And then there’s physics

So, this is the first post on the new blog.  We’ll see how this goes.  I’m still in the process of updating everything, so if anyone notices anything wrong, let me know. Also, feel free to let me know if you have any thoughts about the new site.

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78 Responses to And then there’s physics

  1. Rachel says:

    Love it! My only suggestion is a new image for the banner.

  2. I thought I’d leave the banner the same for the moment. May change it once this becomes more of the default site (assuming that it does – maybe my new blog will be seen as boring :-))

  3. Regarding the banner, resist the urge put up a photo of Dorothy and Toto. Parody is futile with “teh” Goddard.

    How shall we address you?

  4. John, the address issue may be trickier to resolve. I was hoping someone witty would come up with something appropriate, a little amusing, but not too insulting 🙂

  5. That’s me out of play then. 😦

  6. BBD says:

    “Physicist” is obvious, but a bugger to spell. “Physicalworld”? Longer, but paradoxically easier to spell.

    😉

  7. I was going to suggest “fizzy”, but “fizz” is better.

  8. Arthur Smith says:

    Hey I like the new title for the blog. And at least to Americans who go by first names, we should be calling the new Wotts “AndThen”, no?

  9. andrew adams says:

    You could always just carry on using “Wotts” as a pseudonym. We all know you by that name anyway and if you publish your posts under that name it won’t seem so odd to newcomers.

  10. Sticking with “Wotts” is actually fine with me. Provide some context and a bit of history is no bad thing.

  11. Arthur, that just sounds a bit too uncertain – although, maybe that’s appropriate 🙂

  12. BBD says:

    Mulling over sticking with Wotts. Instinctively opposed as if you are going to rebrand then you should rebrand. Detach.

    Fizz, hmm. I see the appeal and the light touch, but my sense is that we’re not quite there yet.

  13. BBD says:

    At this rate you are going to end up with ATTP which sounds like a learning disorder or genetics. Or possibly a dubious pesticide.

  14. Yes, ATTP could act to attract both climate sceptics and those who think genetically modified crops are bad.

  15. I’m with BBD. You’re swapping persona to escape the Wrath of Khan. Anything close to Willard Tony is too close. Drop Wotts. I’m not advocating Fizz.

    There is one troll who used to haunt The Independent’s boards (and can be found on Delingpole) who maintained he had a first in engineering, a PhD in Physics, had co-authored a paper with a NASA cloud specialist that had been rejected by the warmist journal Nature. He maintained Tyndall’s experiment was misunderstood and Sagan had evilly perpetrated a swindle. So, remembering Nu-Food I christened his great unpublished work nufysics.

    You could be the nudefysicist. Who could misspell that?

  16. Marlowe Johnson says:

    how about hotfizz? without knowing your actual appearance it seems appropriate given your particular interests…

  17. William says:

    Younare growing up, before we know it you will divulge who,you are, if you believe in something then you should attach you name , not hide.

  18. William says:

    John ,

    If I had a blog I would say who I was and what I do. I don’t care who you are or what you say but thank you for enquiring .

  19. William says:

    Sorry that sounded a bit brutal but first off the similarity to the watts blog was childish and then not having the confidence to publish your nAme whilst taking shots at named individuals seems rather cowardly .

  20. Barry Woods says:

    good luck… how did transferring go,
    I had a nightmare transferring mine (I had self hosted, and allowed it to get a bit out of date)

    ref ‘physics’ I nearly named my blog,’and then my feather blew up a tree’..
    as a response to ‘simple physics of C02 says’ (not by this blog, or you)

    in honour of this:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/28/simple-physics-in-reality-my-feather-blew-up-into-a-tree/
    (it was a bit rushed, would have tightened up the analogy, made it shorter these days)

    which on reflection was quite fun,
    ie an analogy of when ‘a simple law of physics’ meets up with the chaos of multiple physical laws.. and a biosphere and life, (ie a bird might fly past and make off with the feather.. some in the comments didn’t get the analogy)

    maybe I should register. and then there’s chemistry?
    or maybe go with the feather one.
    but then I’d actually have to write a blog post or 2.

