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2012 SkS Weekly Digest #12

Posted on 26 March 2012 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights

Kate's poignant, An Open Letter to the Future, drew rave reviews and is worth reading again. Peter Hadfield Letter to Chris Monckton by Rob Honeycutt not only contains the text of Hadfield's letter, but also Hadfield's video of his response to Monckton. As to be expected, John Cook's Skeptical Science hacked, private user details publicly posted online, generated the most comments this week.  

Toon of the Week


Source: Code Green, a weekly editorial cartoon focused on the environmental emergency, by Stphanie McMillan.

Issue of the Week

From your perpspective, does SkS publish too many, just the right amount of, or too few, articles per week? Do you typically read each article that is posted? Do you typically read the comment threads? Do you typically post comments?

The Week in Review

A complete listing of the articles posted on SkS during the past week.

  • Peter Hadfield Letter to Chris Monckton by Rob Honeycutt & Dana
  • Skeptical Science hacked, private user details publicly posted online by John Cook
  • Catching up with the Younger Dryas: do mass-extinctions always need impacts? by John Mason
  • Fred Singer Debunks and then Denies by Dana
  • Stauning and Friis-Christensen on Solar Cycle Length and Global Warming by Klaus Flemløse
  • Inhofe's Myths on Maddow by Dana
  • New research from last week 11/2012 by Ari Jokimäki
  • An Open Letter to the Future by Kate
  • Coming Soon

    A list of articles that are in the SkS pipeline. Most of these articles, but not necessarily all, will be posted during the week.

  • The Skeptical Science temperature trend calculator (Kevin C)
  • Improving the HadCRUT data set (Kevin C)
  • New research from last week 12/2012 (Ari Jokimäki)
  • Monckton Misinforms California Lawmakers - Now It's Personal (Dana)
  • Global Warming - A Health Warning (Agnostic)
  • Why David Archibald is wrong about solar cycles driving sea levels Part 1 (Alex C)
  • Advancing Climate Science, One Skeptic Talking Point at a Time (rustneversleeps)
  • Methane - Part 1 (Agnostic)
  • Global Surface Warming Since 1995 (Dana)
  • SkS Spotlights

    The Center for Media and Democracy publishes SourceWatch, this collaborative resource for citizens and journalists looking for documented information about the corporations, industries, and people trying to influence public policy and public opinion. We believe in telling the truth about the most powerful interests in society—not just relating their self-serving press releases or letting real facts be bleached away by spin. With the help of volunteer editors, SourceWatch focuses on the for-profit corporations, non-profit corporate front groups, PR teams, and so-called "experts" trying to influence public opinion on behalf of global corporations and the government agencies they have captured.

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    Comments 1 to 16:

    1. The hacking attack has undoubtably cost sks money as well as time. Here's the donation link, which John hides pretty well: Skeptical Science donations:
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      Moderator Response: [JH] Thanks for providng the link. I've been wanting to make a contribution.
    2. I like the amount of SkS articles per week. I don't read most of them anymore, as now I feel I have covered the basics of the issue. But I like to see what kind of news are coming up, so every now and then an article gets my attention and I read it through. My comments have also become more sparse and shallower in content, as my patience with 'skeptics' diminished. I like the cartoon. Maybe a big victory of the manufactured controversy is making global warming a touchy subject on the media. Maybe this was the whole point of the manoeuvre. I was listening to an interview with David Attenborough at BBC these days and he mentioned global warming as a serious danger. The interviewer, Mike Williams from One Planet (an otherwise great reporter, IMO) was quick to point out that "many people don't agree with that". I wonder what kind public service they would offer if BBC said, similarly, that abestos causes a number or diseases and quickly added "but it's controversial, since this and this doctor claim otherwise".
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      Moderator Response: [JH] Thank you for the feedback. It is indeed difficult to deal with the deniers on a continuing basis without losing one's temper now and then.
    3. SkS is great. I tweet a lot of the material and I learn a lot from the articles and comments. Very helpful and a tremendous contribution to the continuing discussion with those in denial. I don't comment much because I don't feel scientifically versed enough.
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      Moderator Response: [JH] Thank you for the feedback and for being a regular reader. Please don't be shy about posting on our comment threads. You do an excellent job of defending climate science on the comment threads to articles on The Huffington Post.
      • From your perspective, does SkS publish too many, just the right amount of, or too few, articles per week? I read as much as I can find on the topic, here and elsewhere. More would be welcome.
      • Do you typically read each article that is posted? Yes
      • Do you typically read the comment threads? Yes
      • Do you typically post comments? Not often, as I am not a scientist, so have little to add to that side of discussions. I do post when I think I have something relevant to say
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      Moderator Response: [JH] Thank you for the feedback and for being a regular reader. Your active particpation in the comment threads is also appreciated.
    4. I reckon the number of items published is pretty good. Yes. I read every post and every comment. There are some I might skim over, though. I do take more time with particular topics that interest me. Commenting? Not being a scientist or a statistician or any other useful occupation, I'm more interested in what some of the really knowledgeable commenters have to contribute. I limit my own comments accordingly.
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      Moderator Response: [JH] Thank you for the feedback and for being a regular reader. Your active particpation in the comment threads is also appreciated.
    5. I'm in two minds about the # of articles. I'll just say that I'd prefer SkS prioritised quality over quantity. I try to read every article on SkS. This can be difficult to squeeze around other commitments at times, but it's always worth it. I've learned a phenomenal amount about climate science since finding this site. Comments I sometimes read, sometimes not (depending on available time & whether that particular topic interests me). I post comments when I feel I have something to contribute. And I must say, it's easy to do so here on SkS, because I know that if I get something wrong, the inevitable correction will be a gentle one. :-D
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      Moderator Response: [JH] Thank you for the feedback and for being a regular reader. Your humor is also appreciated.
    6. I'm with adelady - quality is more important than quantity. If you can increase quantity without sacrificing quality then go for it. I read all posts and all comments that are there at the time I read the posts - and sometimes go back to see if any one has added a useful comment. I occasionally comment.
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      Moderator Response: [JH] Thank you for the feedback and for being a regular reader.
    7. This may be slightly off-topic, but i have a question triggered by the Toon of the week... This is a Weather question (but with a climate underpinning). Currently, the UK is experiencing an unseasonal heatwave. The proximate cause is a jetstream blocking event, so we are under perpetual high pressure. I note ( from NSIDC that Arctic Sea Ice extent is relatively high (compared to the last few years only!). Is this a flipside of the same jetstream cause?

