Obama savaged for getting brother’s name wrong

Wash., DC, USA: In what is already being called ‘a non-story’ and ‘fodder for the lowest stratum of the junkosphere,’ the US President last night drew a blank on the name of George Obama, the US President’s brother.

“I’m only human,” he insisted today, to a skeptical White House press corps.

Obama then challenged reporters to do better. “So I don’t always know the full name of everyone in my immediate family. Do you? No cheating by googling.”

A White House spokesman today said the slip-up was of interest only to sleazy attack journalists. So far it hasn’t been mentioned in the reputable media, nor is it likely to be. To hear about the incident Americans would have to tune in to Fox News or breitbart.com.

The editorial in this week’s TIME avoids mentioning specifics but argues that no US President has been held up to so much ridicule over such trivial gaffes since George W. Bush. It goes on to deplore the “gotcha” culture of hate that pervades the rightwing media.

George Obama was once reported to be living in Kenya on less than a dollar a day. But his years of “sleeping rough” came to an end in 2008 when, according to Wikipedia, “his aunt gave him a six-by-eight foot corrugated metal shack in the Nairobi slum of Huruma Flats.”

The President forgot his name during a guest speech at the annual NAACP ‘Beyond Nuclear’ ball, held to celebrate the full diversity of non-traditional family structures in the African American community.

The theme of the speech was gratitude for the opportunities his unusual childhood had given him. 

“We can only wish more African and Hispanic American kids had a chance to grow up dreaming of their absent, serial-monogamist fathers,” said Obama in one of the night’s most moving lines.

Among academics who study black non-privilege for a living, the overwhelming consensus is that Americans of color are falling short of their potential because there are far too many stable families in minority communities.

The President was initially reported to be “saddened and hurt” by the uproar his minor memory lapse occasioned throughout the hateblogosphere. According to handlers he locked himself in the Oval Office last night, refusing to sign legislation or touch his food. 

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Found In Translation: internat’l reax to the Hughes et al. Shenanigans paper (in press)

Begging your indulgence of my freshman German and schoolgirl French, let me belatedly give you a taste of what a couple of foreign outlets have to say about the upcoming blockbuster HBM’15.

First but not least, though: our thanks to ever-perceptive reader Sarmange for the observation that,

The Hockey stick is evidently a basic form in Nature (the magazine and the universe alike), like spirals, the golden section, all the geometric figures you can get from the conic sections, like circles, parabolas and hyperbolas…

masthead Le-Monde-newspaper-logoIn what is being called the last nail in the coffin of global-warming incredulisme, a new study purports to find a roughly hockey-stick-shaped temperature signal without using any fraud.

News of the finding comes as a relief to Dr Michael Mann, whose much maligned 1998 hockey stick—the original and best—has come in for much maligning by the forces of denialisme over the years. He is currently being dragged through multiple countries’ legal systems by climate defamers, an ordeal to which he would much prefer a quick, out-of-court dénouement.

“Litigation is a waste of time I should be spending on frontier science. At this point I’d settle for a sincere, soul-searching apology from the Canadian race,” says Mann.

“Not for my sake, so much as for the benefit of the people watching them apologise to me,” adds the renowned tree physiologist [sic], who considers the public to be “the real victims” of the damage America’s northern neighbour has done to his good name.

In a notoriously contentious science, one thing’s for sure: the new article will leave négateurs of the Earth’s climate no room to manoeuvre.

Accusations of paranoia and secretiveness—probably orchestrated by industry-linked attack blogs—have forced Mann to retreat behind the siege mentality of a recluse. His contact with the public is now limited to the occasional Tweet per day, a full-page letter to the New York Times when absolutely necessary, guest spots on American raconteur Bill Maher’s show, a bestselling book about himself and of course scientific pressers like today’s, which couldn’t be avoided.

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Hockey Stick exonerated. Again.

As you probably know, leading scientist Malcolm Hughes held a press conference today to announce what could be a game-changing result in paleoclimatology.

Flanked by coauthors Raymond Bradley and Michael Mann, Hughes said that thanks to new, better data, they’d finally succeeded in approximating a ‘hockey stick’ curve without the use of cheating—putting paid at last to denialist claims that the iconic temperature-reconstruction is somehow ‘fraudulent.’

Hughes et al. have written up their findings in HBM2015, due out next month. Here’s what the lesser outlets are saying about it.

masthead NYTThe instantly-recognizable “hockey stick” graph made its debut in MBH’98, a seminal article by scientists Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes that has been plagued by suspicions of monkey business ever since its publication last century.

