March 2015 Open Thread

More thread.

To forestall a first of the month from DufferPuffer.

About half way through Nuccitelli's 'Climatology versus Pseudoscience' and considering pulling in to give Keys a blast about his pseudo-review and pseudo-comments. I do not intend to get sucked in but it looks like some of his comments have been pulled.

BTW I have been trying to find out where the 21st Century Global Mean Temperature diagram at top of GWPF's page, they have labelled it 'Source: Met Office 2015' but have not been able to find it at the Met' Office site. I was wondering if the GlobalWarmingPiFfle gnomes have worked a cartoon by messing about with a Met Office sourced data file.

Wish I had kept a copy of that old one of RSS at the head of their old Charter page. Might have on my old, and dying, PC if I can chug it long enough.

It doesn't matter, Russell, they're telling a few nutcases what they want to hear, and they won't check or question.

See the bullshit they did in misquoting Hojab Latif, or Brad's own efforts at changing the words or, if all else fails, the meaning of words so that they mean what they want it to mean.

Anybody else enjoying this on-going saga?

http://www.amazon.com/review/R1BQNHMMSXXTO/ref=cm_cr_dp_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASI…

Keyes has copied his fake review directly from a "review" that Dana did of Andrew Montford ludicrous and embarrassing "Hockey sitch Illusion" book fulol of lies.

He has since edited it considerably, for some reason.

He also posted a link to a different publisher where he had copied his fake review.

Basically, he is coming off as a complete cock, and insane to boot. It's funny.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 20 Mar 2015 #permalink

Boy, is that familiar.

Sorry for the pedantry Wow but is it not Mojib Latif?

GSW.

It was a simple task. Answer a couple of simple questions:

What would it take for the abovementioned deniers of warming to acknowledge that warming has “resumed”? And how would this relate to the data that has been collected to date?

And you failed.

Of course you could always try to redeem some small part of your disasterous humiliation by actually answering those very straightforward questions in a sensible fashion.

Is that really so far beyond your abilities?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 20 Mar 2015 #permalink

He has since edited it considerably, for some reason.

That may have something to do with his posts being reported to Amazon, with an explanation of his form...

And yes, that comment thread is chuckle-worthy. I LOLed when I saw Keyes say:

Harry" (if that really is your name)...

and:

Then again, that's the prerogative of those who use fake names, isn't it, "Harry Belafonte"? They have so little to lose by embarrassing themselves.

given that Keyes himself admitted several years ago that his own name is a pseudonym.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 20 Mar 2015 #permalink

@chaps

First there was "The Pause", then the reining back of expectations for severe weather events,

"Nor is there expected to be an increase in the intensity and frequency of severe weather events in general at this relatively early stage"

And now, a further re visiting of climate sensitivity based on the latest observations. (H/T Bishop Hill)

"Climate sensitivity takes another tumble"
http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2015/3/19/climate-sensitivity-ta…

"the preferred ECS best estimate using an 1859–1882 base period reduces by 0.2°C to 1.45°C"

" More importantly, the upper 83% ECS bound comes down to 1.8°C and the 95% bound reduces dramatically – from 4.05°C to 2.2°C"

oh dear, low climate sensitivity as well. Time for you lot to get your rosaries out and chant "I still believe, I still believe" or maybe form some sort of "self help" group to get you thru.
;)

the absence of evidence for an increase in severe weather" - "Nor is there expected to be an increase in the intensity and frequency of severe weather events in general at this relatively early stage. That is expected to kick in as the century progresses. " - apparently.

GSW.

Fail, again.

Let's try again.

What "pause", and how do you distinguish it from variability in the system?

What will indicate when the "pause" is 'over', whatever your definition of it is?

On sensitivity...

1) Stevens' is a model - you know, the things that you don't believe in.

2) Paleo-evidence sets a fairly tight bound to ECS and no tinkering at the edges in a model will trump physical reality.

3) Further, pointing at the lower bound of aerosol forcing is an exercise in squirrel-spotting - can you guess why?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 20 Mar 2015 #permalink

Meanwhile the Arctic winter sea ice extent has reach a record low:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iNet2WkHkU

Yes, the summer low might be "scientifically more interesting", but there are profound implications for a winter trajectory that itself is starting to set ever new record lows.

And as an aside, c.f. "sensitivity"...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 20 Mar 2015 #permalink

So is that it then Bernard? 'Arctic sea ice' the last refuge of the climate alarm scoundrel!
;)

re #7, yes it was.

Feel free to correct errors, don't bother avoid hurting my feelings trying to make out they're merely nits. I don't mind!

Ganger, odd that you should crow over "the last refuge" attempt at a gotcha when just a few minutes earlier you tried yet again the "pause" meme.

You've been told that there's no such pause or halt, and why. So we won't bother explaining it all over again. Just rebut the simplest way necessary:

THERE IS NO PAUSE.

re #7, yes it was.

Feel free to correct errors, don't bother avoid hurting my feelings trying to make out they're merely nits. I don't mind!

Ganger, odd that you should crow over "the last refuge" attempt at a gotcha when just a few minutes earlier you tried yet again the "pause" meme.

You've been told that there's no such pause or halt, and why. So we won't bother explaining it all over again. Just rebut the simplest way necessary: THERE IS NO PAUSE.

Whenever you bring it up again, I'll just respond with THERE IS NO PAUSE. Every "oh, look, it says the word pause here!" too.

“the preferred ECS best estimate using an 1859–1882 base period reduces by 0.2°C to 1.45°C”

And they're entirely and massively wrong.

You know what you are GooSeWit, change the vowel in that emoticon, that's you.

Ignoring Griselda's usual fuckwitted attempts to be clever (akin to and as effective as a sloth's attempts to look busy) and to mark the occasion, we experienced a 95% solar eclipse here this morning. And despite forecasts, the clouds parted to allow ninety minutes or so of viewing.

The one abiding observation I have is that at the max totality here, it became dark and gloomy like a rainy day with heavy cloud at dusk - and yet the shadows were as sharp as a bright and sunny midday. Very strange. Possibly what a sunny day in Hell might look like. I haven't seen anyone mention that yet, so thought it worth recording.

Mind you, I've never seen anyone else mention the yellow sunset-band-on-the-horizon effect in all directions I witnessed for nearly 2 minutes during the full totality in Cornwall during the August 1999 event either. Roll on the next (UK) one in 2090!

GSW, don't you come here and serve good news when the portentologists are still warming to the fact that the Vanatu disaster wasn't a proof of an accelerating global warming. :-)

By Olaus Petri (not verified) on 20 Mar 2015 #permalink

GSW.

Fail, yet again. What's that, about the 4th time in this iteration of questioning that you can't even cross the starting line? What a squib.

Let’s try again, and I'll type especially slowly so that you might have a remote chance of keeping up.

1) To what “pause” exactly are you referring, and how do you distinguish it from variability in the system?

And this is the particularly interesting question...

2) what will indicate when the “pause” is ‘over’, whatever your definition of it is?

This is a very simple question that is not even predicated on your claim of a pause being wrong - it's simply asking you what you require as evidence in order to be convinced that the planet is warming.

Why is it so very difficult for you to even acknowledge the question, let alone to answer it? Are you just scared, or unfortunately brain damaged, or held tragically hostage by radical "warmists", or is the evil Agenda 21 Conspiratorial Committee hacking your computer and deleting all answers in order to maintain persistence of the global warming meme as perpetrated by tens of thousands of the world's professional, expert scientists?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 20 Mar 2015 #permalink

Ah, Olaus has appeared to render moral support unto the floundering GSW.

Olaus, are you able to answer the questions that are so patently beyond GSW's capacity? They were, after all, addressed to you too.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 20 Mar 2015 #permalink

Seriously people, these are not a difficult couple of questions.

If you dispute the evidence of a current warming trend, you must simultaneously have a threshold of change in the global temperature record above which the trajectory meets whatever criterion it is by which you would judge that warming is in fact occurring. In other words, if you "know that it's not warming" you must also know what it would take to identify "actual warming"?

What is this threshold?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 20 Mar 2015 #permalink

Bernie, my friend, your doom and gloom fantasies are lobal, and accelarating only among Deltoids and similar cultists. Face it, you guys have turned into the methan bomb that also were lobal. Your fanatic unscientificness reeks but is fun to listen to.

By Olaus Petri (not verified) on 20 Mar 2015 #permalink

And while at it Bernie, you and the megalomanic emperor penguine could do a search over at the Rockefellers and see if you could find any trace of the well funded denying machine obstructing climate science:

http://www.rbf.org/content/grants-search

I only found well funded climate science and aktivist groups, but then again, I do not believe in conspiracies. :-)

By Olaus Petri (not verified) on 21 Mar 2015 #permalink

GSW, don’t you come here and serve good news

So it's OK to lie and deny reality as long as you can tell others that it's meant to be good news?

Well, I guess that explains Willie's lying...

And your own.

But giving someone the "good news" that they will not die if they stand in front of a speeding train whilst you push them in front of it isn't really that useful. At least stop pushing.

Or is that an infringement on your freedom to murder?

A pair of freaking morons! Olaus, particularly, is the perfect Dunning-Krugerite, and will go, drool-flecked, to it's imbecilic grave genuinely convinced it was smarter than all them scientists.

By such as these was your posterity poisoned, people...

Craig Thomas back in last months thread you mentioned a book by Steven M Druker on GM or GE, from which I have since learned that Richard Dawkins has professed an opinion that this technology is safe, furthermore he has given space for Jerry Coyne to have a tilt at Jane Goodall.

Having read all of Dawkins, and also 'Why Evolution is True' by Coyne (all on my book shelves) I am very disappointed. One would think that, given the detail that Dawkins has used to describe what genes are and how they work, alleles and all that then he would have reached a very different conclusion.

Although I have a long way to go yet through Druker's book it does appear from the early text that the GM (GE) proponents have been exceptionally cavalier WRT caution.

Lionel and Craig, the GMO promoters are a nasty bunch of anti-science bullies. The main bastions of science are honesty, transparency and repeatability of experimental results or pronouncements. The GMO promoters fail on all counts. When was the last time a prominent scientist was fired from his position for a supposedly "wrong" result"? I have asked some of these bullies this question and they have failed to come up with another scientist (Arpad Pusztai is the scientist I am referring to) who was fired for this. The GMO promoters vilify any scientists who publish results which show the harmful effects of the GMO products.

The whole notion of "substantial equivalence" is not a scientific position. For example, peanuts contaminated with aflatoxin are "substantially equivalent" to non-contaminated peanuts but no-one in their right mind would knowingly eat them. Short term, 90 day feeding trials, would not find any problem with them.

