Heartland-1 … NCSE-0

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So, it turns out that Heartland was behind the Heartland leak after all.

The evidence seems to suggest that Heartland’s Joe Bast wrote a memo, then he and/or Heartland-symp blogger Steven Mosher sent it secretly to Peter Gleick. Peter Gleick then obtained additional material from Heartland, which came to him at his request but all to easily to be explained as a mere oversight on the part of some administrative or secretarial staff. The only thing missing here is evidence that Bast or Mosher or someone suggested to Peter that he verify the memo by asking for related documents from Heartland. But that would be too easy.

Anyway, it now seems clear that the document, the allegedly faked internal strategy memo with the most damning text in it (but nothing really different from what is shown in other verified Heartland documents) was fed to Gleick, presumably in an effort to engineer his downfall as an incipient board member of the National Center for Science Education.

Brilliant. Heartland: 1 … NCSE: 0

The evidence for this is the analysis just published by Shawn Otto. Shawn does not go quite as far as I do in suggesting the details of this conspiracy, but maybe he’s just a nicer guy than I am. Shawn notes that Heartland did not expect the tables to be turned on them. I’m thinking they did, and that the outcome that occurred … setting the NCSE back in their efforts to address climate science denialism … is what they were looking for, and what they managed to engineer. Shawn Otto’s analysis is here.

(It has come to my attention that even some serious sciency type people who understand climate change, and climate change politics, are taking this conspiracy theory seriously. It is a conspiracy theory, produced for your amusement and, admittedly, as troll bait. If it turns out to be true, of course, I will delete this parenthetical remark! That is all, please carry on.)

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In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
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172 thoughts on “Heartland-1 … NCSE-0

  1. I must have missed something. How has NCSE’s work been hampered by this? from what I’ve seen everyone has been trying to verify the validity of the documents, there’s been some commentary on ‘what if it’s real’. I haven’t seen anyone linking it to the NCSE.

    Can you link to any other relevant information?

  2. The process of moving towards including climate science denialism as part of the NCSE mission included some effort to bring in the right person to be added to the board and help in that effort. It was peter. It is exactly that effort, which now would have to be restarted, to which I refer.

  3. I’ve met the odd sceptic who isn’t quite all there, but this takes the biscuit. For a start, it is just insane to suggest that you can prove someone wrote a document … when it is know that the document was copy and pasted from one written by that person.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a sceptic, so I’m open to the possibility that it was a put up job by Heartland. But there just isn’t any evidence of that.

    The reason Gleick was pin-pointed was that the only person who was added to the documents was Gleick. That doesn’t prove it wasn’t Heartland (or another sceptic with access to Heartland … or even who hacked Heartland … but that’s getting too complicated for you).

    As for Heartland not responding. For heaven’s sake. They are a small organisation, with a fraction of the staff of WWF, or Greenpeace or any of the Wind lobbyists. The main people appear to be a husband and wife. The world’s press descend on them, they were probably in lawyer’s meetings all day, probably every single donor rang up and had to be talked to for an hour or more.

    In short, this is the most dumb arsed article I’ve seen on this, and I’ve read almost all of them … so well done. 0/10!

  4. The evidence for this is the analysis just published by Shawn Otto. Shawn does not go quite as far as I do in suggesting the details of this conspiracy, but maybe he’s just a nicer guy than I am. Shawn notes that Heartland did not expect the tables to be turned on them.”

    You are a fuckwit. You are a lying piece of shit. You are a lying alarmist, just like your hero Gleick.

    You did not expect to ridiculed, you did not expect to be wrong.

    Well, you and the rest of the arrogant pieces of shit are going down. Decent humans have had enough of your idiotic nonsense. I’ve got more Science in my little finger than you have whole fucking head.

    You profess to saving the world while hating those within it. You are just another sicko misguided greenie.

    Have a look at your comment sections. You are a loner.

    Try and humiliate me? Fuck you.

  5. I’m not sure that Shawn Otto’s argument makes any kind of sense at all (apart from one bit).

    Is anyone stupid enough to send out a document (the 2012 Climate Strategy document) which mentions:

    the existance of an anonymous donor (with the amount of money you get from them),

    Your total revenue

    the amount the Koch’s gave you this year and the fact that you want to get more from them and tap their friends for cash as well,

    That your going to spend $100k on Wojick warping kids minds,

    The fact that your paying Idso, Singer, Carter et al (and how much), and that your partially bankrolling NIPCC ‘to undermine the offical United Nations IPCC report’. And you’ve spent close to $400k writing reports to help them.

    The nugget that your going to be paying Watts $90k a year, and that you coordinate with his and other blogs, etc.

    The idea that you want to stop Forbes printing stuff you don’t like, and want to recruit Revkin and Curry.

    Thats just from the one document. And we know its true. If I wanted to make someone look stupid, I’d send something out which sound plausible, but fell apart when the papers got hold of it. Heartland may not bit a big operation compared with AEI, etc, but they are not amatuers.

    As I said on another thread, the first document looks more like the first draft of a memo, which someone got a bit wrong. If you then assume that someone possibly snipped it a bit and then sent it to Gleick, that makes sense.

    The one thing that Otto does say that made me wonder (a bit like Jack Ruby’s phone calls to top Mafia dons before he shot Oswald, the one thing that makes you wonder) is why they called out Glieck so quickly.

    The world is not short of suspects (Anonymous, a whole load of green writers and activists, a number of journalists, plus a large number of home hackers, etc), so why Glieck?

    Either the mole left a trail, or someone figured out from an IP address, etc. Or perhaps they did have some idea of what went on, at least after the other documents got sent out.

    The inital document does sound a lot more like cockup than conspiracy, which is pretty much the way of the world. Anyway, it gives the press another reason to ignore what the documents say, in favour of how they emerged.

  6. Greg, it’s as though you have a special “asshole signal” that you shine, batman style, into the internet, and folks like Mike Haseler and Markus Fitzhenry (ok, maybe markus mistook it for the “batshit crazy” signal he usually identifies with) come along like Pavlov’s dogs.

  7. If I wanted to make someone look stupid, I’d send something out which sounded plausible, but fell apart when the papers got hold of it.

    I’m just back from the tin-foil haberdasher, so I’ll make a quick counter-argument. Rathergate. Everything in that letter was credibe and the supposed proof of forgery was based on typeface and other things having to do with the format, not the content of the document. That event had two major effects. (1) It pretty much shut down criticism of Bush’s service record as an issue in the campaign. By hanging a hat on it, and then changing the subject from Bush’s service record to the document’s supposed inauthenticity, that weakness in the candidate was neutralized. And (2) Rather was disgraced.

    As for why Gleik, that’s obvious. He was a solid voice against denialism — getting lots of play in Forbes and on his way to the NCSE. I know I was forwarding his work to lots of my less wingnutty acquaintances. The headway I was making has been seriously compromised.

  8. Greg,

    You have put a lot of time and energy into making a point about Heartland, which my departed grandmother would have responded to something like this: “So all this to tell me the sky is blue?”

    Grandma didn’t do wonders for intrinsic motivation, but that’s another story.

    Heartland exists to obfuscate. Their statements are precisely on par with claims the earth is roughly 6000 years old.

    I’m a fan of Gleick, so I feel badly that he got sucker -punched, but I have this nagging feeling all of this is distraction.

    No competent scientist has any use for Heartland; similarly, the politicians, school boards and talking heads that would cite Heartland to support their agenda have no use for competent scientists. Or for science.

    In other words, proving the fraudulent enterprise is in fact fraudulent doesn’t seem to buy us much. Like the colorful commenters above, the fanatical right is simply not interested in sound reasoning or evidence. Despite the overrepresentation of ignorant filth in the comments sections of science/skeptic blogs, there are some hopeful indicators:


    I’ll spare you my usual cut and paste bonanza– you may be pleasantly surprised that a majority of adults surveyed in November 2011 understand that climate change is occurring, that fossil fuels are a primary factor, and want the government to take steps to remediate global warming (even Republicans!)

    Truth takes the slow road, but it tends to win out over cynical propoganda.

  9. Otto’s analysis is interesting, but (a) is it science? and (b) is it endorsed by any experts in relevant fields of document analysis or authorship determination?

    I’ve seen no evidence for (b) and I’m not sure that the answer to (a) isn’t no.

  10. So rips in the fabric of space do exist, and the AGW true believers find tidbits from those alternate universes to share with us.
    It seems increasing numbers of AGW true believers are basically sending postcards, like this blog, from their special alternate reality.
    Thanks for the chuckle.
    Best regards,

  11. Rathergate. Everything in that letter was credibe and the supposed proof of forgery was based on typeface and other things having to do with the format, not the content of the document.

    So you are saying that the documents “words” were all original and not fake but the typeface was? That could work.

  12. In other words, proving the fraudulent enterprise is in fact fraudulent doesn’t seem to buy us much

    Exactly, or that a nefarious institute is nefarious. But there is an upside. All these denialists are busy griping about this and less linky-spam is going out on the internet for several days in a row. Weeks maybe.

  13. Greg, your blog’s implementation of HTML makes my 8:42 PM comment, supra, difficult to read. Point (2) is a multi-paragraph quote of Megan McArdle, followed by a question of my own to you.


    …As a journalist, I am in fact the semi-frequent recipient of documents promising amazing scoops, and depending on the circumstances, my answer is always â??Aâ? or â??Bâ?, never â??Câ?.


    According to your theory, Bast and/or Mosher counted on Peter Gleick choosing â??C.â? What is your basis for thinking that they could rely on him to willingly play the role of dupe in their scheme?

  14. Jim [13]: Shawn is not an expert in this area. He points out the limitations of the work. Most importantly, there is the context. Why did Shawn do this (and why did I do it here: http://goo.gl/Z13GF )? Because denialist supporting Fakeland proposed it and actually made the claim that this sort of analysis would prove that Peter had written the document-in-question. Had that not been proposed, Shawn would not have done this. That it was proposed, a certain point is being made here.

