Thursday, September 30, 2010

[jules' pics] 9/30/2010 12:27:00 PM

rowing on the Cam, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

My recurring dreams are usually about exam taking or rowing, presumably from having done too much of both in my youth. In this particular dream, I was sitting behind James in the middle "powerhouse" part of the boat. Twice we raced and beat the Master's boat. And then we had lunch in the sun.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/30/2010 12:27:00 PM

New supercomputer

The new Japanese petaflop supercomputer is just starting to be physically built. This one isn't primarily for climate change, but will probably mostly target biotechnology. We might get to play on a corner of it. Assuming we are still here, of course. Nothing is certain in the uncertainty group :-)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

[jules' pics] j&J's' International Tour of parts of the West of England #4


Ruskin's View

Hmmm...The view from the ancestral home and Kirkby Lonsdale's famous Ruskin's View (admired by Ruskin but painted by Turner).

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/29/2010 05:01:00 AM

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

[jules' pics] Jules' and James' International Tour of parts of the We...

On the roof, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

The ancestral home did, however, need some repair. Luckily no one fell off the roof so Pop was able to celebrate his 80th birthday the next day in style. Is the key to a long life, perhaps, climbing on the roof only when it isn't raining? We have often marvelled at the number of typhoon deaths in Japan that are the result of pensioners wandering out on their roofs in the height of the storm.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/28/2010 05:55:00 AM

Global temp update

Another month of fact two months for the ENSO statistics:

These 3m centered means lag reality by quite a long way - the current index (27 Sept) is about -1.5. The red line should track the blue one quite closely for the rest of the year, I think. And here is the updated temperature, which is still rising (in terms of 12m lagged average) but not by much:

Here I'm using the 3v version of the data (which I prefer), the non-v version also has August data in and these are clearly cooler, so things are likely to head downhill from here.

Chris R suggested that it might have been better to show year-to-date values rather than 12m lagged average. I chose the latter partly due to Hansen's discussion (pdf here) where he argues that 12m rolling averages are more scientifically relevant, as there is nothing special about the year end that justifies focussing on this calendar period to the exclusion of (say) May-April. I suspect this issue only piqued his interest due to the fact that the 1998 calendar year temp was also so close to the max of any 12m period (as you can see from the above pic), so the calendar year 1998 shows up as particularly hot on the standard annual (calendar year) data plot.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Yes we Kan (spend more money that we don't have)

Well the IMF is full of praise for the Tory slash-n-burn, which is a sure sign that they are working hard to make the rich richer and poor poorer, but over in Japan, it seems that there is still plenty of spending to be done. Kan has just beaten off a leadership challenge from the hated Ozawa, so probably feels duty-bound to make a statement in the only way that Japanese PMs know how.

It doesn't make much sense to me, as the talk in Japan has also been of budget cuts, but the first sign of starting to understand Japan is to recognise that you don't understand it at all, so I may be closing in on enlightenment. Anyway, if any British scientists find themselves looking for work in a few weeks or months, there would be worse places to look than Japan...

(Amusing to see ol' Krebsy featuring in that article about brain drain - he visited us in POL while he was Chief Exec of NERC, and it was jules' question about the dire state of UK science, or more precisely the reaction of some senior management to her daring to raise her voice in public to say what we junior ranks were all thinking in private, that ultimately precipitated our move to Japan. I must remember to thank him on Wednesday! More of the same from Krebs here, including a radio interview.)

[jules' pics] 9/27/2010 03:17:00 AM

cereal, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Over the last decade the British public have finally accepted the essential nature of chocolate in the diet, and almost all breakfast cereals are now fortified with vitamins, minerals and chocolatey goodness.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/27/2010 03:17:00 AM

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Duvet Day

Got back from our international tour of parts of the west of England just in time to come down with a streaming cold over the weekend. Lucky it didn't happen during the tour which was a bit of whirlwind of travel and talking. I'm not sure quite what the Exeter workshop achieved in terms of concrete outcomes but it's certainly been very useful for us to travel around and see a whole lot of people, and the informal conversations have been interesting. One minor point that I was interested to note at the workshop was that some other people rubbished the concept of a truth-centred ensemble, apparently independently of our work (well they certainly didn't credit us with anything...). So it will be interesting to see how that plays out in the coming months and years, coming so hot on the heels of the IPCC's apparent endorsement of this approach.

Today we decided to try out a bit of traditional UK culture and sat in front of the telly watching the F1 race. Are there people who really do this every week? Fortunately there's the X Factor tonight to look forward to...

[jules' pics] Jules' and James' International Tour of parts of the West of En...

Hornby Castle

After the long journey up north we recuperated at my ancestral home. Luckily (from the maintenance point of view) this is not it.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/26/2010 08:45:00 AM

Saturday, September 25, 2010

[jules' pics] Jules' and James' International Tour of parts of the West of En...

