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This has to be a spoof

Just when you think academia can't get any more foolish, some obscure pointy-headed chaps manage to outdo everything that has gone before, and by a distance:

Glaciers, gender, and science: a feminist glaciology framework for global environmental change research

Glaciers are key icons of climate change and global environmental change. However, the relationships among gender, science, and glaciers – particularly related to epistemological questions about the production of glaciological knowledge – remain understudied. This paper thus proposes a feminist glaciology framework with four key components: 1) knowledge producers; (2) gendered science and knowledge; (3) systems of scientific domination; and (4) alternative representations of glaciers. Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.

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Reader Comments (72)

If this isn't a spoof then heads must roll in academia.

Mar 9, 2016 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

It really isn't a spoof. The University of Oregon website is littered with this twit's opinions.

The paper itself (2 of the 4 authors are men - gender equality?) is 19 pages long. Trying to separate meaning from the deluge of flatulence is a task that only a sociologist would find rewarding.

The really amazing thing is that this was supported by a $413K grant from the NSF.

Mar 9, 2016 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterRCS

If not a hoax, it says that there's too much money in science and scientists would rather faff about than work at genuine but hard issues. A venn diagram of those separately useful subjects has a zero overlap.

Mar 9, 2016 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

There is little more pathetic than a feminist man.

Mar 9, 2016 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

It must have been written by one of those pieces of software in which you type a few words or phrases and out pops a load of verbiage. No person of sound mind could produce such drivel.

Mar 9, 2016 at 11:26 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I am sorry, but as a chartered engineer who came up through the ranks, I don't possess an "Ology", could some kind reader please translate the text for me as I haven't a clue what is being said!

Mar 9, 2016 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

As predicted by uncle Lou

Mar 9, 2016 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

I've met a few feminists who were pretty glacial...

Mar 9, 2016 at 11:41 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp


"The really amazing thing is that this was supported by a $413K grant from the NSF."

Unfortunately, that is also the complete explanation.

Mar 9, 2016 at 11:42 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Easy! Everyone must be fully empowered to do, say and think what the censorious intellectual elites allow them to and....there are not enough women in the arctic apparently. Paralleling 'Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance', it becomes 'Feminism and the Science of glaciology'. The end result, as in the book, must always be insanity. Or maybe that is the starting point.

Mar 9, 2016 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

You've got to be f'king kidding.

Mar 9, 2016 at 11:45 AM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa

Part of the UN global propaganda and drip drip of genderism that infiltrates all parts of our daily lives such as "quota" candidate lists.

"To mark International Women's Day 2016 on March 8th, IOM, the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Permanent Mission of the United States will jointly host an event under the auspices of the Geneva Gender Champions initiative/network, to discuss invisible gender bias and its impact on gender equality.

The event will take place on 7th March 2016 from 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm in the UNOG Library at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

"Planet 50-50 - Tackling Invisible Gender Bias" will be facilitated by Tanya M. Odom, an expert in inclusive leadership. It will offer a unique opportunity to hear global leaders recount their personal experiences of dealing with cultural bias and with organizational structures and practices that inadvertently benefit men and disadvantage women.

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing, UNOG Director General Michael Møller, US Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto and Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore will participate in the dialogue. (Not sure if that should have been "Lucy Swing").

Following the dialogue, participants will take part in an interactive session designed to raise awareness of recent advances in neuroscience and organizational psychology and learn how they can help to inform actions to tackle invisible gender bias. (Substitute here, "to tackle global warming "denial"") and here are the champions:

Lots of other related organisations, all funded from somewhere, eg

I suppose glaciers could be regarded as phallic symbols


Mar 9, 2016 at 11:48 AM | Registered Commenterdennisa


"There is little more pathetic than a feminist man."

My ex said that to me more than once. She was a very cruel woman. My idea of feminism at that point was a cultural appreciation of the songwriting ability of the wonderful Deborah Harry (Blondie) .

What part do gays and transgenders have to play in 'human-ice interactions'. That is the burning question that feminist postcolonial science should be addressing. I see no mention of it and can only conclude they are covert homophobes. I must speak to Suzanne Goldenberg about this ASAP.

