The return of KK!

swing KK tweets My latest @ISSUESinST feature just went online. It covers some sensitive issues in ecology & climate spheres. It’s kinda standard fodder, headlined “The Science Police” in order to wind you up, like The Fail, bylined On highly charged issues, such as climate change and endangered species, peer review literature and public discourse are aggressively patrolled by self-appointed sheriffs in the scientific community. Provocative or wot? I’ll skip the ecology, because I have no expertise there, and come on to the climate. Which is… RP Jr. And if you don’t know who he is, KK helpfully provides a potted description: An interdisciplinary scholar, his research for over two decades was at the intersection of public policy, politics, and science—largely in the treacherous climate arena… Pielke is among the most cited and published academics on climate change and severe weather. Well no, not really. I haven’t looked at his actual citations, but this is deeply misleading. As KK continues, The controversy centers on his research finding that although the climate is warming, this does not necessarily result in the increased frequency or severity of extreme weather disasters. Which is correct, but shows you how narrow RP’s contribution to the science is.

KK essentially destroys his own case by posting mt’s

Michael Tobis, another climate scientist who has locked horns with Pielke, posted a more judicious response on a widely read climate science blog. “Roger is a problematic figure, who is quick to criticize while being quick to take offense,” Tobis wrote. “He’s often right and often wrong, which can be a useful role in itself, but he ought to be able to take as well as he gives if he wants the net of his contribution to be constructive.”

And I think I’ll stick that, and my That’s a touch misleading, because James wrote “recently” in 2008. Otherwise: RP is a big boy and shouldn’t be whining that everyone is being cwuel to him. And I say that as someone who defended him over the Nate Silver stuff.

Possibly somewhat dubious, but didn’t KK use to be RP’s student? Or at U Colorado with him?1


* Chez ATTP


1. There’s an early connection but its not that; see APS or SB here.

Welcome to the Wikipedia of the alt-right?

19400592_1486302994767962_3274377134750374120_o Meh; not to spoil the tension but it is, as you’ve already guessed, just another dull clone of wiki a-la Conservapedia. I found it via Wired via fb; you certainly won’t find it via people referring to it2. Other than me; sorry about that. This one is called “Infogalactic” which seems to hint that it is a joke.

They have two, no make that three, obvious problems. The first is, who would bother read it. The second, is who would bother write it. If I look at the recent changes on wiki, the last 500 changes cover 6 minutes. On IG, they cover 5 days1. They are also heavily slanted to only a few people; see the U:JC section below. Their third problem, of course, is that they’re a bunch of nutters.

To quote themselves, The project started as a fork [from 2016 I think] of the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia, whose full content was transferred onto the wiki. A “forkbot” is used to automatically update articles and article segments that member editors have not yet worked on. The site’s membership consists of Galaxians (standard editors), Starlords (administrators), Corelords (corporate professionals who have purchased a license to oversee articles related to their industries), and a Council (top-level supervisors). Corelords do not have censorship abilities, but can control forked articles they may favor. All article edits must be truthful and meet site standards. It is hard to take a site that talks about itself like that seriously.

The bit about the “forkbot” might be a neat way of solving the problem that no-one edits this thing, so it is bound to be out of date. Except, they’re lying. Firstly, it seems incompatible with the recent changes that I reported. Secondly, let’s pick a random out-of-the-way article – Rothera Research Station – as we discover that the IG fork has no history past it’s upload whereas the wiki version has seen updates. Not desperately exciting ones, but enough to demonstrate that the forkbot stuff is wrong.

What is truth?

If we pretend to take them seriously for a moment, then we can look at their solution to the problem of making the articles accurate and truthful. As quoted above, they assert All article edits must be truthful which isn’t a solution at all. Wiki’s solution to this problem is Verifiability or, phrased another way, verifiability, not Truth. This can be really annoying sometimes (you can’t call people denialists unless a reputable source has done so, even if it is bleedin’ obvious that they are; and if people aren’t very notable so hardly any reputable source talks about them, it’s hard to source anything). IG have Seven Canons and coming in at number 7 is Only externally verifiable facts belong on the Factual level of a page which is sweet, but again doesn’t really address the problem.

William Connolley

Their version of me is dull; it is just a stale wiki clone. Conservapedia knocks them into a cocked hat.

Global warming

As you’d hope, their version of Global warming has been borked up: Global warming is a term for the theory of a century-scale rise in the average temperature of the Earth’s climate system… yawn. The leading graph of observed temperature change has been mislabelled as “Example of climate model output”, with of course no reference; thus demonstrating they were lying when they talked about facts; but you knew that anyway. But their vandalism is shallow, because they are so few: their mirror of instrumental temperature record labels exactly the same graph correctly as “Instrumental global surface temperature record since widespread reliable measurements began in the late 19th century…”; perhaps rather depressingly Scientific opinion on climate change is a straight if out of date mirror; ditto greenhouse effect.


