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Skeptical Science now an iPhone app

Posted on 10 February 2010 by John Cook

Skeptical Science available on Itunes Iphone App Store With Tim Lambert debating Christopher Monckton this Friday, there's been no shortage of debating suggestions. One interesting idea was for audience members to have skepticalscience.com on their mobiles. Coincidentally, Skeptical Science has just become available today as an iPhone or iPod app. The app lets you use an iPhone or iPod to view the entire list of skeptic arguments as well as (more importantly) what the science says on each argument. To download the app, go to http://itunes.com/apps/skepticalscience

How it happened was a few months ago, I was contacted by Shine Technologies, a software development company from Melbourne, Australia. The owners of the company are passionate about climate change and were interested in getting the science from Skeptical Science onto mobile phones. This is a good idea for two reasons. Firstly, because now more than ever it's imperative that the climate debate focuses on science so the more readily available the science, the better. Secondly, well, an iPhone app is pretty cool.

So for the last few months, the boffins at Shine have been developing the app with Apple approving it today. How does it work? You browse arguments via the Top 10 most used arguments as well as 3 main categories ("It's not happening", "It's not us", "It's not bad"):

   

When you select one of the 3 main categories, a list of sub-categories pop up. You can then select any category to see the skeptic argument, a summary of what the science says and the full answer including graphs plus links to papers or other sources.

   

A novel inclusion is a feature that lets you report when you encounter a skeptic argument. By clicking on the red ear icon (above left, shown to the left of the skeptic arguments or above right, next to the headline), the iPhone adds another hit to that particular skeptic argument. At the moment, which arguments you report are only available in a My Reports page, shown below. Shine Tech are hoping to play around with the Reports meta-data in future versions of the app - the phrase "heat-map" gets mentioned often.

So if you have an iPhone or iPod, be sure to download the app and post any feedback or suggestions here. If you have friends with iPhones, be sure to let them know of the app. The more people use the app, hopefully the more versions will be developed in the future with snazzy extra features. If anyone encounters any technical problems with the app, please let me know.

UPDATE 11 Feb 2010: Thanks for the feedback so far (I've passed it onto Shine Tech who I'm sure will be reading this thread also). One other thing I forgot to ask - for those who are able to use the app, please be sure to post a review on iTunes :-)

About Shine Technologies
Shine Technologies is the developer responsible for the Skeptical Science iPhone application. They are a boutique IT consultancy based in Melbourne, Australia with a passion for excellence. They have donated their time to build and maintain the Skeptical Science iPhone application as they believe the science is the key to understanding global warming; and that more people need to have easy access to that science.

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Comments 101 to 133 out of 133:

