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New S&T committee submissions

I the wake of the announcement of the reopening of the House of Commons Science & Technology Committee's investigations into Climategate, or at least into the UEA inquiries thereof, there have been a number of written submissions to the committee, which can be seen here.

  • David Holland writes to complain about the way his submission to the Russell panel was mishandled.
  • Doug Keenan points out that his fraud allegation was ignored
  • Chris Huhne is still sticking to the "they were exonerated" line.

...and there is a lengthy submission from UEA. Notable features of this are:

There is some discussion of a non-existent allegation that Lord Oxburgh changed the terms of reference for his panel. This is not the concern. The concern is that Parliament was told that he would look at the whole of CRU's science, but he didn't. The blame for this appears to lie with UEA. The rest is very woolly.

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Reader Comments (79)

Bish - Your link to "written submissions" only links to Chris Huhne's letter. Or have I got it wrong?

Sep 17, 2010 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterJockdownsouth

The link goes only to Chris Huhne's letter to George Osborne.

This link goes to the list of memoranda - Huhne, UEA, Keenan, Holland :

Is GWPF going to submit a memorandum to the Select Committee covering the Montford report ?

And why should not any concerned citizen submit a memorandum to the Select Committee urging it to take proper attention of Montford - perhaps by cross-referring to the article by Fred Pearce who is a known proponent of AGW. And suggesting that the Select Committee should invite Chris Huhne or his Department to respond, as it contradicts the whole substance of Huhne's letter.

It would perhaps do no harm if Pearce himself was invited to give evidence, as a long-term observer of the IPCC and the scientists working with it.

Huhne's piece is a

[BH adds: Link fixed now...]

Sep 17, 2010 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Anderson

The Keenan submission is a model of unequivocal clarity. Their only choice is to ignore it completely I think.

Sep 17, 2010 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve2

Quote, UEA memo, "Lord Oxburgh writes in the first paragraph of his published report that his brief, agreed with UEA, was to determine whether "data had been dishonestly selected, manipulated and/or presented to arrive at pre-determined conclusions that were not compatible with a fair interpretation of the original data." "

Well we now know from recent correspondence between UEA and Steve McIntyre that the papers that Oxburgh reviewed had been "selected" by CRU scientists and "collated" by UEA officials. That is a scandal that will grow and grow.

Here we have evidence of collusion between CRU, UEA and Oxburgh that "papers had been dishonestly selected, manipulated and presented to arrive at pre-determined conclusions that were not compatible with a fair interpretation of the original criticisms of CRU science".

It would appear too that The Royal Society, in their ignorance, rubber stamped this dishonest process in order for UEA and Oxburgh to claim that the Society were involved. This was simply an application of a thin veneer of respectability.

It is little wonder that proceedings surrounding Oxburgh's review went undocumented - people were delibrately denied an insight into what was a dishonest process. It is little wonder too, since then, that Oxburgh and UEA have been evasive in providing direct answers to direct questions.

Oxburgh is the weak link in all this, his review is tainted, badly so. Keep pressing on this matter and someone is bound to squeak.

Prof Huw Davies, ETH Zürich
Prof Kerry Emanuel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Prof Lisa Graumlich, University of Arizona.
Prof David Hand FBA, Imperial College, London.
Prof Herbert Huppert FRS, University of Cambridge
Prof Michael Kelly FRS, University of Cambridge

Which of the above will be the first to disassociate themselves from the process and findings of Oxburgh's review in order to protect their own reputation?

Sep 17, 2010 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

"a non-existent allegation that Lord Oxburgh changed the terms of reference for his panel"

If it's non-existent, then why mention it? Of course, it may not have been Lord Ron that changed them, but somebody did!

Sep 17, 2010 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

"a non-existent allegation"

Sorry, Bish - I thought that was UEA speaking. I should be surprised if it hadn't been alleged, though.