Little Chef

The first place we stopped on the way was a Little Chef. In the last decade Little Chef has become very red indeed, while froth and chocolate has been added to the top of the hogwash. The cooked breakfasts looked quite good, but we didn't try one as we were already getting very fat from British food.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/25/2010 05:37:00 AM

Friday, September 24, 2010

[jules' pics] Flowers and a bee

Flowers and a bee at Leckhampton, Cambridge

Another bee in focus!

[Leckhampton Garden, Cambridge]

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/24/2010 04:15:00 AM

Thursday, September 23, 2010

[jules' pics] Trinity

Trinity College

Trinity College is posh and rich and not where normal people go. I thought, however, that it would be appropriate to visit Newton's Ghost who lives there, since we are working at his institute. Here the Camcard has less power, and was met by the porter with a disapproving look and an admonition to stick to the tourist path.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/23/2010 04:06:00 AM

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

[jules' pics] Arches #2

Trinity College

The more arches the better but huge and decorated gets extra points.

[Entrance to St John's College Chapel]

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/22/2010 03:55:00 AM

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jules' and James' International Tour of parts of the West of England

Been quiet on the blog, partly because I've been doing so much real talking that I've not had much energy (or need...) for this outlet, but also because for the last week or so we have been on the road. Participants at the Isaac Newton Institute are encouraged to give seminars around the UK and we have taken advantage of this to visit a few different places, remind people that we still exist, and present our recent work on the multimodel ensemble.

First we went to Lancaster, which by complete coincidence is close to where jules' Dad lives, and much more importantly is where a former colleague who was in Japan now works, so we got him to arrange an invitation. The growing LEC seemed to be on the up, and the audience were very perky - as well as interesting comments from environmental scientists, there were some attendees from the nearby forecasting centre (part of the management school, so that's forecasting in the J. Scott Armstrong mold) and we had some interesting conversations. They seemed to appreciate that people were working meaningfully on climate model validation and testing, and we appreciated their interest and comments.

Then we went down to Bristol where we know a few people and have an ongoing collaboration with former-prostetnic reader Andy (he now reads for real). They have a big and very well regarded paleoclimate group so we focussed a bit more on jules' use of paleoclimate data for validation.

Then on Monday we were in Exeter at the Hadley Centre/UK Met Office. This was the best attended seminar of the three, with over 60 people present. I enjoyed the interjections from the NWP people (or perhaps I should say Persson) saying that (a) the truth-centred paradigm was obviously rubbish and (b) they had known that the ensemble mean was better than the ensemble members (and why) since the birth of ensemble methods, if not sooner. I certainly don't think the Hadley Centre people are particularly culpable in this (in fact AIUI they haven't really written on either subject) but given the common basis of climate and weather prediction, the cultural/personal barriers that have enabled these questions to remain unanswered all around the world for so long must be regarded as rather worrying. I recently came across the following in a 2009 PNAS paper: "Although MM's [multi-model mean] superiority has been found in previous studies focusing on the mean climate, the reasons for this have not generally been elucidated." Well, they have now!

Since then we have been staying at Exeter University for a workshop on probabilistic methods in climate prediction. These sort of things always involve a certain amount of talking in circles (or at cross purposes) but also some interesting interactions which have proved very useful, at least to me. Whether something coherent and concrete comes out at the end of it is another matter, but we've only had one day so far and there's another day and a half to go before we head back to Cambridge.


John Abraham has been working hard on this for some time, so I'm pleased to see it get some press attention. A small contribution from your humble correspondent can be found within.

[jules' pics] Arches #1

Clare College entrance

Generally, the more arches the better.

[Clare College entrance]

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/21/2010 03:49:00 AM

Monday, September 20, 2010

[jules' pics] Flower

A flower in Clare College Felows' Garden

This flower was striking with its bright pink colour, but I have no idea what kind of flower it is.

[Clare College Fellows' Garden, Cambridge]

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/20/2010 03:45:00 AM

Friday, September 17, 2010

[jules' pics] swan

swan on the Cam

I wonder how this swan got tied in a knot. Probably frightened into it by WC as he careered down the river.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/17/2010 03:41:00 AM

Thursday, September 16, 2010

[jules' pics] Camcard

King's Chapel

King's Chapel

Carrying one Camcard gets two people free entry to most of Cambridge's top tourist attractions. In fact it is even worse than this since one typically gets a "Oew du carry on modam" or similar courtesy from the porters as one creeps past the throng of queueing tourists.