    Good Luck.

  21. John Mashey says:

    Good move.
    A few comments motivate my usual motto, IUOUI:
    Ignore Unsupported Opinions of Unidentifiable Individuals.

  22. William says:

    Good move.
    A few comments motivate my usual motto, IUOUI:
    Ignore Unsupported Opinions of Unidentifiable Individuals.

    So wotts, time to come out into the open.

  23. OPatrick says:

    Perhaps you could become a Joules (maybe Jooles), but you’d need to keep repeating it.
    Then again you’re worth at least a thousand of your original namesake (it’s a low bar), so kW?

    I liked the cynical optimist – CO for short? There’s probably one out there already though, so maybe you’d be CO2?

  24. BBD says:

    Cynical Optimist… it’s good but…

    But Wotts-as-woz isn’t really cynical enough. Yet.

    😉

  25. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    Keep it going “Then”!

  26. John Mashey says:

    The owner of this blog is clearly identified as such, with an established track record of posts, no different from many pen names used in the past. One need not tie a virtual identity to a meat person to build an assessment of the worth of the virtual identity’s opinions.

    But many online ID’s are worth no more than “Anonymous”, of whom I’ve written

    Arab proverb: Dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.

    Modern version:
    Given new Army intelligence data, Abrams tanks hurry to the next objective through the desert night, waking rabid, toothless chihuahuas lost there, who cower behind the dunes and howl their rage and anger at the tanks.
    The tanks roll on.

  27. BBD says:

    Or to paraphrase Willard:

    Physics abides.

    😉

  28. jyyh says:

    Oh, it’s you. Hoping people change their links pointing here. Just add some equations to the banner image to appropriate places. Or make an own image of the expression of some physical equations. I’ve still not done that in my place, which is a bit sad state of affairs. But I’ve tried to keep physics and maths out of my blog, since I think the response to the truths of GW is largely emotional. Since it’s unlike we’ll ever talk face-to-face I might refer to your blog as “&th*2F” ;-P, best, jyyh (pronounced yüühh (Merriam-Webster-style phonetics))

  29. Rachel says:

    With regards to a name, perhaps you can just choose a regular name like Willard has done. My suggestion is Westley.

  30. Brigitte says:

    Polite optimist? or combined with physics etc: Fizzy pop…;) (contains CO2, of course) [sorry!!!]

  31. Rachel says:

    Another suggestion (since you’ve got a minion): Gru.

    My life revolves around children’s stories at the moment. What can I say?

  32. Rachel, yes, naming myself after some children’s story character may be appropriate. Much of the discussion associated with GW/CC does seem remarkably infantile 🙂

    Brigitte, I’m flattered by your first suggestion, but the second may be more apt 🙂

  33. toby52 says:

    Dunno what to call you now. We can’t keep using “Wotts”.

  34. I was hoping someone would simply start calling me something and that it would just catch on. That’s what happened with Wotts.

  35. tallbloke says:

    Are you a physicist wotts? Your twitter profile says you are a scientist. As Mashey says, we don’t need your ‘meat identity’, but without it this assertion carries no weight.

    Will this blog discuss physics? I do hope so.

  36. tallbloke, yes, I’m a physicist. I’m surprised you’ve decided to comment here. If I remember correctly, our last exchange ended you with you calling me an “unscientific f**kwit”.

  37. Joshua says:

    “unscientific f**kwit” does have a certain ring to it, but it’s a bit unwieldy for extended back and forth exchanges.

  38. Joshua, brilliant. You had me in stitches 🙂

  39. U.F. could work. Wotts is dead. long live UF?

    At least this blog won’t discuss dowsing seriously. That’s gotta be an improvement.

  40. Wouldn’t that be the name of the person who comes up with the name, rather than the name itself?

  41. > I’m surprised you’ve decided to comment here. If I remember correctly, our last exchange ended you with you calling me an “unscientific f**kwit”.

