Lindzen goes emeritus

For a fair while now I’ve defended Lindzen {{cn}} on the grounds that he is actually a Real Scientist, albeit edging ever further off onto the sceptical wing. And this has been difficult because whilst his papers have, I think, been reasonable his public pronouncements and his congressional-testimony type stuff has been poor.

But, happily, the recent “peer review gate” nonsense he has been spouting allows me to declare him Emeritus. I was going to say he has jumped the shark but I think that is wrong; this isn’t some Curry-like stupidity, this is more the kind of full blown Black-helicopters-of-peer-review we expect from an incipient fellow of the Breakness Institute.

Eli has the story, as do others: Lindzen writes a paper. It gets rejected. He resubmits it to PNAS and asks for his buddies to review it, including some (like William Happer) who were manifestly unfit to review it. They tell him, quite properly, No. He throws a hissy fit. They keep telling him No, whilst doing their best to accomodate him without destroying the standards of their journal (the way Azen and Wegman managed at CSDA). And all of that could be defended as just a rather strong-armed attempt to get your views published in the teeth of bad reviews. We’ve all wanted to push stuff we “know” is good past review, sometimes; Lindzen is a bit different in that he has (or thought he had) enough clout to lean on PNAS.

What makes him stark staring Emeritus is his belief that publishing this tawdry tale is actually a good idea for him. How mad do you have to be to do that?

Who was that masked man?


Scenes from a ski-ing holiday to Les Deux alpes a few years back. This is La Roche de la Muzelle, which I think is gorgeous. Maybe I’ll get to climb it one day. Summitpost says it is PD / II (though not in winter) and the route to it goes over that beautiful roman bridge.

dscn4258-self dscn4264-our-hero

These are the reasons I was digging around in old pix: at the after rowing curry Andy said he could find a pic of me with pony tail on my wiki page, but it has gone. And I said, aha, but I have far better than that. Note that the beret is a Pyrennean one.

dscn4297-path dscn4300-small-purple-flowers dscn4301-grey-trees

And in a token bit of climate don’t miss The good Baron taking the piss out of… well, can you guess who? Other stuff: Boundary run half marathon and Norwich head.

And also: M pointed this out before christmas, and I’ve kept it in a tab ever since, but I think it is time to confess that it isn’t getting its own post: some guy called Claes Johnson wondering rather plaintively Why are Skeptics Skeptical to Other Skeptics? Well, old fruit, there are two rather obvious answers: (a) they are all chasing the same pot of fame and moment-in-the-limelight, so they need to tread on each others heads to climb upwards – it isn’t as if they are actually building a scientific edifice; and (b) somewhat related to that last point, the only thing the septics agree on is that they hate Al Gore and climate science; that whether the earth is warming, or not, a little, or a lot, whether it might be good, or bad, they all agree that we should do nothing about it; and that is the only thing they agree on.

In memory of Andy Hurst, 1981-2011


Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard
Beside the Syrian sea
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word
Rise up and follow Thee.

O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee
The silence of eternity
Interpreted by love!

m1-from-andy-h Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm!

He was killed hang gliding in Australia. Dangerous place, Oz. He is the one in the sweat cap in both pix. I only knew him a bit: he came down for some of the bumps, and was a strong part of our blades in 2008, and not responsible for 2009. He was a good chap and quiet. The service was packed out. As well as rowing and hangliding he also worked, on ptychography I think.


* Amy also posts.
* Wreath from the club.
Continue reading “In memory of Andy Hurst, 1981-2011”

Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall is a now-immensely-well-known tale of a slice of Henry VIII’s reign; a period I know little about: we skimped it at school and it gets throroughly mythologised anyway. The chief hero is Cromwell (not Oliver) who is portrayed (correctly,as I understand it) as a brilliant administrator and generally competent chap; as to whether he was really nice underneath, I neither know nor care.

What is chiefly interesting is the playing out of certain grand themes in the period. It was part of the development of civilisation, really, a time when people, under pressure of necessity, realised that quite a lot they had thought was true, wasn’t. Which is to say, sorting out the role of church and sovereign, and the succession (and perhaps the influences of bankers over lords; but that is another matter). Which in both cases amounted to a de-mythologising, or a decline in the importance of religion.

Continue reading “Wolf Hall”

Monckton again

Naturally enough, there is a wiki article [[Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley]]. And of course what to say about his views on GW is a source of controversy: being wiki, it can’t just say he is talkin’ tosh, it has to be more polite.

Unlike certain anons, who make comments like Removed POV contributions by a failed Green Party candidate in the pay of a convicted internet-gaming fraudster and money-launderer who now spends his time rewriting “deniers'” Wiki-biogs – my my, who could that be and who could he have in mind? Its a complete mystery [update: well maybe not so complete; its now clear who the anon has in mind].

Whoever it is is clearly rather sensitive about M not getting a seat in the Lords elections: the anon added the bold bit to this sentence: Monckton was an unsuccessful candidate for a Conservative seat in the House of Lords in a March 2007 [[by-election]] caused by the death of [[Charles Stourton, 26th Baron Mowbray|Lord Mowbray and Stourton]]. Not being a Freemason, he received no votes in the election (source of results here if you’re interested). And he has written an awful lot on the talk page. Some suspect that the anon might be M himself, though I consider it unlikely that such a man would hide behind an anonymous address. M (or someone claiming to be him) edited briefly as {{User:Mofb}} but ended up blocked for making legal threats. That was months ago; if the lawyers papers ever turned up, nothing happened to them.

On the science-y side, there isn’t any real science but there is a fight about whether M’s APS piece was peer reviewed. It wasn’t, of course (best details of the actual errors at RC), but the anon is keen for wiki to say that it was, adding Monckton’s paper was meticulously reviewed before publication by Professor Alvin Saperstein, the review editor of Physics and Society, who concluded that the paper would make “an important contribution to the literature”. However, political pressure on the editors led them to announce that the paper had not been peer-reviewed, when in fact it had.

Curious co-incidence: I know (or knew, from my Go playing days) the person who won the Eternity puzzle money.