Controversy over Bradley and Jones 1993?

Apologies; another wiki post. Though since palaeo reconstructions are in all the news, nowadays (sidenote: is [[Shaun Marcott]] notable? Or is it just his paper that is notable? I think I’d argue the latter. Discuss) this is topical.

So: the wiki Hockey stick controversy page is long and thorough (too long for some) and includes a section on an aspect I couldn’t even remember, “Bradley and Jones 1993“. I argued on the talk page that it wasn’t really notable – obviously, if even I can’t remember it, with my notoriously fine memory, it can’t possibly be notable. But DS, who has put so much work into getting that page into decent shape, thinks its notable as controversy about something before MBH ’98.

Initially I believed that, but now I’m more inclined to notice the differences. Firstly, it begins with a United States House Committee on Science hearing which didn’t invite sci-fi authors or other bozos – ah, those were the days. Secondly… well, essentially nobody noticed. The world was different then, of course, but even so. Nobody noticed either side of the argument. Its not too surprising that nobody noticed Michaels, since he was writing in his World Climate Report. But I don’t think the other side was pushing their stuff either.

What do ID, Obama, GW, Catholic church and Race&Intelligence have in common?

The answer, obviously, is that they’re all controversial. And (as measured by talk page size) they’re the top-5 most controversial articles on wikipedia: see [[Wikipedia:Database reports/Talk pages by size]] (I’m discounting #1, “Main page”, for the obvious reason). The only surprising entry in the top 10 is #10, Prem Rawat, who I’ve never heard of outside wiki. But he’s some quasi-religious figure, so it makes sense. Chiropractic and Homeopathy make 11 and 12. And so on.

I found this page via the ever-popular arguing about the [[Monty Hall problem]] (if you’ve never seen the problem, do go and have a look but don’t come back here afterwards and talk about it because we did that stuff in first year maths at university). That’s followed by [[Climatic Research Unit email controversy]], so GW gets two in the top 20. But then its not till #43 that we reappear with [[List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming ]].

I think its nice that 0.999, and speed of light, are in the list too.


* Hutzler 571 banana slicer – reviews.

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/International Climate Science Coalition

Are the [[International Climate Science Coalition]] notable? (webcite in case they aren’t and you care 7 days from now). By which I mean, in the sense of Wikipedia:Notability. Sources about them are thin on the ground, and those so far proposed only mention them in passing. Blogs don’t count, of course, and nor does their own PR.

We’ll find out in a bit, because its up for deletion (note: I didn’t propose it, though I did PROD it).

I put this up just for fun. I don’t encourage you to go there and “vote” (either keep or delete). You can if you like, but you’d have to have something to say – Remember that while AfD may look like a voting process, it does not operate like one. Justification and evidence for a response carries far more weight than the response itself.

[Update: really dull so far (or possibly evidence of total NN): no-one has even bother to say “keep”.]
[Update: based on the current state of the AFD, I think it will go.]

The Result

The result was redirect to Tom Harris (mechanical engineer). That was on the basis that the ICSU isn’t notable or well enough covered for its own article, and that pretty well all the coverage of it that had been found was actually about its director. And that ICSU itself is a valid search term.

Its all about me (again, yawn)

Do not click on this image. Its all about me refers. This wasn’t terribly exciting the first time round, but now that dullard AW has finally noticed – its only taken him three+ weeks. And AW has only noticed because the Kalte cretins have recycled it.

Apparently I

openly sympathized with the views of the controversial IPCC

which is of course true, at least the “sympathising” bit. My position on GW is hard to distinguish from the IPCC’s, and I’ve defended them in the past.

As for the rest: the substance of AW’s regurgitation dates back to nonsense I refuted ages ago. AW deliberately gets my title wrong, but one learns not to expect respect for accuracy or correctness from him. I’ve not got a clue what he or they mean by “umpire”.

You can see my (or someone else’s) wiki edit count from a shifting variety of toolservers; currently this one says I’ve edited 7,410 unique pages. But I think that include talk pages and non-article namespaces. “5428 Wikipedia articles” is definitely wrong (remember, though, AW is regurgitating stuff that is years old; my pages-edited-count must have passed through 5428 at some point), “most about climate” is not well founded and likely to be false.

[Update: there is (as you’d expect, and perhaps even hope) quite a bit of foaming at the mouth and carpet-biting in the comments over at WUWT. There’s also quite a lot of lies (ditto) but I’ll single out that slimy toad Willis Eschenbach:

Occasionally he comes over here to try to sell his alarmism. Of course, since he can’t control the conversation here, he doesn’t hang around much.

