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Discussion > Hall of Fame, Bishop Hill (comments)

An excellent "soundbite" by Carswell (you can tell he's a politician). Just the sort of thing to use on Question Time or the Today programme.

I liked this turn of phrase from the new "old" Climategate link on WUWT describing Mr McIntyre's politeness:

"it's like when you punch a Buddhist monk in the face, thinking they won't hit you back, and they just nod and smile, so you keep punching them, and they keep smiling, and then you punch once too often and all of a sudden there's a blur of movement and they've kicked one of your kidneys out, still smiling."

Nov 26, 2013 at 4:45 PM | Registered CommenterSimonW

So the once respected RS now needs a vacuous troll from Truro to do its bidding and cover up for its spineless duplicity. Who needs Ratner when you can get brand damage on this scale?
Nov 29, 2013 at 10:48 AM SayNoToFearmongers

Nov 29, 2013 at 3:16 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

At the last election we were promised a hung parliament and I've been waiting for this ever since.
That from Gareth on the 'Green Fairy' thread.

Dec 2, 2013 at 6:11 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Well I've been enjoying JamesG's contributions recently so I'll add this one from the A difference of opinion thread.

"I guess it goes with the trend of presenting rampant speculation as unequivocal 'facts' and no evidence at all as 'mountains of evidence'"

Dec 13, 2013 at 2:08 PM | Registered CommenterSimonW

This is not from a BH regular but from Shell's green climate change adviser, David Hone. He gets a prize for belated discovery of the obvious:

Much to my surprise I was not really at an emission reduction conference (despite the label saying I was), but a political ideology conference.

Dec 13, 2013 at 11:57 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

The solution is obvious.
Import wind, either using the Keystone XL Pipeline if Obama won't let them use it, or bring it in on Super-Tankers.
Mar 2, 2013 at 10:03 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

"We need to glue solar panels on the turbine blades." --Bruce

Hush, please, Bruce. The UK may spend billions on solarbines before they realize you were jesting.
Mar 2, 2013 at 10:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Dec 14, 2013 at 12:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterclipe

"how quickly the Antarctic's sea ice is disappearing"

If it carries on 'disappearing' at this rate, the visitors will soon be able to walk home!

Jan 2, 2014 at 1:03 PM | jamesp

Jan 3, 2014 at 7:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

a very balanced contribution from Roger Harrabin.

Bish, your humour is getting so dry that you could pop an olive in it and call it a martini.

Jan 13, 2014 at 11:02 AM | Rick Bradford

Jan 13, 2014 at 11:56 AM | Registered CommenterPharos

John Shade has just posted this on the new 'Walport and Ridley' thread. (Sounds like a decent real ale, that!)

The whole sorry, dismal, destructive, poisonous, exaggerated cagw assault on humanity has been fuelled and buttressed, and continues to be so, by people utterly out of their depth with the science. Complemented, aided, and abetted by people well within their depth, in fact comfortably afloat in powerful ships on the seas of politics and PR.
Worth preserving for posterity that, John.

Jan 13, 2014 at 4:44 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

It is on the shoulders of men like Lindzen that others stand on to see the truth while you stand on the shoulders of men like Nuccitelli to stop them from surfacing.



Jan 14, 2014 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Jan 14, 2014 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

I want to buy a copy of Bob Carter's book 'Climate - The Counter Consensus' for a fiend

Jan 19, 2014 at 4:16 PM MikeA

Tell him to go to the Devil.
Jan 19, 2014 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered Commentersplitpin

Jan 19, 2014 at 10:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Life on Earth has evolved and survived over a billion years of massively varying atmospheric CO2 concentrations. To think that a relatively minor fart of anthropogenic CO2 could cause CAGW is not just absurdity, it is stupidity.
May 11, 2014 at 5:06 PM | Unregistered Commenter Roger Longstaff

May 17, 2014 at 11:15 PM | Registered CommenterDung

The fraught and febrile nature of some comments here is but a tiny part of the mess that the climate alarm merchants have brought us. The starvation due to bio-fuels, the terrified children told they are doomed unless they 'act', people in the developing world believing that their weather-related crises are caused by the industrialised world, precious resources being diverted to construct windmills on land and at sea, and a political culture in which eco-zealots seek to thrive and gain totalitarian levels of control over us all. A slightly less tiny part than this thread is the corruption of science and the degeneration of such as the BBC and the Royal Society, institutions which could have contributed to calm debate and reasoned examination but instead plumped for the more vivid, the more melodramatic, notion of CAGW. A notion based almost entirely on computer models of woeful inadequacy, equipped with the forcing wheeze that allows all manner of factors to be included with modest effort by way of conclusions about their net effect rather than by revelation of modelling. Models whose results are taken by politicians and others as dire warnings and predictions, while being classed as mere projections or perhaps illustrations by their owners and operators and sundry very interested parties. Some of whom, it would seem, cannot abide the notion of comparing model outputs with real data - and why would they since the models do so badly? And some of whom see themselves more as soldiers for the cause who cannot abide one of their presumed number going across the line to meet with and advise the 'other side'.

