Friday, December 31, 2010

[jules' pics] 12/31/2010 04:39:00 AM

Last sunset of 2010, and some nice parallel waves.

[Fuji-san from Kamakura
- and the lighthouse on Enoshima Island is visible!]

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 12/31/2010 04:39:00 AM

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Food glorious food

Having snarked at Japanese cuisine, I should redress the balance with a bit of well-deserved praise. I think I mentioned previously (oh yes, here) that the 2011 Michelin guide was supposed to expand from its previous focus on Tokyo to cover not only Yokohama but also Kamakura. I was a bit surprised as Kamakura mostly caters to day-trippers looking for a quick snack, though it is also quite a prosperous area - one of the nicest places you can live within commuting range of Tokyo.

Anyway, the guide is now out - or at least, being promoted in press releases - and there are indeed 10 restaurants in Kamakura that have been awarded one star each. And I was a little surprised, though perhaps I shouldn't have been to find that one of them is a place we frequent quite regularly, Hachinoki in Kita-Kamakura, which is an excellent shojin-ryori (Zen buddhist vegan) restaurant just outside the major Zen temple of Kencho-ji. It's an obvious place to take visitors (hi Andy) and there's also a pleasant walk directly though the hills from our house to the back of the temple which makes a relaxing morning trip. So I hope everyone is thoroughly impressed that we took them to a Michelin-starred restaurant during their visits! Actually according to Hachinoki's website the star seems to have been awarded to one other branches of the restaurant, there are 3 all quite close together, but I'm sure they are much the same (though one isn't actually vegan). For any reader(s) who went to the PMIP meeting in Kyoto, we think Hachinoki is better than the similar style shojin-ryori meal we had in Daitoku-ji temple, but it doesn't have an onsen so close by :-)

Incidentally, the PMIP meeting itself was also a bit of a tour de force of Japanese cuisine - one night we had boiled tofu at Nanzen-ji temple (at which various people were heard to mutter "when's the meat course coming", though it was not actually wholly vegetarian due to the sashimi starter), then next night the vegan shojin-ryori, and finally a shabu-shabu meal where we actually had some thin slices of meat to cook. Some people who had better remain nameless resorted to regular McDonalds visits, "but two of them were only for ice cream so that doesn't really count". That still leaves 3 Big Macs and fries, Dan, and you were only there for 5 days. I must admit even we searched out the local St Arbucks one morning for breakfast, but only because we went out for a morning run and couldn't face precisely the same hotel breakfast for the nth day in a row, honest...

I don't know any of the other Michelin-starred restaurants in Kamakura, and most of them don't look very exciting - almost all standard Japanese fare of the type that I try to avoid at weekends, with one obligatory overpriced French restaurant thrown into the mix. Our favourite remains T-Side, whose head chef was coincidentally featured in an article in the Japan Times recently (oops wrong link fixed). But currently we've got a pound of duck fat in the fridge to work though, the remains of a lovely Iwate-bred Japanese duck that I ordered from the local supermarket for our Christmas lunch.

[jules' pics] Cricket

James at Kenchoji

James doesn't hold with black and white, so here he is proving that autumnal colour in Kamakura carries on past Christmas.

Man checks cricket score

There are, however, no surroundings that can demand attention over the iPod and furry internet connection while The Ashes are being played.

[Both photos taken at top Zen temple, Kenchoji, on 27th December - my birthday!]

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 12/29/2010 11:15:00 PM

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past

Cheap shot I know, but hard to resist. This is the Indescribablyboring from March 2000:

According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".

"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.


Professor Jarich Oosten, an anthropologist at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, says that even if we no longer see snow, it will remain culturally important.

"We don't really have wolves in Europe any more, but they are still an important part of our culture and everyone knows what they look like," he said.

David Parker, at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Berkshire, says ultimately, British children could have only virtual experience of snow. Via the internet, they might wonder at polar scenes - or eventually "feel" virtual cold.

Heavy snow will return occasionally, says Dr Viner, but when it does we will be unprepared. "We're really going to get caught out. Snow will probably cause chaos in 20 years time," he said.

Of course snow falling always has and always will cause chaos in Britain. Until it stops falling completely, which may now be a few years further away than was previously thought :-)

(for those who've been living in a cave for the last few years, or at least outside the UK, it appears that in fact reports of the demise of snowfall are greatly exaggerated, at least according to the winters of 2008, 2009 and 2010).

Actually, it's better than that, because the latest research is that all this snowfall is actually more proof of global warming after all! I await with amusement the reaction of the detection and attribution community to this proof that all their results are bogus, since they have already proved that the "warmer winters" are being caused by anthropogenic global warming (eg here, a paper I just saw today). Personally, while I accept it's theoretically possible for AGW to cause some localised cooling (at least on a temporary basis), my money is on the D&A results for the time being. Invest in Scottish skiing resorts (at least for the long term) at your peril...

(and as a footnote to the pedants, I know there doesn't necessarily have to be a contradiction between snowfall and warmth, but in fact this December has been not only snowy but also perhaps the coldest since records began in the UK).

Monday, December 27, 2010

Laugh? I nearly choked on my kani-jaga-mayo pizza

For those who aren't up on the lingo, kani = crab, jaga = potato and mayo, yes, mayo is mayonnaise. And rest assured that the title is not some gruesome post-Christmas culinary fantasy brought on by overindulgence, but one of the top billing choices of pizza on the flyer of the local "Pizza-La" delivery chain. Alternatives include crab, macaroni, corn and white sauce, or teriyaki chicken, seaweed, corn and mayonnaise, or...well I think you get the message. It makes me feel slightly queasy just typing it.