Unfortunately politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are behooven to the GM companies. But at last some of their anti-science tactics are being revealed and there is growing support for independent and more rigorous testing of their crops and associated products. Just recently the WHO reclassified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045%2815%297…

This is in addition to its proven effect as an inhibitor of the retinoic acid signalling pathway (leads to neural tube defects) and as an endocrine disruptor.

These companies are going to have a lot more to answer for than the tobacco industry or the fossil fuel industry for their dishonesty and harmful products.

By Ian Forrester (not verified) on 21 Mar 2015 #permalink

Ian thanks for that, pretty much how I see things, as I wrote I am very surprised at Dawkins.

It seems that Drucker is going someway on GM/GE towards what Robert Proctor did for Tobacco with 'Golden Holocaust' of which I have a copy and have read. I admit to having been a smoker (Blue Liners duty free seemed promising back all those decades ago) but I only ever used the non-filter type, except the very odd occasions when offered and which always served to remind me why I didn't like the spats and why most times I would apologise and say I'll stick to my own. I tell that little story because the book revealed why I acted like that but without knowing why.

I realised early on that I was smoking far fewer than those who were smoking cig's with spats. Well under ten a day on average. Some of that was from working in a potentially flammable environment fuel tanks and bombs tend to make one cautious.

Given your glyphosate reference I take it you have come across the book behind this video Our Stolen Future - Revisited 15 Years Later.

Oh for god's sake, you're all "GMO's are poison" freaks as well. Is there not a" thick" side of the argument you guys are not queueing up to be on?

Ah, more histrionics from our recurrent Chicken Little.

And such unnecessary histrionics too. It's not as if it wasn't realised a long time ago that the corporate agenda are Griselda's agenda.

It's more Orwellian than that. GSW comes from the denier crowd, and it's not in their nature to consider people can disagree about something yet still agree about AGW. They don't disagree, at least not in the open in front of others, and they normalise this by insisting that this is true for everyone everywhere.

The fact that some are against the tencho-topia ideas of GM/GE making them used before we're really REALLY clear on biology, and consider this a long way off still, means, in the denier mind, we ALL think the same on GMOs.

Hence, "you're all".

The histrionics is the fallacy of the false dichotomy, where it's either accept GMOs or "GMO’s are poison”. This is so that they can therefore ignore the "poison" side's arguments because they've already internalised the idea that it's not a logical and rational thought.

Ah, Olaus has appeared to render moral support unto the floundering GSW.

It's amazing how often they turn up in quick succession patting each other on the back.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 22 Mar 2015 #permalink

Bang on, Wow. What an alarmist he is...

Of all his idiocies, it seems GSW's greatest idiocy is his apparent conviction the he is not in fact an idiot. Still it's almost amusing for the rest of us to watch.

It's such a simple question Olaus Petri, and GSW.

How would you tell that the "pause" has ceased and that warming continues apace?

Why is it so difficult for you to provide an answer?

Is it that you don't (gasp) actually know the answer?!

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 22 Mar 2015 #permalink

GSW

oh dear, low climate sensitivity as well. Time for you lot to get your rosaries out and chant “I still believe, I still believe” or maybe form some sort of “self help” group to get you thru.

Lowball climate senstivity estimates are incompatible with paleoclimate behaviour (as Bernard J points out) so must be wrong. It's really that simple. You should read up on what other aerosol experts have to say about Stevens' monograph. There are problems.

Andrew Montford knows fuck-all. He is a misinterpreter of interpretations, at best. Find somebody knowledgeable to read.

Uh! Oh! A longer version got stuck in the works.

Is Lynas a master of strawman argument?

Climate change is real, caused almost entirely by humans, and presents a potentially existential threat to human civilisation. Solving climate change does not mean rolling back capitalism, suspending the free market or stopping economic growth.

With those two rather innocuous statements, I have just alienated most people on either side of the climate debate.

Well the science and climate scientists (across all relevant field) have not politicised the issue. That began with the push-back by fossil fuel interests against Hansen and others.

As for stopping economic growth that depends on how you define that term and are clear as to who it is applicable.

I was impressed by the message in his early books but Lynas is less impressive now, particularly as he tries to misrepresent those who wish for tight regulation of GM crops and total historical transparency of all research in a field as dangerous as fracking, Lynas writes:

Witness the recent “no consensus” statement pushed by the greens on GM crops, which exactly parallel “no consensus” statements pushed by the right on the climate. Stuck in their political trenches, neither side sees the irony – or the damage they are doing to science overall.

There is only irony if you manufacture it by using a distorted comparison of the science of the two issues which Lynas has just done.

Pick up a copy of Druker .

PS BBD I have been following that Stevens commentary over at ATTP with interest and figured sooner or later one of our numpties would come here crowing.

Lionel

Yes, I saw you over there the other day. Interesting thread. And it's always nice to have a credentialed expert like Karsten weighing in with yer actual domain expertise. Unlike the usual chorus of fuckwits, eg. Montford et al.

Is it that you don’t (gasp) actually know the answer?!

Well, you have to be capable of comprehending the question before you know whether or not you can answer it. That lets Oily out for certain; GooSeey, can you do better?

Re the sensitivity thing; could it be any more obvious that these clowns only credit those results that suit them? One paper in a hundred proves the world - no skepticism required, no uncertainty involved - if it happens to yield a number they like; they simply ignore or deride the other 99, and then deny there's any such thing as a consensus resulting from a metaanalysis of the lot.

There are reasons that laypeople are confined to blogs as anonymous entities. Olaus wrote this rather bizarre summation:

"Your fanatic unscientificness reeks but is fun to listen to"

Let's get this straight. Olaus has no scientific qualifications at all in any field of endeavor. His views on climate change contrast with the views of the vast majority of qualified climate and Earth scientists, as well as the conclusions reached by every major national scientific organization in every country on Earth. Yet in small corner of the blogosphere he seems t be suggesting that he alone holds the scientific high ground.

That's the sum of it. He's a lunatic. And there are many like him. Look at GSW. He' equally convinced himself - by reading appalling blogs again run by unqualified hacks - that he's an expert in climate science. Strip away the pretense and we find once again that he's got zilch in the way of career achievements in anything remotely related to science.

Over the years, these twits more-or-less sum up the acumen of AGW deniers who have popped up in Deltoid. Not a scientist in sight to on their side. Just a small number of intellectual lightweights who in the bigger world are seen ad quacks. The internet has been their salvation, because it gives them the impression that their voices count, that they they are contributing to relevant debates. Truth is, the scientific community myself included, sees them for what they are: idiots.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 23 Mar 2015 #permalink

As for GMOs, the major point that their supporters overlook is that they do not increase food security but reduce it. When a small number of corporations move from indirect control of the food chain via the dependence of farmers on pesticides, fertilizers etc. to direct control (e.g. holding patent rights on genetic material and the seed bank) then this should be seen as a terrifying development. Those transnationals holding patent rights want hard cash for their product that many poor farmers in the south cannot afford.

The jury is stil out on the health and ecological risks associated with GMO technology, but the social and economic risks are as great or even greater. Yet this latter area is cleverly glossed over by those who argue in favor of GMO technology as a cure-all for world hunger. The corporate sector use hunger as deep PR cover to promote their products, but he real agendas driving poverty and hunger - massive disparities in wealth distribution - are ritually ignored.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 23 Mar 2015 #permalink

“Your fanatic unscientificness reeks but is fun to listen to”

Jeff, something to remember is that Lap dog's definition of scientist is "you're not a scientist unless you agree with me". Which is exactly the same definition of scientist for those in ISIS.

Which shows the ridiculous projection when they claim religious faith of those they disagree with, doesn't it.

ad quacks

I think Jeff may have been alluding to the well known latin phrase 'Per ardua ad quacks'.

Because it is all too hard for them which is why vulpine TV weather poppets and backwater local accountants cater to their tastes and abilities.

Jeff, I regularly have a go at GMO-enthusiasm on Facebook pages such as "Australian Skeptics".

It's a very interesting experience.

Initially, they assume I'm a crystal-worshipping organic lunatic.

They copy and paste the worst of the canned lies from the GMO industry.

It takes some dedication to get them to listen.

I'm starting to open some doors - they seriously seem to believe that objections to GMO can only be anti-scientific woo-related blather - it doesn't occur to them that there could be a rational argument for not being quite so enthusiastic.

It's very similar to the -pro-nuclear lobby, except GMO hasn't had its Fukushima yet.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 23 Mar 2015 #permalink

Craig,

It’s very similar to the -pro-nuclear lobby, except GMO hasn’t had its Fukushima yet.

I see it as very similar to the fracking industry too.

If Druker has it right then then a Fukushima (curious aptness about that name) event would have been recognised with L-trypotophan supplements where the active ingredient had been produced by a technique using GE (genetic engineering) by a Japanese company Showa Denko KK had become contaminated because the company attempted to increase the efficacy of the process and by so doing triggered the side production of a dangerous contaminant.

This has not yet been fully proven but only because the cover up by the FDA inculcated systemic ignorance across the industry and in any, including other scientists, who wrote about genetic engineering.

BTW it is clear that Genetic Modification is now the preferred term, by the industry its promoters and by extension commentators, because it sounds less scary than genetic engineering.

I expect the Druker book to be piled on by those wishing to stifle or distort the debate, watch for an explosion of reviews and comments at Amazon.

OK. So it must have been something in the quoted section from the above link.

In September, in an inlet some 1,800 miles north of Fargo, North Dakota, where the North American landmass dissolves into the Arctic Ocean, the whales met in the middle. They spent two weeks together, and although not much happened before they turned around, the meeting was historic. The fossil record indicates the last time Pacific and Atlantic bowhead whales came into contact was at least 10,000 years ago.

In the last 40 years, the Arctic has warmed by about 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit, more than twice the overall global rise in that same period. Already grizzly bears are tromping into polar bear territory while fish like cod and salmon are leaving their historic haunts to follow warming waters north. One tangible result of the migration, scientists report, is that animals will learn to live with new neighbors. But polar biologists worry that animals could get a little too friendly with each other...the chances of encountering a different species jump. “All of a sudden, hybridization will skyrocket,

Now can our resident nonsensists tell us what the dangers are from that process emphasised at the end of that quote before reading further?

One hint: mules.

Strange, but now blockquote failed?

In September...“All of a sudden, hybridization will skyrocket,

Now can our resident nonsensists tell us what the dangers are from that process emphasised at the end of that quote before reading further?

One hint: mules.

Could really do with preview or edit functions, not everybody has 20/20 vision and dyslexia doesn't help which comes to the fore reading from a screen, that is why I prefer dead trees for lengthy text.

Grover'sSerialW***er

Oh no, another terrifying manbearpig warning.

You didn't read the article did you. As you think like a mule my mule reference flew over your head, did it not.

Gitter, when it comes to histrionics, you really don't have any room to talk.

"It's all a conspiracy! New World Order! We will be sent back to the dark ages!!!".