Willis is happy to talk big in a venue where he knows he’s safe from any comeback: because as he knows full well I’m banned from WUWT for pointing out some of AW’s more obvious errors (and, I think, for attracting too much attention: as far as AW is concerned, its all about him). WUWT is an unpleasant place if you’re not a wacko, but I did my best to help them. The only reason I’m no longer able to help correct their more basic errors – such as WE’s deliberate one above – is because they won’t let me. By contrast, even the wackos are welcome to comment here, if they have something to say. But they don’t seem to be very brave without their mob, and mod backup.]

Its all about me

P points me at “Wikipedia knowledge: air-forger Connolley: The man who rewrote our worldview” and so on [cite]. Not even original there; earlier at here]. I’m reading it via google translate, of course. Its mostly a re-hash of the Solomon nonsense which I discussed in A child’s garden of wikipedia, part I. Obviously, the bit about me is the interesting bit, but they also whinge on about…

After a short pseudo-debate is from Wikipedia EIKE even on the blacklist has been set

This is the bit I’ll tell you about, as part of your continuing education in the odd corners of wiki.

EIKE themselves seem to be trivia (I’ve never heard of them, neither has the English wikipedia. A friend calls them a “local version of the Cooler Heads Coalition, i.e. a group of blockheaded non-scientists with a strong political agenda”). But what they are complaining about is that they’ve been put onto the Spam blacklist. This is, as it says, a control mechanism that prevents an external link from being added to an … Wikipedia page when the URL matches one listed. There is a global one, across all wikipedia projects, and a per-project one (so being added to the German one doesn’t block you from using links on the English one).

I can’t read the discussion, and google refuses to translate it for me (Eli provides a helpful translation), but my source tells me that (somewhat humiliatingly) they weren’t blocked for being actively harmful, just for being useless. This illustrates a difference between the English wiki and the German one (and arguably between the countries as a whole): de is better at keeping out junk, because they are more discriminating in their judgements.

If you look at the discussion page for additions on en you can see the kind of thing its used for. Sometimes, its easier to just blacklist the additions than it is to block the anon’s who are doing the spamming.


* Werner Aeschbach-Hertig looks at EIKE.

Death of a salesman

A somewhat unfair title; the person in question is Marcel Leroux and the “death” is the deletion of his wiki page. The “sales” is his wacko views on GW. I don’t think ML is particularly interesting – wiki certainly thought not – but perhaps the way wiki deals with minor characters is.

Background: anyone is free to create a new page on wikipedia (there is probably a brief qualification period, but this is a trivial barrier), but there are various mechanisms for getting rid of pages that are junk, just offensive, or for some reason better not present. Any admin can delete a page; there is a whole page about criteria for speedy deletion.

But sometimes a page exists, about a real person or event, and there is doubt about whether the page is desirable or not. Perhaps they or the incident appear insufficiently notable. You can look at WP:AFD if you care to. Note that deletion debates are generally closed by admins who like doing that kind of thing, and almost always by people who don’t know anything about the subject to hand. They aren’t supposed to know; they just evaluate the arguments given (its not supposed to be a vote, either, though weight of numbers usually counts; its supposed to be weight of argument). If a page gets deleted and you disagree, there is a review mechanism. If a page doesn’t get deleted and you disagree, you can always try again. The page about me has been nominated 5 times (last infobox, click the “show” tab).

In this case: we’re on Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Marcel Leroux which (as you’ll see) was closed as The result was delete. Ultimately, “fails WP:N” is a very difficult argument to get around, and the humming and hawing about maybe possibly meeting a criterion or two of WP:ACADEMIC is not supported by consensus (even its advocates don’t seem to really believe it).

WP:N is his notability. This comes up in the rationale for deletion by the nominator [update: which, perhaps I should point out, wasn’t me], which was I couldn’t find significant coverage in google scholar or books. Google news returns various hits to various individuals. More specifically to the scientist I only found a good amount of passing mentions in the news sources (some of which were comments) but nothing providing significant coverage. And indeed, if you look for him he doesn’t show up much, with no coverage at all in what wiki calls “reliable secondary sources”: newspapers, books by other people, and so on. Unfortunately I forgot to webcite the page before it was deleted [update: its temporarily undeleted at DRV, so now cited in case it goes again] (aha, but one of the WUWT regular wackos did copy it, so here is a webcite of the copy), but here is a pic from google’s cache, and if you click through you’ll get to the article text.


If you look, the article is almost entirely sourced to himself. My “delete” rationale is that the article was only started in order to push Leroux’s wacko views on GW: essentially all of the lede is about his views and his books; not about his career. This view is supported by a contribution from one of his boosters on the AFD talk page. Meanwhile, if you try to follow his career then the criteria becomes WP:ACADEMIC which tries to make sense of the thorny question of whether random academic X is notable enough viewed as an academic only. And he fails that: just writing a textbook isn’t enough.

