More misc

DSC_8645-quince Just some random jottings, none of which amount to much. I’m making quince jelly. Last Sunday was the first anniversary of my half-marathon running career, which I celebrated at Grunty Fen. Next Sunday will see me sculling the Boston marathon for the first time, after being in the ladies VIII last year. We’ve been painting the club blades recently; Amy has some nice pix.

Arctic sea ice may have hit its minimum this year and be on the way up. Neven certainly thinks so. I think it is likely; a few more days will make it clear. Its quite early, though, for a minimum, but probably not unprecedentedly so. The familiar end-of-season post will appear at some point.

With all the fuss about the Euro and so on, Timmy would like to tell you about taxes and transfers. I’ve recently taken to reading Bronte Capital too. That is the problem with not being impecunious: you have to worry about where to put your pennies. Lest I be thought to blatantly libertarian, Bruce Schneier has a nice example of how regulation helps.

Eli has some stuff to say about the weird Trial of Charles M. Speaking of which,
I’m close to giving up KK for a bit; too many trolls.

[Update: JF notices Piers Corbyn, Twitter spammer?.]


  1. #1 Eli Rabett

    Lord you are a credulous weasel.
    The Swedish income tax rates are
    Individual income tax in Sweden is comprised of two major parts: A municipal tax rate between 28.9% and 34.2% and a national tax rate between 20% and 25%. For 2011, the national tax rate applies only to individuals earning more than SEK 383’000 per year. Assuming a municipal tax rate of 30%, the combined tax burden is as follows:

    * 30.00% from SEK 0.00 up to SEK 383,000,
    * 50.00% from SEK 383,000 up to SEK 548,300,
    * 55.00% over SEK 548,300,

    383,000 SEKK is about 36,000 pounds. or about $50K

    That means the national tax does not apply to people earning less that 36KL. Plus which there are all sorts of benefits and social insurance. A. It is progressive, B. It is redistributive.

    [Of course there are all sorts of benefits. That is precisely Timmy’s point -W]

  2. #2 Collin

    Are quinces supposed to have those black spots?

    [I think it is Quince rust – the leaves are often spotted too. Ideally it wouldn’t be there, but it usually doesn’t go past the skin -W]

  3. #3 purpleOzone

    I just waded through the transcript of the 2cd interview of Dr. Monnett. It’s incredible.

    Part 1 concerned the contracting procedures. I don’t remember being trained in sole source procedures of the U.S. government; the training stress was on competitive contracts. But in the case of the contract to add tracking to the polar bear, the Canadians were putting half the cash. And they had already planned to sedate and capture the polar bears for some other purpose. The Bureau of Mines, now renamed, is responsible for determining effect of drilling/mining on wild life. Since nobody knew how mobil polar bears are, this was an opportunity to bootstrap on existing research. The IG thought Monnett put out the contract because the Canadian researcher had ‘reviewed’ his drowned polar bear paper (informal review).

    Part 2 concerned (again) the science in the polar bear paper. The inquisitors were especially concerned to know why Monnett & colleague didn’t put the ‘storm’ in the abstract of the paper. The IG read Monnett the dictionary definition of ‘abstract’, as well as ‘deliberate’ and another word.

    The conclusion? Uh, there wasn’t one. The investigators have still failed to give a reason for the investigation. Beyond vague remarks about ‘criminal’ etc. Or to say who else they will be talking to or what else they need to find out. Monnett pointed out they had seriously disrupted the marine mammal program and for why?

  4. #4 purpleOzone

    Here’s the link to the 100 page transcript (plenty of white space).

    probably one or two pages read at random will give you enough of the flavor of it.

  5. #5 Eli Rabett

    Timmy’s point is that the taxes are not progressive. They are. That way they raise enough money for the benefits. Why play his shell game?

  6. #6 keith Kloor

    Well, that makes no sense. You “give up” up the blog because of commenters? Just read the posts and don’t bother reading the comments section, if it aggravates you that much.

