Oh good: the dork side still don’t like wiki

The denialists don’t like wiki, because it reflects the current understanding of global warming. And so they need to construct elaborate fantasies about why it doesn’t say what they want it to say. Of course, just like everyone else, whether they whinge about it or not, they use it, because its useful and accurate. So far, nothing new.

But its nice to know, every now and again, that the nutters are attacking it, because if they weren’t, something would be wrong. In this case, the trigger appears to be some other nutters attacking it. And the trigger for the trigger appears to be some vandalism from 2009. 2009? WTF? Come on people, that’s beyond lame. And its about football, so who gives a toss. I cared enough to track back what, according to Aunty, is the offending text: Blame Liverpool Fans, inserted by IP which, FWIW, geolocates to gateway-202.energis.gsi.gov.uk. Which said account got a warning, followed by a 3 month block for vandalism fairly rapidly after the offending edit. Which edit was reverted about 4 minute later. A 5-year old piece of vandalism lasting less than 4 minutes seems pretty thin gruel, even for the wackos.

As an example, I looked up 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Which looks like a pretty decent summary of what’s up. Where would you find anything better?

A comparison

Suppose you entirely accept WUWT on its own terms (hard to do, I know, but pretend). Then a useful comparison would be against the latest bout of Slayerism, as documented by Sou. And again, even if you accept AW’s somewhat implausible story that it was all just a test, that “test” – or, in it state before it claimed to be a test, that misinformation – was up for hours misleading – well, lying to – anyone dumb enough to trust WUWT to provide factual information. So wiki’s correction process works rather better, and at least the vandals get banned.


* Ferret
* Faking it – RC
* Good news, from QS: AGU Journals to Become Freely Available(*)


Over at WUWT, AW wondered Is it time for an “official” climate skeptics organization, one that produces a policy statement, issues press releases, and provides educational guidance? To me, that looked like a fairly crude attempt to monetise WUWT and provide some kind of career path for himself. But, it would be a big step, and risk humiliating failure. So he vacillated and started a poll. He doesn’t know his own mind, perhaps someone else does.

The results are now in and they present a quandry: there’s a clear majority of votes in favour, but a clear majority of those who could actually be bothered to comment against. What that says – but what AW doesn’t point out – is that the fire-and-forget unthinking multitude are the support group. That’s not the sort of support you want. This resembles oh-so-much the “shall I sue them?” post – all the yahoos said “yeah, yeah go for it” but he didn’t dare.

There’s also a fairly perceptive comment that AW quotes, but clearly doesn’t understand:

It’s become a social activity, a recreational pastime, a macho ego trip, a catharsis for a lot of tangential frustrations. Log in quickly, hurl an insult or two and surf onto the next brawl. Underneath the most combative blogs, out of hundreds of comments, barely a single digit percentage of the comments even reference the original blog topic, whatever it was.


* Sou takes the piss out of the “nuclear reactor” post.
* KK wonders


My previous post Policy? trailed off in the comments in a variety of odd directions, as long comment threads are wont to. So I’ll offer you this quote:

For there are some people on the left who keep insisting that economic growth is incompatible with reduced emissions, and that therefore we have to turn our backs on growth. Such people have no power, and therefore don’t do any real harm. Still, it’s worth pointing out that they have a much too narrow notion of what it means to have a growing economy. It doesn’t necessarily mean more stuff! It could be better stuff, or more services — and there are also choices to be made in how we produce and distribute stuff. There is absolutely no reason to believe in a one-for-one link between real GDP and greenhouse gases.

I could try to play guess-the-quotee, but of course with google that’s no longer an amusing game so I may as well tell you it Krugman, via Covered in Bees, who says “Well, no, there’s not a one-to-one link. Really, no-one ever said there was”. Really? According to DA, Curry has been writing on a similar vein. But I haven’t read that.

Eli and mt (and more Eli, and of course there’s even more) have stuff on the “Recursive Fury” / Frontiers affair; all the words are available elsewhere so I won’t re-say them; Frontiers is in a mess and in the wrong. Mind you, Bardi allows people to post utter drivel on his blog, so can’t be an entirely sensible person. Perhaps surprisingly, AW hates L so much he was prepared to quote Frontiers editor saying “It is most unfortunate that this particular incident was around climate change, because climate change is a very serious threat for human civilization.”

