New Triple-Thickness Lew Paper

Lewandowsky has a new paper out with co-authors Cook and Marriott, called “Recurrent Fury: Conspiratorial Discourse in the Blogosphere Triggered by Research on the Role of Conspiracist Ideation in Climate Denial”. You can read it at

http://jspp.psychopen.eu/article/view/443
Lew has a blog article about it at
http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/rf2015.html
and some FAQs on the same blog at
http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/Recurrent-Fury-Frequently-Asked-Questions.html
It’s simply “Recursive Fury” with the names left out, and the quotes (which were already frequently mangled, truncated, censored and misattributed) now reworded to make identification difficult using a search engine. To this Lew has added two “behavioral studies involving naive participants”. In other words, he showed some poor unsuspecting students some quotes which Cook and Marriott had identified as being conspiratorial (because they had the word “conspiracy” in them, or something) and some other quotes which Cook and Marriott didn’t think were conspiratorial, and, would you believe it, the students agreed with them!

Lew has falsely claimed in the past that the sole objection to “Recursive Fury” was that the subjects were identifiable. By hiding the names of the commenters and the blogs they were commenting on, and rewording the quotes to make them untraceable, he can triumphantly announce that his “new” paper demonstrates that some people once said something somewhere on the internet which some other people thought sounded conspiratorial. Or he would be able to, except that whereas the data for parts two and three of the study have been, or will be, made available, the data for part one, which is simply the data for “Recursive Fury”, won’t. So all we have is the false, defamatory Recursive Fury paper with the evidence for its falsity and the names of the people defamed left out.

But at least it no longer names his subjects, so it can be published without danger of threats, harassment, or bullying. Except that he then rather spoils the effect in his blog article by giving a detailed account of the story of the retraction of Recursive Fury, and linking to an article by Graham Redfearn at
http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/03/20/science-journal-retracts-paper-showing-how-climate-change-sceptics-were-conspiracy-theorists-after-sceptics-shout
which mentions Steve McIntyre as one of the writers of a letter of complaint to UWA; links to my blog article in which I reproduce my letter of complaint to Frontiers; and also manages to mention Anthony Watts and JoNova as well. So, lew and behold, the names of the four people defamed in table 3 of “Recursive Fury” and so carefully expunged by Lewandowsky from “Recurrent Fury” are back in circulation, named and shamed all over again.

Lew also links to the site at the University of Western Australia that used to harbour “Recursive Fury” after it was retracted for ethical reasons, but which now links to the new Lew paper, with added blind-tested strength.
So if you’re not one of the lucky 65,000 to have seen “Recursive” at Frontiers in Psychology, or one of the 13,000 to have downloaded it from the site of the University of Western Australia, at least you can have a good guess from Lew’s accompanying blog post at the names of the people identified in it as paranoid mental defectives.
Hey ho. Now I’ll have to dust off my complaint letter to Frontiers, add a couple of paragraphs, and send it to Journal of Social and Political Psychology. It’s no fun living with a persecution complex.

Posted in Stephan Lewandowsky | 1 Comment

Lew’s Lost Conspiracy

At the end of my post summarising Lewandowsky’s Recursive Fury” paper,
https://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/recursive-fury-a-summary/
I presented the list of conspiracy theories found in the Supplemental Material, with the number of quotes supporting each theory.

There are 22 conspiracy headings in the Supplemental material, and only eleven conspiracies listed in the paper. Of course, there’s plenty of botching, as you’d expect from Cook and Marriot, who did the analysis. One theory – “Gravy train” -is listed twice, each time supported by one quote. Six other conspiracy theories are supported by just one quote. Only four theories are supported by more than ten quotes. They are:
1) Warmists faked data (38)
2) Methodology flaws (35)
3) Didn’t email deniers (29)
4) SkS conspiracies (15)

The first three are among the eleven or so (depending how you define them) conspiracy theories analysed in “Recursive Fury.” The fourth one, “SkS conspiracies”, isn’t. The fourth most frequently mentioned conspiracy theory in the Supplemental Material (the raw material for the analysis) mysteriously disappears from the paper.

The fifteen quotes under the heading of SkS conspiracies are listed at the end of this article, giving source and quote, or in the Cook/Marriott nomenclature, “Title; URL; and ‘Excerpt Espousing Conspiracy Theory’.”