    Also, blogs that let anyone comment (such as mine) is bound to attract a spectrum of people, including trolls.

    [I see you’re cut to the quick; good :-). I didn’t say “give up”. I said close to. And I didn’t say stop reading; I meant give up commenting. But reading your stuff without correcting your errors – or trying to have a reasonable discussion of them – is no fun. So here you carelessly repeat ZH’s assertion of an “in depth” analysis. But we can’t talk about it there, because your blog fills up with foaming at the mouth trolls. We could talk about it here, if you prefer? -W]

  7. #7 J Bowers

    Here’s a free book for the impecunious if you haven’t read it already (thanks for the new word, btw).

  8. #8 keith Kloor

    Sure thing. You’ve made this space a troll-free zone? :)

    [I do my best -W]

    Anyway, it would have helped if you gave some specifics in your first comment over there, instead of just a simple declaration.

    But I also agree with Zeke’s response to you– that “in-depth” is a bit relative, esp when the intended audience is not steeped in all the technical details, or, might I add, every twist and turn of these kinds of sagas.

    [It is a possible answer, but I think a weak one. I was disappointed by ZH’s post: he promised in-depth, but all it was (or all it appeared on a quick skim; I didn’t see anything that encouraged a closer look) was a repeat of stuff I’d seen elsewhere. I couldn’t see a good reason for recommending that over other stuff -W]

  9. #10 andrewt

    Sydney marathon is also Sunday. While you are paddling through the grey drizzle you can think of us in the sunshine – unfortunately its supposed to be the warmest weekend for 6 months which is definitely not ideal but at least I can blame the temp for my crap time.

  10. #11 Steve Bloom

    kk: “blogs that let anyone comment (such as mine)”

    Such a fibber.

    [Really? KK does seem to let just about anything through. Indeed, I would say lets too much though -W]

  11. #12 VeryTallGuy

    Quince is a bit tasteless IMHO, my preference is elderberry and crab apple (the apple helps it set).

  12. #13 keith Kloor

    Steve Bloom is likely referring to him being put on moderation some time ago, and having some of his comments sent back to him, requesting that he tone down the nasty stuff.

    William is right–I probably let too much through. (It’s aggravating having to moderate so tightly.) And he’s prompting me to get stricter, especially with the rabid anti-Obama trolls, who don’t seem to like all my posts on the tide of zany statements made recently by the Republican Presidential candidates.

    [You have a reputation – I think undeserved – for leaning on their side. They are disappointed in you -W]

  13. #14 Eli Rabett

    As one under double super secret moderation from the get go, probably on the advice of his lily livered svengali, Eli begs to differ. Tell Eli a secret Keith, do you “moderate” Tom Fuller and friends? Or only the disruptive Eli and Steve?


    [KK hasn’t moderated TF recently, unless TF has been writing stuff even more trashy than I’ve seen, which is quite hard to imagine. But then, TF doesn’t call KK a twat (so to speak) so probably hasn’t offended him the way you have. You both need to be more reasonable and get along. And KK needs to squelch his trolls -W]

  14. #15 Eli Rabett

    FWIW, Kloor is a card carrying member of the Pielkesphere, whose purpose in life is no enemies to the right. For a wonderful demo of this consider how RPSr. is going after Skeptical Science, and, one that still amuses, Jr’s declarations that as a card carrying political scientist he simply can’t understand how the tobacco companies and the climate science rejectionists have had any effect. For a comment on that proposition, Eli has a video

    [You’ve got me there. How does what RP Sr says make any demo about KK? -W]

  15. #16 Eli Rabett

    It’s the same act that Jr. and Sr. pull, called hippie punching, this side of the AMO, Obama does it a lot and it is going to cost him dearly as everyone who worked for his election in 08 decides they have better things to do this time.