So I couldn't help but laugh at the latest installment of the "sushi police" as reported in the Torygraph

Now, Mr Kanda along with a string of leading Japanese sushi experts have declared war on so-called "pseudo sushi" in Europe – food which claims to be sushi in countless high street cafes, supermarkets and restaurants but in fact bears little resemblance to what is found in Japan.

Early next year, the sushi tsars will open Europe's first sushi academy in London devoted to professionally training chefs in a bid to correct increasingly erroneous misconceptions of what sushi should consist of.

"The Italians would never allow their pizzas not to be perfectly crusty outside Italy," said Mr Kanda. "The French are also protective of their cuisine. We want to do the same with Japanese food. There is no quality control at the moment."

I can only charitably assume that he has never lowered himself to the level of eating pizza - or indeed any sort of foreign food - in Japan. (not that "crustiness" is specifically the issue here, other than that of the men who think they should attempt to control what gets eaten around the world...)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

[jules' pics] 12/22/2010 03:37:00 AM

Gavin, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Gavin insists that more images of people should appear on this blog. Wouldn't do to disobey Gavin. Hee heee.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 12/22/2010 03:37:00 AM

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

[jules' pics] 12/20/2010 08:33:00 PM

The Beatles break America, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

It seems that a popular music band from Liverpool called "now on iTunes" have broken the USA. There were huge banners all over San Francisco advertising them, including the one in the centre of this photo, which looms over Union Square.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 12/20/2010 08:33:00 PM

Sunday, December 19, 2010

AGU part 2

On with the show!

Perhaps it's best to blog a little after the event, as it gives time for the boring and disappointing bits to fade away, leaving a more positive overall impression. And with an 11h flight I have ample time to wax lyrical about the good bits too, rather than struggling to scribble something down in a spare moment. Indeed I now see on checking through my notes that there were a couple of interesting talks on Tuesday, that I didn't mention before, in the section on uncertainty quantification. First Carol Snyder presented an unusually high estimate of climate sensitivity based on paleo data, which appears to hinge on a strong estimated LGM cooling. Not that this makes her wrong of course, but the previous week, Andreas Schmittner had presented a somewhat contrary result at the PMIP meeting, so I will email them to try to identify the discrepancy. Derek Lemoine also presented some evidence, probably compatible with Frank et al (who spoke in the morning), supporting a lowish (but positive) carbon cycle feedback at the bottom end of the model range. Jules went to a session on geoengineering where everyone seems to be trying to prove that even if we could restrain the rise in global mean temperature, it was only by screwing up all regional patterns of rainfall.


On Wednesday morning I started off at writers corner, where several authors of popular science books discussed their work and/or their lives. And then at the end of this session we had Greg Craven. It tended rather to the hysterical, and I don't mean that in a good way. My complete unabridged notes on his presentation read "I am insane. Apocalpyse soon." although in the interests of fairness I should point out that only the first sentence was a direct quote, the second was merely my personal summary of events. Perhaps the most I should say is that since Stephen Mosher wrote in detail about how much he didn't like the panel discussion later that day, I can only assume that he did not attend the prior presentations. I actually walked out of the panel discussion at the point that Greg started telling an uppity woman (president of some equal opportunities organisation, no less) that she had said her piece and could she please shut up and sit down. Pot, meet kettle. Oppenheimer, on the other hand, gave a sensible talk that I found interesting, if not too earth-shattering. He argued that scientists have a general duty to engage with the public, and even if we didn't want to do it individually, we can't necessarily avoid it in a world where merely being a climate scientist puts us in the firing line. However, under the rubric of "engaging" he discussed a wide range of options, and I was amused to see him list blogging as ranking higher than merely participating in assessments such as the IPCC and NAS :-) He also emphasised the importance of only speaking in areas where you had earnt credibility based on your published record, which formed an interesting backdrop to Judith Curry's talk later that day. She devoted her time to accusing the IPCC of ignoring the tails of the pdfs of climate sensitivity that were clearly presented in the very figure that she repeatedly referred to and explicitly emphasised in the summary ("values substantially higher than 4.5C cannot be excluded"), then read out a few cartoons and finally, literally out of nowhere, concluded that therefore they had underestimated the magnitude of decadal variability and that their detection and attribution results were unsound! Really, I'm not making this up, it was actually how it happened. These latter topics were first introduced on her concluding slide and there was no hint of supporting argument. She also talked about the "modal falsification" of Betz 2009, (which I haven't read but just googled now, is there a free version somewhere?) so I asked if and how this "falsification" (and she used the scare quotes herself) was distinct from assigning a low posterior probability in a Bayesian sense. She replied that it could be considered the same, at which point some of the audience were shaking their heads and others were nodding in agreement. From which I conclude that nobody, including Judith, knows what Judith means. Unfortunately, she didn't seem to be anywhere to be found at the end of the session and I didn't see her at any of the other relevant sessions where people actually dealing with these sorts of issues were actually presenting concrete results.


There was more communication stuff on Thursday morning, much along the lines of wailing about how nasty everyone (well, Republicans and/or denialists, at least) was being to climate scientists, and how we need to educate everyone about the Truth of climate change. Which of course is true to some extent, but I'm not really convinced it is worth the time and energy that was devoted to it at the AGU. Tim Palmer gave a really good Bjerknes Lecture, which I nearly didn't go to as I've seen most of the content before (at the INI) but I'm glad I did as it seemed much better this time round. Of course, as he mentioned, it was a sort of anti-Bjerknes lecture in some ways, because the eponymous scientist was firmly rooted in the deterministic world and Tim is very much in the probabilistic/ensemble forecasting mould (as everyone in NWP has to be, of course, and I'm sure Bjerknes would agree were he around today). In fact Tim is a strong and convincing advocate of the use of stochastic parameterisations in climate models, which formed the main content of his talk. I agree they are a good idea and must remember to mention some time that Jim Hansen used a random number generator in the cloud scheme of his 1984 model :-) One of the numerous modelling groups here is using a more modern equivalent, so I don't think it's something that people are particularly hostile to. Where I part company with Tim is in his advocacy of a single coordinated model-building effort, which to be fair he hardly mentioned this time. I think it is clear that even with stochastic physics, we would still need a range of different models to investigate our uncertainty in long-term climate change meaningfully, and Suki Manabe made exactly this point in his inimitable style in the questions after the talk.

