NRC report not as interesting as expected

In my last post I called it the NAS report, sorry. I had expected a proper analysis form some (disinterested?) party by now. Perhaps that was optimistic. Its a long report, and the important bits are dense, and have previously been done to death in debate and papers anyway, with nothing terribly conclusive emerging. But having looked at various reactions to the report, (the most interesting was the comments under the Prometheus entry; which also correctly re-iterate the point first made by RC (AFAIK) that the entire debate doesn’t actually matter much for climate science) the overall effect is a bit nothing. No-one is knocked out of the debate; everyone is claiming victory. The newspaper headlines appear to be giving it to MBH, though.

[Update: both Nature Academy affirms hockey-stick graph and Science Yes, It’s Been Getting Warmer in Here Since the CO2 Began to Rise seem to be going with the HS graph, and confining The expert committee thus confirms the outlines of the near-iconic “hockey stick” temperature curve–a long cooling followed by a sharp warming during the past millennium–that had become a favorite target of greenhouse contrarians. But the committee also says the evidence in parts of the stick is fuzzier than the public and many scientists might have thought to the details]

NAS report

The long-awaited NAS report Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years is out. Roger Pielke says the NAS has rendered a near-complete vindication for the work of Mann et al as a first reaction. I’ve skimmed the first 4 pages (the summary); seems… err… plausible. Whatever that means. As some of the comments at the RC piece say, moving from IPCC-type semi-formalised probabilities to “plausible” is perhaps a step backwards. Interestingly, none of the methodological complaints from M&M make it into the summary as far as I can see. But thats just me being tribal 🙂

Global warming featured on wikipedia

[[Global Warming]] became a “featured article” on wikipedia about a month ago (long tedious arguments about the stylistic wording, and about the reference format) and today was the “featured article of the day” on the front page. Which has lead, of course, to an enormous edit count for today (many of them vandalism) – check the page history. The actual sum of changes kept on the page is tiny, unsurprisingly, since its been argued over for so long already.

Interesting Nature

There is a lot of interest in the last Nature. Indeed so much that I’ll just blip through it…

First off, the “open peer review” debate continues (as first blogged by JA), see here (for most of these links I think a subs is req, sorry). There are lots of entries there. I was struck by: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics was established in 2001 and last year published about 240 final papers. On average, one in four papers receives a comment from the scientific community in addition to the comments from designated reviewers. They appear to regard this as a success. But if only 1 in 4 gets any kind of public comment… that looks rather thin to me. An intersting point raised elsewhere in that is that “open review” is scary and liable to head off poor papers even being sumbitted, since you don’t want to embarass yourself in public – probably a good point.
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Secret voting for whales

Via JA I find David @ Tokyo who blogs about Caribbean Loses Drive For Secret Ballot At Whale Meet. Now I find this a bit weird… the caribbean nations don’t have any interest in whaling; they are interested only because they are being bought off by the Japanese (is this wrong? why else do they want to whale?). So… they want to vote in favour of whaling, but can’t do this in public because they might get boycotted etc. So they want to vote in favour in private. But then… how does anyone know how they’ve voted? Who will buy their votes?

Or is there some kind of loyalty/honesty to the being bought process… I’m not sure how buying votes works in the std democratic process… when govts fling freebies at the people, the process works somewhat in reverse: you get the freebies whether you promise to vote or not; presumably you vote for them in the (usually disappointed) expectation of more freebies in the future if they get back in.

Scientists respond to Gore’s warnings of climate catastrophe

Says The Canadian Free Press (warning: it has lots of stupid ads on it). I wonder what it is? But not very much. What does it *say*?

Well, its an attempt to counter Gores movie (oh good, that means people are worried by it…). There is much of the same-old-septic-rubbish in there, but a new (and bizarre argument): that we shouldn’t think a vast majority are convinced by GW, because we should only count a small number of those who actually understand detection and attribution.
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The managers role

Today and yesterday I went on a management training course. This is a complete reversal of policy by me, who has previously avoided them like the plague. Partly this is a feeling that since I am now quasi-managing two people I owe it to them to at least try to know what I’m doing. But partly its a (belated?) feeling that some of the fixed stars in my firmament (e.g., management is a load of b*ll*cks) have proved to be mutable. Sadly I only seem to be able to learn this sort of thing by experience (anyone can learn by their own experience; clever people learn by other peoples experience :-().
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New banner?

Someone made me a possible new banner…

I’m not sure… what do my faithful readers think? Would it make you more likely to read the blog? Or would you rather I just found something interesting to say about science?

Update: I managed to find the code for putting the banner into the header, so lets try it there for size

UUpdate: JF wants blood… I rather sympathise… see the comments

UUUpdate: I’ve previewing this on a 800×600 laptop. It looks like the banner pushes the seed sidebar to the bottom… oops

UUUUpdate: Response was overwhelmingly positive, so I’ve done it. Thanks to Carl Buell for the graphic.