    The idea is to split the “undecideds” away from the hippies (or in this case the environmentalists, by concern trolling. You can tell the hippie punchers by their “evenhandedness”. For a simple example, the moderate Tom Fuller had this to say about you:

    Um Connelly, we got your ‘point’ the first time you laid it on a doorstep. Thank you for your totally unsupported assertions. We will assess your bald statements with exactly the degree of gravity they deserve. Yawn.

    but Eli and Steve are “disruptive” and must be moderated. Since moderation takes time (it is moderation and not a rush thing), well, you know, we got it.

    [Yes, that was the one where I quit that thread, and contacted KK. That is, obviously, worthless trolling, so it was offensive for KK to let it stand. But no-one likes to go back and correct mistakes. I think KK will moderate TF in future; we’ll see. As for your comments there: you come across as hating KK, and him you. If that comes out in the comments you post there, I’m not surprised they don’t make it through. Once people have “form” the bar is lower. You can always do what I do and have a “comments elsewhere” thread on your blog to embarrass folk who suppress your fine words, and allow outsiders to judge -W]

  16. #17 Eli Rabett

    To be frank, if Eli wants a shallow opinion he knows where to find it, so it’s mostly disrespect and that is pretty clear. It’s pretty hard to hate the shallow tho.

    WRT to Tom, you are confusing a feature with a bug.

  17. #18 John Mashey

    From experience with USENET newsgroups, unmoderated blogs are pretty much wastes of time, except occasionally as sources of data for psychologists who study D-K effect, etc.

    USENET newsreaders at least had global KILLFILEs that worked.

    Sadly, blogging software just is not yet what it needs to be, as discussed here at Stoat.

    Gresham’s Law of the Internet rules.
    I think Chronicle of Higher Education may be learning what happens when the trolls are recruited and arrive in force at an unmoderated blog. See this at deltoid.

    However, the 3 key posts have gained more comments:
    06/30 CHE 101 6 S Bottling Up Global Warming Skepticism Wood

    07/29 CHE 262 3 S Climate Thuggery Wood

    08/04 CHE 303 0 A Bottling Nonsense, Mis-using a Civil Platform Mashey & Coleman. [I think 303 is a record there].

    Then, JonasN et al arrived at Deltoid, and that post got 489 comments. Finally, by popular demand, Tim gave JonasN his own thread, and that one’s up to 202, still climbing.

    Sad to say, the S/N ratio in all this was not good.
    Maybe if the tools got better, we’d actually see more blogs with useful discourse.

    [You’re going to have to get your own blog one day you know :-) -W]

  18. #19 Eli Rabett

    John rents, which is a much more economical solution

  19. #20 SCM

    USENET did have its little islands of sanity though, I was always rather fond of uk.rec.sheds

  20. #21 John Mashey

    Yes, renting is easier than buying. I have multiple reasons to not yet blog, but lack of adequate tools is one of them.
    If I run out of things to do, maybe I’ll have to take up serious programming again, assuming my long spell as a manager didn’t do me in.

  21. #22 Hank Roberts

    Oh, dear. One for the global cooling collection.

    I went looking in Scholar — year 2011 — for
    “Igor Semiletov “International Siberian Shelf Study”
    and found Whitley Streiber, who turns out to be responsible for “Day After Tomorrow” and in this book reveals that a mysterious stranger advised him how a methane burst causes rapid global warming then rapid cooling because methane, unlike CO2, “disappears” ….

  22. #23 Hank Roberts

    Music for Moderators:

    Published on Jun 27, 2011 by alyankovicVEVO
    Music video by “Weird Al” Yankovic performing Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me. (C) 2011 Volcano Entertainment III, LLC, a unit of Sony Music Entertainment

  23. #24 Paul Kelly

    There must be some history behind the antipathy in Fuller’s comment. Is he a make it so uncomfortable you won’t post comments troll or an argue every little thing you say troll? Eli says Fuller is a concern troll. KK seems to think Eli is a too cute for his own good troll. Steve Bloom is my personal troll and his comments about me at Kloor’s may be why he’s on moderation there.

    I suppose a commenter’s level of troll tolerance depends, in part, on what he hopes to get out of his commenting.