Sep 17, 2010 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Mac -

"Which of the above will be the first to disassociate themselves from the process and findings of Oxburgh's review in order to protect their own reputation?"

I'm still hoping that in fact there are people on that panel of a calibre such that their motivation is actually to do the right thing. I think the recent revelations on the paper selection "process" make it likely that some of them have been hoodwinked into thinking they were being appraised of all the issues when in fact they weren't.

Sep 17, 2010 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

I'm waiting for the evidence from a pair of Canadians. McIntyre in particular has a certain way with the skewer..

Sep 17, 2010 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterslowjoe

On Douglas Keenan - in the Guardian debate, when he clearly accused Phil Jones of fraud, the immediate reaction of both Trevor Davies and George Monbiot was a mix of caution and veiled threat, as in, "do you realize the gravity of the accusations you're making" - as if Keenan was some naive fool who did not know what he was doing. To which Keenan replied that he'd repeat the allegation in a court of law, and that he wasn't saying anything he hadn't said before, whether on his website, or in papers. That shut both Davies and Monbiot up - and, as we know, the Guardian edited that part out of the podcast.

Which says it all, really. It is indeed a very serious allegation - which neither the UEA nor any of those committees can refute. So they do the only thing they can do - they ignore it and hope it will go away if they pretend it doesn't exist.

I don't think anything else needs to be looked at, in order to understand what those enquiries are all about.

Sep 17, 2010 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter B

Strange how Lord Acton fails to mention your report, Bish. Anyone would think he didn't know about it.

Sep 17, 2010 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Andrew, I encourage you to make a submission summarizing your findings and pointing to your report.

Sep 17, 2010 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered Commentermpaul

Holland sounds royally pissed off in his submission.

Sep 17, 2010 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Pedant-General

Why not submit a copy of the Bish's report. It should provide any committee with some damning evidence.

Sep 17, 2010 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered Commentermactheknife

Why not submit a copy of the Bish's report. It should provide any committee with some damning evidence.

This is going to happen once we have cleared up the typos.

Sep 17, 2010 at 6:43 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The question is: will anyone on the S&T committee (including Stringer) have the time/ability/desire to understand all this and actually ask the right questions, in the style of a cross-examination by a barrister, and no be fobbed-off by evasive answers? I am afraid that I doubt it.

Sep 17, 2010 at 7:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The Pedant-General

Holland sounds royally pissed off in his submission.

To say it was mishandled is a gross understatement. I and others, such as SimonH, spent some time trying to make it a bit less inflammatory after it was originally rejected. While it could have perhaps, maybe, sorta caused legal action under UK libel law, the original that I edited was not libelous under US law. And once I toned it down, which was actually a minor edit, it would have passed muster even under UK libel law.

What happened is they took the opportunity to dismiss his very well documented submission simply because he used less than gentlemanly language. I have seen far, far, far more inflammatory statements on the floor of the House of Commons, not to mention the Irish Dáil Éireann.

In the past I have urged that people fight this battle by fighting from their brain and not their heart. David needs to learn that. He fell into a trap. I will give you an example from his present letter.

am writing to you and your colleagues to ask that you look at the disgraceful and deceitful way my submission 1 to the ICCER has been treated.

My edit of it would read:

am writing to you and your colleagues to ask that you look at the questionable way my submission 1 to the ICCER has been treated.

You do not win arguments by shouting louder. You will be ignored. I think you have to only look at the Bishop's work to see that. He wins his arguments with logic and not bluster.

Still, it does not make what happened to David's submission any less egregious because the edited version that we completed was rejected as being too late even though others were allowed to submit after the cut off date.

Yes, I would say he as a right to be royally pissed. I hope what happened comes back to haunt them.

Sep 17, 2010 at 7:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

@ Phillip Bratby

The surprising thing is.....and constitutionally there is no reason or restriction for the likes of MP Stringer or any other member of the Parliamentary commons S&T committee not to be able to invite a barrister or QC to their proceedings to put their questions and queries to the attendees.