There was a nice example of AW’s inability to parse things related to science, again – he was tricked by the Slayers. RS has fun

I can’t remember if I mentioned HoRR. Anyway, it was cancelled after some of the leading boats sank. Oh dear.


ATTP has a post discussing Mapping the sceptical blogosphere (which I’m sure I read (the paper, I mean) and had the same reaction: “whaat? You mean they’re taking these jokers seriously?” But I don’t seem to have written it down anywhere). Anyway, ATTP then asks, of the septics:

So, why do these sites focus on the science (which isn’t really up for debate) and not on policy (which – in my view – is up for debate)? Is it because if one broadly accepts the science, it means that we should be taking some of the more unpalatable policy options more seriously?

Its a good question, which has been asked before. I was going to reply in the comments there, but then realised my answer was rather long and not at all snappy, and why should I waste a decent posting as a comment elsewhere ;-?

If you want to be charitable to them, the answer is that since they don’t believe the science, talking about policy is irrelevant. I’m not charitable though.

Another possible answer is that dissing the science is these sites’ ecosystem niche – they have nothing to say on policy, because they’ve never got that far. Their only opinion is “no”. And they can’t, now, go on to the interesting discussion of policy, because they wouldn’t carry their readership.

Further, this may reflect they and their readership buying a large part of the “green argument” if I can put it that way: they’re afraid that science implies policy. In fact the connection isn’t at all definite (in my opinion). As I’ve tried to say before, to no great applause.

A better one though is, I think, a variation of incompetence. They can’t interpret the science properly (if they could, they wouldn’t be taking the stance they are) and I think they are uneasily aware of that. So they have no certainty, no confidence. So they can concede or admit nothing, because their defence, so to speak, is multiple layers of fluff; not a single layer of iron. Its also a variation of what VV complained about Curry: the deliberate use of ambiguous language and the avoidance of making testable statements; because that’s the aim: chaff (or fluff), not certainty. But you need a thick layer of chaff, or people will see though it.

All this is nothing new. People have been saying it since sci.env.

But, given this is how the denialospheere is almost by definition, there’s not a lot of point complaining about it. There *are* people out there who are prepared to accept the IPCC science (or, if you prefer, take it as the basis for argument) and then discuss policy. For example Timmy; e.g. this one. And for the hard of thinking: no, you don’t have to agree, but if you want to discuss policy, you can.

Foundation and Empire

asimov-foundation-covers-cropped The second Ukraine post, a follow-up to the brilliantly prescient Ukraine: Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation wherein I said:

Miriam says Yes: she thinks “Russian armed forces, on Ukrainian soil, within two weeks” (she declined to say “tanks over the border”, though I think that’s the only way they can do it, if they want to). I say No. perhaps more in hope than in judgement, but my reasoning would be: this is all unexpected. No-one is in place to react quickly. Invading… is very risky, and could go terribly wrong for Putin. Whereas doing nothing except fomenting a bit of bother, and hoping it all goes horribly wrong, is not very risky (he looks a bit stupid and somewhat dissed, but its far from fatal)

There are no tanks over the border, and being Jesuitical I could perhaps press for the idea that the Russians didn’t technically “invade” because most if not all of the troops involved (that Putin is still, ludicrously, pretending weren’t there) came from Russian bases already in Crimea. Anyway. The current situation (which I’ll write down because looking back it may be hard to remember) is that the Russkies have nicked the Crimea, by a mixture of direct force, intimidation, propaganda and (it has to be said) support on the ground from a fair segment of the population. With indecent haste they’ve declared Crimea to be part of Russia; no-one else accepts this (I have little doubt that, had they simply waited 6 months for things to settle down, and then held a fair referendum, they’d have won a majority for secession anyway [Update: or, possibly not. See the beeb report quoted here]. And could then, with suitable decorum, have joined Russia in a year or two. However, whose interests would that have served? No-one would have looked macho).

Returning to my prior title, there is some promise. The current lot in the Ukraine seem to be fairly sensible, at least when viewed from a distance; and Ukraine has faded from the headlines for the moment, which is good; indeed, that’s the best sign. They’ve abandoned the silly stuff about not having Russian as a language. They managed not to fire at the Russians in Crimea. The trick now, as the Economist said, is to work towards building their country and avoid tying themselves into knots over the Crimea. In a way that the Georgians have failed to. they will suffer a variety of problems – like the Russkies, oddly enough, no longer selling them cheap gas cheaply – but in the greater scheme of things not subsidising fossil fuels is good anyway. Another reason for hope is that Putin’s poll ratings are high. The bozo Russian public is actually viewing this as a success. Which is stupid of them, but at the same time takes the pressure off him to, say, invade eastern Ukraine.

