Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Govt policy "reprehensible" says Science and Technology committee

Oh, but they didn't say it in quite that way, instead preferring to portray it as a fault of the "climate science community":
"The parliamentary science and technology select committee was scathing about the 'standard practice' among the climate science community of not routinely releasing all its raw data and computer codes – something the committee's chair, Phil Willis MP, described as 'reprehensible'. He added: 'That practice needs to change and it needs to change quickly.'"
Let me introduce you to the NERC policy on Intellectual Property. Short version: "Who owns the intellectual property? We do." The UK Ministry of Defence (who run UK Met Office and therefore the Hadley Centre) is orders of magnitude worse in its defensive and bean-counting approach to the supply of, well, just about anything that they have and anyone else wants. The bottom line is (or certainly was, when I worked there) that NERC employees are under pressure to sell anything that can be sold. And if someone asks for something, that means it must surely be worth something, right? Of course this is an attitude that the scientists - who know that they can't really get any significant price for their work - have always implacably opposed, but we don't really count for much when the politicians are demanding budget cuts and percentage returns on investment.

[In fact when I was a NERC employee, they once tried to modify our contracts in order to claim IP rights over everything we ever did, even if entirely unrelated to our jobs, such as taking beautiful photographs as a hobby or composing pop songs in the bath. Many of us refused point-blank to sign up to such absurd terms, there was enough opposition that even the union was persuaded to oppose it, and the idea was eventually dropped.]

Occasionally, it works ok: a previous employer sells this software to mariners all over the place, and I believe that the commercial department actually brings in more money than it costs to employ them (at least that was the situation back then). The vast majority of our work has no meaningful commercial value, however, but the effort of demonstrating this may not always be trivial.

I don't defend any unnecessary secrecy: I was disappointed when a prominent climate scientist refused to allow me to have his widely-used code (a Windows executable was available, but that was no use to me) so I used another model and the developers have gained a handful of highly cited publications as a result. I am also one of the founding executive editors of Geoscientific Model Development, "an international scientific journal dedicated to the publication and public discussion of the description, development and evaluation of numerical models of the Earth System and its components. " We explicitly encourage and support the archiving of code to support the paper.

Returning to the politicians:

""It is important in terms of scientific endeavour that that material is made available," said Willis. He added that the committee accepted that Jones had released all the data that he was able to."

Well, quite. There's no point in MPs pointing fingers when they are the ones setting the policies that make it impossible (or at least difficult and deprecated as a general principle). Is it possible they don't even realise this?

[jules' pics] 3/30/2010 09:02:00 PM

magnolia, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Using the extendable bipod plus that lovely 70-300mm Nikkor zoom that the bipod made me buy, it is possible to photograph the neighbours' own magnolias almost slightly artistically.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 3/30/2010 09:02:00 PM

Phil Jones exonerated

This is a pleasingly firm and clear statement from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (as reported by the Times, I haven't read the report itself):
"The climate scientist at the centre of the row over stolen e-mails has no case to answer and should be reinstated, a crossparty group of MPs says"
Though come to think of it I suppose this just makes the great global conspiracy even larger than we thought :-)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

[jules' pics] 3/29/2010 08:47:00 PM

Magnolias rate highly on jules' flower list. Not white, but the colour of interior wall paint, the large flowers gleam spectacularly in the sun. This one is *our* dwarf pink magnolia, which has had a record breaking number of flowers this year (5).

Due to the warmth, magnolia flowers in Kamakura burst from their buds only for the petals to fall to the ground about 2 days later. But this year an unusual cold snap arrived, and even now (10 days later) there are still a few bedraggled flowers sticking to some of the branches.

The inlaws come from Scotland, where it is always cold and dark and wet, but it seems they have become soft in their centrally heated thick-walled stone castle. Consequently they have been complaining bitterly about this bitter weather. For some reason they keep talking about how it was cold during the war and stuff. Presumably that was the last time they felt as cold. Welcome to Japan: medieval to 22nd century lifestyle all at once!

