Quote mining code

David Kane asks me to look at two of the strongest arguments made by the “other side” following the break in and theft of data from CRU. OK, once he sees how weak the strongest arguments are, we can all agree that the affair is a beat up.

Today I’ll look at Eric Raymond’s alleged “siege cannon with the barrel still hot”:

From the CRU code file osborn-tree6/briffa_sep98_d.pro , used to prepare a graph purported to be of Northern Hemisphere temperatures and reconstructions.

;
; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
;
yrloc=[1400,findgen(19)*5.+1904]
valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,- 0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,$
2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor
if n_elements(yrloc) ne n_elements(valadj) then message,'Oooops!'
;
yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey)

This, people, is blatant data-cooking, with no pretense otherwise. It flattens a period of warm temperatures in the 1930s — see those negative coefficients? Then, later on, it applies a positive multiplier so you get a nice dramatic hockey stick at the end of the century.

But what is the code directly following the fragment Raymond quotes? Look:

;
;filter_cru,5.,/nan,tsin=yyy+yearlyadj,tslow=tslow
;oplot,timey,tslow,thick=5,color=20
;

IDL uses a semi-colon to indicate a comment, so the only code to use yearlyadj has been commented out. Raymond must have known this since he is an Emacs user and Emacs colour codes the comments. This doesn’t seem to be a smoking gun so much as a gun that hasn’t been fired.

Furthermore, another piece of commented out code shows how the adjusted values were used: they were clearly labelled as “MXD corrected” and plotted along with the uncorrected values. They were not shown as temperature values despite what Raymond says.

;legend,['Northern Hemisphere April-September instrumental temperature',$
;  'Northern Hemisphere MXD',$
;  'Northern Hemisphere MXD corrected for decline'],$

In the comments to Raymond’s post, others pointed this out to him

As other have repeatedly pointed out, that code was written to be used for some kind of presentation that was false. The fact that the deceptive parts are commented out now does not change that at all.

In fact, it was it was labelled as “corrected for decline”, so it was not false or deceptive.

Raymond continues:

It might get them off the hook if we knew — for certain — that it had never been shown to anyone who didn’t know beforehand how the data was cooked and why. But since these peiple have conveniently lost or destroyed primary datasets and evaded FOIA requests, they don’t deserve the benefit of that doubt. We already know there’s a pattern of evasion and probable cause for criminal conspiracy charges from their own words.

In fact, they did not destroy primary datasets, and they did not have permission to redistribute the data requested using the FOIA.

Raymond has made no attempt to find out if the graph was actually used anywhere. The file name was osborn-tree6/briffa_sep98_d.pro, so we should look for a paper with authors, Briffa and Osborn published in 1998 and sure enough there’s Briffa, Schweingruber, Jones, Osborn, Harris, Shiyatov, Vaganov and Grudd “Trees tell of past climates: but are they speaking less clearly today?” Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 1998:

In §4, we referred to a notable correspondence between
‘hemispheric’ MXD series (averaged over all sites) and an
equivalent ‘hemispheric’ instrumental temperature series.
Despite their having 50% common variance measured
over the last century, it is apparent that in recent decades
the MXD series shows a decline, whereas we know that
summer temperatures over the same area increased.
Closer examination reveals that while year-to-year
(i.e. mutually ten-year high-pass filtered) correlations are
consistently high between tree-growth and temperature
(ca. 0.7 for 1881-1981), the correlations based on decadally
smoothed data fall from 0.89, when calculated over the
period 1881-1960, to 0.64 when the comparison period is
extended to 1881-1981. This is illustrated in figure 6,
which shows that decadal trends in both large-scale-
average TRW and MXD increasingly diverge from the
course of decadal temperature variation after about 1950
or 1960.

And figure 6 is basically the graph plotted by the code above and it does not include the “corrected MXD” data:

i-f4d73c2366292d1fb592d8ac4534e05b-Briffa98fig6.png

Oh, and Raymond reckons the greens are controlled by commie puppet masters:

Most of the environmental movement is composed of innocent Gaianists, but not all of it. There’s a hard core that’s sort of a zombie remnant of Soviet psyops. Their goals are political: trash capitalism, resurrect socialism from the dustbin of history. They’re actually more like what I have elsewhere called a prospiracy, having lost their proper conspiratorial armature when KGB Department V folded up in 1992. There aren’t a lot of them, but they’re very, very good at co-opting others and they drive the Gaianists like sheep.

There’s more paranoid raving, but you get the picture — Raymond is the sort of person who will add 2 and 2 and come up with a commie plot.

Comments

  1. #1 Oroboros
    December 1, 2009

    In the case of IDL, it isn’t that simple. It’s not cheap. They want a login just to tell you how much it costs, but on the order of a couple thousand IIRC.

    IDL pricing login

  2. #2 el gordo
    December 1, 2009

    Hey guys, don’t fight over something I may have said in a distracted moment. Rupert Murdoch is on record as saying he believes in AGW, just like you.

    There is no right-wing conspiracy, but there is a lively debate taking place on the blogosphere which is seeping into the msm. All except The Age and ABC.

    There is no left-wing conspiracy, just bias and blind ignorance.

  3. #3 Tim Lambert
    December 1, 2009

    Yes David, the next post is on Willis. WMC [already has a thread on Zorita](http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2009/11/zorita_goes_for_the_jugular.php).

  4. #4 dhogaza
    December 2, 2009

    Your analogy might be stronger if ssh were an organization that all but lobbies for command and control economies.

    The ssh utilities are distributed as end-user software that a very, very, large segment of the software engineering and network administration universe depends on.

    Odds are good, for instance, that your bank and credit card companies, somewhere, depend on it.

    Meanwhile, the code being screamed about at CRU was one-time-use, non-productized, one-off code to push one database into another.

    I’m a software professional.

    You’re an idiot.

  5. #5 dhogaza
    December 2, 2009

    Thanks for starting this thread. I think that the best way to make progress on this issue, like most others, is for the smartest proponents of both sides to argue with each other. It is much more productive for you to take on Raymond

    What makes you think Raymond’s smart? His jackboots, guns, and extremist libertarian bent?

    Or is it his ssh code in which he admits he doesn’t understand how Solaris (a commercial, well-supported, well-documented Unix variant) works?

    He’s written a few interesting things in his life. He’s not at all the “smartest” on the other side, unless you’re talking about politics rather than hacking ability (very few jackbooted highly-armed libertarian wingnuts can code their way into their default browser, but Eric can).

  6. #6 Ezzthetic
    December 2, 2009

    What makes you think Raymond’s smart? His jackboots, guns …

    Well, if he says, he’s smart, I’m not going to argue with him.

