Daily Archives: December 15, 2011

I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news and bird

The good news is that I’ve got a nice little piece in print over at American Scientist; It is a double book review concerning human evolution. Please go have a look and maybe say something nice.

The bad news isn’t really bad news, but it is, well, not pretty. I posted a link to a story about how the coppers are moving in on this gang of thieves and their co-conspirators who stole and then disseminated a bunch of emails … you’ve heard of it: Climate Gate. Well, they (the co-conspirators and their allies) have shown up on my blot and I’m currently being threatened in public with a bunch of law suits, which nicely matches with the private threats I get from the same group which often include threats of violence.

Check it out.

They don’t have any science to back their claim that there is no such thing as global warming or other climate change, so they do this.

Oh, as long as I’m pointing to other things, please visit my latest (monthly) post at 10,000 Birds, this one being about why Robins have red breasts.

Baratunde Thurston responds to Gene Marks

A followup on this:

Dear Mr. Gene Marks,

I am a poor black kid. I don’t have great parental or educational resources. I’m not as smart as your kids. These are facts. In 2011.

The one smart thing I do everyday is read Forbes. It’s what all us poor black kids do. Forbes is constantly reporting on issues of relevance to me and my community. This week, I found your article “If I Were A Poor Black Kid” printed out and slid under my door like all Forbes articles.

Read the whole thing here.

Then, if you feel like being insulted and annoyed read Marks’ anemic response, here.

Computers Seized in Cyber-Thief Investigation (updated again)

I’ve decided to update this blog entry (20 Dec 2011) because it occurs to me that certain things could be misinterpreted, in no small part because of the common language that separates us across various national borders, and differences in the way debate and concepts of free speech operate in different lands.

I want to make it clear that I do not think that the blogger “TallBloke” a.k.a. Roger Tattersall has broken British law. British authorities are obviously vigorously investigating what might be a criminal act, what might be an ethical violation, what might be a mere violation of protocol or what might someday be seen as a bold strike against tyrannic forces when all is said and done, persons unknown (to all of us). Tattersall himself has not, to my knowledge, been charged with anything, and the Guardian story (the report to which this blog post is, essentially, a pointer) does not seem to indicate that he is at this time charged.

The fact that we (Tattersall and I) are on very different sides of this issue should mean spirited debate. It should mean an open conversation about the issues. It should not mean undue accusations or harassment. In pursuit of that ideal, I am offering Mr. Tattersall to publish a blog post on this site (Greg Laden’s Blog) expressing his opinion on the matter, and he has agreed to to so, through his solicitor, instead of pursuing legal action that was previously suggested. I look forward to receiving the text for this post and, again in the spirit of open and public debate about these important issues, I will post it prominently and place it on the select feed for Scienceblog.com to give it maximum exposure.

Further Update (April 8 2013). On discovery that international and US law prohibits Tall Bloke from engaqing in what has become known as “Libel Tourism” … an apt description of the particular form of harassment he has applied to me … he and his “lawyer” have apparently gone quiet in relation to this issue, other than the occasional tweet on twitter by Tall Bloke claiming that he forced me to “retract” something.

Tall Bloke and his fellow climate science deiners are responsible for recent, current, and likely future death, destruction, and mayhem caused by anthropogenic climate change. They share responsibility for these things with other agencies because they have, unfortunately, been effective in slowing down a proper, scientifically informed response to climate change. Shame on them. History will judge them, and I suspect history will judge them as I’ve stated here. History will also reveal more of their motivations, including the ways they have been paid by big oil interests or by libertarian and conservative organizations such as the Heartland Institute.

When bullies see proper accusations of their own bad behavior on the horizon, the effective ones (effective at being bullies, that is) quickly make similar accusations against their victims or those who stand up for their victims. Thus, things like this. There may well be trials, of a sort (actual, social, political, whatever) but they won’t be of the scientists, they’ll be of the deniers.

Thieves who broke into Unviersity of East Anglia computers in 2009, stealing thousands of private emails thus compromising years of expensive scientific research and causing a fabricated and unnecessary political doo-doo storm, as part of a much larger campaign of harassment of climate scientists and science communicators, are being pursued sought by the authorities, in part through the seizure of computer equipment that appears to be linked to the storage and dissemination of the stolen documents, owned by the blogger TallBloke and which has been seized under search warrant.

On Wednesday, detectives from Norfolk Constabulary entered the home of Roger Tattersall, who writes a climate sceptic blog under the pseudonym TallBloke, and took away two laptops and a broadband router. A police spokeswoman confirmed on Thursday that Norfolk Constabulary had “executed a search warrant in West Yorkshire and seized computers”. She added: “No one was arrested. Investigations into the [UEA] data breach and publication [online of emails] continues. This is one line of enquiry in a Norfolk constabulary investigation which started in 2009.”

Also covered in the Washington Post.

This from Climate Progress:

It’s funny to see the hyperventilating at the denier websites. As you know, the deniers routinely assume any scientist being independently investigated is almost certainly guilty, that any scientist exonerated by an independent investigation is definitely guilty, and that thousands of actual evidence-based studies are part of a grand conspiracy to deceive humanity.

Continue reading Computers Seized in Cyber-Thief Investigation (updated again)

Making sense of our fights on the Internet

After the Big Bang, more or less evenly distributed stuff and energy somehow became slightly unevenly distributed, which caused a kind of Universal Angular Momentum to set in which gave early heterogeneity and structure to everything that existed. The lightest elements formed more or less spontaneously, but in order for heavier elements to form matter had to get sufficiently clumped in stars that massive gravitational forces changed light elements into heavy ones. Perhaps if the initial clumping and spinning of stuff in the very early universe was a little bit different, the whole universe would have come out differently, in detail if not in other more profound ways. Or at least, I’d be wearing a blue tee shirt instead of a black one right now and I’d be using vim instead of emacs to type this blog post.

When Elevatorgate happened, the ensuing Universe Known as Rebeccapocalypse was shaped and determined by a number of early events that have caused the final result … well, not the “final” result, but the result that we are stuck with as of this writing … but had those first few days of Internet activity been a little different things might have come out a different way.

Here I would like to do two things. Continue reading Making sense of our fights on the Internet

Last Second Holiday Gift Ideas: Dr. Who

If you know a Dr. Who fan and you plan to buy that person a present, consider the following:

These were all on my short list of items to get Julia … I ended up getting her something else, but perhaps for her birthday…

Iraq War Ends

Iraq is now an “independent, free and sovereign” country according the the US Government which, for eight years, eight months, and twenty five days, has occupied the nation with a massive military presence.

The war officially ended this morning at 5:15 AM eastern time (1:15PM in Iraq) at a quiet ceremony.

All the troops are coming home before Christmas1.

4,487 US troops were killed and about 30,000 wounded. As usual, the number of others killed and wounded is in dispute and seems more a matter of politics than reality, despite the fact that they are actual people. More than 100,000 Iraqis were killed according to the Washington Post.

The total cost of the war was approximately $800,000,000,000. That’s less than $3,000 per person in the US, which isn’t bad, stretched out over several years, for a major war.

The Iraqis are very appreciative of the efforts. In Falluja, the site of one of the most significant battles in the early days of the war, thousands of Sunni Iraqi’s took to the streets and burned flags of Israel and the US.

Sectarian violence is expected to flare up soon after US troops have left.

1Except the ones that aren’t.