In fact .....there is no reason that the committee, not to insist that testimony given should be under oath.

Sep 17, 2010 at 7:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

There will have to be some scape goats.

The fact that the CRU and UEA and innumerable 'independent' inquiries have misled parliament, the public, and the scientific community can no longer be hidden.

Sep 17, 2010 at 9:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

A paragraph or two will be changed and the Oxburgh report will be quietly republished The press will ignore the significence of this this much as they did Bish's report. The myth of catastrophic and dangerously unprecedented global warming will continue to be promoted unchecked :(

sounds unlikely, right? But so were the whitewashed thus far. I'm ready to be seriously disappointed, again.

Sep 17, 2010 at 9:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

Philip Bratby and Anoneumouse - you raise an interesting point and response. I think that emotionally detached clinical cross examination is a skill, and one which has been lacking from the HoCSTC work so far. I think Graham Stringer has fought a good fight with his rightly sceptical and critical questions but that has not been enough to stop Lord O's wandering, misleading and evasive nonsense. I think in order to really save everyone a lot of time and trouble, if Anoneumouse's points are correct, it is time the HoSTC demonstrated their displeasure at being taken for fools by bringing in the measures Anoneumouse suggests. I for one would be happy to see my tax spent this way.

Sep 17, 2010 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

"once we have cleared up the typos"

I did spot a greengrocer's apostrophe in one of the headings...

Sep 17, 2010 at 10:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

We are cheered by the news that the HoCSTC may look again at the reviews of Climategate. However the government continues on its merry way as if there is no problem.
Today in the House of Commons, energy and climate change questions were discussed. ALL the points raised were about why we were not moving more quickly to move to sustainable energy, introduce carbon capture, move to a low carbon economy and hit our emissions targets.
Where was Mr Stringer?
No mention of any doubt that CO2 was actually the problem. No mention of the recently highlighted problems Norway has experienced with its wind farms. No mention of the proven Maffia involvement in wind farms in Italy where subsidies are paid even if farms are not connected to the grid. No mention of the fact that Oxburgh is a senior exec in a British subsidiary of an Italian company proven to have Maffia links.
How do we engage these people?

Sep 17, 2010 at 11:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterDung

The Select Committee have an unenviable dilemma. They realise only too well what has gone on. But they are MPs. Many are young. Do you go for honour and glory and get to the guts of this mess, but risk career abortion, or sorry folks, family to support, a safe seat and shortlisted for ministerial glory?

Sep 17, 2010 at 11:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Don Pablo,

I am not so sure. And it is not yet clear who fell into a trap. More angry submissions than mine are published by Russell. In correspondence it was made clear that that it was what was being said, and not how, that was the problem. There is also the the question of why FOI_08-31 and FOI_09-174 are not shown in Russell's evidence or mentioned in his report. And there is the interesting matter of the Excel file which reappeared and is not mentioned.

What is a bit odd is why, with Russell having decided not to publish my complaint, Briffa, Jones, Mitchell Hoskins and Solomon all felt it necessary to reply to bits of it and in so doing gave us a few more pieces of information.

This story is not yet over.

Sep 17, 2010 at 11:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Holland

The edits that Don Pablo and I made to David's submission didn't change the thrust or substance of the submission at all. We did reduce the number of superlative adjectives and potentially contentious/inflammatory adverbs which we felt were likely to get in the way of communicating the substance of David's complaints.We also performed some sentence restructuring to increase clarity, but the principle purpose of the edits was to redact non-UEA names from the submission.

The redactions could as easily have been made by Russell after submission, if their fear was libel action, but it became clear in due course that Russell's intent was to excuse his review from accepting the submission at all. I'm firmly of the opinion that the libel excuse was just a means to an end.