But go on, if you think this time, for the first time in your life, you're right, then go ahead, explain why you said it.

Or is the reason you said it the same as the rest of your fainting fits, that you don't think?

In the case of Polar Bears, genetic dilution and inter-breeding with grizzlies won't be the main problem. When their habitat has been decimated, as all trends are indicating, then they won't survive. It is as simple as that.

Hybrid zones certainly are not high fitness zones, either. But the main threat posed by climate warming is that it will be beyond the4 capacity of many species to adapt.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 23 Mar 2015 #permalink

I'm also not so keen on wording such as, "Salmon, etc... are following warmer waters North".
What they are in fact doing is *fleeing* warming waters.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 23 Mar 2015 #permalink

Well I suppose those salmon could always flee to the Eastern North Atlantic where surface waters have cooled.

That is the sort of simplistic statement that the OP-GSW axis of nonsenseists would come up with.

As for those cooling surface waters I have been anticipating a study that would conclude that for some time now.

Craig. I'll bet Nina V Fedoroff, author of 'Mendel in the Kitchen: A Scientist's View of Genetically Modified Food' is sharpening her pen right now to prepare a rebutal to Druker's devastating statement.

Having got that far, one of the techniques employed in GE (let us call it as it should be (Genetic 'Stone Age' Engineering) is similar to letting chimps loose with a pile of Meccano and expecting something useful to be created. I'll try to conjure a closer analogy in due course being not entirely happy with the one here.

AMOC, yes, just another fright but well it's a connected system. I'm still digesting the WAIS news that began to hit the journals about eighteen months ago.

By cRR Kampen (not verified) on 24 Mar 2015 #permalink

BBD from your second link:

..Atlantic meridional overturning current, or AMOC...

Ahem! That should be Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.

An elementary mistake.

cRR Kampen

And never mind Totten (no not Hotspur).

IPCC far too conservative as many were recognising many moons ago.

Those living some distance above sea level do not realise what is coming being clueless about sewage handling.

cRR

The WAIS will be a nightmare for our grandchildren and generations of their descendents. The AMOC might cause snap changes in NH atmospheric circulation (aka 'climate') that could hit hard and relatively soon, by which I mean within a very few decades if not even sooner.

The WAIS combined with the rest will end Holland by the end of this century. River delta will have to retreat, at some point we can't pump it out anymore.

Lionel A, ffing humanity has no clue of what is coming. Moreover and worse, when it actually happens (e.g. the Levant drought) people will STILL have no clue as to what happened to them.
So when first Brazil/Sao Paulo then California crash into dust and water wars and refugee crises still no-one will have a clue.
Signed, Cassandra. What a laugh really.

By cRR Kampen (not verified) on 25 Mar 2015 #permalink

Of course, ()for the benefit of Los Numpties brigade) the important element of the Cassandra myth is that her predictions were always right, but never believed.

Perhaps the Trojans had their own right wing think tanks and Senatorial dissemblers too.

Indeed, chek, that is what actually happened to Cassandra. The great thing is of course reality (or the actual God ;) ) would take revenge for her. I'd like to envisage Cassandra sitting back and relax and enjoy the mayhem.

By cRR Kampen (not verified) on 25 Mar 2015 #permalink

Craig,

I don't know if you have got to the Kollar-Kotelly judgement yet in Druker's book but those judgements were erratic and capricious IMHO.

Here is an article which teases them out.

I picked up my copy of 'The Mathematics of Life' by Ian Stewart and turned to Chapter 7 'The Molecule of Life' which contains useful list of the 20 amino acids and a table of the three letter base codes that delineate them.

Stewart really skewers the GE process with some pithy take downs such as:

I wouldn't trust a computer whose software had been hacked by a bright ten-year old, even if the result gave me a really nice screen saver. I would worry whether anything had accidentally been damaged when the program was hacked...

...But right now, genetic engineers are really just clever hackers, and no one has much idea of how the genetic 'operating system' really works.

I can understand that thinking having once been involved in software development and and one time taking over a project started by another. The machine was a by today's standards primitive Apple ][e, without even a decent assembler (thanks Woz'). As some of the software was in machine code, well as Hex values injected into memory, the process was more torturous than I cared for.

The shell of the program was in Apple BASIC more primitive than Acorn's BBC BASIC which had not only a built in assembler but also more powerful constructs such as Procedures and Functions. Now these constructs could be tricky to handle. One common requirement was to guard against incorrect keyboard entries. With BBC Basic this was comparatively easy but could hold surprises when altering elements of the necessary Function created.

One disturbing aspect of the GE process, which had me thinking of monkeys and Meccano, involved, in Stewart's words:

Genetic modification fires alien DNA randomly into the genome, allowing it to lodge wherever it falls. But an organism's genome is not merely a list of bases. It is a highly complex dynamical system. It is naive to imagine that making crude changes here and there will have only the obvious expected effects.

This throws out of the window any expectation of repeatable and consistent results. Not only that genes can move around. How can this possibly be ecologically and consumption safety tested?

So, it beggars belief that when considering the epidemiological problems associated with long term consumption of such products, with litigation being mooted as a controlling factor thus after the event of bad side effects a proponent for the industry should consider the following a valid approach (Druker page 132):

One undaunted advocate suggested the food would first be sold abroad and not introduced in the US until it was clear that no catastrophes had occurred in foreign populations.

I've not followed the GE debate closely other than to note the views of those like Stewart who for good reason emphasise the precautionary principle.

I have never understood for instance why trials were conducted in open countryside rather than in sealed bunkers when migration - or more accurately contamination - by GE pollen was known to happen to neighbouring crops within a short period of time.

Lionel - not matter how well-constructed and factual Mercola's argument (in this case) might be, it is Mercola, purveyor of woo, AIDS-denialism and vaccine-denialism.

I wouldn't link to anything he has written.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 25 Mar 2015 #permalink

Patrick Moore, the guy who claims to have co-founded Greenpeace and has a nice business being an environmentalist/PR flack for hire by corporations who need some vaguely green associations to rub off on their PR message of the day, tells people you can safely drink a quart of glyphosate (perhaps in the light of recent reports that it may in fact be carcinogenic to people who work with it).

When offered a glass of it he says he "knows it won't hurt me" but refuses to drink it because "I'm not stupid".

That's basically an admission of a lie on his part...

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 25 Mar 2015 #permalink

Just to preserve a collection of Brad Keyes misinformation after it predictably vanished from its context-providing position under his dishonest fake-review:
http://www.amazon.com/Climatology-versus-Pseudoscience-Exposing-Predict…

"John Cook the SkSFürher; Lewandowsky's halfwit henchboy."
"Naomi Oreskes is unusually ugly, very dull and a deliberate traducer of the scientific method."
[Merchants of Doubt] "was a farcical anti-Semitic conspiracy pamphlet "
"Mann's private, home-coded, non-standard, unexplained, undocumented statistical methods"
[Mann's data is freely available] "thanks to years of FOI campaigning."
"The "Hockey Stick" has always, always referred to the almost-1000-years-long shaft followed by the 100-to-200-years-long blade"
"We know, thanks to the Climategate whistleblower,..."[about the external hacking of the CRU email system].
"No number of climate studies can or will ever shed any light on the validity or invalidity of the procedure Mann followed in deriving the Hockey Stick graph from his own data."
"the entire mendacious language of "acidification" was nothing but science-as-an-extension-of-politics"
"continental drift is just as likely to ruin your life as global warming ever will!"
"The actual geology ain't changed. What did? The consensus. And, thereby, the actual geology. Expert agreement influences-nay, governs-plate movements."
" Wow is suggesting... that if the MWP had been temporally coherent all around the world, then humanity would have died off"
*** Winning Entry ***
"Polar bears have "experienced" the temperature of a zoo in Germany. They have "experienced" the temperature of a zoo in Sydney....I've cited zoological proof. Polar bears don't mind nice weather."
*** Winning Entry ***
"Science achieves consensus when scientists stop reasoning."
"It turns out skepticism isn't always anti-science"
[the idea that human actions are contributing to global warming is...]"the very hypothesis which the IPCC was entrusted with examining the truth (or otherwise) of"
"nobody has ever come up with scientific evidence showing that [global warming] IS a (nett) danger."
"it's easy to scoff at unvalidated computer models with no track record of working"
"My point is that-to repeat-nobody denies climate change."
"The desire to find (even more) dirt on Mann comes from a forlorn hope that, if we find enough, people like you will eventually stop defending him"
"...we already know more than enough to convict him as a pseudoscientific charlatan,"
"The Scientists circle their wagons around an obviously-corrupt member of their profession"
"the only impeccably honorable climate scientists I can think of, off the top of my head, happen to be deniers like Lindzen"
"Mann's crimes against science."
"there are no climate-change deniers"
"A consensus will never-can never-mean anything in science"
" Something else I care about is the integrity of science"
"there is no evidence that AGW is going to be dangerous unless emissions are reduced"
"I'd rather see the tens of billions of research dollars spent on something-anything-more beneficial to mankind, like curing baldness."
"a warming ocean is an ocean that cannot hold as much CO2 in solution....One "problem" mitigates the other"
"Normally the more you know, the closer your opinions are to the truth, but climate change is unique: the more you know, the more you delude yourself."

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 25 Mar 2015 #permalink

It is interesting t review how Monsanto came to the conclusion that glyphosate/Round Up is safe. In many cases these agricultural chemical producers submitted their products to two infamous testing laboratories, Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories and Craven Laboratories. Both of these companies and their key employees were found guilty of fraud.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Bio-Test_Laboratories

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craven_Laboratories

A good summary of this and the involvement of Monsanto can be found here:

http://www.1hope.org/glyphos8.htm

Just to show how incompetent the employees and the Government regulators who read the reports are there is this piece of junk science:

A compelling example of the poor quality of IBT data comes from an EPA toxicologist who wrote, "It is also somewhat difficult not to doubt the scientific integrity of a study when the IBT stated that it took specimens from the uteri (of male rabbits) for histopathological examination.

Only a fraction of the chemicals tested by these fraudulent companies shave ever been retested and most are still being used.

By Ian Forrester (not verified) on 25 Mar 2015 #permalink

Graig, I missed the Taleb et al paper - thanks for the link.

As the old guard here would know I have no issue with lab-based GM because the organisms are generally well contained, but I do have a problem with agricultural genetic engineering for the reason that they describe in terms of loss of diversity from clonal expansion (and resultant 'ownership' of breeding rights). I'm pleased to see that some academics are still discussing such matters even in the face of industry and government pressure to accede.

There's also of course the issue of the creation of unanticipated adaptation leading to colonisers that behave like fire blight, myrtle rust, chytrid fungus or cane toads. This is especially a risk in the creation of (anything)-resistant organisms, but especially the creation of x-resistant plants, which is essentially an industry playing roulette in manufacturing super-weeds.

