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Charles Babbage - pioneer dendro

John Graham-Cumming, familiar to readers here as an occasional auditor of the Met Office's computer code, has a new project afoot - he wants to recreate Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine:

It's time to build the Analytical Engine

I hope to finish Babbage's dream and build an Analytical Engine for public display. I've launched a project called Plan 28 to raise the money and bring together people to work on the Engine. Babbage left behind extensive documentation of the Analytical Engine, the most complete of which can be seen in his Plan 28 (and 28a), which are preserved in a mahogany case that Babbage had constructed especially for the purpose.

Details of the plans are here. As always, there's a need for money, detail here.

And lastly, and also from JG-C, there's this interesting snippet:

So, who's the father of dendroclimatology? Charles Babbage has a strong claim.

I bet you didn't know that. Details here.


Media coverage of Wegman


Josh 47

More cartoons by Josh here.

Josh 46

More cartoons by Josh here.


The nature of the animal

Has it struck anyone else as amusing that Nature is straight into the groove of reporting the Copygate story (as I'm told we must call the allegations against Wegman)? I mean, they didn't think the original Wegman report was worth mentioning.

Just saying...


Some thoughts on Wegman

I haven't had time to read John Mashey's report, but from what I can gather about today's excitements over the GMU investigation of Edward Wegman, there are two possibilities in play:

  • Wegman et al are guilty of plagiarism; short-centred principal components analysis is biased and can produce hockey sticks from red noise
  • Wegman et al are not guilty of plagiarism; short-centred principal components analysis is biased and can produce hockey sticks from red noise.

Is this right? Nobody is suggesting that the principal findings of the Wegman report - on the incorrect centring used by Mann - are incorrect, are they? They were, after all confirmed by the NAS panel and apparently also by David Hand during the Oxburgh panel's (brief) deliberations.

So I guess we are looking at quite an interesting investigation about how the norms of academic citation apply in expert reports (no doubt Donna LaF will be checking the IPCC reports over very thoroughly in coming days), but not much else.


Turn my back for 30 secs...

...and all hell breaks loose.

Very busy. May comment later.


Mann in WaPo

Michael Mann has an op-ed in the Washington Post.

My fellow scientists and I must be ready to stand up to blatant abuse from politicians who seek to mislead and distract the public. They are hurting American science. And their failure to accept the reality of climate change will hurt our children and grandchildren, too.

H/T Messenger


Victory for Kiwi sceptics

John O'Sullivan, via GWPF and Retephslaw.

In the climate controversy dubbed Kiwigate New Zealand skeptics inflict shock courtroom defeat on climatologists implicated in temperature data fraud.

New Zealand’s government via its National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has announced it has nothing to do with the country’s “official” climate record in what commentators are calling a capitulation from the tainted climate reconstruction.

As the story makes clear, there are interesting parallels to Climategate, with government scientists resisting requests for data and then claiming the data was lost. With the raw data apparently showing no warming trend, something that only appears once these scientists have homogenised and adjusted the figures, it does look suspiciously as if books may have been cooked.


10:10 Comedy gold

Barry Woods emails with some very funny details of the job descriptions of staff within the 10:10 organisation.

Take Robin Houston for example:

Robin Houston
Job title: Technical director
Actual job: Making sure the web site works. Laughing too loudly at inopportune moments

Or Jonathan Brown

Jonathan Brown
Job title: Press Manager
Actual job: Making sure as many people as possible know what a great job 10:10 and its supporters are doing...

The rest of the team can be seen here.

Barry also makes the very funny observation that 10:10 board member Chris Rose is the author of a book called "How to win Campaigns".


Jones in Times top 100 scientists

Apparently Phil Jones appears in the Times top 100 people in British science (not online).

In July, Phil Jones was reinstated as Director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia after every report into the “Climategate” e-mail scandal exonerated him from any wrongdoing.

The saga of the hacked e-mails took a considerable toll on the climatologist, who has spoken of his thoughts of suicide during the outcry. Jones is renowned in the science community for his work on hemispheric and global surface temperatures. He has spent his entire career at the CRU and, as one of the most cited researchers in geosciences, he will be welcomed back to the fold.



Josh 45


New solar study

There is much excitement in the MSM today over a new paper by Joanna Haigh et al. This is Nature's take:

An analysis of satellite data challenges the intuitive idea that decreasing solar activity cools Earth, and vice versa. In fact, solar forcing of Earth's surface climate seems to work the opposite way around — at least during the current Sun cycle.

The Express asked me to comment on the story and I gave them a couple of lines that I imagine they will have found rather too cautious for their liking. I can't see their story online though.


ICO meets with universities

The Times Higher Ed Supp reports that the Information Commissioner has met with the umbrella body for UK universities to discuss their alleged difficulties with complying with freedom of information legislation.

A meeting between UUK and the body was held last week and chaired by David Eastwood, vice-chancellor of the University of Birmingham. It concluded that universities needed sector-specific guidance to comply with the law.

A spokeswoman for the Information Commissioner's Office said: "We acknowledge the challenges that research units face, often because FoI requests relate to material that may span several years of research. Nonetheless, all requests must be handled in line with the legislation."

UUK will now appoint a panel to help draw up the guidelines.

I fail to see how material spanning several years of research is a problem under FoI.


How long can this continue?

Bob Ward's efforts to smear absolutely everyone who disagrees with his position on climate change continues apace, with a shameful attack on Bob Carter on ABC radio in Australia.

Anthony Watts notes that there are a few people who might like to hear if you think this is unacceptable behaviour by ABC.

Chairman of the Board (Maurice Newman - via his personal assistant who is Angela Peters:  Peters.Angela (at)

Robyn Williams:  Williams.Robyn (at)