My current title comes from my next “prediction”, or perhaps I’d rather say “scenario”, which is that this is going to turn into economics, in much the way it happens in one of the stories in Asimov’s Foundation series (and one from F, not F+E, I think, but never mind, it makes a better title). The one where they are being invaded by superior military (Korell), and Mallow does nothing but retreat, and after a while the invasion collapses because the invading force is too tied up economically with the products of the Foundation. So in this version Russia is the invading Evil Empire and they’re going to find that what they’ve done so far is quite enough; more would be disastrous. You can see that a bit already; as Timmy says in Russia is finding out something interesting. Or, you can read some slightly wild words here. And I think its now fairly clear that The West would react harder to further incursion into Ukraine; and even harder to incursions into other countries. Russia can survive the current level of capital flight, and raising of interest rates, and loss of finance; but I very much doubt it wants to push any harder. In Asimov’s story, part of the invasion collapsing is due to the entourage of the Korellian dictator pulling the plug because they don’t get atomic powered refrigerators. In today’s story, there must be a lot of oligarchs wondering if they really want to get boxed into an isolated Russia dominated by an ever more dictatorial Putin. If I were one of them, I’d be discretely moving money and children out now. Or at least, constructing an option to do so. And I’ve have no interest at all in whose flag flew over eastern Ukraine.

In the long term, the decadal scale, in this scenario, Ukraine wins by moving Westwards, figuratively: more open, less corrupt, richer. Russia, under Putin, fails all that. Living in Russia becomes ever less attractive; living in Ukraine, more so. But this is only a scenario: I refuse to be held to it as a prediction. Many things could go wrong.


* The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
* A total of two decent articles on the military situation in the Ukraine says Brian.
* Battle of Kiev by CIP.
* McDonald’s quits Crimea as fears of trade clash grow including the interesting “The closures follow Geneva-based Universal Postal Deutsche Post’s announcement that it was no longer accepting letters bound for Crimea as delivery to the region was no longer guaranteed.”
* The home front: The Kremlin’s belligerence in Ukraine will ultimately weaken Russia
* Better get fracking, eh? from Timmy
* Russian Fiction the Sequel: 10 More False Claims About Ukraine
* Ukrainian Hopes, Russian Failings is good.

Le NIPCC ancien est deja arrive

I don’t appear to have mocked the NIPCC recently, preferring to consign them to oblivion, but JoNova is somewhat implausibly singing their virtues, so I’ve noticed. If you read the report you’ll see that its prefixed by recommendations from the Great and the Good; and they’ve been fortunate enough to squeeze in praise from that luminary Jeevananda Reddy, from which I think it is fair to deduce that they were not at all short of Great or Good to fill out their puff list. Google trends is still instructive:


Stoats are still wiping the floor with the NIPCC.

But if you do – like almost no-one else – actually read the report, you’ll be struck by it having lots and lots of words in it. But really very few authors. And if you’re of a reflective frame of mind, you’ll think to yourself: “Really? Did they really bother to write so many words to so little purpose?” And then you’ll think to yourself: I wonder if they cheated just a little bit and copied some of them?

So I scrolled down, the way you would with someone’s homework where you think you’ll get to the bit you’ll hope no-one will ever even skim, to about 2/3 of the way down – to page 606. 606! Good grief, so many pages. To “5.1.2 Paleoecological Records”.

* “Most of the world’s major species “body types” were laid down during the Cambrian period 600 million years ago (Levinton, 1992)…” This is in the previous NIPCC report, and in “Unstoppable GW every now and again” by S Fred.
* “During the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), some 56 million years ago, it is believed…” is from Surviving the warmth of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, as is a pile of the following text.
* “How were the bulk of Earth’s species able to survive a climatic change that many today believe is unsurvivable…” is from an Idso blog post commenting on Hof et al. (2011).
* “The two phenomena that come into play in these ecosystem transformations are acclimation and adaptation…” is lightly modified from the Idso’s take on Vegas-Vilarrubia et al. (2011).

And so on. To be fair, they are mostly plagiarising themselves. But oddly, despite everyone’s desire to bump up their own citation count, they don’t include themselves in the list of references.