Among the fifteen quotes under this heading, the greater number – numbers (1)-(5), all from the same BishopHill thread, plus numbers (9) and (11) – all stem from my observation (first noted by Barry Woods) that the Moon Hoax survey didn’t appear to have been publicised at SkepticalScience, contrary to the claim made in the paper.
(The latter two quotes, by me and Steve McIntyre, clearly assert that the survey wasn’t publicised at SkepticalScience. This point had already been raised at TalkingClimate, at SkepticalScience itself, and at Lewandowsky’s blog, Shapingtomorrowsworld. None of these three blogs were analysed in “Recursive Fury”.)

Of the others, (6) to (8) and (12) to (15) discuss the relationship between Cook/SkS and Lewandowsky, often using the term “conspiracy” ironically.
(10) is about UWA and completely off-subject.

Two of the quotes under this heading reappeared at Recursive Fury (p.26) under the heading “Beyond Recursion”, which discusses the supposed extension of conspiratorial ideation to include other actors, including SkS, the University of Western Australia, the Australian government etc. But all mention of the suspicion about SkepticalScience’s non-participation in the survey disappears down the Cook/Marriott memory hole, adding savour to the paper’s claim (p.31) that the reason for choosing these two non-scientific nonentities to conduct the analysis was to avoid accusations of conflict of interest.

Note that the very first quote under the “SkS Conspiracies” heading has been truncated, leaving out the very quotes from Cook which made my point. It’s hardly surprising that in this, his very first peer-reviewed paper, Cook should suppress material which portrays him as a liar and a star-struck wally in thrall to his scientist-hero. But, as the paper notes in the paragraph devoted to eliminating conflict of interest, “… the availability of these raw data enables other scholars to bring an alternative viewpoint to bear during any reanalyses.”

Quite.

***********************

1) Comment by geoffchambers on Aug 31, 2012 at 11:06 PM
http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2012/8/31/lewandowskys-data.html
“I think the following quotes from John Cook’s emails to fellow authors on his private email threads demonstrate that Skepticalscience did NOT participate in the survey – whatever else Stephan and John may have got up to together.”

[Strangely, Cook missed this comment from me on the same thread:
(Aug 31, 2012 at 12:04 PM)
”Where did the respondents come from? Only at Tamino’s did the survey announcement provoke any discussion, where a couple of dozen regulars made largely critical comments about how difficult it was to fill in honestly. The obvious answer is Skeptical Science, but there’s no mention of it at the site, and John Cook (who had developed quite a crush on Lew) can be seen in a private email ten months after the fieldwork mentioning to a colleague the research that his mate Lewandowsky had done, as if it was nothing to do with him.”]

2) Comment by Foxgoose on Sep 1, 2012 at 1:30 PM
I think a real showstopper is SKS moderator & author Tom Curtis’ reply to Geoff at SkS:- “…. in my opinion, the title of the paper is not justified by the results, and is needlessly sensationalizing and offensive”. I wonder if Lewandowsky groupie John Cook agrees.

3) Comment by omnologos on Sep 1, 2012 at 11:39 PM
He even invented most or all of SkS involvement.

4) Comment by Richard Drake on Sep 2, 2012 at 9:51 PM
My post at SkS has already been deleted without trace together with all posts since the one following Geoff’s last post – including the one accusing me of being a tinfoil hatter. Mass deletions with no record or reason given. I think we now know the answer to the question we’ve been asking John Cook. Perhaps he’ll have to start a new sub-section for “Cookie’s Cock Ups”

5) Comment by Paul Matthews on Sep 3, 2012 at 10:11 AM
Yes, the thread at Sks makes fascinating reading as the liars tie themselves in knots. People might want to take a copy in case it mysteriously disappears. First we are told (#14) that “Skeptical Science and John Cook are not associated with Lewandowski’s study.” Then we are told (#15) that they did host the survey in 2011. Geoff points out that this doesn’t make sense (#16), and Cook changes his story in #15 to 2010, despite the fact that Geoff says he has already searched the Wayback archive for the relevant period and it’s not there. Foxgoose asks for clarification (#22) and is referred to back to Cook’s muddled and false answer. Geoff again points out the contradiction in #27 and #31 and asks why they would delete the survey. That’s an interesting theory – that Tom Curtis’s comments may be designed to allow a Gergis-style climb-down

6)Stephan Lewandowsky’s slow motion Psychological Science train wreck
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/05/stephan-lewandowskys-slow-motion-social-science-train-wreck/
The striking thing is that we have John Cook’s Skeptical Science blog listed as presenting both the original as well as the most recent survey. It as been discovered that Cook is a co-author with Levandowsky on a similar paper. One wonders how much Cook contributed to the questions, based on his understanding of his readers likely responses. It is strange irony indeed that the paper discusses “debiasing”, when so many potential biases in Lewandowsky’s methods are clearly obvious to even the casual reader.