    I could not find the appropriate tweet, And Then, but then I found this other one:

  42. BBD says:

    I think I might try TTP and see if it gains any traction. It’s more visible on the page than TP, AT etc and I’m obviously biased in favour of snappy three-letter screen names. There’s still a whiff of pesticide about this, but perhaps that’s a feature not a bug.

  43. Rachel says:

    TTP is a bit too close to STP which when I was growing up stood for sticky toilet paper. What’s wrong with Ant?

  44. BBD says:

    Negative associations with “and Dec” and a small, sometimes venomous and/or biting hive insect?

    😉

  45. Rachel says:

    OK. Being Australian I don’t have the “and Dec” association although I know who they are. But did you know that ants are one of the world’s strongest creatures in relation to their size?

    Personally, I prefer real names to acronyms. I don’t mind Fizz or Joules. There’s Ampere too I suppose. I still like Westley though, the fictitious courageous hero from a children’s story who spent much of the book in disguise as the man in black. At least it’s a real name and it’s not such a big jump from Wotts.

  46. BBD says:

    Well, the people will decide…

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens 😉

  47. Rachel says:

    It may be that the people will have a big disagreement about this forcing Westley to reveal his true identity.

  48. tallbloke says:

    ” I’m surprised you’ve decided to comment here. If I remember correctly, our last exchange ended you with you calling me an “unscientific f**kwit””

    I look forward to forthcoming discussion of climate related physics which will enable me to revise that opinion and make an apology for it’s expression.

  49. tallbloke, I – on the other hand – care not one jot whether you apologise or not.

  50. OPatrick says:

    In my mind I’m already calling you Anders – it would make it easier for me if it caught on.

  51. Rachel says:

    Ok, I don’t what to call you. Westley probably isn’t right. So I’ll just say Andthen, I think you’ve been spending too much time with Richard. Maybe it’s time for a gin and tonic?

  52. Rachel says:

    Anders could be good.

  53. Rachel, I’ve no idea what the right name should be. Yes, Richard and I seem to be back on Cook et al. again. I thought that ship had sailed. Seems not. Maybe not time for gin and tonic, probably just an early night 🙂

  54. Rachel says:

    Really your name should be your username so people who haven’t followed this thread will know who everyone is referring to. So I’ll stick with Andthen I think. Anders is probably fine too.

  55. BBD says:

    Is this lobbying? There’s a distinct sense that non-TLA screen names are being promoted in comments here. It’ll be world socialism next, you mark my words.

  56. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    Can we use Dan (or Then)?

  57. Tom Curtis says:

    In keeping with your anonymity, and given that Tom and Dick (Richard Tol) are already taken, perhaps Harry would be suitable. Alternatively, A.Rose suggests itself, as in “A rose, by any other name …”

  58. I found Tallbloke’s charming tweet that Anders and Willard mentioned. How adorable!

    Anyway, this conversation pleases me because even those of us with badass ironic snarky pseudonyms occasionally wonder what might have been. !!SPOILER ALERT!!: I really like Greg Egan’s novels, especially Diaspora in which a GRB from a binary neutron star merger threatens Earth in the year 3000. Two characters, Inoshiro and Yatima, try to warn civilization, but irrationally angry deniers spread misinformation which slows down the preparations for this disaster. But this happens in the year 3000, so Inoshiro just downloads the entire physics library into vis head in order to debunk their civilization paralyzing misinformation. Inoshiro is able to debunk the misinformation in time to save a tiny fraction of humanity, but at a terrible price. The stress of learning so much physics so quickly, and having to watch as most of humanity dies horribly, destroys Inoshiro.

    For some reason that story sounded a little familiar to me.

  59. Rachel says:

    There’s a distinct sense that non-TLA screen names are being promoted in comments here.

    This is precisely why I don’t like acronyms: I had to look up TLA. Plus I’m still trying to figure out what BBD stands for.

  60. Hmm. I just figured BBD was the dude equivalent of BBW. 😉

  61. BBD says:

    @ Dumb Scientist

    Er, no. And that, I think, borders on incivility.

  62. Louise says:

    I see you’re listed on Dr Curry’s blogroll – fame or infamy?