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 3/29/2010 08:47:00 PM

Monday, March 29, 2010

The peer reviewed literature has spoken

ABC appears to be lumbered with a denialist Chairman, so it's perhaps only to be expected that they have promoted the foil-hat conspiracy theories of McLean regarding the rejection of his nonsensical attempt at a reply.

Now Stephan Lewandowsky has a good article up on the ABC site on the topic, discussing how peer-reviewed literature is fallible but still paints an overwhelming picture on climate change:
"The article by McLean and colleagues is a perfect example of the fallible but self-correcting nature of peer reviewed science.

Although the authors loudly proclaimed to the media that their work shows that 'no scientific justification exists for emissions regulation' and that it 'leaves little room for any warming driven by human emissions', these claims have now been shown to be wishful thinking at best, and mendacious propaganda at worst.

The Journal of Geophysical Research is publishing a devastating rebuttal of Mr McLean's work, authored by a team of nine of the world's leading climate scientists from Japan, the UK, the US, and New Zealand.

This rebuttal uncovered numerous errors and, most crucially, it unambiguously showed that the paper by McLean and colleagues permitted no conclusions about global warming, let alone the lack thereof.


Peer reviewed science is fallible but self-correcting."
Go and read the whole thing - and add a comment too.

[jules' pics] 3/28/2010 06:06:00 PM

Zen garden at Zuisenji, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Upping the Zennish ante, this weekend I loaded my camera with black and white pixels. Similar in colour taken 10 months ago can be found here.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 3/28/2010 06:06:00 PM

Saturday, March 27, 2010

[jules' pics] 3/26/2010 08:45:00 PM

I can't decide which of these two pictures I prefer, so as a special treat there are two photos today.

Architechturally, peonies are all over the place. Furthermore, in colour they range from white to red, which means there is an awful lot of pink. But they do have some interesting shaded tones in their petals and Hachimangu has a special peony garden where they make hundreds of them bloom in early February. The garden is very well tended and all the blooms look fresh. I don't know what dark arts are employed to acheive this remarkable feat.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 3/26/2010 08:45:00 PM

Thursday, March 25, 2010

McLean's whine part 2

OK, having talked about the (absence of) science in McLean's reply, on with dealing with the whine with which they try to smother it.

Well, the first point is that it may be unprecedented for the authors' reply to fail to pass peer review, although conversely it may very well have happened before without my hearing about it. (FWIW, many years ago I once found out quite by chance that someone had published a "comment on" one of my papers in a journal that I didn't regularly read, and neither the author nor the editor had bothered to contact me at any point in the process.) In the AGU journals there is no automatic right of reply, there is only the right to submit a reply for the consideration of the editor. In this case, it seems that after peer review McLean et al's reply was not found to meet the standards for publication. I don't make any claim to be disinterested but on reading it, I can only agree with this judgment, specifically on the following grounds.

(A) Their reply performs a dishonest bait-and-switch in initially claiming that their analysis was not based on the filtered data[1], but then conversely stating that their statistics only refer to the filtered data and were never even intended to refer to long-term variation[2]. Of course their acknowledgment of this second point means that there is not one scrap of support in the paper for their claim that the analysis "shows the potential of natural forcing mechanisms to account for most of the temperature variation" [over the last 50 years]. Their analysis simply has no bearing on any long-term trends, since they filtered them out of the data.

(B) They don't even try to address the fact that their original paper pretended that the differencing was done to reduce the noise, when in fact it amplifies noise and eliminates long-term variability[3]

(C) they present no defence of their claim of a "stepwise shift" in the mid-1970s, which (as we pointed out) their naive statistics do not support.

There is other stuff that I could criticise in their reply, but this is more than enough to justify a rejection. They simply aren't responsive to our criticisms.

