OK, so here I am in Pasadena for the SciPy meeting. The other time I managed to attend, I stayed at a marginal motel at the edge of town, probably not entirely safe. Now I am staying at one of those places where they practically charge you for even breathing. ($7 to park, $9/day for internet, $5.50 for a bowl of oatmeal, which somehow the plumpness of the raisins fails to justify…) I’m not sure which I dislike more. Readers who are fussy about their tax dollars will be relieved to know that it’s private grant money (and not climate) that’s funding this trip. But the presentations are wonderful.
Anyway, the scientific Python community continues to make amazing advances, and pretty soon there won’t be a need for a conventional language in high performance codes at all. So when do I get around to pulling the Torvalds maneuver. “I am writing a climate model as an intellectual exercise, I invite participation.” The trouble is I’m not energetic/nerdy enough to work on what other scientists tell me to do all day and on what I want all evening. The soul rebels. The clarinet gets rusty, the cookware gets dusty, the main rationale for living in Austin (honky tonks!) goes unattended. The long shot grant form NSF to pay me to do what I want is still pending but in retrospect I’m not sure I made the case all that convincingly.
Google is funding some of the work I saw presented today, but I can’t blame them for not funding mine, on account of it’s complete vapor so far. I almost have to make a living as a writer, if only so I can get some actual science done in my spare time! So keep them clicks coming in!
Anyway, a couple of articles on climate models showed up this week. Here’s an official summary of climate modeling from the DOE’s CCPP
, lead author Dave “Darth” Bader, and here’s Oak Ridge senior scientist John Drake’s
argument. I’ve met both, and they are very smart and decent fellows. That said they can both be relied upon to give a DOE-friendly report. (It’s also reassuring to see Isaac Held on the author list of the CCPP report. I am confident that the report will not be stretching the truth too far on that account.) What do you think?
I think that past achievements are remarkable but I have my doubts about the current direction. Is there room for another approach? Does another useful approach exist? Well, I actually think so, but I’m damned if I can figure out how to get anyone who can afford to give it a try to do that, with me in the loop or otherwise. Maybe I’m just a little cracked. It’s been known to happen, but I still think I have a shot at doing something important left in me. There are worse fates than just chugging away doing applications coding, I suppose, and having an interesting intellectual life in some disembodied community meanwhile.
That all said, those of you who criticize climate models without much basis in experience would do well to read the Drake article and the Bader report.
Meanwhile, is there any In It reader in LA who’d care to join me over beer this Friday evening? Let me know. Perhaps you can pry my trade secrets out of me.