Latif / Keenlyside / Cooling, revisited

The malign Nature effect, again refers.

In the hotly contested competition to see who are the biggest tossers in the british newspaper industry there has been an early entry this year by the Daily Mail: The mini ice age starts here based mainly on the fact that, oh, it has snowed a bit. And not helped by the UKMO pratting around with seasonal forecasts they know full well are worthless to the general public. Whether or not this makes the Mail more stupid that the Torygraph I leave for you to judge (incidentally, for you Johnny Foreigners lucky enough not to know what the Mail is, its a tabloid rag somewhat above the Sun but well below the Broadsheets, but with pretensions to respectability).

But what makes this little episode especially amusing is that the Grauniad (unlike the Mail) actually bothered to talk to Latif and he pretty well told them the Mail were a bunch of wazzocks. After that, he said something quite thoughtful which is nice: “There are numerous newspapers, radio stations and television channels all trying to get our attention. Some overstate and some want to downplay the problem as a way to get that attention,” he said. “We are trying to discuss in the media a highly complex issue. Nobody would discuss the problem of [Einstein’s theory of] relativity in the media. But because we all experience the weather, we all believe that we can assess the global warming problem”. Ah yes.

Cold and Dark again

So I was coming upstairs after talking to the digits about the things you talk to digits about, when a little beep came from my mobile receiving a text message and I just knew it was going to be the outing coming On. 4pm on a cold dark monday with only 4 people signed up: I thought there was a fair chance of it being cancelled and me getting a chance to work late (oooh how I love a chance to work late). But no, thanks to James (the one how lives on a boat, except that isn’t specific enough, the one who lives on a boat and has a cat not a dog, that will do) we were out in the Four of Death (stoat passim). To make things even better the Queens Boys were oiling their rippling torsos in the IV bay doing synchronised erging so we had 15 mins to kill and Tom said “why don’t we do an erg while we’re waiting” so we did. I disgraced myself with 7:38, but I haven’t been on for months.

The outing, however, was really rather good. Despite Paul H’s rather eccentric approach to balance (viz, throw your weight onto bowside in an effort not to have it down on stroke side; actually I’m being unfair in describing this as eccentric, it is all too common 😦 Also he improved as we went along) and the IV’s notorious skittishness we did manage the odd balanced stroke. And we didn’t turn it over, a definite plus on a winter night. And it was a lovely still night, perfect for rowing, except when Cantabs tried to slice us in half. It’s not as if there was a lot of other traffic out.

In the Spring afterwards we all agreed it was a splendid outing and we should do it again. Thanks to Ralph, Tom, Paul, James T. And Me.

Stoat: the blog that should really be called “Otter”. Thanks to all for the responses to “Ask Stoat”. I haven’t forgotten you, I’m just busy.

A child’s garden of wikipedia, part I

“Part I” is very presumptuous. I might never write part II. Ah well, I press onwards in hope.

[2019 update: there is now a part two. But it isn’t very exciting.]

I’m going to take my text from Climategate: the corruption of Wikipedia [now very sensibly disappeared from the Torygraph site (arch); something similar is at (arch)] and see what we can learn about wiki’s workings from the way people misunderstand it. I should warn you that blog is mostly recycled Solomon.

Before I go on (well actually I wrote this *after* I went on, but I came back up here, that is one of the marvels of modern tech) I’ll point out that the LS/JD article is riddled with amateur errors that a moments time from someone competent at wiki could have fixed. This is genuine modern journalism at it’s very worst.

* ”All told, Connolley created or rewrote 5,428 unique Wikipedia articles.” This is either technically true, or wrong, depending on how you interpret “re-wrote”. If you use an edit counter you can discover that I have, to date, edited 5,474 unique articles, so it has gone up by a few since LS wrote (actually I wouldn’t swear that total didn’t include talk space, but never mind). But that raw number is nearly meaningless, because it includes articles such as Aesop, where I reverted vandalism, Berkhamstead Castle, where I added a picture, I removed the S word from the CRA , and… I’m sure you get the picture. I can’t quite make it up to Z, but I did remember the XAP2. If you want to know how many articles where I’ve valiantly kept at bay the forces of wacko-dom, you need something more intelligent than an edit counter or a Delingpole.

* “When Connolley didn’t like the subject of a certain article, he removed it — more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand”. If you’re an admin (as I was for a while, before I got de-sysopped, full story sometime) you get the power to delete articles. However, all such deletions show up and all other admins have the power to recreate deleted articles. So going around deleting articles I didn’t like on climate grounds would not have worked – people would have said “hey, you have a [[WP:COI]] you can’t do that. And indeed, although the edit counter will faithfully tell you “Pages deleted: 510”, you need to look at to see what I actually did. Most of the pages you see there are redlinks – which is to say, they are links to pages that don’t exist, because (surprise) I deleted them. But any admin that disagreed could restore any of them. Most of the pages I deleted were just simple deletions – they were totally uncontroversial and obvious (I was never much of a one for frequenting [[WP:AFD]] where people have long and tedious arguments about whether individual pokemon cards are more notable than Polish politicians. One of my controversial deletes was [[Antisemitic incidents during the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict]] which I deleted with “edit warring disaster area. where are all the people who voted keep?” but sadly it got re-created (the comment, oh you wiki-virgins, is a reference to the discussion at AFD/DR; don’t lets go there). I’m not at all sure I deleted *any* controversial GW-type pages, but if I did I’m sure the Dark Side will bitch at me and I’ll update this.