I liked their consideration of the logical fallacies that the industry uses to promote GMOs. The famine red herring is a greatly unrecognised one, as is the notion of technological salvation, but the others are also worthy of reiteration.

Interestingly their brief consideration of 'fragility' can be applied to the effect of climate change on ecosystems (quite apart from the direct effects on climate relevant to human endeavours), and it is in this area that too many people still seem to be ignorant of how essential ecosystem functions break.

It's just a shame that ignorance doesn't similarly break under the pressure of fact...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 26 Mar 2015 #permalink

Two points: first, Craig, thanks for pasting quotes from Brad "I am a legend in my own mind" Keyes up here, as well as the link to reviews for Dana Nucitelli's new book. The guy, in my view, is a pathological fruitcake. He exhibits many signs of psychopathy. The fact that he rants on and on and on in responding to people asking if he read the book is very telling.

With respect to GMOs, I have just been booted from a facebook site, 'Environmental skeptics' for daring suggest that Patrick Moore was bought-and-paid for by industry and arguing that GMOs will not increase food security because of little things known as patent rights and intellectual property. In the 1960s and thereafter, corporations were indirectly able to control the food chain by making farmers indirectly dependent on them through their reliance on fertilizers, pesticides etc., but with the advent of GMOs they are now directly taking over the food chain by taking over seed companies and patenting their transgenic products. They aren't sharing this technology for free, but instead its a cornerstone of the new capitalist ethos. I find this a terrifying development, given that bioprospectors working for the major agro-biotech firms are foraging all over the planet looking for organisms that they can collect and whose genes and traits they can patent. The ironic and tragic thing is that many indigenous peoples who showed them biotic material are not immune from the patents, and they must pay the going rate for the technology. And of course there are health-related risks, given the technology is still in its relative infancy. As an aside, I also mentioned that genetic variation underpins a species ability to adaptively respond to a suite of environmental challenges, and as Bernard says elegantly above the corporations profiting from transgenic technology don't appear to understand or even care about the erosion of genetic diversity. Through this technology we are on the verge of losing a huge gene pool based on the local collection of seeds by farmers in different regions (and grown under different selection regimes( across the planet.

Most of the people posting on that site were pseudo-intellectuals lacking anything remotely in the way of appropriate qualifications. I was chastised for referring to authority when arguing that the empirical literature is full of studies illustrating the importance of genetic variation in natural systems, and that genetic bottlenecks are an important driver of extinction. And when it came to political reality - invoking foreign policy agendas under the guise of the Washington Consensus - they were left muttering gibberish.

They clearly were under the impression that virtually all senior scientists support GM technology, and were clearly shocked when I said that I did not. I made it clear that GMOs require deep PR cover and for this they use the specter of world hunger. I made it clear that to alleviate hunger and poverty we need to first solve the massive and growing equity dilemma.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 26 Mar 2015 #permalink

The issue I see it is that GMO proponents, the majority who genuinely think them good and have really considered the prospect have internalised assumptions to reach that conclusion and when arguing with them, they unconsciously apply those assumptions and find your conclusion wrong (c.f. "the spherical cow").

These genuinely well educated and well meaning people can mostly be put into one of the following cases:

1) Those working on the product.
These people are doing it for the benefit of others. They assume that because the mission statement is "To promote heath and wellbeing" that they aren't out to squeeze the maximum short-term profit from the venture, and that easy cash-cows won't be pushed, but the "golden rice" type products are pushed above all others because they will help the world.

The fact that that they aren't everyone in the company and don't run it doesn't internalise because they're *good people*, and know and like their co-workers and most of the bosses, so they must also be good people like them.

2) Those who know or talk to those in group 1. They come to much the same conclusion and for the same reasons.

3) Techno-utopians. The internalise the idea that they are beneficial and that trying to propose a problem with them is trying to stop the benefits being made. They then assert whatever bad faith behind the one they disagree with because that reinforces the idea that they are the hero and they're protecting the victims and that leaves villain archetype to you.

Group 3 is hardest to deal with and really doesn't gain anything when trying. They also cannot be told apart from trolls, shills or misanthropes wanting to benefit themselves or their ideology no matter the potential cost. c.f. the deniers infesting WTFUWT et al.

Craig,

Glad to see you kept a copy of Keyes bile, I did also but haven't checked back there for a few days whilst up to my neck in other stuff, strewth has that comment thread been chopped. Amazon would do humanity a big favour if they restored the deleted comments it would be a prime example to show others why it is a waste of effort trying to debate 'The Keyes'.

Thanks for the heads up on Mercola, I had not come across him before now. One would think that with his woo medicine he would be a good fit for Tony Blair who was so keen to smooth the way for GMO (GEO).

It is a curious thing that even scientists of the calibre of Richard Dawkins do not get the dangers of GE. Dawkins essay 'Science, Genetics, and Ethics' Chapter 1.4 in his 'A Devil's Chaplain' collection is decidedly off target even though it is aimed at Blair and the like. You would think that Dawkins would have taken a leaf from Colin Tudge's book 'So Shall We Reap' in Chapter 8:

GMOs and the corruption of Science.

There are a few worthy quotes in there. Another book I have pulled off my shelves for a re-study.

I think Dawkins needs to carry out a reappraisal, he has slipped.

I hesitate to break into the discussion of GMOs but something rather fun is going on.

Remember Spencer and Christy's argument that there is no tropospheric tropical hot spot and the models are wrong and sensitivity is low etc?

Now that argument relies heavily on UAH satellite data - or rather the interpretation thereof by UAH. Now what if it turned out that (not for the first time) Spencer & Christy's 'sceptical' argument was based on errors in their own data?

What then?

Watch this develop. If we are in luck, it will be a replay of the 2005 debacle when Mears & Wentz at RSS showed that the apparent lack of warming in the UAH data was an error.

Up until then, lots of (fake) sceptics used this as a key argument, much as these days they blither on about the hot spot.

No worries BBD, I have been watching this unfold at WUWT, SkS and RealClimate. I must wander over to ATTP to see what Tol is up to.

Interesting time, and then there is Ted Cruz pushing his brand of nonsense, this one is scary, more barf-bagging that Mitt.

On GMO's, off at Greg Laden's I posted the following:

All this starry-eyed pro-GMO agitation is reminiscent of the naive enthusiasm for nuclear technology back in the ’50s.
eg,
“Lewis L. Strauss, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission:
“It is not too much to expect that our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter; will know of great periodic regional famines in the world only as matters of history; will travel effortlessly over the seas and under them and through the air with a minimum of danger and at great speeds, and will experience a lifespan far longer than ours, as disease yields and man comes to understand what causes him to age.”
-New York Times, August 7, 1955

The first chairman of the AEC, David Lilienthal:
“there is nothing of a physical nature more friendly to man, or more necessary to his well being than the Sun. From the Sun you and I get every bit of our energy…the energy that gives life and sustains life, the energy that builds skyscrapers and churches, that writes poems and symphonies. The Sun is the friend of Man. In its rays is the magic of life itself. The life-giving Sun is itself a huge atomic energy plant.”

Current scepticism-intolerance by GMO-enthusiasts is sounding very similar to this 1950s nonsense.

The part of the pro-GMO narrative that irks me is the part where there is incessant promotion of the virtues of the likes of “golden rice” out of all proportion to the commercial reality of which organisms they are actually selling, whose virtues are entirely different from “golden rice”‘s.

Let’s stop talking about “golden rice” and let’s talk about what Monsanto et al are actually doing: boosting the sale of roundup, and selling expensive seed that at once reduces the genetic diversity of our food crops and encourages intensive agriculture which is in fact the prime enemy and risk factor when it comes to crop yields.

…and just like Ben Goldacre has documented in the field of medical/pharmaceutical research – when the companies funding the research selectively release only the research findings they like, we end up with a body of “science” which is not fiable for drawing evidence-based conclusions.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 26 Mar 2015 #permalink

What was that crap about no tornadoes in March 2015?

Meh. Compared to the ridiculous avoidance of mentioning that they'd been had in January and February, that failure to be honest is a mere quirk.

More along the lines of "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" and more "Glyphosate is safe to drink!" lying.

The first chairman of the AEC, David Lilienthal:
“there is nothing of a physical nature more friendly to man, or more necessary to his well being than the Sun. From the Sun you and I get every bit of our energy.

Craig, what an association of ideas came to me as I read that. My first thought being 'try flying close to the sun David and then his surname brought recollections of the Otto who flew gliders and crashed breaking his neck thus echoing the son of Daedalus (which associates by name with the HMS Daedalus a RN air station at which I was based for some time with trials of various forms) Icarus who did just that, in mythology, flew too close to the sun and destroyed his wings.

Some deep irony there.

How far have you got with Druker Craig? I am about to follow up on the reported EU and ANZFA regulatory SNAFUs. Notably the Canadian government has also chosen to ignore their own scientific expert findings. The hidden direction of lobbyists at work I suspect with colluding scientists.

I do like browsing the more interesting sections of bookshop shelves with an eye for the unusual or different. One such gem I discovered was Sciencia: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Astronomy for All (Wooden Books) which is a cornucopia of quirky but unusually explanatory diagrams with text explaining many ideas and understandings across core scientific disciplines. Almost like 'The Feynman Lectures on Physics' but with interesting illustrations. Pages 274-275 carry a neat exposition on protein synthesis.

Craig, or anyone, do you know from whence I can source a copy of this:

Friends of the Earth Europe (2004). Throwing Caution to the Wind: A review of the European Food Safety Authority and its work on genetically modified foods and crops. November 2004.

http://www.foeeurope.org/GMOs/publications/EFSAreport.pdf

The link now runs to FOE Page not found. Hum?

Thanks fellows, Bernard J. and Ian. Stars. :-)

Oh Bernard, that FOEE study offers up more name associations with: Monsanto Fairy Tales via Hans Christer Andersson.

Also explains why I see Harry Kuiper's name much at the TESTBIOTECH link supplied by Ian.

Down the rabbet hole I go.

Anybody visit Climate Progress these days? I am sure there are gremlins there.

Seems OK here Lionel.

It might be an IE issue though?
Even with IE11, I sometimes have to switch to Chrome to get a site's intended functionality.

I have now sussed what was going on over at CP, comments by a well know troll were being expunged as I was trying to post a comment. Visiting later showed up the gaps.

This Marc S******* keeps trotting out inanities such as, '...failure of the climate model theory...' (one has to laugh), tries to make out that real estate values in Florida are on the up and that air and water have never been cleaner. The ignorance, or deceit, of this one is marked.

Another thing that does not help is that advertising clip window that appears near top of right hand column. It is always live which causes Firefox (on Linux) instability because of frequent net drop outs which knock my wireless connection off until I reset it from the client, the Linux box.

