My Job

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Colloque avec l’université Saint Edward’s sur le développement durable

Mercredi 18 novembre, le lycée Bergson a reçu dans ses locaux une délégation de l’université Saint Edward’s, composée d’étudiants et de professeurs. Pour les accueillir, personnels enseignants et administratifs mais aussi des élèves, étaient présents pour leur réserver le meilleur accueil.

Cette belle université américaine, hébergée à l’Université Catholique de l’Ouest, venait nous rencontrer pour découvrir le formidable travail réalisé par le lycée en matière de développement durable. Différents intervenants se sont succédés et ont su convaincre que la préservation de l’environnement n’était pas un vain mot, mais réellement mis en application au lycée.

Laurent Goyard a ainsi expliqué comment la restauration scolaire cherchait à lutter contre le gaspillage et à privilégier les filières courtes d’approvisionnement. Hervé Tessier, représentant le laboratoire des SVT,  nous a raconté comment il produisait des champignons à partir de branches d’arbres et approvisionnait le restaurant scolaire. Ancien professeur, M. Hamdi va installer deux ruches dans le lycée afin de renforcer le potentiel polinisateur des abeilles. Enfin, Laurent Jackowski et Frédéric Demé nous ont démontré, chiffres à l’appui, les économies d’énergie réalisées en changeant les ampoules traditionnelles par des leds à basse consommation.

Les élèves ont eux aussi apporté leur pièce à l’édifice : Victoria Delaunay, en Terminale ES, participera à Paris à la COP21 fin novembre en assistant aux nombreux débats, tandis qu’Eugénie Gillier, en Terminale S, présentait le voyage dans les Alpes sous l’angle de la préservation de l’environnement.

Ce fut un formidable brassage d’expériences et d’idées en français et en anglais (traduction assurée par Richard Jenkins). Elèves et étudiants ont pu ainsi échanger entre eux et élargir leurs horizons. Un partenariat fructueux va se nouer pour notre plus grand plaisir et au bénéfice de nos élèves et étudiants ! Je remercie aussi vivement tous les participants pour leur implication et leur professionnalisme !


Losing Pluto

When I was a science teacher , the national Curriculum for Science insisted that there were 9 planets in our solar system and that they had an ordr from the Sun, and that children needed to know and retain that fact. We came up with crazy rhymes to lean , like :

My Very Easy Method Just Set Up Nine Planets

Many Vile Earthlings Munch Jam Sandwiches Under Newspaper Piles,

even encouraging children to make up their own ideas.

These nmnemonics, where the first letters of each word represented the first letter of each planet,  namely Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars; Jupiter Saturn Neptune and Pluto.

Around the 2000’s , rumours started out that Pluto was for the chop. It wasn’t the first time a “planet” had been culled from the list, as Ceres was considered a planet and then in 1850, it was given the chop. Today, It is considered a “dwarf planet”

Well all this got me wondering. What is a planet? How do we know the difference between Ceres or Pluto or Earth, or even our Moon? a quick glnce at Wikipedia and hey presto the knowledge is aquired. it seems that planets have a big enough mass for gravity to pull them into a spherical (or near spherical) shape. Ok, that’s easy to understand. It also has to have a big enough gravity to have cleared the zone of other bodies, (so there shouldn’t be an asteroid field in the orbit, for example) .So Pluto gets culled on this point, as does Ceres. And for pluto, another dwarf planet, Eris ,was found in 2005 which was bigger than Pluto. At first they said 10 planets, then they got together and decided that they would intorduce the term dwarf planet.

Anyway, since then, the UK govenrment changed the Key Stage 3 guidance to make it much less prescriptive and today it looks like this

Students must know:


Space physics

gravity force, weight = mass x gravitational field strength (g), on Earth g=10 N/kg, different on other planets and stars; gravity forces between Earth and Moon, and between Earth and Sun (qualitative only)

our Sun as a star, other stars in our galaxy, other galaxies

the seasons and the Earth’s tilt, day length at different times of year, in different hemispheres

the light year as a unit of astronomical distance.


So what happened to Pluto, I hear you ask.Well he lives with Micky and his friends!

No really, its a dwarf planet out in the far reaches of cold space. And students don’t need to know the names of the planets or their order anymore.



Hold on, I hear you say, isn’t this just another swearword? Well ,no. because its a way of sharing ideas, of being connected and of instigating change. An underused way, if you ask me.

see more here

Imagine what the world could be if we all drew on each other’s knowledge.

