Monday, October 29, 2012

[jules' pics] More steam

James' geyser-fu wasn't working as well as last time we visited Yellowstone, so we experienced more steaming and sputtering than hot water shoting into the air.
Norris Basin, Yellowstone
Midway basin
Midway basin
Until, that is, James saw everything erupt when he went off on his own to pick up the car. While we waited for him, Pa and I consoled ourselves with this little geyser that erupted every 15 mins or so.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/29/2012 05:01:00 PM

Sunday, October 28, 2012

New toy

It's the short interlude between "too hot" and "too cold" which means we have started running a bit more properly again. Over the summer the temperature meant it was impossible to do much, and the rare times that we tried just resulted in injuries. But over the past few weeks we have gradually built up to managing the run to work which is a fun start to the day. Every weekend, we now see lots of people jogging along the beach in their new Shonan Marathon t-shirts in preparation for the upcoming event. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to get an entry in for it this year. It must have been blind luck that we got in last year, as it is oversubscribed and if you don't log on at the right time, too bad. There are plenty of other events, of course, but none so convenient for us.

I was shopping for some bicycle related stuff from my favourite on-line store (crazy, I know, but it's often cheaper, and certainly much easier, to get even Japan-manufactured stuff sent from the UK than go shopping for it here) when I realised that I could justify adding new toy to the order due to the offer of free postage and  a money off voucher. In the past I'd vaguely considered getting a heart rate monitor and/or GPS watch, not that either is particularly essential, but the Garmin Forerunner 110 seemed like reasonable value as a combined package, and I know that Stoat seems to quite like his. It duly turned up and this morning I took it out for a little jog. In place of the Shonan Marathon, we have a low-key 5km event next weekend so thought it would be a good idea to try running quite fast (well, by our standards) to remind ourselves what it feels like. Unfortunately it was lightly raining which makes the shiny stone paving along the prom very slippery. But at least it wasn't baking hot :-)

The distance seems acceptably close to that estimated by which I have used in the past for measuring runs, even though the route doesn't quite match the reality. It certainly seems a lot more convenient than my previous approach of measuring and pacing runs by hand!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

[jules' pics] Steaming landscapes

Norris Masin, Yellowstone
Norris Basin, Yellowstone
Norris Masin, Yellowstone
[Not quite so peaceful Yellowstone...]

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/25/2012 09:43:00 PM

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

[jules' pics] Sunny spider

[Zuisenji, Kamakura]

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/24/2012 01:48:00 PM

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

[jules' pics] Peaceful Pools

Norris Masin, Yellowstone
Upper Geyser Basin
Upper Geyser Basin
Grand Prismatic Spring
Upper Geyser Basin
Moring Glory pool
Biscuit basin
[All in Yellowstone, of course]

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/23/2012 01:18:00 PM

New Italian Earthquake Prediction

Another Empty Blog exclusive: Italian seismologists have just issued a new assessment of earthquake risks. You can't say you weren't warned now!

Among all the outrage (surrounding this, for anyone who slept through it), there are more nuanced views (expressed prior to the verdict) about whether the scientists' statements were negligently falsely confident rather than just being unfortunate. Irrespective of whether they could have been expected to predict the quake, "absolutely no risk" is an unfortunate choice of words.

One predictable outcome is that Italian seismologists (and presumably scientists in other fields) will be rather less willing to proffer risk-relevant advice in any sort of official capacity, at least in Italy. Hard to see this sort of trial catching on in Japan, where such risk management failures are seen as a cultural imperative.

Monday, October 22, 2012

[jules' pics] winter

Roughly speaking, Japan has just 2 seasons. They are called too-hot and too-cold. This is a bit of an approximation. At this time of year, and also between May and June, there are alternating days of too-hot and too-cold, and sometimes it is even possible to be both too-hot and too-cold during the same day.

The poor insects are, however, definitely too-cold and are blundering around. Don't know how this katydid arrived on the flowers, but it was none too steady on its pins.

