Seen elsewhere
The calendar

Click to buy!

Support

 

Twitter
Buy

Click images for more details

Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing
Links

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Politicians are the problem | Main | Accelerating global warming »
Saturday
Mar242012

Behind the scenes at Skeptical Science

Apparently someone has obtained a behind-the-scenes look at Skeptical Science. There was apparently a security hole in their internal forum.

Details here.

(H/T Shub)

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    If you love football, you most likely have a preferred team from the National Football League or two and have a list of players who like to have observed.

Reader Comments (326)

John Cook knew the site was compromised 23 February 2012 (open to all - all of it).


Got an email from Brian P this morning saying that the whole forum was publicly available to him, even when he wasn't logged in. I checked and this was true. A little panicky, I investigated and worked out that all the permission levels of each forum had been set down to zero. Normally, they're set so only authors can access most of them, except the translator forum is also accessible to translators. Strangely though, there is an admin forum that only admins can access and that wasn't set to zero - it was still set so only admins can access it.

I have no idea how this happened. Several possibilities come to mind. First, I did it by accident when I was screwing around with the database sometime. Someone with admin access (there are about half a dozen SkSers with this access) made the change. Or we were hacked in some way and the hacker changed the levels. None of the options seem likely to me but the most likely is human error on my part although the fact that the admin forum was still set at admin level belies some kind of blanket wiping of all levels.

So I'm a little freaked out - it's not knowing how this happened that has me most worried. Has anyone been looking at the forum and how long has this been available? But I've been procrastinating some of those security measures that have been suggested to me and as soon as I get to work this morning, am going to implement some of those measures.

(2012-02-23-Ok, something very weird has just happened with the forum.html)

Whole site was visible; most likely his fault. And he blames hackers. I suppose "hackers" makes better PR.

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Tom Curtis:

If there is something immoral about hacking private correspondence (and there is), then you should not be reading the correspondence thus hacked.

I read the private correspondence of Cook et al with the same feeling of awe and wonderment as that with which I regard the Elgin Marbles. Whether they were stolen or found (and thus saved for posterity) is of secondary importance besides what they tell us about the culture which produced them.

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Tom Curtiss,
it is clear that both camps have their crazies. Somehow, I'd come to think that the people with the chops and who'd given it the time had also come to the conclusion that it was, indeed, about sensitivity and impacts. i don't think many of us want to discuss anything with your crazies anymore than you want to deal with ours.

I just don't like being damned by assertions of association with the uninformed thoughtless. I was serious about looking in at Lucia's. There are two dialogues of the sort i think you would find serious and worth the reading in progress as i write this.

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

j fergusson, you will need to be more explicit than that.

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

Re: Tom Curtis

I am not claiming any "ethical justification" for my stance on SKS.

I am basing it on evidence. The only evidence I have seen so far has been a link showing that SKS allowed unfettered access to their log files. This is the only available evidence and it demonstrates that SKS did not correctly configure the access controls on their website. Given this, it is a reasonable, assumption that the information was accidentally disclosed by SKS rather than hacked.

It does not matter how trustworthy you are, your assertion that it was hacked is not evidence.

Mar 25, 2012 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

"both camps have their crazies" - j ferguson

You mean like conspiracy kooks for instance?


Here's the thing. The whole climate denial network of think tanks is a collection of seperate entities, or "cells." That is by design. They (Koch's, Exxon, et al) can't have one big organization doing this work because that is too dangerous. It's too easy to link back to them and if it falls everything falls at once.

So, by design, Heartland is disposable. Support for their "cell" is dependent upon them being both effective and staying out of trouble. HL has crossed a big line with respect to the larger behind-the-scenes organization. They've let slip names and strategies AND payments. That threatens the larger strategy. So, I can almost guarantee Bast is getting slammed by his funders right now.

(2012-02-25-FBI called in over climate change mole - Washington Examiner.html)

Mar 25, 2012 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

David, I don't know what happened on that day, and it may have been a hack. However, the hacked file contains threads started up to a month after that problem was discovered and corrected. Therefore the downloadable zip file was not simply a grab of information at that date. What is more, any information from threads after that date, and comments on threads after that date must have been hacked.