    Normally one would want more text to do this sort of thing.

  15. > Why would [Dr Gleick] do what a journalist would do?

    Er… why would the Heartland plotters count on Dr Gleick doing what no sensible person in his situation would do?

  16. Jeez I can understand how you feel Greg, No seems to be listening to you. Out of 20 comments on your blog, so far 40% are yours. All they others are screaming for your blood.

    Just goes to show what happens when lunatics become involved in science.

  17. as AMac points out the big flaw in your neat little conspiracy theory is that A) Heartland and Mosher were counting on Gleick being a colossal idiot and B) it turning out that Gleick really was as colossal an idiot as they thought.

  18. Too clever by 1/2. Used against the Bush memos also. Despite the fact that the PSYCHOTIC BUSH FAMILY HATER was all but caught with his fingerprints on the copies turned over to Mary Mapes.

    This reminds me of the old European argument that the Jews tortured and killed during the Spanish Inquisition weren’t “real Jews”, but rather “converts” who rightfully should have been “Christian” rather than Jewish… (Kind of like executing a Moslem/Christian “convert” because he’s deserted the “religion of his fathers…” Gosh, wouldn’t happen in the 21st century would it?)

    THAT argument is patent B.S. (Barbara Streisand) And so is this argument. Hang your head in shame, B.S.’ers!

  19. Well, it’s certainly possible that Heartland created that doc in order to snare Gleick. But I HIGHLY doubt it. I think Gleick wrote it himself and snared himself in the process.

  20. I compared the two documents on Mr. Lawrences’ web site – one that is claimed to be a fake and the other the official fundraising plan and I can see why he found that the first document read like Mr. Basts’ composition according to his computer ‘analysis’. Most of the sentences in the ‘fake’ document were clipped from the fundraising plan but rearranged and a few words added…
    Whoever did compose the ‘fake’ was not stupid – and was aware of text profiling. Hence the document was short and contained many direct lines from the fundraising plan in an effort to discredit it.

  21. Greg, that is simply untrue and rational people know this. Gleik thought he could get away with the wire fraud and he got caught. The problem with your theory is the time and place of creation of the document in question.I understand the felt need to have your core beliefs affirmed, but really they found the gross errors in the document and the jig is up. Pick your head up, have some dignity and show some self-respect. CAGW is an inadequate model, not totally wrong and not evil. What some scientists did with it was wrong though, in that it stifled debate and siphoned research dollars from other research tracks that could have given us better insight into the very complex interactions in the climate system around the Earth. It has wasted time, money and some great ideas have been left out of the conversation.

    One really good thing that arose from this fraudulent theft, we know HI has good stewards directing it. What they accomplish for the public good on $4.7 million is very good and on par with organizations like Sierra Club recipients of 6x that amount from fossil fuel companies alone. On par with Climate Research beneficiaries of $600 million in a little over 3 years from one corporation. It begs the questionof what they are doing with all that money, that has them so frightened of an organization 1/150th their size. Sounds to me like they need to man up and improve the quality of their efforts and stopp worrying about the little kid on the block.

  22. For this diabolical conspiracy to work, Heartland would have to have correctly assumed that after feeding Gleick the bogus document, Gleick would have done something against the law (or unethical) that would lead to his downfall.

    Yeah right…

    I think you believers have read too many ‘science’ reports that have suggested conservatives aren’t as quite as bright as liberals. Hence, I think you’re in disbelief that we figured out on our own that it was Gleick.

  23. Please keep this lunacy up. The more you expose yourself as lunatics, the safer the rest of us are from having our hard earned money pissed away in your lunatic schemes.

  24. I’m convinced! Best post on Gleick of the day!

    I’m not sure that the theory explains why Gleick confessed – but this is quibble – truly excellent work. Keep up the good work.

  25. And what does all this have to do with Climate Science? I’m going back to the lab now and get some real work done…

  26. Now I understand. Peter G was the 3rd shooter of JFK, Heartland tricked him into it by convincing him that JFK was working with the Soviets to flood the atmosphere with CO2. He had to do it to save the world!

  27. HAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHHAAA!!!! Holy shit!!! I thought that was satire!!! I had to read through the comments and then re-read the post again…. but, I think you’re serious!

    Now, I’m going to have to re-think about who to thank in my upcoming “thank you” post for all of this once again. I had already written a “thank you” post to PG, but I realized he wasn’t the only lunatic carbonphobe to thank. There were lots in the LSM to thank as well…… and the DeSmear blogs, in their ilk. But, now, lately I’ve seen the unhinged become even more unhinged.

    LMAO!!!! I’m wondering though, as detached from reality some of the people here are. How is it anyone can possibly believe they can discern fact from fiction in regards to climate science?

  28. Got a good laugh out of these comments. My personal opinion of Gleick is that he let his bluster get the better of him.

    No way was he dumb enough to get “sucker-punched” as some claim. I think he was just arrogant enough to think he could get away with it. Pride always goes before the fall.

    Heartland will see him in court, I have no doubt.

  29. Greg, you sound like a conspiracy theorist. Otto’s “analysis” is laughable drivel and if you read the level of qualification he puts on it himself ( to avoid a defamation action I suppose) it seems pretty clear that his blog is a silly puff piece done out of loyalty to the cause. A bit like going to a demo because your friends are going and shouting out the usual inane slogans on cue.

    Pretty unimpressive. I am feeling pretty civil today but some of the more abusive comments above are not that far off the mark on the basis of your silly brown nosing to the cause.

  30. I read this and immediately thought of a conversation I had when I was posted to the Royal Saudi Air Force headquarters building in the Mid 90’s. A Saudi Major tried to convince me that the holocaust was a Zionist plot to gain sympathy so they could steal Palestine. He believed what he was saying because it matched his worldview, still doesn’t change the fact that what he said was nuts. The same goes for this “analysis”.

  31. Greg.

    First, the awards:

    Supervillain of the century: Heartland for the most convoluted, dastardly plot EVER!

    Idiot of the year: Gleick, for choosing the only possible, unlikely series of actions which would spring Heartland’s “trap”.

    Comment of the thread: dean | February 29, 2012 6:55 PM â??Greg, it’s as though you have a special “asshole signal” that you shine, batman style, into the internet, to attract the like minded though one here sees it as the “batshit crazy” signal he usually identifies withâ?.

    Second, the advice: Best ye heed the ancient laws:

    Ancient rule of gymnastics: Never attempt to jump through a too complicated series of hoops lest one wishes to risk disappearing up one own asshole.

  32. Wow, it is amazing to think that the Heartland people can both be deniers and this clever.

    Of course, there is the old maxim, “you cannot con an honest man.” But it appears that Heartland is just that damned smart. Your insight suggests that the morons at Heartland have managed to bamboozle a PhD, MacArthur genius.

    How did they do it? I mean these people are so stupid they make fun of computer models and suggest that the divergence between CO2 levels and temperature matters. And yet, and yet, they conned Gleick. Sucker punched the poor man.

    Maybe they are like Reagan, just pretending to be dumb. When, in fact, with about 1000th the money Big Green has, they have derailed the whole carbon demon in the US.

    Of course, the Gleickster was a bit of an easy target. And, hey, if you can con him, imagine what you could do to Joe Rohm or Tobis.

    I fear these people will stop at nothing to mock the consensus. Let loose the dogs of Mann and ensure that the laughing never stops.

  33. Oh-ho, nice theory. I’m sure that it was David Koch who put Heartland up to this scheme, with help from the Joker and the Penguin.

    I’m sure that’s *just* what the FBI will discover when they are finished with Gleick.

  34. So Peter Gleick gets an anonymous letter in the mail and contrary to all reason and sense engages in identity theft and wire fraud. The wire fraud alone can get him 20 years in federal prison, but he did in anyway, just to confirm that a small, privately funded issue advocacy organization is in fact small, gets private donations, and advocates.

    If this was a setup then Heartland can make a fortune just by sending Nigerian style spam to other climate researchers, saying:


    Under your theory of a Heartland plot, the result would be a bizarre rash of bank robberies committed by climate scientists, most of whom are apparently stupid enough to commit multiple felonies based on an anonymous and highly suspicious piece of mail, otherwise Heartland wouldn’t have had any success with their first attempt at this.

  35. I’m calling B.S. on this. I thought after the Tallbloke episode that Greg was just a particularly unstable warmist commissar, but after this piece I smell a rat.

    Nobody could possibly believe this drivel. However, it is possible that some peple could believe that other people are sufficiently stupid to believe such nonsense. I think that Greg is actually a sceptic, working deep under cover, setting up a particulary stupid and obnoxious caricature of a warmist.

    Good try, but I’m on to you.

  36. Greg,

    I have no clue why you have decided to post such an obviously flawed article. All the evidence points to Gleick and possibly one or two others being behind this attempt to discredit the HI.

    We have Gleick’s own admission which shows how far off base your assertions are, yet still you wish to deny reality and post an article that would be more suitable to a Sci Fi novel.

  37. Another visitor from WUWT. I was enjoying this page until about half way through reading the comments I realised you were being serious. Oh dear.

    Can we just establish one fact. Once a document is shown to be fake. Or the supposed author denies its veracity then that is it. You cannot refer to its language, or use the text for comparison, or any other twisted logic to use its existence in any way. It is waste paper.

    And do you seriously think adults sat around in a room and concocted (so poorly it would embarrass any amateur forger) this document in order to entrap an obscure but rabid CAGW subaltern in an Institute that until this episode almost no one outside of academia has heard of? If you do then you haven’t spent much time around adults.

  38. “The only thing missing here is evidence that Bast or Mosher or someone suggested to Peter that he verify the memo…”

    And you won’t find that evidence either because it only ever existed as temporary electromagnetic waves which penetrated Peter Gleick’s unprotected bean implanting a desire to commit illegal wire fraud.

