Monday, December 14, 2009

A Euler massage

UPDATE - it turns out that the diagram I previously posted is a Euler diagram, rather than a Venn diagram. Apologies for my ignorance. Here's another handy one to make up for it:

from hand of Roy:

Wyn [of Reith days, from whence NYK first sprang] sent me this extremely useful diagram, having fallen foul of my pedantry:

It's amazing how a good diagram can ease one's understanding. I thought I was pretty up to speed on the whole issue of British borders, but this brought added clarity to the whole thing - it'll will make good recommended reading the next time I have to explain to any newbies how I can be British and English, whilst also coming from Scotland.

It doesn't however help explain why I sometimes have to edit that description depending on the company I'm in. Or how I'm at once one half Scottish, one half Indian and one whole English, yet am just one Briton! I need my own Euler diagram.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Climate Tricks

By Gareth. i.e. verbose entry warning...

I watched a debate the other night between amongst others George Monbiot on one side and Lord Nigel Lawson on the other (Maggie's chancellor of the exchequer) and something Lawson kept bringing up that was not properly refuted by Monbiot bugged me. It was this: "Global warming has stopped in the last decade". Monbiot's refutation was that 8 out of 10 of the hottest years on record have been since 2001. Which is absolutely correct, but argued Lawson, using an analogy, if population growth stopped in 2000 the last few years would still have the highest recorded number of people on the planet (ie growth stagnated). So, with that in mind I thought I'd get hold of any evidence Lawson had to prove his point then look at the data which exists in the public realm to try and back that up. With a little help from a timely Guardian article I found that Lawson is Chairman of the board of trustees of the Global Warming Policy Foundation and that their website hosts the image I've added below showing an apparent cooling or end of global warming on the header of each page (sorry it's small go to the website to see it more clearly). So here it is, Lawson's evidence for the end of global warming.

Next step, try and reproduce it using any of the global datasets that exist. I.e. the ones from the UK Met Office (HadCRUT), NASA (GISS) and the National Climatic Data Center in the US (NOAA).

I've attached another two images. The first is the entire record of temperature on land and ocean for the last 100+ years (depending on dataset, e.g HadCRUT goes back to 1850) for all three datasets. This is no small piece of work, it comes from multiple measurements and many stations around the globe and has nicely been hosted for us all to look at at the above websites (who said we couldn't get access to this stuff?!).

The first thing to point out is that any monkey could tell you that the overall trend here is 'up' ie warmer and that if you took any one ten-year section you could probably find a decrease in temperature and conclude that global warming had stopped when the overall trend is still, our monkey tells us, UP. In other words we have natural variability in the climate. But let us ignore that for it is not convenient in my search for something to back up the claim that global warming has stopped in the last ten years. How best to do this? Well, the best way I can think to do this is pick the hottest year on record (that has the biggest positive anomaly from the baseline), from the one data set that works best for us to be our starting point, then see the decline from here on in. To do this we have to ignore the NOAA and GISS datasets as they have 2005 as the hottest year and it's quite tricky to claim global warming has ended when the hottest year on record is within your frame of reference. No, much better would be to pick the the HadCRUT data (red line on above figure) as this has 1998 as the hottest year, and well, it's British so it must be better. Now, what else can we do? Well, 2009 so far is looking pretty warm on the grand scheme (see that awkward upwards tick at the end of the red line above), and you know it's only December, so we don't have a full years record yet so let's drop that point and just use 1998 to 2008 and have a look at the beautiful decline like on Lawson's website header.

Wait, what's that? Even when I do that (last image) I STILL get an upwards trend on all three datasets. Bugger. Oh well, maybe I'll just re-draw my own image with fictitious points to match my argument (you'll note that as the Guardian article above points out this image has 2003 and 2005 level pegging for temp on their image, they aren't, and 2006 and 2007 warmer than 2004, again they're not) and put that on the top of my website, much better.

UPDATE: I just noticed, after having written this, that real climate beat me to it a few months back. Still it's good to do these things for yourself every now and then huh?!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reel to Reel

Originally uploaded by Spherical Roy
Some photos from Forth St, specifically a lovely reel-to-reel tape machine Gal has there, uploaded to Flickr..