Mar 9, 2016 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Having just read it this is more interesting than the bishop suggests. Whilst full of academic tropes, and taking a feminist perspective, its theme is that science is not neutral but influenced by social and institutional contexts. That is exactly the point that many of us make with regard to climate science and the IPCC as a dissent smothering mechanism. Her point that local peoples, and especially women, can have knowledge of glaciers and ice conditions but this is often ignored by conventional science is also a point often made on this blog eg Inuit knowledge of arctic ice conditions and polar bears. I also found her point that the first ice core research was driven by military needs rather than pure science interesting. Sometimes we sceptics need to look beyond the superficial trigger points.

Mar 9, 2016 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterTruthseeker

If anyone wants to understand (Portland) Oregon culture, you can do no better than to watch comedy series, Portlandia.

This is a clip from an episode called 'Eco Taliban' in which shop assistants are thrown into horror and confusion by a customer who has forgotten his bag. No they DON'T have brown paper bags. Apparently, it really is (almost) as mad as this.

Mar 9, 2016 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Thank you, JamesG, I firmly believe I am entering a New World Order which I have no desire to enter, because I don't understand the logic or reasoning behind it, other than to dominate said World with political dogma & biggotry, the very things they claim to resent, especially when it is not their opinion! Socialism has to destroy before it can recreate, in its own imagery of course.

Mar 9, 2016 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

If they were to propose postcoital science studies, I might become very interested.........

Mar 9, 2016 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Was this paper written to divert criticism away from the SKS 97% Consensus Paper, and everything written by Lewandowsky?

Are feminist glaciers any harder than effeminate ones anyway?

Climate science is littered with moraines, some will prove terminal.

Mar 9, 2016 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Feminism is just so "now", the next wave of research is already building far off to shore, in 6 months it will "Post-colonial symbols and climate change, how to realign today's post-modern environmental concerns with the...etc etc..."


Mar 9, 2016 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterMedia Hoar

This gives a new meaning to the adjective, sometimes applied to women, 'Frigid'!

Mar 9, 2016 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

looks like feminists scouting for juicy govfunding bits..something where work and scientific method dont matter..

Mar 9, 2016 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenusNotWarmerDueToCO2

I have another suggestion for a grant award: study the involvement of ethnique groups, like for example scientists from Indonesia, Rumania, or the Middle East.

Mar 9, 2016 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen

"That is exactly the point that many of us make with regard to climate science."

A sharp point, well made. Thanks.

Mar 9, 2016 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

We discussed this at cliscep. I made a little joke about it being a new Sokal hoax, and there seemed to be genuine confusion, Poe's law style, as to whether it was a spoof or not. Since then it's "gone viral", see the long list of links in the Update at the end of my post.

One of the authors proudly tweeted that it was the most downloaded paper at the journal. Since then he's gone very quiet.

Another author showed up at cliscep to declare that we were "crazies" and that the work was "great research".

Mar 9, 2016 at 1:06 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

A friend of mine, a Professor of mathematics was trying to make a case for some funding for research into some aspect of his subject that was beyond my comprehension as a mere engineer. He was advised by colleagues the if he could manage to include words such as 'feminist', 'racial', 'equality' and the like in his submission, his chances of funding would be increased!
As he remarked to me, he'd never heard of feminist maths, other than the sort employed by his wife when she bought things she really didn't need in a sale and talked about all the money she'd saved.

Mar 9, 2016 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterEnglish Pensioner

The International Association of Mathematical Geologists (IAMG), a genuine science organisation, has published a couple of tongue in cheek papers in their journals over the years. This one by Oleg McNoleg (1996):

appears in Computers & Geosciences Vol 22 Issue 5 and this one by Per Christiansen (2000):

appears in Mathematical Geology Vol 32 Issue 2

All peer reviewed, naturally. The second paper is actually somewhat serious, but the topic of study is great! The first one was a running joke at a conference in Scotland, that made it into a paper (and a piss-take of catchy buzzwords at the time).

Mar 9, 2016 at 1:34 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist
Mar 9, 2016 at 12:03 PM | esmiff

The follow up, Vegan Portlandia amused also.

Mar 9, 2016 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterMick J

Another of Nark Casey's contributions to the advancement of human knowldge:

Give It a Tug and Feel It Grow: Extending Body Perception Through the Universal Nature of Illusory Finger Stretching

If British teenage boy asks you to pull his finger, it is usually an indication that he simultaneously wishes to break wind. If you were to tell him that you could pull his finger and stretch it to twice its length, you might expect a similarly irreverent response yet when we pulled the fingers of nearly 600 children and adolescents, 93% reported the illusion of stretching. Grossly distorted body representations need not be the preserve of clinical disorders and can reliably be induced in healthy participants across all ages.