I'd like to see David's list of questions, in his more recent submission, given the attention they deserve. Whether they will be or not remains to be seen, but at the very least I expect that one or two of the committee may be inspired to ask more searching questions, having David's questions in their minds.

Sep 17, 2010 at 11:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimonH

The forum is the Parliamentary Select Committee. There is an etiquette. Don Pablo recognises it.

Sep 18, 2010 at 12:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Pharos.. "The forum is the Parliamentary Select Committee. There is an etiquette. Don Pablo recognises it."

Indeed! Apparently, though, Professor Acton doesn't recognise it. The idea is that you don't lie to, or mislead, the Commons Select Committee.

Errr.. oops!

Sep 18, 2010 at 1:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimonH

I believe SimonH has, as usual, expressed what we did and why quite clearly. I also see no reason why the committee could not have redacted/edited the submission once accepted.

The trap, David, you fell into was that you gave them an excuse to exclude you, which they did. It was unjustified, and completely unfair, but an opening they took. I completely agree with SimonH that "it became clear in due course that Russell's intent was to excuse his review from accepting the submission at all. I'm firmly of the opinion that the libel excuse was just a means to an end."

Like Simon, I have in intimate knowledge of what David wrote, and it was well thought out and documented. The only possible issue was that some of the language could have been seen as inflammatory as I demonstrated in the previous post. Since they couldn't refute is submission, they buried it. Pure and simple.

If asked, I will stand behind my statement that it was clear to me that the committee was obviously using the issue of libel as an excuse and that any objectionable wording could have easily removed. I can say that because we did, and it was not a major effort. I still have my working notes from April when Simon and I worked on this, should it become an issue, which I hope it does.

As the Yanks would say, David was screwed.

So David, give them hell, as I am sure you will. I would love to see them squirm.

Still, we should all remember that as Pharos quite correctly noted: "The forum is the Parliamentary Select Committee. There is an etiquette."

Sep 18, 2010 at 1:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Re: excuses - it's been mentioned before by a few of us but don't forget these guys think (perhaps that is becoming "thought") that they are (were) the untouchables. If they wanted an excuse I believe they'd have got down to the level of not accepting submissions from those with surnames that begin with "H". As Pharos says there is an "etiquette" and that is what Rocket Ron so expertly exploited - off at a tangent, with a smile and a wheeze and nobody says "All very well but the question still stands...." or, perhaps more lawyerly, "I'll ask again....". The idea is SimonH, you don't lie or mislead in a way that is totally and utterly obviously intentional - you have a vague memory, or give two or three possible responses to the same question and rely on the etiquette that says no one will ask "So which is it? A? B? or C?". And if, God forbid, you do put a foot wrong then you rely on the written record to just not quite nail it to the ground.

It's no wonder Ron avoids the internet in the interests of his blood pressure.

Sep 18, 2010 at 1:35 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

I've just read the submissions - OK I yawned off the UEA one halfway through - and I see some are criticising David Holland's for intemperate language. I disagree. My criticism, however, is that nowhere does David summarise his allegations in succinct form.

The submission reads as though the reader were already up to speed with the subject matter - which OUGHT to be true, but probably isn't. And in any case given that it's publicly posted, the opportunity to educate "new" readers is lost if they have to wade through a lot of "how they did bad things" to find out "what bad things were done".

As far as I can see,

a. David made a submission to the Committee which reflected adversely on CRU, which it rejected on grounds that have since proved false,


b. The Committee have attempted to deceive him on several occasions since, in frustration of his interest in the CRU's work.

Why not say so (or some improved, but equally brief version), at the outset of this and any such document?

Hope this helps...

Sep 18, 2010 at 3:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterTomFP

I agree with you, Tom -- I found Keenan's blunt and concise challenge to discuss his fraud allegations to read more effectively than Holland's detailed submission.

It is always hard to strike a balance between being succinct and focused, and being detailed and thorough.

Nice of Acton to give us an 'opinion piece', though, as though he hadn't already made his opinion quite clear.....