Mar 25, 2012 at 4:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

Tom Curtiss,
I can't find the quote but Dr. Gleick suggested recently that the skeptic assertion that the warmists (intending that this be polite) were all catastrophists was a strawman. I was astonished because I did think that.

if this is the case, then I imagine there could be very interesting discussion on the validity of papers developing theses on the inter-relationships of forceings and reactions (sensitivities), their magnitudes, how we know, the possible magnitudes of sensitivities not yet quantified or included in the GCMs, the quality of descriptiveness of the various GCM models, and in particular, what worries the people that work with them. Especially this last one. To date, the only way a lot of us have gotten any sense of the worries is via the Climategate leaks and now this (whatever it is) from SkS.

It seems to me that the worries are closely guarded, apparently with the thought that skeptics will seize on them and use them for PR, as you call it, which would be adverse either to the public perception, maybe to continuing funding (in the best sense), or some other concern. It cannot be for concern for the science. And herein lies the dilemma. If the concern was for the science, the dialogue might open up. But i don't think it is. It is more PR and efforts to influence policy, which or course are very much subject to popular "misunderstandings."

Richard Betts comes to Bishop's to explain the things he sees misunderstood or misrepresented, or discuss depending on the nature of the issue. His contributions are very welcome, I think by all of us.

i assume from some of the things you've said above that you are informed in this area. Is there really a risk, even of wasting your time, to dip into this pool, or maybe the one hosted by Lucia?

Are you at all familiar with what happens there?

Mar 25, 2012 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

@TerryS As far as I can see Tom has already indicated that he does not feel at liberty to discuss the details of the hack, so trying to prolong the discussion on that topic with him seems unfair behaviour as you are effectively trying to pressure him into breaking a confidence (I suspect you are wasting your time there anyway). If you want evidence, then wait and see what evidence is provided in due course. It doesn't really matter whether you think it was a hack or not. What really matters is the science.

Mar 25, 2012 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterDikran Marsupial

terryS, bull shit. If that was your basis for a plea of not guilty on a charge of receiving stolen goods you'ld end up rotting in jail.

Mar 25, 2012 at 4:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

Dikran Marsupial

It doesn't really matter whether you think it was a hack or not. What really matters is the science.
Agreed. And, I would add, how the science is presented, what is done with the science, and what scientists do to try and influence what is done with the science. Would you agree?

Mar 25, 2012 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

geoffchambers

...the Elgin Marbles. Whether they were stolen or found...

The metopes were definitely hacked. Elgin used a hacksaw.

Mar 25, 2012 at 4:23 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

Dikran Marsupial

As far as I can see Tom has already indicated that he does not feel at liberty to discuss the details of the hack...

Eh? Tom Curtis came on here claiming to have the inside dope to counter the "conspiracy theorists" but all he did was conjure up some passive phrases about servers becoming sentient and letting information out and telling us "deniers" to just to trust his "impeccable honesty" (hah! please you really are funny Tom :) ).

Not one single piece of information has been offered to deflect anyone from that simplest,least conspiratorial, of interpretations of what happened. i.e. that SkS had crap security and left gaping holes that a child could compromise.

Remember the official word is still it is a "potential hack" on the SkS site itself.

Judging by the obfuscatory and muddled tag team work shown here by SkS regulars, what I suspect will happen now is that rhetorical pretzel shapes will continue be weaved to cast the interpretation of what happened into something so complicated that the average SkS follower will not know their arse from their elbow and even the weavers themselves will have satisfactorily confused themselves so that the whole thing can be blamed on someone else. They wont be sure who though - just some deniers did it and ran away :)

Wow! Great tag team work guys (not) you must be so used to giving the mushroom treatment to your readers that I suspect it must be a bit disconcerting not to have it gobbled up eagerly here? Poor SkS subscribers, crap security and treated like crap.

Mar 25, 2012 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Has anyone come up with a 'gate' title for this farce yet? I suggest 'Whoforgottolockthebloodygate'.