For those interested in puzzles and sleuthing (are you out there John?) the issue of his “chevalier (knight) in the Ordre des Palmes académiques” might be worth chasing down. Someone uploaded what is supposed to be a copy of his citation (webcite) in a desperate and ultimately failed attempt to show how notable he is. But is it genuine? Note that even if genuine he’s still not notable; this is just a puzzle, not a matter of significance. I don’t know what the genuine certificates are supposed to look like. There are a couple of things that look a bit dodgy about it, but nothing definitive: the “69 – LYON -” is odd – shouldn’t there be something after the second dash? The failure to get all the text centered. And the inconsistent spacing around “LEROUX”.


* If you’re wondering why the sudden upsurge of, errm, “odd” opinions in the comments, Death by Stoat at WUWT 2012/10/09 is probably the answer (webcite). If you’re one of the more thoughtful WUWT folks who wonder why I don’t answer at WUWT, the answer is I’m banned there. So if you’ve come here to complain about lack of freedom of speech, you might find that ironic.
* ‘Tabloid climatology’ may be the real reason for the Marcel Leroux – William Connolley Wikipedia dustup – more trash at WUWT.
* Wikipedia:Deletion_review/Log/2012_October_11 – are reports of the death of his death premature? No – despite the shrieks and wails of the wackos, wiki managed to get the right answer to an obvious question, which doesn’t always happen.
* [Update: the last few copies are being chased down and killed. Part of the problem is simple incompetence on the part of the Watties -W]
* Even more death, this time of Timothy Ball (who?)

On a lighter note

Continuing the theme of “how not to edit wikipedia” I bring you

Anouncement [sic] of damnation of wiki: That because in conspiracy of a group of Darwinists the encycopledia in practical effect surpresses [sic] freedom of expression, I hereby damn the encyclopedia.

from User:Syamsu [1]. Amusingly, that’s in an unblock request; I don’t think it will be successful. Its all about some argument at [[Free Will]]: people always have silly opinions about such things.

[Ah, that didn’t take long: on to the next stage, talk page access revoked.]

Whitewashing wiki

There’s an interesting case of this recently. The prime examplar appears to be this edit which removes

For many years Spencer, along with [[John R. Christy]], has maintained an atmospheric temperature record derived from satellite microwave sounding unit measurements, commonly called the [[UAH satellite temperature dataset|”UAH” record]] record (see also [[satellite temperature record]]). This was once controversial as until the late 1990s the satellite record erroneously showed a net global cooling trend, at odds with the [[radiosonde]] and [[surface temperature record|surface record]]. A number of corrections (mostly minor) have been made since been made bringing the UAH “lower troposphere temperature” data closer to agreement with other temperature records. The most significant correction, demonstrated in a 1998 paper by [[Frank Wentz]] and Matthias Schabel of [[RSS]], was to correct for orbital decay of the MSU satellites.<ref>{{cite journal|last=Wentz|first=Frank J.|coauthors=Matthias Schabel|journal=Letters to Nature|date=13 August 1998|volume=394|pages=661–661|title=Effects of orbital decay on satellite-derived lower-tropospheric temperature trends|doi=10.1038/29267|issue=6694}}</ref><ref></ref&gt;

(disclaimer: I wrote that text, of a close version of it, so I’m fond of it). For anyone familiar with the GW debate this just just the Bleedin’ Obvious, but it was removed with the comment Removed original research in violation of WP:NOR. This brings on the main theme of this post, which is the abuse of wikipedia’s policies by whitewashers. The main problem is [[WP:BLP]] which is the “Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons” policy. In theory, this is a noble attempt to do the obvious, but actually its a charter for people with an axe to grind to remove stuff they don’t like from the pages of people they do like. NOR (No Original Research, originally brought in to stop the physics cranks) isn’t so bad, in that its less often abused, though its clearly being abused here.

BLP is a bit of a stick to beat people with – it certainly was in [[ARBCC]] – and its easier to remove critical material than non-critical, thus leaving inbalance. For marginal figures in the real world – and people like Spencer or Watts or McI are pretty marginal in the real world, there isn’t much mainstream coverage of them – its hard to write a decent bio without violating the letter of the policy.

The current whitewasher is [[User:JournalScholar]]; to anyone used to usernames, this one is a red flag from the start. And the M.O. – blank denial of any problems – is suspiciously familiar. JS is currently indef’d; but see How not to edit wikipedia for quite what that means, and another example. There’s also discussion of the block at [[WP:ANI]] which is also interesting (notice the troll Collect popping up, as he usually does, do defend any septic). Update: the ANI report is now closed so JS may just stay indef’d, if he isn’t careful. Update: he wasn’t, and its now over, and even over-er.


* Other examples abound, but predictably enough people are removing Ryan’s lies about his marathon time; see also Porkies.

Thomas Hobbes: Fascist Exponent of Enlightement Science?

