More Terrible Trial Coverage

over at Ars Technica.

I may respond later, but I have to think about it. As usual, the comments are lunacy.

[mid-morning update]

Thoughts from Will Bates.

[Update a few minutes later]

Reflections from (trial witness for the defense) Roger Pielke, Jr.

[Update a few more minutes later]

More thoughts from “Sharon F.”

[Update a few more minutes later]

A good comment from Roger’s substack.

[Afternoon update]

Joe Bastardi weighs in on the hockey stick.

[Monday-morning update]

More from Clarice Feldman. Though I have not stated any plans to appeal. The only reason I’m unhappy about the verdict is that the jury mistakenly found that I acted with malice, despite no evidence of it.

36 thoughts on “More Terrible Trial Coverage”

  1. You won’t get fair coverage at Ars Technica. As I’ve noted before, it’s the only place (aside from someone’s personal blog) where I got banned. And I got banned for mildly arguing against the climate change consensus.

    Sure, respond later, but do it somewhere you’ll get a chance.

      1. They were always left-leaning, but Trump utterly broke them. In the comments, during his Presidency, people were always finding novel ways to blame Trump for stuff.

        They haven’t gotten any better, and they’ve thrown off any semblance of care for freedom of speech or bodily control (except, of course, for unrestricted abortion right up to, and possibly after, the moment of birth) since Trump gave them an excuse to embrace their inner totalitarians. I don’t even really trust Eric Berger any more, since he keeps posting there.

  2. Wow, you weren’t kidding. The smug is thick over there. And the article itself is obviously an exercise in slanted rhetoric. Ugh. I need to go take something for the cognitive dissonance.

  3. 90 percent of the commenters on that article could use a relaxing ride on a 1960’s vintage UH-1. I hear the pacific over Chile is particularly scenic and tranquil this time of year.

    ARS has turned into a radical ultra-leftist freak show over the years. It was once a valuable resource but lately tends to be propaganda and an occasional re-word of a something better written a day prior on Tom’s Hardware. Really wish Berger could land somewhere else and leave the human zoo behind.

    1. Really wish Berger could land somewhere else and leave the human zoo behind.

      Many a time I have had that thought.

      I go there regularly for his articles, and Stephen Clark’s…and that is it.

      1. From the previous Trial thread I wrote;
        … there is nothing published at Ars worth reading other than Eric Berger. Who I desperately wished would find another publisher.

        I had forgotten about Steve Clark. I would add him to the statement above, including the final sentiment.

        1. Meh. The two of them keep posting there. Eric could probably get a gig at or any number of other outlets…but he hasn’t.

  4. “But the suit also sought punitive damages to discourage future behavior of the sort. Here, there was a dramatic split. Simberg, who now tends to write about politics rather than science and presents himself as a space policy expert, was placed on the hook for just $1,000. Steyn, who is still actively fighting the climate wars and hosts a continued attack on Mann on his website, was told to pay Mann $1 million.”

    This is a…curious way for Timmer to try to explain why Rand and Mark had such radically different punitive damage judgments.

    1. I don’t recall a change in Rand’s blog topic selections.

      Perhaps Timmer could elaborate on when his posting style pivoted from science to politics.

      Or perhaps he is simply making shit up not caring if he gets called on it.

  5. I didn’t even read that article, I knew it would just get my blood pressure up. And you should never, ever, read the comments on an article at Arse.

  6. I commented on the article, saying that an appeal would likely slash the punitive damages, and citing two Supreme Court precedents on the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages.

    My latest reply was

    You cite a 526 to 1 ratio, yet Simberg was hit with a 1000 to 1 ratio and Steyn was hit with a 1,000,000 to 1 ratio. And the “egregious act” they were accused of was supported by just about every news media organization, since news would be hard to report if nobody was allowed to point out the glaring truth, aka “speaking truth to power”. Reporting is not a “particularly egregious act”.

          1. Oooh -31 and auto hidden (censored) due to low score. Good thing! Was getting tried of reading repetitive Bazooka Joe cartoons!!

      1. He’ll probably get downvoted to oblivion. They love doing that to dissenters, as it’s not patriotic when a Democrat is in power.

        1. I seek out the downvoted comments. Usually, they are the most accurate in the section but they don’t tell the left what they want to hear so reality bad!

          1. There are some truly stupid commenta that get heavily downvoted, but, yeah, it seems like the feature is mostly used there to hide stuff that the NPC group mind disagrees with.