Mar 9, 2016 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

@ Truthseeker.

Are you serious? Peer reviewed research is required to understand that humans have biases and other predispositions. No, the "research" is garbage.

And let's not even pretend that research stimulated by military (or any other) needs has anything to do with the encroachment of social or personal or psychological bias on research.

Mar 9, 2016 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Truthseeker, "her point"? I do hope you aren't being sexist! The first author and holder of the $400k grant is a bloke, as illustrated here.

Mar 9, 2016 at 2:06 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

It looks like a load of Bo11ocks to me but I suppose that is not a gender neutral enough expression. To call it a bunch of Ovaries does not seem quite right.

Congratulations to the perpetrators for spotting a way of getting their useless research linked to glaciers and hence to climate change and unlimited funding.

What a shame these so called academics can not be put to a better use. I believe Pol Pot had some forward thinking ideas on that score but was not so accomplished in the execution of those ideas. Unless you take the word execution literally.

Mar 9, 2016 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

Perhaps the authors should be given a Nobolleux Pryse?

Mar 9, 2016 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

Paul Mathews

Damn you lefties ^.^ I was going to mention that he does not seem to be very good as a Truthseeker for the reason you have outlined .

Mar 9, 2016 at 2:25 PM | Registered CommenterDung

NCC 1701E 2:15, or a Knoball Priapus

For his next bit of grant funding, he will prove a correlation between the damage caused by Named Storms, and whether they were male or female. Impolite societies of both men and women, are likely to blackball him as a result.

Mar 9, 2016 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The above quote is in the Wall Street Journal's Notable and Quotable page this morning. Without any comment. I assume they felt it did not need any explication.

Mar 9, 2016 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Howerton

Truthseeker, that ice cores were done by the military is no surprise. Maps in the UK were prepared by the Ordnance Survey, to determine how best to defend from invaders.

The stability etc of the Arctic ice, and when/where US Submarine Skate did surface for a photo op, is linked to establishing safe places to hide missile carrying submarines, and whether they could still fire a missile. The military still have a vested Interest in sea ice stability.

Mar 9, 2016 at 2:55 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Cough- splutter- I'm lost for words, cough - age of stupid-- gag, retch- waste of time- splutter- and money-gag.

Mar 9, 2016 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

Truthseeker (Mar 9, 2016 at 11:56 AM)
Well said. The message of the article is coherent and simple. “Not only he-men explore glaciers, women do too.”
The problem is that you can substitute almost any activity under the sun for “explore glaciers” and crochet yourself a peer-reviewed article to match your political colour scheme.

RCS (Mar 9, 2016 at 11:18 AM)
Are you sure there are two men and two women? MJackson came to Paul Matthew's article
to congratulate him, but didn't leave a gender.

Mar 9, 2016 at 3:54 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

The bibliography's not bad either. Some extracts:
– Virtue and vulnerability: Discourses on women, gender and climate change.
– Gender on Ice: American Ideologies of Polar Expeditions.
– Gender and geoengineering. Hypatia 29: 651–669.
– Mountain ecosystems and women: Opportunities for sustainable development and conservation.
– The history of ice: How glaciers became an endangered species.
– The gender of ice and snow.
– Climbing like a girl: An exemplary adventure in feminist phenomenology.
– Feminist geographies ‘beyond’ gender: De-coupling feminist research and the gendered subject.
– Sex and death in the rational world of defense intellectuals.
– Do Glaciers Listen? Local Knowledge, Colonial Encounters, and Social Imagination.
– Do glaciers really listen?
– Are glaciers ‘good to think with’? Recognising indigenous environmental knowledge.
– Vertical Margins: Mountaineering and the Landscapes of Neoimperialism.
– The ‘hypermasculine’ landscape of high-altitude mountaineering.
– Ecofeminism: Women, Animals, Nature.
– The Meaning of Ice: People and Sea Ice in Three Arctic Communities.
– Gender and declining fisheries in Lobitos, Peru
– Towards a feminist political ecology of women, global change, and vulnerable waterscapes.
– Pushing feminism, politics, and ecology in new directions with feminist political ecology.
– Crampons and cook pots: The democratization and feminization of adventure on Aconcagua.
– The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution.
– The question of subjectivity in three emerging feminist science studies frameworks: Feminist postcolonial science studies, new feminist materialisms, and queer ecologies.
– Nature’s Altars: Mountains, Gender, and American Environmentalism.
– Masculinist epistemologies and the politics of fieldwork in Latin Americanist geography.
– A Political Ecology of Women, Water and Global Environmental Change.
– Tibetan pastoralists’ vulnerability to climate change: A political ecology analysis of snowstorm coping capacity.