  24. #25 Steve Bloom

    No no, PK, William and MT are your personal trolls. I’m at best a gnome. I don’t think the moderation (actually a de facto ban) has anything to do directly with you, rather it was my somewhat harsh criticism of Kloor’s a) promotion of lukewarmerism and b) inability or unwillingness to defend the many lame ideas he promotes. It’s late for me, so more on this tomorrow.

  25. #26 keith Kloor

    I’m often harshly criticized in the comments section of my blog. Most actually let the criticism stand for itself and don’t add snarling insults. When they do, they get put on moderation.

    And as you and Eli, and several others can attest, if I find a comment so objectionable that I won’t let it through, I always email the person leaving the comment, explaining my decision and say its your choice to revise or eliminate the offending part.

    Nobody ever does.

    [RC has the borehole for such things. I’d like the same, but mt makes it uneasy -W]

  26. #27 Hank Roberts

    > borehole … uneasy
    Impact of CO2 geological sequestration on the nucleation of earthquakes

  27. #28 J

    I was disappointed to see Mark Lynas tripping on his own shoelaces so spectacularly (re: Jared Diamond). Unlike Judy Curry, though, Lynas seems to at least still be able to recognize when he’s stumbled. Moral of the Story: if you’re ever tempted to approvingly cite an E&E paper as “required reading”, it’s a good sign that you’re lecturing people on a subject you know less than nothing about.

    The comments in the Lynas/Diamond thread on Curry’s website are just atrocious. Strangely enough, that has been true all three (?) times I’ve wandered over to read something on her site.

    [I’ve given up on Curry, except when I feel like watching a train wreck. KK manages better: but still I think has rushed to judgement. I agree: anyone citing Peiser has lost their compass. But for the overall issue: I will watch to see how it plays out -W]

  28. #29 Steve Bloom

    “Nobody ever does.” That’s one of the neatest self-pwns I’ve seen in a while.

    William, I was girding my loins for a long exposition on the null value of Kloor and all his works when lo and behold the recent Diamond imbroglio neatly crystallized things. I’ll summarize, though:

    1) Doesn’t do his homework.

    2) When caught in the wrong, rather than climb down places responsibility on someone else.

    3) Worst of all, but quite consistent with the foregoing, is unable or unwilling to defend many of the ideas he’s happy to post. (I’ve lost track of the number of times he’s first tried to dodge away by pointing to a wholly insufficent or tangential comment elsewhere as representative of his views and then just disengaged from the discussion as if all reasonable people will agree that it’s settled.)

    4) Doesn’t learn from his mistakes. E.g., this isn’t the first time he’s gone after Diamond on flimsy grounds.

    5) Tone trolls incessantly, in posts and in his comment section.

    So I suppose I can’t say I haven’t learned anything reading his blog. :)

    Re Tainter, as many may already know but I had not, according to WP:

    ‘His best-known work is The Collapse of Complex Societies (1988), which examines the collapse of Maya and Chacoan civilizations, and the Roman Empire, in terms of network theory, energy economics and complexity theory. Tainter argues that sustainability or collapse of societies follow from the success or failure of problem-solving institutions and that societies collapse when their investments in social complexity and their “energy subsidies” reach a point of diminishing marginal returns.’

    Well, that explains a lot. I won’t look, but somehow I expect that there’s a marked difference in the sales figures for the two books.

    Re Easter Island in particular, I don’t think Diamond would object on its face to the idea that the Rapanuis lacked adequate problem-solving institutions relative to the problems with which they were faced. How could he, since it’s really just a truism? But Occam’s Razor would seem to suggest that it has one too many layers of complexity.

  29. #30 Steve Bloom

    Oh yeah, there’s also this dodge to which he all too commonly resorts.

    For extra credit, can anyone in the class tell us precisely which question is being begged here?

    (In the 1980s Pee-wee’s Big Adventure film, there was a recurring exchange where someone would insult Peewee and he would snap back “Now we know what you are, but what am I?” Ah nostalgia.)