Matilda, the giant mantis [I guess a Chinese Mantis (Tenodera sinensis)] who has been hanging out on our wisteria for the last few weeks, is showing signs of wear and tear from her predatory lifestyle. She has one antenna shorter than the other. But that's not bad at all - missing limbs are not uncommon at this time of year.
preying mantis - kamakiri
It is very nice to get out the DSLR again after all that point and shooting in America.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/22/2012 01:45:00 PM

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Woody Guthrie award

Well, I've held on to this prestigious award for long enough, and it's time to pass on the heavy mantle of responsibility to someone else. I'm not sure I have really lived up to the expectations of my reader for a Woody Guthrie-worthy level of contribution, but it's been tough finding time and energy for intelligent blogging between all our recent holidays hard work. It's been a quiet time for climate science round these parts, in part due to the massive hiatus in funding/management/organisation around the end of one set of projects and the start of the new. We did have an amusing 5 minutes on return from our recent trip, actually, when we found new contracts in our pigeonholes, which stated that we had been transferred onto the new project as of 1 Oct (just prior to our return) and that our annual salaries had been slashed in half. It soon transpired that some administrative goon didn't know the difference between "annual salary" and "salary to be received over the remaining 6 months of the year". Now the first goal of the project (after fixing the contracts), it seems, is to work out what the project is supposed to be about. But I digress - this post is not supposed to be about Japan's democratic, or even financial, deficit.

While there are a lot of thoughtful bloggers around, the choice for whom to pass it on to seemed a pretty straightforward one, actually. Michael Tobis is prolifically thoughtful and interesting in his blog posts, and has been over a number of years and range of fora. Even those who don't agree with everything he writes (I could probably count myself in that number) can hardly deny the thought that goes into his writings. Whenever he has taken on someone like Curry or Pielke (either generation) on anything technical, he's generally had the better of the argument, as far as I can recall. He's been particularly clear on the "costs of uncertainty" argument, that the higher our uncertainty is regarding climate change, the higher justification this is for mitigation - precisely the reverse of the attitude that many on the denialist side seem to espouse. (That post of mine refers to a fairly recent article by Lewandowsky, but here's one example of an older post from Michael).

His own blog seems a bit quiet these days, actually. Most of his writing is on the main planet3.0 site. In the unlikely event that you aren't already a reader, have a look!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Multi-Stage Open Peer Review

You might have realised from jules' posts, though not from (the absence of) mine, but I'm back.

Here's a well-written account of the strengths of the EGU's open peer review system, from one of its strongest advocates (and Chair of the Publications Committee). The journals continue to grow steadily and (moderately) profitably, and their success can only be helped by policies such as this. It is worth noting (again) that the publication charges of the EGU journals, which make their papers freely available, are only comparable to those of for-profit journals which then sell on the papers at a huge additional profit. Many paywalled journals do offer open access, but only for a fat additional fee. It is hard to see how they add value to the publication process. Both approaches rely on unpaid reviewers to do the bulk of the (post-authoring) work.

The issue of open review is additional to the open publication, of course. Uli makes strong arguments for the EGU system, including that although the number of unsolicited comments seems low, it is far higher than you get in the traditional journals. However, writing "Comments on" is hardly the same thing as suggesting changes to the design of the figures or even asking the author to cite one's own papers more :-) I do like that he doesn't pull any punches in slagging off the silly Nature designed-to-fail "experiment".

Thursday, October 18, 2012

[jules' pics] Sunrise in Yellowstone

I imagined that there might be a nice photo to be taken across the pools at sunrise on the top of the terraces at Mammoth. Weirdly no one else had the same idea. But that was good, as other photographers often spoil the ambiance.
Sunrise at Mammoth Terraces, Yellowstone.
Then James played one of his tricks. He said it was all over, and it was time to go back. A few seconds later the sky turned orange. Fortunately we were able to run back, but unfortunately (no doubt due to his mean trickery) James took the best shot. I have a similar one, but I like the way he got the clouds refelected in the smaller pools.
Sunrise at Mammoth Terraces, Yellowstone.
On the way down to Mammoth we saw all the other photographers. They were lined up on a boardwalk with their tripods, long lenses aimed towards this waterfall (not this view - this is taken from the top).
Sunrise at Mammoth Terraces, Yellowstone.