Looking over the recent changes, I saw that rather a lot are made by User:JasonCarswell (archive). As even he notes, I’ll always publish/edit on Wikipedia first then InfoGalactic but alas he can’t as he’s currently blocked at wiki, for pushing fringe nuttery (he was topic banned from fringe nuttery, and blocked for breaking the ban).


1. I think. However, there filtering is somewhat broken; if I click on “show bots” I get less, not more, changes.

2. Wiki’s page on IG is just a redirect and always has been to VD who is Theodore Robert Beale. I think that means it is NN, and I shouldn’t have written this post 🙂

This year’s ice

19441832_1489695317762063_2716283952301840816_o On hot days like these an old man’s thoughts turn to the eternal mysteries of sea ice. Someone – it might have been CR – drew my attention to PIOMAS a week or two back; but I can’t find whatever was said now, so I’ll look for myself. Before looking at the sea ice, I found the temperature anomaly, which is rather interesting.

So having been ridiculously warm all winter, suddenly we’re back to normal, or a fraction below. This is Daily Mean Temperatures North of 80 degree North, red is the operational model, the green average is reanalysis. Arguably there’s a degree of pining-to-zero around now, but there wasn’t around day 140 when it was clearly below average.

Greenland melt index shows something similar. Anyway, having seen the temperature let’s move on to ice extent. Uni Bremen sea ice extent; I would stay faithful to Jaxa but their server seems slow today.

So, meh, it is low but not lowest. It clearly won’t be a good year but it is unlikely to be a disastrous one. I doubt anything is more bettable than it was in May.

piomas-trnd4 And lastly the PIOMAS ice volume which could be considered the reason for this post, since we’re just about crossing from record lows into no-longer-a-record. Again, the obvious but uninteresting projection is low but not a record.

Has anyone else had anything interesting to say about sea ice for a while? If they had, I’ve missed it.


* A quote from the declaration of independence.

Mays: Maggie and Jesus

2016 saw the dawn of a new era, and unsurprisingly on the men’s side it continued; Maggie were very fast. Clare bumped up two (Pembroke; Caius, still looking nice but under powered) but couldn’t touch Maggie despite having two attempts. Saturday saw LMBC two cementing their place in div 1 just opposite the John’s beer crowd, pretty well where their M1 got headship last year. Christ’s got blades and a welcome return to M1.

On the women’s side Downing got spoons, falling to Caius on Wednesday who had their day in the sun before falling to Jesus on Friday, who rowed over head on Saturday.

As last year, this is mostly for me to record links to my vidz:

Saturday: M1, W1 (Downing / Newnham re-row), M2, W2
Friday: M1, W1
Thursday: M1, W1
Wednesday: M1, W1, M2 (to come; Sidney / Pembroke re-row).

See-also the fb group Cambridge Mays 2017. Chaos pic for this year is:

Risk perceptions

Not directly climate, and risks being somewhat tasteless, but I’ll have a go anyway. Two things come past: Light Blue Touchpaper (which is a lovely pun) discusses Camouflage or scary monsters: deceiving others about risk and ends with1 it might be time for a more careful cross-disciplinary study of how we can change people’s minds about risk in the presence of smart and persistent adversaries. We know, for example, that a college education makes people much less susceptible to propaganda and marketing; but what is the science behind designing interventions that are quicker and cheaper in specific circumstances? This will resonate with those involved in the GW debate.

And the other is the Grenfell Tower fire. From which I read things like In January 2016 GAG [Grenfell Action Grou] warned that people might be trapped in the building if a fire broke out, pointing out that the building had only one entrance and exit, and corridors that were allowed to fill with rubbish, such as old mattresses. GAG frequently cited other fires in tower blocks when it warned of the hazards at Grenfell.[26] In November 2016 GAG published online an article attacking KCTMO as an “evil, unprincipled, mini-mafia” and accusing the Borough Council of ignoring health and safety laws. GAG suggested that “only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of [KCTMO]”. The group had also published articles criticising fire safety and maintenance practices at Grenfell Tower. To which the obvious response is: “if you thought you were going to die if you kept living there, why didn’t you leave?” It’s no good answering “because they were poor and couldn’t afford anywhere else”. Even poor people will leave a building on fire. But not one at risk of fire; even one at perceived high risk of fire. The connection to weighing risks from future GW should be obvious.


* Regulatory capture wonders LBT
* Experts warned government against cladding material used on Grenfell
* So, the Council inspected and yet it’s still neoliberalism to blame, eh?
* The aftershocks of Grenfell Tower and the future of austerity – Economist.