  7. Fantastic links Rand (Ars has been a well known refuse pile for a long time now). I was totally unfamiliar with Will Bates and Sharon F., thank you so much for posting them. Along with Francis Menton (from Neo) I’ve now got some great new regular content.

  8. I generally read only Eric Berger, Stephen Clark and Dan Goodin articles. Their articles and respective comments are generally sane as well. Generally, the Dunning-Kruger is strong over there, so computers, and hard/software engineering are good. Social and squishy sciences, it’s a mess.

  9. Yep, Eric Berger should move, but does he want to? And does Stephen Clark want to? I seriously doubt it, considering his latest headline. (Possibly imposed by editor… but probably not.)

  10. Rand, if you could; the Trial Podcast mentioned during Steyn’s closing remarks that someone in the back row of the jury was looking at their cellphone. I’m struggling to believe that the jurors were allowed to have anything that could possibly be a distraction and most certainly a cellphone that would allow them to connect to people outside the jury.

    Did the jury really have their cellphones?

    I could see it as more a now colloquial way of suggesting the juror was zoned out and not paying attention to Steyn, yet not really looking at their cellphone.

      1. Thanks. I suspect you didn’t listen to the podcast, as you experienced everything first hand. It was enjoyable, but they obviously are sympathetic and bias to you and Steyn. I found I needed to dial back what they said to keep some objectivity, not that they weren’t objective, but they certainly selected what they portrayed in the podcast based on the bias. If all I had was the podcast, then the trial result would be utterly unexpected and absurdly irrational. Not that it was expected or fully rational, but as some of your other links provided, it can be explained.
        Nothing about the cellphone use would I find acceptable, and if it did occur, I would consider the judge’s running of his courtroom to be unsatisfactory.

        1. I heard all of the podcasts and I also watched about 8 hours of the trial. Overall, I’d say that Ann and Phelim were reasonably fair and even awarded points to Williams when they thought he’d got through to the jury. However, they are also very well versed in court proceedings (Spacey, Gosnell), so that tends to explain their anger when Williams started to deal from the bottom of the deck with regard to introducing evidence and in the last part of his rebuttal remarks.

    1. I would find it hard to believe that this jury was allowed to keep and use their cellphones during the trial. But then neither would I have thought one or more jurors would end up being a half hour or more late showing up to court and allowed to do so on a routine basis.

      However, if jurors were allowed to keep their smart phones during the trial, you’d have a hard time proving distraction if the juror claimed they were taking trial notes on their cellphone which one can easily do. I write notes on my smart phone all the time. I suppose the judge could demand to see their phone to check the claim.

      Learn something new all the time. I learned this weekend that the DC Superior Court in NOT a Federal Court, but is treated just like a State’s District Court. Only it’s a special carve out for DC. It has its own Appellate Court which is also the equivalent of a State’s Appellate Court. But the DC Supreme Court is the SCOTUS. Interesting. So does anyone now how its rulings at the lower levels are enforced outside of DC? Does DC have reciprocal jurisdictional agreements with all 50 States?

      In Steyn’s case I guess he could pull a Mann and head back to Canada. But under Justin Castro’s regime that probably won’t work. They’d be all too eager to honor an extradition request against a “climate denier”. Too bad for Dr. Ball’s widow and family it doesn’t work both ways. But Mark is too honorable to do that anyway.

  11. The Ars article about the trial was indeed horrid, and I echo the distaste for anything written by Mole. Besides Clark and Berger being worth reading, I would also point out that some of Jennifer Oullette’s pieces can be interesting, especially ones about archeology. She tends not to be as overtly political as most of the other writers. Having said that, I’ve managed to get banned 3 times. A badge of honor.

    1. Ouellette may be married to a Caltech physicist, but she’s an intellectual lightweight. Her better articles seem to me to be more of the “broken clock” variety.

  12. Should the DC court’s awards or even verdict be overturned at SCOTUS it would have no net effect. Since the entrenched interests would simply claim it’s another example of injustice from a Trump appointed SCOTUS.

    There is no getting around this short of two steps.

    1) Government must step aside from funding science. If it wants to award grants to private endowments or an apolitical by mandate, NGO that can be held accountable, fine. But no direct grants to any institution public or private. Eisenhower warned us and he was right.

    2) Elite institutions should no longer have hegemony when it comes to being awarded research grants.

    According to an article in the current issue of Nature, UNESCO wants to establish a regime whereby science can be practiced openly in part by allowing institutions with wherewithal in scientific resources and equipment to share those materials with institutions in less well off countries. Seems to be a good principle to follow in our own country regardless of how you feel about UNESCO.

    Then of course there’s that old truism that Science advances one death at a time.

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