After lunch there was even more on communication. I'm not sure if it was deliberate or not, but the session discussing how to cope with this blogospheric "other" that scientists don't really understand was running in parallel with a panel of science bloggers offering advice to those who were prepared to join in. I only stayed for a little of the latter, it was pretty anodyne stuff. As jules noted, they all seemed to be "normal" geoscientists, none of them were involved in the post-normal world of climate science so their take on questions of debate, argument and abuse seemed somewhat rose-tinted to me. Not that that should put anyone off who is considering getting involved. I also thought their attitude towards discussing on-going and unpublished work was rather 20th century.

Then it was time for us to head off to defend our posters, which we had planned for beer o'clock to ease the pain. Unlike the EGU where the poster session was arranged every evening, here the poster session was scheduled for a full half-day (4h20m) out of which you were supposed to pick at least an hour that you would be there. Of course this is horribly inefficient and made it very hard to meet specific people, though perhaps there were enough random encounters that it didn't matter and a good poster should be pretty self-explanatory anyway. I didn't have that many visitors but made up for that by having long chats with several of them.


Friday was probably the most fun, with lots of sessions on using data together with models. First the reanalysis session, where various improvements and new analyses were presented. There are still lots of problems with inhomogeneities in observations which make the trends in precipitation extremely dubious - even at the global average scale, different analyses gave substantially different results. Jules heard about various attempts at carbon sequestration, but it wasn't clear if they would be practical and effective. Then in the afternoon there was a big session on using observations to test and validate models, which is of course right up our street. There is a big push for more of this in the context of the CMIP5 model runs, and it seems there will be some basket of comparisons proposed although it must be remembered that no-one actually knows what particular features are important in improving model predictions. As well as a number of fairly detailed and specific studies Wendy Parker spoke about the broader context of how we could think about model adequacy and performance. There had already been a whole session on more philosophical aspects of model interpretation which I did not attend but jules did, I think many people are generally aware of the issues, but struggling to find concrete solution. Anyway, I didn't think that anyone presented anything particularly earth-shattering in this session but unlike some of the other more disappointing parts earlier in the week, they were at least presenting some new ideas and results, rather than either merely re-reading an old long-published paper I already knew about (which are few had done) or else talking vaguely about what they were hoping to do in the next few years. I also stuck my oar in with a few questions and comments, which at least made it interesting to me :-) I also have a few more things to chase up with some of the speakers via emails as I didn't quite understand what they had done, or perhaps why they had done it.

So in the end I suppose the whole thing was quite fun and I'm certainly happier on the plane on the way home than I was a few days ago when I wrote the previous post. Given that we were tired before we even started (following on directly from the PMIP meeting in Kyoto last week) and that jules came down with a cold that hung around all week, we are glad to be heading home. In fact our devotion to duty is such that we turned down the offer of $800 each to get bumped off the plane which was over-booked. Maybe we should have taken the money and gone straight back to the Mac store but we are sufficiently worn out that another day of sightseeing in SF (especially given the rain) didn't really appeal. Jamstec would also have had a fit of course, which almost tipped the balance in favour of staying, but not quite. And anyway, they've already bought us everything that the Mac store sells :-)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

[jules' pics] Spot the difference

PMIP - Kyoto [Tofukuji]

AGU - San Francisco [Moscone Center (sic)]

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 12/18/2010 05:58:00 AM

AGU aftermath

I know, I haven't actually blogged much of the content yet. I will try to work through my notes on the flight. Which thankfully we have managed to check in to on-line, jules having eventually guessed that the seats were booked in the name of Annan, Jamesdouglas and Hargreaves, Juliacatherine. These are not, needless to say, either the names in our passports or those that we were christened with! The joys of Japanese confusion over naming conventions never ceases to amuse... As a result of this, on the way out we were both unpleasantly stuck in centre-block seats in different rows, this time we should be together at the exit row with a bit of leg room. That's assuming we get though the security groping unscathed. Usually we are treated with extra suspicion, presumably due to perfectly fitting the profile of international tourists with weapons of maths instruction. No, I'm not going to make any such jokes at the airport.

Most of the reason for writing this is as a reminder to myself for next time, that there is an alternative at the Thirsty Bear to standing in the crowded bar area shouting at/with drunk scientists and failing to get served at the bar. I realise this makes me sound like an old fuddy-duddy (as does using the term "fuddy-duddy") but Americans are REALLY LOUD. No, I mean REALLY REALLY LOUD. DANGEROUSLY, INDUSTRIAL-STRENGTH LOUD. ESPECIALLY IN BARS. ARE YOUR EARS HURTING YET?

Now where was I? Oh yes, I must also remember for next time that the best of their beers is probably the plain old Brown Bear (jules liked the stout too). The more exotic things don't always come off quite as well, and some are a bit too strong to be quaffable in the British style. It's all better than the stuff we had elsewhere though, including the inexplicably popular Anchor Steam and some other IPA which, like last time, reminded us of rather amateurish homebrew. Oh, and the beer service at the posters starts at 3:30 and ends shortly thereafter when it runs out, so get there sharp. That's also only Anchor Steam, but it's free...

