle in the rain today, and get the train instead. Springtime livid green is once again upon us.

[Kamakuragu, Kamakura]

[iPad blogging]

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/23/2012 11:47:00 AM

Sunday, April 22, 2012

EGU - Awards & Medals - Arthur Holmes Medal & Honorary Membership - Vincent Courtillot

One of the less glorious aspects of the EGU's politicking over recent years is the awarding of medals over the years to various anti-science emeriti. The latest of these is Vincent Courtillot whose name may be familiar to some (eg). As well as the climate science denialism, there is the arguably more serious episode of his acting as editor for vast numbers of papers from his institute at a journal, which is hard to square with the medal's reservation "for scientists who have achieved exceptional international standing in Solid Earth Geosciences, defined in their widest senses, for their merit and their scientific achievements" (my italics). 

It seems that there has been a faction pushing for him to get the award for some time, apparently as a quid pro quo for some past deeds. Until now, his history has been sufficient for his nomination to be blocked, so this time they pushed the nomination through on the quiet. Gerald Ganssen has temporarily stepped down from any EGU-related activities in protest, and there has been talk of the break-up of the EGU. If any EGU participants feel like attending the plenary (there's a free lunch!) or the medal lecture itself, I'm sure some pointed questions could be asked...

EGU 2012

I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front recently, due to a number of factors. The EGU is about to start, but sadly we are not attending this year - we submitted abstracts (and I'm even co-convening a session) but the combination of the JAMSTEC cock-ups around the end of the financial year on top of some other commitments made it all a bit too challenging. I'm particularly disappointed to be missing the climate sensitivity session to which Michel had invited me. On the other hand, it must be admitted that these meetings do get a bit samey if you turn up every year, as for the most part the rate of progress isn't that great, so you mainly get to see moderate updates rather than revolutionary new ideas. We are certainly planning on turning up next year though, by which time there will surely be lots of new stuff.

I'll still have a poster in the paleoclimate session, though - thanks to the session convenor who kindly offered to take it from Hawaii. I've got some new numbers (which will be revealed in a couple of weeks at the PMIP meeting) and it's all terribly exciting but I'm keeping it under wraps for now...

[jules' pics] Yet more Starbucks parking

I thought I'd already blogged everything posh and parkable at Yokohama Motomachi Starbucks, but this morning was Lambigeenie green.

[ipad blogging]

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/22/2012 02:16:00 PM

Saturday, April 21, 2012

[jules' pics] tulipy things


A brief respite from the cherry blossom. James said some of them are not actually tulips but mint imperials.


Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/21/2012 03:32:00 PM

Friday, April 20, 2012

[jules' pics] Kamakura hanami

hanami=cherry blossom viewing






Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/20/2012 07:18:00 PM

Thursday, April 19, 2012

[jules' pics] Forest

Forest, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

This is a test post. The camera on my ipad is awful, but I bought an Eye-Fi card, so should be able to blog photos from my camera via the ipad. Has it worked?

[Tenen hiking course - the alternative route to work - note cherry blossom romantically decorating the path]

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/19/2012 09:09:00 AM

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

[jules' pics] Komyoji




Free, slightly off the most beaten tracks in Kamakura, and open from 7am, Komyoji a good place to inspect cherry blossom. It also has a shiny new building, which has recently been landscaped around, and a Zennish garden with proper raked gravel and everything.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/18/2012 10:59:00 AM

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

[jules' pics] ladybird

Leaves are sprouting, insects are hatched (or whatever it is that they do in spring). Soon it will be too hot and mosquitoey to run to work. First S100 closeup attempt. With these little cameras you have to get awfully close to your chosen insect. Thus he or she gave me a bit of agro. Stuck her bum in my face. Flapped his wings. Flew onto my wrist behind the camera, said "lol" up at me then dodged back and strutted about on another leaf. I wish I'd had my Nikon with me - but I'd just run 10.5km so it was hardly pratical.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/17/2012 10:59:00 AM

Monday, April 16, 2012

[jules' pics] Mitsutouge

I already blogged the witch hazel at the start of the walk, but here is the rest of the expedition:
After an early start we were ready for a slice of James' homemade banana chocolate chip bread in the park,
where there were one or two butterflies.
Quite near the top sit 99 red balloons. Um. 88 Buddha-y thingies. They're all admiring Fuji-san.
One part is bit is like a computer game. Melting icicles overhang the path, such that daggers crash down every few minutes, skewering unobservant walkers.
Fuji-san was evident from the summit
Trees in the forest on the way down.
Then there was an onsen, and a train home...