  7. #7 Douglas Watts
    December 2, 2009

    David Kane: those quotes of yours don’t contain a single statement of fact.

  8. #8 Janet Akerman
    December 2, 2009

    >There is no right-wing conspiracy, but there is a lively debate taking place on the blogosphere which is seeping into the msm. All except The Age and ABC.

    Lively “debate” which takes the form of pronouncement of guilt without evidence, such as most recently [Ken Zac](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/copenhagen_diagnosis.php#comment-2117080):

    >*Thank GOD the truth is finally coming out. Although billions$ have been wasted and nearly three decades have been lost in exploration etc. we must now get the word out so that we can hold accountable, all those responsible for perpetrating this scam upon the west. Especially U.S. and UN politicians as well as the green movement etc. They were well on their way to a communist utopia.*

    Though, as [has been demonstrated]( http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/new_zealand_climate_science_co.php#comment-2109672), when those pronouncing guilt are asked for the evidence to back their quote mined conspiracy interpretation, they provide only bluster, promptly vacate or move on more insinuation and unsupported speculation and smear.

    If this were more than a beat up, and if this were story that the like of el gordo wish it were, then:

    >*the failure [of proponents charging scandal and fraud] to produce corroborating evidence now in light of the emails (as their guide) would be the equivalent of being awarded a free kick right in front of the goals, and then walking away.*

    El gordo continues:
    >*There is no left-wing conspiracy, just bias and blind ignorance.*

    Yes el gordo, the broad church in the ABC even [provide space for]( http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/content/2009/s2756497.htm) “bias and blind ignorance”.

  9. #9 Janet Akerman
    December 2, 2009

    Judith Curry quote:

    >*[…]The HADCRU surface climate dataset and the paleoclimate dataset that has gone into the various “hockeystick” analyses stand out as lacking such transparency.*

    David Kane writes:

    >*If Judy Curry thinks that there are problems with the various “hockeystick” analyses, don’t you think we should listen to her?*

    To be precise on this statement, David, do you interpret Judith as saying there is a problem with various “hockeystick” analyses? Or as saying, some hockey stick analysis are not transparent?

  10. #10 Janet Akerman
    December 2, 2009

    el gordo writes:

    >Rupert Murdoch is on record as saying he believes in AGW, just like you.

    If only el gordo, if only.

    You’ve not accurately represented his phrase, the same phrase now in use by Abbott, to provide a fig leaf for BAU.

  11. #11 Lee A. Arnold
    December 2, 2009

    David Kane, your quote of Judith Curry states that she wishes the presentation of hockey stick data were more transparent. How do you jump from that comment to asserting that Curry “thinks that there are problems with the various “hockey stick” analyses”? Did she write something else that you have not printed here?

  12. #12 el gordo
    December 2, 2009

    When Barnaby Joyce moves to the front bench, Tony Jones will have to interview him about climate change.

    But with the silly season upon us, TJ is hoping to slip out the backdoor to avoid humiliation. The whole ABC newsroom is on a hiding to nothing.

  13. #13 Michael
    December 2, 2009

    Oh, I’d love to see that!

    On CC, Barnaby has the gibberish dial at 10.

  14. #14 Harald Korneliussen
    December 2, 2009

    “Why I think that Michael Mann, Phil Jones and Stefan Rahmstorf should be barred from the IPCC process Short answer: because the scientific assessments in which they may take part are not credible anymore. ”

    IMO, that’s giving in to “facts on the ground”-type intimidation. The argument is that Mann et al. have been effectively smeared, therefore people don’t believe them, therefore they’re not “credible”, and we should distance ourselves from them to avoid suffering the same fate.

    But when the truth is Mann and co. haven’t made any mistakes Zorita couldn’t have done, I think such a “strategy” is simply cowardly.

  15. #15 Douglas Watts
    December 2, 2009

    Curry’s concern has been repeated many times by others, including at realclimate:

    “From the date of the first FOI request to CRU (in 2007), it has been made abundantly clear that the main impediment to releasing the whole CRU archive is the small % of it that was given to CRU on the understanding it wouldn’t be passed on to third parties. Those restrictions are in place because of the originating organisations (the various National Met. Services) around the world and are not CRU’s to break. As of Nov 13, the response to the umpteenth FOI request for the same data met with exactly the same response. This is an unfortunate situation, and pressure should be brought to bear on the National Met Services to release CRU from that obligation. It is not however the fault of CRU. The vast majority of the data in the HadCRU records is publicly available from GHCN (v2.mean.Z).”

    And also by Halido Bjornsson here.

    And CRU says they are trying to fix the remaining proprietary issues mentioned in the above comments.

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2009/nov/homepagenews/CRUupdate

  16. #16 William T
    December 2, 2009

    Your analogy might be stronger if ssh were an organization that all but lobbies for command and control economies.

    Ah yes, the reds in the lab argument… Obvious when you think about it. They’ve been planning this since the 1980s – and most likely when the wall fell and the soviet union collapsed it was so sudden that there was no time for their masters to give them new instructions. Perhaps someone should tell them the cold war is over and they don’t have to do this anymore…

  17. #17 ben
    December 2, 2009

    FWIW, I was commenting over at LGF, where Charles appears to think he’s Tim’s new best friend, and I have been blocked. I have no idea why. Here, you guys put up with me and I try to be nice in return. I’ve posted worse here and Tim’s never flinched. Tim’s blog, and the commenters here are among my favorites.

  18. #18 Hector
    December 2, 2009

    Mr. Lambert, would you kindly next address the following piece of code that the deniers have latched onto?:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_orkXxp0bhEA/SwtD5yMFCrI/AAAAAAAAYCE/vJB_rfuQcK0/s400/091123-cru-2.jpg

    (I think this goes with an accompanying screenshot of some the emails:
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_orkXxp0bhEA/SwtD6JQQhbI/AAAAAAAAYCM/Dj1rkvkYCN8/s400/091123-cru-1.jpg

    On the surface, it looks like inconvenient data (past 1960) is being hidden from the model.

  19. #19 Hector
    December 2, 2009
  20. #20 Hector
    December 2, 2009

    Arrgh! The underscore before the “orkXx…” keeps getting cut off when I submit my post. One last time, piece by piece:
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/
    _orkXxp0bhEA/SwtD5yMFCrI/AAAAAAAAYCE/
    vJB_rfuQcK0/s400/091123-cru-2.jpg

  21. #21 MartinM
    December 2, 2009

    On the surface, it looks like inconvenient data (past 1960) is being hidden from the model.