As for the conference, well it had its moments, though perhaps a few fewer than we might have hoped for during such a large affair. I got to meet a handful of new people which was useful and interesting, and re-meet a few others, which is always worth doing. But to be honest, I wasn't here so much for the science as to spend some budget as quickly and easily as possible (and hopefully at least with some benefits), and it was a roaring success on that front. I know that will probably outrage some people in these times of straitened circumstances, but bear in mind that this is only Japanese money. In fact it's not even Japanese taxpayers' money really, just stuff the Govt prints and makes us spend to keep the economy afloat. If we didn't spend it, the whole house of cards might fall down.

Now just one Eggs Benedict to force down before we head off to the airport...

Friday, December 17, 2010

[jules' pics] 12/17/2010 01:36:00 PM

fat arse chairs, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

As yet another person tripped over the back of my chair in yet another packed San Francisco restaurant, I finally realised that the problem was mine, not theirs. For comfortable sitting the body-hip angle is supposed to be 90-120 degree. Every chair here seems to be a kind of bucket. For a few seconds I wondered why the San Franciscans put up with such discomfort. However, I soon noticed the other patrons and the simple fact that, with a fat enough arse, thighs are raised at the arse end, but not much at the knee end, such that the correct angle is maintained.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 12/17/2010 01:36:00 PM

[jules' pics] 12/16/2010 10:03:00 PM



The growth of the Global Environment Change section is what caused me to come to the AGU this year. It has been rather disappointing though, as it seems to contain little climate science and much squealing of the now sadly deranged prophets of doom. In contrast, at sessions on communication that cover areas of geoscience apart from climate, there is such sweet innocence...

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 12/16/2010 10:03:00 PM

Thursday, December 16, 2010

[jules' pics] How to eat breakfast

breakfast 1

breakfast 2

Californians go to restaurants not to eat, but to proclaim their inner thoughts to all while pushing mountains of food round their plate with a fork. Normally they don't get even get through to the plate, before piling the remains into a polystyrene box. This is carried out and left on a nearby park bench. Whether this for the benefit of the birds or the hobos I don't know, but I do know that we aren't Californians.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 12/15/2010 09:47:00 PM

More AGU

OK, here are some highlights and lowlights from the first two days...

On Monday lunchtime, John Holdren gave a party political broadcast for the Democrat Party. "Never before has a President spoken so much..." I was waiting for " so little effect" but in fact the continuation was "...about Science and Technology". To be fair, he did acknowledge that talk wasn't actually that useful in itself, and also gave a laundry list of how everything is getting better under Obama. Which may even be true, I don't presume to judge. Later that day Julia Slingo in her "Frontiers of Geophysics" lecture gave some insight into the direction the UKMO was taking towards hazard prediction, mostly on weather-related time scales of course.

Of course a fair proportion of the posters are pretty pointless, due to people having to submit one to justify the trip. Can't blame them for that, but it does make it hard to find the handful of interesting ones. Steve Schwartz was trying to pretend that all the CO2 will simply vanish into the ocean in a few decades if we stop emitting, but there was someone already there debunking him as I passed by. The talks are a mixed bag and seem a pretty incestuous affair. Particular raspberries are due to the organisers responsible for offering Gardar Johannesson an invited talk to present LLNL's vague plans and tentative initial steps towards investigating parametric uncertainty in a single GCM - there was little hint towards the uncomfortable fact that they are about 5 years behind several other groups around the world in this respect - in fact, as well as the Hadley Centre and CPDN work with HadCM3, and us in Japan with MIROC, there are even two groups already doing this sort of thing with the very same model in the USA (Ben Sanderson at NCAR, Charles Jackson at U. Texas)! I'm sure it is no coincidence that one of the organisers of that session was from the same lab. On top of that, Nychka and Sain spun out a single piece of collaborative work into two invited talks in adjacent co-sponsored sessions. While I was listening to a sequence of talks that leant heavily on the truth-centred paradigm for the interpretation of climate models (ugh), Jules went to a session pointing toward policy relevance of climate science which seemed to be largely based on Roe and Baker's pdf for climate sensitivity (sigh). Well, I suppose it gives us plenty to do over the next few years, but the lack of progress or penetration of new ideas is a bit depressing to witness. On a more positive note, Steve Easterbrook gave an interesting overview of his anthropological investigations into the software engineering practices of several climate research labs (see his blog for more). I suspect RIGC may be a little less well organised than the places he visited, but hopefully not too far behind. So far, I think the dinner at Slanted Door has been the highlight (especially the rack of lamb), but there is more to come...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Restore our world

And just how does the Westin St Francis hotel "restore our world"? By encouraging us to use only one of the two provided mega-power shower heads!! woo hoo! I didn't even know there existed showers with two heads.

Talking of uncontrolled consumption, because it is so cold in the air-conditioned rooms at the Moscone Centre, today James went on an expedition to The North Face on Union Square to buy me an expensively warm deep pink scarf. We had looked at the weather forecast, and so left our thick sweaters at home.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blogging the AGU

Have had a passable (cheap) burrito, a pretty decent Thai dinner, brunch at Dottie's True Blue Cafe (perhaps surprisingly, it really was worth the wait) and a 28oz steak.

OK, I shared the steak, and that list covers both Saturday and Sunday's meals. We also took a tram ride, walked up Vallejo and down Lombard Street and have done a lot of shoe shopping. Both jules and I fall outside the normal size range in Japan, which made that a particular priority here.

I heard there was some sort of conference about to start. Hope it doesn't spoil our holiday. Still got a few more meals to fit in somehow.

