There are no words to say what an amazing time I have had at UBC. So I will just share this photo from Huts 2013 and say it has been everything and more than I ever expected and I have been so very, very lucky.
'When someone presumes to correct your pronunciation, a knowing smile is an appropriate response.'
Or you could spend hours writing long diatribes at said person attempting to prove that you are right and the other wrong. But wait — that latter bit is not in the Jepson manual (the quote is, Hickman 1993) I suspect because we’re all lucky enough in science to be surrounded by those who generally see what matters, what doesn’t, and know how to take in: feedback, pointless corrections and truly impressive, useful criticism. And I take great comfort in that when, after pointing out to a group of students that many people (myself included) think the word data should generally be treated as plural, I received absolutely silly, long, indignant emails from several of the students. There are so many vagaries in language and academia that I can only hope that I, and those students, learn to accept them with greater grace. Good luck to us all.
My silence over the last few weeks represents some very busy time planning this — the UBC-SFU-UVic Eco-Evo retreat. Held in a swamp known as Brackendale. It’s 3 days of talks, posters, pub quiz, and one epic costume party.
New this year — was Science Improv (not my idea) which is one of the most awesome ideas ever (note that all the ‘talk’ photos are from this). You get 7 random slides you have never seen before and 3.5 minutes (the slides advance automatically) and you have to make up a talk. All slides come from real talks (note my dissertation side in one picture) and go in no real order. It was amazing, I laughed so hard I cried.
Finally posting the photos from 3 or so weeks ago when I went to visit the Burgess Shale. It’s a 24 km hike roundtrip to the Wolcott quarry with the Parks Canada (reserve in advance!) and — as you can — see it’s absolutely spectacular. I was giddy for days after (and I found choia!).
A depressing story; I think most reasonable projections put us far beyond the 2 degree C of warming we used to fret over. Get ready for an average of 4 degrees warming and hope for change in emissions policies soon. Report link here, and check out coverage from the New York Times and Andy Revkin, BBC and The Atlantic.
A week ago today I spent the day on a ClimTree 2013 conference field trip with Peter Bebi, two of his students and 20 or so other conference attendees.
And it was fantastic. We took a bus down to Davos, picking up Peter on the way — he took the earliest train he could to meet the bus and then gave fantastic local info as we drove onwards: as we switched cantons, as we passed by the town where Heidi was written and as we went through Klosters he explained how the British Royal family always skies there and you can see, for example, Prince Charles there, followed by ‘I have never seen him myself, but people I know have’ with a really cute little laugh, which distinctly reminded me of a Swiss collaborator I adore (NS).
We took the tram up past treeline, and then saw little trees crawling up past ‘treeline,’ each of which his students had mapped. Then we descended a ridge called Stillberg (apparently in Switzerland, I am told, each field, hill and cluster of houses has a particular name) and saw a 1960s grid of planted trees (>100,000 planted I believe and they have been monitored ever since) — planted in response to a flurry of how to prevent avalanches research after the Winter of Terror, a nice little hut for field work (with a ‘materials cable’ — migod, would I kill for that, though I think they do need it more than I ever have), the site of a previous warming experiment (of which the group had so nicely shared their data with me 3 years before) and FACE site and then finally we caught a bus back to the bottom of the tram from what turned out to be just next to the house Peter grew up in. It was awesome, I need to go on more conference field trips! Though I sort of suspect Peter was key to this, an excellent guide, thoughtful (he brought two sets of hiking polls in case anyone needed them, and one of his students pointed our elevation before we started the hike and suggested any ‘lowlanders who haven’t had breakfast have a snack now’), kind and the Swiss version of very mildly funny that I love.
I recently traveled about 36 hours (roundtrip) for 120 hours in Switzerland (25% of trip time traveling, which seemed like a lot). It was easily worth it after my first full day when I hiked the Schilthorn in under four hours. Clearly, this is basically equivalent to what Ueli Steck, the Swiss speed climber, did when he went to California and did El Capitan in just around four hours while equally jetlagged.