Plus ca change

Via Tamino (Tisdale Fumbles, Pielke Cheers) I find Tisdale at WUWT talking nonsense – nothing new there. Tamino points out the obvious flaw in the argument (if you can call it an argument; to be fair, it is hard to tell what Tisdale wants to say, other than “its all wrong”), and then Nick Stokes is kind enough to tell the Watties (I did wonder if any of them might be good enough to think of it for themselves, but no such luck). But! The knowledge does not fit their worldview, so even when presented with the obvious they are still unable to understand it.

Well, that wasn’t very exciting, was it? Sorry. Maybe you’d like to read about the Winter Head instead; or hear that I managed 43:47 in my 10k today.

BEST is fun

When I said BEST is boring I was primarily thinking of the science. I’m not too surprised to find that many other people aren’t. For such folk, there is much fun to be had, so I suppose I’ll join in too.

I was going to take the piss out of Watts (h/t KK) for Nature pans BEST and Muller PR antics, prints letter from Dr. Singer, which he wrote in response to a Nature editorial that said

Global warming is really happening — really. There was no conspiracy or cover-up. Peer review did not fail and the scientists who have spent decades working out the best way to handle and process data turned out to know how to handle and process data after all.

but Watts is dull, so lets take the piss out of Curry instead.

The next bit is really wacky, and apparently evolving as we speak. So its a good idea to start off with some science – Tamino has an analysis of the analysis of the last 10 years of the BEST data. Since that data is essentially the same as everyone else’s (as I thought we had now agreed we all knew from the beginning 🙂 so inevitably it shows the same upward trend (once you remove the obvious broken data; and really, it is obvious, and Tamino even finds the error stats to show it).

Proceeding, again h/t to KK for his A Climate Soap Opera. Which is what it is, so don’t read on if you want edification. The Mail on Sunday, which is full of lies, and David Rose, who is full of lies [see end – W], run a story claiming the familiar GW-has-stopped meme can be seen in the BEST data – and they quote the GWPF, who are also full of lies. The GW-has-stopped meme has been around for a while, has been debunked many a time, and the Tamino link above debunks it once again. All very dull, but then Rose gets Curry to say some dumb things, or possibly he just says “wouldn’t you say X”, and Curry says “yes” (apparently this is the way journos get people to give them the quotes they want). We could do Kremlinology over who really said what, but happily Curry says on her blog “In David Rose’s article, the direct quotes attributed to me are correct”. Which is nice, so we know that ‘There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped,’ she said. ‘To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.’ is direct from her. As is As for the graph disseminated to the media, she said: ‘This is “hide the decline” stuff. Our data show the pause, just as the other sets of data do. Muller is hiding the decline.. And as you’ve all read Taminos article, above, we know that Curry is talking drivel.

Why is Curry doing this? Because the only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about. And Curry, despite being a BEST team member, was invisible. She is direct about this: “I was contacted by a few journos last week, I made my points, but they were interested in the implications for trend analysis, UHI effect, station quality. I made the point that these were complicated issues, and that I regarded the BEST papers (which were as yet unpublished) to be the first of many analyses on these topics using the new data set. This wasn’t what the journos found interesting, and I don’t think any of my quotes on this made it into print.” And I think she got bored and lonely on the sidelines, and decided she had to say something outrageous in order to get her piece of the action.

[Update: Curry has now resorted to redefining the language in a doomed attempt to rewrite her past nonsense into a favourable light. Tamino in understandably unimpressed]

[2013 update: the link I put in to “” no longer works (I hate it that ScienceBlogs broke a pile of old links, they should know better). The internet archive tells me that the state when I wrote it was: so you can see what I intended.]


* Nick Stokes noticed that the “bad” month only has Antarctic stations in it.
* Quark Soup


KK provokes again with Ecocide on the Docket, referencing Trial tests whether ‘ecocide’ could join genocide as global crime. If this is just PR then I’m with KK: it is stupid. If it is real, it is also stupid.

