On the propriety of punching Nazi’s

This has turned into a bit of a travel blog, well mostly because we travel a lot 🙂

But as we seem to be going through a resurgence in fascism (aka the alt.right) at the moment here’s a timely piece on “How to deal with Nazi’s“. The bottom line with these sort of tossers is that you don’t have to treat them or their opinions with tolerance.

A red train to Chelyabinsk

In which we depart from Moscow and arrive in Chelaybinsk

Yes we’re off to far off Chelyabinsk, on the eastern side of the Urals, standing between europe and asia and a stone’s throw from Siberia. Home of  G’s alma mater the South Ural State University, the Chelyabinsk Traktors and of course my parents in law. Should be an interesting trip.

The red train arrives

The red train arrives, next stop Domodedovo airport.After hauling luggage up and down interminable stairs I had to strip down to a t-shirt on the platform to cool down, much to the amusement of G and the shock of the native Muscovites

Gratuitous train picture with snow

Gratuitous train picture with snow

View through the woods

View through the woods

Siberian air, well at least we won't lose the aircraft in the snow

Siberian Air (S7) is ready to board, well at least we won’t lose the aircraft in the snow




A temporary absence

Well, it’s good to be back, apologies for the absence but have been busy with life, travel and other adventures. Yes, more travel, from the tropics to the icy edge of Siberia.

Now when last we left our hero and his beautiful new wife they were contemplating a visit to the Sagrad Familia, the last and maybe greatest of Gaudi’s works. Read on and see what adventures await our heroes in the next thrilling episode of their adventure, entitled ‘The great sea monster of Barcelona’ 🙂

My Uncle Frank

A short historical digression
This is a picture of my Uncle Frank with George VI during a fleet review at Scapa Flow in Scotland. See if you can pick him, there may be a slight family resemblance. Frank served on board HMAS Canberra an Australian heavy cruiser during WWII. Canberra was bounced by a Japanese surface action group at Savo Island during the Guadalacanal campaign. She was heavily damaged in the night engagement, and had to be sunk by American torpedoes the day after the battle. The picture below was taken on one of Canberra’s home port visits.


My Uncle never talked about it much but getting off the Canberra in the dark amidst all the fire, blood and chaos was something he never forgot. Frank was one of the reasons I decided to join the service, and as fate would have it I also ended up serving on a HMAS Canberra, in my case the guided missile frigate. Whenever the Navy crosses the spot where Canberra went down they still lay a wreath on the water.

P.S. Frank’s the third from the left 🙂

The Past That Never Was…

When I was a wee small bairn, I remember reading about the legend of Russian troops, sent by the Tsar to help the British,  who having landed at Aberdeen (or Leith) were seen travelling by troop train to Dover.

What actually, well probably, happened was in September of 1914 Scottish troops from the shire of Ross were overheard talking in gaelic on a London bound troop train and when asked were they were from answered, “Rosshire” which was, you guessed it, given their thick Scottish brogue mistaken for Russia.

Once it started the rumour went completely viral with station porters reported sweeping the snow from the Russian troop train carriages, and London land ladies reported as complaining as to how much their Russian guests ate.

And yes, Virginia, rumours still went viral in the old days, even back when the Interwebz was Mrs Smyth Gryffenby Jones at the Pentonville exchange and Twitter was what you did on a party line.

By the time the rumour reached it’s peak there were mystery troop trains reported up and down the country and a quarter of a million Russian troops massing at Dover. Or so the story goes…

This Writing Lark…

Kurt Vonnegut, yes him, put forward the following seven rules in his excellent and concise essay on ‘How to write with Style’. In summary:

  1. Find a subject you care about,
  2. Do not ramble, though,
  3. Keep it simple,
  4. Have guts to cut,
  5. Sound like yourself,
  6. Say what you mean,
  7. Pity the readers.

I’ll try to stick to those rules, really really try.

Newsflash! The Earth Really is Warming Up

The boys and girls at the Berkely Earth Surface Temperature Group have reviewed global surface temperature data and found, in an Internet circulated Op Ed written by Richard Muller their head, that surface temperatures are rising and that CO2 is the most credible explanation.

Our results show that the average temperature of the Earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, and one and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase is due to the human emission of greenhouse gases.

Richard Muller

Importantly they addressed the criticisms raised by climate change ‘skeptics’ about surface temperature data including:

  • biases from the urban heat island effect (they duplicated their results using rural data alone),
  • data selection (prior studies used 20% of the available temperature stations; they used near 100%),
  • poor station quality (separate analysis for good stations and poor ones), and
  • biases introduced by human data adjustment (via an automated process).

The team will be making their findings and statistical techniques available next week, which should again address the concern of climate skeptics (this time over transparency). There’s a more in depth piece here on the Reason website.

Some Interesting News

One can never tell what’s round the next corner of your life.

At the moment I’m waiting for a cardio echo sound (next tuesday) to see if I have Marfans, aortic dissection is one of the cheerier possibilities of that genetic illness. Of course Sunday next I’m also getting married to my Russian Doctor. So this coming week looks like shaping up to be a fairly tumultuous one.

I’ll let you know how I get on. 🙂

Why The UK’s Daily Mail is Truly, Deeply Crazy

And dangerously so…

The Daily Mail recently published an article purporting to show no new warming in 15 years based on UK Met office recently published data. Of course the figures say nothing of the sort. For a full debunking of the Mail’s denialist craziness see the comprehensive rebuttal article at Skeptical Science, I especially enjoyed Figure 2.

But to finish with a quote from the usually staid UK Met office.

“This article includes numerous errors in the reporting of published peer reviewed science undertaken by the Met Office Hadley Centre and for Mr. Rose to suggest that the latest global temperatures available show no warming in the last 15 years is entirely misleading.”

For ‘entirely misleading’ read Mr Rose, you sir are a liar. 🙂

Sad to say the old Mail seems to have contentedly fallen into orbit around planet ‘climate change denial’, and is happily shilling their lunacy.

The Top Ten Weather Events of 2011

Well it’s official, NOAA (the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has awarded Australia third place in their top ten of globally significant climate/weather events.

If you’re wondering what, ‘Australia is the most vulnerable first world country when it comes to climate change’ really means, getting into NOAA’s top ten list on a regular basis would be it…

There’s more from NOAA below the cut.

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Entering The Derby Open

There is definitely not enough pen and ink space art. 😉

The Little White Cat

There’s an annual art exhibition at the Derby Museum & Art Gallery and this year I’ve entered two pictures in it. After much thought I’ve put forward some of my pen & ink space art pictures, both of them definitely owe a lot to Vija Celmins. Yes, I really did draw around every single one of those stars 🙂 . It’s a very good way of making your eyes go funny.

I should know within the next couple of days whether I’ve been accepted or not.

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