NASA Movie on Hubble

April 28, 2010

What a great video from NASA about the History of Hubble–fantistic summary of a fantastics and earth-changing machine.

Nice Photos on CNN Web Site about Scotland

April 28, 2010

Some beautiful pictures of a beautify country.

We Probably Need to Get Used to this Volcano

April 18, 2010

From today’s Telegraph newspaper, word is that this personal and economic disruption could last some time:

The significance is that andesite has a markedly higher gas content than basalt. This may mean that even after all the ice in the crater has melted, the exploding volcano will continue to throw ash into the air rather than simply produce lava flows.

Blame and the Volcano Dust

April 18, 2010

It is refreshing, that so far, despite the world-wide personal and economic disruption, I’m reading and hearing nothing about calls for blaming anyone for this issue. Blame has not entered the conversation. Nor should it ever.

Plans Change due to Volcano

April 15, 2010

I happened to be in London for a terrific 2-day conference. The first day exceeded my expectations and I was looking forward to the second. I woke up early this morning to hear the news reports about the volcano in Iceland which erupted over night and its ash cloud caused all airports in Scotland to be shutdown, with the rest of the country expected to shutdown very soon. Within minutes after hearing of that, I received a text message from my airline advising that my flight tonight was cancelled.

I pondered that and decided that this situation would lead to transportation chaos throughout the country. I decided to skip the second day of the conference and head to take the first train home. I end up getting on a train which departed London at 9:00 a.m. and it’s fully loaded.
The rest of the day will be difficult for those stuck away from home and having expected to travel. I can’t help thinking that this could last a while.

Not in My Backyard

April 11, 2010
By accident I came across notice of a plan to install a single wind turbine “in my back yard”.
The link to the Edinburgh City Planning Department for this application is here. I can’t tell from documents here (yet) who is behind this other than it appears to be by the owners of and on the site of the “secret” nuclear bunker which was situated on Corstorphine Hill. The view from my back yard would be as shown below.
I am going to look into this. Not in my back yard.
P.S. On 13 April have written a letter to the Edinburgh City Planning Department stating our objections on the grounds of blight, noise and visual pollution, safety risks, destroying rare urban natural beauty, lack of adequate planning notification, and “debatable and probably wrong” assertions in the applicants planning documents.

Recordings of "Handling Uncertainty in Science"

April 8, 2010

Recordings of the March 22-23, 2010 Royal Society (UK) meeting on “Handling Uncertainty in Science” are now available for listening and downloading. See

April 1, 2010

Ross McKitrick writes on failing to get a paper published that required the “revered” peer-review process.

“This is the story of how I spent 2 years trying to publish a paper that refutes an important claim in the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The claim in question is not just wrong, but based on fabricated evidence. Showing that the claim is fabricated is easy: it suffices merely to quote the section of the report, since no supporting evidence is given. But unsupported guesses may turn out to be true. Showing the IPCC claim is also false took some mundane statistical work, but the results were clear. Once the numbers were crunched and the paper was written up, I began sending it to science journals. That is when the runaround began. Having published several against-the-flow papers in climatology journals I did not expect a smooth ride, but the process eventually became surreal.”

Heard about this on Bishop Hill‘s blog.