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Friday
May272011

'Eco-dictatorship'

I leave you on this rather depressing note:

Germany ‘Sliding Head Over Heels Into Eco-Dictatorship

Germany's green government advisors admit frankly that decarbonization can only be achieved by the limitation of democracy - both nationally and internationally.

Read the whole thing.

 

Friday
May272011

Nursing a hurt - Josh 100


More cartoons by Josh here

Friday
May272011

More from the Beddington FOI

Here is another interesting document from the Beddington FOI I mentioned last week.

This was sent in February 2010 when the furore over Climategate was still at its peak and before the inquiries got under way. It consists of a summary of the science of global warming sent to Beddington by Julia Slingo, the chief scientist at the Met Office. Slingo, you may remember, later appeared at the SciTech committee hearings alongside Beddington.

Click to read more ...

Friday
May272011

Minority event

There is an interesting live chat at Sciencemag with Laura Manuelidis, a scientist who opposes the prion theory of BSE. Her story has a familiar ring:

Unfortunately, self-interest makes a few "expert" powerful scientists less than open to those who disagree with them. In TSEs, they populate most of the grant committees and are also the same people who are on the the editorial boards of most journals. Anonymous "peer" review allows people with a clear conflict of interest to make false statements. Without transparency they can never be held accountable. Their success is a poor ethical model for young scientists. And it also limits financial support for more creative approaches to a problem

Friday
May272011

The Hockey Stick and Gaia

Some discussion of the Hockey Stick and the Hockey Stick Illusion at the website of scientist Lee Klinger, a former NCAR researcher. Klinger has queried the presentation of Mann's graph at a conference about the Gaia hypothesis without mention of the controversy.

(H/T Jane Coles in Unthreaded)

Friday
May272011

Nurse-made allegations

Maurice Frankel, the head of the Campaign for Freedom of Information has a letter in the Guardian repeating many of the points I made yesterday about the strange claims Paul Nurse made in his speech on freedom of information.

The president of the Royal Society calls for changes to freedom of information laws to prevent them being misused (Data laws 'misused' in climate change row, 26 May). However, existing safeguards address many of his concerns. Deliberate attempts to "intimidate" scientists, if that is what they are, can be refused under the Freedom of Information Act's safeguards against vexatious requests. Unreasonable requests for all pre-publication drafts of scientific papers can be refused under an exemption for information due for future publication. Explanations of why changes to successive drafts were made do not have to be provided unless they exist in writing. Multiple related requests from different people, if they are co-ordinated, can be refused if the combined cost of answering exceeds the act's cost limit.

Click to read more ...

Friday
May272011

Circular funding

Times Higher Ed reports the raising of university eyebrows at the decision by Imperial College to stop paying subscriptions to CASE - the Campaign for Science and Engineering.

Times Higher Education understands that Imperial College London previously paid an annual subscription of about £3,000 to the lobby group, which was widely credited with helping to secure a ring-fenced, flat-cash research budget in last October's Comprehensive Spending Review.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May262011

Met Office hurricane forecast

The Met Office has just issued its hurricane forecast for the 2011 season in the North Atlantic. At 12 storms and an ACE of 151, it's apparently going to be absolutely normal.

Thursday
May262011

Helping

I gather on the grapevine that Dr Wolff has had some fairly unpleasant emails as the result of his exchanges here. This really, really doesn't help.

Thursday
May262011

Paul Nurse on FOI

Updated on May 26, 2011 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The Guardian has one of those articles with no comments thread, usually a sure sign that they have written something...disputable. The subject is an interview they have done with Sir Paul Nurse about FOI and scientific research. You can probably guess the contents.

Freedom of information laws are being misused to harass scientists and should be re-examined by the government, according to the president of the Royal Society.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May252011

Forecasting

I'm grateful to a correspondent for this powerpoint. Click images for full size.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May252011

Quote of the day

You can see the temptation on occasion to wish to hold the facts close so that you can have internal discussion and the formation of a consensus so that a simple message can be taken out into the market place. My view is strongly that that temptation must be resisted, and that the full messy process whereby scientific understanding is arrived at with all its problems has to be spilled out into the open.’

Lord May, evidence to the Philips Inquiry into BSE, quoted here.

 

Wednesday
May252011

Court orders release of Mann's emails

The American Tradition Institute has issued a press release explanining that the University of Virginia has now released some 20% of the emails requested under Virginia FOI laws. This was prompted by an imminent court case which ATI had filed in the face of the UVA's intransigence. The court has issued an order compelling the release of all non-exempt emails and ATI has also won the right to examine the documents that UVA wants to withhold.

Most of what was released so far is apparently largely irrelevant, but by the autumn we should start to get some more interesting disclosures.

Tuesday
May242011

Ennobled scientists

I chanced upon this Wikipedia document, which outlines the House of Lords Appointment commission. This is a body designed to make non-partisan recommendations for elevation to the upper house of the UK parliament. Other recommendations are made by the political parties.

The Wiki page lists everyone proposed for elevation to the peerage since the commission was instituted in 2001. I was struck by all the familiar names:

2001 Lord Browne

2001 Lord May

2005 Lord Turner (Member of Climate Change Committee)

2005 Lord Rees

2007 Lord Krebs (Member of Climate Change Committee)

2007 Lord Stern

By strange coincidence the chairman of the House of Lords Appointments Commission is Lord Jay of Ewelme, who seems to be something to do with GLOBE International. However, he was only appointed in 2008, so there is apparently no connection to the earlier appointments. 

Odd.

Tuesday
May242011

What we agree on 

One of the interesting moments from the Cambridge conference was where Dr Eric Wolff of the British Antarctic Survey tried valiantly to find a measure of agreement between the two sides. I didn't get the details written down, but Dr Wolff has kindly recreated what he said at the time for me, for which many thanks are due.

In the table below, Dr Wolff's summary is in the left hand column and my comments are on the right. Blank implies broad agreement.

Click to read more ...