Link fest

Chris Mooney and PZ Myers complete the demolition of Fumento's article that I started here. Sir Oolius also got stuck in and managed to get one of Fumento's characteristically lame comebacks.

Inspired by my post mentioning co-authorship chains with the "Hockey Team", John Fleck and William Connolley have been looking at such chains. Main discoveries: A four link chain from McIntyre to Mann and a seven link one from Motl to Connolley.

James Annan weighs in on the frog extinction paper I blogged on here. He also has an interesting post on his new paper that gives tighter bounds on climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2. This is good news -- really catastrophic warming is very unlikely.

Mr Orange writes about TMBG's sciencey songs and challenges us to come up with more. OK, Flanders and Swann, First and Second Law. And Kate Bush, Pi

3.1415926535 897932

3846 264 338 3279

(OK, so she makes a mistake and skips 22 digits after getting the first 78 correct.)

And don't forget the 29th Skeptic's Circle.


More like this

"This is good news -- really catastrophic warming is very unlikely. "

Oh no, this is horrible news; now how will the allpowerful and wealthy climate science cartel maintain funding?

Swann. Two n's.


Get a life, man. What on Earth do you know about science and who funds it? About empirical research? You consistently dredge up nonsense about the 'climate change cartel', based exclusively on your clear ideological/political bias. As a senior scientist, it bores me to see the sceptics scraping this dry barrel as a last resort to discredit the findings and motives of researchers. Go elsewhere if you want to persist with this kind of crap.

As for amphibian extinctions, this is not a recent phenomenon. A seminal paper by Houlahan et al. (2000, also in Nature) looked at the demographics of huge numbers of frog populations around the world for many taxa, and found that there was a significant 2% decline per annum on average between 1960 and the late 1990's. This pandemic decline is alarming for a number of reasons: first, the short time scale concerned, second, the consistency observed, and third, the global scale over which it is occurring. Moreover, amphibians constitute excellent model organisms in studying changes in environmental quality because they possess semi-permeable external membrances and are thus highly sensitive to changes in the physical and chemical environment. Its no small wonder that many of my fellow scientists argue convicngly that amphibians are an apt metaphor for the miner's canary. Their global decline tells us that something very serious is going wrong with the environment, and since its so rapid and global in scale, that its almost certainly due to a range of potentially synergized factors stemming from human alterations and simplification of the biosphere. The bottom line is that humans are not somehow exempt from these forces, only that the effects will take longer to trickle through the food chain.

Specifically, there are many other examples that things in nature are going seriously wrong: unraveling and fraying food webs, coral reef bleaching, wetland loss and eutrophication, songbird declines across many different biomes, the very high number of endangered species in well-studied groups, the breakdown of ecosystem services as a consequence of human-induced changes of these systems and because of the extinction of species and genetically populations withing them. If Z, or any other contrarians (Tim Curtin, Hans Erren, Jack Lackton etc.) want to discuss this, I am willing to shed more light on the subject. But, before ranting on about the big 'scientific conspriacy', out to 'scare the public for funds' and similar such gobbledegook learn a little of the relevant science. Blowhards like Fumento write big pieces short on basic scientific understanding and knowledge, but what else would one expect? The sceptics and the think-tank crowd and their ilk - scribes like Fumento, Bjorn Lomborg and Ronald Bailey - have no formal training in areas of climate science, population and systems ecology etc., so their pontifications may look compelling to laypeople but to scientists who have bothered to dedicate their lives to their fields their rhetoric is usuaslly embarrasingly simplistic and selective.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 03 Mar 2006 #permalink


Is he? As an outsider to the site, you could fool me. But if this is so, then I wholly retract that part, and sorry Z!!!!!!! Grovel, grovel!

But the remainder of my rant remains valid with respect to the sceptics. I cringe when know-nothings like Fumento and Bailey attempt to discuss ecology as I cringed when Lomborg tried, as well). Dano made a relevant point in an earlier thread, that its time to move on from the 'hockey stick'. I have a book from 1992 that examines the ecological impacts of anthropogenic climate change, which was even then being acknowledged (a full six years before the Mann et al. paper was published). The hockey stick has been used as a punching bag to create the impression that the entire AGW debate hinges on it. In my experience of recent years, its a tried and trusted strategy of the 'don't change anything', 'business-as-usual' contrarian crowd. Force the media and public's attention to stick to one issue, no matter how pedantic. This distracts the public and policymakers from other areas that are as or even more highly relevant in the debate.

This strategy plays into the second, and larger aim: take uncertainties over the outcome of a process and apply it to the entire process itself. And, finally, the third: if there is not 100%, unequivocol proof, then it isn't happening. I had this back and forth a few years ago with a libertarian blogger who used this snide, devious tactic to deny that the effects of acid rain on forest and freshwater ecosystems are negative. One eminent researcher in this field in the US told me that arguing against people who use this strategy is like "Trying to win a pissing match with a skunk". He went on to say that all of the indications are that acid rain (his studies are in the US Appalachia and Great Smokey Mountains, where acid levels in precipitation are 100-500 times low level ambient) is highly deleterious to the environment, but that 100% proof would require billions and billions of dollars, which he said are "Never to be funded". Thus, the problem does not exist.

The same strategy has been used over and over again to deny mass killing by western forces in Iraq, as well as in previous imperial campaigns by the US and its client states (e.g. wars in Viet Nam, Korea, across Latin America). The number of victims probably tallies in the order of ten-twenty million since the end of the second world war, but because we dont' count the victims of our own crimes, then the crime does not exist. It is self-effacing, and thus most atrocities committed by the west never even officially enter into the history books, because 'they didn't happen' - no official count of our victims means the atrocity is pure fiction. Well, the anti-environmental mob use the same trick.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 03 Mar 2006 #permalink

Excellent "rant", Jeff!