Bernard J

Curry needs to read some of the stuff I am currently reading, which includes an explanation of risk analysis. I would not colour Curry 'unconvinced' but from the other side of the wheel as 'biased', that is not intended as a compliment.

I know Bernard's there because he's posting on the thread, but if anyone else here hasn't been over to Hotwhopper lately, you might want to scamper over to watch the implosion of Richard Tol.

It's a real watch-between-your-fingers horror show, but if you've a taste for the macabre spectacle, then Richard's Artaudian theatre-of-cruelty performance piece has all the hallmarks of postmodernist genius.

It’s a real watch-between-your-fingers horror show, but if you’ve a taste for the macabre spectacle, then Richard’s Artaudian theatre-of-cruelty performance piece has all the hallmarks of postmodernist genius.

I wish I had said that.

:-)

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 31 Mar 2015 #permalink

I find it hard to believe that anybody with an ounce of self respect would expose himself in the manner Tol has done. He has even fallen on his own sword by implicit admission of benefiting from illegally hacked data. Now who does that remind us of? I prefer Sou's auditing.

The clarity of thinking and incisive argument Sou has displayed in revealing the emperor sans apparel was a wonder to behold. No not the emperor sans apparel for those who drop by here and cannot understand what they read.

Sou's comic lines, at times in the latest 'The Evolution of a 97% Conspiracy Theory...' are highly appropriate.

VTG at ATTP came up with a fitting epitaph:

The First Law of Tol:

“However poor you expect Tol’s behaviour to be, he will promptly fail to meet even that level”

which makes him a good fit for Curry.

Seeing as there are some around here that still don't get it there is this, How Long Can Oceans Continue To Absorb Earth’s Excess Heat? on the ever increasing ocean heat content. No effing pause here!

El Niño has kicked in remember what have we seen in the past with this. This time there is a country split between flood and drought Flood torrents devastate Peru and Chile and listen out for the comment on drought and forest fires. What should have been heavy snowfall comes as rain because of high atmospheric temperatures.

This is a double blow for the people, floods cause mayhem and death with no lingering snow pack that could have provided water in the coming weeks and months.

People here may be interested to hear Hank Harlow talk about his work with bears; their remarkable physiologies, ecologies, and the relationship with climate change:

http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2015/04/01/4208541.htm

Oh, the deniers here will do what they do best - deny the loss of ice, the decrease in polar bear populations, and the relevance of both even should they admit them to be true - but they are just whoopie-cushions in the furniture warehouse of life.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 31 Mar 2015 #permalink

I shall have to catch up at HotWhopper. I tend to dip in and out, but Tol implosions are such fun ;-)

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 31 Mar 2015 #permalink

I don't know if you've noticed, but the natural human urge to whip themselves into a frenzy of moral panic over imaginary issues (like witches for example) has been expressing itself with full force here in Australia over the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015.

Virtually nobody has been able to write anything sensible on this issue - it's just a massive panic buttressed by paranoid imaginations.

The background. Australia has this:
Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979

Since 1979, there have been one or two advances in telecommunications technology. So when law enforcement rings up a telecomms company and says,
"Hi, remember how the law says you have to give us the name and address of whoever owns a phone number if we need to know it?"
ISP: "yes"
"Well, now we've found out there are these things called 'mobile phones' and the legislation doesn't really talk about them, but we're trying to track this crim down, and we're hoping you will help us out anyway, as per the *spirit* of the law"
ISP "hmmm....yeah, OK, we're responsible people, we think that's OK"

....10 years later....law enforcement rings an ISP:
"Hi, remember how the law says you have to give us the name and address of a phone user?"
ISP: "yeees..."
"Well, we've heard that there are people using phone lines not for phones, but they have something called 'computers' hooked up to them and they're up to all sorts of shenanigans and we're trying to track down whoever is using this phone line with stolen credit cards to steal data from a company?"
ISP: "...hmmm....well, the law certainly doesn't cover this, but I think the spirit of the law and our natural desire to be responsible corporate citizens dictates that we continue to help you"
"Thanks".

.....10 years goes by....Telstra is sold off, all sorts of cowboy ISP operations spring up....Law enforcement rings up Yee-Haa, an ISP running out of the back of a laundromat in Bansktown:
"Hello, this is the police, we're investigating a serious crime committed by somebody using this IP address, which we gather belongs to Yee-Haa, so we'd appreciate it if you could tell us which one of your customer you issued that IP address to yesterday at 11am?"
ISP: "Why should we tell you?"
"Um, because we're the good guys, and we're trying to catch a bad guy"
ISP: "We don't care, none of our business, we're not giving you pigs anything"
"Well, we think the 1979 Law kinda sorta justifies our polite request, but we can run it by a court and get a warrant if you prefer"
ISP: "OK, well in that case, we don't keep any data for more than..um...5 minutes...so we can't tell you anyway. So piss off pigs."

So, starting many years ago, they started writing up a Bill to bring all these ISPs into line. a couple of years ago, our last (Labour) government tried introducing it, but the Liberals voted it down on account of their pathological opposition to....everything, really, but Regulation especially.

So, earlier this year, the Libs' leader, Tony Abbott is looking like his grip on the PM's job is very, very precarious, so he has a "reboot" and starts talking about nothing but "SECURITY".
Seizing their chance, the sensible adults who actually keep the country running despite the clowns and their political circus went running to the Abbott Government with:
SECURITY data retention act TERRORISTS! PAEDOPHILES! SECURITY!
And Abbott bought it, tabled it, and have now passed it.
Relief for all sensible adults....except the general public is roaming the streets with pitchforks and brands looking for witches to burn.
Why? Fark me if I can figure it out - 1st-world angst? insufficient application of tinfoil hats? Fluoridation? Who knows.
The law is good, it is needed, and it regulates exactly what the sensible ISPs are doing anyway.

Just about the only sensible bit of writing in the media that I have read about this is here:
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/telcos-relieved-a…

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 01 Apr 2015 #permalink

"I wish I had said that." - that's what I like about Deltoid. The literacy in the process of being made.

By cRR Kampen (not verified) on 01 Apr 2015 #permalink

@Craig

well said. It's alwaya the problem with science opponents and deniers that their general formation level is low and reasoning below scientific standards.

By Alex Jonas (not verified) on 01 Apr 2015 #permalink

Snork! I was about to post the same link...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 01 Apr 2015 #permalink

Lotharsson,

I note that you have now caught up with HotWhopper's 'Tol Toasting' does KBO's style remind you of anyone, is that K highly significant and a guess could reveal the meaning behind BO, hence the social awkwardness displayed by that entity.

In the current New Scientist is an article announced on the cover 'Reckoning Up Economists ask for help to understand money' wherein one quote found is

In a noisy, messy system, sometimes the best you can do is avoid the worst.

and we know of economists who try and argue against anthropogenically accelerated climate change. The hubris is astonishing.

Heads up for chek, there is an Aeroplane Illustrated special on the 'F-4 Phantom the St Louis Slugger' currently for sale but I doubt they will be around much longer.

Lionel, I didn't pay too much attention to KBO. Maybe I feel life is getting too short. If so, that might be a good thing for me personally ;-)

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 01 Apr 2015 #permalink

Matt Ridley just tweeted a link to this ATTP authored article on SKS.

http://skepticalscience.com/ridley-wrong-again-fossil-fuels.html

Once you get past the usual rubbish; sea levels rising ooooo..., coal oooo..., weather ooooo etc. there's this somewhat surprising admission, well surprising for SKS at least.

"Yes, it has slowed down since then, but it is probably still warming at more than 0.05K/decade."

And the word "probably" as well. lol.
;)

GobShiteWinker (Freudian slip)

You are a long way from constructing a straw man and judging by how long it took you to come up with this fibre by the time you get there even Ridley will be history.

Interested in what, Garry? How you manufacture false realities?

Already know the answer to that.

L:ionel A @94, thanks for URL fix, I don't know what happened.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 01 Apr 2015 #permalink

Craig, your characterisation of the metadata legislation as simply updating the 1979 legislation to new technology is very difficult to believe. Citing an article written five months ago given all that has happened since doesn't help much (especially since it undermines part of what you claim by pointing out that copyright lawsuits will probably take advantage of it, despite Turnbull's fallacious attempt to rebut that at the end. Such an outcome does not appear to be enabled by the 1979 bill revealing the subscriber and address for a nominated phone number to law enforcement).

You claim:

The law ... regulates exactly what the sensible ISPs are doing anyway.

And yet a number of ISPs, including some considered sensible (like "Telstra" who you seem to think are sensible) have pointed out that claim is false. They even do so in the very article you cited:

Complying with the legislation will go beyond Telstra's current business practices...

And IIRC their managing director reiterated the point very recently in light of the updated bill.

You also claim in the same sentence that "the law is good", but others point out that is debatable given how vague and easily extended via regulation it is, and how it challenges fundamental principles of secular liberal democracies. Goodness depends in part on the maximal scope that can be achieved without passing more legislation, quite apart from any notions of balance between competing interests. (It does not help your assertion that a number of other countries with similar legislation have ruled them to be violations of human rights, so one must take seriously the notion that this law - depending on the precise details - might do the same.)

And in addition, the argument you made that the bill "is necessary" is not easy to substantiate. When security forces and law enforcement (around the world) are asked to substantiate the "is necessary" claim for their local versions of similar legislation, they appear to rather reliably come up impressively short. Some of them struggle to point to a single case that they wouldn't have solved without it. Others have pointed to such a small number of cases that the counter argument that the legislation appears to be overkill almost makes itself. Other official agencies have been caught gilding the lily by nominating cases that did not require the metadata - so you might want to be skeptical when they make that kind of assertion. Still other experts have pointed out that having too much data can hinder investigations, and has done so in the past.

Furthermore, for your parallel to become a bit more accurate, the telephone records accessible under the 1979 legislation would have to have included records of every letter posted as well, seeing as e-mail is covered under the new bill. And even that still wouldn't capture in your parallel the metadata recorded for web browsing, nor the location data captured from mobile phone communications which were not available in 1979.

For your parallel to be more relevant, you'd want to demonstrate that the 1979 legislation enables what the NSA says about metadata. Their General Counsel says:

Metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life. If you have enough metadata, you don’t really need content.

It's quite difficult to see how your characterisation of the '79 legislation leads to what the General Counsel says.

And as their former Director says:

We kill people based on metadata.

As far as I'm aware, these are not outcomes that tend to arise from the way you characterise that legislation either. For your parallel to be even more relevant you'd have to take into account how vastly more revealing the new legislation's metadata is than the information the 1979 law required, and how it dovetails rather neatly into even more information about individuals that is made available in various ways, as "the government can read every Australian like an open book" points out.

