Total core meltdown

Anyone who’s spent time in the blogosphere has seen it happen, and most of us have been on the wrong side of it once or twice. A blogger or commenter says something silly, gets called on it and doubles down. Before long, they are engaged in meta-disputes about who said what about whom. As the flame war escalates, all sense of proportion is lost, and innocent remarks produce threats of litigation. Somewhere along the way, Godwin’s Law comes into play. If the process runs its full course, the blog in question is taken down (but of course the Internet never forgets), or the commenter identity is abandoned, leading to suspicions of sockpuppetry when someone with similar style and opinions turns up.

Of course, most of us stop before it gets that far. The wisest and most gracious recognise error, thank those who set them straight and may even emerge with an enhanced reputation. Those of us not quite as sensible stump off in a huff before making complete fools of ourselves.

But some go all the way. That’s sad for a blogger, but disastrous in the case of a national newspaper.

Of course, I’m talking about The Australian. In the course of defending Chris Mitchell’s bizarre litigation against academic Julie Posetti (for accurately reporting the public statements of Mitchell’s former environment editor Asa Wahlquist) various Oz writers were wheeled out to advance the bizarre claim that Oceania the Oz has always been at war with a supporter of Eurasia mainstream climate science.

But within a matter of days, the Oz was multiply contradicting itself. First, there was a hyperbolic editorial in which, among other things, journalists were accused of presenting views on global warming that differed from those of ‘Middle Australia’ a term presumably used as code for “our readers” (the idea that journalists should report the facts, whether or not that’s what the readers what is obviously passe.

Then we get this delusionist rant, notable for a couple of things
(i) Massive Godwin Law violations (or confirmations if you want to be pedantic)
(ii) The fact that the author, Michael Asten, is a bona fide academic, though with no relevant publications according to Google scholar which reports what we in the business like to call a ‘solid’ track record of work in mining-related geology. Sad to say, Asten makes a complete hash of the science. Tim Lambert does garbage pickup.

If the Oz were a blogger, I’d be expecting about now to see the full meltdown post in which some combination of personal hell/substance abuse/mental illness is revealed. But I have no idea how the process ends in the case of a national newspaper employing a large number of journalists, some of them with a substantial track record.

40 thoughts on “Total core meltdown

  1. Charlie writes indignantly:

    “the comment you cite is a slur when it says Asten “has a ‘solid’ track record of work in mining-related geology”. Please cite from his publications list all those which justify the comment you quote.”

    Then attempting to cover for his prior indignation, Charlie writes:

    jakerman: gosh! Asten is involved with mining companies. I trust you refuse to accept any largesse from the Government, given how dependent it is on mining taxes. Please keep clean.

  2. Charlie, are you attempting to demonstrate the meltdown process referred to in the post? As suggested there, this is the optimal point for a gracious admission of error.

  3. JQ I am really very sorry we seem to be at cross purposes here.

    This is what Chris O’Neill very patronisingly said here about Asten: “Asten is an example of how someone can be quite [sic!!!] competent with mathematics (and hence doesn’t fall for the “cooling for the last X years” meme)…The basic problem is that just because someone is reasonably clever at some things doesn’t mean that he’s always going to be rational”.

    Asten like it or not has a distinguished academic career, and his publications are nothing if not impressive. Where are O’Neill’s? Why is Chris allowed to be scathing about Asten because he does work for mining companies? While if I turn Chris’s final comment here against Chris, using his own words, I am off limits. Is there a whiff of double standards? I sincerely hope not.

    Asten, whom I have never met nor had ever heard of until this week, seems to be quite distinguished. If you are a geophysicist, as it seems he is, why wouldn’t you do some work for the mining companies which account for so much of Australia’s exports, GDP, and government revenue? As a public sector economist of considerable note, I can imagine you have done work for governments or other public agencies. Unless you never have, does that nullify your life’s work as an academic economist?

    As for my comment on Asten’s publications, they do indeed give no hint of his wicked involvement with mining companies. Mea culpa, I apologise also in English for not knowing about his mining activities. Well done Akerman & O’Neill. But what have they ever done to advance Australia’s well being? This country has no future if its Astens are pilloried as here.

    And as for O’Neill’s comment about Asten at least not falling for the “cooling for the last X years” meme [sic], the trends from standardised temperature annual anomaly temperature data sets (i.e. same base periods) of Gistemp, CRU, RSS and UAH all refute O’Neill, but space limits me to the linear trends for Gistemp only here (the other 4 sets are very similar):

    1979-1993: y = 0.0079x – 0.1207 R² = 0.1092
    1994-2006: y = 0.025x + 0.0218 R² = 0.5909
    1994-2009: y = 0.0185x + 0.0563 R² = 0.5181
    1979-2009: y = 0.0165x – 0.1822 R² = 0.7114

    Clearly the period 1994-2006 is anomalous and does not reflect the whole period. In
    particular, pace O’Neill, it seems from the coefficients on x (years) that the second derivative of changes in X is not increasing or “accelerating” relative to 1994-2006.

