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]

The IOP fiasco

The “Institute of Physics” sounds jolly reassuring; but like all such things you never quite know what they are going to say. Just recently they have been saying some very silly things indeed in their contribution to the UK parliaments feeding-frenzy over the CRU emails. So the IOP apparently thinks that worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and it goes downhill from there. It reads like a gift to the septics and it could easily have been written down to the septics dictation; indeed, it very probably was.

So the most likely scenario is that a small sub-group have got together to push this junk while the rest of the IOP (nice chaps and chapesses no doubt, but a bit dopey. If you’re an IOP person and object to being called dopey, fine, I eagerly await your personal non-dopey reaction to the IOP statement) slept.

Faced with everyone sane telling them they’ve been hijacked by wackos, the IOP has rowed back a little, but not very much. They explicitly state that The Institute’s response to the Committee inquiry was approved by its Science Board, a formal committee of the Institute with delegated authority from its trustees to oversee its policy work. It reflected our belief that… In other words, yes it may be a bit mad but we stand squarely behind it and refuse to retract a single word. Naturally enough they try to have it both ways, with The Institute’s statement, which has been published both on the Institute’s website and the Committee’s, has been interpreted by some individuals to imply that… but since they are retracting nothing, that is just pap. The “clarification” can and indeed will be read by any septic worth his salt as re-affirming the original; it is trivial to quote-mine it as such: our belief that the open exchange of data, procedures and materials is fundamental to the scientific process. From the information already in the public domain it appears that these principles have been put at risk… etc etc.

However, it looks like the Grauniad may be putting the boot into the IOP: The institute statement says its submission was approved by its science board, a formal committee of experts that oversees its policy work. The Guardian has been unable to find a member of the board that supports the submission. Two of the scientists listed as members said they had declined to comment on a draft submission prepared by the institute, because they were not climate experts and had not read the UEA emails. Others would not comment or did not respond to enquiries. An institute spokesperson said the submission was “strongly supported” by three members of the board. “All members were invited to comment. Only a few did, all concerned approved [the submission] unanimously.”

So there seems to be some hope that good old fashioned journalism may triumph here, if they persist.

Update: a non-dopey IOP person pointed out that the re-affirmation statement links to Physicists’ message to world leaders in Copenhagen and that to a nice pdf. However… that link isn’t too prominent (I know its at the top, but it isn’t in the line of flow; I missed it), but more importantly this misses the point; it appears to assume that some mature, balanced judgement of the IOP’s views is going on in the septic blogsphere and the Torygraph and whatever means of communication those funny colonial types have. That won’t happen; the IOP can say 99 positive things but only the one negative thing will be reported, as indeed we’ve just discovered. The problem is asymmetry: since we all know GW is happening and our fault (even the septics know this in their hearts) all the motherhood-and-apple-pie statements just make us glaze over: yeah yeah, I know that. All the attention goes to the one bit of wacko-dom. The only solution is to retract the wacko-dom; hopefully the IOP will back down before damaging itself too badly.

UUpdate: thanks to EW, who points out this Deltoid thread which links to Sammy’s right, man is not responsible for global warming by… Terry Jackson BSc Msc MPhil (founder of the Energy Group, Institute of Physics, London) Bangor. And reading the article there, it is clear this isn’t any balanced “true-skeptic” stuff, this is out-and-out la-la-land stuff: The total emissions of CO2 from land and sea amounts to 97% while humans contribute a mere 3%. Last summer Dr Zbigniew Jaworowski etc etc.

Zorita scents gravy

Every cloud has a silver lining, and it looks like Zorita is jockeying for some of the silver: the Future of IPCC apparently is to morph into one of those nice International agencies which pay so well and are headquarted in rather nice cities, staffed by… well, clearly by the likes of independent-minded folk such as Eduardo. As he says so wisely As with finance, climate assessment is too important to be left in the hands of advocates, or other scum like the current IPCC authors: sweep them all away and leave it in the hands of people who are prepared to admit their errors… oh, wait.

And I cannot resist a totally off-topic link to Eli’s Cthulhu Explains it All. Wonderful.

Speaking very vaguely of which (I mean, of being off-topic): why not read about Coverity?

Not a good try and definitely no cigar

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Ho ho.

Indians go wacko

Asian ones that is, not red ones. And not all of them of course, only Minister for environment & forests Jairam Ramesh so far. The Torygraph says:

“There is a fine line between climate science and climate evangelism. I am for climate science. I think people misused [the] IPCC report, [the] IPCC doesn’t do the original research which is one of the weaknesses… they just take published literature and then they derive assessments, so we had goof-ups on Amazon forest, glaciers, snow peaks. “I respect the IPCC but India is a very large country and cannot depend only on [the] IPCC and so we have launched the Indian Network on Comprehensive Climate Change Assessment (INCCA),” he said.

He also, said (in essence disowning his earlier report, so clearly someone has stomped on him. But there is some bizarre revisionism elsewhere, with him saying “My ministry brought out a discussion paper on glaciers after it was found that major divergence of views existed between Indian scientists and the IPCC,”):

The UN panel’s claims of glacial meltdown by 2035 “was clearly out of place and didn’t have any scientific basis,” he said, while stressing the government remained concerned about the health of the Himalayan ice flows. “Most glaciers are melting, they are retreating, some glaciers, like the Siachen glacier, are advancing. But overall one can say incontrovertibly that the debris on our glaciers is very high the snow balance is very low. We have to be very cautious because of the water security particularly in north India which depends on the health of the Himalayan glaciers,” he added.