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/16/2012 10:56:00 AM

Saturday, April 14, 2012

[jules' pics] religious sakura

Christian sakura
Shinto sakura
Zen sakura
Capitalist sakura
Ueno Park

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/14/2012 09:24:00 PM

Fight Club

As I predicted a little while ago, this manuscript has attracted a lot of discussion:

It seems that ESD is turning into a bit of a hotbed of debate with plenty of controversial papers. It's interesting to see the review process out in the open, especially in these sort of disputed cases. Too late for anyone to add any more comments now. Unfortunately the second phase of revision and re-review will be hidden from view (this being the standard policy of these journals - I'm not sure why really). So if any commenters have anything else to add, they can do it here instead!

Busy doing nothing

Interesting to see the outrage and hostility provoked by this story about an underemployed civil servant in Germany.

Over here, it's a way of life for many. And though that article looks pretty tabloid, the phenomenon certainly isn't entirely made up - there is even a wikipedia page about it.

Any similarity to the 50% of team leaders at RIGC who have between themselves not managed to publish a single paper of relevance to climate change over the past 5 years is of course entirely coincidental.

Must get on, things to do...

Friday, April 13, 2012

[jules' pics] slow blogging

Cherry blossom are almost over - they all bloomed simulataneously. I can't keep up. Here is some old news - ume close-up.
[All taken in Kamakura: Hachimangu - that red background is the wall of a shrine, Engaguki, Engagkuji - I think, and Hachimangu]

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/13/2012 09:56:00 AM

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


As possibly the worst member of the most heavily-beaten Isis (reserve) crew a couple of decades ago, I feel strangely motivated to comment on recent events, though obviously all the good jokes have already been taken - perhaps the best being Stephen Nolan on BBC Radio 5 invoking the ghost of the Mumbai attacks in a desperate attempt to talk up the significance of the occasion. It must surely be the first time that one of the crews has proved themselves to be fastest on the day not just once, but twice, and still lost. However, the fault for that must be placed squarely at the hands of the cox who seemed to take the concept of rowing through the opposition a little too literally. Breaking a blade was bad luck of course - I was once in a boat that managed to achieve this, but it took a head-on collision at full speed, so I'm not really sure how it could have happened with a simple clash.

As for that middle-aged colonial with a degree in "contemporary urbanism" and dodgy taste in facial hair, it seems like he already has most of the attributes that are required for a place in one of the boats. Apart from the ability, intelligence, and determination, that is.

[jules' pics] new camera!

Just a BMW
Only a shiny BMW worshipping at St Arbucks for Easter weekend. But taken with a smart new camera!

On Good Friday I finally got so fed up with my Sony TX10 that I went out and bought a Canon S100. To a country bumpkin like me, it is quite a thrill to buy consumer electronics after 9pm. Even better, you just walk in to the store, say you want to buy something, and no matter how expensive it is, they run and get it, you hand over the cash and walk out with your new purchase, all done within a couple of minutes. In that time you can turn down the extended warranty with a single word, and the staff have checked you have the required accessories. Maybe the UK has improved in the last decade but it was never so easy there.

What was wrong with the TX10? Well it failed at its main task of being a fast point and shoot, because the touch screen would freeze up, often just after the camera was switched on. Yes you could still take a photo, but only in the same mode you used last time. The S100 is in theory probably a bit slower to switch on and snap with, but in practice it is much less frustrating to use (so far). I kind of wish it was a Sony so retained the great handheld twiglet, freeze motion, panorama and HDR modes, but you can't have everything it seems... Tempted by the NEX7, which has all those modes plus great image quality but it is twice the price and not so pocketable. The S100 is not waterproof like the TX10, but as James argued, the TX5 (the TX10's predecessor, which did not have the touchscreen issue) broke within a year anyway, so what value the "rugged" label? Perhaps I should try to get that TX5 repaired... I think it did a better job than the TX10.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/10/2012 10:47:00 AM

Sunday, April 08, 2012

[jules' pics] hanami

As expected the cherry blossom have come out super-fast, and so this weekend is THE weekend for enjoying them. After last year's "self restraint", everyone is making the most of the blossom this year. These photos are from Negishi park in Yokohama. The ball games were quite funny as there wasn't room for them so innocent people on adjacent tarpaulins periodically got things falling in their laps.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/08/2012 07:48:00 PM

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

[jules' pics] Magnolia

While they are pretty much over in Yokohama, today seems to be the day of the Magnolia in Kamakura. A storm is passing over so they'll be disappearing very soon!