And for your parallel to be relevant you'd also have to take into account how much more attractive a target for hackers and criminals this 2015 metadata is than the 1979 version as a result, and combine that with what we know about commercial and governmental organisations' inability to reliably maintain security of that kind of information - as demonstrated in part by the recent news of the unintentional leak of personal details about various heads of State by an Australian government employee. And that doesn't even demonstrate the relative ease with which it is possible to corrupt at least one employee of such an organisation, or to gain illicit access to the data via technological means.

These factors, both individually and even more powerfully when taken together, suggest that the parallel on which you hang a large part of your position is irretrievably flawed.

Furthermore, it seems obvious that your average Iron Curtain secret police force would have been ecstatic to have this information trove to exploit. And it is very easy to see, given what we know about how smaller subsets of this kind of information have been exploited in the past how this can be used to suppress dissent, suppress whistleblowing, entrench the powers that be, blackmail or coerce individuals, identify targets for criminal activity and more. Asserting that these kinds of inferences based on applying what we know happened in the past to the expanded data that will be available here is paranoid is not persuasive.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 01 Apr 2015 #permalink

The other relevant thing about the bill is that it is laughably easy to avoid for anyone with half a brain, as Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Ludlam have amply explained. (Note that "easy" isn't the same as "convenient" here.)

If the bill is truly aimed at catching terrorists/paedophiles/the bogeyman of the day, then at best it will catch the dumb and careless ones, and the smart ones will evade it. And it's the smart ones you most want to worry about, because the dumb ones tend to get caught without this bill in place.

That is highly relevant to any claim that the bill is either good or necessary. If it's not particularly effective, then the tradeoffs and risks look a great deal worse which renders "good" rather questionable, and the lack of effectiveness make a mockery of "necessary".

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 01 Apr 2015 #permalink

Following on from yesterday's post, more on polar bears:

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2015/s4209877.htm

http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/140202

https://twitter.com/ESAFrontiers/status/583303505974304768/photo/1

The section "Nutritional value of terrestrially based foods" on page 143 is especially interesting, if trivially obvious...

If the denialist trolls here wish to comment they should do so with peer reviewed science that contradicts the professional ecologists' findings underpinning these studies.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 01 Apr 2015 #permalink

No, Lotharsson, you've got the wrong end of the stick, big time.

Firstly - "metadata". Guess what? The legislation doesn't use that word once.
Lol!

And no, Turnbull and Ludlam's twitterings about "circumventing" Data Retention are nonsense. VPNs do not encrypt the data that is subject to this Act. It's as simple as that - anybody who says otherwise is somebody who just doesn't understand VPNs and/or doesn't understand the Act.

OK, then there is the accusation of "vague". Funny how people who mistakenly believe VPNs are relevant to Data Retention are now also admitting that basically they don't understand what is going on. The Law is very explicit - it contradicts all this FUD very very clearly. It isn't vague. And I think people who complain about "extended by regulation" are probably referring to paragraph3 from S187A - this complaint is basically nonsense and can only come about in the mind of somebody who understands neither the Act nor the technology.

Here are some explicit words taken directly from the Act which demonstrate conclusively that the hysteria about this Act is the work of idiots who are too lazy even to read:

"This paragraph puts beyond doubt that service providers are not required to keep information about telecommunications content."

" This paragraph puts beyond doubt that service providers are not required to keep information about subscribers’ web browsing history."

"This paragraph puts beyond doubt that service providers are not required to keep information or documents about communications that pass “over the top” of the underlying service they provide, and that are being carried by means of other services operated by other service providers."

I have read Telstra's submission, and they confirm that they believe this law makes sense, because of course it does.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

Para 3), which the FUDmongers obviously misunderstand:
(3) This Part applies to a service if:
(a) it is a service for carrying communications, or enabling communications to be carried, by means of guided or unguided electromagnetic energy or both; and
(b) it is a service:
(i) operated by a carrier; or
(ii) operated by an internet service provider (within the meaning of Schedule 5 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 ); or
(iii) of a kind for which a declaration under subsection (3A) is in force; and
(c) the person operating the service owns or operates, in Australia, infrastructure that enables the provision of any of its relevant services;
but does not apply to a broadcasting service (within the meaning of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 ).
(3A) The Minister may, by legislative instrument, declare a service to be a service to which this Part applies.

A service is something that a service-provider provides. A service-provider is subject to this act if they are in Australia providing Telecomms services.

The 1979 Act talked about phones. Since then we've got mobile phones, dial-up internet, broadband, cable, 3G, 4G, god knows what's next?!? So para 3) means they don't need to pass legislation to say, "don't be dicks, of course this new-fangled product we never thought of when writing the legislation is a service".
This cannot facilitate any kind of revisionism whereby *content* suddenly becomes captured under Data Retention, because that stuff is all explicitly ruled out in Para 4).

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

See, Lotharsson, you believe something that just isn't true:
"the metadata recorded for web browsing,"
This is absolutely *not* recorded. It is a nonsense belief, it's ludicrous, there would have been uproar in the industry if anything remotely like this were going on.
Data Retention is simply billing records.

The stuff about email simply describes the usual logging that occurs when an SMTP service sends out email around the world. There's nothing weird going on in respect of email - it's the usual logging that happens now.

Same with mobile phone location - get a proper itemised bill and you'll see against each phone call the cell tower(s) you used to initiate and maintain your connection. This is all they are talking about.

It's all just billing records, just as is being recorded today, but with a 2-year retention period set on it instead of ISPs making up their own retention periods, which are very variable.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

"Data Retention is simply billing records."

Then wtf is the use? Government and the justice system control whether everyone pays their communication bills on time?
Please, Craig, do you really believe that??

By cRR Kampen (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

I don't know who's the more idiotic:
Matt Ridley, who purports to think that "warming at more than 0.05K/decade" means the same as "warming now down to 0.05K/decade", or GSW who thinks that Matt Ridley's idiotic error is worth quoting.

In Denialand, every day is a frantic race to the bottom.

Lotharsson, you’ve got the wrong end of the stick, big time.

I suspect not as much as you think, at least in part because you don't seem to have grokked key parts of what I said which (amongst other things) leads you to apparently attribute beliefs to me that I do not hold, and these non-existent beliefs form a large part of your response.

The legislation doesn’t use that word once.

Red herring. I didn't say that it did, and neither does that observation help your case. It's in no way necessary for the legislation to use the specific word that others use to communicate their understanding of the contents of the legislation. Furthermore, the government spruikers for the bill have used that word extensively, so it's rather disingenuous to assert that it's not relevant to the bill or discussion of it.

It quite clearly is.

“This paragraph puts beyond doubt that service providers are not required to keep information about telecommunications content.”

Red herring, given that I didn't allege that it did. I even wrote and and linked to others who wrote that you don't need the content to "read an individual like an open book" which should have provided a clue that I wasn't alleging that content was to be retained.

Let's get to the portion of the discussion that is more closely related to what I wrote.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

This paragraph puts beyond doubt that service providers are not required to keep information about subscribers’ web browsing history.

The paragraph goes close, and it appears that you are correct in that it goes closer than most media coverage would indicate. However it does not put the actual concern beyond doubt when one bothers to read more than the paragraph itself - not even if the note summarily declares that it does.

The specific concern with respect to Internet usage (for most people) has NOT been that providers are required to keep detailed web browsing history, but that they will be required to keep enough metadata that the sites or servers visited will be recorded or inferrable - or arguably worse, believed to be accurately inferrable by the authorities when their belief about accuracy is unjustified. It was Brandis himself who amplified that cause for concern by apparently trying to indicate that the website or at least the website's server that you visit will be recorded but that the specific URL within the website would not (albeit he seemed mightily confused in that epic train wreck of an interview about the distinction he was trying to make). Thanks to your prompting it now appears to me that Brandis' explanation does not match the Act itself providing that the Minister does not subsequently unilaterally modify the effect of the legislation via legislative instrument, which he is explicitly authorised to do by the Act. From (187AA)(2), referring to the table specifying the types of metadata that must be retained:

(2) The Minister may, by legislative instrument, make a declaration modifying (including by adding, omitting or substituting) the table in subsection (1), or that table as previously modified under this subsection.

That means the Minister can simply declare via legislative instrument that (for example) retention of destination IP addresses are now crucial for the fight against the forces of paedophilia and terrorism (not necessarily in that order). Or the retention of HTTP URLs if he wants. Yes, there would probably be an almighty stink at first, but if he wants to force service providers to do it he can and if he waves about a big enough scare he can probably get 51% of the public on side, as we know from the history of the last couple of decades around the world and here in Australia. To actually put the concern beyond doubt the legislative instrument option would have to be removed from the Act, not simply summarily declare the question to be "beyond doubt".

And speaking of that table, the legislation reassures readers in (187A) that (187A) does not require service providers to keep

...an address to which a communication was sent on the internet, from a telecommunications device, using an internet access service provided by the service provider...

. However (187AA)(Item 3) lists the information that must be retained that includes:

Identifiers of the account, telecommunications device or relevant service to which the communication:

(a) has been sent; or

(b) has been forwarded, routed or transferred, or attempted to be forwarded, routed or transferred.

You'd really want a lawyer (or ideally a court) to weigh in on whether (say) HTTP requests fall under this definition, and if so whether this paragraph or the one in (3A) dominates. It's not unreasonable to ask whether an HTTP server is a telecommunications device for the purposes of this paragraph given that it enables communications over the Internet, and relies on a "relevant service" of a service provider.

And speaking of Ministerial prerogative:

So para 3) means they don’t need to pass legislation to say, “don’t be dicks, of course this new-fangled product we never thought of when writing the legislation is a service”.

Yes, I understand the justification which is reasonable, but as I previously indicated that doesn't make the tradeoff involved reasonable, and hence your response completely misses the point of the concerns. As your quote points out:

(3A) The Minister may, by legislative instrument, declare a service to be a service to which this Part applies.

The Minister may simply declare any service that meets (3a) and (3c) to be covered by the legislation, and such a declaration may go waaaaaaaay beyond your characterisation. It could conceivably apply to what are currently considered "overlay" services that are provided in part by any single piece of infrastructure owned or operated by the provider or the overlay service in Australia. This appears to be one way to legally move such a service that was initially excluded from the Act under (4c) into the scope of the Act (but only if there is the Australian infrastructure connection).

Do you now grok some of the concerns that have been expressed even if the unmodified Act doesn't embody it today? (The way similar concerns developed in other countries in the past was rarely in one large hit, but rather incremental tightenings such that each one did not cause a major revolt against the authorities...get your Act in place, lay the groundwork there for a tightening, use the next scare to justify doing it. Rinse and repeat.)

This is absolutely *not* recorded.

Probably not, today. But "absolutely" seems a little over confident for reasons given the above.

Turnbull and Ludlam’s twitterings about “circumventing” Data Retention are nonsense. VPNs do not encrypt the data that is subject to this Act.