SF is fun, but I have to make two complaints. First, coffee in the USA is awful. Weak but somehow also nasty-tasting swill. Yes, I'm sure there are some places to get a decent brew, but a large proportion of what we've had so far has been pretty horrid. I can only imagine that Americans actually like it like that. And secondly, the amount of smoke on the streets is obnoxious. Can't you introduce some Japanese-style laws and make the smokers all lock themselves into smoking rooms where they can all share the love with each other rather than inflicting their habit on normal people? (I know Japan hasn't fully sorted out the restaurant situation yet though, and Kyoto seems worse than Tokyo/Kamakura).

Friday, December 10, 2010

[jules' pics] 12/10/2010 03:16:00 PM

Apple and oranges, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

It turned out that the impossible deadline for spending our budget was little more than a ruse by the bureaucrats, and my recent request for the thinking woman's iPad was approved. So, on the way home from PMIP last night, we dropped into work and picked up an apple and some oranges. Just in time for the AGU.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 12/10/2010 03:16:00 PM

[jules' pics] More Kyoto Orangey


Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 12/10/2010 02:21:00 PM

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

[jules' pics] 12/08/2010 06:54:00 AM

Kyoto Imperial Palace, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Kyoto is orange.

[Kyoto Imperial Palace]

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 12/08/2010 06:54:00 AM

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

[jules' pics] Kyoto is the best

People are always surprised when I say I prefer Kamakura to Kyoto. In Kyoto the temples and shrines are bigger and more beautiful...

kyoto 2

there is a beautiful river down which to take walks...

kyoto 3

there are even beautiful views of Fuji-san on the Shinkansen ride there from Tokyo.

kyoto 1

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 12/06/2010 05:00:00 PM

Saturday, December 04, 2010

[jules' pics] 12/03/2010 09:08:00 PM

Kenchoji Zen pond, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Kenchoji pond in Kamakura. By our calculations, or rather those of TPE, only early in the morning in summer is the pond free of large shadows when the sun is shining.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 12/03/2010 09:08:00 PM

Friday, December 03, 2010

That's told them!

Anyone looking for some Friday afternoon fun need look no further than this. Apparently Halpern et al were completely incorrect in their slap-down of Gerlich and Tseuschner. How can we tell? Why, Gerlich and Tseuschner have told us themselves, with ... a manuscript on the Arxiv.

[jules' pics] PMIP leaf update

Cherry leaves, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

I mentioned previously that many trees including the cherry tree were unusually pretty this year, and turning at the same time as the species more famous for their colour (the gingko and maple). Furthermore there were reports of the best leaf season in Kyoto for a century. It was all looking very promising for the PMIP workshop next week. Unfortunately we have just suffered a massive storm, which has caused many trees to dump all their leaves at once, blocking the drains and causing minor flooding. On the plus side, it is clear blues skies and >20C today, but that wont be much solace for the PMIPpers as they wander through the bare twigs in Kyoto next week.

[photo taken on 21st November, outside work]

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 12/02/2010 09:12:00 PM

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

[jules' pics] 11/29/2010 09:09:00 PM

leaves, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

My friends tell me that the leaves in Kyoto are the best for 100 years, and furthermore that some may still be stuck to the trees next week. Perhaps then, at the upcoming PMIP workshop, those studying the climate of the Last Millennium (tree lovers one and all) should better spend their time in gardens than lecture theatres...

These leaves in merely Kamakura.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/29/2010 09:09:00 PM

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

[jules' pics] 11/28/2010 02:17:00 AM

Help help help help help. WTF is this beast doing munching on camellias in late November? Heard incredibly low buzzing noise. Dismissed it as not possibly a hornet at this time of year - and anyway the noise was too low. Then appeared possibly the largest Vespa mandarinia japonica ever. BBbbuuuUUUUuuuzZZZZZZzzzz...

That's a proper sized camellia not a puny daisy....


[Taken with 300mm telephoto from far faaaar away]

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/28/2010 02:17:00 AM

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

[jules' pics] 11/23/2010 09:51:00 PM

Engakuji Kamakura, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

uh - oh. The leaves are turning in Engakuji (Kamakura), which means they are probably out Kyoto too, a fact confirmed by the national leaf nowcast. So they'll all be fallen off the trees by the PMIP workshop which starts in 11 days... So, just in case any PMIP people do look at this blog - here are some consolation leaves.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/23/2010 09:51:00 PM

Monday, November 22, 2010

Climate Science Rapid Response Team (CSRRT)

A new communication effort has been announced, from the house of Abrahams, Weymann and Mandia (who brought us the Monckton Debuncton).

NAME: Climate Science Rapid Response Team (CSRRT)


WHO & WHAT: The CSSRT is a match-making service between top scientists and members of the media and office holders and their staffs from various levels of government. Our group consists of dozens of leading scientists who wish to improve communication about climate change. The group is committed to providing rapid, high-quality information to media and government officials. Our members have expertise in virtually all areas of climate science and they are available to share their current understanding in a fairly rapid time frame.

HOW IT WORKS: Inquirers will use the form on the Website to identify themselves and to send their questions along with the desired timeframe of the response. That information will immediately be sent to three people: Dr. John Abraham, Dr. Ray Weymann, and Prof. Scott Mandia. These three “match-makers” will immediately notify up to three scientists with the most appropriate expertise. One scientist or one of the three CSRRT match-makers will then respond directly to the inquirer with the correct science information.

WHY WE DO IT: There is a sharp divide between what scientists know about climate change and what the public knows. The scientists of the CSSRT understand that better communication can narrow this gap. The media is in the best position to deliver accurate science information to the general public and to our elected leaders but only if they are provided with that information. The CSRRT is committed to delivering that service We are advocates for science education.

Disclaimer: I'm one of them. But I've seen the list and the others really are top scientists :-)

Pop quiz on responses to Wegman plagiarism accusations

Match the quotes to the quotees.