  39. Rockyspoon:

    Heartland will see him in court

    Defamation suits don’t work against the truth, even when it’s in a “fake” document.

  40. Brilliant theory almost certainly true. We must insist, for Gleick’s own benefit, that he now gets together all the material evidence – envelopes, etc and gets this to the best investigative minds available (maybe not Shawn he can rest now he has done his part 😉 ) and let some law enforcement agency find out who has been wasting their time!

  41. Here’s another wild theory, but less mad than yours Greg. You were one of the 15 and maybe more than just a recipient.

    Would sure as hell make this piece of distraction more obvious.

  42. I read a good question the Energy Collective:

    If I was to ask Peter Gleick one question, Iâ??d ask why he decided to verify the anonymous documents himself? He could just as easily let someone else â?? the media, perhaps â?? do the dirty work and spare himself the controversy he is currently in.

    Tyler Hamilton, the author of that post, appeared to believe Gleick and asked him more in sorrow than in anger.

    I do not believe Gleick, and that question is part of the reason why not. Gleick knew many sympathetic journalists from his work. They would have been delighted to hear this great lead for a muckracking story. It would have been the most natural thing in the world to ring one of them up and ask someone with experience and expertise in investigation to take it forward. Why on earth should Gleick, who under this scenario is under no particular pressure to take valuable time out from his scientific work to verify this anonymous scrap of paper, decide to do something as mad as jeopardising his career and quite possibly his liberty in a phishing scheme? The simple answer is, the “verification” never happened.

  43. Peter Gleick says in his apology that he disdains anonymous players on the skeptical side. He receives an anonymous letter absent a Heartland letterhead and for some unexplained reason doesn’t have a problem with the letter coming from an anonymous source. Under the anonymity of impersonating someone else he obtains a few e-mails from HI, then anonymously sends them to people – fellow travelers – he knows will take said anonymous material and publish them with zero scrutiny. He has no issues with playing games under anonymity himself but bemoans the behavior when he gets caught. Now that’s psychology textbook projection.

    He admits that he lied, stole, did the very thing he feigns disdain for, and he’s your innocent, naive, and righteous hero who fell victim to what can best be described as a very precisely orchestrated prank. Good grief!

    Do you have any idea how absurd and laughable your Heartland conspiracy theory is?

  44. Having said that, I do agree with Dr Laden up to a certain point: the only two hypotheses worth considering are a poison pill and the memo being a fake by Gleick.

    This post by Dr Laden effectively concedes that there is something weird with the strategy memo. That is progress.

    So, how do we decide between the two hypotheses? Let me concede JGAAP analysis does point us in the direction of Bast as the culprit. However Shawn Otto himself emphasises, there many caveats such as small sample size and the inherent uncertainty of text analysis. I also submit that the fact that Joe Bast explicitly offered help to people wishing to perform text analysis, by pointing out where to find more of his own work and indicating which text he acknowledges and which he doesn’t, suggests a man conscious of his own innocence.

    I became fascinated by this question a few days ago, and wrote a post called

    The Gleick Earworm for the Samizdata blog. As I said there,

    Apart from the implausible necessity of positing two separate individuals willing to carry out a sting (Gleick’s sting against Heartland plus X’s sting against Gleick), all of these scenarios suffer from having the underpants gnomes as management consultants. When concocting these plots who could guess what Gleick might do? The plan involves delivering into Gleick’s hands a physical object that might metaphorically or even literally have your fingerprints all over it. What if he hands the memo over to the cops for testing?

  45. Hey! I’ve just realized this is all part of the plot!

    Greg Laden is a long term ‘sleeper mole’. Put here by Heartland to make the pro-AGW arguments look absolutely ridiculous!

    This is indeed the most devious plot EVER!


  46. Posted over at Otto’s:

    “I’m sorry, but you miss a key part in your summary of Mosher’s timeline. The *precise reason* that Gleick was fingered is that he is mentioned in the document. He claims that the dubious nature of the document resolved itself around Gleick’s name at that point and *all* of the stylistic comparisons have come subsequently.

    Which is precisely why I don’t believe a single one of them – because they look like an exercise in finding specific evidence to match a hypothesis, and disregarding evidence that does not fit. No greater conspiracy is necessary to explain events than that Mosher spotted Gleick’s name in the doc, and went from there.”

    I just don’t think that the best way to counteract a conspiracy theory, is with an even more insubstantial one.

    To be clear, I think a sting is at least a plausible scenario – I just think that involving Mosher in its execution is a stretch based on the available evidence.

  47. This is an outrageous slur on the other scientists who put their name on the 350 oil sands letter of the 13th February 2012; the day the PDF of the allegedly faked internal strategy memo was created on the West Coast.

    These 14 scientists had no way of knowing that Peter Gleick was a liar who was willing to break the law. Yet you claim that Heartland did?

    Either you are saying these 14 are:
    A) Incapable of drawing judgements about the people they work with (gullible and possibly autistic).
    B) People who don’t care that they work with liars who are willing to break the law.
    Or even possibly C) Knowing accomplices.
    Are you hinting at the question of who the other 14 recipients of the information were (other than DeSmog)?

    I think your innuendoes are apparent.

  48. It all makes sense now! Heartland has ESP and they knew in advance that, after Gleick received a memo that just happened to fall into his lap and also just happened to have exactly the information he was always suspecting, (that happens to me all the time!), that he would resort to wire fraud to obtain corroborating evidence to support its authenticity rather than just fax it to Heartland and simply ask someone if it was authentic.

    Had he done that he could then have published it alone with the caveat that Heartland denied it which would naturally be no surprise to ANY of Gleick’s followers because they already know that Heartland is a ‘denier’.

    Throw him in jail, he broke the law.

  49. Greg, you really should make the effort to get out more. Defending your ilk is one thing. But this rubbish ? Alex Jones eat your heart out !!

  50. So first, Heartland sends Dr Gleick a fake document, somehow knowing that he’s the kind of guy who will respond by going on an identity fraud and phishing spree.

    Then they make sure that their defenses are down, so Gleick’s identity fraud and phishing spree will be successful in retrieving some documents.

    But then rather than sending him even more fake documents, they instead send him real confidential documents with their most valuable and private information, including names of donors, staff salaries, home addresses, etc.

    And the purpose of this, which risks the very existence of their 30 year old institution, is not to discredit Al Gore, or Hansen, or Phil Jones, or Michael Mann, or anybody important, but to discredit a relatively obscure hydrologist/blogger who is principally known for an obsession with bottled water.

    Greg, I don’t know what you’ve been smoking, but it must be good.

  51. Greg, if you really believe your theory, why don’t you publicly and strongly urge Dr Gleick to hand-over the disputed document to the FBI (along with any envelope, etc.) for forensic analysis?

    If your theory is correct, the FBI will then have proof of Heartland’s and Steve Mosher’s maliciousness, plus it will put Dr Gleick in the clear.

    Actually, you shouldn’t even need to urge this (although I recommend that you do anyway), if Dr Gleick wants to clear his name of the allegations of forging the document, this would be simple and most obvious way for him to go about it.

    Moreover, if Dr Gleick is innocent of the forgery, we would also expect him to give detailed information about the anonymous document, like the date he received it on, when & where he scanned it, who he showed the paper document and when, what kind of envelope it came in, whether the envelope was postmarked, what happened to the envelope, and so on.

  52. Jason: Here’s another wild theory, but less mad than yours Greg. You were one of the 15 and maybe more than just a recipient.

    I will neither confirm nor deny this.

  53. Life imitates art. The following was posted by ‘lukewarmer’ DeWitt Payne at Lucia’s Blackboard. Note the date.


    (Comment #91445)

    February 23rd, 2012 at 10:20 am


    I made a brand new, double layer aluminum foil helmet and put it on. My mind cleared and I saw the truth. Mosher wrote the strategy memo and mailed it to Gleick. Mosher clearly has the background to mimic Gleickâ??s writing style. The question then is, how and when did Mosher get the Heartland documents needed to construct the memo?


  54. hysterically funny
    as someone else called it
    a Gleik Tradgedy:-)

    the prat ADMITTED what he conned out of them by impersonation wasnt sensational or even of much use or interest.
    so he souped it up.

    epic fail and a Darwin Award!
    thank heavens his new employed declined his services.
    one down the rest to go down soon with luck!

  55. Byronic has your number sufficiently. No need for anyone else to diagnose the symptoms of the disease as it is manifesting itself here. All that I would add is that the longer all of you entertain these fantasies, the more difficult it will be for you to get anyone to take you seriously as scientists. Occam’s razor, you know. You are so bogged down by self-righteous certainty and religious fervor, you have lost all sense of what that really means. The term “deniers” never was relevant to this debate. Until now. You are the deniers and are in deep denial. You need to step back and regroup, perferably in total silence for a while.

  56. You’ve forgotten the cunningest part of the plan. In writing the ‘fake’ memo, the evil geniuses at Heartland brilliantly included a phrase, ‘anti-climate’, to describe skeptics about climate science, which is never used by skeptics themselves, but frequently used by… Peter Gleick!

  57. Rockyspoon:

    Heartland will see him in court
    Defamation suits don’t work against the truth, even when it’s in a “fake” document

    Rocky, defamation is the least of his crimes. Identity theft and wire fraud are what he’s gonna face a judge over.