Sep 18, 2010 at 3:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford


My criticism, however, is that nowhere does David summarise his allegations in succinct form.

The submission reads as though the reader were already up to speed with the subject matter - which OUGHT to be true, but probably isn't.

Tom, you are correct on both counts. David is not a trained writer, he is a campaigner. A brief "executive summary" in the beginning would be an excellent addition. Easily added. Perhaps he will get the chance if he gets his way. This is also along the lines of what said Rick Bradford said.

The classic approach one is trained to use is to "Say what you are going to say. Say it. And tell them that you said it."

Lawyers and barristers argue cases with 1) opening arguments, 2) make a presentation of facts, 3) give closing arguments showing that they did what they said they were going to do.

What David did was more along the lines of a barrister making a presentation of facts only to the jury. I might add that he was thorough and detailed, and he did not stray from fact. It would have been highly embarrassing for the committee to have such a presentation in the main body of their work and still come to the conclusions they did.

Sep 18, 2010 at 4:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Don Pablo thank you, and yes, it did occur to me after Dr Bratby referred to the permissibility of using barristers that what I am suggesting is very much the way I imagine a barrister would draft the document. Unfortunately (and I hope none of this is taken as other than constructive criticism!) when one is thoroughly immersed in a topic, one inevitably develops an attachment to its minutiae, and it can be very difficult indeed to address effectively those who are new to the matter. I urge all who attempt it to consult as widely as possible among friends with little or no knowledge of the issue - a variety of "he who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client" applies here.

Sep 18, 2010 at 4:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterTomFP

And another thing, while we're on the subject of conciseness. My reading of Stringer is that he was decidedly grumpier in the last round than back in Feb, but that he is far from a forensically-trained inquisitor, who can use any help he can get to crystallise his questioning. The submissions page is a valuable opportunity to give it to him. So far as possible, submissions should put appropriate questions into Graham Stringer's mouth (none of the rest of the Committee seem to have much weight) with the minimum requirement on his part to redraft them. He's a smart guy, and will want to see the particulars, but they can come AFTER the case has been stated.

So here's a question (among many!) I would like to see asked of UEA - "did any UEA employee create a folder of emails and code, and name it FOIA.txt? If so, when, and to what purpose?"

Any more? Perhaps we can come up with our own submission?

Sep 18, 2010 at 4:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterTomFP

The postingS on this topic are most informative.
A number of your are obviously in contact and knowlegable.

May I suggest that several of you get together by email or in person.
And quickly summarise the case for David and submit it yourselves,
Or suggest that David subits it himself as an addendum or summary.

The second thing I suggest is that this summary be submitted to every national and regional newspaper and blog.
And also sent to every MP, plus every sympathetic or open minded feature writer and reporter.

If this case is spread widely enough then IT CANNOT BE IGNORED.

Sep 18, 2010 at 6:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterAusieDan

Writers at The Economist are (or were) trained to write their articles along the following lines:

A: (Attack). A one-sentence, lively introduction to the topic to be discussed

E: (Explanation): One or two paragraphs amplifying the 'Attack' and setting the scene for what is to follow.

I: (Intestines): The guts of the story; the facts, the details, the evidence, the chronology, the information.

O: (Observations): Two paragraphs weighing and evaluating the Intestines, examining how the facts might be viewed from various perspectives, getting at what the information means in the broad sense.

U: (Upshot): A final sentence summing up, wrapping the whole thing together, and giving a sense of completion.

Working to a formula like this has 2 main benefits; it provides a sense of pacing and structure to the reader, and perhaps more importantly, gives the writer a framework within which to order his/her thoughts.

Sep 18, 2010 at 8:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Come on people the Holland submission would have been sidelined no matter how it was written as were the most damming papers avoided, the Kennan allegation ignored, the science not reviewed and the unreleased emails not read it’s the nature of the beast. I imagine the list could go on....But our government will keep pumping money that we haven’t got into the EU and UN climate funds anyway.

