Saturday morning breakfast cereal editon

Popcorn time again, it seems. Starting at the end, Anthony Watts is "threatening" to sue Greg Laden. Although from that, its hard to see why. Going back to the bottom, GL originally took the piss out of AW for believing in sky fairies. Phil Plait ("No, Diatoms Have Not Been Found in a Meteorite") patiently points out why these particular fairies are unreal; PZ Myers is rather less patient, and appears to call AW a crackpot. GL doesn't seem terribly worried by AW, which seems reasonable.

What exactly is AW complaining about? He says:

I spent yesterday conferring with lawyers about the smear that Greg Laden made against me (see here)

That post picks out "Anthony Watts, the anti-science global warming denailist, was not equipped to recognize this bogus science as bogus. We are not surprised." to quote, so I suppose that must be the bit that AW thinks is actionable. I'm no lawyer, but I'd be doubtful that would stand up. Plenty of people have said as bad, or worse. I'm pretty sure you could find much the same from AW about, say, Mann (aside: when Mann sued... whoever it was, AW thought that was a terrible idea, in principle as I recall). Comment threads on WUWT (which are moderated, remember) host far worse. And since AW reproduced it on his blog, it can't be that terrible (does re-publishing things you claim to be libel reduce the chance of suing for them? I dunno).

But then again, that might not be what he is complaining about. He may be complaining that he's miffed GL said that AW believed in sky fairies. That sounds even weaker.

Eli is suggesting that AW just grow up.

Other sue-related stuff

* Sue the Bastards! says John Mashey Farley to Mann, over two writers and the CEI (more).

[Image ripped off of vvattsupwiththat]

Update: "regarded it as interesting and worthy of reporting"

In the comments we have a brave visitor from the Dark Side, who suggests that

anthony watts stated that he did not regard the story as fact ,but regarded it as interesting and worthy of reporting

(the Dark Side are short of capitals, it appears). He's wrong: it wasn't worthy of reporting, and it wasn't interesting (as science; as an example of how easy it is too fool the ignorant it was moderately interesting).

But this, I think, is a perhaps under-appreciated difference between people who actually want to understand how the world works, and those whose primary aim is to sow FUD. Its not easy, from the outside, to see the distinction between "lets not be narrow minded, lets look at all ideas" and "lets throw out chaff so no-one has a clue what's going on". The second fits the denialist ideal perfectly: there's no real interest in understanding the world (at least, in terms of its physical climatology), because they are all too aware of where that leads: to the std.IPCC result. And if they keep on pushing stories of scientist-X-says-thing-Y, which later turns out to be trash: well, that's no problem for them, because it just fosters the incorrect idea that we don't know what's going on in the world.

Science isn't about following down every last lead. A major component of it is winnowing out chaff. Which is part of the service that peer-reviewed journals provide. And which Journal of Cosmology does not.

Update: the basis?

Well b*gg*r me down dead with a bargepole. There's actually an intelligent comment at WUWW! Pointing out the bleedin' obvious, that the first amendment is a powerful obstacle to suing for libel in the US-of-A. In response, AW insists that the main basis is "false light". I know nothing about this, obviously, but [[false light]] doesn't look hopeful to AW to me: False light privacy claims often arise under the same facts as defamation cases... false light cases are about damage to a person's personal feelings or dignity, whereas defamation is about damage to a person's reputation -W]

Update: the result. Err, not quite yet

So we now have:

January 21, 2013 at 8:03 am. Thanks to everyone for all of the helpful input and responding to the poll. Using these, I’ve made my decision. Comments are now closed as well as the poll. – Anthony

This is pathetic. We all know what the result will be - he's not suing. But he wants to spin it out just a leedle bit more in the hope of - what? Dunno. I suppose he's going to have to find a form of words that makes a climb-down look like the moral high ground.

More like this

The idea isn't to sue, just to gain some points for being a persecuted victim of the nasty AGW believers, and the audience is lapping it up as usual.

They learned that from Monckton.

