The Thoughts of Scots

With the past few days rainy, a thought has remained more permanently in my mind though it has visited a few other times : with this much rain over here, and even far more up in the Scottish mountains (with an average over a year of every month having 21,25 rainy days in Stornoway), what did the people of that land think of it ages ago ?

It is unlikely anyone offered scientific reasons until just a few centuries ago, so man being man, I am sure that people thought of explaining how and why exactly their lovely place got so much more rain than… well, it isn’t even important how much more rain than place X.

What was important that people could likely feel themselves better on a sunny day, and seeing how few of those there were for them, that must have made them think some rather interesting thoughts. I just wonder, what exactly they were. 🙂

The Delta of Okavango

A reminder that interesting things do happen occurred a few days ago — namely, while listening to a radio show about different places in the world and what’s there (“Kuula rändajat”, Vikerraadiost) I came across the notion of an inland delta of the River Okavango . Naturally, it sounded interesting and I thought to take a closer look, which led me to a picture in Wikipedia: 

This picture made me think about the region even more, and check the other things on Wikipedia, which while not being the best source of information at least gives you something.

Midway through, I realized with not absolute but still good enough certainty: this had been a place I had dreamed of, not necessarily as it was in these pictures but close enough. I could somehow sense it and I believe that people who have had similar experiences know what I am speaking of here. The location on the map even almost matched what I saw in my dream (yes, somehow, either fortunately or unfortunately, some of my dreams do begin from a Google Earth view 😛 ) though there it was more personal.

And, I think that just as in my dreams, turtles live in the delta. At least that’s what another Wikipedia map says though it also places them into Sahara and Oregon so I’m a bit uncertain as to the accuracy of it. Nevertheless, it has made me think that I’ll take the time to read through the NG articles on the area (there were plenty by what I saw from Google Earth).

After all, aside from being the very likely scene of one of my dreams, it also is an inland delta. Hydrology demands further knowledge (!) (and likely has it as well, but this partial/future hydrologist does not yet).

The User-Friendly Aspects of Meteorology

My recent visit to Estonia reminded me to take a look at the forecasts there (well, not there, if we are precise for they are Finnish forecasts which nevertheless display the area I’m interested in).

To put it mildly, I had forgotten how good something as necessary as a rainfall forecast can be — the best that the UK’s public sector can offer us should be the MetOffice rainfall forecast (link) which, while certainly usable, is more likely to be a nightmare to any person who would dare look at it and predict something. Even the most in-depth look (say, choose the East of England and play the file) shows you blots which sometimes turn into lines and sometimes not. At three-hour intervals. There might be a better option around there, but if there is anything more comprehensive I have been unable to find it.

Needless to say, a three-hour interval measure at that distance (I can place Norwich and Great Yarmouth to that map, but I wouldn’t even want to make a guess at where I can find Cambridge) is not the best concept one could think of.

Which made me think of the add-on (or rather, a past add-on and now private company) to the UEA, Weatherquest, to see if it had anything better or not. Surprisingly, they have made a better quality (but even worse resolution) map of the UK (link) which is a bit more fade-in, fade-out than the MetOffice one but otherwise still rather hard to use. Oh, sure, you can get the weather at Norwich there (still the three-hour issue), especially given that it is somehow easier to find Norwich on that map than on the other one, but I still wouldn’t bet a more than a few pounds on getting Cambridge to Cambridgeshire without another map. In case you missed it, clicking on the map does increase the size.

All in all, I would say that of the two here, the Weatherquest one is far more effective.

Now, let’s take a look at the Finnish one I mentioned in the beginning of the post. I have no idea what their meteorological service is called and I have always used one of their newspapers for the purpose anyways, so here is the Iltasanomat’s rainfall forecast (link). It displays the past eight hours that are based on accurate data, and then forecasts for the next eight hours (one-hour intervals). The area is roughly the same as England and Wales together, and likely some of Scotland as well (there is a separate map for Central and Northern Finland, as well as one for the capital region). Altogether, the area they service is about a third larger than the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, at the present they don’t seem to have any rain falling in the south but the northern maps (click around on the blue bar with words Keski-Suomi and Pohjois-Suomi if the language puzzles you) show you the manner of forecasts as well.

