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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On blogging

With Jeff ID sadly shutting down the Air Vent, it’s worth a comment on comments, on blogging, and on the strange lifestyle that this is. But given that it’s 11:22pm 12:35pm here, and my office is still full of packed boxes (thanks to the marvellous newly laid wooden floor) tonight is not the time to try to eruditely capture the conditio sine qua non of blogging.

Instead I’ll say I completely understand why Jeff wants some time out (indefinitely). There must be a way to maintain a blog without it taking over all the spare moments in a day, and I’m going to find it, though the compass on my desk is just pointing at the magnet in my hard drive, and there is no GPS in the house.

Thanks for the patience of all the regulars out there who are turning up this month to find an erratic rhythm.

It’s a case of positive feedback

Due to the immediate feedback nature of comments and emails, once a post goes up, it’s easy to… keep posting, in the sense that ideas flow, questions that desperately need answering turn up, things that need debunking arise, and people send in good ideas of their own. It’s hard to draw the line, “more feeds on more” and it’s easy to try to follow the threads… (if only there were 124 hours in a day). Hence it gravitates towards an all-in/all-out mentality.

There is also that pressure that 3,000 people will be popping in, and there’s no new post to show, and plus, blogs become their own community, and who wants to let good people down?

Not to mention that there is a wall of pompous, self-inflated ego’s who keep offering up clay pigeons that are not just easy targets, but spontaneously implode in a light breeze. Special thank yous to Clive Hamilton, Stefan Lewandowsky, Bob Ward, Robin Williams… and the folks at 10:10. Where would I be without them?

On comments

In a similar vein, Chiefio has some insight on the comments you don’t see– and you can find out what I and the moderators deal with behind the scenes (I’m very grateful to the moderation team here who make it possible for me to put up more posts). Like Cheifio I get the endless barrage of Cyrillic comments, irrelevant one-liners, and false flattery (“Great blog, I’ve added you to my RSS feed”.)

Yes I have learnt to recognize the block shape of some spam at a glance. But in truth I stopped reading my spam file in August 2009. If your comment disappears, please email support AT joannenova.com.au so I or the moderators can fish it out. Right now there are 14,029 comments in the spam file. It’s the abyssal depths of the blog (it’s near freezing and pitch black down there, and the only signs of life are microbial) so if a comment gets spammed, there is no chance of an accidental rescue, but we are happy to send in a search team. Once the giant Filter-feeder from the depths smells spam, it will not let further comments through from the same person. Apologies for all the good comments picked up as collateral damage; please don’t hesitate to ask for help, unless of course, you are a Russian spambot.

And yes, I have had a couple of nice replies from Spambots in Moscow. They sign up for my emails so they can post a comment but one or two have a sense of fair play and when I email them, they reply with something like: I’m not real, don’t bother. Take me off your list.

On lifestyles

This oddest of odd lifestyles is incredibly stimulating (like getting emails from Professors in Norway with lavish praise at 1am, or attending dinners with politicians (people like Bernardi, Jensen, and Fielding) and meeting some very notable business-folk), but it’s also potentially obsessive, and a bit like living with permanent jet lag. Hence I’ve been taking time out, as I try to catch up on all the little tasks that didn’t happen in 2010, like setting up camping gear, sealing slate floors, and throwing out 102 editions of New Scientist. We’ve also just had an excellent short beach holiday with the Thompsons at a truly magnificent holiday house generously provided by someone who happens to be a reader here. (A big thank you to farmer Anthony– it was brilliant!).

While unpaid, there are riches on offer for we pro-bono-bloggers, most of which is in the quality of the people we meet: the true gems. Skepticism is a marvelous sieve. The only shame, is that so many of the treasures are too far away to share a block of chocolate with.

And speaking of Chocolate, thanks infinitely for the support. Due to Australian government rules, I recently found out from Paypal that Australians are not allowed any more to accept things labeled “Donations” unless they’re a registered charity (as if I have the time to register). I kid you not. You may have  thought you had the right to decide who to donate your money too — but only the government does. A new paypal button called the “tip jar” or something like that, will be appearing sometime when I have a few spare weeks and a team of advisors to figure out what I am allowed to do and whether it fits under the category “subscription” or “buy now” even though it isn’t either of those. (My paypal account BTW is linked to the usual address: joanne”AT”joannenova.com.au) Once again, the integrity of the English language is pushed beyond the brink, and a universal word, donation, now has legal qualifiers.