Mar 25, 2012 at 4:38 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

j ferguson @ 4:08 pm, I would love to have a polite debate about whether climate sensitivity was 2 degrees C per doubling, or 4, or somewhere in between. I would also like to have a debate about whether the temperature increase at which GW becomes a significant negative impact on human well being is 1 degree C above the pre-industrial average, or 3 or even 4 degrees C. But the AGW denier media machine keeps the information being spread to the public through major presentations, books and opinion articles firmly on disputing:

1) That the increase in CO2 is human caused;

2) That there has been any increase in global temperatures;

3) That increased CO2 could cause any but a miniscule increase in global temperature, if that;

4) That any level of increase in global temperatures short of 16 degrees C (to quote a figure derived from comments by Lindzen) could be net harmful to human well being; and

5) That any policy response stronger than ignoring the problem could be justified by any potential harm from global warming.

Until the so called "luke warmers" decide that the primary issue is that policy should be based on good science, and make common cause against the purveyors of nonsense as science in public (ie, the Monckton's, Delingpoles, GWPF's, etc of the world) then I do not have time for that discussion. As it stands, the luke warmers make common political cause with the deniers instead. Clearly, for them it is more important that certain policy outcomes are achieved (or perhaps better, that certain policy outcomes be avoided) than that policy be based on good science. And because they have taken that position, I doubt their good faith when it comes to discussions of the science.

In this context, I certainly welcome Fred Singer's recent declaration that certain opinions are simply nonsense. I await his further declaration that The Galileo Movement (in Australia) and the GWPF and Monckton who all adhere to those absurd opinions are likewise beyond the pale. I await with interest his open letter to Rick Santorum saying that nearly all his opinions on global warming are complete nonsense and that any policy based on them is bound to do the US harm because they are based on rampant fictions. Unfortunately I am cynical enough to think that Singer's comments where purely about positioning and that there will be no follow through.

Mar 25, 2012 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

Tom Curtis,

I have been reading your string of comments here, with increasing astonishment and bewilderment at what you are presenting. Obviously you are upset about what has happened. The case you make for it being a penetration is not convincing however. (Regardless of whether names were redacted or not). You say:

"Never-the-less, I am in a position to know that it was a hack"

And this sounds an awful lot like: 'Trust us, we are the experts'

one hears so oft from IPCC side. supporters. And in your version, it sounds even more like form its supporters:

'Trusts me/us, we know the experts, talk to them privately, and can assure you that they know what they're talking about, their data and code is flawless, and they are characters of the highest intelligence and integrity, honesty and moral standing'

You see, this is exactly why sceptics remain unconvinced. This and that the suscpicions often proved to be justified when actually checking the data, the basis for the claims, and now and then getting a glimpse behind the curtain. And you coming from the same corner will just have to do a whole lot better if you want to convince anybody and/or have your outcries taken seriously.

I also noted this:

"I am a person of impeccable honesty. I would no more lie to you about this situation than I would lie to myself and my fellow SkSers"

and yet you throw the term 'denier' around like a kid in a playground quarrel. You call others 'liars' based solely on you believing them to be wrong. You make lots of very sweeping accusations. You use the lack(!) of something (others comments, or your knowledge about such) as the core of some arguments. And you write utter nonsense about Heartland. If you do this knowingly, it is you who are dishonest.

And, remember, you are a climate scare believer/follower/activist(?), even forcefully defending SkSc here. You will have to live with that you, your assertions, or your motives, are not accepted just because you wish them to be ...

Mar 25, 2012 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonas N

I wrote: "It doesn't really matter whether you think it was a hack or not. What really matters is the science."

geoff wrote; "Agreed. And, I would add, how the science is presented, what is done with the science, and what scientists do to try and influence what is done with the science. Would you agree?"

Yes and no. What really matters is what the scientific truth (i.e. what scientists seek to discover) actually is. We should all be trying to present the science as it actually is, in a way that is least likely to me misunderstood by those that read it. That is what SkS tries to do, and the internal review process goes a long way in trying to make sure that the arguments are expressed in a form that cannot easily be misunderstood or misrepresented.

