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Science in hot water

Cumbrian Lad points to a BBC Radio programme starting at 9pm tonight called Science in Hot Water. It's about scientific misconduct and will apparently feature CRU at some points. Strange, I thought they'd been exonerated.

When the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit got into hot water over leaked emails, the case review stated: "[In] a matter of such global importance, the highest standards of honesty, rigour and openness are needed". In this two-part documentary, Adam Rutherford reviews some high-profile cases where scientists didn't take those responsibilities quite seriously enough. As he trawls through a fascinating rogues' gallery, from Piltdown Man to a South Korean geneticist's claim that he had cloned stem cells, Rutherford wonders whether scientific misconduct is more prevalent than we think

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Reader Comments (22)

Flash news:

More leaked CRU files discovered!



Mar 17, 2011 at 8:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Snub, very funny!

Mar 17, 2011 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJosh

Shub, oops. Silly predictive text on this mobile thing. It will be saying hockey stick next.

Mar 17, 2011 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJosh


Spilled me Guinness all over me keyboard I did! Shub, you owe me a keyboard, ye do!

When does the "Scientists in Hot Water" cartoon appear?

Mar 17, 2011 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Bish - is the first part quoted from the BBC link? I could only find:

"Adam Rutherford looks at some of the science scandals.." which made me wonder if one of the ones omitted might not be the one that interests us. Will find out soon enough, I guess...

Mar 17, 2011 at 8:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

The quote came from Cumbrian Lad on unthreaded. It's taken from Radio Times apparently.

Mar 17, 2011 at 8:58 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

It's from the programme description on, to be specific:

Mar 17, 2011 at 9:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

No, climate scientists in hot water on radio four yet. Maybe next week. Can we wait that long?

No, I didn't think so either.

Mar 17, 2011 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJosh

Caught the end of it and found it very interesting. I didn't hear anything about CRU but there were some quite startlingly frank admissions from well know voices. I forget who, but one said that universtity investigations, more often than not, are innefective and strongly desire covering up mistakes. Ben Goldacre said something along the lines that judgement calls are often driven by a desire to have positive results. Philip Campbell of Nature makes a strong case that fraud is the responsibility of the author not the journals. I wonder how this can be reconciled with todays climate science, and scientists, almost unnique direct influence on policy effecting trillions?

Mar 17, 2011 at 9:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

It sounded like the Ben Goldacre show to me, so very unlikely to feature the CRU's bad science. I wonder what prompted the RT to write as they did?

Mar 17, 2011 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Nice work Shub.

Mar 17, 2011 at 10:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

"Scientists in Hot Water"? Is that anything like a pot noodle?

Mar 17, 2011 at 10:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

My apologies for being off topic, but I am incandescent having just witnessed a parade of complete idiotic tw@ts on Question Time discussing energy needs. You couldn't get a more useless bunch if you enlisted the entire cast of the comic 'Beano'. This must be BBC bias at its supreme.

God help us if our future energy sourcing is left to this bunch of terminal retards. I am sorry if my comments offend others excluding the panel.

Mar 17, 2011 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Did you catch Simon Hughes saying 'solar in the UK pays for itself'? Add that to Philip Hammond's claim last week that 'offshore wind pays for itself' and you get some idea how ill-informed and/or mendacious our politicians are on energy policy.

Mar 18, 2011 at 1:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

Chilli - I didn't see the Question Time in question, but the level of ignorance/dishonesty from Hughes does not surprise me. Our politicians are idiots whose knowledge of any reality outside of the Westminster village/bubble is scant and accidental. Phillip Hamond's astonishing claim was much discussed here, but note that it was on-shore wind and not off-shore to which he referred.

Mar 18, 2011 at 3:32 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

Read this:

Then this:

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

It's the same group of aristos each time. The key issue is which of those in the group responsible fro the high-feedback CO2-AGW fraud is a deep agent for the Comintern. I've got a few ideas.

Mar 18, 2011 at 6:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander

@ Alexander, Mar 18, 2011 at 6:49 AM:

Thanks for the links - especially the second one.

The Comintern hasn't been around for over 50 years - so the deep agent you're looking for is probably working for a certain financier, whose name begins with an 'S'.

Mar 18, 2011 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

On iPlayer now.

Mar 18, 2011 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

From Hansard, Thursday 16 September 2010, Energy and Climate Change, The Secretary of State was asked - Renewable Technologies (Tariffs):

Mr Raab: The last Government's impact assessment on feed-in tariffs showed that domestic solar power is nine times as expensive as industrial turbines and hydro plants in producing clean energy. That means that poorer families must pay billions in their energy bills to subsidise those who can afford solar panels. How will the Secretary of State eliminate such distortions in the market for clean energy, so that we can sustain public confidence and so that our environmental policy makes wider economic sense?

Chris Huhne: Renewables are currently more expensive than fossil fuels, and, as the hon. Gentleman points out, there is a wide variation in the costs of different sources of energy. One of the things the Department must deal with is the enormous uncertainty about the development of costs in future. For example, the cost of onshore wind generation has fallen, and according to calculations that we obtained recently from our Mott MacDonald study, it is competitive with the cost of nuclear generation. As for photovoltaics-a subject that concerns the hon. Gentleman-it is true that ours is not a very sunny country and that Arizona produces about twice the yield that can be obtained anywhere in the United Kingdom, but the costs are falling by roughly 6% a year. We have to make a judgment about the uncertainties in the long run.

If you do the maths it will take another 40 years before installed domestic solar panels are competitive with other renewables, never mind fossil fuels or nuclear. Since solar panels have at max a 25 year lifespan before they have to be replaced the figure for competivity is probably more like 50 years. That is 50 years of subsidy (plus grants for re-installation), 50 years of higher fuels bills for everyone.

These subsidies and grants for solar panels are simply a sop to the middle-classes. They are not the way forward.

It is little wonder that people have little faith in the claims made by the likes of Simon Hughes and Philip Hammond. They are talking errant nonsense

Mar 18, 2011 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Just listened to "Science Betrayed" on iPlayer, no mention of CRU that I heard, though I did almost fall asleep during part of it - not riveting stuff, I'm afraid.

Mar 18, 2011 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

When you follow Shub’s excellent link at the top of the comments, don’t forget to go to the linked page
which is quite the most perceptive and funniest comment on Climategate I’ve seen. Journalists used to kill to have a tale like that to tell. And here it is on an unknown (to me) blog. Congratulations Michael Kelly.

Mar 18, 2011 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers


"Congratulations Michael Kelly"

Seconded. That's wonderful.

Mar 21, 2011 at 10:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

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