You just can’t parody this junk

Some while ago – probably about 15 years ago – there was a good Steve Bell carton showing the US airforce dropping “ozone friendly” bombs on the ragheads (or the gooks, or the commies, or whoever the enemy was then). It was quite funny, unlike Obama, who isn’t.

Lovelock goes emeritus

Or have I used that one before? It seems only too likely. But perhaps not: I don’t seem to have had a decent go at him for four years.

Anyway, it makes a change from CRU-investigation navel-gazing (I’ll get back to that in a moment). So what has the much-loved but getting-on-a-bit genius of electron capture said now?

It was bound to happen. Science, not so very long ago, pre-1960s, was largely vocational. Back when I was young, I didn’t want to do anything else other than be a scientist. They’re not like that nowadays. They don’t give a damn. They go to these massive, mass-produced universities and churn them out. They say: “Science is a good career. You can get a job for life doing government work.” That’s no way to do science.

This is crap. It is the std “the skies were bluer, the grass was greener, people tipped their hat to the local bobby and children were seen and not heard” stupid nostalgia for the good ol’ days. He then rants on:

I have seen this happen before, of course. We should have been warned by the CFC/ozone affair because the corruption of science in that was so bad that something like 80% of the measurements being made during that time were either faked, or incompetently done.

And I really don’t have a clue what he is on about there. What was faked? What has Lovelock been smoking? I’m going to ask Howard, maybe he knows.

UEA circus, continued

The HoC inquiry into the CRU hack has reported. Judging from BBC radio 4 this morning (which interviewed Acton and then Lawson, no, not the wobbly one) the results are good: I say this because Lawson showed a distinct disinclination to talk about what the report actually said :-).

I’ll expand this post later with more, so don’t complain if it changes. My initial impression is that is is fairly good, and certainly provides the right headlines, but I can’t yet endorse it whole-heartedly – it looks like they have made some errors (in the matter of blaming Jones for the data sharing). But I need to read the thing (courtesy CP) before saying more.

Milambre, Octagon has spoken though, and the headline says it all “Phil Jones exonerated”. HT goes for the same. Eli also opines and has some more useful links. Romm too.

And the current version of the wiki page says The first review to become available, conducted by the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee, largely vindicated Jones and the CRU (and no, I didn’t write that). That is sourced to yahoo news (are they a WP:RS?); James prefers The Times. The Grauniad isn’t quite so fulsome: Climate researchers ‘secrecy’ criticised – but MPs say science remains intact.

[Update: those toads at the IOP have the gall to trumpet this as Climate science must be more open, say MPs. Evil slimey little toerags. JA points out why they are wazzocks, without actually talking about them.

Moah: does this report pass the “Wattsupwiththat? test”? – yes, with flying colours. Watty can’t even bring himself to make any comments on it, and all his commentators hate it :-). McI hates it too, which is a bonus. Anyone else got any nose-out-of-joint septic blogs to link to? But I did learn that the division of the committee members is interesting. Look at p56, for the votes. On all issues, “Graham Stringer” stands alone (on the septic side). Who is he? I don’t know (uupdate: Fred Pearce clearly doesn’t know either: in his latest rubbish the best he can do for a link to GS is this fairly useless comment).

Speaking of slimy toads, if you look at the inquiry video around about 31:38 you see Benny Peiser complinaing that the satellite records don’t make thier methodologies fully available! Yes, that’s right – he is (although he is very careful not to do so by name) attacking UAH and Spencer and Christy. They are eating themselves -W]

* Deep Climate – Climategate investigations, round 1: CRU exonerated – has some interesting dissection of Stringer.
* Nurture wades in with “Parliament committee calls for more transparency in climate science” which is crap.
* Cruel Mistress goes for “Data Valid”, which is what the NYT said and I think this is a good headline – it is, after all, the fundamental point. Transpancy and reputations matter, but the bottom line is, was the research valid, and the answer is “yes” (ah, and as I can see that could easily be misinterpreted, whilst I’m happy that the HoC have said that, I don’t really think they are a competent authority to decide that. Who is competent? Probably the overall scientific community via peer review, who have said the same thing, implicitly).

Hobbes again, and 400 ppm CO2

I haven’t been nice to Hobbes for a bit, so:

When God speaketh to man, it must be either immediately or by mediation of another man, to whom He had formerly spoken by Himself immediately. How God speaketh to a man immediately may be understood by those well enough to whom He hath so spoken; but how the same should be understood by another is hard, if not impossible, to know. For if a man pretend to me that God hath spoken to him supernaturally, and immediately, and I make doubt of it, I cannot easily perceive what argument he can produce to oblige me to believe it.

There. Isn’t that wonderful? It so beautifully turns around the “You say God told you that but I think you’re a fraud” into “I really can’t see how you could convince me of that”. There is more, of course. [[Leviathan (book)]] provides an intro, and as it happens I wrote it (or almost all of it) and it has survived remarkably well. The section Of a Christian Common-wealth is good fun: here Hobbes tries to make a case for which books of the Bible you can reliably believe in, but (much like Popper on rationalism) is eventually obliged (oh dear, he really didn’t want to go that way 🙂 to provide an external authority to decide which books can be trusted: the Civil Power in his case, of course.

Ah, and now of course I’ve remembered what I actually intended to write about: Atmoz’s 400 ppm CO2 challenge! Off you go; I haven’t made my mind up yet.

Yet more misc

Who says GW is bad? Climate change stops fighting between India and Bangladesh says Nurture. [Err, see comments. And also, JA nailed this -W]

David Appell wonders about “Livestock’s Long Shadow” – the odd thing is that I swear I’ve done this one before, and *I* didn’t really believe their numbers either. But it might have been on wikipedia… can anyone help me out?