    No, it doesn’t. It looks like, having done an analysis with unmodified data, they then produced a series with the post-1960 decline artificially removed, and repeated the analysis for comparison. It also looks like they used the calibration derived from the corrected series on the uncorrected data to see what happens. Nothing untoward there, anyway.

    Actually, this looks remarkably like it does precisely what was done in this paper, which states explicitly what was done and why.

  22. #22 Peter Lund
    December 2, 2009

    IDL may cost a lot of money but the open source clone of the language may be good enough: GNU data language.

  23. #23 Janet Akerman
    December 2, 2009

    Oops el gordo,

    I also forgot another obscured dimension in el gordo’s description that:

    >*There is no right-wing conspiracy, but there is a lively debate taking place on the blogosphere which is seeping into the msm.*

    In addition to the [unsupported claims](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/quote_mining_code.php#comment-2117179) of fraud, keep well in mind that the those charging fraud count among them those caught spreading [falsehoods on temperature data](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/new_zealand_climate_science_co.php), and misleading the public.

    And let us neither neglect the well funded behind the scenes [propaganda (PR) campaign.](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/new_zealand_climate_science_co.php#comment-2110106)

    But el gordo, why does so little of this appear in the media? And why do you not plead for vital attention to these highly relevant, and what more, facts that are corroborated beyond speculation and smear.

  24. #24 murph
    December 2, 2009

    Lambert

    What the hell are you talking about, you silly man?

    The “correction” is blatantly hard-coded in the array variable valadj in order to adjust the graph to the correct shape.

  25. #25 murph
    December 2, 2009

    No wonder you “work” at a university. You wouldn’t last five minutes in a commercial environment with code analysis skills like that.

  26. #26 MartinM
    December 2, 2009

    The “correction” is blatantly hard-coded in the array variable valadj in order to adjust the graph to the correct shape.

    And? What’s wrong with that, exactly? Be specific. You silly man.

  27. #27 Jan
    December 2, 2009

    @dhogaza, comment 1

    Good to see one of the most active, constructive and passionate commenters on several blogs being a fellow bird watcher!
  28. #28 Sergey Romanov
    December 2, 2009

    The last quote is so indistinguishable from the conspiraloon rants of Holocaust deniers, that I had to include it in this posting.

  29. #29 el gordo
    December 2, 2009

    There you go Akerman, I only had to mention the silly season and everyone starts talking about silly men.

    Tony Jones is one of them.

  30. #30 Janet Akerman
    December 2, 2009

    Witless el gordo. In both senses.

  31. #31 Ezzthetic
    December 2, 2009

    You wouldn’t last five minutes in a commercial environment with code analysis skills like that.

    Oh, he would too.

    Murph, your interpretation depends entirely on a right-wing paranoid mindset. If you remove that, the whole ClimateGate affair evaporates into a great bit nothing.

    Your time would be better spent looking for kernel bugs.

  32. #32 Ezzthetic
    December 2, 2009

    Oh, by the way, does anyone know if Colonel Bugs ever came out on DVD?

    I always thought it was one of the great WW2 propaganda cartoons.

  33. #33 Bernard J.
    December 2, 2009

    [Fatso](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/quote_mining_code.php#comment-2117430).

    I infer that, by:

    …mention the silly season and everyone starts talking about silly men

    Tony Jones is one of them.

    you are referring to the interview tonight (2 December 09) on [Lateline](http://abc.net.au/lateline/) where Tony Jones discussed Barnaby Joyce’s antics in the Senate, and Joyce’s goggle-eyed mission to decend to the Lower House and purge the nation of the dogma of AGW proponents.

    Yes, Tony Jones was talking about, and to, a vey silly man indeed.

    One thing about which I agreed with Joyce though, was the idea of bringing in the scientists for a discussion of the science. It’s about time that Plimer and Carter were actually made to sweat over their gross distortions of science, and I reckon that a serious dissection under the scrutiny of a panel from the Australian Academy of Science, or simliar, would send Plimer and Carter howling.

    It’s past time that ‘scientists’-for-rent, which is what Plimer and his ilk really are, were skewered under the bright lights of the gaze of their peers betters.

    Let each side bring their Powerpoint (blerk!) presentations, list their sources and their evidence and their refutations. Heck, bring in some Supreme Court judges to adjudicate, or have a Royal Commission, but once and for all bring the AGW facts and the Denialist fantasy together and test their respective positions.

    Barnaby might find though that what is left for him to wave around after such a dissection would fit into Abbott’s budgie-smugglers with more than enough room to squeeze in a bit of self-denying homoeroticism.

    Keep your clothes on Barnaby…

    [Watch the interview if you’re not sure what I mean!]

  34. #34 Neil
    December 2, 2009

    > Your analogy might be stronger if ssh were an organization that all but lobbies for command and control economies.

    Ah, but if you actually knew what ssh is and does, you’d know the command and control economies might find some shoddy, buffer-overrun enabling code *very useful indeed* [winks, taps side of nose].

  35. #35 William Wallace
    December 2, 2009

    Neil,

    Security software is notoriously buggy. At least one so-called security expert has distributed software implementations of algorithms of their own invention.

    However, most security software code monkeys worth their salt, know enough to disclaim the use of their own software when security is important, and expressly disclaim responsibility for others who use their software in this way. They encourage independent validation and testing by others, and look forward to others finding bugs. They know that independent critical analysis and rigorous testing will make their code stronger, in the end, or allow other more efficient and secure algorithms to be shown. Contrast this with Phil Jones and company.

    The AGW crowd, on the other hand, keeps their code secret until leaked, and allow themselves or others to use results of their secret code to lobby for far reaching and course changing laws and regulations.

    I’m a software professional.–dhogaza

    What do you think about the leaked code. Definitely not written by anybody who takes pride in being a software professional, in my view. They haven’t even bothered to do a pass to remove dead end code, for example.

    In the following example, we note another eyebrow raising snippet. Probably nothing, but I’d like to do my share to provide fodder to the masses who are skeptical of the wizzards of smart.

    valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,-0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,$
    2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor

  36. #36 William Wallace
    December 2, 2009

    Note, the snippet I included was from briffa_sep98_e.pro, not briffa_sep98_d.pro.

    In the _e version of the file, we have:

    ;
    ;
    ; APPLY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION
    ;
    yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,x)
    densall=densall+yearlyadj
    ;
    ; Now plot them
    ;
    filter_cru,20,tsin=densall,tslow=tslow,/nan
    cpl_barts,x,densall,title=’Age-banded MXD from all sites’,$
    xrange=[1399.5,1994.5],xtitle=’Year’,/xstyle,$
    zeroline=tslow,yrange=[-7,3]
    oplot,x,tslow,thick=3
    oplot,!x.crange,[0.,0.],linestyle=1
    ;

    Talk about quote mining. Why did you select the _d version, Tim?

