Unless you plan to do something really bad, why do you insists being anonymous?

(I’m sorry, I’m doing it again. I’ll try to stop, honest. Grammatical errors are in the original, don’t blame me guv).

Via Bruce Schneier an interesting article about Spear Phishing Attack Against the Financial Times. What’s so lovely about it is that they’ve used genuine FT email text, and segued straight from warning people about not clicking links in emails straight into providing a link in the email to lure people in. And apparently it worked, somewhat.

Meanwhile (ah, you knew this was coming, I’m sure) anonymous contributor “Abzats” has an essay at WUWT entitled Peer Evil – the rotten business model of modern science. It pretends to be an attack on peer review, but no, its actually an extended exercise in irony. You can tell this because fairly near the top we find:

All the reviewers are anonymous. That is, they know your name but you do not know theirs. This is the first red flag: unless you plan to do something really bad, why do you insists being anonymous?

And, of course, the guest blogger, “Abzats”, is anonymous. Therefore, by his own logic, he’s clearly planning on doing something really bad. Arguably, posting to WUWT fits the bill, but probably isn’t really bad. Therefore, I deduce, he’s a deep cover liberal doing a Sokal on the poor guileless Watties.

Back in the good old days when I reviewed manuscripts, I generally put my name on the review – there was an option to do so. I think that, in general, I didn’t find my peers doing the same in return. But this is a well-known problem, and there is an extensive literature and blogosphere discussion on the topic of peer review, and there are various attempts to fix it, moving away from what one might call “the classical model”. Naturally, you’ll find none of that discussed in the WUWT article, firstly because they’re all to ignorant to know about them, and secondly because the purpose is just a Daily Mail style “stir up indignation”, not to actually try to move forward.

To make up for the contentless nature of this post, here’s a link to JA talking about EGU’s multi-stage open peer review.

Too stupid even for WUWT, eventually

An interesting little saga. WUWT had a post up as An interesting issue with ice core data. That’s a link to the webcitation, beacuse as of now the post has been removed from WUWT, on the grounds that it was utter drivel. Which is correct – it was. Pretty well the whole thing was error, but for outstanding stupidity it doesn’t get much better than:

Prior to the Little Ice Age, most of the areas where today’s core samples are taken, were not covered with ice. The ice that scientists have stated is hundreds of thousands of years old can be no more than a maximum of 650 years in age…

[Even the commas are wrong.] Any number of commenters point out this is trash, in words such as:

The ice domes of Greenland are only 650 years old!? I can’t believe you published something this silly, Anthony

To which the only response is “why are you surprised?” My best guess is that AW was trying to “do a Curry” – put up something that was basically denialist junk, but just call it “an interesting issue” and so duck any flak. Unfortunately AW is stupider than Curry and is incapable of evaluating the validity or plausibility of text (and writing the word “text” there makes me wonder if this wasn’t a Sokal-type hoax: people deliberately sending AW drivel in the hope he’ll post it. Might be a fun game).

ps: I think the source of the drivel might be holodiscustechnical.com/.

[Update: poking around in the entrails of WUWT is a cheap way of generating posts, but I’ll try to avoid doing it too often. R sends me a more complete version of the post, just before it was declared too embarassing to be allowed to live. AW had added:

I don’t disagree with Richard Telford, Mike Ossander, Don Easterbrook and others who have pointed out issues with this essay. There is value though in calling out such issues. Most importantly, the participants and readers in the discussion get to see why the claim made is wrong.

Science gives us the freedom to be wrong, because otherwise, we’d never learn anything. Clearly this article is wrong in many assertions.

For my part, last night I only got to read and check the first part of the submission about plasiticty, and then I got distracted at home with family issues. The post had been set to autopublish overnight, and I didn’t get back to it, and simply forgot it was in the que. I apologize to readers for this oversight.

This lapse is probably a sign that I need a true vacation away from the duties of running WUWT, which has been ongoing almost daily since November 2006.

Would anyone want to volunteer to be editors to make that possible?

He’s wrong to say there is value in calling out these issues; that’s merely his excuse for unthink (which he eventually realises; if it was actually true, he wouldn’t have subsequently removed the post). Science, or science communication, doesn’t advance by writing up drivel. If you’re purporting to communicate with the public, you need to at least have a clue. Signal to noise is hard enough already. But the suggestion that he might throw in the towel is interesting. VV suggests WUWT readership is declining.]

