Monday, March 23, 2015

Stephen King on "persiflage" of the rich

This rant must partly have come about as a result of his recent tweet-spat with our lovely governor. Most interesting. (Note: Contains bad words, children. Read at your own risk.)

Come to think of it, while undoubtedly accurate, and even funny, his most notable phrase, "b*llsh@t persiflage," is somewhat redundant. But who am I to complain? Just goes to show that the English language doesn't have to be formal to be powerful.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Solar Eclipse to test Euro Grid. Or Not?

Solar Eclipse 20.3.2015 on COSMO-7 Domain from Oliver Fuhrer on Vimeo.

"In the UK, more than half of the solar generation could be lost. But this will be largely offset by the drop in demand caused by people stopping what they are doing for a few minutes to wonder at the astronomical event. If it is cloudy, as currently forecast, then demand will increase but the drop in power, and thus the effect on the grid, will be negligible." (Karl Mathieson, The Guardian, today.)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lambing live

Some slight difficulties ensued yesterday when lambing season began here on the farm. We normally "schedule" our lambs for the college's Spring Break, by allowing the ram access for "tupping" exactly five months before. Unfortunately, the first two ewes to give birth hadn't read the calendar, and as a result my teaching was almost interrupted.

The first two, to older ewe Quinn, came before class. Actually, we don't know when they were born, but they were waiting for me at feeding time this morning. That gave me just enough time to sort them into a lambing pen and provide the mothers a separate feed and hay and water facility before my 8am class.

The second two, to first-time mom Tia, came during faculty meeting time. Aimee was home with Roo, and tried to manage while also holding the baby, but needed help and emailed me. Luckily there wasn't any item I particularly wanted to vote on or debate, so I raced home. These two lambs were cold and slow and wet and needed to be placed on the mother's teat and helped to begin feeding, not something you should attempt while holding a six month old since it requires wrestling the mother to the ground.I was able to get it all sorted in time for my 12.30 pm Physics lab.

It's now nearly midnight, and while I've had a few hours sleep, I'm also up again, first to cut off a couple of lambs' tails, their mother having bitten them both to the point of bleeding. This is something sheep mothers sometimes do. We use elastrator bands to stop the bleeding. All that accomplished, I managed to sneeze on my way back to bed and wake our own baby, so now I'm working on getting her back asleep.

Such is the life on the farm, but at least there's new life, both human and sheepish.

SEM grad becomes poster model for solar campaign

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

GL4003 second midterm

GL4003 Global Change
Second Midterm Exam

Professor Womersley

Due Thursday after Spring Break in class or by email

This is a take-home exam. Answer all questions, showing work where necessary to demonstrate skills or learning, diagrams if asked or if it helps. If you don’t know or can’t work out an answer, put down what you do know. You may research answers.  You may discuss them with the instructor. You may not confer with other students. Submit electronically, multiple files allowed including statistical files in JMP, Excel, or Smith’s.

Exam is 20% of grade for class, 10% given for each problem below

  1. Test the hypotheses that change in average annual temperature is a function of the phase of the El Nino/Southern Oscillation, the level of deposition of volcanic aerosols in the atmosphere, the amount of solar energy hitting the top of the atmosphere, and the combined effect of anthropogenic influences, following the method pioneered by Judith Lean and David Rind (2008). Report the results, with all statistical parameters explained. Provide a discussion of the meaning of the results.

  1. Using the model or estimator produced by the above method (i.e., using the full equation), and Microsoft Excel, compare the predicted time series to the actual (HadCRU 3) using a graph. How accurate is your model? To what use might it be put?