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I'm not sure quite why this excites me so much, but it does..


Friday, October 09, 2009


Now available in Calgary...

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Cool tool assessing the walkability of where you live. I.e. how many destinations can you get to without the need to get in a car. It's not perfect (uses as crow flies distances) but certainly gives you a flavour of how walkable a place can be.

p.s. our house gets a "very walkable" 71 whilst the old rupert street pad scores a "walkers paradise" at 93. Unfortunately the comparison tool only works for US cities, maybe they'll get on that and we can see how we rank compared to our urban neighbours....

Friday, August 28, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Originally uploaded by Spherical Roy
I did a recording for Aby on Thursday - have uploaded some photos to Flickr, plus a load of other random ones from this summer so far - turning out to be a good un!

Monday, July 20, 2009

How to attain material wealth, and more..

This is the protocol that I am increasingly using whenever I decide that I need something:

borrow it (added bonus: interacting with humanity) - friends and hirers are a wonderful thing! NB: you can't google for friends, you can google for hirers. I mean you can google for friends, but you shouldn't need to.

make it (added bonus: interacting with your brain) - google for how tos or look on instructables/makezine

get it for free
- look on freecycle/gumtree free stuff, check the streets the night before bulk uplift day

get it second hand
- look on gumtree/ebay, check the charity shops/bulletin boards

get it cheap - froogle it, or look on amazon marketplace/buy online

get it expensively
(added, debatable, bonus: interacting with the physical world) - go to an actual shop!

Obviously it depends what it is and why you want it, but it's amazing how often this can be applied to a want!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Fine Hour Indeed

I must say I have been enjoying Guy Garvey's Finest Hour on 6Music of late. Almost makes me think that the British implementation of digital radio has been worthwhile. No, hang on, nothing will make me think that.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Friday, July 03, 2009

How to Think, Say, or Do Precisely the Worst Thing for Any Occasion

Brilliant paper in this week's Science (which you probably can't read unless you have a subscription) dealing with our inability to avoid the things (thoughts, actions, comments) we actively wish to avoid. Or in the words of the author:

"... the precisely counterintentional error. This is when we manage to do the worst possible thing, the blunder so outrageous that we think about it in advance and resolve not to let that happen."

I can't help but to think of certain scenarios I've experienced where this is exactly the consequence of suppression of thoughts. 'I couldn't be more embarrassed right now' said the friend who's skirt promptly fell to the ground in a room full of people. And as for the spilling red wine example, I honestly don't think I spill many liquids at all in my life, but give me a glass of red wine and a white carpet to walk over and it's almost a guarantee.

I'll leave you with an urge to read the paper and one of my favourite lines from it:

"Ironic lapses of mental control often appear when we attempt to be socially desirable, as when we try to keep our minds out of the gutter."

Wegner, Daniel, M., 2009. How to Think, Say, or Do Precisely the Worst Thing for Any Occasion. Science: Vol. 325. no. 5936, pp. 48 - 50 DOI: 10.1126/science.1167346

Monday, June 15, 2009

Guardian Bike Blog

Not sure what happened to Two wheels but here's a new guardian bike blog to add to the ol' blogroll