That accusation, according to the authors of a major new peer-reviewed study, “is irrelevant.”

It turns out jiggery-pokery isn’t even necessary to get “essentially” the correct, hoccobacilliform  curve for historic temperatures, Dr Malcolm Hughes explained at a media conference today. That’s the take-home conclusion of a paper Hughes authored with colleagues Raymond Bradley and Michael Mann, which goes to print next month under the title Millennial Climate Reconstructions are Robust to the Addition or Removal of Shenanigans.

After eliminating any disreputable or disingenuous steps involved in producing the original graph, said the authors, they found it was still possible to get “just about as good a hockey-stickish result as most recent studies”—all without straying an inch from accepted climatological practices.

The finding is just the latest in almost two decades of independent vindications of the work of Mann, Bradley and Hughes in 1998.

Lead author Hughes said he hopes the new facts will silence once and for all the ‘skeptics’ who allege—vocally if not outright vehemently—that the disturbing diagram presented in MBH’98 is necessarily the product of sleight of hand.

But one coauthor, Dr Mann, failed to share his optimism. He interrupted Dr Hughes to say that in his experience deniers, as they’re technically known, seldom learn from their mistakes. A roomful of journalists tittered in sympathy.

Today’s revelation won’t be official until it comes out in November’s issue of Sap (the journal widely considered the Bible of dendroclimatology). Because of the extraordinary public interest in the findings, however—a function of the sheer urgency of the climate issue in general—the researchers decided it was unethical to wait. This morning’s media event was their way of giving the world as much notice as possible, as far away as possible from the noisy scrutiny of self-appointed literary critics.

Science-by-press-release is frowned on in normal fields of inquiry, but such are the existential ramifications of global warming theory—and the toxic counterarguments of its doubters—that the practice has increasingly become a necessary evil for climate scientists.

Which doesn’t mean they have to like it. Hughes, Bradley and Mann weren’t entirely comfortable with today’s publicity, and it showed. Throughout their remarks they had the resentful, almost haughty bearing of pure intellectuals dragged into the political spotlight against their will. We’d rather be in the lab—said their petulant mien—enriching human knowledge by discovering the next killer argument against hockey-stick denial.

Dr Raymond

One of the two non-lead authors of HBM2015; probably Raymond S. “Ray” Bradley, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

masthead nature copyHockey sticks seem to be popping up everywhere!

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Frequently Feared Questions

Dear climate academia,
Stefan Lewandowsky tells you all you ever wanted to know about the Scared Scientists but were afraid to ask because you didn’t want to know.

Q I worked briefly with [Scared Scientist’s name withheld] and the abduction of the octet has brought up certain… emotions. What if I talk to a trauma counselor at the University and they think I’m nuts? —Logic Bloke

A Mr Bloke,

Nobody is going to judge you! There’s no “right” way to respond to incidents like this, psychologically speaking.

Debilitating grief, constant white-knuckle panic, recurrent ideation about pain and death that crowds out everything else, an all-consuming dread, feelings of paralytic anxiety—these are all normal, healthy reactions.

Lew's views 08

Magic bullet: Lewandowsky owes his life to the designer stimulants that have kept him one step ahead of his pursuers—and with zero adverse effects. Could uppers be the the holy grail of pharmacology: a life-saving drug class with literally no downside?

But you don’t have to go through them alone. As someone who’s experienced them all since breakfast, I can assure you it helps to vent.

So don’t be shy. For once in your climate career, this is no time for scientific reticence!

—Steve.

Q Professor Lewandowski (sic), could you settle a faculty bet: as day 4 of the crisis dawns, is there any unhealthy or ‘incorrect’ way to feel? —ExCapitalistWoman, Sydney

A Ms Woman,

Panic is a deeply personal journey. Your amygdalae, adrenal glands and sympathetic nervous system are different from the next person’s, so why should you drop your bundle exactly the same way?

We each have our own timetable for not getting through events like this.

What’s important is that you give in to terror on your own terms—nobody else’s.

Lew' Views Two 06

Nope: On further rumination, Lewandowsky still can’t think of a single ill effect from “half a lifetime” of amphetamine use.

When life gets traumatic the only ‘wrong‘ way to respond is denial. This week’s news is a case in point.