First the quotes:

1 "Actually fairly shocking," "My own preliminary appraisal would be 'guilty as charged.'"

2 "It kind of undermines the credibility of your work criticizing others' integrity when you don't conform to the basic rules of scholarship" "If I was a peer reviewer of this report and I was to observe the paragraphs they have taken, then I would be obligated to report them" "There are a lot of things in the report that rise to the level of inappropriate."

3 "The plagiarism is fairly obvious when you compare things side-by-side"

4 "wild conclusions that have nothing to do with reality."

5 "Let me say that this is one of the most reprehensible attacks on a reputable scientist that I have seen, and the so-called tsunami of accusations made in regards to climategate are nothing in compared to the attack on Wegman." "To see such a respected academic accused in this way (with the accusations so obviously baseless) is absolutely reprehensible."

And in no particular order, their sources:

A. Cornell physicist Paul Ginsparg, developer of the Arxiv (and some anti-plagiarism tools).

B. Judith Curry, Chair, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology.

C. Ohio State's Robert Coleman, who chairs OSU's misconduct committee

D. Virginia Tech plagiarism expert Skip Garner, who heads a copying detection effort.

E. George Mason University statistician Edward Wegman, lead author of the disputed report.

Answers can be found here and here. Note, however, that the problems with Wegman's report go way beyond mere plagiarism.

Friday, November 19, 2010

[jules' pics] 11/18/2010 11:53:00 PM

leaves! on kumotoriyama, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

The leaf season seems to be different every year. This year all the trees seem to be turning together and the non-momiji are very good. Usually trees like the cherry turn brown and the leaves fall quickly to the ground a few weeks before the gingko and momiji turn brilliant yellow and orange. Here at work the main concern is whether there will be anything left on the trees in Kyoto for the PMIP3 workshop in early December,

This photo was taken around 1000m altitude on a walk in the mountains last weekend with Joel, our super-human friend from Oz. James was kind enough to carry my camera and spare lens most of the time, giving me the chance to not getting too far behind but still take some photos.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/18/2010 11:53:00 PM

Thursday, November 18, 2010

[jules' pics] 11/17/2010 09:43:00 PM

Oxo, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

To counteract the chaos of yesterday's pic, a more ordered urban environment [Oxfooooord, England].

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/17/2010 09:43:00 PM

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

[jules' pics] 11/16/2010 07:56:00 PM

messy tangle, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

The area near work is presently even more attractive than usual, as there are some works underway. Round these parts they drill deeply before erecting a structure of any size, because the ground, reclaimed from the ocean, is so soft. On the other hand the houses appear to have no foundations at all, which is not so encouraging come the earthquake...

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/16/2010 07:56:00 PM

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Hic Hic Hooray!

Off the wagon

The big climate science news of the week (year?) is that the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD) is being added to the Science Citation Index run by Thompson Reuters. Whatever you think about the value of citation indices and metrics as a measure of worth, absence from this master list of journals which are counted (also referred to as "ISI") is basically the kiss of death as many people (funding agencies) take it seriously and will only submit to (or count in assessments) ISI-listed journals. So getting on the list after 2 years - the quickest time possible, at least in normal situations - is an important vote of confidence in what we are doing.

I've hardly mentioned GMD, so it's probably worth a bit more publicity. The journal is under the EGU umbrella, which means open access and the open peer review system I'm mentioned a few times before. The basic purpose of yet another journal is, as the blurb states, to provide a

"journal dedicated to the publication and public discussion of the description, development and evaluation of numerical models of the Earth System and its components."
The journal's origins (as people who know the exec eds may guess) lie in the clique of people who worked together within the GENIE project. Jules has always claimed credit for originating the idea, and on checking my old email I see she first suggested it back in 2006. A handful of us agreed it was a good idea, and the EGU bigwigs were also receptive, so after quite a lot of thought about how we could really structure things (white paper), the journal was launched in early 2008. It's been growing steadily since then thanks in particular to Dan Lunt's efforts, and all the recent fuss about "publishing code" obviously has provided some additional momentum, Efforts like the Climate Code Foundation (see here and longer article here) are certainly very complementary (eg letter here), though maybe our goals aren't precisely the same. We have always been more focussed on the discussion and dissemination of the techniques, and scientific reproducibility of the outputs, rather than open source per se (though obviously open source is welcome where possible).

RC have put up a post about publishing code too. I find myself in partial agreement with them that it's difficult in practice, and maybe not always so useful as it might at first appear. However, I think it's important to look at this as a positive step in the right direction, and not be too critical of the inevitable limitations. Ultimately, the future is shaped by those people who do it, and not those who are pulled along behind reluctantly, dragging their heels. Just to be clear, that is not a dig at RC, but a more general comment about some who have not been particularly well-disposed towards the idea (a few of whom have, to their credit, changed their minds in the past 2 years). It's going to happen anyway, and my view is that it might as well be approached in as positive and useful a manner as is reasonably practicable.

More from the department of Something Must be Done

Not to be outdone by the UK's ban on toner cartridges, Japan Post has upped the ante with a ban on sending all parcels weighing over a pound. Unfortunately, this only applies to parcels being sent airmail to the USA, so we can't use it as an excuse for not being able to send any Christmas presents back to the UK. A few thousand USA expats must be heaving a sigh of relief though :-)

The Japanese seem to blame the USA for imposing onerous restrictions (press release), but I don't think any other country has simply given up sending parcels as a response.

Friday, November 12, 2010

[jules' pics] 11/12/2010 03:48:00 AM

Stoat is feeling blue, because it is so grey outside in his country. So here is some blue to help him feel less blue.