    And Greg, you theory is bonkers. Not only does it require Heartland to correctly guess that Gleicks response to the fake memo would be something that most ethical people would not do (ie That he would commit a crime to obtained the rest of the documents that he’d need for the “sting” to work) but that once he had all the documents, that he’d release the fake one along with the real ones – the ones that contain information that not business would willingly let lose into the public sphere (you know, private information like home addresses, names of donors, staff salaries, etc). Had he withheld the fake one, the sting would backfire – all the damage would be on Heartland with no “smoking gun” pointing back to Gleick. So basically, you’ve dreamed up the most inept conspiracy ever that only worked because they managed to pick the one target stupid enough and unethical enough to do everything they needed their target to do. And yet that Target was the recipient of a Genius award (so, supposedly not stupid) and a chair of an committee on ethics and integrity (so, supposedly not lacking in ethics). So, in your world, who did Heartland dupe into assassinating JFK, and how much did they pay to get the moon landings faked?

  58. Dr Laden, you write:

    The evidence for this is the analysis just published by Shawn Otto. Shawn does not go quite as far as I do in suggesting the details of this conspiracy, but maybe he’s just a nicer guy than I am.

    Maybe he is just less credulous. He, at least, had the proper caution to add several caveats about the JGAAP analysis. Getting back to that analysis, a point belatedly occurred to me that I made over there and would like to repeat over here.

    The program needed to have some samples of writing known to be by Gleick to “learn” his writing style. However one of the two samples Shawn Lawrence Otto used was almost certainly either in whole or in part written by Gleick’s lawyer, not Gleick himself.

    I refer to Gleick’s “mea culpa” statement, which was Reference (1) from Shawn Otto’s original post. Every single word of that must have been scrutinised by Gleick’s lawyer, and in all probability most of it was actually written by the lawyer after discussion with Gleick.

  59. So, first Tallbloke and now this. You are a fantasist trying to turn a sad, pathetic story into some sort of Hollywood conspiracy theory. Seek medical help!

  60. “(ok, maybe markus mistook it for the “batshit crazy” signal he usually identifies with)”

    Please, you have to expect batshit crazy comments if you’re going to post a batshit crazy conspiracy plot. Greg you ignoramus, do your readers take you seriously?

    No, maybe you’re right. Heartland is such a huge organization with far reaching powers, heck that <$5 million budget is probably just scratching the surface. I bet Koch and Rand secretly gave them billions to obfuscate and be puppet masters behind the scenes of every conservative political play. In fact, I believe they invented the tea party and gave birth to Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmaan in their lab which is right next to Matt Drudge's server room. If my temper goes to a 7 (on 1-10 scale) whenever I hear a conservative wing nut say that 'global warming is a hoax' well you just made it go to 14 because you can't even admit when somebody on your side pulls a bone headed prank due to overexposure to nickel hydride fumes from his Prius battery. Heartland didn't start this fight because skeptics didn't give a rats ass about Gleick (Mann, Trenberth, Jones, Wigley, Briffa, Schmidt sure, Gleick no). Gleick was obsessed with Heartland & Taylor. Read the timeline and grow up!

  61. I repeat. Why are you all still taking this seriously? The issue now is not Heartland, and what it could have done (had it had perfect knowledge of the future). It is not even what Gleick did thinking he was so clever. It is AGW alarmism’s psycotic breakdown in trying to fish Gleick’s destroyed reputation out of the black hole it has gone into forever. In doing so, it has gone down a rabbit hole of its own. The only question now is will it ever get back out. It’s not pretty, folks. But it is entertaining.

  62. Philip K Dick, in his later work, used vast complex intricate conspiracies as a plot device to move his stories forward.
    They were not his best work.

    More and more the AGW true believers are occupying that space formerly dominated by UFO abductees and 911 truthers. I wonder why.

  63. I almost spit out my coffee when I read the suggestion this morning that Steven Mosher is a secret agent for Heartland. I don’t know Mr. Mosher personally but I have frequently read his comments at Lucia’s Blackboard, Climateaudit and Judith Curry’s Climate Etc blog.

    Mr. Mosher is one smart cookie, who defies easy labels because he thinks independently and call things as he see them. Thus while he is a fierce critic of Michael Mann and his paleoclimatology gang, I would say that he is generally aligned with the consensus position on the bigger issues in climate science and therefore an unlikely ally of Heartland.

    As he has already observed this morning over at Lucia’s Blackboard, any idiot who reads his posts would know that he is no friend of Heartland, but that he does like mysteries. Trust me, you have got the wrong guy.

  64. Greg,

    Your comment #69 (March 1, 2012 7:16 AM) references two investigations: DeSmog’s “How Heartland-style Climate Sceptic Campaigns Play ‘Hide the Deniers’ Using Secretive Fund” Hot Topic‘s “The Carter Controversy”.

    Here’s a link to DeSmog (the comment’s is broken).


    DeSmog’s piece starts with a parenthetical defense of “hide the decline.” It relies on a misunderstanding of what “skeptics” identified as the problem, and thus is a waste of time for the informed reader.

    The heart of the article is that the writer thinks that it is immoral for donors to contribute anonymously to organizations that use that money to advocate for a point of view. At least, it’s sinful when this writer doesn’t share the donor’s particular point of view.

    As regards Heartland, here’s the money quote: “In 2009, Heartlandâ??s revenue was $6,785,374. That same year, DCF gave Heartland $2,171,530, of which at least $770,000 went specifically to global warming-related projects.”

    OK. Noted.


    The second link is by “Gareth” of New Zealand, who recounts that “skeptic” Australian academic Robert Carter swore that “I receive no research funding from special interest organisations such as environmental groups, energy companies or government departments.” Gareth notes that the hacked Heartland documents record a $1,667 payment to Carter for participation in their NTIPCC project.

    Thus, Carter might be a liar or a hypocrite. Or, he might not be, depending on definitions, and depending on the context of his oath and the circumstances of the payment. Neither of which were investigated by Gareth.


    None of this has much to do with the topic of this post (the proven, successful Bast/Mosher scheme to dupe Gleick).

    Reviewing this thread: sarcasm, obscenity, cheerleading, and humor aside, a number of commenters have asked specific and pointed questions about the assertions and logic of your conspiracy theory. Are you going to address them? (Hint: It’d be an opportunity to re-align with the website’s moniker, which is Scienceblogs.com. Emphasis added.)

  65. HaHHAaahhaahahahahahahahhaahahahahahhhahahahahahhhhhhhhhhaaaahhahahahahahhhhhhhaaaahahah….oh geeze I need to catch my breath…HAhahahahahahahahahahahahahhhhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhah…

  66. Your theory is that Heartland sent a philosophical opponent a memo with a lot of confidential information in the hopes that the opponent would break wiretapping laws and release more of Heartland’s confidential information?

    Was a ‘grassy knoll’ involved in this plot somehow?

  67. It will be fascinating to see how this story develops. In the meantime here is a question for all of the above apologists. For Greg Laden, Michael Tobis, John Horgan, Stephan Lewandowsky, Patrick Lockerby, Mark Alan Hewitt, and James Garvey. Here is a question for all of those individuals who expressed similar opinions on news websites and blogs during the past two weeks. Where do you draw the line?
    I get it. Lying and stealing and misleading are OK so long as they help advance a good cause. What else is acceptable? Old fashioned burglary? Arson? Car bombs?
    Where is the line?

    For people like you Greg, there is no moral line because you have no morals.

  68. ….aaaaand still the marionettes for the wingnut viewpoint pile in with the crazy, the understanding fails and the “identity theft and wire fraud” nonsense.

    It’s clear their ideology is all they have to hold on to anymore, so they cling to it like flotsam. It would be more entertaining if it weren’t just so sad.

  69. Hunter, James Inhofe just came out with the book “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future”. There’s plenty of conspiracy theorists on both sides. In fact, AGW-denial is based on it since those who think AGW is fake have to create some sort of theory for why most scientists all over the world believe in it.

    The conspiracy Greg proposes here is rather silly, though.

  70. Based on the story as told by Peter Gleick, there is a case to be made (as yet unmake) that he may have been setup by some party or parties of unknown persuasion (in what appears to be some sort of practical joke). But it was Peter Gleick, by his own account, who decided to do the phishing of additional HeartLand documents, the part that has attracted the most attention of the FBI.

    Gleick seems to have followed in the footsteps of NJ Sen. Harrison Williams who when presented with wrong doing during the FBI’s ABSCAM investigation, claimed he was performing his own investigation (but was later convicted). History has shown us that the FBI doesn’t like other people doing their job.

  71. I thought long and hard about how to articulate a sophisticated counter-argument to all of this to this. I think I succeeded: Greg Laden, you have shit for brains.

  72. Wow. I mean, just wow.

    So Peter Gleick was an innocent dupe entrapped into breaking the law by the devious Heartland Institute in an apparently benign but cleverly calculated exchange offering him a speaking opportunity? That is such an incredible stretch I don’t know where to start even attempting to respond. Might as well be brief: not even remotely credible (in this reality anyway).

    But don’t take my word for it: have Dr. Gleick try this as his defense in a libel suit or a wire fraud prosecution and see what the courts say. Unless of course they’re part of the conspiracy …

    Quick: run through the federal judiciary and make sure none of them ever attended a symphony performance funded by the Koch Foundation. OMG! How far does this conspiracy reach? Don’t let Peter Gleick be railroaded by denier-funded judges beholden to the evil Heartland/Koch/Big-Oil cabal!

    Whew! It must be quite an effort to keep all the players in this conspiracy straight. I’m surprised you have time to sleep at night. I mean the Koch Foundation gives millions away annually to hundreds of organizations which in turn support dozens of activities each. The tentacles of anti-science climate treason must be enmeshed in thousands of places. No wonder it takes Al Gore, Greenpeace, WWF, the IPCC and hundreds of millions of dollars in “climate reality” events every year to fight it.

    Enough. I knew logic was going to be useless and I suspect sarcasm has been no more effective. I return you to your regularly scheduled Kool-Aid. Bon appétit!

  73. This comment was contributed to Peter Callender’s post, “The Cytokine Storm.” It highlights the disconnect at the heart of the “Bast/Mosher Schemed to Dupe Gleick” theory.

    jbc says:
    February 29th, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    …If Iâ??m forging a memo intended to trap Gleick, why wouldnâ??t it have more outright fiction? It would make it both more likely that Gleick would feel compelled to release it, and more obviously fake once it had appeared, and therefore more useful for denouncing him.