Sadly there are also those involved that view it as a rhetorical debate, and there are also those who are in denial about the science (as Fred Singer recently pointed out this does the skeptics no favours). One of the things SkS seeks to do is address some of the canards that Singers' denialists contirnually use.

As to lobbying and politics, this isn't something I am interested in, the science itself is more my area.

Mar 25, 2012 at 4:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterDikran Marsupial

Dikran Marsupial (and apparently Tom Curtis, though his comment hasn’t appeared) kindly offered to debate with me, but not, as far as I can see, with anyone else.
I’m wondering if this is because I was almost the only commenter who was quoting from the correspondence. Immoral or not, it’s more interesting than discussing how we got hold of it. They may be happy to continue the hacking / finding debate, in order to deflect attention from what is actually said.
Some, like Tom Curtis, appear pretty normal. Some, less so. (One links Delingpole and Lindzen, calling them “both scum”). The important thing is what they get up to in the back room, and how it affects what happens in the front room.
Prodding colleagues to get favourable reviews of Mann’s book up at Amazon, (whether they’d read the book or not) and get unfavourable reviews removed seems pretty peculiar to me.

Mar 25, 2012 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Dikran Marsupial (Mar 25, 2012 at 4:57 PM)
Thanks. Our posts crossed. I’ll take you up on your offer.

Mar 25, 2012 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Re: Tom Curtis

bull shit. If that was your basis for a plea of not guilty on a charge of receiving stolen goods you'ld end up rotting in jail.

And if the sole evidence for the charge of receiving stolen goods was "It was stolen. I am not at liberty to show you the evidence, but I am impeccably honest and if I say it was stolen then it was stolen." then it would never even reach the charging stage, let alone the court stage.

Mar 25, 2012 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Leopard, SkS may have had crap security that a child could have compromised for all I know. The fact remains that the information obtained could not have been obtained without some active effort to compromise the security. That make it illegal, unethical and a hack. I know this at a minimum because if I as an insider had desired to leak the contents of the forum, I would not have been able to obtain all the information leaked. In other words, for a moderator and author to have obtained that information, they would have had to hack the system.

There is additional information beyond this that shows that it was a hack and to which I am privy but which I may not disclose without permission. That is irrelevant, however, because any such information will come to you as somebody associated with SkS saying, these are the facts. Having set your mind to not believe any such claim (as you obviously have) the reasonable supposition is that no level of detail short of a clear description of how to repeat the hack is going to satisfy you.

In the meantime, this should be enough for you. As an author and moderator, I now have access through the hacked files to files I have never had access to before as a forum member. That is because the forum files where not searchable on the forum, and threads where aggressively grandfathered. For this to have not been a hack, that means the forum must have been open to the public since mid 2010, which is simply not the case. There are other facts leading to the same conclusion that I am not in a position to reveal to you.

But in the end what it comes down to is this - if your intention it to act honourably I have already given you enough information for you to accept in good faith that the files where hacked. If your intention is to not act honourably, nothing I can say will be sufficient to stop you. Unfortunately the evidence on this thread is that nothing is going to stop you or anyone else doing what you want to - and you will grasp at any feeble excuse to feel justified in so doing.

Mar 25, 2012 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

TerryS, if you had goods and somebody known to be in a position to know whether they where stolen or not said that they where, and you ignored them because they did not provide cast iron proof of the theft; if in fact they turned out to be stolen, your negligence would lead to your not only being charged, but convicted.

Frankly, even in the best case, your argument that the goods weren't "stolen" amounts to a claim that the owner of the goods accidentally left his back door open, and that therefore all his goods could be taken and that would not amount to theft.

Mar 25, 2012 at 5:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

geoffchambers @4:58 pm, it was because you where the only poster to offer have an honest discussion. But your continued quoting of the material was definitely my reason for withdrawing the offer, for, IMO, it shows that your offer of honest debate was not genuine.

Mar 25, 2012 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

BTW, my offer to discuss the science of climate change via email is open to anybody reading the thread (or generally), rather than just geoff, provided the discussion sticks to the science and is conducted in a good-natured manner. My email address is dikranmarsupial@gmail.com, hopeully I won't get swamped (I'm not normally that interesting).