  1. Let's put it another way. Some excess heat in last December might have gone to the Arctic, leaving North America, Europe and Siberia in the cold. It could not come from anywhere else, for the Arctic, north of the 80th latitude is in permanent shade form about 22 October to February 20. Does it mean that "global warming" just shifted to the North and stayed there? No. Remember, the map at the top of this page is about temperature anomalies, not temperatures themselves. If parts of the Arctic are up to 8 centigrades warmer than average in December, they are still damn cold, below -20°C (-4°F). And now this excess heat has gone somewhere else again, circumpolar temperatures dropped by some 15 centigrades in just two weeks. The question is: Where did global warming go this time? One thing we do know for sure: heat does not go from a colder place to a warmer one, at least not as long as LTE (Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium) holds. As it always does in the atmosphere below perhaps 50 km (30 miles). So. The question is transformed to another one: Is there a place around the North Pole which is cold enough to suck away the excess heat from there during dark winter night? The answer is yes. There is one and only one such place. The temperature of the high skies is 2.7K (-270°C, -454°F). Except the solar disk of course (with an effective temperature of 5780K), but it occupies less than one hundred thousandth of the entire sky and is not visible from the Arctic this time of the year anyway. The only other conceivable heat sink around is seawater. But open seas north of Scandinavia, even if close to freezing, are much warmer than deep space and also considerably warmer than less cold than usual arctic air. They could do some heating job, cooling not, for sure. So, on this particular occasion global warming ended up in space, since it had nowhere else to go. Carbon dioxide was not able to prevent it, somehow. Some lax scaremongering about heating up the Universe by the Arctic perhaps? AUW (Anthropogenic Universal Warming) sounds cool, doesn't it? Anyone?
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  2. I get your point but we are trying to cut back to individual components. Its not me that is suggesting 1Wm-1 change in radiative forcing will lead to 0.6oC change in temeparture at the surface its climate scientists. It is this I have a problem with, maybe you are agreeing things have been over simplified.
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  3. To David Horton (12/01/2010) It's interesting how you say that some weather patterns are a gift to 'deniers' when it suits their argument, but that well and truly works both ways. If we look at the big freeze occuring in many parts of the Northern hemisphere lets take this in the context made by AGW scientists who have been warning people that winters and snow will be a thing of the past! Below is an article from March 2000. In this article, Dr David Viner says " in a few years winter snowfall will become a very rare and exciting event" , how wrong he was! http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html Is seems perfedtly okay for AGW scientists and activists to make wild and unsubstantiated claims about future weather patterns & events, but when a 'denier' merely comments & rasies questions on extreme weather, esp when that weather is cold then it's 'here they go again'. During early November, South Eastern Australia (S.A, Victoria) experienced 1-2 weeks of some very warm weather. It came as no suprise that our PM, Kevin Rudd used this as proof that we need an ETS! So once again it's perfectly ok and appropriate for AGW to use isolated weather events to push their cause, but completely unacceptable from the other side of the camp! As an aside, in Victoria, the weather 'redeemed' itself and we ended up having a very welcome wet 2nd half of the month and double the monthly average rainfall. Anyway here is more comment about the November hot spell from AGW believers.. http://indymedia.org.au/2009/11/10/its-getting-hot-in-here-november-heatwave-classic-climate-change-weather Its quite obvious both sides of the argument are guilty of using isolated weather patterns to push their cause.....
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  4. timbo at 09:02 AM on 15 January, 2010 "I'm waiting for an Andrew Bolt (check him out SS, he's a nutbag, writes for the Herald Sun) article claiming that coz it's snowing in Jan, GW/AGW is a sham" Timbo, Andrew Bolt has used the recent extreme cold snap in the Northern Hemisphere to question predictions that winter snow would become a thing of the past. I have mentioned claims from AGW scientist Dr David Viner's who commented on this. Now I read in today's 'The Australian' that the IPCC is under fire again for making claims linking extreme weather to AGW..... "The world has suffered rapidly rising costs due to extreme weather-related events since the 1970's"- IPCC 4th assessment 2007 THEN.. "we find INSUFFICIENT evidence to claim statistical relationship between global temperature & catastrophic loses"- Muir Woods paper after peer review in 2008 THEN... "We are reassessing the evidence & will publish a report on natural disasters & extreme weather with the latest findings"- IPCC vice chairman Jean-Pascal Van Ypersele- LAST WEEK The worst of all this, was that this was all conveniently ignored before the Copenhagen summit!, why weren't we told this beforehand???
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  5. doug_bostrom at 06:37 AM on 17 January, 2010: "Ah, the meme du jour [global averages [of specific humidity in upper troposphere] are not too important, according to Pielke], repeated everywhere just now. What does it have to do with what you were discussing?" doug, looking into the physics (yes, I am able to do that) what Pielke says may be right in an unexpected way. The "greenhouse effect" of water vapor is roughly proportional to the logarithm of specific humidity. It means that vapor, if distributed unevenly, lets more IR radiation through than the same amount with uniform density along each pressure level. In fact specific humidity in the mid to upper troposphere is known to fluctuate within wide margins. The bottom line is that trends in arithmetic means are less important than trends in statistical dispersion. This measure may even be safer to rate against alleged instrumental errors (you see, it has quite something to do with the present discussion). Is there such a study about historical radiosonde humidity data in the literature?
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  6. Genius! I think this is a great move. Any chance of an Android version of the app too?!? Pretty please? Of course, I understand this project is a hobby rather than a dayjob so please don't think I'm nagging. SkepticalScience is a great resource.
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    Response: We're exploring the idea of an Android version. Will post on this when I have news...
  7. I've downloaded the app and would like to take this opportunity to thank John Cook for this brilliant website. I follow a number of climate blogs but this one is my favourite hands down - reliable, informative, supremely accessible and well-organised. Thanks a lot! About the app - brilliant spin-off, and I like the fact that they've kept the layout and the nice crisp graphics. I wish the app included a Facebook/Twitter Share button so I can let the world know I'm using it.
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    Response: The Facebook/Twitter buttons are great ideas, we'll look to put this into the next version. Thanks for the suggestion!
