Various things that I meant to write about, but didn’t, until too late. Happily, everyone else has now said most of them.

His transgression cannot be condoned, regardless of his motives – JEB, quoting Michael McPhaden being a bit po-faced about Gleick. This almost turned into a discussion on the philosophy of science with SE’s comment: Science works not because we trust each other, but precisely because we don’t trust each other, and we’re continuously finding and addressing the weaknesses in each other’s work. I don’t know about you, but I think most of my colleagues are deficient in intellectual rigor, truthfulness and integrity.

Totally unrelated, but if you row in Eastern England you want to come to the Head of the Cam, April 28th. Speaking of which, the crew I stroked came 4th in the Novice VIII’s category in the Winter League. I’m hoping to be not-a-novice by the time I’m too old to row, though many people retire virgin.

There was a long trail of deep stupidity (what else?) at WUWT about sea ice; Tamino took them to pieces in three parts: I, II and III. I joined in over at WUWT for part III but they weren’t really playing: Jeff Condon barely even attempted to defend his stuff, and had no answer to me pointing out that other people have done a far better job of defining first-year ice – and it doesn’t involve an arbitrary latitude.

Not to be outdone, Willis Eschenbach then proceeded to make Curry look good, by attempting to criticise a paper of hers, but making it painfully clear in the process that he hadn’t read it (its the one about recent-snowy-winters, which he misread as recent-increases-in-total-snow-extent; I’m vaguely interested in this as I have anecdotal evidence for enhanced snow over the last, say, 5+ years here).

The image I used above came from Tar Sands vs. Coal at ClimateSight.

Meanwhile, on the subject of plagiarism, Science has a story about an ecologist having nicked someone else’s words. That came via RetractionWatch, which usually covers medical stuff, but also covered Wegman recently.

Update: just in (thanks RN) is A view of climate “on the ground” from a reporter who was there at the beginning:

I worked as a journalist in the late 1980s in Colorado… I clearly remember the tone of articles on global warming during the 1980s. Most of the concern came out of the National Center for Atmospheric Research… The problem with NCAR’s interpretation on the ozone fluctuations were that some, like Hanson, took an immediate ideological tone to explain the ozone shifts – not once mentioning the Sun or the Interplanetary Magnetic Field effect on Earth’s ozone layers. For some reason, there was a resistance to even mentioning the Sun’s effects on earth by these new climate scientists getting jobs at the science agencies. It was odd I thought.

He can’t tell his ozone hole from his global warming. This is heavy-grade stupidity. And WUWT have fallen for it. Just in case you’re in any doubt:

in short, when I wrote pieces on the climate, I refused to write on the theory that chlorofluorocarbons were the sole cause of worldwide warming because that had never been proved


And I nearly forgot: Lindzen: what a lying toad, eh? [Update: but he has now apologised. Mind you, he is still wrong – the dataset URLs were different.]


* So, is it a fake?
* HBOS and the banking crash

28 thoughts on “Misc”

  1. Out of curiosity, if sea ice levels returned to “average” levels or higher would that be sufficient justification for skepticism in your mind?

    [If by “average” you mean, say, the average of the 1980’s or more ice than that, then yes. I’m assuming you mean climatologically-return; not just exceed, in one year for one day. It won’t happen though; I don’t think anyone believes it will. I (and a number of other people) would be happy to put up real money if anyone were foolish enough to be prepared to bet on the ice coming back-W]


  2. Some industrial grade stupid from a WUWT commenter, which Tony elevated to a head post. The author is a former journalist (crime, not science as he claims) but is currently a “climastrologer” and it shows. Have fun!

    [Holy Cluelessness Batman! That brings levels of stupidity I’ve not have the fortune to see for quite a while -W]


  3. Confusion between ozone depletion and greenhouse warming is very common among the general public. The difficulty of dislodging these pre-existing mental models is one of the most prominent topics in science pedagogy.

    [Agreed. But surely you’d expect someone at least pretending to be vaguely competent – as Watts does – to know the difference? -W]


  4. Of course Watts does know this difference, but is happy to sow any confusion he can.

    [I do wonder. Perhaps he just didn’t read the material before he posted it. His people are looking very stupid there now -W]


  5. In the comments to the WUWT article:

    Radiation is a minor player in planetary energy loss too.

    I hope I don’t make such silly comments with such supreme confidence!

    There is also someone who claims to be an astrometeorologist claiming that AGW violates both the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, apparently because he doesn’t know the difference between heat and energy. I’ve submitted a comment so we’ll see if it gets through.

