Sunday, August 31, 2014

WITTGENSTEIN CAN BE SCARIER THAN FRANKENSTEIN


Carl Wunsch of Harvard and MIT wrote this wise note unmasking the Uncertainty Monster to NYTimes writer Andy Revkin "on the range of papers finding oceanic drivers of short-term climate variations. He began by noting the challenge just in determining average conditions":


Part of the problem is that anyone can take a few measurements, average them, and declare it to be the global or regional value. It’s completely legitimate, but only if you calculate the expected uncertainty and do it in a sensible manner.
The system is noisy. Even if there were no anthropogenic forcing, one expects to see fluctuations including upward and downward trends, plateaus, spikes, etc. It’s the nature of turbulent, nonlinear systems. I’m attaching a record of the height of the Nile — 700-1300 CE. Visually it’s just what one expects. But imagine some priest in the interval from 900-1000, telling the king that the the Nile was obviously going to vanish…






to
Variations in the height of the Nile River over the centuries.Credi
Or pick your own interval. Or look at the central England temperature record or any other long geophysical one. If the science is done right, the calculated uncertainty takes account of this background variation. But none of these papers, Tung, or Trenberth, does that. Overlain on top of this natural behavior is the small, and often shaky, observing systems, both atmosphere and ocean where the shifting places and times and technologies must also produce a change even if none actually occurred. The “hiatus” is likely real, but so what? The fuss is mainly about normal behavior of the climate system.
The central problem of climate science is to ask what you do and say when your data are, by almost any standard, inadequate? If I spend three years analyzing my data, and the only defensible inference is that “the data are inadequate to answer the question,” how do you publish? How do you get your grant renewed? A common answer is to distort the calculation of the uncertainty, or ignore it all together, and proclaim an exciting story that the New York Times will pick up.
A lot of this is somewhat like what goes on in the medical business: Small, poorly controlled studies are used to proclaim the efficacy of some new drug or treatment. How many such stories have been withdrawn years later when enough adequate data became available?
Wittgenstein framed the answer to this scary scientific conundrum as the last line of his Tractatus, something calculated to terrify politicos working both sides of K-Street and denizens of Madison Avenue : 
Whereof one does not know, thereof one must be silent.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

ALL IN THE FAMILY


MONCKTON FINGERS DOMESTIC GODDESS AS CLIMATEGATE HACKER


As the truth that sets men free is often funnier than what passes for humor in Wattsland, could this be an absolutely fabulous homage to Christopher Monckton's coke-sniffing donut-frying sister in law Nigella, famed for her pre-broadcast BBC Green Room partying:


Whatever must Nigella's dad, Global Climate Policy Foundation chairman Lord Lawson think of the Viscount's cruel betrayal of his kith and kin, including Nigella's brother Dominic, the former Spectator editor seen above, and his ex son-in-law-- Charles Saatchi heads the premier Green PR effort, the global warming Advertising Alliance. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

IF WE DON'T HANG TEN WE SHALL HANG SEPARATELY

Even as wannabe Big Kahuna Representative Dana Rohrbacher was spouting away at the Heartland Institute's landlocked Vegas climate conference, Mayor Bloomberg's leftover minions issued a ukase banning boogie boards on the beaches of New York. Never mind Rep. Rohrbacher--this is grounds for bipartisan outrage. Were the worst fears of another political blowhard realized:
the boogie board ban could at once cripple a vital form of energy efficient public transportation, and imperil America's special relationship with Prime Minister Cameron of Great Britain:

The Editor is raising a war chest to protest the Big Sour Apple's disdain for America's diplomacy and civil liberties by taking bets on whether he can keep a cigarette lit while body surfing. <o((((((><

Donations may be sent to Mnestheus@paypal.com 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

WHEN WILL HE GET AROUND TO BANNING THE WORD BANNED?

While waiting the addition of  'irony'  and  '1984'  to the list of automatically banned terms, WUWT outer party members can enjoy the warm bellyfeel of knowing Big Brother's drones are in doubleplus good working order as WUWT's odometer approaches the one million Wikilink mark:

I saw this coming a mile away.
On Wednesday August 20th, Dr. Roy Spencer noted how John Cook’s well debunked 97% ‘consensus’ claim, based of statistical sleight of hand and pal review, was used as an example of propaganda techniques
Connolley …immediately went into Orwellian 1984 Winston Smith mode and re-wrote the entry, simply because he himself believes in the 97% consensus meme. Roy writes today:
That didn’t take long. Less than 24 hours after I noted the use of the “97% of scientists agree” meme as an example of “propaganda techniques” on Wikipedia, the example has disappeared...
In science, citations are done on published works knowing that good or bad, they’ll be there in 10-20 years for the most part, except in cases where the work is so bad, it has to be retracted, such as the Lewandowsky-Cook Recursive Fury paper


[ Surely Watts means the infallible Spencer & Christy’s famous 2004  Science  retraction in response tohaving gotten the sign wrong on two decades of globl satellite temperature trends ?]
Wikipedia, being at the mercy of thousands of Winston Smiths in the form of the banned and maligned William Connolley, is like a shape-shifting information portal at the will of the controlling Wikipedians. It might be good enough for a passing blog reference, but…it certainly isn’t good enough for scientific publication citation.
Maybe that’s why there has been a movement at colleges to ban Wikipedia as a source, even going so far recently as to remove it from college dorm WiFi connections.