Well, in my view, that 'other side' is where the better people are. I do not declare all others to be bad. I was myself when young convinced by that charlatan of eco-charlatans, Paul Ehrlich, with his talk of imminent doom in the 1970s. I was taken in for a few years, and I can recall something of what it felt like. The self-assurance, the despair that others weren't listening, the sense that people needed to be brought to their senses before it was too late. And of course that 'bad' people were conniving to thwart reform for their own ends. So now I try to school myself to be generous to the young today who have been exposed to far more than I was in terms of eco-scaremongering and forecasts of doom.

These latest scandals - the pressure on Bengtsson and of the apparently politically-motivated rejection of his recent paper - are further evidence of the profoundly unimpressive, in moral and intellectual attributes, nature of the climate alarm camp. And as such, one hopes they will hasten the end of this disgraceful period in science and politics.
May 17, 2014 at 10:30 PM | Registered Commenter John Shade

May 18, 2014 at 6:38 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

The mother of all limericks. Perfect for explaining the current state of climate science.

De dum de de dum de de dum de,
De dum de de dum de de dum de.
De dum de de dum,
De dum de de dum,
De dum de de dum de de dum de.

By Charlie
May 17, 2014 at 4:17 PM |

Jun 2, 2014 at 8:45 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

One of the biggest breakthroughs in industrial statistics occurred in the 1920s when Dr Shewhart of the Bell Laboratories came up with a way to decide when it was likely that a cause of some of the observed variability in a system could be identified. He discovered that engineers and quality control managers, as well as machine operators, who ignored this method were liable to mount wasteful investigations into what they thought were odd or unacceptable data values, and almost inevitably make changes to the production process from which the data came. Such interventions generally made the process worse, i.e. with more variability that it had before. There was a great effort in those days to reduce the noise in telephone connections, and part of this was aimed at reducing the variation from one telephone handset to the next. They dreamed of replacing the old phrase 'as alike as two peas in a pod', with 'as alike as two telephones'. But many well-intentioned efforts were making things worse.

The underlying notion is that in complex systems, such as manufacturing processes, there are a great many causes of variation – generally people involved can come up dozens at the drop of a hat. In a well-controlled system, this results in predictable outputs within ranges or limits. The inevitable zigs and zags observed when data is plotted and found to lie within these limits are believed to be causal – they just look like random variation because so many factors are influencing the process in lots of little ways – but it would in general be very hard indeed to take a particular excursion, say the highest value observed last week, and find the reason or reasons why it happened. Such investigations are not only likely to unproductive, they are liable to be harmful since people charged with 'doing something' about a problem (that 'highest value' might be highly undesirable for example), will generally find 'something to do' about it. Shewhart showed how that could often make matters worse if the process had not actually changed in any way to produce an unusual-seeming value. By changing the process in situations in which the process had not actually changed when it produced last week's highest value (e.g. of a measured length of a manufactured part), the change may just add a new source of variation that might make the process worse than before.

The great practical value of his insights came in part from knowing when to leave a process alone, and in part from knowing when to mount an investigation to track down causes of change. In essence, his method was a signal detection system usable on the shopfloor, and it has been credited with a tremendous contribution to quality and productivity in the decades since.

Now industrial processes can be complex enough, but they are not as complex as the climate system which has influential factors acting on a mind-boggling range of space and timescales. Furthermore, industrial process monitoring data can be of far higher quality than that which has been accumulated about climate. We also know that important factors such as orbital parameters do change, and that the system has had major transitions in the past between, most notably, periods with and without major long-lasting icesheets. A simple monitoring system of the Shewhart kind would indeed allow the weather gods to note using remote sensing that something out of the ordinary had happened during such transitions. We could well do with some such system on the far shorter timescales of greatest interest to us – which are say the order of a few decades. We are hampered by data quality and data sparseness problems, but a goal of producing a statistical model that would be widely accepted over such short timescales would be a highly desirable one.