    [This is a fairly common meme over there. If pushed, the saner folk there will claim that only the wilder-fringers believe it -W]


  6. I did a quick search for Theodore White, the ‘astrometeorologist’ and found this:

    Theodore White says: [. . .]I would like to thank Sam for his kind comments, and for the work of Anthony on WUWT, a fine site on climate science that I and my readers enjoy very much.

    As for my prediction of the Japan earthquake:

    I accomplished this by astrological means, as I do with all of my advanced climate and weather forecasting.

    It seems ‘astrometeorologist’ does not mean what I thought it meant.


  7. He can’t tell his ozone hole from his global warming.

    The original connection was that the pro-CFC lobby and the pro-CO2 lobby involved some of the same individuals. It was not discussed much at the time, but Channel 4’s Swindle had a short section devoted to CFC’s, and it was not devoted to their high global warming potential per molecule.


  8. Lindzen has been getting away with his act for way too long. As a senior scientist, he knows if he has something to say, he should be publishing it. Instead his published output is minimal, and is invariably useless. No wonder he sticks to the populist media and web outlets.

    [It turns out that this one was too blatant. He has {a href=”http://repealtheact.org.uk/blog/apology-from-prof-lindzen-for-howard-haydens-nasa-giss-data-interpretation-error”>apologised for his error -W]


  9. Apparently the Theodore White who Watts gave an entire thread to has this on his website:

    “Born in the city of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, birthplace of American democracy. A writer, I am also a professional astrologer. Natal Sun in Capricorn. A veteran crime journalist, I grew up in a blue-collar police family and began study of Astrology & Astronomy at the age of 10 as part of a classical education. My teachers were Charles Jayne & Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson. Major influences are Michel Nostradamus, AbÅ« Rayhān al-BÄ«rÅ«nÄ«, Claudius Ptolemy, Johannes Kepler, William Lilly, Isaac Newton, C.C. Zain, Lorne Edward Johndro, Albert Einstein, Reinhold Ebertin & Robert Zoller. My interests include world history, literature, meteorology, astrophysics, art, anthropology, geography, mathematics, medicine, philosophy, geophysics, chemistry and theology. Told I’m clairvoyant, I can only describe myself as a polymath who learned Natural Astrology as a child. I advanced to Judicial Astrology, interpreting Natal Horoscopes & Secondary Progressions. My expertise ranges from long-range climate/weather forecasting to economics to personal horoscope readings to the astrological world prophecies of Michel Nostradamus – all based on the principles of Mundane Astrology.”

    A frickin’ astrologer! BWAHAHAHAHA!!

    Watts will give a forum to *anybody* as long as the person says “It’s not CO2!!”. lol


  10. So Hayden and Lindzen have both apologised for falsely accusing GISS of fraud. Given that Hayden is still claiming that the URLs were the same when they were not, is he more incompetent or more dishonest than we already thought, or can anyone suggest any other explanation?

    [I think he is covering his shame, and possibly trying to imply some incompetence on GISS’s part, but fairly safe in assuming that no-one cares enough to expose that relatively trivial lie -W]


  11. Natural Astrology? Judicial Astrology? Mundane Astrology (gotta love this one)?

    Who knew? How many other kinds of astrology are there?


  12. Well, I was banned from WUWT years ago, but when reading that hilarious thread noticed that White brags about his pass predictions proving he’s oh-so-smarter than scientists.

    Here’s one of his predictions from his astrology blog:

    I am issuing an astrological alert for seismic activity affecting the U.S. west coast. Global transits show transiting Mars, and Saturn are on the nadir of the west coast of North America through the month of June, and July 2010.

    The angles relative to southern California, and Mexico, from the cardinal transits involve Mars, Saturn, and Pluto, in that order, with Pluto descending on solar charts to the west of southern California, Saturn transiting towards the nadir, and square to Pluto.

    It is my astrological forecast for this region, especially for southern California, for residents to take the proper precautions for a large magnitude earthquake to potentially strike in the month of June, and July 2010.

    Last time I looked, LA is still there. Of course, I’m sure he’ll weasel out by pointing out he only claimed a large earthquake was “probable”, not “certain” …

    WUWT denizens have been taken in hook, line, and sinker. He makes Goddard look positively intelligent by contrast …


  13. Lindzen’s not-pology (he’s sorry someone else made a mistake) ends with “The public interest in this quantity, however, does make it a matter subject to confirmation bias.” That’s exactly true – someone (Howard Hayden) got a result that they liked (looked like GISS had changed numbers) and confirmation bias made them and Lindzen believe it and publicise it without adequate checking.

    Gavin at RealClimate got the original files from web.archive.org – how hard was that?

