Archive for the ‘Wow!’ Category

This is neat

Monday, September 20th, 2010

To celebrate his being awarded a knighthood, Terry Pratchett forged his own sword.

Aluminum that’s as strong as steel

Monday, September 20th, 2010

The process doesn’t sound very economical just yet, though.

A pretty view

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Marion and I went for a walk this evening. The weather was turning cool and damp, with light sprinkling. When we turned around to go back, we saw this double rainbow:

Double Rainbow

A few minutes later, the clouds to the west had cleared a little, and the rainbow was brighter.

Bright Rainbow

Very pretty.

A billion here, a trillion there …

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

… and soon it becomes harder to personalize the visualization.

You think you’ve got snow?

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

You don’t have snow.

We’ve been having snow here in the Denver area for the last couple days, but nothing like that shown in those photos. I’ve seen snow that matches the photos of the “roads with walls” before – I’ve driven on roads like that in rural Idaho in the late 1970s, and parts of Rabbit Ears Pass look like that almost every time I drive that way.

An inspirational story

Monday, December 14th, 2009

The man who smuggled himself into Auschwitz.

I read about people such as Denis Avey and their actions, and I am awed and humbled.

Charlatans and thieves

Friday, November 27th, 2009

I’ve always been suspicious of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). I don’t doubt that climate is changing; it’s always changing. I’ve just been leery of trusting the predictions, particularly since reading some years ago that scientists can’t tell whether clouds are an overall positive or negative contributor.

It now appears that that mistrust was justified; the release of the emails and other files from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit demonstrate that these people have been lying for years in order to advance the agenda of the “we’re all gonna die – government’s gotta take charge now!” people.

These people aren’t doing science; there’s evidence that they’ve colluded to prevent scientists with contrary positions from being published, lamented that they had to manipulate the data because it didn’t match their positions, and conspired to thwart releasing their data and code in response to Freedom of Information requests.

Even though it’s an English university, it’s important to Americans – indeed, to everyone in the world. It’s apparently one of four “authoritative” climate research centers in the world, and is partially supported by funds from American taxpayers.

People have pointed out suspicious language (“hide the decline”) and possible criminal conspiracies in the emails, but the key files appear to be related to the computer code they used for their “models.” I put the word “models” in quotes because they don’t appear to have actually used any modeling in their projections; they merely extrapolated trend lines. Unfortunately, the trends they’re extrapolating don’t appear to be real and accurate. Not only have people found artificial “hockey-stick-shaped” corrections in the code that get applied to the data, there is a file named Harry_Read_Me.txt in the released files which contains the notes of a programmer working on the code they used to make their projections. Among his notes and comments, we find the information that he couldn’t replicate their published results, and that the data files were improperly identified, didn’t have consistent format, and had automatic and manual adjustments applied to them. When the CRU “scientists” blew off a FOIA request by saying that they’d “lost” the original data (at least one of the emails contained a threat to delete the data rather than release it), they may not have been lying.

Replication is key to science. Scientists are expected to release their data and methodology, and other scientists are expected to try to poke holes in it. The CRU people have prevented this, and along with the revelations in these files, it means that everything the CRU has released that promotes the view that AGW is real and a problem has been discredited. We can’t trust anything they’ve said. It also means that none of the actions that have been called for to deal with the “problem” of AGW should be taken – why should we take action based on information that we can neither trust nor verify?

This issue not been covered much by the major new media. Ace notes that that fits his expectations that, with respect to hacked information, the media cover the contents of the information if it works against the right, and focuses on the method of acquisition if it works against the left.

Reference links:

A personal history of dealing with CRU concerning FOI requests.

Daily Bayonet’s Weekly Roundup

A good roundup on the CRU computer code.

Charles Martin on the CRU computer programs. Don’t miss this comment, specifically, the second paragraph.

Good information on Harry_Read_Me.txt here, particularly in the comments.

More on the computer programs.

Something else about one of the CRU “scientists” here.

This is not related to the CRU scandal, but it shows how much of our efforts may be incorrectly-focused.

Thoughts from esr on transparency and trust in science.

I’ve written about AGW before, here and here. I thought I’d written about the discovery that the famous “hockey-stick” graph of global temperatures was based on cherry-picked data, but I guess I hadn’t.

Lovely to look at

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

I don’t remember the links that got me there, but here is a page of photos of Ziegfield girls.

Some are slightly risque, but, overall? Absolutely beautiful.


Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Years ago, I read the book Autumn Lightning: The Education of an American Samurai. One of the scenes I remember from the book is a description of an iaido exercise involving a simultaneous draw and strike that cuts through a falling dewdrop.

I was a lot younger then (Amazon’s listing is for the 2001 printing; there’s an earlier one from 1985), and I had difficulty imagining that such things could actually be done, or verified in a training environment. I could see hitting a raindrop, but splitting it? I thought it more an ideal to reach for, in a “the journey is the destination” sense.

Well, now I’ve seen something that removes any lingering doubt that I had. Some of what is done in this video can be verified just from the end results, but the use of a high-speed camera to provide super-slow motion shows how truly impressive a skilled practitioner can be.