  30. #31 Steve Bloom

    And now further in the same thread bcl goes to the trouble of spending a couple of hours looking this stuff up, far more than Kloor seems to have, and for a response we have… bupkis. Been there, done that too on more than one occasion.

  31. #32 J

    You know, there are a lot of funny (as in “odd”) things about this “Collapse” discussion.

    Kloor and Curry are both really big on “tribalism”, and there’s a natural angle here: Jared Diamond (a geographer) ventured onto the turf of archaeologists and anthropologists, and had the hubris to write a couple of immensely popular and well-received books. This annoyed certain anthro folks enough that they felt compelled to put together an entire collection of essays seeking to rebut Diamond on every point.

    I would think this would be an obvious hook for Curry and Kloor — why is Diamond (a brilliant outsider with creative ideas and a talent for pulling together information from lots of different fields) being attacked so energetically by self-appointed custodians of the turf of anthropology and archaeology?

    But C & K seem determined to sympathize with the “tribalists” in this case. It’s kind of interesting, IMHO.

    [I haven’t caught up with updates over the last day or so, so I’m not sure if “walking statues” is in fashion today or not. But I agree with you re tribalism. What is also baffling is that JD’s book, however successful, is only a pop book, yet is apparently being talked about as some foundationstone of science. Or something; I haven’t paid too much attention (I did read Guns, Germs and Steel though, and liked that). I think that KK doesn’t actually care about the subject much; it just something that he hopes will illustate a theme he is interested in -W]

  32. #33 Steve Bloom

    William, you’re right that he cares about it only shallowly. This from his latest response to you:

    “(…) if you’re going through the trouble to find fault with one of his critics, I would expect you to do more than skim the essay that I linked to as supporting evidence for the challenge it poses to the Easter Island collapse narrative.”

    And yet, we have seen no evidence that Keith himself has done so.

    I can’t help but also note that he engaged in a massive flurry of posting just as the discussion got embarrassing for him, consequently burying the Diamond post.

    Hmm, you didn’t care for my comment with the Pee-wee Herman analogy? (You could have dumped that and left the Tainter info, which I thought was informative.)

    Anyway, this is my last comment on the subject.

  33. #34 Paul Kelly

    If Steve could stay for a question. Why would you want to comment on a blog run by someone for whom you have so little respect?

    [That is almost the question I’d wondered. Criticism of KK really belongs over there, but phrased in terms of substance so it will go through his filters.

    Or perhaps better: I’d rather you gave KK a chance to publish your crit first. If he rejects it, fine, then speak here, and we can judge if he is being overly censorious -W]

  34. #35 Steve Bloom

    Correction: Tainter reference stayed, Pee-wee analogy was banished to the ether. Sniff.

    Re Kloor’s blog, my effective banning there was months ago. By then it had become clear to me that he’s unwilling and/or unable to defend most of what he posts. Sure, I could get polite comments through, but all it would get me is ignored or dodged just as William was on the thread under discussion, so I see no point to it.

    As I said above, I am nonetheless interested in what makes Kloor and other “lukewarmers” tick, so that plus the fact that a few people whose comments I do find interesting continue to participate there keeps me reading.

    [Well, if you really want to know, you’ll have to talk to him :-) -W]

    As to why I mentioned any of this here, William had introduced the general topic.

  35. #36 keith Kloor

    Hey, I just happened to check this thread today, to see if it was still live, so good timing!

    William, on the contrary, I’m quite interested in this stuff. All you have to do is look at some of my published pieces to see that. (See my Science feature on the disappearance of the Fremont, for example.) I also spent my whole fellowship year at University of Colorado (in 2008-9, studying paleoecolocy, SW drought, and env change impacts to prehistoric cultures.

    So I’m not just casually interested in all this–and I try to stay up on the subject. (Steve, BCL has not demonstrated that he is wholly familiar with the scholarship on Easter Island or the collapse literature, in general.)