Watts on Fox about NOAA and the 2013 US temperature record:

"Is history malleable? Can temperature data of the past be molded to fit a purpose? It certainly seems to be the case here, where the temperature for July 1936 reported ... changes with the moment," Watts told
"In the business and trading world, people go to jail for such manipulations of data."

Watts is such a hypocrite!

By Lars Karlsson (not verified) on 19 Jan 2013 #permalink

The Weasel did the better job on this, but how about revisiting old times at the Tallbloke festival?

By Eli Rabett (not verified) on 19 Jan 2013 #permalink

Why is Mr. Watts so determined to get underneath Mr. Laden's pants, to the point that he would use legal action to force their removal?

you're being economical with the truth,mr connolley.

[… -W]

anthony watts stated that he did not regard the story as fact ,but regarded it as interesting and worthy of reporting

[Have I offended your hero? Quick, you must leap to his defence, he is so weak. But what we're all taking the piss out of him for is precisely "regarded it as interesting and worthy of reporting". It was none of those things. It was crude junk. But it fits the AW mindset, I think. In fact, that's a point worth raising in the post, so I'll do so -W]

so others in a position to judge could do so.i call BS on your article, for greg laden,he's worse than you in the BS league.

ps i bet you will not post this comment!

[Ha ha, you lose. Except: you only wrote that to make me publish it, so I lose, oh no. Except, I knew you'd done that so it made no difference, so you lose.

I publish almost everything - see the comments policy - and only burrow to keep the S/N down. Unlike WUWT where people get banned for revealing AW's errors -W]

By Phil Wright (not verified) on 19 Jan 2013 #permalink

> (aside: when Mann sued… whoever it was,
> AW thought that was a terrible idea ....)

Yeah, then he saw it was free publicity. Who's going to be on top of the Google search for climate lawsuit?

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 19 Jan 2013 #permalink

haha yep you sussed me out. why the name-calling?

["economical with the truth" means "you're lying", as everyone knows. So stop trying to pretend to some mythical high-ground. As to name-calling: discrimination is valuable, as is knowing the correct name to call a thing by. Indeed, as this post documents, AW provides a counter-example to the ability to call a thing by its True Name -W]

i'm no hero. as it goes wuwt has one of the best reference sections(if not the best) out of all the climate blogs. yes we can see the arctic ice melting in summer.we can see the antarctic ice growing to record levels(in the satellite era)we can see the adjusted global temperature anomaly graphs.we can see the hurricane frequency/strength graphs.we can see the solar activity charts. it is actually quite an interesting site. but obviously it's classed as a 'denier' blog.but denying what exactly?

[About the same as all similar: it denies the std.IPCC position. Apart from that it has no coherent position to present, again as usual -W]

i don't believe in the un/ipcc proclaimations at all.why do you? the un is a purely political body.the ipcc is an 'inter-governmental' body.sounds like politicians to me!co2 goes up but the global temperature anomaly goes....where? sideways would be an honest answer.anyways, cheers!

[You've never read any of the IPCC reports. If you had, you wouldn't be mis-calling them "proclamations". Oh hold on - wasn't it you complaining about name-calling, just above? I must have misunderstood you - obviously its OK for *you* to attach false labels to things, whilst complaining about others attaching true labels -W]

By Phil Wright (not verified) on 19 Jan 2013 #permalink

I'm not convinced that taking legal action against someone "to set an example" would go down particularly well in court. Someone seems to have gotten a bit too big for their boots.

Eli has a good point, though. Whatever did happen to Tallbloke's threatened action?

[I must have missed Eli's point. He can be cryptic. Who was TB threatening to sue? -W]

oh yes just read the bit about 'The Dark Side' .lol thanks for letting a 'denier' like me comment on your site. :)

By Phil Wright (not verified) on 19 Jan 2013 #permalink

well well the standard un/ipcc position is largely based on global climate models. afaik these models have proven to be inaccurate to say the least. the temp. anomaly is nowhere near the levels of even the most conservative gcm estimates for this time 2013.the temp anomaly carries on going sideways as it has for quite a while .australia gets a bit hot, north america,russia,china,india ,mongolia get a bit cold.only australia getting a bit hot is featured on the bbc news. why not the russians freezing to death?