Sea level lies?

This one is a bit odd; via HotWhopper is the WUWT post Obama was right–‘the rise of the oceans began to slow’. This purports to show a graph of rate-of-SLR, and shows it declining. The graph has no clear source, the post says “h/t to Dr. Pat Michaels”. And down in the comments Michaels admits to it, so it must be his. However, it appears to be simply faked [*].

But weirdly, crudely faked [*]. All of this is at HW but: first of all the recent data showing that SLR isn’t declining, has been omitted. This is just std.denialist stuff. But then the graph has been smoothed or mangled in some unspecified way, presumably to remove noise, so it looks like a smooth decline. After a bit, Michaels shows up in the comments and says “I posted this for funsies” Its not clear what he means by this: that faking graphs and presenting them as though genuine is funny? [Its not clear what the original context of this is; maybe it made some sense in context. Anyone know where he first posted it? I tried to check this new-fangled “twitter” thing but it didn’t show up.] I don’t think he was deliberately spoofing WUWT and its band of unthink commentators – as you’d expect, the obvious idiots (James Padgett, etc.) all fell for it. But its too much even for the slightly-less-than-stupid WUWT folk: even they manage to notice that it doesn’t at all fit with the obvious publically available obs.

[Thanks to commentators: the source is http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2012/09/10/sea-level-acceleration-not-so-fast/. That makes one thing quite clear: Michaels was lying when he said he posted it “for funsies”; that’s his std I’m-really-serious type stuff. It does however excuse the lack of 2012 data – he posted that in 2012. It doesn’t excuse WUWT picking up and running with out of date junk, though; nor does it explain just what Michaels did to end up with that particular plot. I see there is now an update at WUWT (which still doesn’t source the plot); everyone who has pointed out his errors is a “whiner” it seems. I think if you were being honest about this you’d just reproduce the http://sealevel.colorado.edu/ chart, and perhaps note that its a short series because its from satellite, and if you want a longer series you need to look at tide gauges; I can’t see that Michaels “analysis” adds anything useful.]

[* Update: I think I have to be honest and correct myself here: it isn’t faked; the best analysis I’ve seen is by Bluegrue who reckons Michaels has got his values from regression, although Michaels values appear to be wrong.]

I’ve not found much of interest to write about tonight, and story submissions have been a dry hole lately

Not me you silly – that’s a quote from WUWT. And as if in answer to his desperation, along comes The effectiveness of CO2 as a greenhouse gas becomes ever more marginal with greater concentration, a deeply stupid post.

It starts with a nod towards pretending to have a clue:

According to well understood physical parameters, the effectiveness of CO2 as a greenhouse gas diminishes logarithmically with increasing concentration… This inconvenient [sic] fact is well understood in the climate science community…

…because not even WUWT readers are going to fall for the idea that it’s a surprise that CO2-effectiveness-is-log. He does feel obliged to pretend IPCC has “hidden” the obvious, although I’m not sure why – a token gesture to stir up the unwashed masses, or a feeling that since its a post at WUWT it really needs to have some obvious lies in it? But its unconvincing, as a commentator writes:

The sentence in chapter 2 AR4 “Note that for CO2, RF [radiative forcing] increases logarithmically with mixing ratio” is so very well hidden. You would never know it was there if you didn’t read it.

But, that’s not the main reason I want to take the piss out of this particular article. That is reserved for:

From the present concentration of atmospheric CO2 at approaching 400 ppmv, only ~5% of the effectiveness of CO2 as a Greenhouse Gas remains. This can only give rise to a maximum of a further of ~+0.21°C. Thereafter beyond 1000+ ppmv the effect of increasing levels of CO2 can only ever be absolutely minimal even if CO2 concentrations were to increase indefinitely.