    And Steve, I pay attention to the scientists I respect who sound off on, oh, say the value of a Joseph Tainter review essay on Diamond et al:

    Be a good boy, Steve, and don’t call anybody names and you can come play in my sandbox anytime. I know it’s hard, but try again. Look at all the times I’ve let you insult me on my home turf in the past. How about it…for ol’ time’s sake? :)

    [Well, that is two of us encouraging SB to give you another try. Hopefully SB isn’t here just because he gets an easier ride :-).

    Casual: what made me think that was the way you leapt in. I suppose I could call that enthusiasm instead, but it seemed to me that you were rather more interested in it a as a back-n-forth story rather than finding out the truth. The review you quote – – seems a case in point, with the bit about bleating. Was the deforestation by people, or by goats? This is important, but you don’t really seem to be looking at it. You point to Lynas, who says “Hunt and Lipo discovered that initial estimates of the date of first colonisation by migrating Polynesians were out by several hundred years”, but that now looks dubious.

    Just pointing to different competing back-n-forth views doesn’t really get to the truth. Someone needs to try to analyse and synthesise them. That you didn’t even try was why I assumed your interest was only casual, in the story, rather than in the truth -W]

  36. #37 Wow

    Of course, [KK] doesn’t like the competition:

    like most denialist popularati, he loves dealing it out, but has an extremely thin skin…

    “Just pointing to different competing back-n-forth views doesn’t really get to the truth. Someone needs to try to analyse and synthesise them.”

    Aye, pop over to the IPCC and you’ll see that’s exactly what they do.

    [I’ll take Kloor over Romm, thanks. That post you link to is an excellent example of what is wrong with Romm (it is all bad, but “to show that he is just a run-of-the-mill blogger” is particularly noxious). Oh, and sorry, but I’ve corrected your “Keef”. It isn’t polite. Only I get to do that stuff round here -W]

  37. #38 Steve Bloom

    That Romm piece is getting a little long in the tooth; I think he’s been persuaded to drop that sort of thing, in part because of the inherent counterproductivity and in part because Kloor just doesn’t matter much to Romm’s mission. He does continue with his criticism of important journalists, IMHO with an appropriate tone.

    It’s true that Kloor’s posts are intended to and very much do engender more debate than Romm’s, but my question is about the ultimate utility of that debate. I have little respect for his constant posting of material he hasn’t taken the trouble to understand himself, but puts up anyway because it draws traffic. Note that he just did it again in the post on the Powell book. Even where the material is easy to understand, as in the Mooney/Green piece also just posted, he won’t let facts get in the way of a good traffic draw.

  38. #39 keith Kloor


    There’s a few things that perhaps require clarifying. 1) I don’t believe there is an absolute truth with respect to the scholarly debate between Diamond and his Easter Island critics–at least not yet. But it appears to me that, based on the sum of the evidence, his eco-collapse narrative is vastly oversimplified. That is my informed opinion.

    [I’ve no objection to the idea that it is over-simplified. I might even accept vastly. But the problems between the two sides are stronger than that – the deforestation date vs settlement, for example -W]

    I point to the Tainter essay because it’s a one-stop shop of all the scholarship (at least until 2008) challenging the Easter Island eco-cide meme. Furthermore, based on Tainter’s reputation, my reading of the essay, and the assessment of other scholars who have read the essay (one highly respected one I linked to), I believe it to be a fair critique. That’s why I suggested you read it in its entirety, rather than just skim it.

    As for me not getting into more detail for the likes of you and others. Honestly, my own personal blog is a labor of love. Where my byline appears elsewhere, you can be sure I’m getting paid for my labors. But for my own blog, it’s mostly a vehicle for me to stay engaged in topical conversations that interest me. Naturally, what I blog about often intersects with my own journalistic endeavors. But I don’t have time to do the kind of bloggy deep dives that you suggest are warranted in this case. It is what it is. But with two small children, a regular journo class to teach, plus various other freelance gigs, something’s got to give.

  39. #40 dhogaza


    What is also baffling is that JD’s book, however successful, is only a pop book, yet is apparently being talked about as some foundationstone of science.