This is just politicking, and while it makes for some fun snarking there is precious little substance here. Someone will get a nice little empire out of managing the thing, and someone will have to produce some kind of output to stop the minister looking too stupid, but there will be nothing valuable produced by this project. I notice they say: The body, which he said will not rival the UN’s panel, will publish its own climate assessment in November this year. So (in the current absence of a sea ice bet) anyone care to put an anything on this? I take the side of: the report will be delayed, or if it appears on time will be an obviously valueless and hastily-cobbled together.

Any takers for the “it will be on time and clearly valuable” side?

ps: the actual setup seems to be at http://moef.nic.in/modules/others/?f=event, if you care.

pps: rather oddly, http://moef.nic.in/downloads/others/Final_Book.pdf says the thing was launched in 7/10/09. Did everyone just quietly ignore it for months?

Poor old Monckton

Off in Wootsup land someone called Gudfry is having trouble with the portrayal of Monckton on wikipedia, saying:

I see Connelly and his “tag-team” are at it again. This time it’s about the many disputed entries about Lord Monckton, the prominent anti-AGW campaigner.
Many contributors have argued that they have chosen a picture of him which is unflattering, and at worst, deliberately derogatory – which is agaist wiki rules.
After a temporary removal, there has been an edit war which Connelly’s tag-team have won, insisting that it stays. See “Discussion” page on
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Christopher_Monckton,_3rd_Viscount_Monckton_of_Brenchley

They’re fascists.

If you like these kind of disputes, this one is quite amusing. The problem, of course, is that the picture makes Lord M look like a bit of a wacko (see endless debate on the talk page). Now you or I might make the obvious rejoinder, but clearly his supporters can’t. The usual folk have been removing the image with some utterly implausible assertions (e.g. [1]). Wiki would be happy to use any other decent pic of him, but he hasn’t made a PD one available. I would have thought that the solution to this problem is to write to his fully-staffed PR dept and get them to OK one, but that doesn’t seem to have happened.

But if you want the piss really being taken out of Lord M, you want Bad Boy Gareth.

Poor old Watts refers.

Oh dear oh dear oh dear

Roger is having a spot of trouble: everyone is being nasty to him. Once upon a time the mighty Prometheus bestrode the world like a Colossus and ate big fish for breakfast, but now it seems Roger swims with the minnows and it isn’t a nice world down there. Eli shows him no mercy – wabbits are a vicious bunch – and Tim Lambert is not kind either but Whiskey Fire probably has the best take on all this.

Incidentally, it isn’t really Roger’s fault but he does seem to be attracting the wacko septics in the comments, for example Of course DeepClimate consistently refuses to publish my charts documenting the on-going, unbroken 10,000 year cooling trend in both the northern hemisphere AND the southern hemisphere. Yes, DeepClimate doesn’t publish that because it is rubbish. Sigh. Roger really needs to weed out the wackos. A comment policy that deletes irrelevant rubbish is *good* not bad.

Still, I’ll take Pielke over, say, Romm any day but this recent post does him no favours.

[Updates: Romm says Roger Pielke Jr. is the most debunked person in the science blogosphere, possibly the entire Web but this is twaddle.

More interestingly (thanks Hank) I’ve finally found fame and fortune in Nature (Louise, eat your heart out):

nature-blogo-stuff

Why has the man got a penis-shaped fish resting against his backbone? I’m baffled -W]

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling (and some other stuff)?

I liked Freakonomics, so I’m a bit sad to see the (inevitable) sequel being so hopelessly wrong. Probably this is a case of the old rule: whenever you see people write about stuff you know, they get it wrong. Joe Romm has a fairly characteristic attack; and just for a change I’ll agree with him; though he chooses odd bits to assault. It looks like the “global cooling” junk is just one chapter, but of course it is the only one I’ll pay any attention to.

Diagnosis, in brief: (1) they write about stuff they clearly don’t understand (2) they pick a catchy reverse-common-wisdom nugget as a headliner without the having the slightest interest in whether it is true or not (mind you, plenty of more respectable folk do the same) (3) they pick an expert to talk to, but since they don’t have a clue about the subject they don’t know how to pick a good expert, or even understand what the expert says (4) there is a grain of sense in there, but so badly wrapped in trash it is nearly unfindable.

The entire piece is riddled with errors. Reading it all would be tedious. So, before reading it in detail I decided to set myself a target of 10 major errors and then stop. Kindly, Romm has provided a PDF of the offending chapter, so you can play along at home.

[Update: The Economist (along with everyone else) shreds them too; but does it in measured language and speculates on the damage to their reputation -W]

[Late update: Harry Hutton hits the nail on the head -W]
Continue reading “SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling (and some other stuff)?”

Yes, they are mad

One of the more regrettable aspects of having children – other than the entire lack of a life – is interaction with the school inspectors. And the insanity reaches its peak in the inspection of after-school clubs. Its all such an utter waste of time that I’d rather ignore it than bother mock it, but since my wife was reading “Practice Guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage” and found this, I had to share it:

From the “Numbers as Labels and for Counting” section, under 40-60+ months:

* Use rhymes, songs and stories involving counting on and counting back in ones, twos, fives and tens.
* Emphasise the empty set and introduce the concept of nothing or zero.
* Understand the limitation of Riemann integration and the need for Lesbegue integration.

OK, I made that last one up. But hands up all those who have failed to emphasise the empty set to their three year olds.