Coldest Winter for 1000 years

Last winter, 2009-2010 was the coldest for 30 years, but the coming winter will make that look like a walk in the park
Well several reasons.The first that my prediction of a de Vries event (on this very blog!) looks like it will come true and the second is that the gulf stream was damaged buy the GOM disaster and is slowing down.
The third is that a Bond event is also due, and that will happen over the next five to twenty years.
the cycles all join up.(
The next problem is the vast volcanic activity seen in 2010 which adds up to lots of aerosols in the atmosphere, and we’ve not seen the end of the volcanic activity, with many big volcanoes seemingly ramping up. If we get a big eruption then a volcanic winter could well be a possibility.
The other big factor is the Sun which is very quiet and unusually so.This is a big problem as its the Sun which modulates our climate to the largests extent and not Carbon dioxide.
the transition will be quick now, and we’ll move towards perhaps decades of hot, dry short winters and cold, windy bitter long winters. Food shortages, famine, flooding,etc.
Climate changes quickly, as discussed here

time to order a non grid warming solution.

Winter 2009-2010

This winter has been one of the hardest and longest and coldest and snowiest for a long time.However, there doesn’t seem to be any snow in Vancouver for the Winter olympic games which start this weekend.

Such is weather, such is climate.

The fact that this winter is a hemisphere wide event, and the cold and snow has been felt from Vladivostock to Aberdeen, one might ask some questions.

Winter normally is a hemisphere event, but not normally so long,cold or snowy.

Only last yuear we were talking about an exceptional winter, and then this winter comes along and is colder, snowier and longer.

Last winter, in my garden the minimum was a chilly -18°c according to my thermometer, (which isn’t inside a Stephanson screen) for one very cold afternoon/evening.

This year , in the same spot, same thermometer, I’ve seen -13 all day and -10 for a week, i.e not seeing positive temperatures all week!

Ok, its not so scientific, but it sure is cold.

A De Vries cycle (or Suess cycle) is more or less due and perhaps we’ll see this, but who would dare predict it! This cycle coumes round evey 210 ish years and is a cooling cycle

this is discussed here

What’s even more worrying is that another cycle, called the Bond cycle is also more or less due.This is also a cooling cycle.This cycle comes around avery 1400ish years.

If the two do happen close to each other, we could well see a cooling.Also worthy of note are the predictions of lower solar activity , which would also have a climatic impact .

We’ll have to wait and see!

Winters will perhaps become ‘ real winters’ again.

Techtonic activity 2010

Although this year seems to be an average year for earthquakes, they do seem to be large and frequent.
I’m a bit worried about the swarm under Yellowstone and the recent quake at lake Toba, both of which are supervolcanoes.
If they go off, it’s bad news.That and the fissure in Iceland, which produces lots of florine salts, which are toxic. Long silent volcanoes produce the most catastrophic eruptions, so look at Germany and France too.
In a solar minimum, techtonic activity does increase.
I’ll keep a look out for new activity around the next full moon.

What odds “the big one” in the USA?


Well, so far this year there have been more than average volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, but the full moon a few days ago didn’t produce any major events

Sunspots for the last 10,000 years and more

Above is a Morlet continous wave transformation for sunspots . Another can be seen here
Time is read along the horizontal axis, and a time scale is drawn across the top of the image. Frequency is read on the verticle axis. The scale is 2**x months, where is is 1,2,3..9. So 2**7 is 128 months. Amplitude is indicated by color. The basic 11 year Schwabe cycle is clearly indicated by the red ovals bisected by the line for 11 years. I’ve noted the Dalton Minimum, which is clearly different in character than the other cycles — with weaker and longer solar cycles. It is subtle, but you can see the weaker intensity of solar cycles 10-15 compared to solar cycles 16-23 in the weaker color of the earlier cycles. There is clearly enhanced activity, and of longer duration, at the end of the 20th century.
There is also a weaker, but distinct, level of activity at 22 years, the double sunspot of Hale cycle. The last three Hale cycles have been stronger than earlier Hale cycles. There is some indication of a double Hale cycle (~44 years) and at the top of the graph, we’re in Gleissberg cycle territory.
Now, for an interesting observation and speculation, note that at present, which is at the right edge of the chart, from the 11 yr line to the top it is all blue. There is only one other place on the entire chart where we can draw a vertical line from the 11 yr line to the top without it crossing some portion of color other than blue. Can you find it? (It is right at the beginning of Solar Cycle 5, i.e. the Dalton Minimum). Are we watching the beginning of a new 200 year cycle like what began with the Dalton Minimum in the early 1800’s? Obviously, no one knows. But the current transition is certainly unusual, and invites comparison to past transitions.

This is a Morlet continous wave transformation for sunspots for the last
11405 years.
This is the data set used to produce the wavelet.
Solanki, S.K., I.G. Usoskin, B. Kromer, M. Schüssler and J. Beer. 2004. An unusually active Sun during recent decades compared to the previous 11,000 years. Nature, Vol. 431, No. 7012, pp.1084-1087, 28 October 2004.

The diagram above is for the data set here

This data appeared at and It’s thanks to Basil (I only know his tag) that I managed to figure it out. I used the PAST programme to do so.

What does it show? Time is on the Horizontal axis and intensity on the vertical one. Well the ice age looks good…. Nice and blue. (between 240 and 600?) Compare it to The Dalton minimum which is clearly visible on the top graph.

Comments please?