  37. #37 murph
    December 2, 2009

    An array yrloc comprises 19 years between 1904 and 1994 in half-decade increments. valadj is applied to each element in the array which skews temperatures upward for the latter half of the 20th century. This is the result that Briffa’s political masters were looking for and he was only too happy to provide.

    Clear enough?

  38. #38 Bruce Sharp
    December 2, 2009

    William, re #136: Tim didn’t select the _d version. [Eric Raymond did](http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1447).

  39. #39 Harald Korneliussen
    December 2, 2009

    William Wallace, could you please stop attempting to look like a software professional? “We” in fact do lots of stupid stuff of the kind you suggest, and you’re just embarrasing everyone by pretending otherwise.

    For example, I’ve seen database export scripts that came with tests, tests which would neatly delete the just-exported data from the base if you forgot to change a config file after running the export.

    I’m still waiting for you to explain how the allegedly deliberately fudged data found their way into a published paper. It’s all in the open, so it should be no problem tracing every step of the way.

  40. #40 murph
    December 2, 2009

    Apparently, this code drives policy in the British govt. I wouldn’t give it a pass in CS101. Yet it’s good enough for tenured fools like Lambert. “Fool” is too kinder word.

  41. #41 D. C. Sessions
    December 2, 2009

    @126:

    And? What’s wrong with that, exactly? Be specific. You silly man.

    Over on Murph’s blog.

  42. #43 Michael Ralston
    December 2, 2009

    I wouldn’t give it a pass in CS101.

    Bullshit. Of course you would, if you had ever graded code, which you clearly never have.

    This is absolutely passing code in any class. It’s ugly as sin and would lose points for style in any class that grades on style, sure. But it’s passing code because it, and this is important now, works.

    In CS101 you’re too busy failing people who can’t get the concept of a loop to give a shit about people whose code is just awkwardly written. And pretty much all research code I’ve seen looks like crap, because there’s no REASON to put in the extra time and effort to clean it up. Why would you? It’s generally run only once or twice per “version”, it only has to run on a specific configuration with someone capable of babying it along to compensate for whatever ugly nonsense, and all that matters is the output.

  43. #44 Raging Bee
    December 2, 2009

    There’s a hard core that’s sort of a zombie remnant of Soviet psyops.

    …which is why zombie McCarthyists must rise up from the grave to fight them.

  44. #45 Raging Bee
    December 2, 2009

    Trust is gone forever, at least during your lifetime.

    Really? What about our trust in the AGW-denialists? Instead of doing actual science, they stole internal emails with no lawful authority, repeatedly lied about what the emails said, and can’t seem to stick to a straight story about how they got the emails. Believe me, Skippy, it’s not the scientists who have squandered the public’s trust by their actions; it’s the blustering bigoted asshats who are trying to trash them.

  45. #46 David Kane
    December 2, 2009

    103: Tim. Excellent! The more that you address the strongest arguments from the skeptics, the better. However, “WMC already has a thread on Zorita” is true, but his comments are, I would say, far below your standards.

    109 and 111: I interpret Curry (and I could easily be wrong, corrections welcome!) as saying that there is a real problem with the transparency of the various hockey stick analyses and that, therefore, it is hard for anyone to have faith in the results, or at least as much faith as we would have if the analyses were transparent. Do you think that Curry believes that the various hockey stick analyses are 100% guaranteed to be accurate but that the lack of transparency is a PR problem? Again, I could be wrong with my claim but the fact that she is willing to be quoted at Climate Audit suggests, indirectly, that my interpretation is correct.

  46. #47 Ambitwistor
    December 2, 2009

    Tim,

    Although the adjustment code is commented out in briffa_sep98_d.pro, it is apparently active in briffa_sep98_e.pro.

    I suspect that the code performs the adjustment later described in Sections 4.3 and 4.4 of this unpublished manuscript by Osborn et al., because the description of the MXD adjustment (they even call it an “ad hoc artificial adjustment” in the manuscript) sounds similar to what it looks like that code is doing. However, the manuscript was submitted in 2004, so I don’t know if the timing works.

  47. #48 TrueSceptic
    December 2, 2009

    130 Janet,

    Oh, I don’t know. I’m quite used to his shining wit ;)

  48. #49 Bud
    December 2, 2009

    raging bee:

    “There’s a hard core that’s sort of a zombie remnant of Soviet psyops.

    …which is why zombie McCarthyists must rise up from the grave to fight them.”

    Roland Emmerich and George Romero are already fighting over the directing job.

  49. #50 TrueSceptic
    December 2, 2009

    3 points about briffa_sep98_d and briffa_sep98_e:-

    1. “d” is much shorter at 58 lines vs. 150 for “e”. They do not do the same thing.

    2. Of course there will be versions where the correction is active! How else do you compare the result?

    3. If the intention was to fiddle the data, no one would add comments like
    ; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!

    ;****** APPLIES A VERY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION FOR DECLINE*********
    ; APPLY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION

  50. #51 Joseph
    December 2, 2009

    I suspect that the code performs the adjustment later described in Sections 4.3 and 4.4 of this unpublished manuscript by Osborn et al., because the description of the MXD adjustment (they even call it an “ad hoc artificial adjustment” in the manuscript) sounds similar to what it looks like that code is doing.

    Could be. This is what the manuscript says:

    the MXD data were (temporarily) adjusted to artificially remove the decline, then the calibration coefficients were determined using unfiltered data and applied to the unadjusted MXD data to generate the reconstruction.

    It was temporary code. This is what non-paranoid people have been saying all along.

  51. #52 Oroboros
    December 2, 2009

    122 Peter Lund, thank you for the reference to GDL.

    144 Raging Bee, I hope that means there is a Zombie Edward R. Murrow to take on the Zombie McCarthyists.

  52. #53 Aaron
    December 2, 2009

    Christ, this is just sad. I used to have a lot of respect for that guy — hell, his Jargon File, encountered during a particularly impressionable period of my youth, is the only reason I’m in the IT industry at all. But this is just shameful.

  53. #54 Raging Bee`
    December 2, 2009

    I think there’s something else that needs to be mentioned: just because some particular bit of code exists on a hard disc, does NOT mean that bit of code is actually in use, or doesn’t have a more up-to-date version elsewhere. Based on my limited experience in software development, I suspect that out-of-date code is not always deleted in a timely or consistent manner; and developers are often reluctant to get rid of something once they’ve created it. I remember meetings where developers were warned to get rid of whole unused, out-of-date databases that they hadn’t touched in months, if not years, because the network disks were getting full.