Sep 18, 2010 at 8:17 AM | Unregistered Commentermartyn

@Rick Bradford
Great mnenomic; will try to remember (I need something else to help me remember it though). I agree wholly that David Holland's submission would be far better had he followed this rule.

Sep 18, 2010 at 8:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger D.

1) How can we encourage Stringer to include a barrister in the next round?

2) Is it a possible part of the questioning etiquette?

3) Would the House pay, or have the SCT Comm. got "in house" barristers they can use?

4) Can anyone write a memo to the HoC ST Committee about the enquiry or is it just from those directly involved? Has there been an invitation to write?

Sep 18, 2010 at 9:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

The BBC seem to have gone all censorious...
Richard black blog closed for comments after a few days, and me lost in consideration..

Richard has a 'green' pop at the Pope.

Comment I put on his lates article.
13. At 11:34pm on 17 Sep 2010, blunderbunny wrote:
Sailing a little close to the wind with that one aren't we? Doesn't bother me personally, but doesn't this blog thread break at least two of your house rules:

1) "Are considered likely to disrupt, provoke, attack or offend others"


2) "Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable"



Richards previous article is closed for comments..
My comment 44# is lost in consideration for 2 days!

I believe it was on topic, had removed some previous (by mistake) pdf links. I merely was trying to quote a British MP speaking in Parliment to make my point about nuclear waste.

It followed ALL the House rules....

Yet the cynic in me, say it will remain in consideration for a while then appear, long after any member of the public might actually be able to read it..

Poor form BBC..

Sep 18, 2010 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Pea / thimble, to cite a great man.
To me the most damning evidence of poor science is in HARRYREADME. My line of questioning would be:

Which members of the review looked into HARRYREADME ?
What expert advice on quality standards in software development and data management was given to the review ?
What conclusions did they come to with regard to the practices illustrated in HARRYREADME ?

Sep 18, 2010 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobbo

I think TomFP's points are very relevant. Most of those blogging on this issue have been following for sometime and have relevant backgrounds to get to grips with the arguments.

That is NOT the norm - especially for MPs. I imagine to some it is going to be like being presented with:

.."Actually it turns out the world is flat after all and there has been a body of scientists presenting it as a three dimensional body despite mounting problems with their work"..

and expecting them to take it onboard, get up to speed, investigate and then turn their opinions on a dime.

A lead-in the form of an exec. letter as suggested above and using the AEIOU type structure will be very worthwhile.

Sep 18, 2010 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

How about something like the following:

We, the undersigned, welcome the opportunity to assist the work of the House of Commons Science & Technology Committee's investigations into the “Climategate” affair. We believe that to properly address the matters raised by the release of emails and code from the CRU in Nov 2009 your enquiries ought to include the following questions:

of Acton:

1. “Did an employee of the UEA compile a folder of emails and code and name it FOIA.txt? If so, to what purpose?”

2. “Do you agree that in evidence to this committee at its first sitting, and in subsequent media releases, you promised that the forthcoming enquiry would examine the soundness of the CRU's science?

3. How do you account for Lord Oxburgh’s evidence that he was not briefed to investigate the science?

4. How and when, if at all, do you propose that the soundness of the CRU’s science be assessed?”

of Oxburgh:

1. “Do you see any conflict between your chairmanship of this enquiry, and your interests in renewable energy and carbon trading? “

2. “From whom did you receive the list of papers?” *

3. “You have said that you were not briefed to consider the soundness of the CRU’s science. Yet Prof Kelly’s notes make it clear that he devoted considerable attention to the science. How do you account for this? Why did you choose to exclude Prof Kelly’s remarks from your report?”