  63. Yes, I noticed that. Seemed to happen as soon as I changed the blog name. Not sure what to make of that.

  64. BBD, I’ve seen your insightful comments for months at places like WtD. It wasn’t my intention to be uncivil; if you hadn’t posted all those comments then I’d have had to, so I actually feel like I owe you a paycheck. Frankly, after spending the last few years being accused of dishonesty and mass murder, I’m trying very hard to see humor in all situations. Sadly, most of the time it doesn’t work and I just feel like Inoshiro…

  65. BBD says:

    Dumb Scientist

    I’m glad you were only poking fun and thanks for the kind words. Since we share a high regard for the work of Greg Egan as well as a realistic take on the laws of physics it would be doubly unfortunate to fall out over a joke.

    If you haven’t already, try the short stories. They are often excellent.

    😉

  66. Agreed; Egan’s Moral Virologist short story, in particular, seems relevant to cases where otherwise competent scientists are blinded by ideology.

    Just to be clear, many times I loaded WtD to find that Eric Worrall had once again compared climate scientists to eugenicists. Upon seeing that he’d already been scolded, my immediate reaction was that it was a Big Beautiful miracle that some Dude already took care of it…

  67. I enjoyed Barry’s takedown of gravity. I can see why engineers no longer use that concept any more.

  68. BBD says:

    Dumb Scientist

    “Took care” of it by linking to your blog 😉 where you had carefully documented everything necessary to expose EW’s disingenuity and lies… I was appropriately grateful for the resource, you may be sure. And EW eventually got the bullet, so, as they say, a result.

    Anyway, don’t mind me; I’m always a bit beady-eyed on Monday mornings.

  69. No prob; it takes a village, yadda yadda.

    If you want an amusing diversion, I just finished my AGU poster on GRACE. The poster explains that most previous GRACE maps were either analogous to black and white photos, or to viewing the world through a colored filter. As far as I know, the GRACE maps in my poster are the first “full color” visualizations of GRACE data. I also think they look gorgeous, but everyone thinks that about their babies so your mileage may vary.

  70. BBD says:

    This is great – I’m all for inventive improvements to data visualisation. Nor had I any idea that GRACE was able to capture hydrological processes on land – if I’ve understood this even vaguely. To my untutored eyeball the GLDAS Noah model seems to be doing fairly well compared to observations…

  71. Dumb Scientist – I hate to admit that I’m not sufficiently aware of GRACE to fully appreciate your poster, but I am flattered that someone attending the AGU meeting has highlighted their poster here. Thank you.

  72. Thanks Anders/UF/Inoshiro/need-a-poll-to-settle-this. Flattery will get you everywhere. 😉

    I wish I could take credit, BBD, but Hughes and Williams 2010 deserve credit for inventing the approach. I just turned their paper’s appendix into code and sent it GRACE data of mass at each point on Earth rather than altimetry data of sea level.

    GLDAS and GRACE show similar spectra from 0.75 to 2.0 years (the maps in the middle), which is unsurprising because that range includes the annual cycle which has been studied to death. But the odd mustard yellow spot in Paraguay shows that they don’t have an “annual cycle” at all- the mass of Paraguay varies at a ~1.5 year period. When I showed this to my boss, he asked “How do they know when it’s Christmas? How do they grow their crops, or cocaine, or whatever?”

    I don’t know, of course, but it’s interesting that GLDAS also sees something other than a blue annual signal in Paraguay. Strangely, it’s redder than in GRACE, which shows that GLDAS thinks that Paraguay’s water mass should vary at a period even longer than 1.5 years.

    At the other frequencies shown in the other maps the mismatch is larger, probably because few people bother to explicitly solve for (e.g.) a 0.45 year period, or a 2.4 year period, etc.

    I hope that more people apply the methodology of Hughes and Williams 2010 to other datasets. I haven’t seen a way to visualize more data in a single map, and that perceptual bottleneck could be preventing us from seeing the forest for the trees.

  73. > I enjoyed Barry’s takedown of gravity.

    Barry’s more in the business of levity these days, e.g.:

    PS: Thanks for the tweet, Dumb.

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