Welcome to the archive

It turns out that you can export and import posts from WordPress. Who could possibly have guessed? Unfortunately it also turns out that the default importer can only cope with files of size 50 Mb or less; so I’m having to learn how to cut up the archive and do it in bits. So far I’ve added 2017 – at least I have, if I get lucky.


If this works, then I’ll have to make up my mind whether I want to continue with WordPress at this mirror of the old site, scienceblogs.com/stoat/, or continue at mustelid.blogspot.com.  Do you have an opinion? Then tell me about it in the comments. I’ll update the below as I go on. In case you’re wondering, this is WordPress’s “free” option.

NOTE: you’re welcome to comment here, but be aware that in the “transition period” (roughly now to the end of the month) there will uncertainty over what gets preserved for the future; some comments may be lost. Furthermore, while I will see all comments here, over at scienceblogs.com/stoat, and at mustelid.blogspot.com; most readers will only be looking at one of those sites.

Blogger: pros

  • Google. Although not really up to their usual.

WordPress: pros

  • I can edit the comments.
  • I know how to configure moderation, to some extent.


I did 2017, 2016 and 2015; and then realised that links I’d inserted are to the old blog. They work at this moment, but will go blank. For 2014 I re-wrote the URLs courtesy of Perl.

Some old draft, now published

* The skeptics case? [2012]
* Time considered as a helix of semi precious stoats [2011]
* Sunday misc [2011]
* Whats going to kill us all? [2008]

The export / import process

Email from Sb said “To export your blog, go to your Dashboard and then Tools –> Export. “All Content” should be selected. When you click the download button, your exported content will be written to an XML file. You can then import the file on a new site via Dashboard –> Tools –> Import.”

That’s true as far as it goes.

Missing: WP won’t import a large blog all at once. You’ll need to split it up. I found year-by-year worked best; anything much larger and WP got Sad.

Missing: you may want to rework internal links within your old blog. I found:

perl -i -pe "s/http:\/\/scienceblogs.com\/stoat/https:\/\/wmconnolley.wordpress.com/g" 

works for me. Possibly-arguably those links should have been written as relative in the first place; but they weren’t.

Things I'm glad other people have said

So I don’t have to bother saying them myself.

* SpaceX Dragon on its way to the ISS! (and watch more of it – though I’d skip the first ~40 mins of talk if I were you). Note: I’m a bit behind the times here; see the next post.
* The Magistrate’s blog – more down to earth: pointing out the stupidity of the press complaining about “unelected European judges” when we don’t elect our own either.
* More about the facebook IPO from Timmy.
* Peter Gleick cleared of forging documents in Heartland expose – actually this one doesn’t fit my title. Its interesting, but so vague on detail as to be not much use. I would not have written it. [Update: DA actually asked them and they said they aren’t finished.]

von S jumps the shark

Many thanks to commentor Bam who alerted me to A comment by Alex Harvey: CLIMATE CHANGE ARBITRATION BIAS AT WIKIPEDIA by Hans von Storch CLIMATE CHANGE ARBITRATION BIAS AT WIKIPEDIA complete with big shouty letters.

[This is a copy from back-up of a post that was on the old mt site, and didn’t get auto-moved to the new wp site. It will have lost any comments made then, sorry.]

Before you read that, you probably need to at least see Junk from von S (especially if you’re a von S reader, because he has previously censored links to that post). If you read the comments there, its clear that von S is clueless about wikipedia. And what do you do if you’re clueless? That’s right: you publish twaddle from a septic who is pretending to be neutral, which is von S’s most recent post. In the comments, von S uses the “Curry defence”: that he hasn’t got a clue what is going on, but is publishing this out of interest. Or something like that.

Probably the most important point to make is that anyone trying to understand what is going on from what AH is saying to von S will not succeed. Just about everything written by AH is either lies or deliberate misrepresentation. Please don’t expect me to correct it all. My own view of the original case is here, if you’re interested. You might also want to read my rather disorganised on-wiki page.

von S’s post relies heavily on Lawrence Solomon. As any fule kno, Solomon didn’t and doesn’t understand how wiki works, so pretty well everything he posted, and AH regurgitated, was wrong. I say “so”, but that is being generous: Solomon is not accidentally getting things wrong, or perhaps better has taken no trouble to get things right. By contrast AH does know how wiki works (well, a bit); he is deliberately lying to von S. See for example a child’s garden of wikipedia.