Neither of them appear to be suggesting that VPNs "encrypt the data subject to this Act" but rather that they might remove certain metadata from the scope of the Act - which I agree is probably not the case with the Act as it currently stands. This would hence be nonsense if the Act didn't have the legislative instrument powers and VPNs were the only circumvention measures they mentioned. But neither of those things are true. Some of what they mentioned quite clearly circumvent aspects of the Act - for example, using an overlay service that neither owns nor operates infrastructure in Australia rather than using one that does.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

Data Retention is simply billing records.

The veracity of that claim rather depends both on how the courts interpret certain parts of the Act, and on the Minister not extending the definition of data to be retained.

One might begin pondering the claim by considering Items 4, 5 and 6 in the table of information to be retained. Item 5:

The type of a communication or of a relevant service used in connection with a communication. ... Examples: Voice, SMS, email, chat, forum, social media.

That doesn't look like it's merely standard "billing records". Some mobile data providers feature quotaless access to certain forms of social media, for example, so may retain some kind of indication of that - but plenty of other service providers (including most ISPs) do not. I don't know how many service providers inspect traffic sufficiently to determine what is going to a "chat" server or Internet "forum". You might argue that this is targeted at (possibly future) chat/forum/social media providers who fall under the Act, but I am yet to meet one that needs to record this in order to bill. It may be the case that the following "or relevant service" clause gets most providers out from making the determination, or that another clause in the Act does but you really need a laywer for an informed opinion on whether or not it does (and in my experience corporate lawyers understandably err on the side of risk avoidance, so some providers may end up recording this level of metadata. If they do, it's a valid question whether they feel that they must also record some kind of identifier of where they sent the communication too.)

Item 4:

The date, time and duration of a communication, or of its connection to a relevant service.

The date and time (including the time zone) of the following relating to the communication (with sufficient accuracy to identify the communication):

(a) the start of the communication;

(b) the end of the communication;

(c) the connection to the relevant service;

(d) the disconnection from the relevant service

and Item 6:

The following in relation to the equipment or line used to send or receive the communication:

(a) the location of the equipment or line at the start
of the communication;

(b) the location of the equipment or line at the end
of the communication

It's quite plausible that these two will be interpreted as a requirement to retain the location of the smartphone each time there is a connection to and disconnection from mobile data services and/or to/from the mobile network itself and/or each time there is a data communication to/from the device (which is typically many times an hour for most phones these days given the number of background services that do it). Given that many smartphones connect to the mobile network many times a day, and to data services over the mobile network (and over WiFi) even more frequently one wonders just how fine grained a location trail will be recorded in the retained metadata. This does not appear to be merely billing data - there is no clear need to retain the location when some of those events occur in order to bill. And this level of metadata if retained is precisely one of the concerning possibilities that has been raised, especially when that form of metadata is combined with other data.

As cRR Kampen points out the claim is quite challenging to believe this is just billing records. One other reason is that if it were, the government would have been able to defuse the debate about the civil liberties implications by simply pointing out that "it's just retaining today's billing records", but more compellingly ISPs including Telstra would not have felt the need to point out that the Act requires them to retain information that they do not retain for billing today.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

Craig, quite apart from all of that, your discussion has studiously ignored the vastly different impact of having broad metadata coverage now (as the NSA guys illustrated) when compared to the situation at the time of the 1979 bill (and even 20 years afterwards), let alone the impact of combining it with other data that can be obtained (including but not limited to Five Eyes nations sharing still more metadata on each others' respective citizens) or subjecting it to the kinds of large scale analyses/data mining efforts that a well resourced organisation can bring to bear.

Abbott recently said there were no metadata protections for journalists when he was working as one - at a time when mobile phones were immensely expensive and very rare, and there were precisely zero publicly accessible web servers because the prototype of the first one was still being developed by Tim Berners-Lee (and hardly anyone outside of certain institutions knew what the Internet of the day was, let alone had access to it). Abbott's comparison was rightly pilloried for being highly disingenuous, and your argument (at least so far) appears to me to be little better. Even if you were entirely correct that "it's just billing records, retained for two years" the impact of the vastly broader scope of those billing records these days, given how much of our lives are now captured by them, is so massively different to 1979 that anyone trying to argue that there's no reason to have more concern now because it's just like the 1979 legislation for 2015 needs to do a great deal more convincing than has been done on this thread to date. And their justification should really take into account the reasons why a number of overseas jurisdictions found their own metadata retention schemes to be unconstitutional or a violation of human rights.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

Finally, FWIW, this is not as reassuring to end users and writers that you accuse of "hysteria" as you might think it is:

This paragraph puts beyond doubt that service providers are not required to keep information or documents about communications that pass “over the top” of the underlying service they provide, and that are being carried by means of other services operated by other service providers.

The reassurance in that note applies only to the service providers by limiting their scope, not to the individuals using the services. If those other services fall under the Act (perhaps due to the Minister tabling a legislative instrument), they themselves are then required to retain that metadata. In their case one has to analyse the effect of the entire system on the entire population (and the effect of the entire Act), not just selected quotes.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

GSW

The irreducible problem with low central sensitivity estimates (~1.5K) is that they are incompatible with palaeoclimate behaviour.

So they must be wrong.

Everything we know points to sensitivity above 2K and close to 3K. To differ requires selective blanking of large sections of the evidence. So contrarian arguments for low S are partial and therefore weak compared to holistic approaches which suggest higher likely values.

Here is some good news for a nice change.
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/good-news-satellitte-data-earth-turn…
" The data shows that between 2003 and 2012, the surface vegetation has increased by 4 billion metric tons of carbon."

"The improvement in the green cover was particularly notable in former Soviet nations, China, the savannahs of Africa, Australia and South America."

"This new green cover has counterbalanced nearly half of the carbon loss due to deforestation in the Amazon and southeast Asia, the researchers said"

It's also interesting that " Researchers Yi Liu, Albert Van Dijk, and Pep Canadell " understand variability and apply some common sense to their observations:
"Savannahs and shrublands are vulnerable to rainfall - one year can be very wet, and more carbon will be fixed in plants, but the next year can be very dry, and then we will lose the carbon fixed in previous years,"

Perhaps Stu2 can explain why he thinks that is good news, and any caveats that may apply to this "good news"?

Clue: Reference to ENSO and other interannual oscillations will add necessary context to any response. And therefore are not expected to feature in any response.

Stu2's story of the glass being half full when it should be filled to the top, but 50% is better than nothing. The fact that the study shows that increased biomass only countered around 50% of that lost by deforestation isn't really good news at all. Its corporate media spin. At the same time, I think Stu2's intent was to try and slip in a little nugget that increased atmospheric C02 - ironically a large proportion of this caused by the cutting and burning of tropical forests - is a good thing.

I have no idea why AGW downplayers or deniers search desperately through the corporate medias for shards of 'good news'. Perhaps its pathological.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 03 Apr 2015 #permalink

Bernard's links re: the Polar Bear are very enlightening. At present I have a Master's student doing an internship project for me in which she is comparing the actual scientific data on Polar Bear demographics and projections under continued ice melt in the Arctic with coverage by the media, front groups, think tanks and NGOs. Not surprisingly front groups and think tanks cherry pick, primarily from one or two sources (Susan Crockford being prominent even though she is on the academic fringe) in order to downplay the threat that AGW poses to the bears. By contrast, the vast majority of published studies provide data that are much more sobering. Its a classic example of corporate manipulation of facts to promote an agenda.

When she's completed the project, we will write it up for a peer-reviewed journal.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 03 Apr 2015 #permalink

” The data shows that between 2003 and 2012, the surface vegetation has increased by 4 billion metric tons of carbon.”

And how many billion metric tons of carbon did we add to the atmosphere during that time, Stupid?

If the CO2 is "plant food", why are the plants leaving so much on the plate uneaten?

Are they full?

Stu 2.

Do you understand that an increase in vegetation biomass does not necessarily indicate an increase in floral biodiversity, and especially not an increase in faunal biodiversity?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 03 Apr 2015 #permalink

Climate Denial Crock of the Week just had a post up about James Balog's working recording images of glacier melt with 'Chasing Ice' now going south to Antarctica. Here is a video clip, warning numpty denial source questions from the interviewer:

James Balog documents climate change in the Antarctic which is a work in progress.

Note for our visiting numpties, Balog has overcome harsh climate, equipment failure (see a grown man cry in the full 'Chasing Ice') and the pain from shot knee joints and operations. What have you done with your life, apart from act the 'Bozo the Clown'?

Lotharsson, you say,
"the Minister can simply declare via legislative instrument that (for example) retention of destination IP addresses are now crucial for the fight against the forces of paedophilia and terrorism (not necessarily in that order). Or the retention of HTTP URLs "

This is baseless paranoia. The legislation makes it clear what a "service" is and makes it clear that "content" is excluded from Data Retention.
The minister cannot possibly change the Act - the purpose of this paragraph is to leave open the possibility that different kinds of bililng data become applicable due tot he way ISPs work or due to novel products they release on the consumer.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 04 Apr 2015 #permalink

You say,
"However (187AA)(Item 3) lists the information that must be retained that includes:

Identifiers of the account, telecommunications device or relevant service to which the communication:"

More paranoia. A "communication" has a very specific meaning here. It has nothing to do with "content", as is made clear by the 3rd of the three "Note:"s:

"“This paragraph puts beyond doubt that service providers are not required to keep information or documents about communications that pass “over the top” of the underlying service they provide, and that are being carried by means of other services operated by other service providers.”"

Data Retention applies to a Service provided by a Service Provider to a Subscriber.
It is entirely, 100% ruled out in relation to any "content" of that service.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 04 Apr 2015 #permalink

You say,
"Some of what they mentioned quite clearly circumvent aspects of the Act – for example, using an overlay service that neither owns nor operates infrastructure in Australia rather than using one that does."

This doesn't even make sense - you seem to admit that VPNs are entirely irrelevant to Metadata, then you come up with this.

The communication that is subject to Data Retention is the communication between a subscriber and their ISP, that's it.
There is no "overlay service" that has anything to do with the PPPoE connection your home router makes, or the 3G connection your phone makes, which are the only "communication"s that are the subject of the Act.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 04 Apr 2015 #permalink

"Items 4, 5 and 6 in the table of information to be retained. Item 5:

The type of a communication or of a relevant service used in connection with a communication. … Examples: Voice, SMS, email, chat, forum, social media.

That doesn’t look like it’s merely standard “billing records”. Some mobile data providers feature quotaless access to certain forms of social media, for example, so may retain some kind of indication of that – but plenty of other service providers (including most ISPs) do not. I don’t know how many service providers inspect traffic sufficiently to determine what is going to a “chat” server or Internet “forum”. You might argue that this is targeted at (possibly future) chat/forum/social media providers who fall under the Act, but I am yet to meet one that needs to record this in order to bill."