* “When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred — over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions.” – one of the other privs of admin-hood is blocking people. Sadly, however, the COI guidelines stop you blocking people you’re in dispute with (ahem); if you do it, another admin will unblock them (incidentally, you can unblock yourself, but you’re not allowed to; see my block log). So where do the 2,000 (2029, to be precise) come from? Well, I used to do a lot of work at [[WP:AN3]] which is a project-space page where people could be reported for breaking the “3 revert rule” (viz: revert a page more than 3 times in 24 hours and you’re blocked, sonny, usually for 24h in the first instance; [[WP:3RR]] for details). You can see (the last 500) of my block’s at here (I was especially pleased with “2009-09-12T13:49:44 William M. Connolley (talk | contribs) blocked Dak (talk | contribs) (account creation blocked) with an expiry time of 24 hours ‎ (edit warring at Fisting)” and rather hoped that would be my last admin action, but sadly I couldn’t resist, and my last was “Redking7 (talk | contribs) (account creation blocked) with an expiry time of indefinite ‎ (SPA RoC/Taiwan edit warring)”). As you can see from the list, there is a vast amount of edit warring at wiki; as you’ll see, (almost) none of the blocks are for GW (indeed the only one ctrl-f finds for me from that list is “2009-06-07T21:55:28 William M. Connolley (talk | contribs) blocked (talk) (anon. only, account creation blocked, autoblock disabled) with an expiry time of 12 hours ‎ (tripe on Talk:Global warming)”).

* “Acolytes whose writing conformed to Connolley’s global warming views, in contrast, were rewarded with Wikipedia’s blessings” – I’ve not a clue what this means.

* “Connolley has supposedly been defrocked as a Wikipedia administrator… If this is true, it doesn’t seem to have made much difference to his creative input on the Wikipedia’s entries”. Again, it is possible to check. Juliancolton is shown to be an admin. I’m not (I am a humble rollbacker; another once-admin-only priv is a little button that allows you to revert junk edits quickly; since this is no great power moderately trusted edits can have it too, free of charge). But the main error here is confusing admin and editor status, and it is an enormous error. The admin bit is popularly and laughably called the “mop and bucket”; admins get to patrol wiki and wipe out the cling-ons, so to speak. But this has no affect whatsoever on their ability to *edit* pages (except for the minor matter of editing protected pages, but lets not go there either today).

Well, there you go, that is about all you can learn from JD. I’ve not bothered comment here on his misc errors about me – I am all powerful (part 2) is probably your best source for that.

[Teensy update: well there is a bizarre coincidence. I mention Aesop and A, href=”″>some anon wazzock vandalises it -W]

Ask Stoat

Many years ago, back when Stoat was a humble blogspot blog, I had an “Ask Stoat” feature, shamelessly ripped off from RP Jr’s “Ask Prometheus”. Anyway, it is back, and here it is. Ask away. I’ll transfer anything I think there is any prospect of me doing from the comments into some kind of order list. Anyone else who thinks they know the answwer is welcome to post a link to their version; I’ll xfer those up too, if useful.

Incidentally, PD is also happy to be asked stuff, and has a better record than me of answering. Since he is still an active climate scientist, he may do a better job of anything technical.

So far I have:

* Airbourne fraction (though I’ve done this and this and that)
* What is your guess for SLR by the end of the century. Is it still 1m?
* Do you think that now that IPCC has done its job it should be dissolved?
* Discount rate? [e.g.]
* More wiki stuff, e.g. “Among other things, wiping out his Medieval Warm Period from history.”
* “when people started realising that wind or ocean circulation patterns and the ozone hole would somewhat obscure polar amplification at the Antarctic?”
* “What do you see as the worst case scenario? Is a Venusian style runaway even slightly plausible? A PETM style mass extinction?” [I’m sure I’ve done this somewhere but I can’t find it]
* Seaice: recently or anciently
* “What do you think would be a profitable price on the Intrade market 2010 to be hottest year on record (in GISS)”
* [not all moved up yet]


* A child’s garden of editing wikipedia

[Update: thanks for the comments. Some moved up, more to come, but answering? Ah there’s the rub -W]

Best posts of 2009

Paul puts up his best posts of 2009 and that seems like a good idea. He did 8, so I think I should try for 9. I’ll write it tomorrow; you’ve got till then to do it for me 🙂

No-one did my work for me. And I decided to do a rough pick month-by-month instead.

* Jan Hegel does maths
* Feb “Will” I be able to think of a witty title for this post? (it was a thin month; runner-up)
* Mar Too hot to handle!
* Apr Wandering across the Arctic
* May Meinshausen et al.
* Jun Mays (runners up)
* Jul Communicating Science
* Aug Midsummer madness (well, it was August. And I didn’t win the bet)
* Sep Cassandras of Climate? (but thanks to S for the walk and all for the row)
* Oct Tiljander (stands well back from resulting flame war)
* Nov Those CRU emails in full (another exciting month)
* Dec Hulme

Gosh, I do come across as a sour cynical old man, don’t I? I assure you I’m not like that in real life, I can be quite positive about some things. Though I *am* like that in real conversation.