I will probably try out some other blogging patterns in 2011. In the rush to posting original commentary every day means big picture items never get finished (ie. book, you tube, FAQ, graphics on the hotspot, and powerpoint file for people doing speeches), marching the daily grind  means falling into the same trap the mainstream journalists do — more superficial — less depth.

I’ll be more use to the skeptic world if I step back and get some of these done. So I won’t be trying to stick to the daily routine, but take it as it comes, and apologies for the gaps. I won’t be much use to anyone if I burn myself out.

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No comments yet to On blogging

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    papertiger

    Want a solution?

    Jo, what I’d do is stick a special definition of the word “donate“. As in;

    * for the purposes of JoNova the word donate means non-specific, discretionary payment for services rendered.

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    papertiger

    I meant “stick a special definition under the word “donate”".

    But you probably figured that out already.

    All right I’ll go away.

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    papertiger

    It’s too bad you’re not Canadian. Donna Laframboise has herself a “Buy me a drink” button.

    Say!

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    Steve Brown

    Jo,
    Don’t worry about the number of postings which you put up on your blog. Each and every posting is a gem, and like all gems of value, should have a rarity in order retain that value. As you so rightly state, you’d be no good to anyone if you burned out.
    The snippet about the holiday with the Thompsons was the highlight of this present posting, for which many thanks. Please remind them that there remain many people all over the world who still think of them often, even doddering UK pensioners!
    Regards,
    Steve

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    I second Steve Brown’s motion! Quality, not quantity, is what makes blogs like this so much fun to come to. As a hobby blogger, which I suspect most bloggers are (it would be nice to be paid to spend all my time online and doing nothing but reading and writing, but my bottom would probably reach inappropriate proportions and my arteries and veins get clogged with all the chocolate I’d be consuming, so I suspect it is best that I not make a job of blogging, but I digress), I understand the need to use your time wisely. A wise person once indicated that we need to take care of the important things first and let the urgent take a back seat. So, don’t pressure yourself with a need to please all your visitors. We understand and rather have you healthy and blogging than burnt out and incoherent!

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    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ed Reuben, Peter Carr. Peter Carr said: On blogging « JoNova: With Jeff ID is sadly shutting down the Air Vent, it's worth a comment on comments, on bl… http://bit.ly/fFpTDE [...]

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    Richard C (NZ)

    Joanne

    “there’s no new post to show”

    I wouldn’t worry about that. I checked in today because “I never think there will be a new post but she always seems to put something up” (my registration doesn’t alert me for some reason).

    The number of times I have been absorbed in a debate in comments by email (following links etc) only to find there’s been two new posts since that I haven’t noticed. It is much better to have time for yourself because we know that when the big issues arise they are sure to be addressed.

    My suggestion is that other climate driver hypotheses are given space along the lines of Bryan Leyland’s SOI prediction. By concentrating on CAGW, knowledge of the real climate drivers is not being disseminated. This follows the research funding allocations.

    It is interesting how Jairam Ramesh has been able to influence Rajendra Pachauri in this way, see:-

    Lawrence Solomon: Has the IPCC discovered the Sun?

    The IPCC is investigating the Sun as a driver of global warming

    Read more: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/01/25/lawrence-solomon-has-the-ipcc-discovered-the-sun/#ixzz1C5HE3w2e

    The public will not be aware of either the primary or secondary climate driver hypotheses: solar, lunar, cosmic, celestial or ocean oscillations and the cycles that influence climate and weather beyond El Nino and La Nina if blogs like this don’t present them because the IPCC, UK Met, CSIRO, BOM or NIWA certainly wont.

    If U R Rao’s paper showing cosmic rays alone were responsible for 40% of global warming cannot be completely rebutted then the IPCC has a problem with its claim that carbon dioxide and other man-made causes were responsible for more than 90% of global warming.