7)Anatomy of the Lewandowsky Scam
http://climateaudit.org/2012/09/08/lewandowsky-scam/
An invitation was apparently also posted at Skeptical Science, a blog operated by John Cook, a close associate of Lewandowsky. However, Skeptical Science rewrites its history from time to time and the original posting, apparently deleted in one of its occasional pogroms, is no longer online.

8)Lewandowsky update
http://www.australianclimatemadness.com/2012/09/lewandowsky-update-3/
from the buddy of John Cook at Un-Skeptical Pseudo- Science

9)Comment by Geoff Chambers
http://climateaudit.org/2012/09/10/lewandowsky-censors-discussion-of-fake-data/#comment-351106
On 3 Oct 2010 Cook informs his colleagues: “..then I got involved with Steve Lewandowsky and some of his cognitive colleagues who is very interested in the phenomena of science blogging and they’re planning to do some research into the subject that I’m going to help them with”. 6 October 2010 he tells them: “I’ve been having some intriguing conversations with Steve Lewandowsky who’s throwing cognitive experiment ideas at me to see what’s technically possible. Having a significantly sized group of people classified as skeptic or proAGW makes all sorts of interesting experiments possible.” It makes no sense that he should be informing his fellow authors that he’s going to do something he’s just done two months ago. I therefore conclude that the survey was not publicised on Skeptical Science, and the eight blogs who are said in the paper to have provided respondents therefore shrink to six. How Lewandowsky managed to get 1300+ respondents from Tamino’s, Deltoid and Scott Mandia’s is a mystery he should be asked to explain.

10) The Cook-Lewandowsky Social-Internet Link
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/12/the-cook-lewandowsky-social-internet-link/
That’s quite a little activist organization they have running out of the University of western Australia. I wonder if UWA officials realize the extent that UWA has become a base for this global climate activism operation and if they condone it?

11) The SkS “Link” to the Lewandowsky Survey
http://climateaudit.org/2012/09/14/the-sks-link-to-the-lewandowsky-survey/
In my opinion, the evidence is overwhelming that SkS never published a link to the Lewandowsky survey. In my opinion, both Cook’s claim to have published a link and Lewandowsky’s claim to have seen it are untrue. But even if Cook did post a link and then destroyed all documentary evidence of its existence, the situation is equally unpalatable. Update: Both Lewandowsky’s University of Western Australia blog shapingtomorrow and John Cook’s skepticalscience blog appear to have blocked me. Other readers report that they can access these sites, but here’s what I get.

12) BS detectors
http://judithcurry.com/2012/09/15/bs-detectors/
The ‘conspiracy’ among green climate bloggers has been further revealed by the leak of John Cook’s secret forum (link). SkepticalScience seems to becoming the ringleader for conspiratorial activities by the green climate bloggers. All this is high entertainment for those of us who follow the climate blog wars. But take a step back, and consider how bad this makes you look, and how poorly it reflects on the science and ’cause’ that you are trying to defend.

13)Lew – a few final thoughts
http://www.australianclimatemadness.com/2012/09/lew-a-few-final-thoughts/
He’s buddies with John Cook, he of climate alarmist heaven Skeptical Science fame

14) Skeptical Science conspiracy theorist John Cook runs another survey trying to prove that false “97% of climate scientists believe in global warming” meme
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/23/skeptical-science-conspiracy-theorist-john-cook-runs-another-survey-trying-to-prove-that-false-97-of-climate-scientists-believe-in-global-warming-meme/
I felt this to be an important step to protect the recipient. From the language and pre-selection filters imposed, clearly there is no further doubt about the connection of John Cook’ s Skeptical Science effort to the advocacy disguised as science going on at the University of Western Australia with Stephan Lewandowsky.

15) Lewandowsky: ethical considerations for “moon landing denier” paper
http://www.australianclimatemadness.com/2012/10/lewandowsky-ethical- considerations-for-moon-landing-denier-paper/
This conclusion is lent weight by the close association between Prof Lewandowsky and the Skeptical Science web site, which is well known for ridiculing and demeaning anyone (including respected atmospheric and climatic scientists) who questions any part of the AGW consensus. Examples of the tone employed include sections entitled “Lindzen’s Illusions”, referring to MIT Professor Richard Lindzen, “Spencer Slip-Ups”, referring to Dr Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama, Huntsville to name but two.