On the substantive point, which is the odd suggestion that arbcomm is biased pro-science, it is interesting to read the actual ban appeals. AH doesn’t provide you with convenient links to those, preferring to provide his own inaccurate gloss. Mine is here. The basic point is, I know what I’m talking about wrt GW and have something to contribute, and have a very long history of contributing worthwhile content. Cla68’s is here. The basic point is that he doesn’t know what he is talking about and has nothing to contribute except disruption (that’s my gloss, BTW). Don’t miss the “statement by MastCell” on that page. Its not a one-off; that is typical Cla. Taken together, this suffices to explain the difference in our treatment.

Update: its nice to see that not everyone is convinced by von S, see e.g. this comment which makes an explicit connection with one of von S’s hopes, the “honest broker” stuff: In my opinion giving Alex Harvey a platform for charactar assassination was a bad idea, far away from any honest broker ideals.


* Curry jumps the shark
* Jumping the shark?
* Webcite of Storch’s post as of writing
* Morano madness
* The IPCC May Have Outlived its Usefulness?

That Facebook IPO, in full

I’m not the first to say the obvious, but the FT appears to have misunderstood the world:

Some investors accused Facebook of taking advantage of enormous demand to sell at an inflated price it says, commenting on the way FB’s shareprice dropped from $38-ish to $34-ish. To which the answer is… WTF do you think FB is, a charity? If you’re overwhelmed by people desperate to hand over cash in exchange for your shares, then of course you raise the price.

Back in the dotcom bubble era it was fashionable to IPO at well below what you hoped the shares would trade up to. But, that was a bad thing, not a good one. Not just because the companies weren’t getting their money’s worth, but more because it was a sign of bubbliness and, effectively, dishonesty: people who knew (not me, I hasten to add; I fell for the hype too; I was much younger then), knew the kind of valuations being posed were meaningless, and they knew that no-one knew how to value them, and they knew that the best guarantee of the shares going up, was for the shares to go up, because people had no other measure of value than a relative one.

[BTW, we’re very close to the great switch-over to WP, this post may oscillate, who knows…]


* Explaining Facebook’s IPO: The Greenshoe – from Timmy, in the old comments. Fascinating bit of detail. Basically the backing banks shorted the IPO, and this is commonplace, and there is a good reason for it. Finance can be almost as complex as interrupt-driven code sometimes.
* Facebook and the sad case of ethical investment bankers – Bronte agrees with me 😉 but has a probably more astute take on the ’90s IPOs.
* TED is very rude about Bronte, but he is wrong, as Bronte patiently explains.

The skeptics case?

[This was a draft from 2012. I never really finished it, but I’ve decided I kinda like the invective, so it can go out now.]

The Skeptics Case is by some chap called “Dr David M.W. Evans” posted at WUWT (though it seems he touted it around; there’s a version at von Mises, too. In my own categorisation of “skeptics”, which runs roughly like:

1. stark staring bonkers – don’t even believe in the greenhouse effect at all
2. staring bonkers – don’t believe the CO2 rise is genuine
3. bonkers – don’t believe the CO2 rise is anthropogenic
4. unthinking – don’t believe the observed temperature rise is genuine
5a. just about scientifically valid “skepticism” – believe the basic radiative forcing from CO2, but think the feedbacks are small or negative
5b. just about scientifically valid “skepticism” – don’t believe the observed temperature rise is anthropogenic
6. sane – accept the std.ipcc view

he gets about a 4.5, or maybe a 5a (this, in turn, gets him some stick from the wild-eyed zealots in the comments, but only very mild stick of course, because they are very reluctant to go for anyone on “their side”).

I can’t resist throwing in this:

If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you; but if you really make them think, they’ll hate you.

which DA attributes to Harlan Ellison. It is WUWT to a tee.

Anyway, enough preamble, on with the show. What exactly is “The skeptics case”? It seems to come in 4 parts:

Air Temperatures

One of the earliest and most important predictions was presented to the US Congress in 1988 by Dr James Hansen, the “father of global warming”… Hansen’s climate model clearly exaggerated future temperature rises.

To which the obvious answer is: well yes, it was indeed one of the earliest predictions. We don’t judge the quality of a modern jet by carefully examining the Wright brother’s aircraft; that would be dishonest.