    So does anyone have any idea, or any way of determining, which bits of stolen code were in use and which were not? If we can’t answer this question, then the denialists’ bloviation on this subject is even more bogus than we thought.

  54. #55 Blake Stacey
    December 2, 2009

    MartinM (#86):

    See, this is why I never comment my code.

    How lucky you are to be able to get away with that! The Ministry of Clarity always comes down on me when I forget to include the boilerplate “this code was approved by Comrade Inspektor #655321″ message in my Python doc strings. Sheesh. I mean, you forget to acknowledge Glorious Leader in one little command-line argument parser, and Miniclear is all over you like red on October.

    Stay warm, tovarisch!

  55. #56 MartinM
    December 2, 2009

    An array yrloc comprises 19 years between 1904 and 1994 in half-decade increments. valadj is applied to each element in the array which skews temperatures upward for the latter half of the 20th century.

    Yes, well, thanks for attempting to point out the bloody obvious, and failing miserably. Applying corrections to an array of years would be daft. What the code actually does is interpolate valadj to produce yearly temperature corrections, with yrloc providing the abscissa for the (slightly) irregular grid, starting as it does at 1400, not 1904, which is the second element. You also seem to have missed the fact that these are not temperatures, but MXD values which proxy for temperature. Three obvious mistakes in two sentences. Impressive!

    Nonetheless, perhaps you could avoid the bloody obvious and perhaps explain the slightly less obvious points, such as what precisely is wrong with printing out a corrected data series next to an uncorrected one, with the corrected one clearly labelled ‘corrected.’

  56. #57 Majorajam
    December 2, 2009

    At this stage, for the purposes of policy deliberations and public debates, we should just agree to discard the paleoclimate research entirely. Between McIntyre-Galileo’s long copyediting crusade, Michael Mann and the ‘team’s’ (understandably) poor handling of the full frontal smear campaign they have been subjected to, and now a whole host of emails almost entirely regarding ‘the team’ that offer more opportunity for twisted interpretation above and beyond the already vast seam of misinformative gold they have been mining for some time due to the very nature of the research ‘tree rings are not thermometers, and other fun with ignorance’, it’s time to concede that we are giving into denialists by allowing the whole of climate science to be conflated with an area that frankly is ancillary to the mainline evidence.

    The case that needs to be made is exceedingly simple, and should be stated as such.

    1) GHGs are a physically demonstrable and falsifiable radiative forcing with, in the case of the relatedly most important, C02, a long tenure in the atmosphere.
    2) GHGs have been increasing due to man’s activity.
    3) Top denialist talking point is that there is variability in climate. You can’t get there with negative feedbacks.
    4) The temperature as predicted has unequivocally been going up, according to ocean/surface/satellite temp records, collapsing ice sheets, retreating glaciers, responses in the biosphere, etc. etc. and in ways directly predicted by a GHG forcing, (cooling stratosphere, reduced diurnal temperature spread, etc.).

    That is both *exceedingly* difficult to push back on, and (roughly speaking) all that’s necessary to show that human activity is warming the climate, which is why denialists have put so much effort into moving the goal posts. The endless streams of comments to the effect of ‘ClimateGate exposes AGW is a fraud’, and ‘McIntyre’s work has exposed AGW’ (an assertion that is patently dishonest as invited by him, which it is) and the mainstream editorials that can only vaguely assert that ‘the science is not significantly impacted’ etc. etc. simply prove that they have been highly successful at doing so.

    All of which demonstrates just how badly those of us with the requisite cognitive faculties not to fall for denialist fallacies and fraudulence have been beaten on the rhetorical side of things by those without such, (with no small assistance from the fossil fuel industry hacks that may or may not believe the stuff they’re shoveling). No small irony, and no small consequences.

    It’s time to dump the paleo stuff- not to stop conducting research or to concede to any of the unsupported and unscientific attacks on it and its exponents, but simply to stop talking about and defending it as regards a justification for policy action- for the practical reason that we don’t need a scientific reason to do so. A political/rhetorical reason will suffice for the political rhetorical blogospheric world.

    There, I’ve got that off my chest.

  57. #58 dhogaza
    December 2, 2009

    Jan:

    Good to see one of the most active, constructive and passionate commenters on several blogs being a fellow bird watcher!

    Why, thank you! There was a time in my life when I worked much more with binoculars and a 600/4 camera lens than with a laptop … I was just in costa rica for a conference, and managed a little lightweight birding on the side. Fantastic birding, even casual birding.

    Joseph:

    This is what the manuscript says:
    the MXD data were (temporarily) adjusted to artificially remove the decline, then the calibration coefficients were determined using unfiltered data and applied to the unadjusted MXD data to generate the reconstruction.
    It was temporary code. This is what non-paranoid people have been saying all along.

    This is great, whether or not the actual tweaking was done by the 1998 code or whether this paper talks about other tweaking more recent to the 2004 manuscript, it makes the point.

    Those screaming about “hidden adjustments to suit their political masters” etc miss the obvious: it’s the published work that counts, and when papers openly discuss methodology describes artificial adjustments then it’s not “hidden” or “secret” or whatever paranoid ranting description people like ESR chose to use.

  58. #59 Dave
    December 2, 2009

    Oh joy. Channel 4 just had Ross McKitrick on. He said/she said talking heads are absolutely the best way to analyse science.

  59. #60 Jeremy C
    December 2, 2009

    Just watched live interview on Channel 4 news by presenter Jon Snow with Bob Watson from UEA and Ross McKitrick.

    The basis for it was Phil Jone’s decision to step asside for the enquiry around the hacked emails.

    Watcon was robust and the final question by Snow floored Mckitrick who didn’t have an answer.

    You can most probably find it if you google channel4 news, UK

  60. #61 Rattus Norvegicus
    December 2, 2009

    William Wallace @46: ssh is the backbone of internet security, so the parallels are apt.

  61. #62 Lewis Guignard
    December 2, 2009

    I would just like to note that multiplying something by .75 will actually make it smaller, not larger, as indicated.

  62. #63 Vagueofgodalming
    December 2, 2009

    Heigh ho. Today’s (UK) Daily Express front page story.

  63. #64 dhogaza
    December 2, 2009

    ssh is the backbone of internet security, so the parallels are apt.

    And, of course, is touted to be professional, robust, product-quality code, not some knock-off personal snippet of code not meant to be used for others.