And, briefly, some science: Unmanned planes take wing for science. Bit of a dobber-substitute, no? There is a downside: Flying instruments on the Global Hawk isn’t cheap or easy. NASA charges the same price — US$3,500 per hour — to use the Global Hawk as for various manned aircraft so maybe this is just PR by the gents with guns. [ps: BAS did some stuff too but on a much smaller scale.]

Om NOM NOM! Doughnuts: a guide for the perplexed: Tesco: astonishingly cheap and fairly cheerful. Sainsburys: a bit sugary-er, perhaps too “fat”. Waitrose: too far away. Co-op: OK but not memorable.

p4 resolved” – isn’t that useful. I never knew that. No more lost files. I must read the rest of the manual some time.

HORR: full report to follow, but here is an unflattering pic and here are the results. We’re 302.

Observation from Popper: a commitment to clarity in language is part of the obligation of rationalism. Gosh, which neatly ties into McLean et al.. How tidy. [Thanks to [JA].

Selective quotation

Eli has a wonderful post on the McLean mess. So wonderful I can’t resist ripping bits of it off :-).

McLean et al. quote:

“But as it is written, the current paper [Foster et al. draft critique] almost stoops to the level of “blog diatribe”. The current paper does not read like a peer-reviewed journal article. The tone is sometimes dramatic and sometimes accusatory. It is inconsistent with the language one normally encounters in the objectively-based, peer-reviewed literature.”

But oddly enough they don’t continue the quotation

The real mystery here, of course, is how the McLean et al. paper ever made it into JGR. How that happened, I have no idea. I can’t see it ever getting published through J Climate. The analyses in McLean et al. are among the worst I have seen in the climate literature. The paper is also a poorly guised attack on the integrity of the climate community, and I guess that is why Foster et al. have taken the energy to contradict its findings.

How very curious.

[Comments off here; go to Eli instead]

Sea ice, briefly

I doubt I’ll be running the ever-exciting competition again this year, due to a lack of people who strongly disagree with me (i.e., the decline will be on the long term-trend, plus some error margin).

But While I’m here there appears to be some excitement from Romm over a Grauniad study about a GRL study about the role of wind forcing in sea ice loss, in particular in 2007.

The paper says

The unprecedented retreat of first-year ice during summer 2007 was enhanced by strong poleward drift over the western Arctic induced by anomalously high sea-level pressure (SLP) over the Beaufort Sea that persisted throughout much of the summer. Comparison of the tracks of drifting buoys with monthly mean SLP charts shows a substantial Ekman drift. By means of linear regression analysis it is shown that Ekman drift during summer has played an important role in regulating annual minimum Arctic sea-ice extent in prior years as well.

which seems fair enough (I don’t guarantee it is true, but it looks like a perfectly reasonable thing to say). By the time this has reached the Grauniad the sub-headings have got a little dodgy Wind contributing to Arctic sea ice loss, study finds New research does not question climate change is also melting ice in the Arctic, but finds wind patterns explain steep decline but only a little bit dodgy. By sub-heading standards, this is pretty good (Romm says “especially misleading subhed” which looks over the top to me). Even the Daily Mail isn’t too bad.

For those not familair with the basic idea, sea ice either melts and grows in situ or is pushed about by the winds. Strong winds can either make it advance further than it “ought” to be able to get, or by pushing it too far south melt more of it than would be normal, or push it back north (see, I can’t even tell from the paper which one of those it is. Never mind, I don’t need to know). If you pinned your hopes on 2007 being the harbinger of a new trend, well, you’ve already been disappointed by 2008 and 2009 so this isn’t exactly a hammer blow. It just confirms the obvious: that there was something other than GW that made 2007 an exceptional minimum.

As Romm points out, we (well me, JA and Brian) still have $1000 between us on an ice-free Arctic by 2020, and oddly both sides still seem quite comfortable with that. Romm’s post links to an ice-volume “prediction” of zero by 2012-2016 which I think is absurd. But time will tell. 2012 certainly isn’t far off.

Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi

Olim lacus colueram,	
olim pulcher extiteram, dum cignus ego fueram. Actually this is a post about statistics, but what the hell I’ve been listening to Carmina Burana a lot recently, even if Miriam thinks it is bombastic. So anyway, several people have commented on this article which (whilst it makes some points about statistics that are vaguely plausible) far far overgeneralises its bounds of validity: any single scientific study alone is quite likely to be incorrect, thanks largely to the fact that the standard statistical system for drawing conclusions is, in essence, illogical. Tamino points out the obvious: that statistics works, and it isn’t stats faults if you don’t understand it. JA says similar, though unusually for him is quite kind about it. Even Paul linked to it. And this post merely expands my comment there.

Which is: that much of science isn’t statistical at all. A simple example would be special relativity. You can read the underlying paper; there are no stats in it. You could sort-of argue that there is some stats underlying it (that the speed of light is a constant is sort-of a matter of observation, which always come with errors, so need stats to analyse properly) but that isn’t really true. The sciencenews thing itself seems to be mostly thinking about medicine, where they use stats a lot because they don’t know what is really going on.

Do I need a new bike?


I’m wondering if this is fatal or not. Bike shops in Cambridge don’t seem to do welding.

[Thanks to all who commented. The answer turns out to be the Genesis, £600, plus some mini-mudguards. To make things more exciting I’m buying it via the govt’s bizarre buy-your-bike-from-work scheme, which (if it all works out) saves me 40% tax plus maybe some other bits. For those happy enough not to live here, there is some weird tax-dodge scheme encouraged by the gummint whereby the company buys the bike (in theory), or maybe some other leaseholding company, you rent it for a year whilst making monthly payments, and then you buy it for a nominal sum at the end of the year. It is a job-creation scheme for accountants and tax lawyers.]
Continue reading “Do I need a new bike?”