A discussion of rain forecasts

I didn’t post an entry yesterday because my evening was full of three ethics classes, followed by me very quickly heading to bed so that I could get as much sleep as possible before getting up at 3:50am for the beginning of my ISO Standards meeting this morning.

First up though, I mentioned a while ago about how the Bureau of Meteorology recently changed the way they quote rain forecasts. The new example I gave there was the mathematically bizarre/useless forecast:

50% chance of at least 0 mm of rain.

Well, that’s not all of the mathematical weirdness. A few days back I saw this in my official BoM app and took a screenshot:

rain forecast screenshot

In text, that says:

75% (high) chance of no rain.
50% (medium) chance of at least 1 mm.
25% (low) chance of at least 2 mm.

Now… if there’s 75% chance of no rain, but 50% chance of at least 1 mm… that’s 125%, right. Probabilities do not work that way! Then a few days later my friends and I had this discussion on our Discord chat, where one of my friends attempted to explain – to the best of his understanding – what the actual heck the BoM is trying to say:

forecast discussion

We are smart people, with degrees in maths and science, and we can barely figure out what the BoM is actually trying to say with their new style of rainfall forecasts. The old style was perfectly fine, yet they gave the reason for changing to the new style that the old one was “too confusing”. Yeeesh. 🙄

Anyway, on to today’s activities. Got up at 3:50am as I mentioned, and fired up Webex for my Photography Standards meeting. The first part was administrative stuff, and in future meeting planning I talked about the possibility of hosting a meeting here in Sydney in October 2024. I’d really love it if I can get that organised and happening, as the previously planned meeting for Sydney in 2019 was shifted to Germany at the last minute due to a travel clash with another conference that many of the delegates wanted to attend in Europe (they didn’t want to have to fly from Australia directly to Europe for some reason – I dunno… it’s only 24-25 hours travel time. Wimps.).

Then we discussed technical projects, including the adoption of Adobe’s DNG image file format as an ISO standard (which was reported publicly back in 2018 – these things move slowly sometimes); measuring performance of non-optical image stabilisation methods; and defining high dynamic range and wide colour gamut still image file formats.

After the meeting ended at 11:30am my time, I walked to my wife’s work to pick up Scully, as she’d taken her to work this morning so everyone in her (wife’s) new office could meet her (Scully). I had some lunch nearby and then Scully and I walked home via a roundabout route to get some extra steps in.

For dinner tonight I made mushroom and spinach omelettes. My wife’s turned out perfectly, but I didn’t get a photo of it before she ate it. Mine folded a little messily:

Mushroom spinach omelette

New content yesterday:

New content today:

Gearing up for early rising

I have an ISO Photography Standards meeting to attend this week. The physical meeting is at Apple Park in Cupertino, but I am not travelling there. I really did not relish the thought of being in the USA on this mid-term election day, and with COVID still being such an issue.

So I am attending via Webex meeting (kind of like Zoom, for those of you who don’t know it). The issue of course is that the meeting runs from 9am to 5pm, California time. Which is 4am to midday here in Sydney. So on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning I am going to have to get up about 3:45am and get my brain into gear for highly technical meetings. Since my sleep schedule lately has been fairly late nights of around 11pm, waking around 7am, this is going to be tricky and not fun.

To help adjust, my plan is to get to bed a bit earlier in the preceding days, but given tonight I have an online ethics class running from 9:00-9:45pm, I’m not going to get to bed much earlier tonight, by the time I take Scully out for a final toilet before bed, brush my teeth, and unwind and read in bed a little until I get sleepy.

In other news, I was switched to Duolingo’s new user interface the other day, and it’s horrible. Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics) summed it up in this tweet thread:

Transcript for when/if Twitter goes offline:

@duolingo just got switched to the new version. is there anyway to undo progress? I tested out of a unit but realized I shouldn’t’ve, so I’d been going back and pushing 1* lessons to 5. But in the new version they’re all maxed out at fully completed and I’m lost lol

@duolingo Please, it’s unusable. I keep flunking lessons and there’s no clue as to where the material I skipped is, because now every past lesson looks the same, and it says I’ve fully passed them all. I freely admit my hubris, I’m just tired of all these petards hoisting me

I guess the new UI might be okay for new learners, but for where I’m at with Italian, having completed the course and using the practice reminders for out-of-date skills to reinforce those, it’s impossible. I have no idea what skills I need to practise, or where to find specific grammar or vocabulary in the new “learning path”. It’s basically made it useless for my purposes any more.