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    Graham

    Thanks for this glimpse of operations behind the scenes. At the risk of attracting the “false flattery” tag, I have long been in awe of your prodigious and indispensable contribution to the climate debate in the face of grotesquely lopsided funding in favour of the bad guys. As for making room for nice things in life, go for it! It’s quality that counts after all.

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    Frank Brown

    JN you are an awsome blogger! The “truth to power” dictionary has a picture of you under that definition. I check in just to see if you have posted anything but I don’t expect anything. I’m a big supporter (of you) but I am a .org person myself (old retired guy) and can tell you that things need time to get done. It takes time to reply to goofy ideas, and there are a lot of goofy ideas. So…slow down charge the batteries and do what you can do. Get out on the golf course or sun-deck …whaterver. You have already made a huge impression on me and if you take a break I promise I won’t forget all the things you have taught me.

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    RobJM

    Hey Jo, You can give gifts to anyone but you can only give donations to registered charities because of their special tax status. All donations of $2 are tax deductable and the charities don’t pay tax on their income (donations) Gifts on the other hand don’t have the tax benefits, except where artists swap painting as gifts and the on sell them later!

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    Eddy Aruda

    Jo,

    I have never seen a post of yours that was not worth reading. I often do not have the time to leave a comment but I always enjoy your thought provoking posts. I hope you don’t feel bad or try and hold yourself to a standard that requires you to be super human. Why, even mother Teresa had to eat, sleep and relax once in a while!

    Thank you for having the courage to take on the most gargantuan hoax in the history of humanity. My respect for you knows no end and you are an inspiration to me and many others, as well.

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    J.Hansford

    I don’t always post, but I always read your Blog Jo. You do a good job and you are the best person in deciding how to go about it…. We certainly don’t want you burning out.

    It was good to hear that you and the Thompsons had a nice time. Those poor people deserve a few nice things after the abuse of authority that has been perpetrated on them…. Let’s hope 2011 will be a much better year for them.

    … As for the hypothosis of AGW and it’s catstrophism….. I think it is becoming political poison. People are waking up. The AGW crowd can lie and preach false doom for only so long before a weary public bite back. I think the Floods of 2011 will be the catalyst for a change in thinking as far as the Aussie public are concerned….. Anyway, we will see.

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    Ken Stewart

    I’ve often wondered how you keep it up with a young family as well. You must have a very understanding hubby. I’ve always believed “Family 1st” (not Steve Fieldings but your own)and everything else can wait. You’ve been more than generous with my posts (and help and advice). And you’ve been a SAINT putting up with the rubbish from some of the troll-ish commenters. So good on you Jo.
    Ken

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    Vincent

    Watch Now – Science_Under_Attack aired on BBC2 Monday 24 january 2011

    Well, well, well. Talk about a warmist in sheep clothing who wants to start the television program with a peace offering for a fair and just debate on climate change. Yet Sir Paul Nurse turns out to be another paid up warmist on the band wagon toward the end of the program. Sure he took a look at NASA’s climate models and decided without questioning the data, that earth is warming. He then took a trip to The Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and again without questioning its sources he decided no fraudulent data have taken place. And finally he then throws in the wet towel over the hot debate on climate change with this closing statement.

    “This seems to be the greatest scientific scandal that just didn’t take place,” Sir Paul said.

    After all he shared a Nobel prize for his work on cell biology so he must be right? Wrong! The earth’s natural erratic climate system does not respond to climate models, consensus or fudged data etc.

    So there you have it. This program might as well be called the party political broadcast made by The Green Slime Party. So, Sir (Trust me, I’m a warmist) Paul is on a mission to challenge the mostly sceptical UK’s populace on climate change through Newspapers, Television and Radio that the debate on climate change is over.

    Well Sir Paul Nurse I have got news for you, ‘ BRING IT ON! ‘.

    Watch Now – Science_Under_Attack aired on BBC2 Monday 24 january 2011

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    John Brookes

    Hey Jo, make sure you keep your picture up to date, because if I ever do see you around Perth I’ll buy you a drink or a coffee. Your blog is enjoyable – thanks for doing it.

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    allen mcmahon

    Jo, time with family should come ahead of blogging.The quality of your posts will ensure you retain your audience should you post less frequently, which IMO would be better for your sanity as well.