As for the stuff they quote from the hacked emails...well that's all pretty small beer. First, the most (only? IIRC) critical comment that they have reprinted from one of our three reviewers was a very reasonable complaint and I think we were all happy to make some edits to the tone of the original. Since that is available on the web, you can look for yourself to see the minor differences. There were also some useful comments from all three reviewers about clarity and references, but nothing major. As you can see, the people that we discussed proposing for reviewers are all authoritative and respected figures in the field. The complaint that they were "reasonably well known" to one of the more prominent authors is particularly laughable - there could hardly be anyone of similar experience who isn't. However, the actual choice of reviewers is the responsibility of the editor and I don't know who was used. It would certainly be amusing to know who McLean et al proposed for both their original paper and the attempted reply, but somehow I doubt they'll be prepared to divulge either this information or the full reviews that they received. I can only assume that the editor made his own choice of reviewers, which is not only his right but duty if he thinks the suggested reviewers are inappropriate. The list of suggestions is not to enable the authors to choose their reviewers, but rather to provide the editor with some help.

The complaint about "prior publication" due to placing a copy of the submitted manuscript on a personal web-page is just a petty and pathetic attempt at armchair-lawyering. The AGU explicitly endorses publication of manuscripts on a personal web-page, the only minor error was in some carelessness over the formatting which was corrected within a couple of days. This could justify a minor slap on the wrist but it is not "prior publication" by any reasonable definition, including that of the AGU. For one thing, it wasn't even put on the web-site prior to submission!

I don't see on what grounds there could possibly be any criticism of the AGU for using a different editor and reviewers from those who dealt with the original paper. Obviously, the submission of a comment may be considered an implicit criticism of those responsible for the original publication, so it is reasonable to remove this possible source of bias. But anyway, neither of these matters has anything to do with us.

I thought it was supposed to be the Poms that whinged. On this evidence, some Aussies are pushing them pretty hard. If only they had devoted as much effort to science they might have learnt something.

[1] "contrary to what Foster et al. (2010) imply, the data in question (Figure 7) were not subjected to contrived statistical analysis" and "we used the filtering technique solely to establish that a 7-month time lag existed between changes in the ENSO and changes in global average lower tropospheric temperature...Our substantive conclusions were then based on applying this time-lagged relationship to the raw data sets"

[2] "Our comments about the change in Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) accounting for 72% of the variance in satellite (MSU) GTAA, 68% of variance in the radiosonde (RATPAC-A) GTAA and 81% of variance in the tropospheric temperature in the tropics were made in the context of the discussion of our derivatives based on differentials between 12 month averages, and we stand by them. Contrary to Fea10 claims, those figures do not refer to long-term variations but only to the derivatives that were used."

[3] "To remove the noise, the absolute values were replaced with derivative values based on variations. Here the derivative is the 12-month running average subtracted from the same average for data 12 months later."

[jules' pics] 3/24/2010 05:56:00 PM

Today the in-laws arrive! Eleventy! The house is clean (ish*), the cherry blossom is obediently just starting to bloom. Only problem: it's cold and pissing with rain.

This view is the new view of Hachimangu because there used to be a big ginkgo tree next to the upper building [on the left as you look at the photo]. See here for the "before" picture.

*actually it isn't really clean - but we have thrown an awful lot of stuff out to make room for the extra biomass.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 3/24/2010 05:56:00 PM

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

OMG we're all going to drown!!!111!!11

A shame to see supposedly reputable sites like the BBC credulously swallowing this nonsense:

"Global warming claims a tiny island disputed by India and Bangladesh in the Bay of Bengal, scientists say."

(that line is actually the lead from the front page, it doesn't appear in the story, but the sense of it does)

The "island" in question is a sandbank in a river delta that only appeared in 1970 following a storm: it reached 2m above sea level at its zenith but has now pretty much vanished. Clearly, sea level has not risen anything like 2m in the last 40 years, so the whole story is complete nonsense from start to finish. Anyone who has lived near a shallow sandy coast or river delta will have seen how the topography shifts gradually or even rapidly, due primarily to storms and waves shifting around the sediments. The main scientist quoted appears to be a nobody making up stuff for the sake of some headlines.

Of course we've been here before with this nonsense Lean article from a few years ago. Oh, I see it's the same scientist behind that too. Ho hum.

Denial isn't just a river in Egypt, it runs deep in the icecap too

This whine is funny enough to be worth reading. It's McLean et al's attempt at a response to our Comment.