This was a morning of dentists, but I did not photograph them. Instead I photographed the dazzling sights along my journey. Starting in Yokohama at 9am, I then got transferred to the big dental hospital in Tsurumi. Got back to work by 2:30pm. The speed with which these things happen here never ceases to amaze. (I have complicated teeth due to having tried to eat a Harley Davidson motorcycle in 1997.)

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/12/2010 03:48:00 AM

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kamakura lockdown


We have plans to climb a mountain this weekend, but are not at all sure if we will be allowed out of the house. It has been rumoured that the Daibutsu has requested an audience with Barack Obama.

[jules' pics] Dragonaphobes look away now!

Kenchoji detail


Dragons are almost as common as spiders in Kamakura. They come in a wide range of sizes, tend to be more serpentine than dinosaury, but are mostly tame and friendly.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/10/2010 09:16:00 PM

Think ahead!

Seems pretty amazing to see such long-term planning:
"JR Tokai hopes to open the new maglev train line between Tokyo's Shinagawa Station and Nagoya in 2027, and the maglev line between Tokyo and Osaka in 2045."

They don't even care about things like recession:

"As construction will take a long time, building the maglev line should not be adversely affected by worsening economic conditions," a source close to the subcommittee said.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

[jules' pics] 11/08/2010 09:04:00 PM

Dog and owner, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

After all the scary buddhas and terrifying spiders, I'd better show something fluffy. Blonde fluffy child and blonde fluffy dog, at a village dog show in middle england, and curiously not in the dog-handler lookalike round, although, of course there was one...

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/08/2010 09:04:00 PM

Monday, November 08, 2010

[jules' pics] Arachnaphobes look away now!

Japanese spidey

Japanese spidey

Japanese spidey

As I have remarked before, despite being the size of your hand, the nephila clavata, tends to build her webs above head height, presumably so that she doesn't have to keep rebuilding it all the time. Thus, taking a good macro shot is usually impossible. Off the beaten track in deepest dankest Kamakura, however, the webs are strung about the low bows of the trees. Eeeek!

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/07/2010 11:49:00 PM

Sunday, November 07, 2010

[jules' pics] How to make mochi

How to make mochi

Mochi is rice pounded until it forms a glutinous mass. Very nice dried and toasted with sweet beans, at New Year it is eaten in soup, from where it suffocates a handful of old people each year. The idea is to pound the rice like you were trying to kill it, while missing the fingers of your partner who turns the rice over in between each stroke.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/06/2010 11:45:00 PM

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Where's the beef, Curry?


What, after a title like that, you expect some content too? Oh, ok then. Here goes.

This post was supposed to be a response to Curry's much-awaited attempt to resuscitate her "Italian Flag". She first said she'd write something on Tuesday, then it became Friday, now it is promised for some time over the weekend. Maybe.

It seems she is far too busy to deal with this minor issue (which underpins, or rather undermines, every quantitative statement she has made regarding the purported failings of the IPCC analysis). Too busy throwing up increasingly hysterical blogorrhea about the "high priests of the IPCC". One of her recent gems is to use the fact that some headline-writer used the term "heretic" to describe her (which she is clearly thrilled by) as evidence that the IPCC is dogma-ridden. Because the definition of heresy is opposition to dogma. When faced with such incisive logic, what can we do but bow down before her genius? Well, "point and laugh" springs to mind too.

She is even recycling the Santer thing. She doesn't seem to realise that (as Jonathan Gilligan points out) this story is ancient discredited history and her attempts to bring it up again only show how completely vacuous her position is.

Back to the flag, or should I call it a shroud, as its only value seems to be in wrapping the corpse of her case. She seems to think that replying to our criticisms (me and me again echoing mt) is beneath her, as we are only insignificant people well off her radar and she really wants to attract the attention of those with "stature" such as Gavin Schmidt and Joe Romm. Well, the topic of of probability in climate change is very much my turf, and the fact that she doesn't seem to realise that reflects rather more on her (complete lack of) engagement and understanding with the field, than it does on me. Don't take my word for it, let Google Scholar be your guide, here and here. Yeah, I know I'm not really a major player in the great scheme of things, but compared to her I am (on this topic). My apologies if providing actual evidence frightens those who prefer the new style of content-free verbiage.

She's really building up quite a history of throwing up vague or demonstrably wrong claims, then running away when shown to be wrong. Here on the no-feedback climate sensitivity, for example. Gryposaurus took her to task here on aerosols and D&A (based partly on comments from Gavin) and found her response lacking. Here is Eric Steig refuting her absurd claim about the IPCC that "they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC." Her eventual response (which had to be dragged out of her through repeated challenges that she kept on ducking) was merely to dismiss it as an "anecdote", even though one single case serves to refutes her claim. Well, I don't think I got quite such a rapturous response as Eric did, with my attempts to improve the AR4 drafts, but I certainly didn't get trampled and discredited either - merely made to feel mildly unwelcome, which I find tends to happen when I criticise people outside the IPCC too. But they did change the report in various ways. While I'm not an unalloyed fan of the IPCC process, my experience is not what she describes it as. So make that two anecdotes. Maybe I'm an "insider" too, in her book :-) If she ever deigns to address the substantive point on probability, maybe she can let me know, but I'm not holding my breath. Her main tactic seems to be throwing up layers upon layers of an increasing shaky edifice as quickly as possible hoping that no-one will notice that the foundations are collapsing as quickly as people can read.

Silver lining: even Keith Kloor seems to be getting frustrated with her (eg here and his other comments on that post).