Paranoid speculation.

Remember two words here:
"communication"
"service"

(Obviously, eg, your access to Facebook is not visible to your ISP, and this is also obviously not a "communication" that falls under this Act)

"Chat, social media" are examples of "communications", but it's only relevant to Data Retention if the communication is between the subscriber and their Australian ISP. This doesn't match any real-world service I am aware of, but maybe there are products out there where it does - maybe there are ISPs in Australia selling something like AOL.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 04 Apr 2015 #permalink

"The following in relation to the equipment or line used to send or receive the communication:

(a) the location of the equipment or line at the start
of the communication;

(b) the location of the equipment or line at the end
of the communication

It’s quite plausible that these two will be interpreted as a requirement to retain the location of the smartphone each time there is a connection to and disconnection from mobile data services and/or to/from the mobile network itself and/or each time there is a data communication to/from the device (which is typically many times an hour for most phones these days given the number of background services that do it). Given that many smartphones connect to the mobile network many times a day, and to data services over the mobile network (and over WiFi) even more frequently one wonders just how fine grained a location trail will be recorded in the retained metadata. "

This is exactly the billing information some providers currently provide you.
(For example, a colleague of mine was able to note from their phone bill that her partner was not where he said he was when he made a call to her from a "work" trip).

From this and many other sections of this legislation, it is fairly apparent that this Act has been drafted to cover all the different kinds of billing records that different ISPs showed them.

Commentary and amazingly in-expert analysis *always* flies off into the realm of paranoid speculation, when the intention of the words is very clear.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 04 Apr 2015 #permalink

" the impact of combining it with other data that can be obtained (including but not limited to Five Eyes nations sharing still more metadata on each others’ respective citizens) or subjecting it to the kinds of large scale analyses/data mining efforts that a well resourced organisation can bring to bear."

Paranoia.
Nobody is going to be trawling through random billing records as part of any surveillance activity.
Data Retention is for the purpose of forensic investigation of individuals after a crime has been detected.

Surviellance *already* collects a great deal of actual communications *content* - far more than they know what to deal with.
It makes no sense whatsoever to be paranoid about ASIO taking any kind of interest in your monthly phone/internet bill.

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 04 Apr 2015 #permalink

That was an interesting response Jeff Harvey @#28.
The last time I checked 50% is indeed better than nothing.
Also, the story was filed under 'science' because it's reporting on a peer reviewed publication.
What does your 100% look like?
I strongly suspect that even if a study in the future finds that the remaining 50% had been rejuvenated you & your fellow misanthropic mates would still not find anything good to say about it.
That glass analogy that you used is often used to explain attitude and the difference between optimism & pessimism.

This is baseless paranoia.

"You keep using that word. I do not think that word means what you think it means."

I gave reasons so it's not baseless. And my reasoning was (as previously stated) admittedly legally uninformed because IANAL and even less a judge, which is why I explicitly pointed out that I might be wrong - also not normally a feature of "baseless paranoia".

Then again, you don't seem to be a lawyer either, in which case your declaration of baselessness appears to be no more legally informed than my analysis.

...makes it clear that “content” is excluded from Data Retention.

...which fails to substantiate your response to what I wrote. Pretty much everyone including the Attorney General admits that destination IP addresses are not content, and it has certainly been argued that HTTP URLs are not either. So far you appear to be almost the lone exception (which might be because you have a different context in mind in which to distinguish content from address), and you similarly rely on this dubious definition to try and substantiate your claim in your response that contains:

A “communication” has a very specific meaning here. It has nothing to do with “content”,...

This fails to address my point, because it did NOT suggest that "content" would be retained under my understanding of the term, and I don't see you providing even a half-decent reason to think that my definition is wrong. Let me be clear - there may in fact be such a reason, but I haven't seen it yet. If there is one please provide it as I would appreciate it!

Note that the act itself only uses "content" of a communication in two places in (187A)(4)(a) and it uses entirely different terminology elsewhere to discuss the "Internet address" or "destination" of a communication. I suspect that it would be exceedingly bold or desperate lawyer who would try and argue that "address" and "destination" are ALSO intended to be considered "content" by the Act.

The minister cannot possibly change the Act...

Red herring. I never said he could. I said he could "declare via a legislative instrument" which he is explicitly empowered to do via the Act as I quoted in #21, and which does not constitute "changing the Act". And to reiterate, I suspect that the argument that (187A)(4b)(i) dominates any legislative instrument from the Minister ordering the retention of destination IP addresses and the like would prevail (and be much preferred by the aforementioned lawyer to "but, like, addresses ARE SO content, Your Worship!"). However in the absence of a reasonable consensus of legal opinion to that effect it would be quite imprudent to simply assume that to be the case.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 05 Apr 2015 #permalink

The communication that is subject to Data Retention is the communication between a subscriber and their ISP...which are the only “communication”s that are the subject of the Act.

That's certainly an inappropriate over-generalisation: if I buy a dumb mobile phone and subscribe to a voice only service, does Data Retention not apply because the phone company is not acting as an ISP? However, let's allow that the generalisation was for convenience rather than precision (but that does illustrate the question of what types of non-ISP services are covered.)

In that case it may (or may not) still be false in a more fundamental sense as I explained above. The Act defines the services to which it applies in (187A)(3) and (3A). Read (3)(b)(iii) carefully. This gives the Minister the option of declaring "a service" to be covered. The new Act does not specify any additional restrictions on what "service" is, which makes it rather look like the qualifications of (3)(b)(i) and (ii) need not apply in that case.

Again, I agree that lawyers might have good reason to rule that out but without a solid legal opinion it's not obvious that it is. If you have a better reason to believe that than you have given to date, please provide it as it would be good to know.

However if that cannot be ruled out, then note that from the point of view of (say) a 3G service provider or wired ISP or what have you, another service might be considered an over the top service. That service might be a service that falls under the Act and hence data retention ALSO applies to communications from its subscribers to it. Seemingly all that needs to apply is (3)(a) - the service carries communications via electromagnetic energy, (3)(b)(iii) - the Minister says the Act applies to the service and (3)(c) - the operator owns/operates some service-enabling infrastructure in Australia. And heck, even the quote from the note in the Act that you keep providing seems to confirm that "over the top" services can qualify as "services" offered by "service providers" according the Act's definitions:

...service providers are not required to keep information or documents about communications that pass “over the top” of the underlying service they provide, and that are being carried by means of other services operated by other service providers.

Lastly, I think you are right that "relevant service" in (187AA)(Item 3) refers to a service that is covered by the act so that limits the scope of item 3 (but only within the context of each service provider that is covered by the Act). However, as you yourself seemed to point out earlier SMTP is seemingly intended to be covered by the Act in some fashion. If you argue (as I think you do, albeit not entirely convincingly) that the Act only intends to cover SMTP when provided by ISPs then your argument that other SMTP service providers aren't intended to be covered, hence using them isn't actually a trivial circumvention of the Act's intent, holds. But if so, it makes a mockery of the apparent purpose of the Act...

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 05 Apr 2015 #permalink

Re: #36

Paranoid speculation

Your primary rhetorical tactic has gone past the "Wow, you really try hard to undermine your attempt to convince" to reach the amusing stage. You might want to reconsider it.

In any case, read what I wrote again. As you do, note that I relied on direct quotes from the Act that specify types of communications for which the type of communication must be retained under foreseeable circumstances. You don't seem to be denying that the Act says what it says, so do you simply think that they listed those other types of communications for shit and giggles, knowing full well they were outside the scope of the Act they were writing? Or that they had a brainwave about possible future ISP business models and thought they'd embed it in the Act? Or is it more parsimonious to read these in the light of the interpretation of (3)(a-c) that I provided again in my previous comment?

If the Act actually means what it appears to and hence anticipates "service providers" that offer "social media", "chat" and "forums" as part of their services, then it is quite feasible to argue that it requires retention of more than just "billing information for an ISP" as you claim. Your claim here can probably hold if it can be demonstrated that the Act rules out of scope service providers that are not ISPs or telcos, but I haven't seen a solid argument for that yet.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 05 Apr 2015 #permalink

This is exactly the billing information some providers currently provide you.

This assertion is also unconvincing. It's arguably quite a bit more information than that, as it may apply to communications that occur frequently throughout the day from a smartphone that are not phone calls for reasons that I already explained. IIRC a German politician acquired his own metadata from his mobile phone provider and was able to fairly precisely track his movements over the entire day without being on a long series of phone calls. I have seen no convincing argument that this kind of precision and frequency will be ruled out here yet (although it's not clear whether it will be required either). There may be a good argument ruling it out. If you have one, please provide it.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 05 Apr 2015 #permalink

Nobody is going to be trawling through random billing records as part of any surveillance activity.

You seem to be unaware of how the broad constellation of metadata can be exploited or by whom, you rely greatly on your still somewhat dubious assertion that it is and will only ever be "just billing records" which simply pretends that the additional data I specifically referred to doesn't exist, and you don't seem to have applied the slightest bit of imagination to how technology can be applied to it rather than person(s) "trawling through random records" (let alone the well established fact that "persons trawling through specific records for nefarious purposes" is a well established phenomenon already). All of that makes your dismissal of the concerns as "paranoia" deeply unconvincing.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 05 Apr 2015 #permalink

Hello!
HELLO!
IS THERE ANYBODY THERE . . . ?

Oh, there you are, my little Deltoids, all gathered in the corner holding hands and still chanting, I see.

Anyway, I just popped in to say two things - sorry and thank you! Yes indeed, down 'ere in deepest, darkest ZummerZet we have just had three days of real global warming - terrific, let's have more.

What's that, you say? It's NOT global warming, it's weather and weather isn't climate. Now where have I heard that before . . . ?

Well, whatever, I'm deeply grateful for the weather/climate and I'm sorry if I was rude about your prognostications. Of course, I shall expect this weather/climate to carry on for at least ten years - which will probably see me out - so don't let me down in the way you have for the past thirty years!

OK, my little Deltoids, back to the chanting . . .

By David Duff (not verified) on 16 Apr 2015 #permalink

What’s that, you say? It’s NOT global warming,

If you were going to make up all sides of the conversation, why not save the effort of typing and supply that in your own head too, Duffer?

PS, being well off and not a skinflint, I can go on holiday if and when I want warmer weather than normal.

Pissing into wind again Duff, being a month behind.

You want more global warming then move to sodin Sibera, you could move to California but then you will too easily be shown up as only fit for the funny farm and the glue factory.

Nah, the dude is completely unstuck. Never work as glue.

Duff's web site if called "Duff and nonsense". Actually he should rename it "Duff writes nonsense".

There you go. Corrected.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 16 Apr 2015 #permalink