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/03/2012 05:13:00 PM

Monday, April 02, 2012

Broad range of warming by 2050?

This CPDN paper doesn't seem to have attracted much comment, perhaps because the results aren't actually very far off what the IPCC already said (just a touch higher). But Chris (and Carrick) commented on it down here so I think it is worth a post.

It's the results from a large ensemble of transient simulations of the mid 20-21st centuries, analysed to produce a "likely" range of warming by 2050.

Here is the main result:

(click for full size) where the vertical dotted lines demarcate their "likely" range, and the horizontal line is the threshold for goodness of fit (such that only the results below this line actually contribute to the final answer). The grey triangles represent models that are thown out due to large radiative imbalance.

I am puzzled by a few aspects of this research. Firstly, on a somewhat philosophical point, I don't have much of a feel for what "likelihood profiling" is or how/why/if it works, and that's even after having obtained the book that they cite on the method. The authors are quite emphatic about not adopting a Bayesian interpretation of probability as a degree of belief, so the results are presented as a confidence interval (remember, this is not the same thing as a credible interval). Therefore, I don't really think the comparison with the IPCC "likely" range is meaningful, since the latter is surely intended as a Bayesian credible interval. Whatever this method does, it certainly does not generate an interval that anyone can credibly believe in!

Secondly, on a more practical point, it seems a bit fishy to use the range of results achieved by 2050, relative to 1961-90, without accounting for the fact that almost all of their models have already over-estimated the warming by 2010, many by quite a large margin (albeit an acceptable level according to their statistical test of model perfomance). The point is, given that we currently enjoy 0.5C of warming relative to the baseline, then reaching 3C by 2050 implies an additional warming of 2.5C over the next 40 years. However, as far as I can see none of the models in their sample warms by this much. Certainly the two highest values in their sample - which are the only ones that lie outside the IPCC range, and which can be clearly identified in both the panels of the figure above - were already far too warm by 2010, by about 0.3-0.4C. So although they present a warming of 3C by 2050 as the upper bound of their "likely" range, none of their models actually warmed over the next 40 years by as much as the real world would have to do to reach this level.

Finally, on a fundamental point about the viability of the method, the authors clearly state (in the SI) that they "assume that our sample of ensemble members is sufficient to represent a continuum (i.e. infinite number)". They also use a Gaussian statistical model of natural variability in their statistical method (which is entirely standard and non-controversial, I should point out - if anything, optimistic in its lack of long tails). Their "likely" range is defined as the extremal values from their ensemble of acceptable models. This seems to imply that as the ensemble size grows, the range will also grow without limit. (Most people would of course use a quantile range, and not have this problem.) So I don't understand how this method can work at all in this sort of application where there is a formally unbounded (albeit probabilistically small) component of internal variability. In a mere 1023 samples or so, their bounds would have been as wide as ± 10 sigma of the natural variability alone - which based on the left hand panel of the fig, would have been rather wider than what they actually found.

[jules' pics] time travel

Yesterday we climbed a mountain. The lapse rate allowed us to go back in time a few weeks to when the witch hazel were flowering.
witch hazel

witch hazel

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 4/02/2012 12:41:00 PM

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Gone bananas

Well this is published on 2nd April, but I wonder if it's a late April Fool?

New safety standards for radioactive cesium in food products go into effect.

The new standard is going to be set at 100Bq/kg for most food such as fruit and veg. "The average radioactivity of bananas is 130 Bq/kg, or about 19.2 Bq per 150 gram banana". So no more sourdough banana bread for us.

(More realistically, I expect they simply won't test foods that they don't want to ban. No change there then.)