    Actually, despite the comments, it *is* a pice professional, robust, product-quality code, and as our rodent friend points out, the backbone of internet security.

    Despite the comments.

    You’d think ESR would understand the point …

  64. #65 Donald Oats
    December 2, 2009

    I’m wondering what made them choose IDL over at CRU? Any particular feature advantage compared with the competition?
    Is there some particular performance advantage? Can it exploit a cluster environment somehow? ?? BTW I’m not criticising here just not real clear on the why.

    In the past I’ve used “small” free statistics data and visualisation application called “R”. Contributors have provided packages for networking and so forth, for those who really need to use cluster computing to speed up say MCMC or other big simulation or something. For basic and advanced use on a single machine it’s great for prototyping etc as it provides a data-centric view and provides matrix, data frame and other high level operations. For extra speed the lower layer uses LAPACK/BLAS libraries for providing the actual matrix and vector arithmetic – these may be optimised for the specific architecture of the host machine.

    Sorry, just couldn’t resist plugging something free and excellent.

  65. #66 daklute
    December 2, 2009

    is there any similar analysis of the e code? or do we know which was used?

  66. #67 Ray
    December 2, 2009

    Uh Tim, I don’t think you looked at the .pro in a proper editor, or you copied and pasted text of the program from a site that stripped it. I looked at it from the ‘stolen’ archive. yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey) is NOT, repeat NOT commented out. The source has a CRLF after the semicolon.

  67. #68 Bruce Sharp
    December 2, 2009

    Ray, I think you misunderstood Tim. If you look at the code snippet he posted, he doesn’t say that yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey) is commented out. The CRLF is visible in what Tim posted. It’s not the adjustment that is commented out: it’s the use of the adjusted variable.

    Regards,
    Bruce

  68. #69 MartinM
    December 2, 2009

    Right; the line ‘yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey)’ just performs the interpolation; works out from the 5-year corrections what the correction for each year should be. The line which actually adds those corrections to the raw data is commented out.

  69. #70 Chris O'Neill
    December 2, 2009

    Today’s (UK) Daily Express

    “Professor Ian Plimer …”

    Say no more.

  70. #71 Dave
    December 2, 2009

    This absolute gem in the comments on that express article (after listing a bunch of garbage talking points):

    > There is also a conspiracy theory prevalent that the some shady organisation is trying to use the Copenhagen treaty as a vehicle to set up some kind of supra-national World Government, which I have yet to see being contradicted.

    Right…

  71. #72 Vince Whirlwind
    December 2, 2009

    Steve (97): Ooops. Should have had my morning coffee *before* firing up the interwebs – I’m with you now…

    I *do* love to pick up The Australian, though – for the comedy.

    I visited a friend’s house earlier this year on a Saturday – I saw a freshly-unrolled copy of the Australian on their coffee-table.
    “Keeping an eye on the enemy, eh?” I asked facetiously.
    “What do you mean” they replied.
    Oops.
    Once the conversation turned to global warming denialism I realise I had strayed *onto* enemy territory. How supposedly intelligent people can fail to spot the denialist lobby’s obvious lack of credibility is beyond me.

  72. #73 Oops
    December 2, 2009

    Care to comment on the last and ‘production’ version of that code, where the biased computations are ACTIVE there Tim?

    http://di2.nu/foia/harris-tree/briffa_sep98_e.pro

    It’s obvious in the d version he was testing it and integrated it into the final version.

  73. #74 t_p_hamilton
    December 2, 2009

    Oops:”Care to comment on the last and ‘production’ version of that code, where the biased computations are ACTIVE there Tim?

    http://di2.nu/foia/harris-tree/briffasep98e.pro

    It’s obvious in the d version he was testing it and integrated it into the final version.”

    See comment 147 by Ambitwistor.

  74. #75 sod
    December 2, 2009

    i only did a quick check, but it looks like UAH has just reported the warmest [november](http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/12/november-2009-uah-global-temperature-update-0-50-deg-c/) on record (+0.5°C)

    but don t let this disrupt your analysis of this code…
    those comments in the code obviously prove that the globe is cooling….

  75. #76 TrueSceptic
    December 2, 2009

    160 Jeremy,

    I missed that but did you see Benny Peiser on BBC2 Newsnight last night (1 Dec)?

    Amazing what’s coming out into the light right now!

  76. #77 Marion Delgado
    December 2, 2009

    Not trying to be ad hom here, but when I see the words David Kane near anything involving math, sampling, computers, etc., it’s like hearing that the toddler is back playing by the fuse box. And my eyes roll of their own accord – very Pavlovian.

  77. #78 Marion Delgado
    December 2, 2009

    And ESR is a what I call a Heinleinian – a whole crowd that eventually in any controversy has no intellectual integrity because they have a bizarre right-wing libertarian Nietzche complex and admitting they have to bow to anyone’s expertise, ever, violates their puffed up front.

    It’s a definite complex, usually engineers but quite often programmers. They’re usually gun nuts like ESR, they’re always and invariably market fundies, and they are usually rabid fans of military sci-fi (think everyone at the Mech E study lab breaking to watch “Air Wolf” in the 1980s).

    Ironically, Heinlein himself poked holes in part of that attitude in his story Coventry.

  78. #79 dhogaza
    December 2, 2009

    And ESR is a what I call a Heinleinian – a whole crowd that eventually in any controversy has no intellectual integrity because they have a bizarre right-wing libertarian Nietzche complex.

    Ha! I’ve been talking about the Heinlein connection to right-wingnuttery libertarianism among software and compute engineering types for many years – “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” portrays a great example of an extreme right-wing libertarian utopian society.

    I’ve never gotten anyone to agree with me … and here you come along. So I’m not crazy, eh? :)

  79. #80 Marion Delgado
    December 2, 2009

    When I help reporters doing a statistical or database-driven story, I have often done many, many checks. For instance, in some cases random data generated within bounds previously known before the information in the story was gathered will often validate their take as well as their gathered info does, so I point that out and they have to change their story, and more importantly, describe it a little more formally before they put it back into journalese . Conversely, I do sometimes show very basic modifications of graphs, but according to stats 201 principles, when there might be a pattern but it’s noisy, or contributions to a result really do need to be adjusted beforehand, scaled appropriately, etc.

    What really, really annoys me is people who pretend like climate change invented the whole science of sampling, and it’s all some sort of trick. Who knows what kind of hay they’d make over Bayesian vs. frequentist discussions in emails … or is that coming next?