Two days later we explored the lower terraces. I thought they might look good with early morning sunlight on them. These two below are, however, pre-sunrise.
Sunrise at Mammoth Terraces, Yellowstone.

Sunrise at Mammoth Terraces, Yellowstone.
James and Pa started to get twitchy (they need to read more blogs about how patience is key to photography) but eventually the sun rose to light up the otherworldly landscape.
Sunrise at Mammoth Terraces, Yellowstone.
Sunrise at Mammoth Terraces, Yellowstone.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/18/2012 12:52:00 PM

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

[jules' pics] Buffalo

Yellowstone - the land where the buffalo are bison, the moose are elk, and the elk are deer.

Oh look - there's one!

And another gentleman...
Bison, Yellowstone

What's this one is thinking?... "where's my grass?"
Bison, Yellowstone

A lady buffalo and a hill
Bison, Yellowstone

Dusty buffalos
Bison, Yellowstone

Angry bison - the Occupy Yellowstone Highways movement
Bison, Yellowstone

It was nose to tail buffalo in some places
Bison, Yellowstone
It is now obvious that I should finish this post with buffalo on a plate but I haven't uploaded the photo to flickr yet... so perhaps I'll update this post later...
....Bison sliders at Mammoth. Health warning: only for sharing.
Bison Sliders
Mammoth sliders would have been even more exciting?

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/16/2012 02:53:00 PM

Saturday, October 13, 2012

[jules' pics] Thermopolis -> Cooke City

The mornin' starts with more of the very best nuthin' nuthin' nuthin'. Oh there's a truck!

Someone called Buffalo Bill Cody founded the metropolis of Cody, but these days more than bison are to be found - the cake, coffee and sandwiches were all delicious.
Cody, Wyoming

Cody has a large expensive museum complex all about Buffalo-san. Instead we strolled around the Old Trail Town which is an elegant street of old historically significant buildings moved log-by-log from various places.
Cody Old trail town - cart
Cody Old trail town - store
Cody Old trail town - schoolroom
Cody Old trail town - bar
Butch Cassidy and pals (I thought they were fictional!)
Cody Old trail town
Graves of hoodlums, doogooders and victims
Cody Old trail town - graves
Another street view

Then we took the scenic route. Labelled as pericoloso et dangereuse (Oh, wait, that's the Verdon gorge) Chief Josephs' Highway was actually a wide clear road. Smoke from the fires caused the views to become monochrome.
View from Chief Joseph Highway
Later on a pointy peak appeared
Bear tooth peak, Cooke City
If the name of this cafe in Cooke City is anything to go by, the peak must be called "beartooth".
Beartooth Cafe, Cooke City
Cooke City is at the edge of Yellowstone and the evening stop was Mammoth, well inside the park... but there there are so many Yellowstone photos to work through that this post must stop here at afternoon tea root beer (amazingly, Americans still can't make tea).

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/13/2012 05:35:00 PM

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

[jules' pics] to Thermopolis

Petroglyphs scribed upon the rocks by primitive cultures may still be found in many parts of the US. We spotted these in Fort Collins, last civilisation before the wild west.
let's fraternity

Over the years we have criss-crossed most of Wyoming, and now I'm pretty sure that there is nuthin' there at all. Let's Zen paradise!
Wyoming bridge and nuthin'

Because of the nuthin', the people who are travelling through it, take EVERYTHING with them.


After Zen, kitsch is the best, and less-than-National Parks are a great place to find it. Except by some very particular definition, the little puddle at the end of the arrow painted on the rock is surely not the world's largest mineral hot spring. Nevertheless, Thermopolis is a nice location for an evening walk.
hot spring this way

At the end of the day James prays, white knuckled, for the American nation.
James and flag
...or perhaps he was just waiting for some scrumptious pizza.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/10/2012 08:09:00 PM