They also have a most interesting though rather useless map for the world. Needless to say, it is somewhat fun to watch though they have gone to three-hour intervals (I believe, for two reasons: the cost of hourly upkeep as well as the scale of movement would be rather hard to notice).

Now, you might say that the loss of any post-eight hour information is a loss, but I would disagree. I am not the most confident in the accuracy of the UK ones, and I would also rather know what happens in an hour not in a day, at least when we speak of the weather.

So yes, meteorology’s social aspect (which none of us really like but which is an inevitable part of it while being rather an indifferent one to oceanography except for the odd fisherman who wants to know wave height) seems to be lacking. Can we perhaps improve upon it?..

L’Angleterre, Ch. I

Tuli juhuslik uitmõte (tänu kalli endise klassikaaslase küsimusele, ole tänatud Signe) kirjutada paar sõna sellest kuidas Inglismaa hetkel välja näeb. Kui ma ei saavuta sellega ka mitte midagi muud, siis vähemalt jääb vast meenutuseks kunagi kauges tulevikus.

Igatahes võib öelda, et Inglismaa kõige kuivema koha kohta tuleb siin liiga palju vihma, ning kui paistab päike siis on see ka liiga tugev. Kunagi pole miski hea ei saaks ka päris öelda, aga päikese kõige suurem probleem on see, et siis lihtsalt ei saa köögis silmi lahti teha kuna kõik kohad peegeldavad vastu. Talvel kui (*if*, not ‘when’) lumi maas on võib olla veel õudsam, sest sel juhul oleks ka aknast välja vaadates igal pool hele läige. Blinded by light on täiesti võimalik reaalsus (kuigi mõnes natuke jäisemas kohas kui Norfolk siiski).

Inimesed on miljon korda sõbralikumad, vähemalt see suurem osa kellega ma seni olen kokku puutunud. Seda pole isegi võimalik kirjeldada sõnadega hästi, aga ma usun, et inimesed, kes on kokku puutunud ise kohaliku eluga, mõistavad seda isegi.

Vaadates kui palju (suhteliselt vähe siiski) siin on International Student’i tuleb suur soov valida placement year ka sellisesse kohta, kus protsentuaalselt on kõige rohkem international’e, ning mitte kohalikke. Kohalikud paistavad kuidagi tavalisemad, kui võrrelda seda piirkondade rägastikku kust inimesed tegelikult UEA’sse kokku on voolanud: oma lühikese siinviibimise jooksul olen saanud tuttavaks soomlase (siin on vist kaks soomlast isegi), leetlase (miljon leetlast igal pool), sakslaste, türklaste, iirlaste ja ka hollandlastega. Minnes Euroopast väljapoole tulevad mängu kohad nagu Hong Kong, Jaapan, Hiina, Pakistan, India, Saudi Araabia, Austraalia, USA, Kanada, Kasahstan. Raskeim mäluharjutus on jätta meelde kõikide inimeste nimed (ning eriti siis kui pead hääldama inglast ühte moodi, türklast teist moodi, jaapanlast kolmandat ning hiinlast neljandat), sest viisakas oleks ikkagi mäletada nii nime kui kui kuidas seda nime öelda.

Üks Introduction Programme’i kõnelejatest oli suhteliselt kindlasti Šotimaalt. Suht kahtlane kuulata, aga purjus iirlast ei ületa miski (ning mu korteris on üks).

Tutvumine jätkub ilmselt samas tempos küll vähemalt nädal aega; Fresher’s Events kestavad vist isegi oktoobri nädalavahetuseni.

Ehk, elu on huvitav.

On Fuji-yama

The internet says that there are four routes to the summit of Fuji-yama. I believe it would be interesting to climb them all, and compare the experience. Perhaps observe the sunrise or sundown from there. Would that make a Meijin? I certainly believe it would help. That said, go is extremely complicated, and only the observation of a sunrise would not grant a victory… for a man. A god would do just fine though.