Could wannabe internet censor Watt’s pique reflect Connolley’s recent reminder of  the ongoing  non-publication of the earth shaking scientific paper by Watts et al.  promised us some years before his censors went on autopilot ?

Not to be outdone, Steve McIntyre has escalated Watt's war on Freedom of expression  plain English The First Amendment oldspeak  by adjusting the sensors of Climate Audit censors to reject comments containing the word 'Blog'.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

THE LOBSTERVILLE HORROR, or, NO GUTS, NO GURRY

The Editor is summering in the Elizabeth Islands to
study sea surface albedo and ocean heat content
 the old-fashioned way, by body surfing.
Calm still prevails in the Republican Gaza Strip sandwiched between the Squibnocket dunes and  Martha's Vineyard's Cuttyhunk facing shore, a region buffered against Presidential papparazzi by two dry townships where Baptists and bootleggers have colluded to turn a jungle of wild grapevines into a backwater so wineless that only a tabloid hack with a beer-filled camel bag would dare attempt to cross it.

Despite the Obama's presence, the fourteen surviving feral Republicans of Martha's Vineyard remain serene in their up-island sanctuary, ruminating on how Providence delivered them two decades ago, when not content with their Democratic hosts' private beach in Tisbury, the First Family of the day lusted after an invitation to the even more soigné sands east of Mrs. Onassis’s place, an enclave combining the finest kind of turkey and pheasant shooting, fabulous stripped bass fishing, and powdery dunes in an environment so inspirational that Mutiny On The Bounty was written there, rather than Tahiti.

The turncoat who invited the Clintons and the First Cat shall remain nameless, but the consequences of her defection soon became clear. The day before the partisan beach party the Secret Service came calling to sternly warn Republican indigenes to stay off their road, avert their eyes and touch their caps as the Presidential cavalcade rolled by.

The appointed day dawned remarkably warm and fair for so fog-prone a district, and a cloud of dust rising from the beach plums heralded a Hummer-led motorcade thirty vehicles long . Since shorter armored columns have been known to conquer medium sized states and principalities, many feared a long afternoon under the thumb of  the Secret Service, but scarcely a half hour later, the Clinton's caravan reappeared out of the west, and disappeare down the long allee' of beetlebung trees never to be seen again.

Stunned by this abrupt deliverance from paramilitary occupation,  we piled into a car and headed out to the Associates beach to see what social disaster had overtaken the Clinton’s hosts. 

Summiting the tall dunes we saw the answer. Before us, in a mile-long arc extending from Squibnocket Point past the elysian Long Beach of the Onassides and clear around Gay Head to the suburbs of Lobsterville, lay an inch deep swath of rotting fish guts fought over by enough squabbling seagulls for a remake of The Birds.  

One whiff had sent the Clinton's packing, but two tides and a lot of seagulls later, not s shred remained. Word of this Republican miracle of the gulls and fishes soon reached The Vineyard Gazette, which unleashed its interns on the case. The budding journalists soon determined that the the dirty deed was perpetrated by the fish-stick magnates of New Bedford, on the far side of Buzzards Bay. 

Unbeknownst to the beach-going public, the old whaling town's many fish packers have for decades dispatched  several hundred disgusting tons of fermenting fish innards via a weekly gurry boat,  to a designated dumping point south of Cuttyhunk, where, normally, several hundred tons of fragrant fish guts soon end up back inside the next generation of fish instead of as a clot on the Presidential doorstep.

On reading this, the Gazettes readership divided into warring camps. True-blue Greens contended that rotting fish guts are a heart-healthy, organic and biodegradable natural product, and a rich source of vitamins as well, while the island's literary aesthetes, still recoiling from the very large smell of the dead Right Whale that had stranded on the same point some years before, took issue with the Deep Greens, contending that rotting fish guts were a public nuisance on a par with television talk show hosts or canned Brussells sprouts. 

The  Commodore of the Edgartown Yacht Club was asked to weigh in, but Walter Cronkite sagely recused himself, leaving it to a knowledgeable Woods Hole Oceanographer to speculate that the mischief sprang from a wayward Gulf Stream eddy.  In lieu of that hypothesis, the insular Republicans of Chilmark evolved a theory of their own that many adhere to to this day. they staunchly maintain that the arrival of the gurry at the Clinton’s feet admits of but one explanation: it leaves no doubt whatever as to the party affiliation of God.

Who knows what He may visit on the Presidential shore in the vacation week to come, before the sunburned, poison-ivy ravaged and deer-tick infested entourage beats an itchy retreat back to the fever-swamps of the Potomac, and the cycle of the seasons begins anew.