Behind all the hot air (which I'll return to) the basic scientific premise behind their reply (pdf here) is a straightforward bait-and-switch. Remember that the main bones of contention in their original paper were their claims that
"Change in SOI accounts for 72% of the variance in GTTA for the 29-year-long MSU record and 68% of the variance in GTTA for the longer 50-year RATPAC record."
(where SOI = Southern Oscillation Index: GTTA = Global Tropospheric Temperature Anomaly, and the other acronyms are the names of two data sets), and subsequently that their analysis
"shows the potential of natural forcing mechanisms to account for most of the temperature variation" [over the last 50 years].
Of course, our main complaint was that the statistics were based on differenced data, from which any long-term variability had been filtered, and thus their analysis provides no support for the latter claim. In their paper, they specifically claimed that their differencing operation was performed to remove noise:
"To remove the noise, the absolute values were replaced with derivative values based on variations. Here the derivative is the 12-month running average subtracted from the same average for data 12 months later"
which we have shown is not true - instead, it removes long-term variation including any trends.

Their reply first claims that the differencing was only used to establish the lag:
"we used derivatives only to ascertain the existence of the relatively consistent time-lag that exists between changes in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and later changes in the global average lower tropospheric temperature anomaly (GTTA)"
But then they immediately contradict themselves and admit the obvious, that the statistics they presented were in fact based on the differenced data:
"Our comments about the change in Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) accounting for 72% of the variance in satellite (MSU) GTAA, 68% of variance in the radiosonde (RATPAC-A) GTAA and 81% of variance in the tropospheric temperature in the tropics were made in the context of the discussion of our derivatives based on differentials between 12 month averages, and we stand by them. Contrary to Fea10 claims, those figures do not refer to long-term variations but only to the derivatives that were used."
Obviously I'm pleased to see them acknowledge the obvious, that their statistics have no relevance to the analysis of any long-term trends in the data. But that leaves their original claim concerning "potential of natural forcing mechanisms to account for most of the temperature variation" to be devoid of any support whatsoever.

In summary, it seems we all agree that ENSO/SOI accounts for a lot of the short-term variability in global temperature (which has been well established for decades) and McLean et al now appear to explicitly agree that their analysis has no bearing on long-term trends. If only they'd said that at the outset then there would have been no need for all of this.

Oh, and their fluff and bluster...will have to wait for another post. I'm off to bed.

[jules' pics] 3/23/2010 08:32:00 PM

our camelia, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Previously I wrote that camelia were a bit dull, but at that point I had forgotten about *our* camelia. It is all different when they are your own babies... We have three bush-ettes. Just one flower so far.

Posted by jules to jules' pics at 3/23/2010 08:32:00 PM

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sea level rise prediction cage fight

RC spends much of its time defending the IPCC (to the hilt). And broadly speaking, this is fair enough, especially in the context of the public discourse where the alternative is not a slightly nuanced and updated version, but rather a torrent of wingnut denialist nonsense.

So it was a bit of a surprise to see Stefan Rahmstorf's broadside about "Sealevelgate":

In its latest report, the IPCC has predicted up to 59 cm of sea level rise by the end of this century. But realclimate soon revealed a few problems.


Some scientists within IPCC warned early that all this could lead to a credibility problem, but the IPCC decided to go ahead anyway.

Nobody cared about this.

Reading between the lines a little, I somehow don't think this is really just about the AR4. Scientifically speaking, that is old news, indeed it was old news by the time it was published. Rather, this looks like more like an opening salvo over the forthcoming AR5. Alert readers may have noted that the current Chair of WG1, Thomas Stocker, was a co-author on the Siddall et al sea level rise paper that Rahmstorf (with Vermeer) forced the retraction of, and was also one of the Coordinating Lead Authors on the relevant chapter (10) of the AR4. It may not be too great a stretch to imagine that there may be some strained relations there.

