Monday, June 18, 2018

To Boulderly Go (and come back again)

As I think was probably guessed, we were in Boulder recently. It was just a holiday this time, we didn't get closer to NCAR than the cafes in the mall at the bottom of the hill. There may be photos to follow.

As well as discovering that a local parkrun had recently been set up literally minutes from our apartment (what are the odds of that, with only a dozen events across the entire USA?) our trip coincided with the Bolder Boulder 10k race again. I have by now improved to the extent of qualifying for the first “A” wave for runners with a sub-38 min time (and also for sub-2:55 marathoners, which for me was rather easier to achieve). Though these results were not achieved on an uphill course at altitude so I didn't expect to go that fast in the BB!

I had vague ambitions to break 40 mins but without much proper training and on such a difficult course that was always going to be a tough challenge for me. I was just about in touch with that pace most of the way round but there's a bit of a climb to the finish which killed any plans for a fast finish so I didn't quite manage it. Just past the finish line there were people handing out vouchers for t-shirts for anyone who broke the 40 min threshold. If I'd known about them I might have tried a bit harder! On looking up last time I see they were advertising the sub-40 t-shirts back then too so I think they are probably a regular feature. Still, a 3 min PB is not to be sniffed at I suppose. Jules also took about 3 mins off her previous result.

A nice solid heel strike there...I must have been going downhill :-)

Maybe next time I'll manage to whittle off another 30 secs for the t-shirt. If there is another time. The whole trip was lots of fun so I'm sure we'll be back.

After the race (and a short breather) we cycled up into the mountains for lunch with our friends Rob and Elizabeth. They had thoughtfully moved a bit closer to town so it was only an hour up hill. And rather less back home.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

More word salad

Having accused someone else of writing a word salad it's only fair that I should tar jules with the same brush too :-) Life as an unemployed self-employed scientist isn't all holidays and bison burgers, she occasionally does some work too though coincidentally (or not) her latest paper is the result of another trip to the USA a couple of years ago. Unfortunately someone didn't get the open access memo hence my link is to the sci-hub copy. Writs to /dev/null please.

It's a review and thus should be accessible to a wide audience, but monsoon dynamics is a fair way outside my comfort zone so I don't really have much to say about it. The abstract appears to have a rather low Flesch Reading Ease score of 6.8: for comparison my first paragraph above rates 51 (the scores are out of 100, with higher numbers more readable) so I think I've got a good excuse. I think the main conclusion is that more research is needed, and that if someone could come up with a better all-encompassing theory that explained it all, that would be really great. From the paleo perspective (which is where jules comes in) there is the well-known Problem of the Green Sahara, being that there was significant (vegetation-supporting) precipitation in this region during the mid-Holocene, which models cannot adequately explain or represent.

Here's a diagram about monsoon dynamics:

Well, that's about it from me. Still on holiday but we've got some work lined up and will be be returning to it in the near future.