[It would have been quicker to say "OK I admit it I've never read any of the IPCC reports" -W]

By Phil Wright (not verified) on 19 Jan 2013 #permalink

I've commented on Watts' post, strongly advising him to sue. I could do with a good laugh.

"Who was TB threatening to sue?"

Put your coffee down :)

Tallbloke's Talkshop -- Greg Laden: Libellous article

GL blogged a clarification. Answered my own question. Watts saw it as caving. Watts was very appreciative, though.

"Oh, and a personal thank you to all WUWT readers who contributed to Tallbloke’s legal defense fund, which swelled mightily shortly after announced here. Proof positive that money talks, …….. walks. – Anthony"

Well, that's one unintentional way to raise tip jar funds for favourite bloggers.

Any proceeds which come my way will be used to fill the tip jars of other blogs fighting to raise public awareness of facts which might otherwise be buried.

That's John Farley asking that the bastards be sued:) John Mashey merely wants to flatten them

By Eli Rabett (not verified) on 19 Jan 2013 #permalink

Phil Wright:

well well the standard un/ipcc position is largely based on global climate models. afaik these models have proven to be inaccurate to say the least. the temp. anomaly is nowhere near the levels of even the most conservative gcm estimates for this time 2013.the temp anomaly carries on going sideways as it has for quite a while .australia gets a bit hot, north america,russia,china,india ,mongolia get a bit cold.only australia getting a bit hot is featured on the bbc news. why not the russians freezing to death?

You say "wuwt has one of the best reference sections(if not the best) out of all the climate blogs"? Did you get all that BS there? Do you realize what a DKE victim you sound like?

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 19 Jan 2013 #permalink

> Do you realize what a DKE victim you sound like?

They can't, you know.

"... People fail ... simply because they are not aware of the possible.... I often urge my student advisees to find out who the smart professors are, and to get themselves in front of those professors so they can see what smart looks like.

So, yes, the idea resonates. I would write more, and there’s probably a lot more to write about, but I haven’t a clue what that all is...."
-- Dunning…

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 19 Jan 2013 #permalink

I'm guessing the fact that Laden replaced the original Watt's disclaimer "I would remind readers that 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence'. This needs to be confirmed by others in the science community before it can be taken seriously" with an ellipsis is the basis of his libel claim.

I'd say it's a very weak claim. For good blogging purposes though, Laden should've kept it in.

[To be fair, I should say I agree with that last -W]

By Brian Schmidt (not verified) on 20 Jan 2013 #permalink

hi mal adapted, the reference pages on wuwt do not contain any commentary as such.they just show official charts from nasa noaa and others. like i mentioned before ,we can see the state of the arctic ice, we can see the sea level charts,and we can see the current and past global temp. anomaly charts. we do not need to be spoonfed anything by any blog -pro agw or anti agw.
it is /was a fact that while the uk news featured the aussie bush fires/high temps., the low temps in a much larger landmass area ie russia and china combined,were not mentioned at all. my question is:why? the answer is obvious. despite pro agw people saying mainstream media is against agw,the opposite is actually the case(certainly in the uk anyway).the bbc in particular are so one-sided it should be a scandal. 'extreme weather' reports being linking to "global warming" when the global temp anomaly is in negative numbers right now. that is the BS part. same thing with "super" hurricane sandy,which was just an large area,but average energy tropical storm when it hit land.
thanks for letting me comment wmc. phil coventry uk

By Phil Wright (not verified) on 20 Jan 2013 #permalink

Actually, Watts is considering the facts of the case, and possible legal options, This separates Watts from Laden, Gleick and, apparently, you. He has not threatened a law suit at this time. I am not surprised that a climate extremist would have difficulty applying thinking processes in a rational manner. That failure seems an integral part of sustaining belief in a cliamte crisis.