I don't have any particular stake in the sea level rise predictions. I do think it was pretty spineless and inappropriate of the IPCC to duck the issue in the way that they did (by basically ignoring dynamical ice sheet response - if they really thought this was not going to happen, they should have said so clearly). OTOH the conceptual time series models presented by Rahmstorf and others may be a bit too simplistic to have much credibility for predictive purposes. I suppose I won't know what I really think until I look into it myself...which may be some time away. In the meantime, pass the popcorn, as Eli would say.

[jules' pics] 3/22/2010 07:11:00 PM

shizen! Near Okutama, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

The Japanese go to huge effort to make sure their countryside stays beautiful and natural looking.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 3/22/2010 07:11:00 PM

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Is all statistical analysis wrong?

Was pointed to this by a commenter here (thanks PB2).

It's another article along the well-worn lines of p-values being misinterpreted (as the probability of the null hypothesis being true), which I have blogged about ad nauseam (it's not that narrow though and talks about multiple comparisons too). It also extensively quotes Steve Goodman, and you can find me doing the same here. Therefore, it should hardly be a surprise to hear that I basically agree with the article, although perhaps the message is perhaps a bit overstated and hyperbolic in some places: "in practice, widespread misuse of statistical methods makes science more like a crapshoot." For some other more nuanced and generally well-informed views on it, see here (and the links in the comments there too).

Here's another article of relevance which I came across recently.

One point that the opponents of p-values sometimes make is to claim that confidence intervals solve the problem that p-values have (by providing an interval within which the unknown parameter probably lies). However, this is not actually true, and they are also equally open to misinterpretation. As it happens, I've recently written an article which touches on this point, which can be found here.

Having said that, I still use p-values when it suits me. I do try to make sure I don't misrepresent what they mean though...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Statistically improbable phrases

"it is time for some humility, concludes Roger Pielke Jr."

Oh, he means *other people*. Almost fooled me there, Roger!

[jules' pics] 3/18/2010 09:57:00 PM

Zuisenji ume, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Plum blossom season is well and truly over, but I couldn't not share this lovely picktur wot I took with my 6.5 foot bipod, with the blossom looking like falling snow or summat. Especially appropriate as it did snow several times during the plum blossom season this year.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 3/18/2010 09:57:00 PM

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mclean debunked (at last)

Better late than never, our Comment on McLean has been formally accepted. It has spent most of the last 6 months on the Editor's desk, awaiting the decision. The peer review was painless apart from the time taken - the three reviewers were all positive and made a small number of helpful suggestions which were easily incorporated into the text. However, the time taken (and it could have been months longer) is something that the AGU might like to think about.

Amusingly, the comment will be published alone, without the customary Reply. Why? Because...McLean et al couldn't muster a reply that was publishable (and not for want of trying, either - it was simply rejected). No doubt this will further strengthen their belief in a widespread climate science conspiracy to suppress their groundbreaking research. Hopefully, disinterested observers will conclude instead that there is simply no valid defence of what they did. I have no idea what they tried to say, although the press release at the time of the original publication shows that they were aware of the obvious criticisms and had some wriggling already well prepared. I have emailed them to ask if they will share their response. If their response had been accepted, it would have potentially taken another two months for our (sequential) revisions, and another month of reviewing. All for a short paper which points out glaring errors that should never have made it into print.

Just to go over the science has been well-known for decades that ENSO/SOI is related to interannual temperature variability. It has also been repeatedly shown that this cannot represent more than a modest part of the total temperature variations and a negligible part of the long-term trend. Evidence for all of this is referenced in our Comment. The primary error of McLean et al is that although they filter out all long term changes, they still claim that the resulting high correlation between SOI and global mean temperature (in the filtered series) has relevance for long term trends. As shown in the toy examples in the comment, this is simply not true - the correlations calculated by their analysis method are completely unrelated to any long-term trends in the underlying data. A secondary error is that they splice together two data sets which have different baselines, which artificially reduces the warming by about 0.2C. A third error is that they claim to identify two flat periods with a breakpoint in the middle (for both SOI and temperature), but their statistical analysis provides no support for this.

Update: Sceptical science has a fuller write-up of it here.