    Keeping the forged memo closer in content to the real documents only makes sense in the Gleick-as-forger scenario, in which Gleick wanted to be able to justify the sexed-up version in the strategy document by referral to the similar material from the real documents. In the Gleick-as-victim scenario, the forger had no reason to expect that Gleick would be comparing the forgery to the real documents (which, according to Gleickâ??s confessionâ??s timeline, he did not have when the forger sent him the memo, and would not have been expected to obtain by his later phishing).

  74. Greg,

    The greatest threat to the ongoing survival of Humanity is the willingness of many to do ANYTHING in support of Religious/Ideological constructs that have AT BEST what could be described as a few reality-based, or flawless observation based examples of validity . . . .

    The death of Logic and ascendancy of Emotionally-Centered ‘Thought’ is what will kill the Species. You sir, are a Trailblazer!

  75. AMac, sort of nice try. But you just do not understand the conspiracy “theory” mindset. I put “theory” in quotes because it is actually anti-scientific thinking. You start with the conclusion. You then work back to construct a plausible set of facts to confirm that conclusion. The exact reverse of what science does. Try as you might to crack these nuts, you will not succeed. They will add epicycle upon epicycle to get back to their conclusion. After all, it is all they had to begin with.

  76. It doesn’t even make sense that Heartland Institute (HI) would create the strategy document and send it to Gleick. How could they have assumed that Gleick was as ethically challenged as he turned out to be?

    Even if they knew that Gleick would fall for it, why would they do it? Folks like Gleick were an asset rather than a liability. He might get a “right-on” from true believers. But his personal attacks were more likely to create skepticism among critical thinkers. If the scientific basis for your claims is strong, you have no need to attack people personally. You just lay out the scientific basis.

    When Peter Gleick is deposed, we will probably find that he did forge the strategy memo. Lying under oath would be a serious crime for which people go to prison. The other documents really didn’t tell us much that we didn’t already know except perhaps how little money they raise compared to most of the organizations that they are opposing. And how effective they have been with such limited resources. HI, as a private entity, has a right to keep their donor list, finances, and correspondence to themselves under most circumstances.

    I don’t recall that CAGW espousers agreed that the public had a right to see certain correspondence that was leaked from Hadley Center which is taxpayer supported.

  77. Sir,

    you spread DISinformation, and you know it.
    Shame on you.

    Sunny side – it shows your utter desperation.


    Ludwig Rudolf

  78. > 91 This is what the Heartland Institute is up to

    Greg, two points.

    (1) When it comes to Dr Gleick, Scott Mandia is profoundly silly. If you are writing to persuade, it might be wise to avoid citing his blog.

    (2) There are three sorts of readers: those who are with you, no matter what, those against you no matter what, and those who haven’t yet made up their minds.

    For most of the people in the last category, we can stipulate that Heartland Institute donors, staffers, and grantees are anonymous bounders, odious cads, CO2-sniffers, foul-smelling shills, etc. etc. As your link to Mandia’s site purports to show, yet again.

    As far as the merits of the Bast/Mosher Duped Gleick Theory: it doesn’t matter.

    If you want to reach undecided readers, it might help if you focused your remarks on the subject that is the topic of this post.

  79. This was an embarrassment. Greg please, please delete this article. You look terribly foolish and are not helping. This is the worst sort of thing the pro-science cause could post.

    Please stop!

  80. Peter Kovachev: “I thought long and hard about how to articulate a sophisticated counter-argument to all of this to this. I think I succeeded: Greg Laden, you have shit for brains.”

    Not surprising that you had think ‘long and hard’ to come up with a seven word sentence, or that this is your idea of ‘sophisticated’. Heck, you even used punctuation.

    No wonder actual science, reasoning, and logical argumentation are such mysteries to you.

    Next, try spending a few days and see if you can count higher than your age.

    Greg, I take it back, this exercise is of value– it falls into the category James Carville designated for ‘birthers’: it’s an idiot census, and we’re getting plenty of hands raised.

  81. Greg:

    I did not appreciate what a beating you are taking on your own blog before I jumped in with my previous comment. So I’ll say something nice: I really like your “Preview” feature for comments. I often goof up HTML tags when commenting at WUWT and have to post a follow-up comment to correct mis-impressions caused by faulty formatting.

    Really nice feature. I’ve suggested to Anthony Watts he find a way to incorporate the same on WUWT.

    Have a nice day.

  82. Re: “This is what the Heartland Institute is up to”
    Posted by: Greg Laden | March 1, 2012 10:20 AM

    Puh-leeze, doctor. None of that cherry-picked alarmist garble adresses the core issues. Those would be that there is no scientific evidence…as we undesrstand such… to suggest even the reasonable likelihood that there is a significant and a-typical warming, that we have anything to do with it, that even if such warming were happening it would be bad (when we know from history that it’s always been good), that the secretive Playstation models can predict future climate and the remedies, and for the truly outrageous stretch, that surrendering our economies and billions of dollars to unelected trans-national bureaucracies and NGOs has made and will ever make an iota of difference.

    And now, after realizing that grownups are no longer buying your Stalinesque arguments-from-authority propaganda, you folks are telling us that we have to fully surrender our kids’ education to you? Without a debate, without an investigation, without daring to suggest an alternate perspective lest we be stigmatized as “anti-science” Neanderthals, enemies of humankind and rapists of Mother Nature?

    You see perhaps why folks might be getting a just a little pissed?

  83. Let’s get a few things straight. The liars first claimed that Gleick forged the memo. After Otto’s analysis, we have arrived at the classic THAT STATEMENT IS NO LONGER OPERATIVE moment. You cannot prove who the author is using Ottoâ??s method, but it certainly proves that the author isn’t Gleick. This begs the question. Why did the liars accuse Gleick of being the source of the memo? Wouldnâ??t it be more likely to be an environmental activist than a scientist? There are only two possibilities.

    (1) The liars traced the e-mail from Heartland to Gleick
    You could argue that the lairs didnâ??t want to admit that all the other documents were real, and so they claimed to have settled on Gleick for some other reason.
    In this case the Mosher must be working for/with Heartland (otherwise how would he have known).

    (2) The liars found out that the strategy memo was sent to Gleick.
    If they didnâ??t send it, how could they know this?
    Gregâ??s explanation is certainly better than anything else I have heard.

    Just so we are clear here. (1) means that the memo in question is almost certainly real.

    So come on you lying trolls, it is up to you to find some alternate explanation to (2). Think Occam’s razor. You need a better simpler explanation of the facts than Gregâ??s. You are of course required to find some explanation that preserves the fiction that memo was fake, or I am revoking your troll status.

    Ok letâ??s be honest here, I donâ??t expect any substantive response from lying trolls, but I thought I would try.

    Ps the arctic sea ice is in on the scam: http://tinyurl.com/48jq3db

  84. Greg’s on to something here.

    Notice that the bulk of Heartland’s money’s coming from a single, increasingly-reluctant donor:


    I can easily see Heartland setting up Gleick in the manner Greg describes, just so they can go to their mysterious donor and wave his bloody scalp in the air, saying “Look, LOOK! We ARE effective, honest! Really!”

  85. Greg,

    The greatest threat to the ongoing survival of Humanity is the willingness of many to do ANYTHING in support of Religious/Ideological constructs that have AT BEST what could be described as a few reality-based, or flawless observation based examples of validity . . . .

    The death of Logic and ascendancy of Emotionally-Centered ‘Thought’ is what will kill the Species. You sir, are a Trailblazer!

    Posted by: Ed, ‘Mr’ Jones | March 1, 2012 10:14 AM

    This is what the Heartland Institute is up to

    Posted by: Greg Laden | March 1, 2012 10:20 AM


    Ah yes. The What I’m being accused of is exactly what I accuse them of doing defense / comback

    Weak. Very WEAK.

    Find something to be good at – this ain’t it.

  86. @15: You may have missed this section of Megan McArdle’s Feb. 21 essay.

    “My husband received lavish grant money from HI in the past and currently works for a magazine that appeals to nobody and has failed in the marketplace of ideas and is only kept viable through more HI sponsorship. I myself have written 6 different anti-Gleick articles in the past month, every single one of which has totally ignored the unchallenged accuracy of the other HI documents. Because obviously I, Megan McArdle, have a tremendous personal financial stake in the success and goodwill of HI.”

    I didn’t see that segment in Megan McArdle’s essay either, but it should have been there because it’s the truth.

  87. “Ps the arctic sea ice is in on the scam: http://tinyurl.com/48jq3db

    So, a new “Model”. How many Decades or Centuries until the Model is confirmed or or found wanting?

    And just how much of Ice Volume History are we informed of, so as to check the performance of the Model?

    PS. Didn’t Gleick acknowledge that The Memo was fake, while denying authorship?

    As far as “Otto’s Method”. You need to review the difference between “Proof” and “Evidence”.

    Your repeated overuse of the word “Troll” pretty much tells everyone “everything they need to know” about you.

  88. Re: “This is what the Heartland Institute is up to”
    Posted by: Greg Laden | March 1, 2012 10:20 AM

    Puh-leeze, doctor. None of that cherry-picked alarmist garble adresses the core issues. Those would be that there is no scientific evidence…as we undesrstand such… to suggest even the reasonable likelihood that there is a significant and a-typical warming, that we have anything to do with it, that even if such warming were happening it would be bad (when we know from history that it’s always been good), that the secretive Playstation models can predict future climate and the remedies, and for the truly outrageous stretch, that surrendering our economies and billions of dollars to unelected trans-national bureaucracies and NGOs has made and will ever make an iota of difference.

