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Patrick LockerbyRSS Feed of this column.

Retired engineer, 71 years young. Computer builder and programmer. Linguist specialising in language acquisition and computational linguistics. Interested in every human endeavour except the scrooge... Read More »

Ocean Currents in the South Asian Archipelago

The losses of AirAsia QX8501 and Malaysia Airlines MH370 are tragic.  I hope that the relatives may find some comfort in the knowledge that their loved ones will have a lasting monument in improvements in air safety and in improved knowledge of our planet's oceans and climate.

As a direct result of the loss of MH370 a large scale ocean-floor survey was commenced, leading to almost daily discoveries of scientific importance. 

MH370 Operational Search Update—07 January 2015
Air Asia 8501 - Tail To Be Raised

The recently located tail of Air Asia flight 8501 is to be raised according to reports by Detik News.
Air Asia 8501 - Some Factual Information

"Based on the available data regarding the location of the lost aircraft, weather is a factor in the triggering of the incident. The most likely weather phenomenon is cooling air which can cause engine damage due to icing. This is just one of the possibilities that arise based on the analysis of available meteorological data, and is not a final decision about the cause of the incident."
From the BMKG weather report, in full below.

Facts and Fiction
I think it's time for a little snow - C.P.Snow, that is.  

Charles Percy Snow was an English physical chemist, novelist and civil servant. He was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Technology from 1964 to 1966.  He presented the 1959 Rede Lecture in which he made a statement about science which was picked up by the contemporary media. 
Cycling for Science #2 - Geology

Cycling on tarmac roads in summer is all very well but you can learn a whole lot about geology - and the laws of physics - if you ride off-road.  For example: today I went for a ride along a little-known trail and discovered a great deal about the adhesive properties of clay, the non-adhesive properties of tires clogged with wet clay and the super-adhesive and abrasive properties of brake pads clogged with dry clay.

A lot of mud and a bike - bliss!

An aside
Not So Smart Money

In modern English the term 'smart money'  is most commonly used in reference to money invested in the course of business or gambling by people presumed to be knowledgeable about the investment.  Less formally, the term is used to show that one statement is more likely true than another:  "some people say A, but the smart money is on B."

The modern meaning of 'smart money' dates from 1926, according to Merriam Webster's dictionary, prior to which the meaning was entirely different.

'Smart' can mean 'hurt' as when, after being slapped, the skin smarts.