Update2: Someone purporting to be McLean replies in the comments, confirming that he received my email but is not prepared to share his reply, which seems curiously at odds with his bullish attitude regarding his research. What odds it will be published in that septic journal of last resort bastion of quality, the non-ISI-listed E&E (eds: Boehmer-Cristiansen and Peiser) or not at all?

[jules' pics] 3/16/2010 11:02:00 PM

Egaratenjin, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Wikipedia says, "International Klein Blue is outside the gamut of computer displays, and can therefore not be accurately portrayed on webpages." I wonder if it is true.

Anyway, here is some Japanese Shinto Orange.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 3/16/2010 11:02:00 PM

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

[jules' pics] 3/15/2010 10:18:00 PM

Broken trees, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

The ginkgo of Hachimangu wasn't the only tree to fall down in last Tuesday night's snowstorm. On Saturday we climbed Hinode, a little hill near Tokyo, and there were contorted dead bodies and severed limbs scattered all over the place. Poor trees!

Actually, wind ripping up trees is pretty cool even when (or maybe especially when) it is an old tree; it is man ripping them up that is upsetting, and the latter is a whole lot more common than the former.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 3/15/2010 10:18:00 PM

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Green, Armstrong and Soon (2010): Yes, the IPCC (1992) prediction was skillful

A new paper from Amstrong and colleagues (and yes, it's *that* Soon) has made its way onto the blogosphere. For his previous self-embarrassment, see here. Of course they don't actually express their result quite so clearly as I've written it, because their goal for some time now has clearly been to denigrate the IPCC wherever possible, but they cannot avoid the simple truth:
We found that averaged across all 17 forecast horizons, the 1992 IPCC projected warming rate errors for the period 1992 to 2008 were 16% smaller than forecast errors from our benchmark
Full paper here. There's a lot of dubious stuff in there too, so don't take any of it too seriously. Eg, even though the IPCC did mention a warming rate of 0.3C/decade, they also said (on-line here):
Because GCMs do not yet include possible opposing anthropogenic influences, including the forcing from sulphate aerosols and stratospheric ozone depletion, the net rate of increase in surface temperature is expected to be less, at least during the period for which sulphur emissions continue to increase, than would be expected from greenhouse gas forcing alone.
So the 0.3C/decade was believed to be an overestimate back in 1992. Green et al used it anyway and found out it was better than their baseline "no change" forecast.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Climate debate: opinion vs evidence

You haven't had much climate science here recently, mostly because all that's been in the news relating to climate science, well...isn't actually anything to do with climate science really. Maybe I'll comment on some of it eventually. But in the meantime, why not read this article, which is the sort of thing the press ought to have more of IMO:

ABC The Drum Unleashed - Climate debate: opinion vs evidence

Update - in a similar vein, mt weighs in on Sarewitz - I'll change the date on this post to push it to the top.

[jules' pics] 3/11/2010 08:57:00 PM

camelia, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

I find camelia difficult to photograph, as, to me, they look like rubbish roses - and I don't really like roses anyway. Their main feature is that the different varieties flower from around November through to March or April, providing a lot of colour. The fancier the variety, the later they bloom. Their other feature is that the flowers fall whole from the bush - hence the blooms lying at Mrs Tiggywinkle's feet.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 3/11/2010 08:57:00 PM

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A once in a thousand years weather event

Spotted some sad news in the papers today.

Kamakura has a famous old ginkgo tree in front of the main temple in the middle of town. It is quite a spectacle late in the year when the leaves turn brilliant yellow. It is reputed to date from the era when Kamakura was the capital of Japan, and be the site of a famous murder which wiped out the last heirs of the ruling Minamoto shogun family at the time (the story goes that, following the untimely death of his father and previous shogun Yoriie, Kugyo blamed his uncle Sanetomo for usurping his rightful position, so hid behind the tree and killed Sanetomo when he came to pray one night. Kugyo was caught and killed, leaving no more male heirs.) Actually according to Masuda-san, the tree is not old enough to have been around at this time, but it's a nice story.