Sunspots sunspots, sunspots

The sunspots come, the sunspots go.
the picture from
Shows we’re in a blue period.

This shows 1954 being a lower year than 2007, after that,
we go back to 1933, 1934 and then 1923

These figures show some patterns.
At the moment we have been below 23
spots for 36 months
and the last time we saw this was in
when 45 months were below 23,
from January 1931 until February 1935
We had 50 months like this from November
1910 until December 1914
And from January 1807 until January 1815.
The big data set that hits me is from March
1790 until August 1835
with no figures above 100.

The image shows some analysis, and look at the blue....
This worries me now,
given the short life span of current sunspots.

Are e heading for a 'super minima'?
I think what happens all depends
on the next maximum. If it's weak,
it's going get cold.

Towards a new Maunder minimum, Dalton minimum or just the end of cycle 23?

I was interested in solar cycles as I thought there may be a link between solar activity and political unrest. I ‘ve been watching the Sun for a while now, and I noticed no sunspots on the sun for a month. Why is the sun so quiet? Well, I’m far from being an expert on the subject and so I did some reading on the net.

What is the Maunder minimum? (wiki bulls**t??)

I found a similar blog here
and here

Indeed, very interesting. The result? Icecap growth in the Artic (at a time when Global warming is supposed to be shrinking the ice cap.

The results of a Maunder minimum?

My theory about political unrest?

However, pass a big pinch of salt because

Predicts a recession in 2006 and it’s 2008 and we didn’t have a recession then , but it looks almost certain now.

Solar cycle 24 officially started, with a big bang ending solar cycle 23, but it seems solar cycle 23 has come back, like a bad penny.

Nasa say its not something unusual,

And I’ll have to admit while trawling the internet I came across all kinds of claims, from ‘the Sun’s nuclear fuel is running out and it will expand‘ to ‘A new Maunder minimum is certain‘ (it probably is, but certain when?)

So whats happening?
Well in France, we’ve had cold and wet summers 2007 and 2008 and if one looks at the data for sunshine hours a peak can be noted in 2005/2006 with a lot less hours this and last year(source meteo France click on and click on
ensoleillement) and the last ten years figures for Rennes show this

2008 thus far 1276 (hours of sunshine)
2007 1709
2006 1748
2005 1842
2004 1741
2003 2007(year of heat wave)
2002 1655
2001 1736
2000 1552
1999 1561

This shows an increase from 1999 to 2001, a blip , an increase,a decrease, a blip in fact, it shows not much…

Is the rainfall due to the volcanic eruption earlier this year in Chile?

Are we heading for Eighteen hundreed and froze to death version 2?
If the sun doesn’t produce a spot sometime soon, I think a minimum could be possible.
My prediction?
A cold winter (Really, amazing, winters are usually hot :))

In 1963, the sea froze in northern europe, and the Loire froze at Ancenis

My guess? Colder than that, and then some. or not. Interstingly, cycle 19 ended in 64

Predctions for the future show that the future is grim(don’t they always:))

and thats from Nasa.

or is it grim?

here “The scientists expect the cycle to begin in late 2007 or early 2008, which is about 6 to 12 months later than a cycle would normally start”
And back to wiki again

More ideas here

and for the history of it all

Is global warming a myth? Well , human activity is having an effect on the climate, thats sure, but the Sun probably has an effect too.

I may or may not agree with the views expressed in the links in this blog.

How does the sun affect human behavoir?

Is the sun broken? Is this the Gore minimum?

Now I know why we used to worship the sun.

Is this all internet ‘g force’ or is it real?
What’s your opinion?

As for me I think global warming and global cooling both occur, but I don’t know why (man?earth’s rotation? too many pies? you tell me!)

It’s truly amazing the stuff you find on the internet:)

Update (16:08:08) still no sunspots since 20th July and counting. Already Dr David Hathaway from NASA has changed his ideas on the upcoming solar cycle (and he’s the expert). Scientists now predict sunspots could dissapear altogether in 2015…. of course all this panic started way back here
The sun’s been quiet for a long time. I wonder what the link between war and solar cycles is? Another interesting thought?
it looks increasingly likely we will have a few cld winters.

This is science at its best. Not dogma, but argument.

Even better is this Which predicts a volcanic eruption….. Sulphate aerosol veils and here comes the ‘Volcanic winter’ In fact, solar minimums can cause increased volcanic activity.

The amont of CO2 produced by man probably did heat up the world, but the sun’s cylce will also affect us, as will volcanoes and other natural disasters.


UPDATE New sunspot seen today, 22nd September with reversed polarity. looks like its the start of a new solar cycle as it at a high latitude. Ice? What ice age…. Watch this space….

Update 2011
The sun is still fairly slowly coming back to life.Sunspots and solar activity are low , and the sun stillhas problems coming out of the solar slump.The sun slowly comes back to life with flux predictions around 80 proved wrong, as it it now stands at around 100 and will continue to rise.