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    MadJak

    Hi jo,

    Just to chime in here, I consider you and others who prepare quality blogs like this one as Pioneers who are exploiting technologies for merely the quest of truth.

    If I had my way, a percentage of what has been going to the alarmists should be provided to the real balance being provided – because as far as I am concerned there would have been no balance without the valuable contribution you and a handful of other people have made. You forced their hand to show they were bluffing.

    Maybe a hundred of the airfares used to get the annointed ones to copenhagen per annum should about do it. I think the public would get much more value for their money.

    One thing is for sure, over the last year or so in particular people have really started to ask the hard questions and have been seeing with dismay often the flimsy and hypocritical answers. I am seeing this in everyday life. Now I am seeing when catastrafarians get bold, they’re getting challenged and corrected. Unfortunately it’s still taking a long time for the older media to catch up.

    This is why, IMHO the older media is ready to die, nothing will stop it’s demise. The only real question is what model will work to fund the preparation of quality information.

    All we can do is hang on for the ride. Something will come out of this, sooner or later.

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    Mark

    Another little ray of sunshine?

    http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/home/8521-the-horrid-ms-browner

    Also, apparently Obama made very little reference to climate in his address to the nation. Has he been taking note of Congressional changes?

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    rukidding

    No No Jo not 124hrs in a day just imagine how many droughts and floods could be crammed into that time;-)

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    rukidding

    Hey Brooksy watch out.You know scepticism is contagious.:-)

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    pat

    jo -
    find your own balance.
    the only thing for sure is the alarmists have all the money and will not give up easily.
    keep your blog alive and attend to it at your leisure.

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    smcg

    hang in there Jo.

    Always really enjoy your stuff, and FWIW I don’t believe it is possible to overestimate the desire/willingness of Govt to interfere with out lives. AND they want even more of our hard-earned.

    Get the gift button working – you sound like you need a chocky recharge!

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    Timdot

    Hey all. Articles like this, and the rabid masses it encourages, might be part of the reason why Jeff from tAV decided to give blogging an indefinite break.

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    I am deeply concerned about Jeff ID’s going and the staying power of other wonderful bloggers who must be exhausted after years of manic indignation.

    While we say Climate Alarmism is dying, the Climate Industry is now ‘too big to fail’. It is insinuated into every part of our society, from town planning to finance to education to the corporate world. The industry can maintain it’s position comfortably and bleed us for the next 20 years – because they have jobs with ‘climate’ in its description or are profiteering. They can simply starve out volunteer bloggers like Jeff ID and Joanne, who cannot maintain the rage needed to blog for years on end with little more than well wishes from grateful readers.

    Sceptic bloggers have had a huge influence on MSM and government policy and continue to do so, but having helped to stop the most the outrageous plans (UN governance and Carbon Tax etc) climate has receded from the public’s mind and we are in danger of climate madness continuing albeit at subdued levels.

    We need to maintain the rage in us and create anger rather than just resigned cynicism in the voting public. People don’t care about some higher ‘truth’, they need to be shown the energy price hikes, more taxes, unpreparedness for weather events, the monumental waste that costs them every day.

    I believe we need to reach a point where we, the readers and businesses and companies are proud to announce we are climate sceptic and advertise that we support sceptic blog sites. We should wear badges, caps and bumper stickers every day to let people around us know that we are sceptics, we are numerous and we are normal intelligent people who will engage the wider public every day. Only then will Joanne and others get the resources they need to continue.

    I wonder wha proportion of readers are able to or feel comfortable to ‘come out of the closet’ and proudly advertise they are sceptic, either personally or as a business. It would be an interesting survey.

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    Stacey

    Jo

    Captain’s Log Star Date NFAGW 2011

    Think of your self as Captain Kirk running the Star Ship Enterprise. The good Captain only filled the Captain’s log when he had something useful to say or report. The rest of the time he was enjoying himself?