Anyway, the tree is no more. On Tuesday night, it was snowing as we walked home through the temple grounds. And at 4:40 am on Wednesday, it was windy....and the tree blew down. Story here. Interesting that the Yomiuri is happy to repeat the myth about the tree's age as if a fact, even though Masuda-san says it has been tested and shown to be false.

Strange really as it did not seem all that windy (neither was the snow heavy), and the tree survived a direct hit from a typhoon a few years ago that even knocked off some of the larger branches and so should perhaps have made it less vulnerable to a gale.

Actually, it occurs to me that the Japanese do a lot of tree transplantation, so I wonder if they will try to save it?

The importance of a strong currency

Cycling to work as usual, bright sunny morning, and...thump thump bang whizz. The back tyre had split. I try to check the tyres for wear reasonably regularly but perhaps had not looked closely enough last time, as it was pretty thin all over. Of course we were equidistant from home and work, so it would be a long way to walk. Still, it's not that big a deal to fix, assuming the repair-kit is complete. Oops. We carry a bit of tyvek (cut from an envelope) to wrap round the tube in the event of a split tyre casing. Tyvek is incredibly tough, yet thin, and this has saved us on several past occasions including a holiday which we completed (gently) with no further problems. But somehow the square of tyvek had become separated from the repair kit (it later turned up in the other repair kit, an occupational hazard of having multiple bikes). What to do now?

The canonical emergency repair in this situation is the trusty dollar bill. Being in Japan, where dollar bills are a bit thin on the ground, we thought the nearest equivalent should work - in fact, a ¥1000 note should be about 11 times as good. But it felt a bit feeble. So instead of continuing to work, with the prospect of the return journey in the dark, we returned in the direction of home to do a proper repair.

Just as well. We had managed most of the distance when the thump thump started up again. A quick stop and deflation saved the tube (which was poking out of the hole), but we still had a 20 minute walk home. Lucky it was sunny.

When I took the wheel apart, I found that the note had ripped right across twice, and it is also split where it covered the casing hole. I hope it's not treasonable to deface banknotes here...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

[jules' pics] 3/10/2010 12:17:00 AM

Fuji-san from Kamakura, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Japanese people like to photograph Fuji-san looking something like this. The reality is different.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 3/10/2010 12:17:00 AM

Monday, March 08, 2010

[jules' pics] 3/07/2010 07:39:00 PM

bear shrine thing, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

I don't quite know how I have managed to visit Zuisenji for 8 years and never before notice the Mrs Tiggywinkle shrine.

[for the pedants: I'm fairly sure it is supposed to be a bear not a hedgehog... Having said that, if it were Mrs Tiggywinkle it would only mean that there was more than one shrine in Kamakura sporting anime characters...
for the extra very pedants: Zuisenji is a temple (Buddhism) not a shrine (Shinto), but as Buddhism likes to blend in with local religions, it is all a bit mixed up, and some temples contain shrine-like things]

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 3/07/2010 07:39:00 PM

Friday, March 05, 2010

[jules' pics] 3/04/2010 07:38:00 PM

heron, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

One of our pet herons.

[鶴岡八幡宮の大池, 鎌倉 - which is a bit funny, because 鶴岡 means something like hill of the cranes, but I have never seen a crane there, despite having seen lots of black kites, herons, egrets, ducks and pigeons.]

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 3/04/2010 07:38:00 PM

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

[jules' pics] 3/02/2010 09:08:00 PM

furry flower, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Normal programming resumed.

This is the Oriental Paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha, mitsumata, 三椏), and was photographed at Egaratenjin, an odd sort of a shrine with some great blossom trees, in Kamakura. All the furry bits in the middle soon open up into flowers, and the bush has a really strong jasmine-like fragrance. Ahhh....

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 3/02/2010 09:08:00 PM

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

[jules' pics] Duran Duran live in Tokyo, 2010

Duran Duran live in 2010, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Before getting back to usual programming (flowers, bugs and toxic waste).... here is my only close-up of Simon Le Bon. I would say he's doing quite well for 52 - although a bit porky (which was very fitting given the occasion), he is able to sing in tune better than most, and the quality of his voice seemed good too.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 3/01/2010 05:41:00 PM