So I was prompted today to look at some new method of reinforcing and learning Italian. I decided to check YouTube, and found this channel, Italy Made Easy. I watched one of the intermediate level conversation videos and found it about the right level for me – I could follow most of it, with a bit of help from the subtitles, and also learnt a few things. So this seems promising and aI’ll try to convert my Duolingo time to YouTube time every day from now on.

My new ethics classes tonight are on the topic of Secrets, and I spent this morning writing the lesson outline. This seems to be a good and interesting lesson so far, with two classes down already.

New content today:

A little bit of a lazy day

I feel like I didn’t do much today. Apart from the three online ethics classes, and taking Scully for a couple of walks, and doing a 2.5k run, and baking a sourdough loaf, and cooking calzones for dinner. I guess all that took up a lot of time and left me with little to do much else.

For some reason, despite buying an orange every single week in the grocery shopping to cut up and combine with a chopped apple* in a kind of minimal fruit salad, which I then use to top my muesli for breakfast every day… this week I somehow failed to buy an orange. So today when taking Scully out for her second walk I popped into the nearest supermarket and grabbed an orange, and also some spinach to use in the calzones.

How could I not buy an orange in the weekly shopping? Maybe I’m losing it… Anyway, this morning for breakfast I chopped up a banana, and had apple and banana instead of apple and orange.

* Granny Smith, of course. Is there any other type of apple?

New content today:

Getting back into fitness

With spring warming up towards summer, it’s easier to get motivated to do some exercise. I’ve been doing my 2.5k runs a few times a week, but neglecting my core strength and stretching exercises. The thought of straining my back again made me start picking those up this weekend, so I’ve restarted doing daily sit-ups and push-ups and various stretching and strengthening routines.

The other thing I’ve been doing this weekend is getting set up on Mastodon, as an alternative to Twitter, now that Stuff seems to be Happening on that platform. I’m staying on Twitter for the time being, and will probably echo most posts on both platforms, but perhaps in the long run I’ll just be on Mastodon… who knows? Anyway, if you want to see my stuff there, I’m on Mastodon as @dmmaus@dice.camp.

New content today:

Games night and housecleaning

Friday was games night with my friends, and this week I hosted at my place. A few of the guys couldn’t make it, so we only had four of us, but that was good because we got stuck into a nice four-player game of Viticulture (Essential Edition).

This is a board game in which each player operates a vineyard and competes to fulfil wine orders in order to gain victory points. To fulfil an order—which are given on cards that you draw from a deck—you have to have the correct wines of the required quality. To make wine, you have to have grapes. To get grapes, you need to harvest from fields that have grape vines planted. And so you need to plant grape vines in your fields as the first step. Turn sequences go in years – you plant grapes in summer, and harvest and make wine in winter. You also have access to decks of cards that provide special people who give you the ability to do extra things or combine actions in useful ways. Other things you can do include training extra workers, or building various structures to help your vineyard become more efficient in various different ways. So there are lots of options.

İt’s fairly intricate, but straightforward to learn and understand. We all had fun playing it, and it was a moderately tight finish, although I think I concentrated on the wrong thing early on and ended up coming last.

After this we played a game of Welcome to the Moon. This has multiple different boards, but we actually played the same tower building one I’ve played before. These two games pretty much filled the evening.

Today I got stuck into housecleaning work. I cleaned the shower and bathroom, vacuumed the house, washed the kitchen floor, changed the damp absorbers in the closets and storage chests, cleaned all the spider webs off the balcony, and swept and cleaned the balcony of leaves and dust.

This morning I did the grocery shopping, and saw that fresh basil was o special, so I got some and for dinner tonight made pesto from scratch for pasta.