    If the treadmill gets too much jump off and turn the other way and step back on. The view is completely different. :-)

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    Gosh I can understand where you are coming from.It does take a lot of time to run a blog.You created entries,that requires your own organized thoughts to be composed.All I normally do is post articles I thought deserve greater opportunity to be read.But that means I have to travel around the internet to find them and read them.That takes time and a regular block of was being used everyday to meet that need.It was too much after a while.I had to cut back on it and spend more time in the forum.

    I have stopped posting articles at my blog over a month ago.Just too many other things to do in this life to spend it on.I even for a time stopped working with my forum as well.I realized that I really would benefit from having a WEBMASTER to do the dirty work behind the scenes free me from the work.Then I can concentrate on the Content a lot more.But alas still no reliable webmaster can be found.Therefore I paid a small fee to have my forum updated and fixed up.

    I actually think straight blogging is the wrong approach anyway.I hope someone wanting to blog about the climate and similar,use a different approach.I think it would actually make it easier for the blogger to do this in the long run.

    WordPress has a plug in that allows blogging entries be commented on in the forum.It is a BRIDGE between WordPress and myBB forum.

    WordBB

    This makes it a lot easier to moderate and has the FULL complement bbc codes to use when making a comment.More detailed discussions are then possible.

    I hope someone will go this route in the future when starting wordpress blog.

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    Jo,

    I have to echo Eddy’s comment “I have never seen a post of yours that was not worth reading”. I know the sheer hard work that does into writing clean and clear English that actually means something. Whatever pace you want to work at, it’s fine by me and much appreciated.

    Pointman

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    kuhnkat

    Instead of donation, how about simply gift, or what they call the money given to Institutions of indoctrination, er, higher education.

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    I read several blogs regularly, and each has its own flavor. I do like the personal touch of each and especially yours. Thanks for taking the time to keep us informed and up to date.

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    val majkus

    Tip Jar works I think although I also like Anthony Watts’ Fling Funds – though he does put it somewhat unobtrusively;
    work at your own pace Jo – you have other things going on and we don’t want to lose you to burnout
    oh … that would be one thing that could be attributed to global warming!

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    cohenite

    That is very sad news about Jeff Id and Air Vent which always managed to marry the extremely technical with an accessible presentation; for the less technical minded and inclined, such as myself, it was great to be able to go to places like Jeff’s and have some of the more arcane aspects of this debate dealt with in a relatively easy to follow way.

    As for our Jo; this blog is greatly influential and it is not so much the participants, who are terrific, but the ‘lurker’s who blog commentators should be mindful of; Jo’s influence has demonstrably impacted on the promulgators of AGW and her efforts should be valued and encouraged.

    With the msm largely unavailable for a sceptical viewpoint the importance of Jo’s blog is that it is an alternative venue for the dissemination of information and details which would otherwise be censored and oppressed; so Jo, well done!

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    john of sunbury

    I too would like to echo Eddy’s comment at 11. You are such an inspiration. Please look after yourself and don’t put yourself under unsustainable pressure. Fewer posts is far far preferable to no posts.

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    G/Machine

    Rest and balance is the go, let’s not mention ‘burn out’.
    That would result in a very large collective cyber guilt
    with all you and your site’s many many supporters

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    Jaymez

    I can only add my voice to all the words of support, appreciation, and concern that you look after yourself and your family so that you can continue your fine work.

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    Bernd Felsche

    OMG!

    throwing out 102 editions of New Scientist

    What a waste. If you’d put them through a shredder they’d make for a nice bonfire in the cooler weather to e.g. keep the patio warm. You’d also be feeding the biosphere, not just with CO2, but also traces of potassium, arsenic, etc.

    And if you recorded the moment for posterity in a video, you could post that to show how New Scientist contributes to global warming”. :-)

    Save it. Print it. Paste it up next to your computer.

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    Roy Hogue

    Jo,

    It’s not just that you’re always worth reading, it’s that what you write is hanging the warmist’s lies, exaggerations and omissions up in public for everyone to see that makes you so valuable.

    As some small compensation for the word “donation” suddenly being usable only at government whim, I see that the IPCC is looking into the sun as a possible contributor to global warming (thanks Richard C. at 7). I wonder what they’ll conclude!?

