Sunday, November 29, 2015

[jules pics] Sand Dunes

Last stop on our tour was somewhere we have managed to not visit on several occasions, due to it being a bit out of the way: Great Sand Dunes National Park. We arrived in the afternoon and stayed at the nearby lodge, which was excellent with lovely views of the dunes.


The existence of the dunes is very interesting; a source of sand in the hills, plus wind blowing and water flowing in the right directions. One might wonder why there are not more dunes about, but these seem to be the only ones in the vicinity, apart, of course, from the ancient ones like those we saw at Canyonlands.

It was fairly quiet and there was no evening meal available at the lodge, but the rooms had microwave cookers, so we had shopped in a supermarket along the way. Before dinner, we went to have a closer look at the dunes.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Muse

Just like those artsy fartsy "creatives", for scientists to write, they also need to find their muse mews. James seems to have found his. This one is an excellent sort of a muse, being far more practical than the elusive lady that the creatives chase - it not only pins him down, but it also provides warmth, and furriness.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

[jules pics] Civilisation

After Hovenweep, we crossed over into Colorado and headed up a dirt road out of Durango. There in a patch of trees live two people I'd never met: the sister of a friend of mine from Japan and her husband. In earlier posts I might accidentally have been a bit impolite about some Americans. Actually I think they are a more evolved life form.  My friend, Audrey, had often times told me of her sister (Wendy) in Durango and suggested we visit. Being a straightforward kind of a person, I can't tell if these kind of invitations are serious, but Audrey is a lovely person, so I decided to take her up on the offer of her sister's hospitality! And they were indeed amazingly generous. It was actually my friends's sister's husband (Rob) who did more of the hospitality as he was not working that day. The couple had built their house 20 odd years ago using the proper American method of buying a patch of forest and reconfiguring the trees therein into a log cabin.

1 over cabin dcabin-1

It only took them 3 years. Wow. People like this in the UK get television programmes done about them! After a comfortable night in the cabin, Rob took us on a delightful tour of Durango. 

Next stop was the million dollar highway and Ouray. Ouray is another very cute town. But instead of more pix of buildings, here are some nice mountains. 

Continental Divide


The first is the high point of the highway before Ouray (the "conninennal divide"), and the second is the view from the top of the Box Canyon Falls in Ouray.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/11/2015 01:50:00 PM

Monday, November 09, 2015

New publication model for EGU journals

There's been longstanding debate over the way in which manuscripts are handled by the EGU/Copernicus journals. The current system is that publication fees are charged for submitted manuscripts, which are professionally typeset (hence incurring significant costs) and appear in an on-line “Discussion Journal” like CPD, GMDD etc where they remain as part of the public record (with DOI etc) irrespective of whether a final peer-reviewed paper appears or not in the non-D journal. There are several drawbacks with this approach, though its originators and advocates have always argued that the benefits outweigh these.

Well, it's all changing now anyway. From January, submitted manuscripts will not be professionally typeset, the Discussion journal will cease to exist (though the submitted manuscripts will still be public and citeable), and paper charges will only be applied after the paper has been through peer-review. It will be interesting to see how this affects the journals, and whether for better or worse. As for me, I'm pretty ambivalent about it. Paying charges in advance was always a bit awkward and puts editors in a difficult position when rejecting papers (at GMD, the unofficial policy was to offer a hefty discount on fees for their next submission). On the other hand, perhaps it does dissuade a certain amount of dross - though it apparently didn't help with this nonsense. Anyway, the new system will be much closer to the standard model for journal publication, while retaining the special feature that not only the final manuscript, but also the review process, is on-line and open to all.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

GMD raises the bar again

Not content to rest on their laurels, the executive editors at GMD have revised and updated their policies, the new version of which can be found here. Of particular note, it is now a requirement that code must always be made available to the editor at minimum, and each manuscript must include a paragraph outlining code availability. (In practice we expect that most model code will be publicly available.) This represents a logical and incremental change to the previous policy, and once again sets a new standard for open and accessible science.

It is increasingly common for journals to have code and/or data availability policies, whether or not they are enforced. This BAMS paper is also relevant, focussing on the analysis code rather than numerical model itself. 

(Disclaimer: I helped to found GMD and was an executive editor for several years. However I no longer hold this position though I continue to act as a topical editor [which basically means I handle manuscripts but don't set the editorial policy].)

Saturday, November 07, 2015

[jules pics] Dustville #2

Sorry for the gap in the holiday snaps. I had to do some other writing - of a scientific kind. Just when we were getting to the best bit of nothingness, too...

After touristy Bryce we enjoyed Utah scenic byway 12 which is not only scenic but also passes by the best named National Monument of all - "Grand Staircase-Escalante". However, the camera was tired from Bryce. After some pizza the car was set to cruise control, destination Dustville#2  Hanksville.