Friday, May 29, 2009

Spring in the Rockies

Mount Indefatigable
Originally uploaded by ofreflection

Dumped some photos over at flickr from some great camping/hiking last weekend. We headed out to Kananaskis for Sean's birthday and our first summer outing to the mountains for the year. Camping in the shoulder season can always be interesting given the amount of snow still on the ground, but thankfully we're a little older and wiser and have some pretty kick-ass camping pads to take the edge of the chill. The best part of the weekend though was the amount of wildlife we saw. Sadly not many photos of said encounters due to general flightiness of the wildlife or the scarediness of the photo-takers... Ignoring the marmots/ground squirrels, jays, deer, elk and sheep, because, well, they're just not that interesting, we had a very near encounter with a Grizzly, what we probably think was a Moose and a not so near miss with a Black bear. All of which neither of us have ever seen in our 2.5 years here so far. The Grizzly was spotted about 50m up the ridge from us, before disappearing into the woods. Seems he didn't want to see us either. We made a hellova noise clasped our bear spray and pushed on when we thought he'd gone, but not 100m further on strange noises were emanating from the trees beside us. At this point, we're almost literally in between a rock and a hard place, the rock being the cliff off to our right and the hard place the noises from the trees to our left. With the assistance of Sean's penchant for photographing shit (literally) and a handy 'identifying shit' card in the campsite we came to the conclusion that we'd had a near miss with a Moose. A Moose is probably more dangerous than a Grizzly and so the hike was aborted. Grizzly plus Moose was enough for one hike. We moved off and did another hike to a frozen lake where we were all jubilant that the snow was still on the ground and thus we could see any prints - there were none. Jo reported the bear sighting and was then told that not long after we'd seen the Grizzly it (assuming it was the same one is probably fair) had popped out of the woods on some unsuspecting fishermen below the ridge we'd been hiking. Apparently they weren't too happy we'd scared it off the mountain... To top the weekend off, the next day we saw a Black Bear running across the ice on the half-frozen lake we were lazing around by. This time we were much more pleased to see the bear, we had about 300m of open water between us and a car parked not 10m behind us. Even in my decrepit state i figured i could make that 10m before he swam his 300 but thankfully we didn't have to race. Instead we watched from afar and played on the beach. Good times. You should come visit.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tapehead on tour

Not really, but we went to Manchester and Jonnie, though rather irritatingly at the time, beautifully documented the whole affair in this handy video, which contains one rude gesture, one reference to a dog's penis and much hilarity.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Anyone for pies?

Mr. Kipling has posted a fine set of his early mixes, before he got into all this techno rubbish..

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Originally uploaded by Spherical Roy
Images from my weekend in Skye with Naeeda, Nyrika, David and Shiraz are up at Flickr.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Get her George!

This from Sloggee, Gilligan:

have you seen this? a further response to monbiot's feud with blears as mentioned on the slog -

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hindi Indie

Just watched Tinselworm and thought this bit would interest some of the slog readers. The rest of the dvd is pretty good too...

Kite flying the Neel

Originally uploaded by Spherical Roy
Have posted some pics from my Easter weekend in the St. Annes set.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Colourblind, moi?

Yes, this *is* how my co-writer and I see the world. Its terrible, give us cake.

via Mr. Kipling.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

dBass upgrade

Wow. I just spent much of the day re-writing dBass' website for Blogger. Do let me know what you think of it, it still needs some tweaks but I'm done for the day!

The full joke, courtesy of the Adam & Joe Show Radiogram

After both amusing and annoying myself all week with merely a punchline, I had to go back to check the setup for that joke:

What do you call a Scottish cow sitting down?

(ie. Annie Lennox)


If any of your are not familiar with the Big British Castle's Adam and Joe Show Radiogram, you should be, it's excellent. Thankfully there's always listen again, or the podcast which features all the best chat and some extra chat.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Simply Gorgeous

Timelapsed Tilt and Shift videos from Keith Loutit, via Why That's Delightful (Graham Linehan's blog).

This is indeed delightful:

Bathtub IV from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

I wonder if Linehan loves it because it reminds him of the Big Train DVD menu design!

Look out for the NYK reference in the above video! Nice soundtrack too - from one Megan Washington.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Some are doing something at least

Originally uploaded by selimski
Selimski covering a recent memorial event in London..

Canadians love rocks

I thought this might be relevant to the readership..

Friday, February 13, 2009


I meant to put a link up to this article by George Monbiot a week or so ago, it being an interesting comment on political disenfranchisement and on the UK learning from the recent transformation of American politics. I forgot about the article but have now posted it as it has since turned into a reply from Hazel Blears and a second absolutley scathing reply from Mr Monbiot. If you've got 10 minutes i sincerely urge you to read each article.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Photo dump

Flickr is being flaky and not letting me imbed a photo post so here are some links to:

Photos from Inspector Tapehead's recent Limbo gig in Edinburger they are good.

Suzy G's photos from our trip into the hills on Saturday it was snowy.

My photos from recording at Garmelow manor a couple of weeks back it was fun.

I've been pretty lucky with doing fun stuff recently, it's true. Its been hard work too though.

Friday, February 06, 2009