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    Roy Hogue

    Mark @18,

    January 26th, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Another little ray of sunshine?

    http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/home/8521-the-horrid-ms-browner

    Also, apparently Obama made very little reference to climate in his address to the nation. Has he been taking note of Congressional changes?

    Browner certainly sees the writing on the wall and wants out of sight for a while. But Obama changes only his words, never his goals. If he had been moved by the virulence of the Senate balking at his health-care overhaul he would have quit. Instead he worked with Reid to simply bribe the recalcitrant senators. No thanks! He tells you what he thinks you need to hear to get a vote or to get cooperation.

    His whole speech was a boring vacuum. He’ll still try to get what he wants. Watch for him to start demonizing the new Republican majority in the House.

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    Mark

    Roy:

    That’s precisely why I described the news as I did. The only thing these people understand is a length of 4X2 administered to the head hard and often. There’s no difference between them and a doped-up street mugger; they both believe in wealth redistribution.

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    Roy Hogue

    Mark,

    If I misread you I apologize. :-)

    The next few months will tell a lot.

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    Mark

    Roy:

    No need for apology.

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    HI Joanne!

    I can only speak for myself, but I think the “dissapointment” of a day (or more) without a new post is not existing. Its more like a positive thrill when something new is posted, and I think that when you have first build up the goodwill as you have on this site, it wont just go away.

    People that are today used to checkout jonovas will keep checking it out never mind what. So… your stuck with all the goodwill I believe :-)

    I was asked to join a site “www.hidethedecline.eu” and this was just the opposite of your site, this site is simply not build technically to favor comments and dialog. So… this do give me the chance to fiddle with things for a while before posting. This is nice, but.. im certainly considdering going the other way, making a new site more with favour of comments and fast dialog. Perhaps if one could be a group so all contributers needed not be “overused”.

    We have a Steven Goddard posting many times a day, and its funny to check out, but if he posting something deep and biiig, it would dissapear fast due to the rapid updates of new postings, so perhaps hes a little stuck with the smaller things. I had him post a thing for me – which he did – and then came one picture up plus a few lines.

    Jo, everybody needs time to breethe and everybody would cry if you dont take time of and one day qui totally like Jeff Id. This is an important site, but its also supposed to be a funny thing to work with, aint it?

    You want to make somthing bigger, a book etc. You know what, I have this thing that i would like to make a film… got so much in my back I think people should be aware etcetc… But ok that project is perhaps too big :-)

    Enough said, Joanne, i think your readers are much more loyal than you can imagine :-)

    K.R. Frank

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    Anthony Watts

    Sometimes I feel like Sisyphus when it comes to the daily blogging pressure.

    I’m sure Jo can relate. But there are bright spots that make it all worthwhile. My sincere congratulations for not being assimilated by the Borg, and for getting your book into so many languages.

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    wes george

    I’d like to thank Jo, Anthony, Jeff Id, Steve McIntyre, Lucia, Jen Marohasy and everyone else who has put in the super-human strength of will required to maintain a CAGW skeptical blog from the depths of my heart. I could never suffer the kitchen heat like you do. It’s one thing to pop in and out with a link or a snark, entirely another to bear the responsibility for a world-class blog.

    It’s not an exaggeration to claim that you have changed the course of history by creating a forum where the officially censured version of climate science can find safe expression. I know that you will be recognized for your work in ways that none of us can imagine yet. Be it as martyrs before some future Climate Commune Committee of Public Safety or as brave pioneers of Enlightenment values in the halcyon days of the Internet. History will record your deeds and sacrifices as epic achievements of will and, yes, journalistic integrity.

    You have taken all the risks and we are no where near the end of it.

    Don’t doubt that to post online isn’t forever. Don’t doubt for a moment the importance of your contribution to the climate debate and the future of humanity. Don’t let it go to your head either, or you’ll make mistakes. There are many who hang on your every word ready to pounce. Be concise, fair, open-minded. Always pull the punch in favor of restraint. Exhibit the most charitable characteristic of rational inquiry into nature: Curiosity! And a heart full of kindness to those who would persecute you. Most know not what they do. Be magnanimous.

    !

    I just saw a large falling star illuminate the sky out my study window on this clear early evening in eastern Australia. Awesome.

    Godspeed to all of you!

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