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Friday
Sep102010

Moderation in all things

I'm just wondering if I'm the first author on the Guardian website whose comments are on premoderation at the same time...

If you are having comments deleted at the Guardian, do feel free to post them here.

Friday
Sep102010

Bob's response

Here's Bob Ward's quickfire response from the previous thread, interspersed with my comments

So you have responded to my critique of your book with an ‘ad hominem’ attack on me – how very hilarious and predictable. You obviously cannot rebut or justify the inaccuracies that I have drawn attention to, so you resort to desperate tactics instead.

Well, I actually posted a pretty detailed rebuttal to each point you made and I provided a link in the Guardian piece to the blog post in which I did so. How unfortunate that you missed it!

What a shame - you could have explained how the errors occurred, or apologised for them. Or you could even have come clean about the other errors in your book. For instance, I pointed out that you falsely claimed that a paper by Shaopeng Huang and colleagues “never appeared in print”.

Well this is very interesting, because in fact it is not me that claims this, but David Deming. I would have thought it impossible to read the book without taking this on board - it's a blockquote, after all. What an unfortunate mistake you have made there (another one!).

What I did not have space to mention was that the alleged source of this inaccurate claim, a paper by David Deming, actually acknowledged that the paper by Huang and co-authors was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Hold on, I thought you said I made the claim. It's excellent that you now say that it was Deming who said this, but I must say you seem a little unclear about all this.

But you decided not to quote the relevant part of Professor Deming’s paper which contained this information, hence giving a misleading impression of his views. You attempt to portray these multiple errors as “peripheral to the Hockey Stick story”.

Your answer on these two sentences lies in the fact that they are related - I didn't mention the fact that Deming said that Huang got his findings into print elsewhere because I was merely trying to illustrate the point that sceptics said it was difficult to get into the scientific literature. (see the extract from the book here). You keep (accidentally) telling everyone that I'm trying to prove a case of journal bullying re Huang, but as I don't actually say this, imply it or believe it...well, people can draw their own conclusions.

Yet your book’s erroneous account of the fate of the Huang et al paper invites readers to “compare it to later events in this story” and makes explicit reference to it elsewhere in his tale.

Correct! I do say this. I think the similarity of Huang's handling by Nature is very similar to what happened to McIntyre and McKitrick. The story of the M&M submission to Nature is presumably the other "explicit reference to it elsewhere in [the] tale" that you mention, isn't that right? It is, after all, the only other reference to Huang in the book, as I'm sure you know.

Which is very odd, because there is no mention of journal bullying when I discuss the M&M Nature submission either.  And you must have known this, because you have read the book, right? How on earth are you managing to connect both the M&M and the Huang Nature submissions to journal bullying when I suggest nothing of the sort on either occasion? What an unfortunate series of errors you have made, Bob!

In the concluding paragraph of his book, you warn readers of “the powerful, relentless forces of corrupted science”,

Yes?

but the fundamental problem with your account is that it displays clear evidence throughout of confirmation bias – however, I am happy to accept that this was completely unintentional rather than deliberate.

You'll need to explain.

It remains to be seen whether your report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation also suffers from the same fundamental flaw.

The problem with claiming flaws without any evidence is that we're all none the wiser.

Is there anything else?

Friday
Sep102010

My response to Bob Ward

My response to Bob Ward is now up at the Guardian site.

Read it here.

Friday
Sep102010

Tweak

I've tweaked the settings for the site slightly so as to accommodate some longer categories. Let me know if this causes problems.

Friday
Sep102010

More Oxburgh reaction

Andrew Orlowski at the Register picks up the Oxburgh story:

When the University announced the composition and role of the Science Assessment Panel, it billed it as an "independent internal reappraisal of the science". In March the University's Vice Chancellor Lord Acton confirmed the impression, telling the select committee that Oxburgh's enquiry would "reassess the science and make sure there is nothing wrong".

That was misleading, Oxburgh told MPs yesterday.

TonyN's piece at Harmless Sky is also well worth a look.

Once the official transcript becomes available I expect that this will cause quite a stir. If there was any doubt before that his inquiry was a fiasco, then there can be none now.

 

Thursday
Sep092010

Silence...

Delingpole's on-the-mark piece aside, there have been no more mentions of Lord Oxburgh's travails from the MSM. Perhaps they think it's not important.

Hullo New Scientist? Hullo Nature?

Is there anybody there?

Thursday
Sep092010

The riddle of Russell

John Graham-Cumming writes:

Now there's a surprising thing to receive. A personal email from Sir Muir Russell who recently headed the Independent Climate Change Email Review. I had emailed the review on July 8 asking if they would be willing to release their C++ source code...

Read the whole thing.

Thursday
Sep092010

Josh 39

More cartoons by Josh here.

Thursday
Sep092010

Oxburgh's learning curve

Steve McIntyre's post this morning looks very bad for Lord Oxburgh. Having been tricked once over what Oxburgh and his team were going to investigate, I don't suppose the Science and Technology Select Committee are going to be too impressed about being tricked again about the duration of the panel's deliberations.

You would have thought that, after all this time, the realisation would have dawned that you cannot get away with this kind of thing under the level of scrutiny that is directed at pronouncements on global warming.

Thursday
Sep092010

Deutsche Bank on the MWP

Deutsche Bank has issued a document which purports to "address major skeptic arguments". You know what to expect, but one thing stood out: the treatment of the medieval warm period:

Northern hemisphere temperatures in the Medieval Warming Period (MWP) may have been comparable to today, but the estimates have high uncertainty because there are so few records and spatial coverage is spotty. However, a MWP warmer than the last decade does not challenge the case for anthropogenic warming.

Now this is quite interesting, because Deutsche Bank's advisers, who are from Columbia University, seem to have a rather different take on the issue to the IPCC, who say, as we all know, that modern temperatures are "very likely" higher than any other period in the past 1000 years.

Like Professor Kelly, one can't help but wonder how the IPCC came up with a statement of such certainty based on such limited data.

 

Wednesday
Sep082010

Josh 37.5

A slightly reworked version...

Wednesday
Sep082010

Sugata Mitra on kids teaching themselves

Another wonderful TED talk, this time from Sugata Mitra, an academic from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  Mitra gets children to teach themselves things.

Wednesday
Sep082010

On politeness

A reader advises me of some correspondence he has had with Prof Nick Hewitt, the author of the "review" of the Hockey Stick Illusion in Chemistry World. Prof Hewitt notes in passing that he has received abusive emails as a result of his article.

If anyone has been doing this, please stop. It doesn't help.  There is a fine line to be trodden between being rude about what someone says and being abusive. Don't cross it.

Wednesday
Sep082010

Oxburgh reactions

I'm not sure which members of the press corps were watching the Oxburgh hearing, either in person or over the web. The only reaction I've found so far is this from the Guardian Eco twitter page:

Interesting that Lord Oxburgh said he was not looking at the #climategate science. Looks like that fell through the cracks between him + MR

Update:

The Guardian's full reaction is now up and picks up many of the major points - Keenan, Kelly and the misleading of Parliament.

Oxburgh: UEA vice-chancellor was wrong to tell MPs he would investigate climate research

Wednesday
Sep082010

Josh 38