But Evans’s plot above is even more dishonest that that. Compare it to


Suddenly, Hansen’s projections don’t look so bad, do they? They do the same trick with IPCC ’90, too.

Ocean Temperatures

This one is more straightforward: Evans artificially discards all data before 2004, and then (having produced a meaninglessly short time series) proceed to say meaningless things about it.

What is his excuse for doing this? That ARGO starts in 2004, and before ARGO, no ocean data is good enough.

[At this point I got bored and stopped. Looking back from 2017, that seems like a wise decision.]

Justice and Injustice

There is a remark somewhere in Popper – but of course I forget where, and since I’m only struggling to remember this as an intro or lead-in I may even have made it up – to the effect that deep inquiry into the meaning of words is largely fruitless. And this is in the context of his attack on Plato, so my forward-reference to Plato spending an entire book trying to define Justice is apt.

The kind of thing I mean is Plato’s Concept Of Justice: An Analysis which just happened to be the top google hit, and now I’ve propelled it higher. Plato doesn’t really mean Justice, to be fair. He means a whole pile of things including morality, and the correct social order, which rather importantly included people like Plato being on top.

However, I’m ranting again. All I meant to say was that Hobbes rather beautifully turns this all around. First, in a State of Nature the notion of justice is absent:

To this warre of every man against every man, this also is consequent; that nothing can be Unjust. The notions of Right and Wrong, Justice and Injustice have there no place. [1]

But we’re interested in people in a society, so we have the succinctly titled “Justice And Injustice What” section, wherein he says:

And in this law of Nature, consisteth the Fountain and Originall of JUSTICE. For where no Covenant hath preceded, there hath no Right been transferred, and every man has right to every thing; and consequently, no action can be Unjust. But when a Covenant is made, then to break it is Unjust: And the definition of INJUSTICE, is no other than The Not Performance Of Covenant. And whatsoever is not Unjust, is Just. [2]

And the key, in case you missed it, is “And whatsoever is not Unjust, is Just.”

(perhaps you also need to know the immeadiately preceeding The Third Law Of Nature, Justice: From that law of Nature, by which we are obliged to transferre to another, such Rights, as being retained, hinder the peace of Mankind, there followeth a Third; which is this, That Men Performe Their Covenants Made: without which, Covenants are in vain, and but Empty words; and the Right of all men to all things remaining, wee are still in the condition of Warre.)

Anyway, at least you know what Hobbes is on about: it certainly beats the wordy windbagging twaddle of Plato (Justice implies superior character and intelligence while injustice means deficiency in both respects. Therefore, just men are superior in character and intelligence and are more effective in action. As injustice implies ignorance, stupidity and badness, It cannot be superior in character and intelligence… Plato prove that justice does not depend upon a chance, convention or upon external force. It is the right condition of the human soul by the very nature of man when seen in the fullness of his environment. etc. etc.).

And this in turn is sparked off by Ralph Cudworth (it seems very odd that he was called Ralph) who in seeking to refute a variety of what he regards as heretical notions, principally the notion that Morality might not be absolute (see-also [[Euthyphro dilemma]]) is moved to use Plato’s complaints about the Protagoreans and others, who inexcusably believe that nothing can be absolutely just, but all is a matter of social convention. Which is quite ironic because Cudworth is doing his best to demolish Hobbes, but justice is about the only thing that Hobbes would take as absolute; for example which books of religion you trust is (for Hobbes) clearly a matter of societal choice. But not for Cudders.

[I was going to try to avoid doing a review of 2011 by doing a review of “posts I wrote but didn’t post in 2011”. But I didn’t find many. I did find this though. Written in February.]


* [2018]: Soc Flop.
* [2019]: CafeHayek on Adam Smith on Justice noting that it is a “negative virtue”: you get done for injustice, you don’t get praised for being just. That’s from TMS.

RFS 9: Kill Hollywood

Well, this is an interesting take on SOPA (h/t Paul, and the atheist FAQ is worth reading too):

Hollywood appears to have peaked… [But] The people who run it are so mean and so politically connected that they could do a lot of damage to civil liberties and the world economy on the way down… The main reason we want to fund such startups is not to protect the world from more SOPAs, but because SOPA brought it to our attention that Hollywood is dying. They must be dying if they’re resorting to such tactics… SOPA shows Hollywood is beaten. And yet the audiences to be captured from movies and TV are still huge… What’s going to kill movies and TV is what’s already killing them: better ways to entertain people.