Wegman update

John Mashey has updated his report on the investigation into Wegman’s misconduct. Deep Climate has some comments.

Comments

  1. #1 pough
    January 8, 2011

    I was scanning though the first bit of Mashey’s report – the bit about plagiarism on page 4 – and was struck by a very strange phrase added by the Wegman team:

    These bands are the so-called tree rings…

    “So-called”? The pseudo-skeptics are so full of doubt that they question whether the rings in trees are really tree rings?

    (I realize that a simpler explanation is that they’re simply bad writers.)

  2. #2 Ian
    January 8, 2011

    Actually “so called” isn’t all that bad. When you look at a cross section of a tree, you see distinct dark rings, but when you look at it under a microscope the “rings” disappear, and you are left with alternative bands of larger and smaller vessels. The rings are actually a bit of an optical illusion. It’s unclear writing, but probably not the product of pseudoskepticism.

  3. #3 John Mashey
    January 8, 2011

    Oh, I wouldn’t fault them for this, given the mass of other problems with the 1.5 pages of WR tree-rings discussion. Bradley did use “commonly called a tree ring.”

    But the plagiarism/distortion has been known, and the problems GMU is having are fairly recent news, but the new stuff is in SIGMU2 section 3, the Rapp originated/forwarded emails in A.2.10-A.2.13, and Wegman’s new public comments in A.3.
    Really, these will provide useful insight.

    People might assess:
    1) Donald Rapp’s missives and his choice of people to forward to.

    2) The fact that Wegman was happy to email to him.

    3) Finally, here I thank Bernard J for his noble attempts to help me out at WUWT, where Rapp had posted (SIGMU2, p.12, fn.47). I was hoping Rapp might post some of Wegman’s quote on p.13, and encouraged Bernard J to try to draw Rapp out, but alas, people have had to wait until now to see this material. This includes the fascinating revelation that as of September, Wegman thought he would be cleared because Scott had been… where as A.2.2, p.29 shows why that wasn’t a good idea.

    4) But throughout, in public comments, Wegman keeps claiming all this wasn’t plagiarism:

    “and we have never intended that our Congressional testimony was intended to take intellectual credit for any aspect of paleoclimate reconstruction science or for any original research aspect of social network analysis”

    I’m sure students around the world will be pleased to know they can just do copy-and-paste and that’s OK if they don’t take intellectual credit.

    The other surprise is that I figured there was some chance that Wegman would blame Said (“I’m shocked, shocked to find that plagiarism is going on in here!”

  4. #4 pough
    January 8, 2011

    I don’t actually think they were skeptical of tree rings. I just thought that bit sounded a little odd. I might be wrong, but my first thought was that it was unnatural English to describe things.

    So I did a search for “so-called tree rings”. Outside of the Wegman report, all I found was [Chapter 11](http://www.terrapub.co.jp/e-library/cra/pdf/chap11.pdf) of “COSMIC RAY ASTROPHYSICS”, which seems to be a Japanese text book (p. 390).

    …and the repetition of these two layers formed inside tree trunk produce the so-called tree rings.

    …or maybe that’s just normal terminology for astrophysicists talking about tree rings.

  5. #5 John
    January 8, 2011

    >I don’t actually think they were skeptical of tree rings.

    Don’t give the deniers ideas. If they found a way to deny tree rings they would.

  6. #6 marion Delgado
    January 9, 2011

    The so-called rings are actually ellipses – but we in the climate skeptic community will probably have to wait as long as Galilleo did for vindication of his ellipses! It’s ellipses that defeat so-called consensus science. Every so-called time!

  7. #7 Fred Knell
    January 11, 2011

    I have switched from Tolgate to here, so my response is to the ineffable wow’s last at Tolgate.
    There wow began by quoting me: “Wegman meantime has grounds to sue for defamation, but honourable gentlemen do not do that to worthless scum like Bradley and Mashey”.

