Hiding The Decline At Google?

I got this email (I’ll keep the emailer anonymous unless (s)he notifies me otherwise):

It’s very disturbing how Google is behaving with regard to Climategate/Climaquiddick. I put both of those in my custom news page. For a while, it steadfastly refused to update Climaquiddick, and then it began to update Climategate only with stories attacking climate change skeptics. I could find many more stories on Yahoo, most of which were alarmed at the fraud which seems to be occurring.

Then when I logged in today, Google News had deleted those two categories from my custom section. When I reestablished them, they brought up only a few of the old, outdated original stories plus a few newer attack stories.

Web searches on Climaquiddick yielded only 72,600 hits on Google and 84,300 on Bing, but 565,000 on Yahoo. None of them will autocomplete the word “Climaquiddick.” They won’t autocomplete “Climategate” either, but Yahoo alone will suggest “climate gate.”

Does everyone in Silicon Valley think that pretending information doesn’t exist will make it so? If so, how much can we trust the technology they produce?

I think that there are going to be huge reverberations of untrust throughout many areas of authority resulting from this. As was pointed out early on, it’s not just a scientific scandal, it’s a journalistic one.

A Trip Down Mammary Lane

Now this is a life-extension treatment that I can really get into:

According to Dr. Karen Weatherby, a gerontologist and author of the study, gawking at women’s breasts is a healthy practice, almost at par with an intense exercise regime, that prolongs the lifespan of a man by five years.

She added, “Just 10 minutes of staring at the charms of a well-endowed female, is roughly equivalent to a 30-minute aerobics work-out.”

I’m pretty sure that it would be hard to OD on it. Though if you do it with the wrong female, it could shorten your life dramatically, I suppose.

Drive-By Morons

The post on the Virgin Galactic rollout problems seems to have attracted some trolls. I just got a comment there, that was held in moderation, from some creature calling itself “Joe PAO” with an email address (probably fake) of “joe@nasa.gov.” But the IP address is from an AT&T account in mid-town Manhattan.

I’m not going to approve it, or repeat it here, because it consisted of nothing but a completely baseless personal attack on me and my journalistic integrity. But it is strange to see which posts bring these cretins out of the woodwork.

Buy Local, Act Evil?

For some reason, this doesn’t totally surprise me:

In an experiment, participants were randomly assigned to select items they wanted to buy in one of two online stores. One store sold predominantly green products, the other mostly conventional items. Then, in a supposedly unrelated game, all of the participants were allocated $6, to share as they saw fit with an anonymous (and unbeknownst to them, imaginary) recipient. Subjects who had chosen items from the green store coughed up less money, on average, than their counterparts. In a second experiment, participants were again assigned to shop in either a green or conventional store. Then they performed a computer task that involved earning small sums of cash. The setup offered the opportunity to cheat and steal with impunity. The eco-shoppers were more likely to do both.

I never fail to be simultaneously amused and disturbed by the hypocritical self righteousness of the same leftists who criticize Christians for the same thing. I also like the way they accuse businessmen, who actually create the wealth in this country, of “greed” while being themselves very generous only with other peoples’ money. Michael Moore is the canonical example of someone who claims to love humanity, but treats actual people like manure.

All Real Scientists

…are climate skeptics:

If the East Anglia scientists and their correspondents had never existed, there would still be plenty of evidence from other scientists suggesting a significant role for human-induced increases in atmospheric CO2 and temperature over the past century. Nevertheless, everyone involved needs to embrace the idea that all scientists are skeptics; that all scientific theories are open to doubt; and in particular that future projections of climate change are subject to considerable uncertainty. Furthermore, the economic and environmental impacts of warming are also uncertain, as are the costs of CO2 mitigation. When scientists hide these uncertainties, or simply don’t discuss them, they lose credibility. Climate scientists are clearly unable to “save the world” alone. But they are stewards of key data that are essential to shape wise policy. Their credibility is much more important than their political opinions.

That’s a point I made at PJM right after the story broke:

Many in the climate change community have condemned what they call “skeptics,” often to the point of declaring them de facto criminals and assigning them to the same category as Holocaust deniers. They tell us that “the science is settled” and that we should shut up. But every scientist worthy of the name should be a skeptic. Every theory should be subject to challenge on a scientific basis. Every claim of a model’s validity should be accompanied by the complete model and data set that supposedly validated it, so that it can be replicated. That is how science works. It is how it advances. And when the science is supposedly “settled” and they refuse to do so, it’s not unreasonable to wonder why.

And now we know why.

[Early afternoon update]

A conflict of interest at the American Physical Society? Say it ain’t so:

Hal Lewis, a professor emeritus of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara who has been an APS member for 65 years, says that he asked both the current and incoming APS presidents to require that Socolow recuse himself from a review of this subject, and both refused.

That means the review will be “chaired by a guy who is hip deep in conflicts of interest, running a million-dollar program that is utterly dependent on global warming funding,” Lewis says. In addition, he points out that the group charged with taking a second look at the 2007 statement, the Panel on Public Affairs, is the same body that drafted it in the first place. That, “too has a smell of people investigating themselves,” Lewis says.