  8. That's fantastic, John. Thanks to you and to the people at Shine Technologies for doing this. Speaking of Tim Lambert and the debate ... someone could turn his global warming skeptic bingo game into an iPhone app. Then anyone with an iPhone could bring it to an event like the Lambert/Monckton debate and compete to see who gets the first "bingo".
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  9. Android version would be great!
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  10. I wonder if we will get the same from Anthony Watts and co, he keeps me well informed on snow levels at various climate conventions etc.
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  11. Add me to the "Android please" group!
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  12. Awesome stuff. But why do you require firmware 3.1.2? I'm still on 3.0.1 because of some bugs I've encountered with the later firmware. Plus, there are still iPod Touch users on the 2.x firmware since it costs them $10 to upgrade.
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    Response: The app has just been updated on iTunes with a new version 1.0 that works on firmware 3.0. Thanks for the feedback.
  13. Nice one! I'll echo the request for an Android version. Check out http://isites.us for easy Android app dev
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  14. Echoing Jack Kelly, a genius move. Portable improvement of any discussion of this topic.
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  15. Looks ok, but there should be an option to replace the penguin with something more appropriate. For example a marionette figure who's strings sort of pop and jump each time the question button is hit.
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  16. Thanks! Very slick interface and, of course, great content.
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  17. THIS IS AWESOME! I LOVE IT!
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  18. Hi everyone, Mark from Shine Technologies here. Loving the feedback, keep it coming! Johnny_eh: we have submitted an update that will only require 3.0 and above. We can't go back any earlier than this due to what the application needs, but this should open it up to more people. The update (1.0.1) should be out within a week.
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  19. I was first attracted to this site by John's concise explanations which are supported by loads of links to references and supporting materials. I've enjoyed reading here and getting pleasantly lost & distracted following links, quite apart from using SkS as a handy fountain of gob-stopping rebuttals. To that end, it might be fun (purely fun) to add a feature allowing you to shake or rotate the iPhone "Boggle" or "Magic 8 Ball" style, causing a randomly chosen article or blog post to appear. No practical benefit, really, just for grins.
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  20. I noticed that the app does not go sideways for easier veiwing. This would be a great thing to add.
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  21. Very nice! I'll add my voice to the "Android please" crowd. :-) There have been times when I really could have used a "ready reference" like this!
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  22. Once you have installed the app on your iPhone, make sure you go back into the iPhone application store and give it a rating!
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  23. Windows Phone app too please! Would be very handy!
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  24. As someone who has made presentations on climate change for the last three years, I depend on your excellent resource. But I have a BlackBerry - does this mean I'm going to have to break down and get an iPhone? Thanks for what you do!
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  25. Touched a nerve, it seems. In the Guardian: "Deniers queue up to lambast Skeptical Science application developed by solar physicist John Cook. ... I'm not sure this is going to quell the climate wars raging at present, but it's an interesting development nonetheless. An Australian solar physicist called John Cook, who runs the popular Skeptical Science website, has developed an app which "lets you use an iPhone or iPod to view the entire list of skeptic arguments as well as (more importantly) what the science says on each argument". So the next time you're caught at the fag end of a wedding reception in an interminable one-way conversation with a reactionary uncle who's boring on about how "the climate's always changed", just switch on this app, hand them your iPhone, and proceed to the bar. In reality, of course, this is hardly likely to win round any sceptic, least of all your worse-for-wear uncle who, with or without the evidence presented to him by this app, will still continue to swear blind that climate change is a fiction made up by a clandestine world government-in-waiting because he's read about it all on his favourite blog, which just so happens to be frequented by an army of other reactionary uncles. One suspects this app will only act to increase the polarisation between the two sides of this "debate". (Still think a debate's going on? When was the last time you heard someone from either side say, "Thank you for this information. Actually, I'd never thought of it like that before. I'm now prepared to change my mind on climate change.") ... " More: iPhone app pitches climate change science against scepticism
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  26. I second the idea of an Android app. Kudos again to this site. It's been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal media onslaught of disgraceful misinformation in recent months/years. Thanks for the link, Doug. What a nonsensical tirade by Piers Corbyn. Contrarians don't like having their bunk arguments (or their "side" as he puts it) challenged.
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  27. Great app John. I followed the Guardian thread yesterday and was pleased to see how many people had visited your site after reading the article. The best counter we have to propaganda are facts, and this is a superb channel through which to deliver rational arguments based on science.
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  28. Give it to me on Android!
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  29. Man, what a great idea, I would totally download and use this if it came in Android flavor. Please port it! Thanks.
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  30. Where can I find this new App? Didn't find it using this link: http://itunes.com/apps/skepticalscience
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    Response: If going to http://itunes.com/apps/skepticalscience did nothing, the most likely explanation is you don't have iTunes installed. If you do have iTunes installed, go to the app store and search for skeptical science.
  31. Android! Oh, please, oh, please, oh, please!
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  32. Thanks for making this app. Here's another Android supporter!
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  33. Is there any chance of getting a Series 40 version? This would let another few dozen million people use the application. (A conservative estimate; all Nokia phones, for example, ship with at least Series 40 operating system.) Also, S60 phones are backwards compatible with Series 40 applications, so this would add another few dozen million potential users.
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