    Confirmation bias – the essence of most kinds of denialist arguments (AGW, Holocaust, HIV, 9/11, lunar landing).


  14. On the “warming from each type of resource”, isn’t the coal is mislabeled. It should be labeled “unconventional oil” as well.
    Converting coal to gasoline and similar is proven technology.

    [Now I’m not quite sure what they mean by “unconventional oil” – presumably, heavy oil… well, I suppose I could look it up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconventional_oil: “Unconventional oil is petroleum produced or extracted using techniques other than the conventional (oil well) method”. I think it would be a bit confusing to re-label all the coal as UC oil -W]


  15. dhogaza:

    WUWT denizens have been taken in hook, line, and sinker. He makes Goddard look positively intelligent by contrast …

    I’m not sure that they have. I don’t often bother with WUWT but it seems to me that there are far fewer ‘peanut gallery’ type comments than usual.

    I had a look through White’s ‘predictions’ too. What struck me was the amount of guff about the ‘Cardinal Crisis’ and the awful things happening around the world, but how few meaningful predictions were actually buried there.


  16. Some of you people are pretty sad and don’t come close to Theodore White’s forecasts. I was stupid too before I began to actually see what this guy was saying.

    A couple of years ago I was very critical of White, astrology and his “astrometeorology” predictions before he shut me up but good with his accurate weather and climate forecasts.

    I wrote to him complaining about astrology and Theodore wrote back to me. He is a very nice person and knows climate and science, that much is sure.

    He has no ego I can see but he is very intelligent and the real deal. I challenged him in 2009 to write me a climate forecast for six months for northern California thinking he would balk, but he sent it to me and it was spot on.

    Scary stuff, it was very accurate and much better than what NOAA forecasted. Take him on like I did, but be well prepared because the guy isn’t stupid. He can forecast.

    White is known as one of the best premier forecasters in the world. He’s named nearly every major storm since 2006.

    He predicted el nino and la nina and beat out 22 international climate centers. I found out that he was the only forecaster in the world to call the enso of 2009-2011 and he did that back in 2006.

    He even predicted the March 2011 Japan earthquake before it happened and named the magnitude. Astrologer or not, this guy is the real deal.

    So before some of you start laughing at Theodore White and his astrology, you’d better be prepared to accept that this guy is certainly no flake.

    [Hi Theodore; thanks for stopping by. Next time, be sure to put your forecasts onto the wub in a time-stamped verifiable way. Simply claiming, in retrospect, to have forecast various things has no credibility at all -W]


  17. I suggest introducing kim to the esteemed Mensur Omerbashich, another guy with “very accurate” planetary-based forecasts, although about earthquakes, not weather/climate:
    (Warning: Engage all possible ad-blockers and virus scanners before visiting that page.)


  18. [“Unconventional oil is petroleum produced or extracted using techniques other than the conventional (oil well) method”. I think it would be a bit confusing to re-label all the coal as UC oil -W]

    Exactly why? Seems to me to be the best description of the likely use of much of the coal. Coal can be used to produce petroleum. Doesn’t that fit the definition you quote? I agree that some fraction of the coal will be used as a solid fuel aka “conventional coal”, but some of the unconventional oil reserves have been burnt as solid fuels in the past and are being burnt now, and are likely to be burnt as solid fuels in the future. (Wikapedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_shale )

    [Well, isn’t that the problem? You don’t know how much is going to be used as coal, or as converted to oil. It seems better to label it as what it is, rather than what it might be -W]

    I guess I’m arguing for a forward looking functional classification of the fuel reserves. Probably a tricky item, as the ways that future economic trends change are likely hard to predict. But it seems likely to me that the conventional oil will mostly be gone in decades, and the unconventional oil will mostly be gone in a century plus minus a few decades. At that time, there will be a lot of coal left, and a whole bunch of investment in liquid hydrocarbon fuels. Why will some large fraction the coal not be converted to liquid fuels? I don’t see any economic reason… Do you?

    Of course there might be non-economic factors like climate change…


  19. [It seems better to label it as what it is, rather than what it might be -W]

    Oil shale is not oil any more or less than coal is oil. Both can be burned as a solid fuel, and both can be converted into oil. Then why is oil shale counted as “unconventional oil” rather than as coal?

    The name?

    While I’m at it, quite a bit of coal is too deep to mine by any known method, but could be gasified by drilling, injecting air and steam, and collecting the resulting gases. So should deep coal that can’t be mined as coal be listed as coal? Or should it not counted at all, as it is not technically or economically producible? Or as “unconventional gas”, as that is the only way it could be used, at least with known technology?


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