Yes really, complete with miss-spelling of “enlightenment”. Don’t stop reading just because its about Hobbes, though :-). Its really about the LaRouche nutters, I think (the connection is via the Schiller Institute). My source is Brian Lantz, from the Spring 1996 issue of FIDELIO Magazine, found in the course of trying to work out the relationship between Hobbes and Francis Bacon (was he a pupil of, or just secretary to?). But moving on from that, we have a cornucopia of delights including

Over the past century, for geopolitical purposes, the British oligarchy has orchestrated a true Hobbesian “war of each against all,” bringing about two world wars and innumerable regional conflicts including, most recently, the horrors of Cambodia, Somalia, Rwanda, and Bosnia


Like his homosexual lover Francis Bacon and fellow British empiricist John Locke, Thomas Hobbes was deployed by the then Venice-centered oligarchy against the ideas of the Golden Renaissance, which had been set in motion under the influence of Nicolaus of Cusa at the 1439 Council of Florence.

After pausing, briefly, to note that the article does state that Kissinger was correct in identifying the axiomatics of British foreign policy as “Hobbesian,” which is in its favour. But mistaken; the most Hobbesian foreign policy is clearly that of the USA); I ought to note some oddities about the circle-squaring stuff:

For example, Cusa discovered why it was impossible to “square the circle” through algebraic methods, thereby discovering what we know today as the transcendental numbers. Why? Because a linear approximation of curvature is never curvature; circular action is not reducible to straight-line action.

This isn’t true; certainly the wiki article doesn’t mention him; and indeed the task wasn’t proved impossible until 1882. The reference to “algebraic methods” is odd, too: Cusa would have been concerned with geometrical ones. But this does touch on Hobbes, who was also interested in squaring the circle. Unfortunately he decided that he had managed to prove this, which was a futile waste of time as well as prestige. Ah well, a warning that however eminent you are in one field, that doesn’t necessarily transfer across; and that learning maths by yourself is Hard.

But enough from the article: doubtless everyone will find their own favoured bit of nonsense in there. I’ve now heavily hacked the [[Nicholas of Cusa]] article. Here is a before-and-after difference and here is the old version. I am (obviously) no expert in this area, so if anyone out there reading this is, please comment here or edit there.

[Update: How Not to Square the Circle by Tony Phillips provides some interesting detail on N of C’s circle-squaring activities. If you believe that, then the LaRouche nonsense I started from gets it totally wrong: N was actually trying to square the circle and failing, not trying to prove it impossible (and failing). That article also points to an interesting parallel between Hobbes and N: both were attracted to the rigour of maths, both were amateurs, and both tried to use it to prove philosophical points (unsuccessfully, of course).

However, it gets worse, because the LaRouchies provide On the Quadrature of the Circle, 1450, Nicolaus of Cusa which (perhaps unwisely) I’ll trust them to have reproduced accurately. That appears to be internally contradictory to me; perhaps the attempt to translate from the language of 1450 to present day has proved too hard. This may provide some further clues; or perhaps N was muddled himself.]

I am a red hot climate change denialist?

Strange – you might think – but not so bizarre that some people don’t think it. Here is the quote

William, given the article’s clearly supposedly-sceptical viewpoint, I did not expect my edit to survive but, 8 minutes! Wow, you are red hot! I note your track record of getting into trouble with Moderators over edit-warring issues, so will not be so foolish as to do the same with you myself. However, is there anything you would care to say in your defence that will prevent me from writing you off as a climate change denier?

Why does he call me “William”? I don’t know him, he doesn’t know me. Is he a foreigner? No, he is Britishor so he claims. But clearly not a well-bred one. I delicately suggested that he might get a clue (as the hip doodz say) from Conservapedia, but he doesn’t seem to have done so.

What has him so hot under the collar? The runaway greenhouse effect article. This has always been rather poor: largely because, as the article says, A runaway greenhouse effect is not a clearly defined term; and because it was edited by Andrewjlockley, who is part of the AMEG crowd. And because people keep confusing it with positive feedback. Our man wanted something less ambiguous, and there is a not-very-exciting talk page thread.

All this has odd echoes of last week’s tempest but Martin Charles Lack is not Andrew Judd – he seems to know when to back off, for one thing.

Largely irrelevant refs

* [[List of Viz comic strips]]. Check for “Captain Oats” – I still remember that one. I personally rescued Mickey’s Monkey Spunk Moped from redirection.
* No lessons learned from Climategate ? Fred Pearce and the New Scientist attack anti-nuclear book – this is a guest post at WUWT by Martin Cohe[n]. It contains refs to “Climategate”, therefore by WUWT standards it is publishable; but it is so laughably incoherent that even the regulars think it should be pulled. My comment.
* The Fireplace Delusion – meant to be about religion, but would fit the denialists, too. h/t Paul.