Mar 25, 2012 at 5:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterDikran Marsupial

Leopard, you should also add the following fact to your data re the hack:

"While we are still attempting to verify the authenticity of the file, initial scans seem to indicate the hacker has included the entire database of Skeptical Science users. Access to the full database (which includes private details) is restricted only to myself [John Cook] and I am the only one with access to all of the raw data - this fact alone indicates that this breach of privacy came in the form of an external hack rather than from within Skeptical Science itself."
Source: Skeptical Science (http://s.tt/185Yj)

Of course, it is no doubt more convenient to believe that I and John Cook are lying, so that (I suspect) is what you will do. How about you give me a pleasant surprise.

Mar 25, 2012 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

Oh please Tom Curtis, spare us the moral indignation. It is simply not very impressing or relevant coming from SkSs or after making such sweeping denigrating accusations as you have here. Or wanting to decide who 'acts honourably' and who doesn't.

I am prepared to take your word for it that you believe it was a hack, and that you base this on info from other's, or at least their word, assertions or relayed belief.

But your argument that 'you as a forum member couldn't have performed it' is just naive, and you certainly do not come across as internet security savvy on a level where you can make claims to really know.

Maybe, just maybe, the understanding of the term 'knowing' is tainted in the same way that SkSc thinks or believes it 'knows the answers to so many scientific questions where there is massive disagreement om many of the relevant questions, and even large holes in the understanding and the offered hypotheses. Or how you and so many others seem to bot know the 'real opinions' of sceptics and even their motives.

Just sayin'

Mar 25, 2012 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonas N

Tom Curtis

Sorry Tom you are in no position make claims without information to back it up. It is a simple rule of humanity that has been in effect since the dawn of time. If you were my mother, mmm, maybe ;)

Your haughty southern gentleman talk of honour and dissapointment in my not "accept[ing] in good faith" everything you say is deeply funny to me.

You assert your own speculations are facts. They aren't. Again this may work on SkS not here with me. I guess you never made an assumption that turned out to be over confident or just flat wrong? You are too good to be true ;)

Mar 25, 2012 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Another question, partly on 'the science':

Why would you want to discuss if 'climate sensitivity' is 2° or 4° per CO2-doubling, and values in between? Why the interval?

You framing of the media debate (points 1-5 above) sounds so completely of the charts, it is hard to take you seriously. Do you really believe that this is a picture that gets out and spread through the "AGW denier media machine"?

I have heard such things only from warmists trying to smear sceptical voices, criticisms and objections. Unfortunately sometimes/parts repeated in MS media ..

Mar 25, 2012 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonas N

Mar 25, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

I believe you're referring to a comment of mine regarding the HS and Mann's 1998/1999 work. I'm not big on discussing it much in the blogosphere as I've noticed that there are certain individuals who are for the most part unmovable and who will take things out of context. I've made the opinion clear to colleagues and to others (including on the SKS forum) that I am not a far of the way in which the previous work was presented. I do believe there was significantly more confidence attached to it by proponents than was deserved and that there was significant efforts to defend it rather than admit some statistical issues existed. That being said I think it is equally true that those who think that this effort was aimed at producing hockey sticks are way off. It is an issue where the way in which reconstructions were conducted showed less variability than they should and this was a statistical artifact of untested methodologies. This was not however a contrived effort to produce a certain result. I think anything who believes anything but are to the point of conspiracy theorists.

We all know this comes down to an issue of pride and perhaps sometimes not being able to let go of things. I think the science has progressed significantly since then. Christiansen and Ljungqvist (2011), Christiansen (2009), Ljungqvist 2012 are all examples of papers that try to get past some of the statistical issues. That being said they have their own issues that I think will be dealt with in time.

Equally so, those who are obsessed with discrediting Mann and his colleagues are equally as guilty of excessive pride and not being able to accept they make mistakes. These sorts of discussions are more or less irrelevant at this point though. I think it's interesting how it's implied that I'm not allowed to have private conversations. That I should be sharing my views with everyone on the blogosphere in the same way I would with friends.

and for the record:

Not only do we know it is a Hack, the hacker was slopping and left clues. I'm sure some people will imply these clues were made up to make it look like a hack too... it's all one big conspiracy right?

