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Updated: 8 years 41 weeks ago

If you're reading the Wall Street Journal, you're part of the problem [Class M]

Mon, 02/06/2012 - 8:36am

For reasons that can only reflect poorly on the paper, the Wall Street Journal recently decided it was a good idea to publish an op-ed that recycled some the of the most soundly discredited notions associated with the climate change denial movement. The piece was signed by 16 ostensible "scientists," though only four have any experience with climatology, and even they work on the extreme fringes of respectable research.

The same editors refused to publish a letter from a longer list of actual climatologists, a letter that does reflect the science of the day and one that the journal Science did see fit to publish.

The WSJ's "travesty" of an editorial decision continues to reverberate around the blogosphere almost two weeks later. Here's a roundup of the response, which has been summarized thusly:

... flaring anti-science syndrome suffering climate denier and delayer inanities often divert people from valuable and productive activities. Prominent eruptions of this malady, however, drive white-cell like effort to respond and dampen the damage... Read the comments on this post...

Calling it like it is [Class M]

Sat, 02/04/2012 - 6:39am

Two examples of why blogs are better than mainstream news coverage, when it comes to confronting reality and doing something about it, one from the climate wars, one from the front lines of women's health.

First, Andy Revkin, a former New York Times journalist who still blogs there. He calls out a coal-industry-backed attempt to silence one of the world's leading climatologists as the "Shameful Attack on Free Speech" that it is. By launching a Facebook campaign to convince Pennsylvania State University to cancel a scheduled talk by Michael Mann, the coal interests have indeed shamed themselves.

Andy adds:

Antidemocratic, hateful, and coal-backed smear campaign against a scientist I've sometimes disagreed with but who has every right to state his case at Penn State or anywhere else.

A few hours after Andy's post, the Fb page disappeared. Penn State is sticking to its guns, too. Score one for the good guys.

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Tea Party shenanigans [Class M]

Sat, 02/04/2012 - 6:25am

As if you needed another reason to lament the state of American politics:

Across the country, activists with ties to the Tea Party are railing against all sorts of local and state efforts to control sprawl and conserve energy. They brand government action for things like expanding public transportation routes and preserving open space as part of a United Nations-led conspiracy to deny property rights and herd citizens toward cities. (New York Times, Feb 3, 2012)

The story ends on what would be a humorous note:

"The Tea Party people say they want nonpolluted air and clean water and everything we promote and support, but they also say it's a communist movement," said Charlotte Moore, a supervisor who voted yes. "I really don't understand what they want." Read the comments on this post...

Planetary Habitability Laboratory [Dynamics of Cats]

Thu, 02/02/2012 - 12:33am

The University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo has a very interesting facility that has put out some fun stuff

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Minnesotan Republicans Disrupt Attempts to Save Civilization From Itself [Greg Laden's Blog]

Wed, 02/01/2012 - 5:20pm

State Legislator Ellen Anderson is an energy expert, who authored seven energy related bills one of which became a national model, all of which were signed into law by a Republican Governor. She was recently appointed by Governor Dayton to the Public Utilities Commission. Republicans, however, organized a vote against the apointment because her views on energy are too radical.

What are her radical views? Well, she she thinks coal is dirty, for one thing. She'd like to see more conservation and use of solar and wind. That sort of thing.

Here's the story on our local news station.

Who owns the Republican Party? Who do you think ....

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William M. Briggs has misunderstood a high-school level data graph [Greg Laden's Blog]

Wed, 02/01/2012 - 1:11pm

And I suspect he's done so willingly. Well, you know what they say about statistics and liars.

Here's the story. The Wall Street Journal and the Daily Mail independently published highly misleading and blatantly idiotic pieces on climate change. We've covered this extensively already over the last few days. Phil Plait, of the Bad Astronomy Blog on, was one of numerous scientists to respond to those flaming examples of horrific bottom feeding journalism with the post "While temperatures rise, denialists reach lower." In that post, he presented a still-image from a moving GIF that has been going around, originally from Skeptical Science. I've used the GIF myself just recently, but I'll re-post it here for your convenience:

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Actual Scientists Respond to Fake Scientists at Wall Street Journal [Greg Laden's Blog]

Tue, 01/31/2012 - 10:52pm

It starts like this:

Do you consult your dentist about your heart condition? In science, as in any area, reputations are based on knowledge and expertise in a field and on published, peer-reviewed work. If you need surgery, you want a highly experienced expert in the field who has done a large number of the proposed operations.

You published "No Need to Panic About Global Warming" (op-ed, Jan. 27) on climate change by the climate-science equivalent of dentists practicing cardiology...

... and gets even better. Go read it!

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Meteorologist Exposed as Scientific Fraud (And a really cool graphic) [Greg Laden's Blog]

Tue, 01/31/2012 - 4:51pm

Brad Johnson at Think Progress has written a piece on Meteorologist Mark Johnson, of ABC's WEWS-TV in Cleveland Ohio. Johnson has apparently purposefully misrepresented data that was previously pre-misrepresented by the Daily Mail to make the statement that the earth has been cooling since 1998.

The earth has actually been warming since the 1990s, and the first decade of the present century is the warmest on record, but will almost certainly be exceeded in global temperature by the present decade, I write from my home in Minneapolis where temperatures on this fine January day stayed well above 40 until just moments ago when they plunged to a chilly 39 degrees F.

Brad makes his case here: AMS Certified Meteorologist Mark Johnson Claims 'Earth Hasn't Warmed In 15 Years'. In his post, he shows a great graphic which I've stolen, here (It's a moving GIF so stare at it for a moment):


I believe the graph is originally from Skeptical Science.

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The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars [Greg Laden's Blog]

Tue, 01/31/2012 - 9:20am

Michael Mann, famous climate scientist, has released a book called The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines (also available as a Kindle edition). I've not read it yet but I thought you'd like to know about it.

Michael Mann is the guy who came up with the Hockey Stick graph and metaphor. Early reviews are positive:

In this meticulous and engaging brief on climate change research and the political backlash to legitimate scientific work, Penn State professor Mann narrates the fight against misinformation from the inside. (Publishers Weekly )

An important and disturbing account of the fossil-fuel industry's well-funded public-relations campaign to sow doubt about the validity of the science of climate change.

If you don't believe our climate is changing, read this book. Dr. Mann will change your mind. For us, it's a war of words. Preserve the Earth, and pass the ammunition. (Bill Nye the Science Guy )

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Unless you really know what you are doing stay off the ice! [Greg Laden's Blog]

Tue, 01/31/2012 - 8:08am

The following is a fictionalized version of a true story recently told to me by two of the people involved. All the names of those still living have been changed. Please do not let this happen to you.

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