Hanksville (population 215) is quite the metropolis. It is so important that, when you're 50 miles away, it is still the only place on the road signs. Like Dustville#1 (Dinosaur), it has very few facilities, but the difference is that twice as many of them are open and they are also clean. I might be wrong, but it seemed a bit like all the open and clean places might have been under the same ownership. Suspect it's just one big happy family...

Whispering sands motel, Hanksville.
Hanksville Motel

A day of being in the middle of nowhere called. First stop was Natural Bridges National Monument which was the only place in the trip where some jobsworth checked my ID along with my parks pass. Of course he couldn't resist making comments of the "you're not from round here are you?" type, and so I tried to frustrate him by telling him we were from Boulder. Pops is a kind and well-mannered gentleman and so gave the game away, but to his credit he did his bit by bamboozling the man with stories about his times living in Colorado in the 1960s. However, once that was over, Natural Bridges turned out to be quite nice. We made Pops walk down to give one of them a closer look. 

Natural Bridges
Natural Bridges

My delightful travelling companions after their strenuous walk.
My companions @ Natural Bridges

Vegetative patterns...

It was a Sunday. Scarred upon my mind is a memory from the end of the last century which involved failing to get any refreshment in a North Wales town on a cold and wet Sunday. We found out last year that North Wales has moved on but I feared Utah may have not. However, the Subway in the great Megalopolis of Blanding (population 3581) was open. Almost back in civilisation (Colorado) by now, we made one more diversion, and visited Hovenweep National Monument. This is Mesa Verde for those with their own imaginations. i.e. you don't get a guide and a big group of other tourists to get in your way, but instead can wander round wondering what life was like living in these places.

Better end with a question for the reader. Interesting masonry here - are the little stones in the mortar, structural, or decorative, or both?
Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/07/2015 03:55:00 PM

Thursday, October 29, 2015

[jules' pics] Bryce Canyon

Arrived at Bryce Canyon to a cloudy afternoon, so decided to enjoy retail therapy at the inn, rather than visit the park for a non-existent sunset. We looked at cute trinkets for a while, wondering whether to buy a souvenir. Then I remembered having expressed regret that we bought such tiny ornaments while in Japan, as the ones we have disappear into the enormous house we have bought. Not wanting to make the same mistake again, and egged on by both Pops and James (a Yorkshireman and a Scot both trying to make me spend money is surely a sign of something!), I picked almost the largest brightly coloured enamel kokopelli we could find (not unlike this one). It is quite strange that such a large and bright thing can look merely elegant in sufficiently large, dark surroundings.

Next morning James and I visited Bryce for sunrise, and then picked up Pops after breakfast for a more extended tour.

pre-dawn at Bryce

Dawn at Bryce
Bryce Canyon

Aspen and a hole at Bryce

Flowers!!! at Bryce Canyon

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/29/2015 04:38:00 PM

Sunday, October 25, 2015

[jules' pics] Cedar Breaks

Unlike at RMNP no one made silly remarks about our attire at Cedar Breaks. This could have been because the scenery really is too spectacular to bother looking at people, but probably it was really because there were not many people there, and those that were there looked cold and like they wished they had our woolly jumpers, hats and windproof jackets. We even sparked up conversation with two cyclists. It looked like too much camping and high altitude had got the better of them, so James was curious to know what they had been up to. Cycling up hill for a very long time indeed seemed to be the answer.




Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/25/2015 01:10:00 PM

Friday, October 23, 2015

[jules' pics] Canyonlands

After a regulation Moab cappuccino granola banana nut pancake breakfast, we visited the lower, south part, of Canyonlands. My dirt road driving non-abilities (and James reluctance to let me dent the rental car) stopped us visiting the actual Needles up close, but there was, nevertheless, some impressive geology.

In the visitor centres to these places there are fanciful hand-wavey tales of oceans going in and out, and things being uplifted and tilted and eroded. Note layers of white pillows which were once, apparently, sand dunes, interspersed with what was once, um, red mud stuffs.

I suppose we were there at the driest time of year. The signs indicated that the eroded hollows in the surface usually contain water.

Finally, the answer to one of life's great questions: meteorology + geology = art !

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/23/2015 02:28:00 PM

Thursday, October 22, 2015

[jules' pics] Arches

Don't know how people survive without breakfast, but we didn't want to hang around waiting for service in the one open restaurant in Dustville Dinosaur. Next stop Moab is the opposite; very commercial with cappuccinos on every corner. It also badly needs a bypass, as it has a roaring road ripping it in two. It was quite hot for late September (low 90s F), so we spent the afternoon in the pool, and headed to Arches National Park for sunset.

James and a tree


The next morning we again left Pops in bed, and sprinted up to see Delicate Arch. I wasn't sure why it is such an icon of the region as it looks just another arch when portrayed pictorially. I think the answer is that it's not so much the arch itself as the location...
Delicate Arch panorama

But of course, I had a go at taking its portrait too. I can't decide which picture I like best, so here are two. It should have been better light at sunset, but Pops wouldn't have enjoyed the climb (he's robust, but still 85, you know! ;-) ).
Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 10/22/2015 02:38:00 PM