If you ever feel you’re coping well as the kidnapping crisis unfolds, that’s what we call a major red flag. Call your doctor or counselor as a matter of urgency. They can help you get back on track, or put you in contact with someone who can.

But there’s a limited time window, so act while the trauma is still acute.

—Stevan.

Q Dear Dr (sic) Lewandowsky, police here in Australia keep assuring us they have “no credible information” about an elevated threat [of further abductions] to us [climate scientists]. Why don’t I find this comforting? —Professor_Planet, Melbourne
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Doctor Patch: A Legacy of Laughs

From the CLIMATE NUREMBERG HUMOR SECTION

Fans of Rajendra Pachauri are hoping a laugh-a-minute monologue he delivered at a fundraiser yesterday stimulates interest in his earlier work.

The polymathic technocrat’s sense of humor tends to be eclipsed by his preëminence as ‘the top UN climate scientist,’ which is understandable enough; if there’s one thing nobler than winning the laughter of the masses it’s winning their tears.

But Pachauri’s wittier, more subversive moments have not gone unappreciated either. A Nuremberg reader and resident pachyologue lists a few highlights from a long life of laugh-jerking:

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The Appliance of Deniance: A Debunking

John Cook BSc (Hons)
Guest blogger

This week I received an intriguing tweet:

Translating climate science denial CN2

Figure 1 An intriguing tweet I received this week.

The message links to a rather strange video whose discursive function isn’t entirely clear at first. It appears to be an attempt to generalize skeptic thinking to everyday situations, as my friend @A_ suggests.

Science Nazi: Cook makes no secret that he's a fascist for facts.

Science Nazi! It’s no secret our guest author John Cook is a fascist for the facts. “My hobbies include orchestrating the mass murder of millions of myths,” he kids, adding: “I’m not kidding!”

The deniers who made the video are apparently aware that denial is no longer tenable in the climate change context, and are seeking to shift the focus of their denial to real-life topics (firefighting, contraceptives, engine maintenance, relationships, etc.).

Expect this tactic to become increasingly common as the science continues to firm.

On one hand we deserve a pat on the back—the science is evidently working!

On the other hand, we mustn’t rest on our laurels. Just because they’re not denying climate science any more, it doesn’t make their denial any more acceptable. Denial is wrong, by definition—whether it’s applied to the dangers of climate change or to the real world.

So let’s consider some of the video’s myths in their proper, debunked context before hitting the YouTube link.

(You’ll notice, as always, that the correction is stated before the fallacy it corrects. You should never risk exposure to misinformation without first girding your loins with the equal and opposite science.)

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Apparently the ‘Trouble With Girls’ Speech is Controversial

From the CLIMATE NUREMBERG HUMOR SECTION

Readers may recall our coverage of yesterday’s address by Rajendra Pachauri at the annual Women In The Laboratory fundraiser.

Pachauri glasses m2

Pro tip! You can tell when Dr Pachauri isn’t having an ironic laugh at the expense of the conventions of the genre: he always takes off his glasses if he’s speaking literally.

Given that Pachauri was speaking to a whole room full of women, you’d think it would be fairly straightforward to find out exactly what he said. Strangely, though, there seems to be material disagreement on a whole range of quotes in Kay Fabe’s report. Just hours after the fact, we’ve already heard two irreconcilable descriptions of the speech from CN’s readership.

Rather than pick the competing rumors apart in some kind of quixotic quest for The Truth, we decided it was better journalism—or at least faster journalism—just to repeat them. As always, caveat lector and all that!

Our first informant writes,

Dear CN,

I happened to be one of Dr Pachauri’s rapt audients in Delhi yesterday. It’s a shame the normally dependable Kay Fabe has misheard, misremembered or misreported his funniest passage:

Let me tell you about my girl troubles. Four things happen when girls are in your research institute: they have heaving breasts; excited by their heaving breasts as they breathe in and out deeply, you’re overcome by a lust you have never known before; you fall in love with the girl behind those breasts, with sincerity and unfathomable depth; and you cry when she refuses to give you that textual healing.

Your spirit is destroyed, you continue to long for her, and your tears flow incessantly. Which not only puts you off your cricket game but has impacts downstream, on the lesser aspects of your life—your dharma, your religion, the quality of the science.

There you are, chairing an IPCC meeting and surreptitiously sending her messages; and she still refuses your fervent offers to keep and nurture her heart.

What the hell? That makes about as much sense as—say—not letting me touch you, even though I’ve always treated your body with reverence and as sacred!

Women. Amiright?

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