Posted in Stephan Lewandowsky | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Keep the Coal in a Black Hole and the Gas up Rusbridger’s Wassname

I was idly surfing the English language TV news channels looking for reactions to the Greek crisis, and came across two science items. In the first the presenter was interviewing a science correspondent who was holding a cuddly furry toy polar bear.
“Robust, robust, robust!” I thought she said, but it turned out she was talking about robots, so I switched channels and landed on another presenter interviewing another science correspondent. Here’s a rough transcript from memory:

Interviewer: So what’s in a black hole?
Science Correspondent: Well, until recently scientists couldn’t see many black holes since they’re hidden in massive gas clouds that you can see here. Now thanks to the new NASA telescope launched in 2012 we’ve discovered billions more..
Interviewer: So could you explain to viewers exactly what is a black hole?
Science Correspondent: Well, this may seem like rather obscure physics, but thanks to this new technique using high energy X-rays, we can see through the dust, which led to the discovery of Wi-Fi, so it’s really of enormous benefit…

I may have got some of the science wrong. Maybe it wasn’t WiFi that was discovered thanks to the search for black holes but frozen pizzas, but that doesn’t affect my argument, which is this:
How can you take seriously the explanations of a science correspondent who can’t understand a simple question like “What is it?” or “What’s in it?”
Suppose the subject had really been frozen pizzas and he’d been the cookery correspondent. Failure to understand the question “What’s in it?” would have got him the sack. But this is science, and science can’t be wrong, or irrelevant, or bonkers.

And the relevance to the subject of climate change, and to my disenchantment with the subject, is this:
Day after day someone like Andrew Montford at http://bishophill.squarespace.com/
reveals someone saying something wrong on the internet, or on the BBC, or in a declaration by the Royal Society, and day after day his attempts at clarification or correction are met with insults and obfuscation, never ever with a straight answer.
You can view the Bishop Hill blog, or the internet, or life itself, as a long unwinding courtroom drama with a verdict at the end where good men and true will announce the truth and the world will move on. Most of Montford’s fans seem to see things like that, but they’re mostly scientists, or at least people with a respect for scientific method and the rules of logic. You can call such people rational human beings, or, if you want to be rude and philosophical about it – “naïve realists”.
If they ever trouble their heads with philosophy, they’d probably agree with Wittgenstein that “the world is what it is and not another thing” and leave it at that – the corollary of Wittgenstein’s dictum being that if you point out to people who think the world is something other than what it is that they’re wrong, they’ll change their minds.
Those of us (arts graduates mostly) who realise that the world is not like that look for other explanations, other motives, and find them rather easily in the domain of psychology. Describing belief in catastrophic man-made global warming as a religious cult, or mass hysteria, and its proponents as liars, charlatans, eco-fascists, fruitcakes or (a new favourite among certain commenters at Bishop Hill) leftist scum – is fun, but ultimately pointless, since it eliminates all possibility of rational dialogue, and can only reinforce the warmists’ often-expressed belief that we sceptics are all liars, charlatans, Big Oil shills, fruitcakes and rightwing scum.
Some of us are, but not all of us. (But that’s the kind of admission that can only lead to more insults, which could bring me back to the Greek crisis – and it will in a minute – but I want for the moment to stay with that interview with the science correspondent.
A more fruitful pathway to an understanding the utter irrationality of the climate non-debate would be a sociological study of the warmist phenomenon. Tiny footsteps are being made in this direction by professional social scientists like José Duarte at
http://www.joseduarte.com/blog
and less successfully, it seems to me, at Nottingham University. See my harsh and no doubt unfair criticism of Amelia Sharman at
https://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/amelia-sharman-the-sociologist-and-the-horseleech/
and most successfully, as far as I know, by Rupert Darwall. See
https://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/rupert-darwall-the-age-of-global-warming/