    Well, there’s also Diamond’s 2007 paper on the subject in Science

    I don’t see that KK has any expertise to offer in regard to Easter Island, and this:

    I don’t believe there is an absolute truth with respect to the scholarly debate between Diamond and his Easter Island critics

    Makes me wonder if KK’s aware of the fact that it’s not just “Diamond and his Easter Island critics”. An analogue would be Svensmark’s GCR hypothesis vs. just about everyone else regarding CO2’s role in climate change (it’s fringe types vs. Diamond and just about everyone else who’s studied Easter Island). Of course, KK tends to embrace the fringe elements (such as Curry) in climate science as well …

  40. #41 keith Kloor


    I don’t have any expertise. That’s why I read the literature, and one of the critics I respect on this (Joseph Tainter) happens to be a world-renowned expert on this issue (collapse and overshoot). I’ve also followed the archaeological evidence laid out in the last few years.

    Yet, you are going on about “fringe types” as if they were the ones driving this scholarly debate.

    For good measure, you throw in a non sequitur about Judith Curry. For what purpose? To get in an unrelated dig at Curry and also suggest that I embrace fringe elements in all things…always true to form, you are.

    A leopard never chases its spots.

  41. #42 Eli Rabett

    As to why: It’s the meta not the madness

  42. #43 Steve Bloom

    So OK, it’s blogging lite. Mais ou est le boeuf?

    I will point out again that this is by no means Kloor’s first drive-by on Diamond. And reading the literature means, you know, actually reading it rather than glancing at the hed and lede and thinking you understand the whole story.

    Kloor, I’m not saying don’t post on such things, your point about lack of time being entirely fair, but when you take sides rather than putting it in the form of a question to your readers your chances of ending up with spots on your face are enhanced greatly.

    But now I see your latest on that thread, responding to bcl (who we will recall actually did some homework on this):

    “You have your assessment of the literature and I have mine. You’re welcome to your own interpretation of what the evidence says; I have a different one, suffice to say.”

    Wrong. You may have an interpretation of the evidence, but as you made quite clear above it’s not based on either the evidence or the literature. Yeah, we all have an ego, but at some point being unwilling to climb down on something like this just makes intelligent readers question everything you say. Is that what you want?

  43. #44 Steve Bloom

    So OK, it’s blogging lite. Mais ou est le boeuf?

    I will point out again that this is by no means Kloor’s first drive-by on Diamond. And reading the literature means, you know, actually reading it rather than glancing at the hed and lede and thinking you understand the whole story.

    Kloor, I’m not saying don’t post on such things, your point about lack of time being entirely fair, but when you take sides rather than putting it in the form of a question to your readers your chances of ending up with spots on your face are enhanced greatly.

    But now I see your latest on that thread, responding to bcl (who we will recall actually did some homework on this):

    “You have your assessment of the literature and I have mine. You’re welcome to your own interpretation of what the evidence says; I have a different one, suffice to say.”

    Wrong. You may have an interpretation of the evidence, but as you made quite clear above it’s not based on either the evidence or the literature. Yeah, we all have an ego, but at some point being unwilling to climb down on something like this just makes intelligent readers question everything you say. Is that what you want?

  44. #45 Eli Rabett

    In Keith’s case it would not be a bad thing

  45. #46 keith Kloor


    You’re like the flip side of the skeptic trolls I deal with. You don’t like a particular blog post, you get all indignant over some imaginary transgression on my part, and then I go down a rabbit hole chasing after you. What a waste of my time.

    And oh yeah, here are some other drive-bys I did on Diamond:

  46. #47 Steve Bloom

    Hmm, I suppose “deal with” has something in common with “cultivate,” which brings us back to William’s original point. And yet, lacking those trolls the collide-a-scape would be sadly bereft of the desired collisions. It’s a tough balancing act, no doubt.

    Re the claimed rabbit hole excursion, if only. That would involve engaging on the substance, which Kloor does not do, there being no time for that.

    Re the prior Diamond business, let me summarize for those who don’t know about it:

    Diamond wrote an article based in part on second-hand information he had received from his hired driver while in New Guinea.