Mar 25, 2012 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Way

Tom (Curtis),
You are obviously not an idiot, but it is quite evident that you express your low, even subhuman opinions about those skeptical of claims in climate science, in private (no problem there), and express different thoughts in public. There is an element of facetiousness.

Why you would want to do this is beyond me. But it is quite clear that that has been the case.

This is the original claim by the anonymous poster:

An anonymous whistleblower has brought to my attention some database logs and other files (e.g., http://www.skepticalscience.com/logs/2012-03-21.zip (the current day is txt, past days zip)). These files detail everything that happens on the site, from forum conversations to user accounts. I have collated some of the data in a more readable form.

Can you let me know of any reason why I should not believe that an insider saw the forum contents, whatever they may be, felt uncomfortable about them, and decided to determinate them?

Mar 25, 2012 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Robert Way

I'm sure some people will imply these clues were made up to make it look like a hack too... it's all one big conspiracy right?

Why so touchy and premptive? No one can make any assertion about these new "clues" you have introduced until we know about them. You haven't told us about them. Are they kept secret because they are pending further investigation?

I have changed my mind on this subject, it has become fascinating. I really am fascinated in how good old honest information on something as straightforward as this leak is dealt with by the SkS regulars. So much dark mutterings about "facts" just out of reach and so little concrete data. Sorry if I don't join in on the science ;)

Mar 25, 2012 at 6:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Tom Curtis said "The fact remains that the information obtained could not have been obtained without some active effort to compromise the security. That make it illegal, unethical and a hack."

Now there you're wrong. The previously referenced SCO vs. IBM legal case has already argued this issue (in the US at least). A breif summary of the events there goes like this:

1. SCO claimed IBM had released code in the Linux kernel that was the intellectual property of SCO.

2. IBM pointed out that since SCO also released the Linux kernel, even if it was SCO's IP, they cannot claim someone else released it illegally since they also did the same thing (known as "unclean hands" defense).

3. SCO claimed that at the time they had released the code, they were unaware that it contained the illegal contributions, and as soon as they did know, they stopped it.

4. IBM said "Not so - even today, we can go to the SCO ftp site and download the files - they are still publicly available".

5. SCO claimed to the court the not only had IBM stolen their code, but also "hacked" their FTP site, as this was a site for their customers only, and IBM had not been given permission to read the site. They also claimed that since IBM did not know where on the site the files were, they must have deliberately searched for the files, which proved they were hackers.

6. Judge Kimball said "Bollocks" (or words to the effect). If SCO had put the files on a publicly accessible site, more fool them - no hacking had taken place.

End of story.

Mar 25, 2012 at 6:03 PM | Registered Commentersteve ta

stevata, I do not think IBM's defense would have held water if they had run a program on SCO's system that would continue to report the contents of the ftp site regardless of what password protections SCO later placed on the site. As I understand it, that is the minimum which the hacker may have done, and they may have done much more.

Mar 25, 2012 at 6:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Curtis

Tom Curtis

I do not think IBM's defense would have held water if they had run a program on SCO's system that would continue to report the contents of the ftp site regardless of what password protections SCO later placed on the site.

So you are saying that someone hacked the passwords on SkS as they created new ones? That sounds like a pretty powerful case for hacking. Is this going to be announced officially as what happened on the SkS site?

Mar 25, 2012 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

"I'd be very interested in finding out what they say to each other in their most private, disarmed and, presumably, harmless state of mind."

Of course you would. Bereft of any science that holds up, what the hell else have you got except for gossip?

Mar 25, 2012 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJ Bowers

Tom Curtis,
Of your list, the only statement that i would have an issue with is the human contribution to the C02. It might be the majority, or less, but I'm skeptical of "all."

Your sequenced statements are not quite constructed in parallel, so I hope you will accept that I am on the moderate side of all of them - apparently same as you. But then I'm pretty ignorant.

One of my questions is if it is assumed that we are coming out of the LIA and there is temperature increase for that reason, can it be assumed (understood) that the Anthropogenic CO2 contribution is additive?

The above is typical of my naive wonderings.