My couch surfing which led me to the two interviews of science correspondents suggested to me a more fundamental explanation than mass hysteria or religious fervour. Could the unthinking acceptance of warmism – largely an Anglo-Saxon phenomenon – have deeper roots – in our attitude to science (and knowledge in general) and in the deformation of the language itself, caused by a wilful ignorance of basic rules of grammar and syntax – things like: a sentence of the form: “What is it?” requires an answer of the form: “It’s…”?
Demanding that a scientist holds a cuddly toy while explaining advances in robotics is so typical of media dumbing down of science that we don’t notice how odd it is. But hey, cricket is complicated too, but most sports reporters leave their teddy bears in the dressing room.
We demand (or rather, the media demands) that scientists keep it simple, but we don’t demand what any primary school teacher would demand – that they answer the question “What is it?” with a description of what it is, and not another thing.
I surfed on, and did find an item on Greece. It was the BBC’s Robert Peston blow-drying his hair below the Acropolis while meaningless garbage dribbled from his lips. This is a top economics correspondent, and what he said made no sense. Couldn’t he have gone back to his hotel room and written down what he wanted to say, if necessary delivering his message in front of a colour photograph of the Parthenon? I know he has a reputation for being peculiar, but does acceptable eccentricity extend to uttering nonsense?

I know I’m just a grumpy old man, and I’ve been criticised here for my grammatical mistakes – significantly by Maurizio Morabito, who writes as well in English as he does in Italian. And therein lies a clue.

I yield to no-one in my contempt for the news coverage of French TV (with the exception of the excellent France24 English language channel) but last night the two rolling news channels BFMTV and I-télé did an excellent job of covering the Greek referendum. For months they’ve been covering the Greek story with ten second shots of Varufakis getting on and off his motorbike, sandwiched between more interesting stuff like heatwaves and football. But yesterday was a referendum, which is a bit like a football match, and while waiting for the result the studios were filled with experts, journalists, politicians – even some Greeks. There was even a spokesperson for the socialist government dragged from her bolthole.
As usual, they all spoke at once, and as usual, the politicians, who don’t speak English, and therefore can’t follow events at
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/
or at
http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/
were abysmally ignorant. But at least they all spoke in grammatical sentences, even when exchanging insults. The result was discussion, debate, politics – the fundamental particles of culture and civilisation. Anyone caught burbling would have been drowned out by his interlocutors and not invited again.
A politician in France who fails to accord an adjective correctly is ridiculed and considered unfit for high office. A prole-ish accent will get you ridiculed in England, and the better interviewers on BBC Radio 4 will sometimes demand that the interviewee answer the question, but as for forming connected thoughts in grammatical sentences, just see almost any transcript at Alex Cull’s
https://sites.google.com/site/mytranscriptbox/

Don’t stop me if I’ve said this before (repetition is a privilege of the senile):
The great Austrian journalist Karl Kraus, who ran a journal called Die Fackel between the wars upholding the purity of the German language and denouncing stupidity in all its forms, was once challenged by a friend: “The Japanese are busy massacring people in Manchuria, and all you can worry about is whether people put their commas in the right place.”
to which Kraus replied:
“If people put their commas in the right place, then the Japanese wouldn’t be massacring people in Manchuria.”

Wrong but Wromantic. (And apologies to Maurizio for my erratic placing of brackets.)

Posted in France Italy & the rest, Sociology of Climate Change, Uncategorized, Weirdos | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Censorship of a Climate Sceptic

Benoît Rittaud is a mathematics lecturer at the University of Paris, and the author of “Le Mythe Climatique”. He also runs the climate sceptic blog skyfall.fr. He’s just written a book called “La Peur Exponentielle” (The Exponential Fear). Here’s an extract from the description on Amazon:

“The modern fear of the exponential is a reality at the same time widespread and little known. Constructed scientifically, although perfectly irrational, it is the source of numerous alarmist beliefs based on the fear that we are soon about to hit the limits of our planet: resource depletion, population explosion, global warming…

“Describing a phenomenon as exponential leads naturally to prophesies of catastrophe, and to the rejection of the other (fears of population explosion, the Jewish usurer etc.)… The last part proposes ways of overcoming this fear: tackling our horror of large numbers, reconsidering our relation to time and infinity…”

Benoît was invited to discuss the book on an hour-long programme on French public radio. Then, suddenly, the programme was cancelled. As the ensuing correspondence makes clear, the cancellation was not because of the contents of the book (essentially mathematical and philosophical) but because of who he is. Here’s a slightly abridged translation of Benoît’s article. The original is at: http://www.skyfall.fr/?p=1532

*****************

I’d been invited on a live radio show to talk about my new book “the Exponential Fear”, when last Tuesday I received a letter announcing that the programme had been cancelled. Without naming the station involved, I’ll just say that it was one of the stations of Radio France. That’s significant for two reasons:

– Radio France has explicitly announced its desire to participate actively in ensuring the success of the Paris Climate Conference in December;

– My climate scepticism has already earned me the cancellation of two interviews on two different stations of Radio France (so this is the third).