    Then wow added “He’s no gentleman, he’s a hired hitman. The reason why Wegman doesn’t sue is because he has no grounds and, if he were to press suit, he would be unable to quash the facts he wants hidden”.

    I disagree. Bradley & Mashey have no substance to their claims, and they are not worth suing, with their combined net worth unlikely to be more than $200,000.

    Wegman has NEVER plagiarized Bradley, why would he? There has to be motivation, and the idiotic Mashey’s 250 pages have never found any motivation for Wegman to pass off Bradley’s work, which he disputes, as his own, nor has he ever.

  8. #8 Wow
    January 11, 2011

    > Then wow added “He’s no gentleman, he’s a hired hitman. The reason why Wegman doesn’t sue is because he has no grounds and, if he were to press suit, he would be unable to quash the facts he wants hidden”.

    > I disagree.

    Well of course you would.

    Neither would A Crowley agree with Satan being touted as the bad guy.

    > Wegman has NEVER plagiarized Bradley

    None so blind as will not see. He’s widely plagiarised Bradley. Full Stop. Period.

    It’s all to do with copyright law and what the definitions of copying a work is. You (and Wegman) merely don’t understand it (except when you think YOU are being plagiarised).

    > why would he? There has to be motivation

    Yes there is. Power. Influence. Money. I already told you: he’s bought and sold.

    > Mashey’s 250 pages have never found any motivation for Wegman to pass off Bradley’s work, which he disputes, as his own, nor has he ever.

    That would be because the 250 pages are about the plagiarism, not the reason for it, idiot.

  9. #9 Marco
    January 11, 2011

    I think Wegman had another reason for plagiarizing Bradley: he had to make people think he(*) knew what he was talking about. Same with the Social Network Analysis: copy a textbook, make some small changes so it isn’t directly obvious, add a few references in some places, and presto: it looks like you just showed off your knowledge and understanding of the area!

    Of course, the small changes that WERE made actually show Wegman had very limited understanding. As McShane and Wyner have shown, being a statistician and doing work in an area you do not understand, has major implications for your data analysis and conclusions. Result? A trainwreck.

    (*) I’d like to point out, again, that I don’t think Wegman himself did much of the writing. I know academic practice, and the main reason to involve postdocs and PhD students in writing jobs is to have people with time doing most of the work. You yourself mostly tighten the language up, and add/remove things where necessary.

    In the meantime, Fred Knell still has not provided any explanation as to why THREE plagiarism experts, from unrelated fields I might add, call it “plagiarism”.

    He also has failed to explain why references for the tables should be counted as a reference for the text.

    Finally, Wow, much of the 250 pages is not about the plagiarism, but contains a lot of other issues. For example, why are there references on the list that are not in the text, and why does it include a reference from a…ehm….fringe-journal (as in “Lyndon LaRouche publication”) ?

  10. #10 Wow
    January 11, 2011

    > Finally, Wow, much of the 250 pages is not about the plagiarism, but contains a lot of other issues.

    Aye, and so missing any report of why Wegman might want to plagiarise (in court, shot down for “hearsay and opinion”) is no proof that Wegman didn’t plagiarise.

  11. #11 mpaul
    January 11, 2011

    Bradley has made it clear in public comments that his only objective is to force Wegman to withdraw or modify his testimony to congress; testimony which was critical of Bradley’s work.

    The specific law that Mashey and Bradley need to be mindful of is § 1512.(b) “Whoever knowingly uses intimidation, threatens, or corruptly persuades another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, with intent to— (1) influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding;… shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

    And (d) “Whoever intentionally harasses another person and thereby hinders, delays, prevents, or dissuades any person from—
    (1) attending or testifying in an official proceeding; …or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 3 years, or both.”

  12. #12 Robert Murphy
    January 11, 2011

    mpaul:
    “Bradley has made it clear in public comments that his only objective is to force Wegman to withdraw or modify his testimony to congress; testimony which was critical of plagiarized from Bradley’s work.”