[La la la. But back to the suing, or lack thereof. It seems to me (as not-a-lawyer) that if AW were really outraged, then he'd have sent GL a letter saying "please take down your post". He hasn't done that. I would expect that to factor into any possible trial. This really only confirms the obvious - he's just grandstanding, and he's not serious. All those poor folk wasting their time on "oh go on sue" haven't realised its just a sham. He's going to pick the "take the so-called moral high road option" - i.e., whinge a bit, keep picking at the scab, but do nothing -W]

By hunterson (not verified) on 20 Jan 2013 #permalink

"it is /was a fact that while the uk news featured the aussie bush fires/high temps., the low temps in a much larger landmass area ie russia and china combined,were not mentioned at all. my question is:why? the answer is obvious."

Yes, obvious. One area was experiencing record-smashing extreme conditions. The other was experiencing unusual temps for the season, but nothing nearly as off the charts as the first.

Do you know which was which?

I certainly had news of the unusually cold conditions in Yakutsk. After all, cold enough to liquify the propane portion of the natgas in the heating system is newsworthy.

By David B. Benson (not verified) on 20 Jan 2013 #permalink

hi dhogaza, here is some data from the BOM :
so,basicallythe record temperatures were exceeded by a couple of degrees in most cases,with several of the previous records set in the 1970s.
i'm not too sure how you can say the figures are "off the charts" to be frank.doesn't the fact that a lot of the records were set in the 1970s mean something. as in random temperature variations with no quantifiable cause?

By Phil Wright (not verified) on 21 Jan 2013 #permalink

'i’m not too sure how you can say the figures are “off the charts”'

Well, see, "the chart" would be all of the temps experienced in the past. "of the chart" would be temperatures higher or lower than those. I think it's quite simple.

Among other things, the average high temp for the entire country was broken. That's news ...

One slight correction, the average high temperature for the entire continent was broken.

i'm wondering how many weather stations there are in the vast 'outback' ,or maybe the temps from a dozen or two have been 'extrapolated' to cover the whole country! australian weather/climate is dominated by ENSO events as we all know,and obviously the recent el nino is probably a factor,adding to the generally higher temps (compared to the 70s for example)which i acknowledge are real.however,i do not know what our planet 'should' be doing.should the climate be static? or should it vary a bit over say 100s of years?after all,our local star is variable on these timescales.cheers.

By Phil Wright (not verified) on 22 Jan 2013 #permalink

The paper looks ok, but Watts' spin on it is nonsense. No one, and certainly not Watts' bête noire Mann, disputes that there was a Medieval Warm Period in Northern Europe. So a paper refining estimates of historical temperatures in Northern Sweden doesn't change the global picture.

obviously the recent el nino is probably a factor,

According to the sources I could find, we are currently in an ENSO-neutral phase. Where did you find the claim that we now have an El Nino?

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 22 Jan 2013 #permalink

This would be the Greg Laden who assured us on his own "scienceblogs" site, that he could name himself as the sole climate scientist worldwide who supports CAGW and isn't givernment funded.

He was actually an assistant anthropology teacher in a state funded university so counterfactual on both counts.

"Scienceblogs" consider this the standards they aspire to..

By Neil Craig (not verified) on 22 Jan 2013 #permalink

Mr. Craig, we're waiting for some audio/video/transcript from the BBC where they say that AGW is "the most attested theory in science". You don't get off the hook that easily just by changing the subject.

While you're at it, provide the citation were Glen Laden claims to be "the sole climate scientist worldwide who supports CAGW (sic) and isn’t government funded.".

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 22 Jan 2013 #permalink

sorry about the words i used in my last post. could you delete it please william?

[OK. Indeed, well done for having second thoughts -W]

By Phil Wright (not verified) on 22 Jan 2013 #permalink

@Richard Simons
hi,no i did not mean currently an el nino causing the aussie heat.i meant the recent el nino(which has now faded) causing the current aussie heat.i have read that el nino(s) take a few months to spread the heat that correct?

By Phil Wright (not verified) on 22 Jan 2013 #permalink

Phil: Although global temperatures change in response to el Ninos and la Ninas, these events cannot cause a long-term increase in Earth's average temperature. (Neither can sunspot cycles.)

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 22 Jan 2013 #permalink

Robert you are waiting for no such thing since I have already provided the link to the BBC statement/lie.