Update 7 Oct: Might as well add another classic Curry failure to come up with any content on this thread here culled from RC, where she starts off by puffing the Montford Delusion book and when "her" points are demolished, promptly disowns them as not really her opinions at all, just something she read somewhere. And here is the car-crash that is her promotion of Wegman that she rapidly backtracks from. I'm sure there are more. To be honest it's a bit of a pain tracking these various conversations across several blogs comment threads with low signal-to-noise, which is partly why I'm not joining in with them much.

Friday, November 05, 2010

More on Leake

So the mention of Leake on this post seems to have got everyone very excited. Coincidentally, Simon Lewis (who also commented on the previous article) has an article in Nature about the Amazon thing. And as well as doing some more digging, I've had a couple of emails directly from Jonathan Leake himself, though he didn't want them published.

Lewis and Monbiot both seem to accept that the main cause of the problem was probably some last-minute behind-the-scenes editing rather than Leake, and I see no reason to doubt them. It obviously shows up the Sunday Times in a poor light, not only that they could have collectively done such a horrible job, but that they took so long to sort it out afterwards. But it looks more of a collective focus on "controversy" rather than a specifically sceptic agenda per se, though I'm not sure if that really makes it any better. While I'm certainly not averse to journalists doing a bit of investigation and asking difficult questions (rather than merely parrotting press releases) it's important to be fair and honest in their reporting, or else they risk losing public where have I heard that before?

I'm not going to delve into the failures or otherwise in the IPCC process itself right now, because from my POV that is somewhat tangential to the main issue. Lewis got his honestly-held opinions badly misrepresented so as to make it look like he was saying something that was diametrically opposed to his real views. Whether he is right or wrong isn't actually the point here.

[jules' pics] Wednesday was Culture Day

He looks a bit hungry


Although some believe the best way to gain enlightenment is to eat just one grain of rice a day, all the living monks at Kenchoji, that we visited for Culture Day, were pleasantly plump. Do you think the two statues are of the same man?

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 11/05/2010 01:16:00 AM

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Climate Change Question Time

This event in London later this month (arranged as part of the Isaac Newton Institute programme that I recently attended) seems to be open to the public and may be interesting for some of you:

Dissemination Event for Government and Finance Industry: "Climate Change Question Time"

But don't get too excited, it seems likely to be oversubscribed and you might not get a seat...

As noted in the comments, one Jonathan Leake (of Leakegate climate story fabrication fame) is listed on the poster as being the Chair of the first debate. I have emailed the organisers about this.

War on toner cartridges

Once again proving that life is far stranger than fiction...

Unbelievable as it may sound, following the recent bomb attempt, there really is a ban on carrying toner cartridges in hand baggage.

It's like a crazy mix of Simon Says meets 1984 meets Viz:

Bin Laden says...
And now...
I mean really, WTF? Is the British public so gobsmackingly stupid, the press so craven and cowardly, and the politicians so...despicably political, that this is going to go through on the nod? Just so we can all agree that Something has been Done?

I do pity the poor person who until this day has religiously carried a spare printer toner cartridge in his carry-on baggage for every trip, just in case he ran out while on holiday. Whoever he is, he'll be gutted that the terrorists didn't use...I dunno, a camera? An airconditioner? A box? Anything other than a toner cartridge!

Monday, November 01, 2010

[jules' pics] 10/31/2010 10:04:00 PM

Hachimangu Heron, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

The lotus have been cleared from the large pond at Hachimangu, but curiously they remain on the smaller one, giving this heron one last chance for a discreet bit of fishing.

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 10/31/2010 10:04:00 PM

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Some of my best friends are ginger rodents

Ginger Rodent

Coincidentally (or not) our first pair of rats were called Harriet and Edwina. Edwina became reasonably friendly but Harriet was always a rather a shrill and vicious piece of work. Widget, on the other hand, is very friendly and well-trained.

(S)He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense

So I realise that I'm sort of contradicting myself in going on about this, but I think it's important to be clear about it, especially as it's more-or-less on my home turf and I certainly don't want Michael Tobis to think he's out on a limb (or perhaps more likely, for his readers and especially critics to think he's out on a limb). So let's make this plain:

The "Italian Flag" analysis, at least as implemented by Judith Curry, is incoherent nonsense. She displays no clarity of thought on what the categories actually mean, or whether there is any workable calculus underpinning the whole thing. Going back to the original documents that she cites, it looks like it might have be supposed to have something in common with Dempster-Schafer theory, but I'm not sure about that and it's certainly not compatible with her usage. While it might be possible to reverse-engineer some semblance of sense into some of her statements regarding it, they are mutually incoherent.

And to those who are trying to change the subject and claim that these numerical details don't matter, you are dead wrong. If her accusations of IPCC errors regarding uncertainty are to have any credibility whatsoever, it can only be through her own analysis demonstrating such errors. So far, as Stoat also points out, she has run away from basically every challenge, merely saying things like the following, on a lengthy collide-a-scape comment thread:
"The fact that the climate blogging community doesn’t get what I’m talking about makes me pretty worried about the intellectual foundations underpinning the whole argument."
Well yes, Judith, when you find that everyone else is out of step, it is probably appropriate to worry about the intellectual foundations underpinning your whole argument. But somehow I don't think you meant that.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

[jules' pics] 10/30/2010 06:07:00 AM

, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

We never did buy an iPad. I'd called it "an iPod for the over forties", and soon enough I realised we aren't yet sufficiently over forty, as we can still read tiny iPod fonts. At the same time I started to refer to the MacBookAir as, "the thinking man's iPad". See appropriate photo of men thinking.

It is such a good feeling when other people take your ideas and run with them... the new MBA has an 11 inch version! If only we still had that extra budget to use up; I'm sure they would have been allowed in the rules...which must mean they are boring and useless?

Posted By jules to jules' pics at 10/30/2010 06:07:00 AM