    And now, after realizing that grownups are no longer buying your Stalinesque arguments-from-authority propaganda, you folks are telling us that we have to fully surrender our kids’ education to you? Without a debate, without an investigation, without daring to suggest an alternate perspective lest we be stigmatized as “anti-science” Neanderthals, enemies of humankind and rapists of Mother Nature?

    You see perhaps why folks might be getting a just a little pissed?

  89. I don’t claim to understand exactly how stylometric analysis works but I suspect that when there is a large amount of text in a document that matches word-for-word text in another document, the analysis would assume that they were both authored by the same person. Joe Bast did in fact author the sections that were copied verbatim by the forger from HI documents.

    I don’t think that Shawn Otto intended to deceive us. I think that he just didn’t think it through. I would urge him to do another analysis with the parts known to have been authored by Joe Bast removed so that just the forger’s style can be compared to that of the Heartland documents and text known to have been authored by Peter Gleick.

  90. elspi,
    Can it really be that you think, as your post starts off, that you’ve “made a few things clear”? Your points in fact are nearly incoherent. Neither one of your two possibilities regarding the faked memo makes a lick of sense. Gleick’s NAME was in that faked memo, I believe that is what made people suspect he might have written it. He himself says it came in the mail, not email. Unless he fesses up, you have no way of knowing a thing else about where it came from or who wrote it. As for your groppings disguised as logic, epicycles within epicycles. At least Ptolemy and his followers did the math right.

  91. Ha ha

    re: elspi | March 1, 2012 11:36 AM


    I’d not even dreamed there’d be more than one!: Like moths to a flame!

    “… one here sees it as the “batshit crazy” signal he usually identifies with..”

  92. elspi, you write,

    The liars first claimed that Gleick forged the memo. After Otto’s analysis, we have arrived at the classic THAT STATEMENT IS NO LONGER OPERATIVE moment. You cannot prove who the author is using Ottoâ??s method, but it certainly proves that the author isn’t Gleick

    No it doesn’t. Otto is very careful not to make that claim. The most this sort of software can do is suggest. Fair enough, it does suggest Bast – but see my earlier comment above about how one of the two documents “known” to be by Gleick is almost certainly part-written by his lawyer.

    Why should you think that it could prove a negative but can’t prove a positive, anyway? You have a strange idea of what proof is.

    There is a massive Occam’s razor reason to suppose Gleick wrote it. We already know the career destroying lengths he has gone to in order to harm Heartland. All we have to suppose is that he went a little further. A hypothesis with one conspiracy is just a lot more plausible than one with two.

    Just to show my impartiality may I point out to Bruce Richardson that Otto already has excised the “cut and paste” elements from the test document.

  93. Well now, that ol’ rascal Brer Fox (The Heartland Institute, WUWT, and those other evil “deniers”) hated Brer Rabbit (scientists wid the white hats at the NCSE, the “Team”, the CRU, et al.) on account of he (they) was always rakin’ in all that green grant money and cool headlines too! So Brer Fox decided fix Brer Rabbit if it was the last thing he ever did. He thought and he thought until he came up with a plan. He would make a tar baby! So Brer Fox went and faked up a Heartland Institute donor memo and sculpted it into a cute little private-privileged looking document, and sent it to the head of the Task Force for Scientific Ethics of the American Geophysical Union. Cause he knew, if anyone would fall for his trap, it would be the head of the Task Force for Scientific Ethics of the American Geophysical Union!! Then Brer Fox hid himself in the bushes and he waited and waited…

    It’s so much more believable when it’s explained this way.

  94. elspi : “the arctic sea ice is in on the scam”

    Apparently so are all the world’s oceans and every landmass (just where will the conspiracy end?):


    “Globally, the monthly temperature across all land and ocean surfaces combined was 0.35°C (0.63°F) above average, making this the 19th warmest January on record. January 2012 was also the coolest of any month on record since February 2008. However, noting that the temperature is still above average, this January also marks the 26th January and 323rd consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last month with a below-average global temperature was February 1985.”

    Just to sum up for the slower readers– over twenty-seven years in a row– a quarter century plus, continuously, with temps above the historical mean.

    But nothing to see here, move along.

  95. pssst. philly doug. psst psst. Look into the diff between the raw data, ver 1, ver 2, ver 3, ver 3.1. What do you see? It just might blow your mind.

    BTW – they have “satellite measurements” now too. may want to check into that also.

    do it. you won’t.

  96. phillydoug
    First, no one at all denies temperatures now are warmer than 100 years ago. Despite your side’s in denial miscasting of what the critics of alarmism say, that is simply not an issue. (Or why it matters that it is a bit warmer. Or what you think anyone can do about it even if anything needed to be done about it.) But, yes, there is nothing to see here. When you are at the top of a curve, everything is near the top of the curve, by definition. The fact that all the recent temps are above the norm is completely comaptible with the real point, which is that the curve has not risen since 1997-98. And even the more sane members of your side admit, the models do not predict or explain that. Your inability to see how vapid and lame your obervation is explains why your side has no real case to make any more.

  97. So let me get this straight.

    You, Mr Laden are claiming that the Heartland Institute looked at Peter Gleick, a warmist senior scientist who led an committee on scientific ethics for a prominent anti-scientific warmist organisation and who talks frequently about ethics in science and decided that if he was sent a really obvious fake, a document written to look like it was written by a warmist, he would then compromise himself by committing fraud and thus disgrace himself and his organisation.

    So you are saying that Heartland looked at this man who was supposed to be part of the brains and conscience of the warmist movement, and thought he would be thick enough to believe the fake and dishonest enough to commit a felony to verify it.

    And you are saying they were right.

    That is your defence of the warmist movement? That one of their brightest and most ethical is not only one of America’s Dumbest Criminals, but that his science is so bankrupt that this is obvious to his opponents in the debate (or rather in Gleick’s refusal to debate … while committing a crime due his frustration that he cannot debate … starting the day he finally turned down the offer of debate. Or something).

  98. HI must be the most cost-effective think-tank in the history of
    think tanks . . .

    “Follow the money”

    — Deep Throat

    Part 1:




    Part 2:





    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

    — Upton Sinclair

  99. “Greens, face it: weâ??re just not that into you”

    “As â??Fakegateâ?? shows, the inconvenient truth for greens is there is no denialist conspiracy blocking climate-change action.”


    “When internal documents from a libertarian think tank â?? the Heartland Institute, known for its sceptical views on climate change â?? were published on the internet recently, climate-change activists around the world were elated. The leak seemed to reveal the existence of a conspiracy to distort science and impede political progress on solving climate change, just as activists had claimed. But the celebrations turned sour when one of the documents turned out to be fake, and the remainder turned out to reveal nothing remarkable. Rather than telling us anything about organised â??climate-change denialâ??, this silly affair reveals much more about environmentalists.”

  100. Dr Laden, your update reads: “(It has come to my attention that even some serious sciency type people who understand climate change, and climate change politics, are taking this conspiracy theory seriously. It is a conspiracy theory, produced for your amusement and, admittedly, as troll bait. If it turns out to be true, of course, I will delete this parenthetical remark! That is all, please carry on.)”

    I think that’s rather lame.

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  102. Greg,

    As far as what JGAAP textual stylometry can reveal about the authorship of the Fake Strategy Memo — please consider this remark by Shawn Lawrence Otto. It is in the comments thread of the post at his blog that you cited as providing strong support for the “Bast and/or Mosher Duped Gleick” theory.


    Mar 01, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    As to Greg Laden’s post, I think it’s somewhat silly and one cannot draw those conclusions at all…

  103. Greg,

    This is a tangent (but still related to climate). Mostly, this was just really cool, but also it provides a nice example of real science, basic science, the kind of stuff AGW denialists have no time for. Or capacity to grasp.


    “… in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison show that nacre can also be deployed in the interest of science as a hard-wired thermometer and pressure sensor, revealing both the temperature and ocean depth at which the material formed.

    “We found a strong correlation between the temperature at which nacre was deposited during the life of the mollusk and water temperature,” explains Pupa Gilbert, a UW-Madison professor of physics and chemistry and the senior author of the new JACS report. “All other (temperature) proxies are based on chemical analyses and the relative concentration of different elements or isotopes. This could be our first physical proxy, in which the microscopic structure of the material tells us the maximum temperature and maximum pressure at which the mollusk lived.

    The new study was conducted using mother of pearl from modern mollusks, but Gilbert notes that nacre is widespread in the fossil record going back 450 million years. If the techniques used by the Wisconsin group can be applied to fossil nacre, scientists can begin to accurately reconstruct a global record of ancient environments and environmental change.”

  104. I’m with another commenter here. We’re on to you, Greg! You’re a sleeper mole working undercover with the Heartland Institute in order to discredit CAGW with preposterous blog posts! Don’t think we can’t see right through this subterfuge!!

  105. PhillyDoug wrote: “In other words, proving the fraudulent enterprise is in fact fraudulent doesn’t seem to buy us much.”

    That’s true. But exposing some of the donors who fund the fraudulent enterprise may mean it has less funding in future. That’s worth something.

  106. Greg – your bat signal for the crazies must be turned up to eleven, judging by the comments above.

    When the documents first emerged, I remember someone commenting that the reason why Heartland was giving Watts $90k a year was because ‘he had found a way to monetize his followers’. You can see exactly what he means (judging by the number of comments from people who admit they’ve come from WUWT).

    Evidently worth every penny, since his followers seemingly do it with fevour, and for free.

  107. Greg, one other thing, seeing as nobody else has addressed it, is the reason that the text analysis is giving you the wrong answer, is that even assuming no methodological errors, you & Otto have interpreted the results completely incorrectly

    Let’s say an unknown person X wrote a forged memo.

    By comparing to Bast’s known writings, and Gleick’s known writings, you are simply saying whoever wrote the memo, wrote in a style that is more imitative of Bast than imitative of Gleick.