*Oxburgh was allowed to be evasive on the subject of who selected the 11 papers he reviewed - they can if they wish call whomever he names, but see CA

Sep 18, 2010 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterTomFP

Tom FP - my opinion is that the questions need to be from a good legal person. Having seen a reply with a complete bare faced lie derail a line of perfectly correct argument and exploration, I think posing questions in the expectation of truthful answers is a naive luxury for those outside of the legal profession!

Sep 18, 2010 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

When do the submission have to be in by...

What is the process to submit?

Sep 18, 2010 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Judith is discussing 'climategate, nmy contribution:

May I add, the apparent software devlopment practices, data management procedure, version control (lack of) and many other failings, identified within the harry_read_me.txt file, these appear endemic at CRU. TH e defence seems to be that this is how 'scientists do it. ie everyone does it, therefore it is OK.

On the surface, the unit at CRU would seem to fail to comply with any professional /or governments IT standards in all these areas..

It would surely benefit 'climate science' as a whole. IF the scientists using the tools of computer science, follow, at the very least, the standards and methodlogies in any UK government sponsored IT project..

Ideally, given the self proclaimed 'global significance' of the work at CRU (quoting an extract from a proposed piece of PhD research) I would expect that CRU would want to follow BEST practices in these areas..

The procedures/standards need not COST a great deal, it is a discipline and methodlogy that needs adearing to. In fact, it is self evident, the introduction of even 'minimum' standards of documentation of the code and the project, would have saved poor 'harry' hundreds of hours of time, and prevented (his words) the project being over a year late. I am sure many IT professionals 'sympathised' with the mess that apparently the code is in, this is why over many years the UK government via The Staionary Office' has published many of the procdures that should be worked to...

An audit of the procedures/methodologies would go along way to ensure confidence in the output of this unit, whose work they say has 'global significance'

An audit does NOT require that data and code be made available to the public, even though that would be beneficial, and the workings of HADCRUT, CRUTERM, etc are hardly state secrets.

Sep 18, 2010 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

For presentations when I used to do them I followed the Newsreader as a good example, so there were 3 main sections

1. Headlines
2. Detail on each of the headlines
3. Summary including conclusions

1 and 3 were single slides and 2 was never more than 15 eg 2 or 3 slides on each headline.

Works well for submissions and reports too.

Sep 18, 2010 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohnH

I think the main thing is to get the Montford report before the Select Committee - because it covers the waterfront - and make MPs read it. So other independent submissions can focus on key findings of Montford - or perhaps even better on stuff said by Lord Turnbull. And the relevant cross-references help MPs see the issues.

Sep 18, 2010 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Anderson

Barry Woods

I agree with your position that what "scientists do" does not make it acceptable. Many years ago, while a graduate student, I worked in the Cornell computing center as an consultant to those using the mainframe computer. And what I saw on a daily basis would make you gag if you were a real programmer.

From what I saw in the Harry_Read_me files -- and I did read them -- was classic graduate student crap programming. Nothing has changed in 40 years. I would simply dismiss any results from those programs as being massively accumulated rounding and truncation errors, with the occasional underflow and overflow thrown in for spice. In a word "worthless."

And as for their principal component analysis results (PCA), I am very familiar with the very closely related Factor Analysis (FA) (the same program can usually do both) and I have seen the results used to create totally meaningless Ph. D. and Masters theses. And given that VS demonstrated a Unit Root in Mann's data, any attempt to use a multivariate analysis of variance, such as FA or PCA is a joke. Meaningless. Garbage. Done by "Scientists."


Sep 18, 2010 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

If you ask Lord O. "from whom did you receive the papers" it would leave it open to him to name merely the person who handed them to him. As who "collated" them is hardly relevant, we need to know all those who were involved in the original selection and why most of the ones linked to the allegations were excluded. I don't think the HOC S and T Committee asked about Jones having given them the once -over, did they? Also what were the other data and materials Ox claimed his team looked at, and why did he not consider it necessary to look at the emails?

Sep 18, 2010 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

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