Mar 25, 2012 at 7:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

the statement about my ignorance is not intended to suggest anything derogatory about your understanding - just mine.

Mar 25, 2012 at 7:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

One of my comments is stuck in limbo.

Mar 25, 2012 at 7:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Shub

I haven't been at my desk since first thing this morning. I think everything is clear now.

If you register for the site, you skip the spam filters.

Mar 25, 2012 at 7:23 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

This is fast becoming my favourite thread of all time.

Really, what's the big deal? Why are all the SkSers coming here with indignation? Is the "hacked" stuff that interesting? Don't tell me - it's an ethical issue. And I certainly know which group of people I want to get ethics lessons from.

My favourite quote so far:

“Yeah, the deniers are great at organizing and swarming like locusts when they want to have an impact. They kick our butts in terms of organization."

That pretty much says it all. A complete inability to understand who or what the "enemy" is. We're not like you - we're not doing what you're doing.

Mar 25, 2012 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

"No one can make any assertion about these new "clues" you have introduced until we know about them. You haven't told us about them. Are they kept secret because they are pending further investigation?"

Short answer is yes. There's a variety of information which is being collected. We are to the point where we have a short list of suspects based on the evidence that is collected. I should mention that it is the conclusion of an enlisted IT expert that

"This is 100% a hack, and not an easy one that was a result of some lapse in security. There was not hole, in fact, I've been trying to hack in to duplicate it and seal the hole, and the site is shut up very, very tightly."

Mar 25, 2012 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Way

Thanks Bish. I am long registered, and I logged back in now.

My question was to Tom about the anonymous original comment:

An anonymous whistleblower has brought to my attention some database logs and other files (e.g., http://www.skepticalscience.com/logs/2012-03-21.zip (the current day is txt, past days zip)). These files detail everything that happens on the site, from forum conversations to user accounts. I have collated some of the data in a more readable form.

The guy/girl is saying he didn't collect the files from skepticapscience, but they were brought to his/her attention by someone else, 'an anonymous whistleblower'. I.e., someone from inside, who didn't like or felt uneasy about something, and decided to take this step.

Mar 25, 2012 at 8:06 PM | Registered Commentershub

Robert Way

I should mention that it is the conclusion of an enlisted IT expert that

"This is 100% a hack, and not an easy one that was a result of some lapse in security. There was not hole, in fact, I've been trying to hack in to duplicate it and seal the hole, and the site is shut up very, very tightly."

Wow! We really are privileged to get such exciting exclusive updates! I don't see that quote currently appearing on the SkS site.

Is your enlisted(!?) IT expert going to get a named credit for this breakthrough? So he can put this on his CV. Or he some sort of undercover guy?

Mar 25, 2012 at 8:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

From David above:

Also within that private discussion your own members talk about how unproductive it is to not address such flaws publicly, or worse defend them, because they will and have come back to bite you.

THAT discussion should be had in public just as the skeptics have all their discussions in public. CA and WUWT and Bishop do not have (to my knowledge) secret rooms where the REAL opinions are voiced. That fact that SkS has such a place is testament to how PR they are focussed. Reading through those documents it becomes patently obvious that SkS is all about PR.

To me, this is important and worth highlighting.

If you admit in private that the skeptics have a case to make, but your public face is a "debunking of denialist myths", there is duplicity in your words. My opinion is that if you admit to the uncertainties publicly, your case will become stronger.

Mar 25, 2012 at 8:29 PM | Registered Commentershub

Regarding the quote from the "enlisted IT expert": First, it is meaningless to say "100% a hack" (like saying something is 100% caused by man) and contradictory to "There was not hole". The simple fact is that you had a hole by definition because someone got in. Perhaps you can get him to explain how access was gained in terms of vulnerabilities for which there are numerous large databases online such as http://www.osvdb.org/ (the first one I found). If he can't find the hole or vulnerability it doesn't mean he is incompetent, just that he is trying to solve a difficult problem and had less luck than the hacker(s).

Mar 25, 2012 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterEric (skeptic)

i always love hearing the term 'IT Expert' - in my experience it almost always denotes someone who is far from such.