    Subsequently, the driver, in collaboration with some New York literati, anthropologists and a law firm, organize to attack (on blogs, mainly) and bring a lawsuit against Diamond and the magazine (collectively hereinafter referred to as “the deep pockets”).

    Nothing has been subsequently seen of this lawsuit (just a one-page filing so far), but based on assorted public statements its premise seems to be that the driver and a cohort or two were libeled by Diamond, and that Diamond should have known better than to believe anything the driver said since everyone knows that New Guineans are such infamous liars.

    It’s hard to imagine them winning such a suit, but given the particulars defending it would be very expensive, and so suspicious mustelids tilt toward the idea that the suit is just garden-variety legal extortion directed toward the aforesaid deep pockets.

    But of course Kloor got all excited about this over the course of a number of posts, it being gossip of the first water.

    BTW, I noticed in reviewing the foregoing that Kloor keeps referring to the Tainter article as an “essay.” It’s not, it’s a book review, and one with an exceptionally snarky tone at that. In any event, book reviews are far too brief to stand in as scholarly refutations. It turns out that an attempt at such a refutation was made in the form of a book (“Questioning Collapse”), which got a pretty mixed reception and seems to have made the error of relying heavily on the same Easter Island material Lynas did. Oops.

  47. #48 dhogaza

    I don’t have any expertise. That’s why I read the literature

    A book review, IMO, is not normally considered “part of the literature”. Perhaps in anthropology it is … on the other hand, Diamond’s Science paper on the subject is definitely “part of the literature”.

    , and one of the critics I respect on this (Joseph Tainter) happens to be a world-renowned expert on this issue (collapse and overshoot).

    And, in an equally futile appeal to authority, Diamond’s also a world-renowned expert…

    Diamond’s refutation of the specific ecological claims made by those relied upon by Lynas seems pretty authoritative. Gave Lynas cause for pause …

  48. #49 Rattus Norvegicus

    One could note that about a week ago Lynas stated that Lipo was preparing a reply to Diamond expected in “a couple of days”. At this point, we are still waiting…

    One could also note that in addition to the Meith and Bork (2010) paper noted by Diamond there are also Mann, et. al. (no not that Mann) and the Rull, et. al. review, neither of which find much evidence for the rat hypothesis. Rull feels that the richly forested hypothesis is not proven since it is possible that the extant cores could be seeing evidence of a “gallery forest” ringing the calderas, although no evidence is presented to support this — it is just offered as an alternative hypothesis. It should be noted that Mann, et. al. find evidence for a treeline on the slopes of the volcanoes, which would tend to undermine the gallery forest hypothesis. In addition, the evidence for widespread slash and burn agriculture found by Meith and Bork supports the widespread forest view.

    Mann, et. al. is here:

    Rull, et. al. is here:

    KK has still evaded the question placed by BCL w/regard to Meith and Bork, adding these two papers just makes the “rats did it” hypothesis seem sillier…

  49. #50 Rattus Norvegicus


    Substantive comment in the spam filter, I suppose because of two links to actual papers providing evidence against KK’s “interpretation” of the evidence.

  50. #51 Rattus Norvegicus

    Link to Rull, et. al. should have been this (duh!):

  51. #52 Rattus Norvegicus

    Link to Rull, et. al. is incorrect. The correct link is:

  52. #53 Steve Bloom

    However incorrect it was, the rat thing was at least based on a view of some actual evidence, but the walking statue business seems to have been complete speculation, and by people who seem unlikely on the face of it to have had much experience with moving heavy objects. As someone who has, the idea that one would try to do such a thing *down a significant slope* strikes me as entirely idiotic.

    Of note, ancient Egyptians, who had a serious shortage of wood (it had to be expensively imported) are not thought by archeologists to have attempted “walking” with similar objects (obelisks).

    [The “walking” stuff seems very odd. You’d need fairly solid evidence for it. And I haven’t seen it, though I haven’t looked hard -W]

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