A Surprising Accord

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Posted on : 3/23/2016 04:14:00 PM | By : Dann | In :

Michael Mann is a well known scientist for folks following the science behind climate change policies.  He is lauded by people that endorse rigorous government responses to curb carbon dioxide emissions.  He is held in somewhat lower esteem by people that are skeptical on the issue.

I would fall into that latter group, FWIW.

However, I remain committed to giving credit where credit is due.

In 2015, NOAA "updated" their temperature records and insisted that there had been no "pause" in the increasing temperatures of the planet.  Two of the many reasons for my skepticism are the regular fiddling with the temperature records that go on from time to time and the documented pause in global warming that began in 1998.

While there are many legitimate reasons to adjust the recorded temperature data (i.e. change in recording equipment/location, etc.) it seems that there have been other adjustments to the record that are less legitimate.  In this case, the NOAA "update" was timed to coincide with the Paris climate conference.  Such a coincidence inspires the suspicion that this particular adjustment was done to provide a media opportunity in support of additional carbon restrictions.

There have been other examples of "adjustments" that are questionable as well.  For example, there were questionable changes made to 20th century data collected from long term sites in Australia.

As I know someone will misconstrue this, let me reiterate: there are many legitimate reasons for adjusting the temperature record.  And those legitimate adjustments can and will push the recorded data higher.

The pause in global warming is important because it was not predicted by the many models used by scientists to evaluate the impact of carbon dioxide on our environment.  Skeptics, like me, point to that oversight and respectfully suggest that the models may not accurately reflect the actual functioning of the environment.

Do you know who happens to agree with me?  Michael Mann and a host of other scientists that have published a letter in Nature Climate Change.  This summary by Scientific American is also helpful.

Now I think it is fair to say that Mr. Mann still believes that anthropogenic CO2 is a significant problem that is worthy of immediate government action.

My perspective on government action is a bit complex.  I think there are things we could do to reduce CO2 emissions that would benefit humanity even if science inevitably discovers that the climate isn't very susceptible to those emissions.  Things like promoting power via nuclear fission, nuclear fusion, and various biofuels come to mind.  I think there are things that we could do that would devastate humanity such as the various carbon tax proposals.

However, I also believe in giving credit where it is due.  In this case, Mr. Mann participated in countering a flawed process and insisted on doing the hard scientific work to make the models accurately reflect our world.  Getting it right matters.  On that subject, I agree with Michael Mann.

Proving A Negative Is A Tough Task

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Posted on : 3/21/2016 05:18:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Those following the Hugo Awards serial kerfuffles know that the whole mess really got started after Larry Correia was nominated for the Campbell back in 2011.  Mr. Correia reported that he had read message boards and other sources where his nomination was received with something well short of warmth much less thoughtful consideration.

Mr. Correia has told a couple different versions about what was said.  The earliest version that I found was here.

I am the least favored to win by the literary critical types, (in fact, I’ve seen a few places where they have ranked me #6 out of the 5 finalists) but that’s cool, because I am the only author eligible that has had a gnome fight or trailer park elves. (or as one critic pointed out, I am a relentlessly single tone throw back, and another said that if I win it is an insult and a black mark on the entire field of writing.) SWEET!  I’m so unabashadly pulpy and just happy to entertain, and thus offensive, that I make the inteligensia weep bitter blood tears of rage.
Emphasis added.

Now I have not found that quote verbatim elsewhere that was not citing Mr. Correia's post above.  Nor have I found the other version where the critic opined that a Correia win would "end writing forever" that did not lead back something other than a Correia re-telling.

I'm adding this entry to my blog as a personal reference.  There are people that deny that this episode ever occurred because they cannot find the source posting/message board/smoke signal.

Those folks are setting themselves up for a tough task; proving a negative.  Mr. Correia is not obligated to provide a verbatim quote.  I suspect that he is providing a translation of the events where someone made a more polite-ish statement that suggested that the Correia nomination was not in keeping with high literary standards/traditions/etc.

The inability to locate an exact citation is not proof that the episode did not occur.

And his nomination for the Campbell award was entirely appropriate and in keeping with the origins and traditions of the genre.  Perhaps if the folks that are so agitated about what happened post-2011 Hugos had been a little more concerned about the snobbery going on that year, we might have been able to avoid all of the current conflict.