They have a definition of ecocide:

Ecocide: The extensive damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished.

The addition of “by human agency or by other causes” is curious: that would make, say, Mt St Helens, or Pinatubo, guilty of ecocide. Perhaps Katrina was, too. Why that is any concern of the courts, though, is a mystery to me. By “inhabitants” I assume they mean humans (mind you, what is a “territory”? A country? A geographical area? A deliberately vague word designed to generate income for lawyers?); that would mean that total environmental destruction of, say, Antarctica would not be ecocide. Or any uninhabited portion of the Sahara, or the Amazon rain forests. I don’t think that a definition of ecocide that only works in inhabited areas makes any sense at all.

They give some examples: the BP gulf spill is one. I find that hard to fit as “ecocide”: it was all really exciting at the time, of course, but is very largely over now. Some people are still inconvenienced, but the ecosystem is largely back.

The Canada tar sands are another example of ecocide but (and I say this in near total ignorance) isn’t that too a largely unpopulated area? Should it matter whether it is inhabited or not?

More stupidity about Fukushima

The Fukushima stuff was all very exciting, and doubtless still is if you live nearby (James?). But it does seem to lead to high levels of drivel from the more soppy-hand-wringing Guardianista types:

We had a pretty good warning earlier this year, when the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused an even bigger tragedy when the Fukushima nuclear power plant suffered a meltdown

The tsunami killed 20k people, or whatever. Fukushima killed no-one, directly, though it wouldn’t be surprising if it kills a few eventually. So why was Fukushima an “even bigger tragedy”? Perhaps Kate Sheppard is really really sad that it harmed the image of nukes, and values that image more highly than peoples lives?

But more likely she just wanted some cheap fodder for an article without actually troubling to think at any point. h/t to Timmy.

[Update: I’m still with my, and Timmy’s, reading of the piece. But for the sake of fairness I should say that KS has turned up in the comments and interprets her words differently – see there.

And updated to add the pic, prompted by a comment by RP at KK’s place -W]

Richard Black winds up the wackos

Further proof of the polarisation in this “debate” comes from Climate: Cherries are not the only fruit by Richard Black. This all stems from Reconciling anthropogenic climate change with observed temperature 1998-2008 by Robert K. Kaufmann et al., who come to the not-desperately-exciting conclusion that things are pretty much as we thought they were: recent global temperature records are consistent with the existing understanding of the relationship among global surface temperature, internal variability, and radiative forcing, which includes anthropogenic factors with well known warming and cooling effects.

The GWPF cherry-picked Kaufmann et al. using their favourite “all records start from 1998” trick, so were a bit narked when Black called them out. And they seem to have a guest posts at Watt’s which basically says “yes we did cherry pick, but now we’re going to shout loudly and hope you don’t notice”.

That wasn’t very interesting.

[Update: by happy chance, Tamino has a nice post about cherry-picking by Steve Goddard.]

Clegg calls for gross economic stupidity

I despair sometimes at the stupidity of our politicians. More and more it becomes obvious that the less they have to do with running the economy, the better. The latest stupidity is from Clegg: Clegg calls for RBS and Lloyds giveaway. The idea is that when the government sells its (i.e., our) stakes in RBS and Lloyds that it (i.e., we) were forced (i.e. decided) to acquire, then there should be some kind of bizarre complex free-share giveaway scheme, the biggest experiment in “shareholder democracy” since the Thatcher era of the 1980 as they put it.
Continue reading “Clegg calls for gross economic stupidity”

The Beeb winds me up again


Yes, its the wazzocks at the Beeb yet again. It would be quite nice to have some decent estimates of the reactor death toll – or at least, whether the confirmed killed-by-radiation toll is above zero.

But The case of the disappearing teaspoons: longitudinal cohort study of the displacement of teaspoons in an Australian research institute is fun.


