* Posts by Alan Fitzsimmons

10 posts • joined 19 Dec 2007

10m years ago there was less CO2 - but the Earth was warmer

Alan Fitzsimmons

At least they have some ideas...

From someone called a boffin but not in this field (thankfully!), the abstract - not behind the paywall - says:

"We also present new stable isotope measurements from the western equatorial Pacific that, in conjunction with previously published data5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, reveal a long-term trend of thermocline shoaling in the equatorial Pacific since ~13 Myr ago. We propose that a relatively deep global thermocline, reductions in low-latitude gradients in sea surface temperature, and cloud and water vapour feedbacks may help to explain the warmth of the late Miocene. Additional shoaling of the thermocline after 5 Myr ago probably explains the stronger coupling between pco2, sea surface temperatures and climate that is characteristic of the more recent Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs"

Seriously folks, this is how science works - you observe something unexpected, you come up with ideas to explain it, then test those ideas in the future.

Just like trying to understand why Venus is so much hotter than it should be...hey, what's all that CO2 doing there?

Couldn't find a picture of my old physics teacher here, so Prof. McGubbins will have to do.


Alan Fitzsimmons
Thumb Down


So moral outrage against hacking of the phones of murdered teenage girls justifies...a foam pie? Well done on being the only person in the UK that deserves castigating in the Murdoch press.

Perseid meteors 'thrill star-gazers'

Alan Fitzsimmons
Jobs Halo


There done - next year 12th August will be on a Friday, allowing you to watch this annual event in peace. Now can you all PLEASE leave off the praying already? I'm still trying to catch up on the last season of Lost.

Extraterrestrials strafe Bosnian with meteorites

Alan Fitzsimmons
Thumb Down

That's no meteorite

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/thumb_down_32.png Sorry to be a downer, but just found a photo of him holding a rock that bears no resemblance to any meteorite that I've ever seen, and I've seen a few...although they weren't thrown at me.

Easy-peasy science GCSEs binned

Alan Fitzsimmons

Surprise but no surprise

Last year 45% of maths students sitting the A-level attained an A grade. If there's a similar problem at GCSE then it's about time standards were upheld. The kids are as bright as ever, but we need to give them more and more at University to help them cope.

Fear 2012? Bunker hustler has you covered

Alan Fitzsimmons

Doomsday postponed

Actually, Apophis will miss the Earth by about 19,000 miles in April 2029. The miss distance is the close approach distance (37,400 km) minus the radius of the Earth (6300 km). Oh, and of course the "grand alignment" between the winter solstice and the galactic plane actually happened in 1998. Anyone notice? Get yer facts right El Reg!

Newspapers slam BBC iPhone app plans

Alan Fitzsimmons
Thumb Up

Hurrah for the Beeb

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/thumb_up_32.png As I license payer, I'm all for getting BBC content wherever I am in the UK. If I want news from other outlets, I'll pay for that too. But I don't.

Comet Lulin poses for NASA's Swift

Alan Fitzsimmons
Thumb Up

So sorry your cometness!

Of course, as a long-period comet from the Oort cloud, you may have any orbital inclination you like and therefore go around the Sun any direction you wish.

Our deepest apologies, oh great green fuzzy masters!

Schoolboy's asteroid-strike sums are wrong

Alan Fitzsimmons

Is the German press really more inaccurate than the UK press?

Oh dear...to actually use some correct information:

Apophis will pass us at a distance of 37,400km from the center of the Earth on Friday 13th (!) April 2029, with a formal uncertainty of only 770km.

Most satellites orbit in low-Earth orbit at altitudes of 300km-2000 km. These are in no danger from the asteroid. Many of the rest are in geostationary orbits at 42,100 km from the center of the Earth. This is much further out than the pass distance of the asteroid in 2029 (see below), and so Sky subscribers can also rest easy. Overall the risk to satellites is miniscule.

It needs to pass through a particular point in space to be swung around by Earth's gravity and hit us in 2036. It either will or it won't. Hitting a satellite will not deflect it into that point.

The latest evidence is that the asteroid is smaller than this at 270m in diameter.

I don't understand the iridium as if the asteroid is an iron-nickel object similar to some meteorites we find on Earth, the iridium contained is inconsequential.


Aliens as they're probably sitting on Apophis in 2029 with a nice view of the Earth going past.

US surgeon snaps patient's tattooed todger

Alan Fitzsimmons

Careful now!

Oooh - I read 'snaps' as in 'breaks'. That headline brought tears to my eyes!


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022