    Well d’oh, wouldn’t that the point of making a forged memo? If the forgery read like one of Gleick’s science papers, it would mean the forger had done a really poor job.

  108. > 119 AMac: you should see what I say about the post! (or did you read it?)


    One effect of your non-timestamped update is to make serious commenters look foolish, to new readers.

    Till now, I haven’t had to repeatedly re-read blog posts to guard against stealthy post-publication text alterations.

    In the long run, I suppose a blogger will get the caliber of commenter that he or she deserves.

  109. “When the documents first emerged, I remember someone commenting that the reason why Heartland was giving Watts $90k a year was because ‘he had found a way to monetize his followers’.”
    Posted by: MikeB | March 1, 2012 3:03 PM

    MikeB, I know it is hard for you people, but try to THINK for a moment – why would Heartland PAY someone who is already able to make money from his followers? Wouldn’t they pay someone who DOESN’T get along on his own? Please try to look up the definition of “monetize”.

  110. I realize that this may not get past moderation, but let me lay out a thumbnail sketch of the evidence that points Gleick as the author of the strategy memo. I offer this not as proof of Gleick’s authorship, but merely as a baseline to compare the plausibility of the theory that is being discussed here.

    Within a few hours of the faked memoâ??s publication many people had pegged Gleick as its likely author. (google Lucias Blackboard and read the comments on her first post on this topic) This was based largely on use of the odd phrase â??anti-climateâ? in the memo and the unusual use of commas and parenthesis in the memo, examples of which are frequently found in Gleickâ??s blog posts and tweets. In addition, many thought the memo’s focus on Gleick and Forbes magazine was puzzlingâ??Gleick and Forbes are not likely to be of great concern to Heartland. Finally, the memo had been scanned on the west coast, where Gleick is headquartered and was written in a way that would tend to discredit Judith Curry and Andrew Rivken, two people who Gleick has often criticized.

    This evidence pointing to Gleick was identified well before he confessed that he was the source that â??passedâ? along the memo and phished the other documents. Indeed, the fact that people were confronting him with this evidence (e.g. Roger Pielke, Jr) may be why he confessed so quickly.

    With his confession as the leaker, the case for Gleickâ??s authorship became much stronger. Whoever created the memo had prior access to the phished documents from which large portions of the memo were directly copied. This pool of potential creators is a relatively small groupâ??most likely just high level Heartland staffers and directors, perhaps their secretaries and of course, Gleick.

    From within this pool, it is possible to evaluate who is the memos likely creator. All of the evidence identified that pointed to Gleick prior to his confession, points to him now with more force.

    Particularly telling is the phrase â??anti-climateâ? an odd, meaningless phrase that is not in common usage, but a phrase that appear often in Gleickâ??s blog posts and tweets. Moreover, the phrase, â??anti-climateâ? to describe Heartlandâ??s supporters stands out in much the same way as the phrase â??pro-abortionâ? to describe Planned Parenthoodâ??s supporters would stand out in a fake memo attributed to Planned Parenthood. The phrase is not one that an insider is likely to use.

    Other telltale signs point away from a Heartland insider. The memo had a sinister tone that has caused Megan McArdle of the Atlantic Monthly to suggest that it sounds as if it were written by a comic book villain. The memo purported to be addressed to a limited sub-set of directors, something that could potentially stir up trouble at Heartland if ever leaked, but it contained no secrets that had not been disclosed in the phished documents.

    Moreover, it contained the numerous errors, one glaring one concerning the amount of the Kock brothers’ contributions, as well as many subtle errors such as double counting expenditures and failing to capitalize the “T” in the proper name “The Heartland Institute”. All this is exculpatory to Heartland. Given the limited pool of potential forgers with access to the phished documents, evidence that is expulpatory to Heartland is inculpatory to Gleick.

    Mr. Gleick claims, however, that he received the memo in the mail in â??earlyâ? January before he received the phished documents. If this is true, then he could not be the forger. It is a common practice, however, to discount exculpatory claims by a suspect.

    Moreover, any evidence that Gleick might have to support this claim is uniquely within his control. He has not yet been forthcoming. An envelope with a cancelled postmark might be helpful. The original memo also might have physical evidence of when it was created, on what type of printer it was printed and perhaps real fingerprints.

    What does the objective evidence show? The memo was scanned by Gleick as shown by the internal data from the memo shortly after he received the phished documents and immediately before they were disclosed. This timeline points to him. Moreover, the memo is two pages, but it does not exhibit any scanned â??foldsâ? as one would expect if it had been sent in a letter-size envelope as one would expect for a two-page document.

    Although Gleick is one of the prime suspects he has never actually denied creating the memo. Instead he has issued an ambiguous somewhat cleverly worded statement that strongly implies, but does not expressly deny authorship.

    That is the type of â??confessionâ? that one might expect from a â??corneredâ? forger who wants some escape routes if further evidence develops against him. By contrast, one might expect an innocent man to say as Mr Blast from Heartland has said: â??I say without qualification that I did not write this memo.â?

    Someone above has suggested that Heartland has abandoned the theory of Gleick’s authorship due to computer analysis. A link would be helpful.

  111. Your non time-stamped disavowal quoted below

    “(It has come to my attention that even some serious sciency type people who understand climate change, and climate change politics, are taking this conspiracy theory seriously. It is a conspiracy theory, produced for your amusement and, admittedly, as troll bait. If it turns out to be true, of course, I will delete this parenthetical remark! That is all, please carry on.)”

    showed up only [i]after[/i] your conspiracy theory had been subject to well deserved ridicule.

    This gives the impression that you believed in your conspiracy theory until it became embarrassing to continue to do so.

    Further poor form on your part.

  112. Greg, if you haven’t already done so you really need to take medical advice.
    You are clearly paranoid and detached from reality.

    If you have already been prescribed medication, I respectfully suggest that you take it.

  113. Greg,

    Your update at the end is a worthy coda to cluelessness. A troll is someone who posts a deliberately provocative message with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument. So, if you you’re being honest in your update, you aren’t bringing out the trolls, you are the troll.

  114. DirkH – members of ‘you people’ (if you mean by this the reality based world, then fine)do actually think, and the thought is that Heartland is paying Watts for some sort of service (it might be a charity, but its not a charitable charity).

    I have no idea how he actually makes money, but by getting lots of you to comment on various websites, etc, his backers are getting their money’s worth.

    Perhaps they are shelling out in part doing it because, as it says in the documents (the budget for example), the site is well-known to weatherman, etc. It is, as they are proud to quote, the ‘the world’s most viewed climate website’. The fact that it does not know what it is talking about is by the by.

    Presenting NOAA data in a ‘public friendly graphical form'(something Intelliweather seems good at) does seem a like a good thing, but does it warrent paying $88k? Watts has to support his site in some way – that bandwidth doesn’t pay for itself.

    There are ads on the site, its true, but not a huge number, and Watts himself seems to write most of the content himself. I don’t know how he fits it in with being a TV weatherman and owner of Intelliweather (I notice the maps are very largely drawn from National Weather Service/NOAA data – so much for the free-market) and his electric car busines looks to be moribund. Perhaps the $88k is the difference between profit and loss. Possibly its how he gets by.

    The central reason Heartland bungs him cash is to keep him going and carrying on doing what he’s doing. Part of what he does is to suggest that his various followers head over to threads like this (perhaps with a cry of ‘fly, my pretties, fly!). Sadly, he just says ‘worth a read, wow, just wow’, but close. And you do.

    $88k=Website=followers=influence and the ability to mobilise those followers in the service of funders=monetize.

    Is it fun being a pawn?

  115. AGW denialists–

    Man, the hits just keep coming:


    â??The world’s oceans may be turning acidic faster today from human carbon emissions than they did during four major extinctions in the last 300 million years, when natural pulses of carbon sent global temperatures soaring, says a new study in Science. The study is the first of its kind to survey the geologic record for evidence of ocean acidification over this vast time periodâ?¦

    The oceans act like a sponge to draw down excess carbon dioxide from the air; the gas reacts with seawater to form carbonic acid, which over time is neutralized by fossil carbonate shells on the seafloor. But if CO2 goes into the oceans too quickly, it can deplete the carbonate ions that corals, mollusks and some plankton need for reef and shell-building.
    That is what is happening now. In a review of hundreds of paleoceanographic studies, a team of researchers from five countries found evidence for only one period in the last 300 million years when the oceans changed even remotely as fast as today: the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM, some 56 million years ago. In the early 1990s, scientists extracting sediments from the seafloor off Antarctica found a layer of mud from this period wedged between thick deposits of white plankton fossils. In a span of about 5,000 years, they estimated, a mysterious surge of carbon doubled atmospheric concentrations, pushed average global temperatures up by about6 degrees C, and dramatically changed the ecological landscape.
    The result: carbonate plankton shells littering the seafloor dissolved, leaving the brown layer of mud. As many as half of all species of benthic foraminifers, a group of single-celled organisms that live at the ocean bottom, went extinct, suggesting that organisms higher in the food chain may have also disappeared, said study co-author Ellen Thomas, a paleoceanographer at Yale University who was on that pivotal Antarctic cruise. “It’s really unusual that you lose more than 5 to 10 percent of species over less than 20,000 years,” she said.â?


    salient scientific concept for the AGW denialists who have been so valiantly displaying their cognitive limitations in this conversation, just so we can all play along:

    # convergent data #

    bonus points to the AGW denialist to give the correct definition, and cite the relevant examples from the various commenters above.

    Oh, that’s right– if a denialist does that, their whole worldview starts to look pretty idiotic.

  116. Jason: Here’s another wild theory, but less mad than yours Greg. You were one of the 15 and maybe more than just a recipient.
    I will neither confirm nor deny this.
    Posted by: Greg Laden | March 1, 2012 7:07 AM

    We don’t need you to confirm or deny it – we know for a fact you’re a sad wannabe. One of the original alleged 15 would at least have posted the REAL documents and not the ones you did.