As I have for Greg's claim (which he has neither denied not apologised for)..

Tobert I am waiting for you to provide links proving that some part of the alarmist case is more honest than that.

[This has gone round in enough circles. We've all seen the quality of NC's "quotes" that aren't really quotes, there's no need to tease him any further -W]

By Neil Craig (not verified) on 23 Jan 2013 #permalink

Mr. Craig, as I suspected, you made it all up and can't back up a thing you concocted. No use going round and round still further with a serial liar. Have a nice life.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 23 Jan 2013 #permalink

"I’m no lawyer, but I’d be doubtful that would stand up."

It wouldn't in the US. Libel/defamation and the related cases are very hard get into court, and much harder to win.

The plaintiff must prove:
a) the statement is false
b) the defendant knew it was false
c) the defendant made the statement with the intent to cause harm to the plaintiff
d) the plaintiff actually suffered substantial harm

These requirements set a very high bar. I suspect the lawyer that Watts asked had a hard time not laughing at him.

By Joseph O'Sullivan (not verified) on 23 Jan 2013 #permalink - "The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has had to add extra colours to its temperature charts due to the recent high temperatures. The range now extends to 54 °C. This tops the all-time record temperature of 50.7 °"

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say Aussie temperatures are off the chart's previously adequate temperature scale, but"off the charts" works for me.

By Brian Dodge (not verified) on 23 Jan 2013 #permalink

Watts seems to have picked up on "False Light" because it allows an action on the basis of a "false representation or imputation" as well as a directly false statement.

But legally his action seems hopeless (I wrote something about this). I wonder how much of what he posts is just to entertain his readers.

[I really think most of WUWT is treated as just entertainment by most of the readers. Its light, easy-going stuff, and (caricature now) since the comments are mostly "Al Gore is fat" there's no requirement to read the posts before commenting. Sometimes I do go through the comments - I did on this one - looking for people who will say the obvious (that he has no hope, as you say). I can find only two references to "first amendment" in the comments, yet its a very basic part of the matter (and, I would be astonished if a large fraction of the folk there wouldn't quote the constitution to defend their gun rights). The readers get a chance to vent in a forum where the awkward folk who point out their nonsense will be shouted down.

As for the other half, why AW posts this stuff: I think its become self-perpetuating; its his claim to fame. What else is he? He needs a constant stream of posts to keep the eyeballs, otherwise his folk will drift away. And there really isn't enough quality material to fill that many posts.

Incidentally (to all my readers) I notice that having posted the "should I sue" stuff, he's now posted the "I've made up my mind" bit, but not said in what way. Can anyone see any comments from his readers asking "OK, so what's the answer then?" -W]

I wonder how much of the traffic over there is from the non-deranged who just can't help slowing down to see the details of the carnage.

No on else jumped on this, so I will:

Phil: "after all,our local star is variable on these timescales."

The ghost of Sallie Baliunas lo these many years later? (And for many of us that will trigger an odd kind of nostalgia.) Or just confusion about the nature of the 11-year cycle?

Either way, Phil, wrong. I'd say look it up on Wikipedia, but actually all you have to do is check Leif Svalgaard's posts on WTF.

BTW, ENSO does have quite a bit of variability due to insolation changes, but it's Milankovitch cycles rather than irradiance. You can look that up too.

And actually, Phil, since you don't really seem like a deluded sort, can you tell me why you repeat stuff that you have made no real effort to determine is true other than having read it somewhere on the internet? I'd really like to know.

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 24 Jan 2013 #permalink

One more for Phil:

"why not the russians freezing to death?"

Well, likely because the recent cold there (in a place infamous for nasty cold) is nothing like the sort of wide-area record that's happened in Oz (a place similarly famed for nasty heat). But while Oz never gets really cold, do you recall what happened in Russia in summer 2010? You can google that.

But speaking of Russian cold, broadly speaking it, actually much of Eurasia, has been getting a lot more unusual cold in recent winters. Scientists have noticed. You're welcome. And did you know that starting about ten years ago there's been a big increase in the atmospheric blocking events leading to both extreme winter cold and extreme summer heat? (We just had one in the U.S. this last summer too, as you may have heard.) What do you think might be causing that?

