JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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The Skeptics Handbook II

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The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



Esquire does the full Marc Morano Climategate story

This is the beginning of many full feature length articles that will come as the House of Mann-Made Global Warming collapses. It’s long, but when it’s a professional feature writer drawing a story of a professional scam-buster who works at the highest levels, it’s a great read. Enjoy It’s not a grand scientific expose, but it does turn ClimateGate into a human interest story with momentum, and as such, it may reach a wider audience than any scientific expose could.

Photo: Mackenzie Stroh

This Man Wants to Convince You Global Warming Is a Hoax

Marc Morano broke the Swift Boat story and effectively stalled John Kerry’s presidential run. Now he is working against an even bigger enemy: belief in climate change. Somehow, he seems to be winning.

By John H. Richardson

Early on the morning of November 17, Gavin Schmidt sat down at his computer and entered his password. It didn’t work. Strange, he thought. He tried a few other accounts and none of them worked, either. Now he was alarmed. As a leading climatologist with NASA’s Goddard Institute in Manhattan, he’d been hacked before. He was used to e-mails from people who disapproved of his work, threatening e-mails [...]

The truth shall make you free

Art Robinson is a rare man. He’s risen above and laid bare the creeping failure in the infrastructure of modern science over the last 50 years. He describes how the control of the quest for knowledge itself has been usurped from individuals and private industry and taken over by the government.

At the end of the day, what does being a scientist mean if there is nothing other than a certificate? Where is the code of conduct? Where are the professional associations which stand up and decry those who breach the basic requirements? What sense of duty and honor is left in science when high ranking members can make statements that are dishonest and yet keep their jobs and their reputations?

I was struck with Art’s description of a true scientist–where the most important attribute is honesty, where humility is inevitable in anyone who understands how little we comprehend, and where being a scientist is a lifelong search, rather than a 9 – 5 job.

The 10 page paper  How Government Corrupts Science is worth reading in full.

Below are some select parts that especially struck a chord with me.

How Government Corrupts Science

Isaac Newton was the greatest [...]

Putting ClimateGate in Perspective

I attribute much of the recent rapid rise of the skeptics to the ongoing effects of ClimateGate, yet in a sense the emails that were sprung from East Anglia did nothing more than confirm what most skeptics already suspected. Despite that, I’m convinced it was instrumental, and Lawrence Solomon, author of The Deniers, has written an unusually good summary in the form of a speech for the Colorado Mining Association.

With his permission, I’ve included my favourite points here, as well as a copy of the full speech. His blog is a part of the Energy Probe team.

The Climategate emails confirmed much of what the sceptics had been saying for years.

They confirmed that the peer review process had been corrupted, that scientists were arranging friendly reviews. They confirmed that the science journals had been corrupted. That journals that refused to play ball with the doomsayers faced boycotts and their editors faced firing. They confirmed that sceptical scientists were being systematically excluded from the top‐tier journals. The Climategate emails confirmed that journalists were likewise threatened with boycotts if they didn’t play ball. The Climategate emails confirmed that the science itself was suspect. That the doomsayers themselves couldn’t make [...]

UK Science Museum hit by skeptical ICBM, makes small concession

The London Science Museum has abandoned it’s fort like barricade–the “NoDebateCorral” and many skeptics are rejoicing that the formerly Gung Ho institute seems to have done a major about-face. I remain highly skeptical of their new “skepticality”.

Remember, this is the same museum that was blatantly telling you the UK taxpayer which policy you were supposed to vote (and pay) for:

Note the claim about “seeing the evidence”.  I have seen the light!

This is the team that only last October launched the Proveit Exhibition to “help” Copenhagen. They were not even remotely equivocal then about their political aims and beliefs:

““The Copenhagen conference is a crucial opportunity to find an international solution to the threat of climate change and to transform the way we generate and consume energy…

Dr Vicky Carroll, Prove It! Project Leader and Curator of Science at the Science Museum said: “Scientific evidence shows that climate change is happening. We need to tackle it urgently. Prove it! allows visitors to explore the evidence for climate change in the Science Museum and online, get to grips with the Copenhagen conference, and make their view count.”’

See that phrase: Make their view count? They were [...]

Picasso Brain Syndrome

Picasso-Brain-Strikes-the-Climate-Debate: Can’t think. Can’t reason.

Stephan Lewandowsky’s ABC article on climate change was headlined “Opinion Versus Evidence“. Then with dead-pan delivery, he lists the “evidence” but it’s all … opinions.

The question of “delusion” is looming. I mean really, is this a cry for help? There are not many laws of reason that Stephan leaves unbroken. He appeals to authority, attacks the “man”, and talks about everything bar the evidence on climate change.  Is he serious? “Trust me” he says, the world is warming because AIDS is real, mass-murderer Ivan Milat was guilty, Lord Monckton is only a non-voting member of the House of Lords, a few skeptics are burko, 97% of paid climate scientists agree that we ought to be worried and keep paying them,  and someone has discussed the actual money that climate scientists earn (how could they) and to top it off, the IPCC report is 3000 pages long (!).