Here’s the letter I received:

“We have just finished reading your extremely interesting book. However, we are not able to devote an hour long programme entirely to the opinions of a climate sceptic. Our programme is not one devoted to debate, and we thought that the subject would be purely mathematical and philosophical. Consequently, we are sorry to have to cancel the programme. Thank you for your understanding, yours sincerely, …..”

Because I want to respect their anonymity, I can’t show here that in fact certain of the subjects they’ve tackled recently have been controversial. But note the sentence: “we are not able to devote an hour long programme entirely to the opinions of a climate sceptic.” It’s difficult not to interpret this as a ban on my expressing my opinions in general. In the words of the writer (and I imagine that, given the circumstances, he had weighed them carefully) it’s not the book that’s the problem, but me. For the journalists of Radio France, it’s inexcusable that I should be a climate sceptic, even though I’ve written a book which they consider “very interesting”.

With my faith in human nature and in the possibility given to us all to make honourable amends, I replied as follows:

“Though I was certainly surprised that climate scepticism appears to be sort of crime, I was even more astonished that you should put it forward as a reason for cancelling the programme. For, having read the book which you invited me to discuss, you must know that the climate is far from being its main subject. (I haven’t counted, but roughly twenty pages out of the four hundred must be concerned with the climate. What’s more, I’ve already given four talks about the book, without once mentioning the climate.) There should therefore be no problem in finding a way of discussing my “very interesting” book (as you described it) while avoiding the question of climate, should you wish. We could, for example, discuss the story of the grains of rice on the chessboard and it’s interpretation through the ages, the idea of the “surfinite” as an intellectual alternative to the infinite, the debate over circular time versus cyclical time and the associated mathematics, (notably in Medieval India). There’s plenty of philosophy and mathematics therein, without any mention of climate.

“I cannot imagine that the true reason for cancelling my invitation could be that I’m on some kind of blacklist, in other words, that my opinions on the climate mark me with a seal of infamy, on no matter what subject. On the contrary, I would like to believe that you know how to distinguish between the different opinions an author may hold, and that it is not necessary to be in total – or even partial – agreement with what he says in order to admit the validity of a public debate on the subject.

“I therefore request you to reconsider your position, in which case I will consider the matter closed…”

To which the programme producer replied as follows:

“Thank you for having taken the time to reply. You are not on a ‘blacklist’, and obviously I don’t consider your opinions as a crime.. On the other hand, these opinions – let’s call them ‘climate sceptic’ – appear quite clearly in your work, even if the climate is not mentioned specifically, and I therefore don’t feel able to accept your presence as the sole guest on this live programme, in the absence of a contrary point of view….”

Note the quality of the reasoning here. No, you’re not on a blacklist (whatever makes you think that!) It’s just that your book contains some examples of bad thoughts, and that “I don’t feel able to to accept your presence..”

I confess this episode doesn’t reassure me about the liberty of the media.

Posted in France Italy & the rest | Tagged | 4 Comments

CO2 – the Opera; by Giorgio Battistelli

The long-awaited opera based on Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” plays at La Scala, Milan from 16 to 29 May, though Gore’s name no longer appears. Instead, credit is given to James Lovelock, Richard Mabey, and the environmentalit periodical “Resurgence”. Tickets are from eleven to 150 euros.

According to an article on the La Scala website by Ian Burton: “CO2 was conceived as a rotating prayer wheel of our current concerns an anxieties about our climate, what we have done to change it, and what remedies, if any are possible … I knew that before attempting to understand what man had done to the earth and the climate surrounding it, I needed to say something about the splendours of creation, and to bookend the whole “non-narrative” opera with two mythical versions of the Creation and the Apocalypse. The first derived from the wonderfully paradoxical Vedic scriptures of Hinduism … with Shiva’s dance of creation and final dance of destruction; and secondly the Judaeo/Christian version of events at the beginning of time, as written in the Book of Genesis in the Jewish Old Testament, and also in St. John’s account, at the end of the New Testament, in The Book of Revelation…”

The Italian equivalent of Radio 3 has a wonderful “after the match” opera programme whose participants demonstrate all the obsessive opinionated enthusiasm of football fans. If Maurizio or anyone is tuning in, it would be nice to have some (translated) reactions.

Here’s the synopsis. Nitpickers will note that the librettist seems to think tsunamis are a symptom of manmade global warming. Fans of Vedic hymns and the Apocalypse of St John will not be fazed.