I look forward to hearing, over the coming days, the exact causes of this information dissemination. I already have my suspicions.....coming from 20 years experience of dealing with a myriad of systems and incidents caused by malintents through to people who knew just enough to be dangerous.

Mar 25, 2012 at 8:54 PM | Registered Commenterfran codwire

For all the indignation, I think SkS regulars owe BH a favour.

It seems they have needed a punchbag with "deniers" written on it and BH is it...

I do not think many regulars here are convinced by the moral outrage, certainly when you hold this forum in contempt.

It certainly has been an interesting thread. I haven't looked at the "personal info", but I am glad it happened. The postings just confirm my opinion what that site is really about.

Glad we have been of service.

Mar 25, 2012 at 8:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Sleepless in Seattle?

NOTE: I've just upgraded Doug Bostrom to Superadmin. Doug has helped with much of the coding of the website to make it more hack-proof and also set up an external back up system so the website gets backed up daily onto his server in Seattle. So Doug has all the website passwords.

So two systems to misconfigure, or compromise.

Mar 25, 2012 at 9:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

j ferguson writes: "Of your list, the only statement that i would have an issue with is the human contribution to the C02. It might be the majority, or less, but I'm skeptical of "all.""

It is actually "all". It is fairly straightforward to show that the natural environment has been a net carbon sink for at least the last 50 years, and hence has been actively opposing the rise. If the natural environment were a net source of carbon into the atmosphere, then the annual atmospheric rise would be greater than anthropogenic emissions, but it isn't it is about half anthropogenic emissions.

The confusion usually arises because the effects of the vast fluxes of carbon between the atmosphere and oceans & terresrial biota seem large in comparison to human emissions, but the key point is that the rate of rise depends on the difference between total emissions and total uptake, and anthropogenic emissions are large compared to the difference between natural emissions and natural uptake.

As it happens, I wrote a peer-reviewed rebuttal to the paper by Prof. Robert Essenhigh that is often cited when residence time and/or the anthropogenic contribution to the rise is discussed, you can find the details here (no, my real name isn't actually "Dikran Marsupial" ;o)

http://www.skepticalscience.com/essenhigh_rebuttal.html


"One of my questions is if it is assumed that we are coming out of the LIA and there is temperature increase for that reason, can it be assumed (understood) that the Anthropogenic CO2 contribution is additive?"

Yes, warming oceans will lead to degassing. However the exchange of carbon with the atmosphere is dependent not only on temperature but on the difference between the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and the surface ocean. If CO2 increases in the atmosphere, then the net flux into the oceans increases (this is part of the feedback that kept CO2 levels pretty constant for several thousand years prior to the industrial revolution). The effect of increasing atmospheric CO2 outweighs the effect of increasing temperatures, so the oceans have become a net sink, rather than a net source.

"The above is typical of my naive wonderings."

perfectly good questions, there is plenty of material over at SkS on this, do feel free to ask such questions there.

HTH

Mar 25, 2012 at 9:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDikran Marsupial

Tom Curtis, Robert Way, and SkS lurkers
shub: “My opinion is that if you admit to the uncertainties publicly, your case will become stronger”
James Evans: “We're not like you - we're not doing what you're doing”
and more in the same vein from jferguson, JonasN and others

... should be enough to convince you that there is a fundamental misunderstanding between us which goes far beyond “the science”.

We don’t claim to know something you don’t know. We (mostly) don’t have some rival theory which suffers from a lack of backing in peer reviewed papers. Some think the science is faulty, incomplete, oversold, insufficient to justify the political decisions based on it - irrelevant even. Some think that some of the scientists are sloppy, incompetent, overconfident, devious, fraudulent even. You can’t possibly hold that none of the criticisms of sceptics hold water. (You don’t hold that in private, as we’ve seen time and time again in the Climategate emails). There’s a fundamental disequilibrium in our respective positions. You have to pretend to believe that everything on your site is fully supported. We just don’t think you have the right to be so confident.
Look at Shub’s statement above. He’d actually like your case to be stronger. In that case, some kind of dialogue might be possible.

Mar 25, 2012 at 9:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>