The APS ethics policy that appears to apply to Socolow’s panel says “it is particularly desirable that members” be “free from real or perceived conflicts.” An APS ethics policy used when awarding prizes says that conflicts of interest can be resolved, depending on the circumstance, by “resignation of one or more members of the committee, withdrawal of a member from parts of the committee’s deliberations and voting.” And when involving the chairman: “Potential conflict of interest involving the chair of the selection committee is ipso facto a serious matter, and at the least another committee member should take over as chair.”

An APS spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday about how the group’s ethics policies apply and whether Socolow would be the chairman.

I can see why. This is depressing. Is the entire scientific community in this country corrupt? Is this what government funding has done? This could be the beginning of a civil war between those defending the status quo, and those who want to stand for scientific integrity.

And kudos to CBS’ Declan McCullagh for covering this.

Jackson And The Goregonauts

Thoughts on the EPA’s extortionate power grab, from Jonah:

If Jackson cares so much about sound science, why is she basing some of her policies on data from the discredited scientific frat house, the Climatic Research Unit?

If Jackson cares so little about politics, why did she make her announcement to such fanfare at the opening of Climapalooza in Copenhagen?

In fairness, Jackson is only a Medusa’s head to those who care desperately about economic growth and who don’t think draconian taxes on energy and massive wealth transfers for white elephants in the Third World are the answer to our problems. But for others, she represents another icon from Greek mythology: the Golden Fleece.

Jason and his Argonauts set out to find the fleece so they might place Jason on the throne of Iolcus. The original story is one of power-seeking in a noble cause.

It’s debatable whether the modern tale of Jackson and the Goregonauts is quite so noble. But it’s obvious they’re interested in power and hell-bent on fleecing.

It’s what all their policies are about.

[Update a few minutes later]

Also, read Dr. K on the new green socialism:

One of the major goals of the Copenhagen climate summit is another NIEO shakedown: the transfer of hundreds of billions from the industrial West to the Third World to save the planet by, for example, planting green industries in the tristes tropiques.

Politically it’s an idea of genius, engaging at once every left-wing erogenous zone: rich man’s guilt, post-colonial guilt, environmental guilt. But the idea of shaking down the industrial democracies in the name of the environment thrives not just in the refined internationalist precincts of Copenhagen. It thrives on the national scale, too.

On the day Copenhagen opened, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claimed jurisdiction over the regulation of carbon emissions by declaring them an “endangerment” to human health.

Since we operate an overwhelmingly carbon-based economy, the EPA will be regulating practically everything. No institution that emits more than 250 tons of CO2 a year will fall outside EPA control. This means over a million building complexes, hospitals, plants, schools, businesses, and similar enterprises. (The EPA proposes regulating emissions only above 25,000 tons, but it has no such authority.) Not since the creation of the Internal Revenue Service has a federal agency been given more intrusive power over every aspect of economic life.

But that’s just a coincidence. They’re just trying to save the planet, that’s all.

And more on the religious fanaticism:

…while research grants push the global warming agenda, the initial impulse is religious. (Presumably most priests believe in God before their jobs depend upon doing so.) Freeman Dyson, by consensus one of the greatest physicists of the past century, attacks not only the “sparseness of our observations and the superficiality of our theories [about global warming ],” but also the underlying “worldwide secular religion of environmentalism, which views man as an unwelcome interloper in some imagined natural equilibrium.”

In the name of that religion, writes George Will, “communicants in the faith-based global warming community,” who imagine themselves to be a “small clerisy entrusted with the most urgent truth ever discovered,” are asking the rest of the world to wager trillions and hand over a substantial part of their freedom to governmental and intergovernmental bureaucrats.”

Have to pay the tithe to the priesthood.

The Desert Hurricane

Virgin Galactic has a press release out:

Hurricane Provides Dramatic End to Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Event

At the start of a dramatic week of weather right across the US, hurricane force winds hit Mojave Air and Spaceport CA on the evening of Monday 7th December, tearing apart a specially created site which had been used throughout the day to house guests attending the first roll out of Virgin Galactic’s new spaceship.

Along with Sir Richard Branson and spaceship designer Burt Rutan, over 800 press, future astronauts and VIP guests including Governors Bill Richardson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and Victoria Principal had gathered in the desert to witness the roll out of the world’s first commercial manned spaceship. Standing at the end of the runway, guests braved gale force winds and stormy weather, to see SpaceShipTwo for the first time. The spaceship was carried down the runway as snow fell, by her mothership, VMS Eve, to a spectacular display of lights and music.

A few hours later as guests celebrated, an evacuation was called by local officials who had become aware of the approaching storm. Sir Richard Branson said: “It was absolutely incredible, the roll out of the spaceship had been fantastic and everybody was filled with terrific energy. We were all in the tents when the evacuation was called. 20 minutes after the last of the 800 guests had been coached away, the main 200ft tent literally took off”. Gusts were reported of up to 116MPH, and local residents commented that the Mojave area had not experienced such a combination of high winds, rain and freezing temperatures for over two decades. Both spaceship and mothership were unscathed thanks to the rapid action of the crew as were all guests thanks to an efficient evacuation to waiting buses.

Sir Richard Branson added: “We were fully expecting to be blown away by our beautiful new spaceship but got a little more than we bargained for!”

I have to say, despite my earlier criticism, that this could have been a lot worse, and they did do a good job of getting everyone out quickly. No one was even injured, and some, even many could have been killed without the warning.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!