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 24 Jan 2013 #permalink

hi steve, in terms of the sun being a slightly irregular variable star,well it's obvious when we consider the way it goes a bit quiet every so often-like the maunder and dalton minima. surely that means something?i'm am amateur astronomer so i take an interest in the solar cycles.yep i do know about the jetstream meanderings of late.i have read a few articles linking the blocking patterns with shrinking polar ice but that may just be correlation without the causation! maybe.i guess if the arctic ice reaches normal levels one year,and the jetstream still meanders and causes blocking patterns ,then that theory will fail.maybe there are global climatic phenomena that we know very little about!about the russians freezing - i was using that as an example of bbc bias, and there are so many complaints made about bbc bias in various subjects that even senior government people ,in the recent past ,have made such accusations.

By Phil Wright (not verified) on 24 Jan 2013 #permalink

Phil Wright - the thing about lack of arctic ice and blocking thingies is that it is possible to work out a direct mechanism for it to happen.
Concurrently, you need to look at historic records of blocking patterns. There's no chance of the Arctic ice reaching historically normal levels for the next few centuries (Absent major changes in solar output or our managing to put a solar shade in orbit) so the thing to look out for would be regular blocking every time of year there's not enough arctic ice.

In general, Phil, I would suggest that you're jumping to lots of conclusions, and failing to reach conclusions that should be reached, based on a a casual and selective understanding of the science. Try to do better.

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 25 Jan 2013 #permalink

@steve,robert, guthrie.
thanks for replies.i'll end my posts here!

By Phil Wright (not verified) on 25 Jan 2013 #permalink

[PA's deleted -W]

By Neil Craig (not verified) on 26 Jan 2013 #permalink

Recently W, when asked to name a single scientist anywhere in the worldc who supports alarmism named Prof Lovelock. Even when I produced evidence that he was now a sceptic calling alarmists insane he declined to retract.

Here is Lovelock's latest:

"I am James Lovelock, scientist and author, known as the originator of Gaia theory, a view of the Earth that sees it as a self-regulating entity that keeps the surface environment always fit for life… I am an environmentalist and founder member of the Greens but I bow my head in shame at the thought that our original good intentions should have been so misunderstood and misapplied. We never intended a fundamentalist Green movement that rejected all energy sources other than renewable, nor did we expect the Greens to cast aside our priceless ecological heritage because of their failure to understand that the needs of the Earth are not separable from human needs. We need take care that the spinning windmills do not become like the statues on Easter Island, monuments of a failed civilisation". –James Lovelock, 12 December 2012

Doubtless rather than acknowledging actually being wrong pseudo environmentalists like robert will again accuse me of lying.

By Neil Craig (not verified) on 26 Jan 2013 #permalink

Neil, have you read the whole letter?

Another choice quote you seemed to have missed:
"It is true that we need a better way of producing energy and there is little doubt among scientists, and I speak as one
of them, that the buming of fossil fuels is by far the most dangerous source of energy. By using it to power industry,
our homes and transport, we are changing the composition of the air in a way that will have profoundly adverse
effects on the Earth's ecology and on ourselves."

Seems Lovelock didn't recant at all...

I've missed the latest Warmist community newsletter, what does it say?

And I think we all stand firmly with Robert against Neil Craig.

guthrie: apparently some people have gotten hold of an e-mail of Lovelock in which he offers his opposition to a wind farm. Now, those who know a little about Lovelock know that he hates windturbines with a vengeance. And thus he makes some disparaging remarks against the "Greens" which are thrown around as evidence that he does not believe in AGW or even "C"AGW. Of course, that view requires some choice quoting, as I showed by a quote from the same e-mail.

You can find the whole e-mail on Montford's blog, but out of respect for our host, I dare not provide a direct link.

Thanks Marco, but I was being a bit sarcastic at Neils expense. But it's good that some people are on top of all the lies.

IEHO wind turbines are elegant, and wind farms are, when nicely sited impressive.

By Eli Rabett (not verified) on 27 Jan 2013 #permalink