Yes, really. He thinks the log function is bounded above. Truely this is the level of sophistication expected at WUWT. I can only echo commentator “Janice Moore” who enthuses:


However, this stuff is so obviously drivel that not even all the WUWT readers fall for it. The fourth comment points out its all wrong. A little lower down, “Phil.” tries to rescue WUWT commentators well deserved reputation for stupidity with a high-scoring “But at higher concentrations it will transition to a square root dependence which will give a higher sensitivity” (its the other way round: CO2 goes linear – squareroot – log, though I forget at what levels [Update: my commenters seem to be telling me I’m wrong about that. Ah well. I don’t believe it leads to higher sens, though]).


* CO2 – An Insignificant Trace Gas? Part Seven – The Boring Numbers – the best on-line ref for “its log” that I could find. Understanding Atmospheric Radiation and the “Greenhouse” Effect – Part Twelve – Curve of Growth looks to be good for linear (which is obvious) and square root (I didn’t trouble my pretty head with the details). Calling Eli…

Climategate 3.0?

Apparently, something called “climategate 3.0” has occurred. This caused massive excitement in the denialosphere for a day, but now everyone has quietly forgotten it. You can tell its a damp squib because the only even vaguely “mainstream” news report of it that WUWT can find is a blog piece by James Delingpole, a man so unimportant I haven’t even bothered call him a tosser. AW managed to find two emails that he thought were really interesting, but his slightly-more-on-the-ball readers pointed out they were already in v2. There’s a mildly interesting third one about Oreskes but: is that really it?

So, I think they have their numbering scheme wrong. Incrementing by integers is for major releases, not minor changes. This is really CruHack 1.0.2. Unless you want to argue that the original was just a beta, perhaps v0.9, what the denialists call v2 was 0.95; this might be the real v1.0. Perhaps something more interesting will emerge later, who knows.

For those too young to remember the original, see [[Climatic Research Unit email controversy]].

Early update: I should listen to Gavin, who points out how interesting google trends are on this. AW isn’t happy. This may require some playing with; last 12 months is also entertaining, though it is currently showing “Mar 10-16” as “incomplete data”.


* CRU tooo?
* Those CRU emails in full

The strange case of the denialists inability to read

Or, perhaps, not so strange, you might well say. I’m talking about Has Global Warming Stalled? I’m not sure what is supposed to be new about it – it looks like the same tired old stuff. The “gotcha” bit is supposed to be

The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more

and we then are shown a picture with some flat lines on it. The picture doesn’t show the 95% confidence intervals for the trends – I suspect that was beyond the poster’s ski1z. But anyway, that’s not the point: the point is the words that have been omitted, which I’ll bold below:

ENSO-adjusted warming in the three surface temperature datasets over the last 2–25 yr continually lies within the 90% range of all similar-length ENSO-adjusted temperature changes in these simulations (Fig. 2.8b). Near-zero and even negative trends are common for intervals of a decade or less in the simulations, due to the model’s internal climate variability. The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more

This isn’t even a new mistake. Its the same as in the American Drinker Climate Forecaster of The Year 2010. So rather than thinking, I may as well copy what I said there:

So this is the familiar situation: the denialists are cherry-picking their starting year of 1998. If you don’t do that, or if you take out ENSO (as the 2008 report explicitly did; or as Foster and Rahmstorf did), then you see the warming you expect.

Not everyone at WUWT falls for the nonsense. “Phil” points out the ENSO adjustment bit (as well as some other errors, never mind them for now). It goes quiet in the comments after that. It would be nice to think that’s because they’re all embarrassed at their carelessness, but more likely its because they’ve moved on to the next piece of tripe.


* Updated comparison of simulations and observations by Climate Lab Book.

People, if you want to argue with stoats, first read enough to be a weasel. Parrots needn’t apply

The latest denialosphere nonsense is proving quite entertaining – not for the subject matter itself, for without exception no-one in the debate has troubled to read the gumpf – but for the mudslinging in the comment thread. If you want to see Bad William you can go over there.

Vinny, I think that pays you off, yes?

Wackos from the Dark Side: you can have the debate here if you want, but only if you’re prepared to talk sensibly. As a teensy test of your interest in being sane, I’m making a special rule just for the comment thread: anyone unable to spell my name, or get my title right, or do the sensible thing and call me WMC instead, doesn’t get published. Wabbit, you behave too.


* PaulB – some of the way, I think, but not quite.
* Gregory 2002 (I’m so old school I have a paper copy).