Those in the CO2 Control Knob camp need no such model. Observations which conflict with a cherished theory are a distraction. Theirs is a revealed truth which they are driven to share, and to 'get some something done about'. They have, to pursue the industrial analogy a little further, won the attention of the management, and so all manner of memos and changes and 'improvements' are being instigated. We are to walk or cycle more. We are to switch off lights or use (toxic) lightbulbs that give off poor light but use less electricity, we are to build windmills in the factory grounds, put solar panels on the roof, and install diesel generators to cover the frequent occasions when neither provide adequate supplies. Meanwhile, important processes and urgent problems inside the factory are being neglected, and it looks like we might go out of business altogether.

Those who favour a calmer, and more scientific approach, cannot but fail to notice that the CO2 Big Driver theory has not led to any improvement in predictive skill, and that there are many 'observational metrics' that contradict the simple-minded excursions of second-sight that the theory encourages in its followers. Such as snow being a thing of the past in the UK. Such as hurricanes getting 'worse', or tornadoes and other extreme weather events becoming more frequent in the States. Or sea levels rising in dramatically different ways from the past. Or polar ice sheets disappearing. Or Himalayan glaciers ceasing to be, and so on and on. Past and present data though can be brushed aside by the acolytes. The future data will be on their side. So they say.

So, merely observing that there is no convincing statistical evidence of anything extraordinary going on in key 'observational metrics' such as temperatures is to tread on the toes of the faithful. They are liable to get upset by any reduction of attention from the future which they are so wedded-to. It is a threat, presumably, to their credibility amongst the wider public – so many of whom have yet to be converted to 'the cause'.
Jul 3, 2014 at 12:02 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Jul 3, 2014 at 6:52 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

On the "Moonshine" post, Bishop Hill wrote

"In this post I'm going to pick up on something Keith Shine FRS told the MPs about climate sensitivity [..]
Why, we wonder, do climate scientists do not point the existence of the observational studies to parliamentarians?"

And received the reply:

"Because observational studies are the least reliable. They have short baselines, large confidence limits, are based entirely on surface temperatures without proper consideration of the full behaviour of the system or of energy budgets, and are too easily distorted by the assumptions and biases of the investigator."
Aug 24, 2014 at 5:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Aug 25, 2014 at 2:55 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Martin A: while excellent quotes, your selection do lack a certain “snappiness” that a one-liner offers.

My favourite, so far, remains Skiphil’s original choice, though the absurdity in Michael Hart’s choice does put up a serious challenge.

Aug 25, 2014 at 2:54 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent
Aug 25, 2014 at 6:50 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A


"But this thread has got me wondering how to insulate it. Perhaps a kettle cosy?"

On Unthreaded?

Aug 29, 2014 at 7:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Aug 29, 2014 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

With Germany in retreat, that means that Britain alone is world leader the Charge of the NO-Light Brigade

(don't we learn anything from history)
Nov 17, 2014 at 9:28 AM stewgreen

Nov 17, 2014 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

From Ron C on the "Betts off" thread:

Re Press Releases. Imagine this one from a Press Secretary last century:
"The Titanic has paused mid-Atlantic to take on ice."

Dec 12, 2014 at 9:34 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

THis from omnologos on Quote of the Day, Maslin edition - 17.12.14

The first conclusion to be taken is that Maslin is not always making full use of a human brain, and especially about climate change.
This is reinforced by past experience with greenies who have apparently decided to save energy by switching off most lights upstairs.

Dec 18, 2014 at 9:34 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

There are some good wordsmiths here. How about:

"Odd, isn't it, how liberal intellectuals will mercilessly mock anyone who doesn't know the difference between Rambo and Rimbaud, but will dismiss their own lack of knowledge about the difference between X-rays and Ultra-Violet rays with an airy wave of the hand as if it is a mere triviality and therefore beneath them."

Tickled me and so true.

Stuck-Record on this thread .

Jan 6, 2015 at 7:21 PM | Registered CommenterSimonW

I'm pleased to see that this thread continues to putter along. I haven't been around much lately, but I hope that more fun gems will continue to find their way to this record of some examples of the best of BH.

Jan 6, 2015 at 7:55 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

From "A Debating Motion- Sea level rise is a threat."

"Seems to me that I robustly took on the central tenet of your motion and won the debate hands-down. Meanwhile (when present) you pootled about in the academic undergrowth chasing numbers of little importance."

Jan 1, 2015 at 7:35 PM Latimer Alder

Jan 6, 2015 at 9:55 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A