Friday, September 25, 2015 TANSTAAFL

Otherwise known as, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. At least, there isn't any longer in the Climate Division at NCAR.

It feels like a long time ago that we last dropped in to give seminars at NCAR. Well, perhaps that's not so surprising as it was during our previous careers :-) The origin of our current trip was actually jules being invited to NY for a workshop on monsoons and the ITCZ which she played a modest role in organising (from the paleo end of things). She also managed to drop in on GISS in the same week, and we decided that we ought to also fit in a holiday trip to Boulder within the same carbon footprint. Jules shoehorned dropped this into conversation with Bette several months ago who arranged for us to visit on Tuesday to give a seminar at NCAR, which is available on the web (my part and jules) for those who wish they were there. I rambled rather incoherently about independence in the context of climate model ensembles and constraints on climate sensitivity, and jules presented some hot new results based on simulations of the mid-Pliocene. Both ideas are scheduled for writing up before the end of the year (now there's a hostage to fortune).

It was all rather fun and we had some interesting discussions after lunch. The only disappointment was finding that this time we had to pay for said lunch ourselves! US taxpayers will no doubt be relieved that we did not add to your burgeoning national debt, else it might well have been the taco that finally broke the camel's back. It was probably worth it for the hour of ultra-fast wifi that enabled us to set up our new apple products.

Quite by chance I also spotted that there was a workshop at NCAR this week on Thursday and Friday on the topic of “Climate Informatics” so we arranged to go to that too. I've got myself accidentally roped in to a panel discussion on the topic of “Encoding climate knowledge into climate learning”. Yes, I also had to ask what that meant :-) If you tune in to the webcast from 2-3pm local time on Friday afternoon, you can find out for yourself!

The holiday proper starts on Saturday.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

[jules' pics] NY pics #2

Walking is a bit frustrating in NY. On the streets there's a crossing every few feet. It is quite right than no pedestrians obey the signals as, if they did, making progress would be impossible. In some places there is the option of a park to walk through, but the routes are quite twisty so I'm not sure much time is saved. Then there's the roads alongside the park which should be fast, as there are fewer junctions, and fewer twists, but the one I tried around central park was a bit rubbish due to the roots of the trees making the surface very uneven. With all these hazards, I was almost late for the start of the workshop!
Anyway, here's some park.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 9/16/2015 11:47:00 PM

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

[jules' pics] NY pics

Here to learn about rain in the past present and future, but the workshop didn't start until noon yesterday, so there was time for a bit of walking about and photographing. Photos with real camera but blogging from iPad so not sure how well these will work (anyone know a good photoblogging app?!).

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 9/16/2015 01:15:00 PM

New York

Last week I was warned by one of my friends in Japan that New York is tiny, but I didn't really believe them. But - it's just so cute I wanna wrap it up and take it home! The people are very polite (I was shocked - more than once people stepped back and waited while I took a photo.) and friendly, and unlike San Francisco, you don't have to be always taking care not to tread on the bodies of the people with mental health problems. It's like a Toytown Tokyo, but with pedestrians who don't hold with obeying road crossing instructions or squashing up in the train.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Big Apple

Climate scientists may not be fully accepting if you bring the wrong sort of apple to a meeting. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Location location location

Barely two week after we put a sign on the gate, we have sold Sea Neuk. At least, the sale is agreed in principle and it's in the hands of the lawyers. The Scottish system (which I've never been involved in before) doesn't seem quite as different from the English one as it is sometimes said, and there is no legally binding contract at this point so I'm not going to say too much about it in case it falls though. But at the time of writing both sides seem very keen to see things through to completion fairly speedily. Having the survey and valuation done in advance does mean there is less to go wrong at this point.

It turned out to be remarkably easy at least in some respects: all we really had to do was to hang a sign on the gate and wait for the crowds to flood in. We also had a short list of people who had said over the years "if you are ever thinking of selling..." and several of them were still seriously interested. We originally set out intending to use an agent, but that didn't work out for various reasons. Of course it was hard work doing the viewings (my sister did the bulk of this), but the whole process only took 2 weeks from start to finish. A standard way of arranging a sale in Scotland is to ask for sealed bids by a specific closing date, but since we were there and able to talk to the hopeful buyers directly we ended up just accepting a verbal (actually emailed) offer which was then repeated formally through the solicitors. I wouldn't necessarily recommend our course of action to everyone trying to sell a house, but it seems to have worked out reasonably well given the circumstances.

Still got the house clearance to think about, but perhaps life will return to normal soon after that...

Monday, August 17, 2015


Just in case you needed another reason for buying Sea Neuk, it comes with a limitless supply of tasty wild rabbit, like this one which has just had a few hours in the slow cooker with some red wine and a large bunch of rosemary.

My bloodthirsty hungry sister tells me that she's bagged one since I was last there. Actually, before I get savaged by the bunny-huggers, I should let on that I didn't shoot this one either.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Spot the difference

This Greek thing seems to be all the rage on some blogs I could mention, but I struggle to get excited by it. According to the Grauniad website today, The IMF views a debt-to-GDP ratio above 120% as unsustainable. Here, for some context, are some recent data for a couple of countries:

I won't be offering prizes for guessing the identities of Countries A and B. One of them has a collapsing population (1 million down in the past 5y, will be dropping at a rate of 1m per year by 2030), a flatlining economy, and a skyrocketing worker-to-dependent ratio that will exceed unity by the middle of the century (and keep on getting worse). The other is Greece.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sea Neuk is for sale

Just along the shore from the glass eyesore mentioned in this post, (which incidentally is down to 1.25 million but is still just as ugly and hopelessly overpriced) is a beautiful Victorian villa, which was the first house to be built in the area in the early 1860s. My grandfather bought it in 1953, and for many years my grandmother spent all her summers there (living a short drive away in Edinburgh).

More recently, we've all been living much further away and it hasn't seen so much use. So after a bit lot! of dithering, we have finally and somewhat reluctantly decided to sell it. See more at Serious enquiries welcome.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

[jules' pics] garden

Almost a year since we completed on our house in Settle. The garden is a bit over-occupied. Being not that large and yet with 5 woodland trees it has an almost continuous canopy to offset its unremittingly sunny aspect. It is similarly full of flowers. They are mostly new to me so I have been mostly just watching them this year. I think the previous people planted a lot of stuff, and there could also a villageurbia effect of things escaping from nearby gardens.

Posted By Blogger to jules' pics at 8/09/2015 03:47:00 PM