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Wed, 2011-06-22 15:13Richard Littlemore
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UK Climate Denial Tank Shuts its Doors

The International Policy Network, one of the U.K.’s most prominent climate-change-denying think tanks, has shut its doors, apparently after an internal battle during which science finally overwhelmed both ideology and the lure of dirty oil funding.

IPN is one of 150 right-wingy think tanks and similar organizations that can trace their heritage to Sir Anthony Fisher, the ideologue and disciple of the neoliberal economist Frederich Hayek. According to documents that The Independent obtained through a Freedom of Information request, the IPN Board was effectively composed of Fisher’s two children, Linda Whetstone and Michael Fisher. It was they who decided to burst the delusional organization’s bubble last year.

The Independent speculates that Whetstone may have been influenced by her daughter, Rachel, now vice president for global communications and public affairs for Google. Rachel Whetstone’s husband, Steve Hilton (inset with British Prime Minister David Cameron) was the strategist who moved the British Conservative Party into the realm of reality on climate policy.

Regrettably, the U.S. IPN survives.

Thu, 2011-06-16 15:52Richard Littlemore
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Ice Age Cancelled: Deniers Destined for Disappointment

The web is alive with idiotic commentary this week after the American Astronomical Society’s solar physics division heard three new studies, all pointing towards declining sunspot activity into the next decade.

But while the least professional journals (see the Financial Post link above) presented only the possibility that reduced solar energy could chill the planet, even sometimes-skeptical newspapers such as The Telegraph responded to the responsibility to include some scientific response confirming that a Grand Solar Minimum, even if one occurred, would not be sufficient to offset the effects and dangers of human-induced global warming.

For more complete looks at the goofy claims of an impending ice age, and more thoughtful presentations of the science debunking such a chill, check out Bad Astronomy, Peter Sinclair’s take on Climate Denial Crock of the Week or Joe Romm’s at ClimateProgress.

Thu, 2011-06-16 15:14Richard Littlemore
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Skeptical Science launches interactive history

The great Australian blog SkepticalScience has launched an Interactive History of Climate Science that provides an instant - and visual - reference for the overwhelming scientific weight behind our understanding of global warming and climate change.

The SkepticalScience “History” is hinged on an interactive graphic that allows you to choose any year since 1824 and establish how many climate science papers were written that year, what was the accumulated total from all previous years and how many of all the papers were “skeptical,” “neutral” or supportive of the theory that human activity is causing the world to warm in a dangerous and unprecedented way.

The graphic also allows you to click on the “bubble” from any particular year and see the actual papers.

Thu, 2011-06-09 14:44Richard Littlemore
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Science article recognizes John Mashey

Updated: With complete list of Mashey Papers

Computer scientist, entrepreneur, periodic DeSmogBlog contributor and “one of the good guys” John Mashey is the subject of an extremely favorable profile this week in Science

Science writer Eli Kintisch looks back over the last couple of years at the research and reports that Mashey has produced. Calling Mashey “an amateur” (which, on the question of climate science, he freely admits to being), Kintisch then looks for some journalistic “balance,” interviewing one person who is defensive and critical in the face of Mashey’s work (the confused and compromised physicist Will Happer) and one who is reassured and delighted (“hockey stick” co-author and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State, Michael Mann).

“Both sides can agree on one thing, however: Mashey has become one of the most visible of a new generation of climate warriors.”

Sun, 2011-06-05 13:27Richard Littlemore
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Wegman Report: Not just plagiarism, misrepresentation

New Mashey Report Drills into Academic Misconduct

The 2006 Wegman Report to Congress, already under investigation for extensive plagiarism, also appears to be guilty of falsifications, misrepresentation and frabrications that could give rise to a charge of academic misconduct, according to a new report by computer scientist and entrepreneur John Mashey (attached, below).

Mashey and the Canadian blogger DeepClimate have analysed Wegman extensively in the past, primarily for the plagiarism of which Wegman is so clearly guilty. But Mashey digs deeper in the current report, questioning whether the numerous errors, oversights and misrepresentations in the report can be explained by inadvertence or incompetence, or whether Wegman and his prinicpal co-author Yasmin Said were intentionally distorting the information they were plagiarizing and, in the process, pointedly misrepresenting science.

Thu, 2011-05-26 09:58Richard Littlemore
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Nature Scolds GMU over Wegman Inquiry

George Mason U dragging its feet on plagiarism complaint

An editorial in the current issue of Nature questions why George Mason University has taken more than 14 months - so far - in its review of the plagiarism complaint against Edward Wegman, even though GMU’s own policy says that such a complaint should be dealt with in 12 weeks.

“Long misconduct investigations do not serve anyone, except perhaps university public-relations departments that might hope everyone will have forgotten about a case by the time it wraps up,” the Nature editorial states.

The editors go on to say that this is as particularly pressing issue because Wegman’s (purportedly) shoddy work has been used to prop up government policy, as well as to dilute the quality of climate science.

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