New content today:

Not so sick after all

After reporting yesterday that I seemed to be coming down with a nasty cold, today I felt absolutely fine! I downed an antihistamine tablet with breakfast, and my nose has been clear and problem-free all day. So I suspect yesterday was merely a severe bout of hay fever, brought on by the spring weather and the strong winds we had yesterday, blowing around pollen and other offensive bits of plants. I did a COVID antigen test to be sure, and it came up negative.

After a morning ethics class, I took a drive with Scully out to my favourite pie shop on the beach. We sat on a bench by the sand and watched the sea as I had my lunch.

Scully at Fisherman's Beach

Well, I watched the sea. Maybe Scully sat looking inland.

This afternoon I started to clean up some of my bookshelves. I want to get rid of some books to make space for newer acquisitions. I selected a handful of books and took them with me on Scully’s afternoon walk. There are a couple of community street libraries along one of our walking routes – the little boxes where people swap books. So I left a few in each of them. I didn’t take any out for myself – I do look in them as I walk past to see if there’s anything I want, but I’ve never actually found anything that I wanted to take. Anyway, hopefully someone will want the books I donated.

New content today:

A quick update… feeling sick??

This morning I did my face-to-face ethics class at the school – the second lesson of cause & effect and determinism. The kids seem to be enjoying the topic and it’s making them think, but today they were a bit chatty and many times erupted into talking over one another, rather than a nice orderly one-at-a-time speaking. This sort of thing always seems to happen when the weather is windy, as it has been for the past two days. Very windy indeed. All the teachers say the same thing – the kids get rowdier when the weather is windy, I wonder if there’s any real connection there.

Back home I did a 5k run. I wanted to get that out of the way for November on a relatively cool day, before it gets too hot.

This evening I had three online classes on this new topic of ageing. I started to feel a bit off this afternoon, with my nose running like a tap and frequent sneezing I’ve blown my nose through almost a whole box of tissues. I really feel like I’m coming down with a bad head cold. I’m not fevery or coughing, so hopefully it’s not COVID. I’ll keep an eye on it tomorrow.

Before I go, a couple of photos of birds I took in the last few days with my phone. An Australia brushturkey, sitting in a tree:

Australian brushturkey

And an Australian king-parrot. This is a juvenile, without any of the orange-red plumage of the adults. And yes, I’m as close as this looks – I got the phone to within about 30 cm of the parrot. These guys are pretty tame around here.

Juvenile Australian king-parrot

New content today:

Experiments in Asian cooking

Today I spent the morning writing the new lesson for this week’s round of online ethics classes. It’s on the topic of ageing, and I use the story of Logan’s Run to introduce it. We explore a bunch of questions around the disadvantages and advantages of getting older, and ponder whether the life experience that older people have is relevant for the modern, rapidly changing world. I ran the first three lessons this evening, and it seemed to go okay, but I was unfortunately a bit distracted and tired so I felt it a little bit of a struggle to make it through. (One lesson I had to deal with an urgent parent inquiry about the next lesson, while trying to multitask and teach the current lesson at the same time.)

For dinner tonight I tried another variation of the vege patties and salad that I’ve been doing the past few weeks. I started with chick pea patties, and then tried lentil patties. Today I decided to change again and make corn fritters. I had two ears of fresh corn, which I removed the kernels from and combined with red capsicum and onion (and egg and flour) to make fritters. I decided the tahini sauce I’d been making wasn’t as good a match for this, so I tried making some Vietnamese nuoc cham. But my wife being vegetarian, I didn’t want to use the traditional fish sauce, so when I popped into the supermarket to grab some limes and lemongrass, I looked at the condiments aisle and selected teriyaki sauce as a potential substitute. (Turns out I should have looked at Wikipedia, as it actually says that vegetarians use so sauce instead of fish sauce – I could have just done that!)

Anyway, a friend of mine with cooking experience suggested omitting the sugar, as teriyaki is sweet already. So I did, and actually it turned out all right. It wasn’t really the same sort of taste as nuoc cham, but it was perfectly fine as a topping for the fritters and a salad.

New content today: