Yet more misc

Fun in comet land. The great silences of space give one pause for thought in the face of the chatter and noise of Earth. Speaking of which, Paul Mason (who he?) says:

By neoliberalism I mean the global capitalist system shaped around a core of neoliberal practices and institutions, themselves guided by a widespread and spontaneously reproduced ideology, and ruled by an elite which acts in a neoliberal way, whatever conflciting and moderating ideas it holds in its head.

Which is woolly thinking. Or, from any true definitional viewpoint, utter drivel. But typical of the Left talking about Neoliberalism; its like the denialists talking about CAGW. Timmy, of course shreds it.

2-year At some point in the recent Greek crisis I realised that money talks, and instead of looking at fluff from commentators and the like, I should just look at bond yields as a proxy for what the market thought was going on. Not that the market knows everything, of course, but people with billions at stake have enough to pay smart people to spend lots of time thinking about what is likely to happen. Inlined is the 2 year bond, annotated using Wiki's helpful timeline to supplement my fallible memory. The pic is nicked from, who I'm sure won't mind if I credit them. Anyway, yields go up when people are worried (about things like the govt defaulting), and down when people are happier. They're now lower than they've been all year: a sign of confidence (despite Timmy). And that pic is a day or so old; we're now down to 13% as confidence increases further, despite Timmy's relentless naysaying. He's missing the point, somewhat unusually for a normally perceptive person. Perhaps blinded by his politics.

Yet another way of knowing that GW isn't from the sun. This one features Leif Svalgaard, who I don't know much, but when I used to comment at WUWT he was often in the comments, pointing out that the solarists were wrong, because what they thought about the solar series was wrong; and they didn't like it up them.

A submerged monolith in the Sicilian Channel (central Mediterranean Sea): Evidence for Mesolithic human activity is almost like the start of some sci-fi story. But alas it is just a mesolithic monolith.

VV has a nice article on the history of Temperature scales and the dry virtues of metrology.

Wiki has been debating denialism: There is dispute over the significance of WUWT being described as a climate change denialist blog, particularly in the lede. The RFC has now been closed by a neutral admin. Option 1 (Omit all mention of the fact that this is described as a climate denialist blog) is rejected; but there's no clear consensus between 2 (Use the self-identification, climate skeptic, but note the accusations of denialism, with attribution) and 3 (Go with denialist). The article text at the moment reads "Watts Up With That? (or WUWT) is a "climate skeptic" blog,[1] which promotes climate change denial".

[Update: speaking of wiki,
Tillman has just been topic banned from the climate change topic indefinitely, with an appeal not recommended for at least 6 months. T is "one of those geologists", a phrase I use to compress a lot into a small phrase because I can't be bothered to explain properly. He's a "skeptic", but normally a nearly-reasonable one; what got him this time was the argument over denial, trying to defend Watts, and hating Mann; see the discussion.]

Has there been a hiatus? asks Kevin E. Trenberth. He doesn't give a clear answer. The perception of whether or not there was a hiatus depends on how the temperature record is partitioned suggests he thinks there is no objective answer. But The increasing gap between model expectations and observed temperatures provides further grounds for concluding that there has been a hiatus comes out rather more strongly towards "yes there was". Or then again The combination of decadal variability and a trend from increasing greenhouse gases makes the GMST record more like a rising staircase than a monotonic rise. Meh. I don't think its terribly important any more. I'm in the no-real-hiatus camp, FWIW. DA disagrees with my interpretation of what KT says, going for "Kevin Trenberth Says Yes, There Was a Hiatus".

Last and very much least is Climate Scientist Fears Murder By Hitman Date: 25/07/15 Ben Webster, The Times. This is just silly. Yes, Wadhams said something misinterpretable as that. Yes, he should have known better than to say such a thing to a journo; he's not a child. No, the Times shouldn't have printed it if it wants any claim to credibility. Sadly, No, that's not very high on their priority list.

No, wait, there's more! Fresh in from twitter: RP Sr refreshes his 2012 tosser award.

More like this

Shorter: "He fits the def of huckster .... I left because the discussion deviated from science into insults."

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 13 Aug 2015 #permalink

Well, there has been something as the 30-year trend dropped from 2005 to 2010, and beyond. But the recent negative phase of the PDO was tiny when compared with the mid-century dip. So I don't know what he is trying to accomplish. Around 2050 I suspect they'll look back and say we learned of the PDO just in time to see its last hurrah.

"Climate Scientist Fears Murder By Hitman'

Couldn't be Vladimir Alexandrov, who having neglected to fall down a flight of stairs, get run over by a truck or be struck by lightning, was shoved into a van in front of the Soviet embassy in Madrid in the wee hours of Palm Sunday morning 1985, and has not been seen since.

You sure Curry does not deserve that tosser award? I am not going to link to the thread, but let's just say she's giving further support to Steyn in his crusade against Mann.

[I've called her a shark-jumper; see-also Currygate and wikipedia and links therein -W]

Compared to her, Senior is just an amateur, choosing Schmidt as the object of his obsession, although the self-proclaimed Auditors have not yet been able to stick some 'bad' science on him.

By 'shreds it' you mean 'picks out a single sentence removed from context to have a go at, ignores everything else'. This being a classic Agumentum Ad Watts.

Neoliberalism is a program based on an ideology - that the private sector is the only sector that can accomplish anything and that any interference with the working of the private sector is automatically wrong. The program is one of privatization, shifting taxation from rich to middle, removing all barriers to capital movement, removing all labour protection, and making government as incapable as possible. Usually done in the name of economic growth, even though countries that embrace the program usually have slower growth.

[I see you too have your own personal definition of neoliberalism -W]

[2016 update: the IMF use the NL word at; Timmy comments at…; but from now on I shall adopt the IMFs defn -W]

It's generally hard to get people to vote for this, which is why you need a good crisis or two for the 'medicine' to be applied.

Oh, and your graph reflects confidence - confidence that 2-year bonds will be redeemed by a country that has just signed a 3-year bailout deal, in a market that is swimming in liquidity and desperate for any sort of return. It's certainly not confidence that Greece is long term solvent.

[Yes, that is correct. There's the interesting related question of why the long-term yield is lower than the short-term, which I hope to return to when I know something about it -W]

To use the doorstep lender analogy - which is pretty much the only one that works with Greece - having administered a sound beating this week, the lenders are fairly sure of getting paid next week.

By Andrew Dodds (not verified) on 14 Aug 2015 #permalink

Paul Mason is hardly a left winger; slightly left of centre yes, but a winger, no. Or you could classify him under middle class person who has found through his job that life in a market capitalist society isn't actually the best thing for everyone everywhere.

Re. Wadhams, it has become clear to me over the years that a large number of people who exhibit competence in their professional field simply aren't up to sensible interactions with the wider world. Those of us who comment on here would avoid such phrasing as he used, because we've been trained by the dog eat dog world of the internet, where the slightest poor phrasing will be picked on by some rabid lunatic. Now I understand that some peer reviewing and university business can be a bit like that, but perhaps not enough...

[Yeah, but Wadhams is not new to the media -W]

He isn't? Maybe media training should be undertaken before he says anything else.

[Pfft. He should try working for Qualcomm :-) -W]

I think that the Greek 10 year thing is similar to the UK 50 year inversion:

The lack of volume means that there are fewer sellers and so a higher price (=lower yield). Or something..

Always remember that the price is set by buyers and sellers.. and if you can read their motivations, then great, but presumption is dangerous.

Also thinking.. With UK 50-year bonds at 2.4%, the cost of a £500bn total-decarbonisation-forever project would come in at £12bn p/a minus fuel costs. Cheap at half the price. Of course, flogging that many 50-year bonds may present issues.

By Andrew Dodds (not verified) on 14 Aug 2015 #permalink

The business with Alexandrov was bizarre. Kinda spooky because I had attended a seminar he gave at CSU not too long before he disappeared (or was disappeared).

By Raymond Arritt (not verified) on 14 Aug 2015 #permalink

There’s the interesting related question of why the long-term yield is lower than the short-term, which I hope to return to when I know something about it

I haven't been following Greek bond yields all that closely, but I know enough to know that an inverted yield curve like this is a bad sign. Usually the long bond is riskier than a shorter term bond (even in countries like Switzerland with an impeccable fiscal state) because you are locking in a return which may be considerably less than what you can get when the shorter term debt rolls over--and that's before you consider the enhanced default risk from a less creditworthy borrower like Greece. So if the long bond yield is lower, it means that many investors fear that they won't be able to get a better return when the short term debt rolls over, to such an extent that they are willing to lock in the lower rate to make sure they have it. Whenever that happens in the US, it means that investors expect the US to go into a recession. Admittedly, for a country in a situation like Greece's this may, perversely, be a good sign in that enough people are willing to gamble that the long-term debt will be honored when it comes due that they will accept a lower interest rate now because it will look high compared to what will be available three years from now.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 14 Aug 2015 #permalink

The lack of volume means that there are fewer sellers and so a higher price (=lower yield). Or something..

On original debt issue, if there are fewer buyers the price will be lower and therefore the interest rate higher. At least that's how it works in the US: various trading firms/consortia bid on the debt being issued, and the highest bidder gets the new issue. Existing debt of similar time-to-maturity is marked to this market price. If this week's bonds have a lower yield than last week's, then investors will prefer last week's bonds and increase their price, because they get a better return with nearly the same duration, until the premium on last week's bonds offsets the higher return.

I have assumed here that there are regular debt issues in the described maturity, so that this kind of mark-to-market happens frequently. IIRC, most if not all US bond durations are offered as new issues at least once a month, and some of the shorter durations are offered weekly. Greece is a much smaller economy, so they probably don't need to issue bonds as frequently, but they still have to roll over a fair amount of paper. That may also be true of the 50-year UK bond, but from your link I see there are shorter durations as well, and correspondingly more chances (at least in principle) to to mark to market.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 14 Aug 2015 #permalink

the wiki news is fun. I've been doing a bit more wikipedia editing lately - up to around 250 edits total now (mostly translating stuff from French recently). I'm curious about your opinion on the following recent effort to improve physics in wiki:…

I thought 51 pages edited and 4 new topics by what looks like about 30 people over 3 hours (+ weeks following) seemed a little light. On the other hand, every little bit helps. The main thing I guess is whether a good fraction of these folks will continue editing, which I'm sure was part of the point of the exercise even though unmentioned in the press release...

[I'd say that does look a little light. What you'd want, as you say, for these people to be enhused, to continue, and to draw more people in. But looking at DAMOP, which was new so its easy to tell who did it, then at, its clear he at least didn't continue.

Another one looks to be, who made one edit to SoL, which got reverted for poor English :-(. And again, only contribs on that one day.

So, not a great success I'd say.

FWIW, SoL was subject of an arbcomm case; the kind of thing you'd expect:…

I should also add that some very very good physics editors have left in frustration at the nutters and the rules; I can't remember names, alas -W]

By Arthur Smith (not verified) on 14 Aug 2015 #permalink

WMC: 'Yes, Wadhams said something misinterpretable...'

Someone claiming to be Peter Wadhams left another misinterpretable comment early last year beneath a blogpost about Big Oil assassinating its opponents:…

Probably Rupert Murdoch pretending to be Wadhams for the purpose of discrediting climate science. He plays a very long game, does Rupert.

(If you were write a blogpost about the Dungeness Estate being for sale and whether it's worth £1.5 million what with sea-level rise and everything, I'd be able to mention in passing that last week I saw a stoat hypnotizing rabbits there... Oh. No need.)

[Leave the stoats out of it. That... could be Wadhams; its not unbelieveable. Hmm -W]

By Vinny Burgoo (not verified) on 14 Aug 2015 #permalink

Wadhams is quite fond of the word 'swath', if that makes a difference.

By Vinny Burgoo (not verified) on 14 Aug 2015 #permalink


Why do suppose it is that a dozen prestigious organizations have filed briefs on Steyn's behalf, but not a single one for Mann?

... and you no doubt will be shocked, shocked to learn:

Public Release: 14-Aug-2015
On Wikipedia, politically controversial science topics vulnerable to information sabotage

When researching acid rain, evolution, and climate change -- cast a critical eye on source material

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

[Thanks for pointing that out - looks to be worth a read and a post :-) -W]

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 14 Aug 2015 #permalink

Tom C:

Why do suppose it is that a dozen prestigious organizations have filed briefs on Steyn’s behalf, but not a single one for Mann?

Hmm, as of last Nov. 12th, there were six amicus briefs filed in the case. Quoting liberally (heh) from the site, the amici curiae were:

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 26 other organizations, to advise the court that "the judicial system should not be the arbiter of either scientific truth or correct public policy", apparently missing the point about libel completely. One presumes, though, that they have an interest in keeping it as hard as possible for libel plaintiffs to win.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and five other online publishers , with interests presumably in common with the previous amici.

Alliance Defending Freedom, “to highlight the First Amendment’s safeguard of offensive or inflammatory speech and the important role that hyperbole plays in American politics”. Apparently science is just politics by other means, and defaming scientists, whose livelihoods depend on their reputation for intellectual honesty, is the good ol' American Way.

The District of Columbia, which argued that "jurisdiction was available under the collateral order doctrine", whatever that means.

The Cato Institute and three other foundations/institutes, arguing that scientific disagreements should instead be resolved in the "marketplace of ideas", not in the courts. Cato (originally named the Charles Koch Foundation) is paid to sustain public confusion about climate science.

Mark Steyn himself, perhaps hoping that "friends of the court" have an advantage over mere defendants.

I don't know how many of those parties I'd call prestigious, but certainly not as many as a dozen.

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 14 Aug 2015 #permalink

Tom C, I assume that is because many of them consider the right to free speech to include the right to say whatever a supposedly journalist organisation wants to say, regardless of its veracity.

Some others may just be concerned that a win for Mann, and depending on the legalese in the decision, could mean they have to check the comments section for potential libelous statements. Thus, they warn the court, using that amicus brief, about potential wider ranging implications.

I note with interest the indefinite Tillman ban.

[Interest, and sadness too. He's done genuinely good work elsewhere, but on this issue either his view of reality is warped, or he just got too dug in -W]

By John Mashey (not verified) on 15 Aug 2015 #permalink

Re Wadhams - even paranoids have real enemies; there is also the truism "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action"
If, or perhaps when, Wadhams dies from "natural" causes or "accidental" misadventure, will his death have been in vain, or will people look at Exxon/Shell/BP and think "Hhm...ANOTHER coincidence???"

Remember George Carlin's "twp minute warning" bit?

By Brian Dodge (not verified) on 15 Aug 2015 #permalink

Mal and Marco -

Pretty lame. Among the "26 other organizations" are the American Civil Liberties Union, Gannett, Fox, Bloomberg and Cato. You might not like or agree with these organizations, but they are all heavy hitters that know a thing or two about libel law.

But you both dodged the second part of my question. Why no support for Mann? You would think that this poor, persecuted scientist would have science organizations and universities lined up behind him.

I'm afraid Mann's support has dwindled to left-wing bloggers and their commenters.

So far, Tom C, the support from Mann has come from the court itself, with two judges already dismissing any attempts to keep the case out.

Moreover, when was the last time you saw a university or a scientific organization file an amicus brief on cases involving individuals?

Finally, what is it with you guys? I thought you wanted your day in court to show Mann to be a fraud? Steyn has challenged Mann, and now he tries to help his co-defendants to evade going to court?!

Tom C:

Pretty lame. Among the “26 other organizations” are the American Civil Liberties Union, Gannett, Fox, Bloomberg and Cato. You might not like or agree with these organizations, but they are all heavy hitters that know a thing or two about libel law.

You seem confused as to what amicus curiae means, Tom C.

Those organizations are all corporations (non-profit in the ACLU's case), not people, which means their 'values' (i.e. interests) are circumscribed by their mission statements. They don't 'care' who the plaintiff is, or whether the hockey stick is sound science -- that's not part of their missions. Their amicus briefs all advocate for the most permissive limits on protected speech, and therefore the narrowest limits on actionable speech, because it affects their interests. Why would anyone expect them to do otherwise?

That no amicus curiae have submitted briefs supporting the plaintiff's case is irrelevant. The final appeals court will decide which side of the line between protected and actionable speech Steyn's accusation of fraud falls on, and the decision will be based on law, not on how many "friends" Steyn or Mann has.

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 17 Aug 2015 #permalink

No Mal – I understand what an amicus brief is. You are right that these organizations don’t particularly care about the details of the hockey stick. But they understand that this is not a run-of-the-mill libel case and the devastating effect on free speech that would result from a Mann victory. They don’t look forward to a future when thin-skinned liars like Mann can bully everyone into silence.

Marco – what are you talking about? Of course scientific advocacy organizations take stands on behalf of individuals, especially when there are broader issues at stake.

Even Mann’s colleagues and co-authors hint at scientific mis-conduct on his part, at least in private.

[That sounds like bollocks. How would you know? -W]

Mann went after Steyn instead of the many other credentialed scientists who made accusations tantamount to fraud because he thought he could intimidate Steyn on technical issues. Good luck on that one Mike.

Tom C, those organizations are just scared as hell the same will happen as in Canada, where Andrew Weaver not only won a 50,000 C$ settlement, but the court also required the National Post to retract the stories, apologize, and withdraw consent to third parties to republish the story and to require them to cease republication.

It also appears you ignore that Mann is going after NR/CEI, with Steyn just one of those specifically mentioned. In fact, the current case is because NR/CEI are doing everything they can to not have to go to court, whereas Steyn has claimed he wants to, oh so desperately. Why are you trying to prevent Mann from going to court? I thought you guys were so sure he committed fraud? Surely that should be easy to prove then, eh?

Of course, there are no credentialed climate scientists who have claimed Mann's work to be fraudulent. They have not even hinted at it, despite Steyn's hard work to find any such quotes.

Tom C:

They don’t look forward to a future when thin-skinned liars like Mann can bully everyone into silence.

You'll be hoping Mike doesn't read this blog, and his colleague Dr. Connolley doesn't bring your comment to his attention, because that's a pretty defamatory statement right there. Can you prove he lied?

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 18 Aug 2015 #permalink

Mann went after Steyn instead of the many other credentialed scientists who made accusations tantamount to fraud because he thought he could intimidate Steyn on technical issues.

And who, pray tell, are these "credentialed scientists" making "accusations tantamount to fraud"?

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 19 Aug 2015 #permalink

For Tom C, who still hasn't provided proof of his claims.

Brave Sir Robin ran away.
Bravely ran away away.
("I didn't!")
When danger reared it's ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled.
("I never!")
Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
And gallantly he chickened out.
("You're lying!")
Swiftly taking to his feet,
He beat a very brave retreat.
Bravest of the brave, Sir Robin!

I don't generally approve of taunting other commentators, but in this case I'll make an exception since I was going to say much the same myself. It's possible he's referencing this (note update). la Curry ought to know better than reading the cess-pit that is Steyn -W]

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 20 Aug 2015 #permalink

How is Timmy quote mining Paul Mason any different to something Watts would do with a James Hansen article?

Sorry guys - I have not run away, just on a long vacation. Will give you the goods in a week when I get back.

Tom C:

Will give you the goods in a week when I get back.

I'd say we've got the goods on you already, Tom C. But feel free to keep digging. Want a bigger shovel?

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 24 Aug 2015 #permalink

It's been 9 days, Tom C. That's more than a week. Either stump up your proof, or admit that you have none.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 01 Sep 2015 #permalink