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      Moderator Response:

      [DB] If you look at the areas where the ice is concentrated, you'll note that much of the recent gains in ice cover are in those areas about to melt out abruptly in the next 6 weeks:  The Sea of Okhotsk, the Bering Sea, the Kara Sea, portions of the Barents Sea, Baffin Bay and Hudson Bay.

      Click to enlarge

      [Source] [Map of the Arctic]

      Get your popcorn ready, the show is about to begin (best watched from here).  Relevant discussion is here, as well.

      As for the other part of your question, Real Climate has a post up on this here and Dr. Kevin Trenberth also has a paper out on much the same topic here.

      [Sph] Personally, I think the best show is here (only in the 21st century)

    8. Number of items: I would prefer more in-depth, but less in number, if only due to time restraints. Yes, I read all articles and most comment threads, except when two people are battling it out and it is clear that neither will give way. Having said that, I rarely go back over the comment threads once I have read them, unless there is an unresolved issue that I am interested in that might be resolved in later comments. I post when the mood takes me, but usually only once per article.
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      Moderator Response: [JH] Thank you for the feedback and for being a regular reader. Your active particpation in the comment threads is also appreciated.
    9. In Douglas Adams’ style, perhaps “The Restaurant at the Top of the World” may yet come to pass.
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    10. Strange, my perfectly valid comment about the caption of the cartoon appears to have disappeared lol. It was in position 9 or 10. Must take screen shots in future, in case I'm mistaken
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      Moderator Response: [DB] Your previous comment was deemed trolling due to the many polarizing fake-skeptic terms, unsupported assertions and debunked memes it contained. This website explores the science of climate change. As such, all positions are supported by references and citations to the peer-reviewed primary literature published in reputable journals. Please take the time to engage in dialogue that makes a positive contribution, not detracts from it.
    11. @Kate #1: Lucky for us, Interpol doesn't charge for investigating crimes.
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    13. Fixed linkage
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    14. Good program on tonight called 'Global Weirding'. It had Kerry Emanuel, Katharine Hayhoe, Adam Scaife and Mike Lockwood (among others) trying to explain the strange things going on with the weather all around the world. The denialosphere must be apoplectic, especially as it was on that left-wing, UN-backed (supposedly) BBC !
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    15. A thought has just come to me. Can we have a running count as to the number of days since Peter Hadfield posted his debunking of Viscount Christopher Monckton's presentation material on the WUWT website? It would keep our concern's with Monckton's contribution to the climate debate in the eye of all those visiting this sight. More importantly, it would also be a way of informing anyone looking up Monckton prior attending one of his presentations that they are about to see a lot of questionable presentaton material. If any of them raise the debate on WUWT and Monckton's failure to respond, it should spoil the good Viscount's day and stop a lot people swallowing everything they hear hook, line and sinker.
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      Moderator Response: [JH] Thanks for your suggestion. We will take it under advisement.

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