Mar 9, 2016 at 3:58 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Was it a feminist ice berg that struck a blow for the 'cause', by nobbling the Titanic? Historians will note that no women were involved with the design, engineering or safety of the ship, and may therefore have a point.

Mar 9, 2016 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


Thank you so much for this paper. I haven't laughed so much in years!
Are your peers who peer-reviewed it OK, or do they need medical intervention?

Kind regards

Jeremy Poynton.

Mar 9, 2016 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

I love that he used the word robust!

Mar 9, 2016 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeethoven

Ok, so I have now read large swathes of the paper and it is largely pointless, rather than insane. It starts with the history of women in fieldwork and their lack of past involvement or respect. As such it could be women’s trials in any field and glaciology is a needlessly narrow perspective.

The second issue is that glaciology should use more local knowledge, which is a largely flawed idea because human memory and lifespan make them useless as a metric for serious science. I doubt that scientists ignore anecdotal evidence but it’s the basis of where to start looking for evidence, not cast iron proof.

Glaciers as a social issue (ice with a personality type of thing) isn’t glaciology, it’s the study of humans. Scientists worth their salt male or female shouldn’t mix their sciences because both will suffer as a consequence (much like this paper).

Toward the end the paper went very surreal and was pure effluent.

As for bringing feminism into it… sigh. Flawed it might have been, but feminism was started so that women could be taken seriously and not judged by their sexual organs. This paper does the exact opposite. Ok, women have some different skills to bring to many fields but glaciology isn't an area that needs gender specific talents.

All in all it's the sort of paper that gives research and journals a bad name.

Mar 9, 2016 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Beethoven, yes I though that was funny too - they (ab)use the word "robust" in the same way that Mann and co do.

Geoff, I think M Jackson is F.

Mar 9, 2016 at 4:42 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

TinyCO2 4:37, It may give research and journals a bad name, but it helps make climate science look not quite so bad.

Mar 9, 2016 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Could it be a joke by feminists that only a man could be stupid enough to write such rubbish?

More male spiders would survive their first experience of sex, if female spiders were forced to wear high heels.

Mar 9, 2016 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

My daughter was invited to make a presentation to the Dean of the Medical School at which she works with the purpose of more effectively reaching under served communities, such as Hispanics. I advised her if she could find an angle to blame the problem on climate, she could well insure a glorious future in grant writing success for a decade or more.

Mar 9, 2016 at 5:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

It is worse than we thought:

The first sentence from that link:

Already among the most vulnerable populations worldwide, women and other marginalized groups have been the most acutely affected by the instabilities propagated by climate change.

Mar 9, 2016 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

For those interested in grant-based income opportunities, there is a random Feminist Glaciology text generator here:

Mar 9, 2016 at 5:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

"It must have been written by one of those pieces of software in which you type a few words or phrases and out pops a load of verbiage..." --Phillip Bratby

One wonders, doesn't one? The Chomskybot is my favorite, accurately simulating the drivel of Noam Chomsky.

"...No person of sound mind could produce such drivel." --Phillip Bratby

Indeed. No true Scotsman could produce such drivel, as well.

"The International Association of Mathematical Geologists (IAMG), a genuine science organisation, has published a couple of tongue in cheek papers in their journals over the years. [including] This one by Oleg McNoleg (1996)..." --thinkingscientist

I once read an earlier pseudo paper by Gus "Gustav" Albrecht (presumably of sound mind) that concerned the "Schuss Yucca," a plant that grows so fast it makes a sound. IIRR, his bibliography included a publication from Schmutzig und Dreckig Verlag. [see Science Monthly, October 1952] Search on "schuss yucca" if you want to know more.

"I made a little joke about it being a new Sokal hoax, and there seemed to be genuine confusion, Poe's law style, as to whether it was a spoof or not..." --Paul Matthews

Reading the entire story of the Sokal Hoax is quite amusing. He is a genius. Of course, at the time, opinion was divided on whether he was a genius, a traitor to the cause of PostNormal Social "Science," or simply non compost mentis.

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