Prologue
The climatologist David Adamson begins a lecture on the problems of climate change.
Scene 1 (Creation)
As Adamson contemplates the beginning of the world, scientific creation theories are contrasted with religious and mythic ones.
Scene 2 (Airport)
Passengers are caught up in a strike of air traffic controllers. Adamson is amongst them, on his way to the Climate Change Convention in Kyoto.
Scene 3 (Kyoto)
International delegates defend their nations’ individual interests and dispute their conflicting positions.
Scene 4 (Hurricanes)
Adamson describes how Co2 pollution in the earth’s atmosphere can lead to extreme weather conditions, and explains how hurricanes are named.
Scene 5 (Eden)
Adamson imagines Adam, Eve and the serpent in the garden of Eden, and reflects on the infinite variety of plants and animal species – in particular snakes.
Scene 6 (Supermarket)
Women are buying food, enjoying the far-flung origins of their favourite produce.
Scene 7 (Tsunami)
On a beach in Thailand, Mrs. Mason talks to a hotel manager about her brother-in-law who was drowned in the Tsunami the year before. She reflects on the causes of the disaster.
Scene 8 (Gaia)
Adamson discusses practical environmentalism and James Lovelock’s “The Gaia Hypothesis”. Gaia herself appears, and describes the catastrophic damage man has inflicted on her, resulting in the ruin of her atmosphere and the disorientation of her seasons.
Scene 9 (Apocalypse)
Adamson envisions an apocalyptic end of the world.
Epilogue
Ending his lecture, Adamson tries to reconcile his environmental despair with his sense of responsibility towards the planet.

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Denial 101

Many thanks to Barry Woods for sending me this:

https://www.edx.org/course/making-sense-climate-science-denial-uqx-denial101x

It’s a free 7-week on-line course on “Making Sense of Climate Science Denial” run by the University of Queensland. Among the instructors are Fellow for the Global Change Institute John Cook, University of Queensland Environmental Scientist Dana Nuccitelli, and Professor Scott Mandia.

Courses started yesterday. There’s an optional questionnaire to fill in. I’m just about to do the questionnaire and attack the first week’s lesson,. The course apparently demands an effort of 1-2 hours per week. I’ll report back if I’m not too tired.

Posted in Weirdos | Tagged , , | 24 Comments

Rusbridger’s Dementia

One of the nice things you can do on WordPress is see which of your articles people are reading. With 177 articles up so far, I find this most useful since many of them I can’t even remember writing.
One which seems to get a fair amount of attention is this one
https://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/climate-killings-danish-management-consultants-discover-100000-more-bodies/
It’s like a million others (well, 176 others). It quotes a Guardian article claiming 400,000 deaths a year due to climate change. It’s not as many as the estimated two million a year African women who cough themselves to death over cooking fires fuelled by cowpats due to lack of clean coal or gas fired electricity, but it’s a lot of people. The figure comes from the Climate Vulnerability Monitor, which is produced by the Climate Vulnerable Forum, which “convenes … some of the countries most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change” e.g. Bangladesh, Costa Rica, and Vietnam. They offloaded the job of writing the report onto a Spanish NGO called DARA (Director: Ross Mountain). But DARA didn’t actually write the report. That was done by Commons Consultants, a Management Consultancy based in Copenhagen.
It’s two and a half years since I looked at this report. In that time, assuming the Guardian report (quoting the Climate Vulnerable Forum, quoting the Spanish NGO DARA, quoting the Danish Management Consultancy Commons Consultants) has got it right, a million people have been killed by climate change. It seemed only right, if only in honour of the million dead, to go back and survey the killing fields.
The Guardian, is in the middle of an unprecedented campaign to persuade us to stop using fossil fuels that are causing the climate change which (according to the Guardian) has killed a million people since Fiona Harvey’s 2012 article. So no doubt they’ve followed up Fiona’s article with reports on those million deaths. I mean, Editor-in-Chief Rusbridger is complaining that it’s difficult to report climate catastrophe because it’s so slow – but a million deaths! If climate editor John Vidal can write eyewitness reports on the global-warming-induced suffering in Tanzania while on a flight to Pretoria, surely the Graun’s dozen-strong environment team can find something to say on those million corpses. A bit of imagination, guys!