    Fixed it.

    As for the rest, since Wegman already has testified, and was in no way prevented, intimidated, or threatened to not testify by *anybody*, the laws you mentioned are completely irrelevant. It’s comical that Bradley, who was smeared by Wegman et al for political reasons, is somehow at fault for pointing out his work was plagiarized in the attack. As is the idea that anybody else who points out the grand canyon of a hole that Wegman et al have dug for themselves with their pathetically inept analysis is somehow legally at risk for calling Wegman et al on their academic failings, of which dishonesty is only a part.

  13. #13 mpaul
    January 11, 2011

    Robert Murphy, plagiarism is an insult among polite gentleman, witness tampering is a federal crime. Both need to be investigated. The political wind is not blowing in your favor.

  14. #14 John Mashey
    January 11, 2011

    SSWR p.34 mentions 18 USC § 1512.(b), which by odd coincidence, I bookmarked long ago.

    The part that might sometime become relevant (unlike that cited) would be a later one:

    “1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or”

    IF it eventually happens that the DoJ gets into the 18USC1001 area, then it is possible that one of the file deletions that happened the week of August 16 might be seen as attempted destruction of evidence. Specifically, that’s Said(2007), the talk that mentioned Peter Spencer and Jerry Coffey and other useful info. That”s discussed in SSWR A.11, but at that time the chronological coincidence of Wegman’s Facebook post was not yet known. I.e., see SIGMU2, p.9.

    And yes, I have talked to a (very savvy Washington-experienced) lawyer who said of the 18USC1001 that it was not fantasy, and they are not the only lawyer with that opinion. That doesn’t mean it will happen, just that it’s not crazy under the US law. Of course, removing a key evidence file is pretty silly, given how long it had been known about.

    One more time: 35 of 91 pages of the Wegman Report contain plagiarized text, of which only a few are from Bradley(1999), and only a few more (social networks) were reported by Bradley to GMU in May 2010.

    Many people have not yet twigged to the BAD consequences of acknowledging 3 Federal agencies in the derivative Said, et al (2008). My academic friends shudder at the idea of messing with ORI.

    Bradley(1999) is not MBH98 or MBH99. MBH98 is one reference in 80+ pages of references. MBH99 isn’t there.

  15. #15 Robert Murphy
    January 11, 2011

    mpaul:
    “Robert Murphy, plagiarism is an insult among polite gentleman, witness tampering is a federal crime. Both need to be investigated. The political wind is not blowing in your favor.”

    Witness tampering? WTF?? Are you stoned? Nobody has tampered with a witness or anybody’s testimony, nor has anybody even hinted at doing so. Wegman and friends testified under no restrictions or “tampering” of any kind, and in doing so they plagiarized the work of others because they were woefully incompetent when it came to climate science (and social network analysis as well, which they also plagiarized and royally screwed up).

    The calls for having the Wegman Report removed from official testimony is a logical position considering the incredibly weak and sloppy scholarship involved. The report is garbage. In your twisted mind, calling for the removal of scientific testimony that is not only plagiarized from the people the testimony is attacking but is utter crap when it comes to the actual analysis is “witness tampering”. That’s nuts.

    And no, plagiarism is not “an insult among polite gentleman”, it’s grounds for termination at GMU.

    “The political wind is not blowing in your favor.”

    There’s something blowing, and its coming straight out your backside. It certainly doesn’t smell like a coherent argument.

  16. #16 jakerman
    January 11, 2011

    Robert, mayby mpaul thinks you can say whatever you like to congressional committee and then any criticism of witness’s claims are tampering with the witness?

    Bizarro! By that dumb logic then McIntyre (and even Wegman) is witness tampering by criticising Mann.

    Here is the [real intimidation](http://www.desmogblog.com/tags/michael-mann).

  17. #17 P. Lewis
    January 21, 2011

    Breaking News!

    Sad to report, there is no news … still.

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