* M1, Weds
* M1, Thurs
* W1, Weds [Caius go head]
* W1, Thurs
* M2, Sidney / Pembroke2 rerow, Weds


1. Just “ends with”. Its not a conclusion.


And now for something completely different: a man with a stoat through his head. Nonono, not that. Instead, a thing from the garden:


It is, or so I understand, a truffle. Or rather two. I found them while mowing the front lawn on Sunday. This was somewhat unexpected. And indeed, I might not even have found them had I set the lawnmower to “high” instead of “low”. Here’s the ground they came from:


That’s one; the other is equally uninteresting. The ground doesn’t obviously satisfy the truffle-bearing criteria. There are tree roots around, true, including hazel (no oak in the front) but there is more plum than anything else. The soil is fairly dry right now but was very wet a week or two back.

Anyway, it makes a pleasant change from the pols. I’ve given fragments to two friends who have French connections and therefore know what to do with such things.



The politics edition, post-election special

lube In the pre-election special I said1:

The most likely result is a Tory victory with a (perhaps marginally) increased majority. But that would be dull, so why not speculate? A possible result is a hung parliament with – if my fellow electorate are not too foolish – the possibility of a Tory-LibDem coalition having a majority.

Part A of my speculation was fine; part B was Utopian. Well, in my defence I was trying to find a bright side to look at. But instead we get the DUP4.

The initial reaction to all this is that Theresa May looks like the idiot that she is; and that it is a disaster for the Tories2. Which is kinda fine; I’m all for TM looking like the idiot that she is; but after the ROTFL comes the question of where this leaves the country or, possibly more generally, the world.

Whither May?

TM is, I hope, doomed. She was a rubbish PM. As The Economist puts it Mrs May has led the Tories in a more statist, illiberal direction, with heavier regulations on firms and strict limits on immigration. Thatcherites, who stifled their criticism out of a sense of duty or ambition, will be sharpening their knives. It isn’t obvious who would replace her, though.

Whither the country?

I don’t know. It is hard to see a path forwards from here that makes sense. Arguably, without the election, or with the increased majority they were hoping for, the Tories under TM would have pushed forward with hard-Brexit. It is pretty hard to argue a mandate for that any more5. I find myself nervous of soft-Brexit because I find it easy to believe that the bozos in charge on both sides are capable of negotiating a deal that is worse than no deal, but it is also possible that the chances of compromise and muddling through have improved.

Or, to be more pessimistic, there’s the Economist’s the economy is heading for the rocks in a way that few have yet registered. Whereas in 2016 the economy defied the Brexit referendum to grow at the fastest pace in the G7, in the first quarter of this year it was the slowest. Unemployment is at its lowest in decades, but with inflation at a three-year high and rising, real wages are falling… the most important negotiation Britain has attempted in peacetime. Brexit involves dismantling an economic and political arrangement that has been put together over half a century, linking Britain to the bloc to which it sends half its goods exports, from which come half its migrants, and which has helped to keep the peace in Europe and beyond. Brexit’s complexity is on a scale that Britain’s political class has wilfully ignored. And so on.

A pony3 for everyone

I despair of my fellow electors. The election result is a victory for avoidance of hard choices and favouring fairy tales. Broadly, I think many who votes Remain have kinda given up on that, and have settled for Labour’s soft-n-fluffy Brexit as opposed to the Tories hard-Brexit, in the hope that actually means something; instead of voting LibDem, who actually opposed Brexit and continue to. And far too many seem happy with the absurd economic programme promised by Labour.


* Theresa May’s ‘abusive’ top advisers quit as Tory recriminations grow.
* JA: the verdict. Nice cartoon. Later, on Twitter: I reckon we’ve got at least another two or three elections before brexit is officially abandoned.


1. I should mention that VV did rather better than me.

2. Timmy for example: It would be both reasonable and fair to say that Theresa May has just run the worst British election campaign of modern times… achieved something that no one in modern times has managed, to start a general election campaign 20 percentage points up and then arrive without even a parliamentary majority for her party. There simply isn’t anything to compare with this in the annals. Other Prime Ministers have made ghastly electoral mistakes, undoubtedly, but not in the course of the campaign itself. Or, more succinctly.

3. The SW lead of the first chip I worked on – Jemima – had a plastic pony on his desk with “not yours” written on it. It was there to show all the people who came up asking for extra features to be added, each of which was a really excellent idea and guaranteed to do good, but which collectively would have sunk the project. Can you see the motto I’m trying to draw?

4. I know little about the DUP. Previously, I’ve been able to say that and not worry; it hasn’t mattered. I’d like that to continue if at all possible. LJ provides this helpful link as a guide.

5. The Economist, again, in rather stark terms: Let us be clear: after this vote there is no mandate for such an approach. Only an enemy of the people would now try to ignore the election and press ahead regardless with the masochistic version of Brexit that Mrs May put to voters. There are not grounds to reverse the referendum result—though Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader, warns that a new referendum may be coming. But the hard Brexit that Mrs May put at the centre of her campaign has been rejected. It must be rethought.