Why do I assume that Rusbridger is not a psychopathic liar like his employees, but an innocent victim of his own stupidity? I find the time to scan the five articles per day on climate change published in the paper he edits, and to research one from time to time. Why shouldn’t he?
My loyalty to the Guardian goes back a long time, and has survived a thousand disappointments. I wasn’t there when they supported the abolitionists against the British interests in the slave states of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. I wasn’t even there when they supported Stalin’s atrocities in the Ukraine (according to Richard Drake in a comment on a previous post).
I learned long ago that they were capable of tergiversation and worse when it came to the crimes of our American friends (in Vietnam, for instance) and of a discreet silence about the shortcomings of the European Dream, for example when British Foreign Minister Steel and French Foreign Minister Juppé decided that the Bolshie multi-ethnic population of Sarajevo, with their irritating insistence on tolerance, were not worth defending against the geopolitically more important Serbs who were picking them off one by one from the surrounding hills. (Steel has long disappeared from the scene, but Juppé stands a chance of being President of France in 2017, despite his six month suspended sentence for corruption… where was I?) But it was only around 2007 that I discovered that the Guardian was systematically lying to me about climate change, and I admit that my first reaction had all the touching naivety of the Soviet dissident who, when hauled off to the Gulag, cried out: “Just wait till Comrade Stalin hears about this!”
So I started commenting on their climate change articles, in the hope of alerting editor in chief Rusbridger to the fact that Monbiot and the others at Guardian Environment were a bunch obsessive liars. It didn’t work, which didn’t surprise me when I transcribed Rusbridger in the role of discussion chairman at a Greenpeace event. He insisted on introducing each participant by announcing the number of followers on his Twitter account, and managed to insert into the debate a comment about how profoundly he’d been affected by Stephen Emmott’s plea at the Royal Court to teach your children how to kill climate refugees.
It didn’t work. (My campaign to alert Rusbridger to the shortcomings of his underlings, I mean. For the Emmott/Rusbridger/Royal Court plan to shoot climate refugees, we’ll have to see.) He’s still there, still campaigning to ban electricity when the wind isn’t blowing, still hoping to abolish plastic by the year 2030.
I’ve just finished transcribing the fourth part of the Rusbridger/Guardian Circle Jerk to be put up eventually at Mytranscriptbox. But I do recommend that you listen to it at
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2015/mar/16/the-biggest-story-in-the-world
(click on 4 Risks)
The Story So Far is that Rusbridger has realised that the Paris Climate conference will be an epic failure, and so has decided to pin his hopes of saving mankind on a conversation he had with Bill McKibben in Stockholm, during which he was persuaded that the owners of the world’s megatrillion barrels of oil could be shamed into leaving it in the ground. Before starting on the chaps who own the stuff (Russia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Venezuela, Scotland) he thought he’d have a go at the chaps who extract it, or rather, more exactly, the chaps who own the shares of the chaps who extract it. Or, even more exactly, two of those millions of chaps who, being known for their liberal tendencies, might be persuaded to divest of their shares in the interest of saving the planet.
But the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust told Rusbridger and the 174,000 readers who signed his petition to get stuffed. So Rusbridger turned his attention instead to his very own Guardian Media Group, the 800 million pound investment fund which exists to ensure the survival of the Guardian In Perpetuity.
(Suddenly Rusbridger’s obsession begins to make sense. Wouldn’t you like to know that the thing you’d devoted your life to – the family farm, an orphanage in Bangladesh, your collection of model soldiers of the Napoleonic wars – was guaranteed in perpetuity thanks to the backing of an 800 million pound trust fund?)
So imagine Rusbridger’s chagrin when he discovered that his campaign to divest from Big Oil was backed by a trust fund that invested in the same. There followed an urgent meeting of the GMG which decided, on purely economic grounds of course, in accordance with their statutes, to divest. Do listen to the conversation. It’s pure Ibsen. Or Pinter. Or Beckett. Or Jarry. Anyway, it’s worthy of the Royal Court. Here’s an extract:
Alan Rusbridger: Yeah, I’ve just had avocado on sourdough for my breakfast. I don’t know what Neil’s had.
Neil Berkett (chairman of the Guardian Media Group): I had muesli..
Alan: You had muesli? i can’t believe it!
Neil (laughing hysterically): I had muesli, I had raspberries, and I had goat yoghurt
AR: God!
NB: I’m absolutely genuinely serious, that’s what I had for breakfast this morning.

Yes folks, this is the Biggest Story In the World. Told by the Biggest Storytellers.

And while I was writing this, episode Five has just gone up. In which Guardian Economics Editor Larry Elliott prevents the World’s Worst Economic Crash.

This was once one of the world’s great newspapers. ,What happens to it matters.

Posted in Guardian CommentisFree, Weirdos | Tagged , | 18 Comments