[King's College, Cambridge]

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/16/2010 03:24:00 AM

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

[jules' pics] soft fruit


Probably you don't recall the story of how James robbed me of my iPhone. Since then, I have been eagerly awaiting the release of a new iPod Touch. Now it is out, but here in the UK, people want to know my opinion of Blackberries. I'm not sure what they have to do with iPhones, so I just reply that I like them very much, especially the ones that are juicy from having grown by the river, but that, unfortunately, I have little experience of late, as they are not available in Japan. Incompatible with the climate I suppose.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/15/2010 03:12:00 AM

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

[jules' pics] Kentish Relic

Igtham Mote, Kent

I should have blogged this a few weeks ago. While in Kent we visited Ightham Mote. This building is the antedote to Japanese building practice, where everything is completely torn down and rebuilt when changes are required. Ightham Mote has been around since the 14th century, being gradually added to and diddled with by successions of not particularly famous owners. Recently it has undergone a 10 million pound restoration.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/14/2010 03:05:00 AM

Monday, September 13, 2010

[jules' pics] Views from the back of the tandem

radio telescope


Cambridgeshire is topographically uninspiring, but interesting things can occasionally be spotted peeking up through the crops.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/10/2010 02:16:00 AM

[jules' pics] Bee

A bee in Clare College Fellows' Garden

British insects are small and docile. Photographically these two things counteract each other, making them just as difficult to focus on. This one isn't far off, but the picture is heavily cropped which is, of course, cheating.

[Photo taken in Clare Fellows' Garden]

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/13/2010 02:57:00 AM

Thursday, September 09, 2010

[jules' pics] 9/09/2010 02:04:00 AM

Corpus Christi College, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Last night I exorcised my dining rites at Corpus. I took my husband with me, and luckily, this time he did not commit any politically incorrect faux pas. We discovered another dramatic change in British culture. During the long evening drinking bottle after bottle of fortified wines, we found that cigars we not available. Instead we were offered snuff. Yes. Really. Snuff! ..and I'd thought it was only Japan that was culturally still in the 18th century.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/09/2010 02:04:00 AM

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

[jules' pics] Newton's ghost

The ghost of Isaac Newton haunts Cambridge, and Trinity College in particular, where all students unwise enough to enter the chapel will get the opportunity to be made to feel small by his overbearing statue. Meanwhile Cambridge fellows wring their hands and question why Cambridge has never produced another Newton.


A more interesting question might be, did he actually eat the apple after it had fallen from the tree?

An Apple

This apple was photographed in Clare College Fellows' Garden. These fallen apples were being eaten only by moorhens, but they were far to clever to allow themselves to be photographed in the act.

I wonder if it is all this pressure to be brilliant that has pushed Cambers back to the top of the World Rankings. I suspect it may have more to do with the brilliance of Alison Richards, who has done an amazing job of screwing simply huge amounts of cash out of us all over the last few years. We even met her in Tokyo!

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/08/2010 08:28:00 AM

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

[jules' pics] 9/07/2010 06:11:00 AM

streets of Ayr #2, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

The ghost of commerce past.

Actually I thought Ayr was looking a lot happier than when we last visited 1.75 years ago. Back then there was the depression of almost every shop being in a state of closing down bankruptcy. The still open cafes served recession specials and the remaining shops had special recession deals. Now all that has gone and one notices more the signs of carpentry indicating new shops about to open.

This street down by the harbour though was another story... I think only one establishment was still in business, and it was closing down.

I've not noticed recession elsewhere - not in Glasgow 1.75 years ago, nor Cambridge now. Glasgow is far shinier than it ever was and Cambridge about the same, although the roads are busier.

The house prices everywhere are unbelievably enormous. Clearly, when we retire, we will all go and live with our parents.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/07/2010 06:11:00 AM

Monday, September 06, 2010

[jules' pics] 9/06/2010 06:16:00 AM

streets of Ayr #1, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

More cultural change over the last decade. Horrible dog shit replaced by horrible signs.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/06/2010 06:16:00 AM

Friday, September 03, 2010

[jules' pics] 9/03/2010 05:54:00 AM

beach #1, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Ayr beach again. One way in which Scotland is superior to Japan is that when the sun does eventually shine the light quality is never far from "Golden Hour".

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/03/2010 05:54:00 AM

Thursday, September 02, 2010

[jules' pics] 9/02/2010 05:55:00 AM

flower, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Mother-in-Law is very proud of the herd of these purple flowers that she nurtures in pots in her tropical Scottish garden. Luckily she did not excommunicate me from the clan when I asked if they weren't a kind of onion and mentioned that they grow as weeds in Japan.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/02/2010 05:55:00 AM

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

[jules' pics] beach etiquette

In Scotland it is important that your overcoat, which is worn every day of the year, is the same colour as your dog.

people and dogs #2

people and dogs #1

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 9/01/2010 05:42:00 AM