  80. #81 dhogaza
    December 2, 2009

    i only did a quick check, but it looks like UAH has just reported the warmest november on record (+0.5°C)

    Looks like the Southern Baptist Church is part of the conspiracy …

  81. #82 el gordo
    December 2, 2009

    Vince,

    This is now a divisive political issue and your arrogant green faith is clearly visible. To avoid further embarrassment and the loss of old friends – best go quietly.

  82. #83 Janet Akerman
    December 2, 2009

    In response to questions at [109 and 111]( http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/quote_mining_code.php#comment-2117220#comment-2117220), David Kane writes:

    >*109 and 111: I interpret Curry (and I could easily be wrong, corrections welcome!) as saying that there is a real problem with the transparency of the various hockey stick analyses and that, therefore, it is hard for anyone to have faith in the results, or at least as much faith as we would have if the analyses were transparent. […]*

    David, thank you for more clearly distinguishing your opinion from Curry’s own words.

    >*[…]The HADCRU surface climate dataset and the paleoclimate dataset that has gone into the various “hockeystick” analyses stand out as lacking such transparency.* (Judith Curry)

    I believe that if the problem is transparency (as Curry states), then it is not unique to those under attack from from this a coordinated campaign. Scientific standards should be [neither ad-hoc nor two-tiered]( http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/on_those_stolen_cru_emails.php#comment-2096080). And the levels of transparency of analysis of these currently attacked scientist should not be looked at in isolation, but as a standard for all science.

  83. #84 Douglas Watts
    December 2, 2009

    I don’t know about you folks, but if I wanted to commit an insidious, super-secret fraud via computer code to deny the earth is cooling, I would put a comment in all caps that says:

    Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!

    That fools them every time.

  84. #85 Vince Whirlwind
    December 2, 2009

    El Gordo advocates that we bow meekly to the politically-motivated anti-knowledge being produced by the denialist lobbying.
    Well, no, I can’t.
    The “hoax-moon landings” might also become a “divisive political issue” if Murdoch’s stable were to choose to make it so. It would remain nevertheless a massive pile of fact-free horseshit, just like the denialist nonsense we are being subjected to, courtesy of the Australian, etc…
    What is astounding is that people uncritically suck up this nonsense from the Australian.

  85. #86 Lee A. Arnold
    December 2, 2009

    David Kane #146: “Do you think that Curry believes that the various hockey stick analyses are 100% guaranteed to be accurate but that the lack of transparency is a PR problem?”

    I can’t imagine that she nor anyone else with a brain thinks that any science model at all is 100% accurate. But your assertion in #100 was that Curry “”thinks that there are problems with the various “hockey stick” analyses.”

    You refer to her posting at Climate Audit, but I don’t read anything there about the her problems with, or accuracy of, the analyses, with the sole exception of HADCRUT treatment of the surface temperature bump ca. 1940. Instead, she writes that the “broader issue is the need to increase the public credibility of climate science.”

    Indeed many of the Climate Audit comments in response to her posting there, show a great irritation with her position.

    Now you are jumping from “problems with hockey stick analyses” to whether the problem with transparency makes it hard for anyone to have faith in the results. But they are two different things.

    Your jump parallels other skeptical commentators, who now appear to hope to let themselves “off the hook” for being unable to disprove any major finding in the science, by moving to the rhetorical position that at least they made the data available.

    Which of course is just more “public relations.”

    And now the rest of us, following the avenues of complaint, find out that most of the data has always been available anyway. What has been going on here exactly?

  86. #87 cce
    December 2, 2009

    Dave A. laments:
    “So we now know that both surface temperature records are badly flawed but you still expect us to make extremely important and costly decisions based upon them?!!!!”

    Which one of these independent measurements does not indicate signficant warming:

    Radiosondes
    Satellite Troposphere
    Satellite SST
    Buoy & Ship SST
    Tide Guages
    Satellite SLR
    Glacier Mass Balance
    IceSAT
    GRACE

    Skepticism allows you to question each result on an individual basis. Questioning the totality of observations in favor of massive conspiracies is not skepticism.

  87. #88 William Wallace
    December 2, 2009

    Sorry if you’ve discussed this before, but take a look at this. From the main website:

    “There have been strident claims that New Zealand is warming. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), among other organisations and scientists, allege that, along with the rest of the world, we have been heating up for over 100 years. But now, a simple check of publicly-available information proves these claims wrong. In fact, New Zealand’s temperature has been remarkably stable for a century and a half. So what’s going on?” Researchers find records adjusted to represent ‘warming’ when raw data show temperatures have been stable.–11-30-2009

    Nope, no reason to be skeptical.

  88. #89 Janet Akerman
    December 2, 2009

    William Wallace,

    You are not skeptical enough. The anti-science front group NZCSC who produced this completely [misrepresent the data](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/new_zealand_climate_science_co.php).

    Your decernment filters not working William?

  89. #90 Majorajam
    December 2, 2009

    There now. That’s all of what- 1, 2, 3- 4 posts ago. You wouldn’t have had to go too far to go to make an effort now, would you have William. My my, what has happened to our righteous aristocracy.

    Here’s a thought chief: why don’t you try to enrich the petroleum industry propaganda in which you’ve been pickled to the point of saturation with news and analysis from other sources? You might find your cognitive faculties become less… impaired.

  90. #91 Marion Delgado
    December 3, 2009

    I write self-commenting code – so if any data is hidden, it’s the code’s decision, not mine. I agree, comments, testing and debugging are all highly deceptive practices geared towards creating a socialist death panel forest service codex alimentarius HAARP new one world order mattoid UN bilderberger Fed Reserve lizardian British Royal Grey gun grabbing IRS marxist-freudian psych-drug nature-worshipping gay fascist trilateral law of the sea inernational criminal court genocide command and control gulag economy under which your wife, dog, gun and pickup truck will be confiscated, along with your HP calculator.

  91. #92 Connor
    December 3, 2009

    Hey guys, off topic for just a moment (there’s no open thread atm)

    Can anyone explain briefly why it is that a global temperature shift of just a couple of degrees can have such a big impact when we have much larger variation on a regional scale?

    Someone put this to me in an argument and I’m having trouble answering it adequately. Here is the question posed to me:

    “This just restates the assertion. I understand that the claim is small shifts in global average temperature can translate into differences as large as that between our current climate and an ice age.

    My question is: how can this be true, and is it ALWAYS true? I gave the example of temperatures falling sharply in temperate zones, but not yielding an ice age in those zones, because a 10 degree drop in those zones would be enormous–would certainly drop the global mean temperature by a few degrees–but would not, as far as I can tell, produce an ice age in those zones.”