  4. Charlie is not exemplifying the memory hole technique. For other’s wise to the plot of 1984 here is Charlies complain against Chris as posted infull:

    Chris: why don’t you check your sources? Regrettably the comment you cite is a slur when it says Asten “has a ‘solid’ track record of work in mining-related geology”. Please cite from his publications list all those which justify the comment you quote. So far as I can see virtually all his publications concern seismology, aka earthquakes, or related fields.
    The basic problem from long observation of you is that you are not reasonably clever at anything and that is why you are never rational.

    JQ accurately described similar behavior by neo-Orewellians.

    various Oz writers were wheeled out to advance the bizarre claim that Oceania the Oz has always been at war with a supporter of Eurasia mainstream climate science.

    Charlies, we’re not as far gone as Winston Smith, your revisionism won’t wash.

  5. Charlie gets it wrong again:

    And as for O’Neill’s comment about Asten at least not falling for the “cooling for the last X years” meme [sic] [sic], the trends from standardised temperature annual anomaly temperature data sets (i.e. same base periods) of Gistemp, CRU, RSS and UAH all refute O’Neill

    No they don’t Charlie.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-cooling-january-2007-to-january-2008-intermediate.htm

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Is-the-climate-warming-or-cooling.html

  6. Yes jakerman, you are right, Asten does nothing but further the interests of mining companies, as in his papers clearly aimed at putting mines into Manhattan, Launceston city, Hong Kong etc. : e.g.,

    Modelling Shear Wave Velocity Profiles in Rock using the Microtremor Spatial Auto-Correlation Technique: the Hong Kong Case Study.

    Asten’s claim about the way all too many academics these days line up for the climate change troughs administered by the ARC and until this week, by Martin Parkinson, is indeed reminiscent of the performance of various german academics in the 1930s (documented by Viktor Klemperer and Andre Pichot amongst others). Check the ARC grants for climate research and detect one that is open-mined oops minded, and likewise for handouts from DCC.

  7. Charlie, after successive episode of getting it totally wrong, now opts to try further fallacious argument tactics, this time by making up a strawman:

    Yes jakerman, you are right, Asten does nothing but further the interests of mining companies

    Perhaps genuine argument is beyond Charlie’s reach, at least in this whole he’s dug himself.

    JQ’s speculation now seems quite prophetic.

  8. German academics in the 1930s (documented by Viktor Klemperer and Andre Pichot amongst others)

    It’s like I’ve seen this movie before. I’m thinking of a Law, but which one?

  9. jakerman: thanks for the links to John Cook’s useful pages. However they exemplify the inability of the climate school in general to use Excel’s least squares trend fits (not one is visible in AR4WG1). Both his series beautifully display the polynomial nature of TSI and sunspots which is edited out of WG1 Chap 9’s temperature series. For example, there we have in Fig.9.17 “column-integrated water vapour”, again polynomial, not linear, but no computed trend stats. Eyeballing is deemed good enough by WG1 especially when using anomalies – or adjusted vertical axes that do not begin at 0 oC (Fig.SPM3). Anyway each to his/her own stats at this time of seasonal goodwill!

    Sarah Palin Fan – great link, but I would not want to belong to your club!

  10. thanks for the links to John Cook’s useful pages. However they exemplify the inability of the climate school in general to use Excel’s least squares trend fits

    That comment says more about you than anything else. Carry on Google Galileo .

  11. Both his series beautifully display the polynomial nature of TSI and sunspots

    Common knowledge and non-controversial and on a 11 year cycle so no relevent to a 2000 year temperature reconstruction.

    And we now have 2010 as one of the hottest year on record during a solar minimum.

    Anyway each to his/her own stats

    I’ll stick with the peer reviewed evidence, you can makeup what ever you like.

  12. For example, there we have in Fig.9.17 “column-integrated water vapour”, again polynomial, not linear, but no computed trend stats. Eyeballing is deemed good enough by WG1 especially when using anomalies

    What you mean “eyeballing” you couldn’t be more wrong. They go so far as to @model it . You’re so far of target that its rediculous.

  13. Sarah Palin Fan #35 – I read the article you refer to which was written in the lead up to the 2007 election. There does appear to be a close link with holocaust denial and climate change denial in that the holocaust (which is vehemently denied by religious zealots in places like Iran) murdered millions. Climate change is also likely to kill millions of people and other life forms as well. The label of denier is helpful in understanding that negative stance and its potential for disaster.

    You suggest that labels are ipso facto wrong, whereas they can often be more illuminating than at first glance. For instance labelling oneself a fan of an ignorant but effective self promoter, who frighteningly wants control of the nuclear button which could lead to millions dead and a destroyed world, tells a whole story without further words.

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