Not to mention that Google Scholar (“I’m so technical”) finds lots of hits (thanks to Vice President Al Gore who arranged for the US Government to pay billions of dollars to his favorite researchers, and who also is on the Google advisory team), plus the world [...]

The sunburnt country is awash

Record-breaking rain means huge Australian arid-land lakes are visible from space.

Australia has one of the most unpredictable rainfall patterns in the world, and this is one of those unpredictable years. For the past few months, the repeated downfalls have left large pools of water lying in arid lands in Western Queensland. It’s great news for farmers. The water will, over the next year, flow south through the Darling River system, restoring parched watercourses, swamps, and dams. The Darling River system flows from Queensland through New South Wales and into South Australia.

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Meteorology announced that the rains were “exceptional”:

The most remarkable aspect of this event was the area covered by the heavy rainfall and the total volume of rainfall that fell. Daily totals exceeded 100 mm over 1.7% of Australia on 1 March and 1.9% on 2 March. The latter is the largest area of 100 mm-plus daily totals on a single day in the Australian meteorological record, breaking the previous record of 1.7% set on 22  December 1956. 28 February was the wettest day on record for the Northern Territory with an NT-wide average of 29.23 mm, while 2 March set [...]

The BOM & CSIRO report: It’s what they don’t say that matters

Ken Stewart has scanned the trend maps at BOM (Bureau of Meteorology), and his point is spot on. As soon as I saw the neat joint six page advertising pamphlet for the climate-theory-backed-by-bankers, I wondered what happened to the first 60 years of last century, and Ken found it. Did the BOM forget they have hundreds of data points from back then? Did they forget to use their own Website, where you can pick-a-trend, any-trend, and choose the one with err…more convenient results? Or is it the case that their collective mission is not necessarily to provide Australians with the most complete and appropriate information available, but with what the bureaucracy needs them to know? And what they need them to know, apparently, is the carefully censored version of the truth that will keep government ministers happy (Let us tax them more!), keep department heads smiling (Let the climate cash cow continue!), and last, but not least, help staff feel good (We’re sure we’re helping the environment!).

Why censor half their own data?

The trend map page works exquisitely well (I am happy to praise the BOM Web site team). Compare these two trend maps:

Australian Rainfall Trends 1960-2009

The [...]

Carbon market chaos strikes again

What a surprise: The free-market-that-is-not-free leaps from one scandal to the next. In a real free market where salesmen sell something real, and buyers buy something they want, people can’t get away with cheating, or not for long.

If someone sold you a bulk carrier of coal, and it turned up empty, you’d notice.

[...]

The mystery deepens — where did that decline go?

Frank Lansner has done some excellent follow-up on the missing “decline” in temperatures from 1940 to 1975, and things get even more interesting. Recall that the original “hide the decline” statement comes from the ClimateGate emails and refers to “hiding” the tree ring data that shows a decline in temperatures after 1960. It’s known as the “divergence problem” because tree rings diverge from the measured temperatures. But Frank shows that the peer reviewed data supports the original graphs and that measured temperature did decline from 1960 onwards, sharply. But in the GISS version of that time-period, temperatures from the cold 1970′s period were repeatedly “adjusted” years after the event, and progressively got warmer.

The most mysterious period is from 1958 to 1978, when a steep 0.3C decline that was initially recorded in the Northern Hemisphere. Years later that was reduced so far it became a mild warming, against the detailed corroborating evidence from raobcore data.

Raobcore measurements are balloon measures. They started in 1958, twenty years before satellites. But when satellites began, the two different methods tie together very neatly–telling us that both of them are accurate, reliable tools.

[...]

Hide the decline and rewrite history?

Human emissions of carbon dioxide began a sharp rise from 1945. But, temperatures, it seems, may have plummeted over half the globe during the next few decades. Just how large or how insignificant was that decline?

Frank Lansner has found an historical graph of northern hemisphere temperatures from the mid 70′s, and it shows a serious decline in temperatures from 1940 to 1975. It’s a decline so large that it wipes out the gains made in the first half of the century, and brings temperatures right back to what they were circa 1910. The graph was not peer reviewed, but presumably it was based on the best information available at the time. In any case, if all the global records are not available to check, it’s impossible to know how accurate or not this graph is. The decline apparently recorded was a whopping 0.5°C.

But, three decades later, by the time Brohan and the CRU graphed temperatures in 2006 from the same old time period, the data had been adjusted (surprise), so that what was a fall of 0.5°C had become just a drop of 0.15°C. Seventy percent of the cooling was gone.

Maybe they had good reasons for making [...]