    And then this

    “There are many ways to raise the mean 3-4 degrees, or 10-12 degrees for that matter. Asking why such a relatively small difference in mean temperature could bring such dramatic changes as a new ice age is perfectly legitimate, and unfortunately cannot simply be a function of the mathematical definition of the concepts involved.”

    Sorry to bother everybody once again but I hate it when a denier unexpectedly gets the upper hand on me ;)

  92. #93 Brian X
    December 3, 2009

    I have to say, my last vestige of respect for ESR disappeared when I found out what a steaming pile of crap fetchmail was. Shortly before that I found out he was a racist and an HIV denier. After he used his own experiences growing up with cerebral palsy as an excuse to say that a young woman’s suicide from being teased for being different (and, by extension, Alan Turing’s for being gay) was her own fault for not being strong enough to put up with the abuse, I finally gave up on the man having any redeeming value at all. Linus Torvalds may have a Bidenesque tendency towards slash-and-burn humor, but he’s a much better spokesperson for the open source/free software community because, well, as Steve Jobs once said, real artists ship.

    Forking the Jargon File is starting to look like a good idea…

  93. #94 Erasmus, FCD
    December 3, 2009

    dhogaza I have left you a message at ATBC.

    I have greatly enjoyed this blog lately. and before climategate. but defintely lately.

  94. #95 Janet Akerman
    December 3, 2009

    Conner asks:

    >*Can anyone explain briefly why it is that a global temperature shift of just a couple of degrees can have such a big impact when we have much larger variation on a regional scale?*

    These question have long answers. I can offer very short temporary answer, which, is that the predicted “global temperature shift of just a couple of degrees” with involve “larger variation on a regional scale”.
    Take a few examples of regional climate shifts that have occurred, then imagine them coincident.

    In past regional climate shifts components of ecosystems have either died out or migrated. When a climate shift happens on a global scale (disproportionately affecting the colder regions (higher altitudes, and higher latitudes) where will the stressed biodiversity migrate once they hit the top of the mountain or the coast?

    The other point is we now have 6.7 billion humans, who have carved up the landscape (impeding migration with constant cropping and spraying), and these 6.7 billion have grown up based on the provisions of this climate. Some are even starving now.

    The warming over this century will improve productivity for a short while in a some higher latitude regions, but decimate it in Africa and high populous Asian nations. What will Canada and Russia do with their temporary higher productivity, and a couple of billion refugees clamoring for food?

    Another answer is that the predicted “global temperature shift of just a couple of degrees” with involve regional changes that affect albedo and drive positive temperature feedback, which risk turning a couple of degrees global anomaly to another couple more. And that risk regional affects that include the release of locked up methane, which could drive more temperature rise.

    (A scientist could give a more authoratative answer.)

  95. #96 Bernard J.
    December 3, 2009

    [Connor](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/quote_mining_code.php#comment-2119936).

    This is not a direct answer to your question, but rather one that touches on a similar argument that a change of a few degrees can surely have no effect on humans, or on other species. This claim is wrong, and in addressing it there are two things to consider…

    When smaller, regional parts of the planet are undergoing their respective, quite extreme, temperature variations, they are doing it out of synchronisation with each other, and hence the overall global mean temperature stays relatively constant. To shift the overall global temperature requires quite profound alterations of underlying regional means, especially if some don’t shift as much as others, and even if the day-to-day fluctuations in any one area are so relatively large that the underlying increase of the mean is not perceptible to humans – though it might be to other species.

    The second thing that needs to be taken into account is that humans alter their environment to suit their own ideas of comfort, and this includes temperature: to this end, we heat or cool our dwellings, and/or change the clothing that we wear. Plants and animals other than humans do not do this, and they are much more vulnerable to temperature shifts than are we. Whilst many species might have a high tolerance to variation in the temperatures to which they are exposed, this rarely translates into a similar tolerance to changes of mean temperature – in part because the latter usually implies significant alterations to the former.

    In some contexts animals are not exposed to large fluctuations in temperature, (for example, in the oceans), and for many species even a degree or two represents a considerable challenge to their physiological tolerances.

    I could say more, but I have a 2 year old having a tantrum, so I have to run. Perhaps others will add their understanding to my comments, and to the thrust of your original question.

  96. #97 jre
    December 3, 2009

    Ha! I’ve been talking about the Heinlein connection to right-wingnuttery libertarianism among software and compute engineering types for many years [but]I’ve never gotten anyone to agree with me …

    The problem, d. ol’ bean, is that you’ve been talking to the wrong people. Even Henry Farrell lets on that he “[likes] me mid-period Heinlein just fine.” In fact, H. could spin a hell of a yarn and revealed in occasional bursts of self-deprecating awareness that he knew what a colossal wanker he was — either one of which would put him multiple notches above Ayn Rand. The problem with Heinlein is not that he’s a bad read; everyone knows he’s a great read. It’s just that, if your brain had palms, reading Heinlein would cause hair to grow on them.

  97. #98 el gordo
    December 3, 2009

    BJ

    We know that fish stocks move about and that’s how they survive over millennium. They found the PDO by tracking the salmon.

  98. #99 Marion Delgado
    December 3, 2009

    Since we’re piling on ESR I have to point out fetchmail was just fine for its time and place. What’s really amusing is that RMS is completely in tune with his beliefs with all his actions and positions.

    While it’s true that Open Source and Free (in either sense) software is voluntary vs. govt. regulated or state socialist, and that the most famous parts – initiated by Stallman – actually use capitalist intellectual property law in a kind of loophole judo – it’s also true that the capitalist ideology wouldn’t lend itself to any part of the open source movement – you’re supposed to look to others’ greed, not their good intentions, for rewards.

    If capitalism is right, then the cathedral and the bazaar are both irrelevant. All the good programmers are going to be in private companies, without any exception, after no more than one generation.

    I realize ESR is not a Randite per se, but even the much more minimal ideology he’s gung ho for simply obviates his source of fame. He’s helping to take the profit motive out of software commerce for his fellow capitalists, and without gathering their lost revenue for himself.

    Certainly the odd person (RedHat Linux founders) can make a fortune off supporting OSS, but by and large it’s a return to the Homebrew computer club (pre MSFT, pre AAPL) and the university-based computing community. It’s in Marxist terms a reversion to primitive socialism of a sort – very similar to the quasi-socialist and egalitarian way that science communities tend to operate, unless some high-stakes technology is at stake.

  99. #100 Janet Akerman
    December 3, 2009

    How are the [global fish stocks](http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2009/06/the_end_of_the_line.php) doing el gordo?

Current ye@r *