* Deaths per unit of electricity generate

The Heartland Institute’s failed wiki

From the Heartland Institute:

Subject: Announcing The Definitive Climate Change Encyclopedia
To: <no-one@cares>
Date: Wednesday, June 8, 2011, 4:40 PM
Announcing The Definitive Climate Change Encyclopedia

CHICAGO – Backed by more than two decades of institutional knowledge and the work of some of the world’s most esteemed climate scientists, The Heartland Institute <; is proud to announce the launch of a new Web site called . It is the definitive climate change encyclopedia.

It is doomed, obviously.

Looking at the Global Warming page (it might be best to look at the version when I wrote this) you see why. The page itself isn’t too bad, of course. A bit dull – no graphs – but the text is basically OK. Which is because it is just the introduction from the wikipedia article. Why would anyone bother read the cut-down Heartland version rather than the real thing? If you want to live in the denialist echo-chamber, you read CA and Watts and watch Faux. You don’t need a broken copy of wikipedia. They’ve moved it into “Category: Politics”, which is presumably a silly joke on their part. Or perhaps, being the Heartland, all articles will be in the politics class?

Also, anyone pausing to compare their claims (“Backed by more than two decades of institutional knowledge and the work of some of the world’s most esteemed climate scientists”) against the reality (broken copies of wikipedia) is going to wonder at the disparity. Good grief: they haven’t even managed to copy across the IPCC page yet.

Or, you can read an article not copied from wikipedia: they push their Introduction to Global Warming. That one is a true Heartland article, and has been written (or copied) straight from their current hand book, whose theme is “if you can’t convince them that you are right, try to convince them that it is all to complicated and confusing for anyone to understand”, aka FUD: Global warming is a complicated issue. It’s easy to get confused by all the scientific arguments and conflicting claims… Scientists disagree on the causes and consequences of climate change for a number of reasons… Again, this is all very well if you’re part of the echo chamber, but a teensy bit useless for anyone else.

Romm Echoes Groundless Cell Phone/Cancer Fears?

Keith Kloor is having fun being kwuooeeeel to poor Joe Romm, simply because Romm is being an anti-scientific bozo pushing groundless fears of cancer-from-mobile-phones. Keith has a nice collection of links to sane people pointing out that there is no evidence of a problem. One of whom is Orac, in a post entertainingly entitled The bride of the son of the revenge of cell phones and cancer rises from the grave…again. And the key quote is Still, despite my trying to keep an open mind on the matter, I also don’t want my mind to be so open that my brains fall out, so to speak. Alas, Romm has failed to heed that wise advice, so his brains have indeed fallen out.

I can’t be bothered to take Romm and his argument apart, and anyway there is no point, because Kloor has, and Orac has, and so have any number of people. What I found quite entertaining, though, is: what does this remind you of? “This” being the desperate never-ending search for a link between mobiles (apparently called “cell phones” by our colonial cousins) and cancer, which continues despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary? Yes that’s right: it is just like the denialists’ eternal search for something, anything, that they can blame for global warming other than CO2.

Meanwhile, in related news, the squareheads are also anti-scientific bozos. But I don’t seem to be able to dredge up enough venom for an entire post. Well, its been a long day and I went running at lunchtime and sculling at night (can’t even see the game or the Sugar Ray fight).

Oh… I nearly forgot. Romm’s point 3 is an excellent one:

3. Use a Bluetooth earpiece. A Bluetooth earpiece still has radiation, but it’s at least 100 times less than the radiation you get when you hold a cell phone to your head…. [And don’t keep it on your ear all the time since,] “when you’re not talking; it still sends out a signal.”

or at least, its an excellent point if you happen to be an employee and shareholder of a company that makes bluetooth chips (did you know we now have a blog?). The bit about emitting radiation when you’re not talking is mostly twaddle, though. If its not supporting an audio link, it will either get turned off or at worst drop into sniff, which has something like a hundredth of the radiation of an audio link.


* Why I’m (still) not worried about my cell phone hurting my brain (Bad Astronomy)
* Deaths per unit of electricity generated
* Rabbits needn’t worry about cell phones’ effects on their sperm count, say three retractions