  117. Fantastic troll bait indeed ! If you build it (and WUWT takes it seriously) the Wattsian deniers will come…in droves !
    I bet it confused most of them : they get sent here by Watts; read about a conspiracy involving Global Warming; agree with it – it is a conspiracy, after all; remember that they were sent here by Watts, so this must be an enemy site; spew vomit and depart.

  118. Greg, I apologized to Shawn at his site and I thought that I did here as well but I don’t see it now.

    Shawn did the stylometric analysis just as I would have done it. And he showed his work and invited others to confirm his findings which is also what I would have done. That’s the way science should be done.

    He removed the text that was directly copied and pasted from the Heartland documents before he did his analysis. I thought that he had not done that. So again, I apologize to Shawn.

    I don’t disagree with the result. I was just mystified. The forged document contained some things that CAGW skeptics would never say. Certainly not to the Heartland board. Some of the board members would have jumped on “anti-climate” and “dissuading teachers from teaching science” like a duck on a June Bug. That is something that CAGW espousers would accuse Heartland of. That is not something that Heartland would accuse itself of.

    Then it hit me. We can look at the forged document and immediately see that it is a report. Why? Because of the way it is styled of course. And the forger obviously had the Heartland documents to draw from.

    The Heartland documents were also styled similarly.

    What are the Gleick documents that were used for comparisons. Most likely the were Gleick style screeds. Comparing them to a the forged report was apples and oranges. Comparing the two-page forged report to the documents that the forger was probably looking at when he did the forgery is comparing apples and apples. It makes sense that the style of forged document would have been similar to the Heartland documents that the forger was looking at when he created for forged strategy document.

    I think that when the dust settles, we will find that Peter Gleick did the forgery. Those folks willing to fall on their sword for him are going to feel pretty foolish if that turns out to be the case.

  119. Phil Plait does the best job yet of filtering out the detritus, and saying precisely what what is known, what Gleick and Heartland have said (Gleick never cops to forgery, only obtaining Heartland documents using a false identity; Heartland is saying one memo is fake, but acknowledges the rest are authentic).

    He also nicely sums up what the real issue isâ??AGW is real, all reputable scientists and scientific bodies know, and have established, that itâ??s real, and the deniers are the ones repeatedly perpetrating frauds.


    â??â?¦Gleick is explicitly saying the strategy document about the Heartland Institute trying to dissuade the teaching of science is in fact real, despite the claims from Heartland saying itâ??s not. He is also saying he did not make any alterations, so again he is claiming they are actual Heartland Institute internal documents. Heartland has indeed admitted that nearly all of the documents are in fact real, but maintain the strategy document is a fake.

    From the standpoint of an outside observer, this boils down in some ways to a he-said-she-said situation. Heartland says the document is a fake. Gleick says it is not. While people on both sides have made arguments for and against its authenticity, the actual evidence we have from both sides is circumstantial. Unless the strategy document contains some sort of traceable information, or the Heartland Instituteâ??s files are opened, there may not be any way to know for sure. However, Gleick has said he can explicitly confirm the documents are the same. I expect there will come a time when heâ??ll have to do so publicly.
    Obviously, some will paint Gleick as a criminal and fraud, and others as a whistleblower and hero. In the NYT blog Dot Earth, journalist Andrew Revkin has already said Gleickâ??s reputation is ruined and his credibility destroyed, while at least one commenter is already calling him a hero.

    However, there are things we do indeed know. One is that the Heartland Institute has a long history of climate change denial. Another is that they were huge cheerleaders of the manufactured Climategate nonsense, involving stolen emails from real scientists, but threatened to sue bloggers when their own documents were exposed in this very similar way. This reaction by Heartland is very telling, in my opinion.

    And even that, in the end, is nothing more than a distraction, something taking away from the real issue: the Earth is warming up. This is reality, and this is overwhelmingly supported by the scientific evidence. And the other thing I know for sure is that groups like Heartland, as well as ones like the Wall Street Journal and the Daily Mail, and many, many more, will now double their efforts to sow doubt on that fact.�

    Is it too much to hope we can finally get past the distractions and obstructions flung up by well-funded simpletons acting in bad faith?

    If we could, maybe we could take some serious steps to address the problem.

  120. Bruce Richardson, if you are asking questions about the validity of a document while insisting on calling it a “forged document” then you might be doing it wrong.

  121. engages in identity theft

    Identity theft is the theft of identifying information that can be used to establish identity. Gleick used impersonation against a system that failed to do identity checks. Impersonation is not identity theft.

  122. Identity theft is the theft of identifying information that can be used to establish identity. Gleick used impersonation against a system that failed to do identity checks. Impersonation is not identity theft.

    In Illinois, identity theft includes but is not limited to theft of identifying information that can be sued to establish identity. The statute is here:

    It appears to include

    (1) uses any personal identifying information or personal identification document of another person to fraudulently obtain credit, money, goods, services, or other property, or

    “Personal identifying information” includes a person’s name. Gleick used another person’s name. So the only question is: did he obtain “goods, services or other property”. In many statutes, property can include something like documents, but I don’t know if it does here.

    Heartland is in Illinois.

  123. “I think that when the dust settles, we will find that Peter Gleick did the forgery.”

    I think that when the dust settles we will find that there are unicorns. Also, too, everybody gets a pony.
    ——————cut here———————————-

    Dear God

    Please send trolls that are less verbose and better at logic.


    The non-batshit-insane

  124. Hey. Pointing that some theory is called ‘conspiracy theory’ is not really a valid argument against that theory. In past, there was a ‘mafia theory’ – that there is large network of organised crime, that influences the high governmental officers. And it was called conspiracy theory.. after some time it turned out true. And there were more cases like that.

  125. But the mafia wasn’t a conspiracy theory in the classic sense, where no one “sees the truth” until the right pieces are put together and then it could be understood by listening to that person (or group of people). The mafia (as we refer to it) was not only widely recognized but where it operated, knowledge of its existence was critical to some of its functions.

    At the time Puzo’s book came out, there was a denial of the mafia by various groups, partly in response to the link made in people’s minds between being Italian and being a criminal in the Mafia. But every one who lived or worked under the purview of the Mafia or similar organizations was well aware of their existence.

  126. I’ve read that digital forensic software (including JGAAP) is incapable of determining authorship of imitative texts at better than chance level, see e.g.


    This point has been made on various boards, including:

    Copner (Comment #92713)
    March 5th, 2012 at 4:08 am

    Iâ??ve said it before, but it was in an old thread that had nearly died: Computerized textual analysis of the kind done by software is bound to fail, because youâ??re not comparing like for like. Your comparing apples and oranges.

    1. We have a corpus of Gleickâ??s known writings

    2. We have a corpus of Jo Bastâ??s known writings

    3. We have a fake document of unknown origin

    Now if you compare 1 & 3, and 2 & 3 â?? which is what every single attempted textual analysis has done so far â?? you are asking the wrong question!

    You are asking: Is the memo a better __imitiation__ of Gleick or Bast

    Well we know the answer to that even without looking at the text or making a comparison at all: The forger was trying to imitate Bast, and not Gleick! The forger would have done a very poor job if he imitiated Gleick.

    Or to put it another way: Iâ??m sure weâ??ve all read books or stories, or seen TV comedy sketches, where bits are written in the style of Shakespeare, or Emily Bronte, or Charles Dickens, or Edgar Allan Poe, etc. Even if they never say who is being imitated, you immediately know â?? because the overall style matches. I dare say if you put the text of one of these stories/sketches into a computer, it could correctly identify who was being imitated. But it doesnâ??t mean that Dickens wrote the Muppetâ??s Christmas Carol.

    So if we canâ??t do analysis of the overall text, what do we do? How do we know itâ??s a fake?

    Answer: We look for oddities in the imitation.

    When we read about Mr Darcy decapitating a zombie â?? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P…..nd_Zombies â?? we can be pretty sure that Jane Austen didnâ??t write that â?? even if the overall textual style exactly matches.

    Likewise, we can look at fake memo, and get some clues as to its fraudulent status and the author of the forgery, by looking for oddities.

    In this case, exactly the type of thing Mosher identified.

    BTW: There is no dispute that Gleick lied to both his friends and foes, and there is no dispute that Gleick created a whole series of deceptive documents (albeit emails) to deceive friends and foes alike â?? so it seems to me to be a truly incredible leap of faith, to say he lied, he misled people (even his friends), and he created a whole series fraudulent documentsâ?¦. but heâ??s really telling the truth about this one document and its convenient (for him) unlikely provenance.

  127. KenM [138]: That is correct. Did you have a comment to make on that?

    AMac [132]: I was unaware of the rule about time stamping. Please give me a citation or that and I’ll start to follow it! The comment is obviously added.

    It is true that I made a mistake using irony and sarcasm here, and for that I apologize to all.

    Some blogs take more work by the reader, and some blogs hold the reader’s hand more. This blog trends more towards the former, as any long time readers will surely testify. In this case, I made three mistakes: 1) The absurd conspiracy trope was left too much to the imagination of the reader, and that was in part (though this is not an excuse) because I was engaged in this conversation, jokingly, off the blog with others, and I think I may have transferred a presupposition on to the audience that should not I should not have assumed; 2) There is a literalist mindset mindset, as it were, among those interested in this particular topic, which does need its hand held through satire (though has other great contributions to make, I’m sure; and 3) I ignored the fact that this topic is very sensitive to many people. To me, it is less so. I regard the initial activity itself and most of the conversation about it as an absurd distraction beyond the initial reporting. There are climate related things to talk about, and there are strategies to move foreword with. It does seem that people’s entire philosophies are about to live or die on the basis of whether one thinks the original document is fake, or whether or not Peter did something wrong.

    (It isn’t fake, and he did nothing wrong, in case you were wondering, and that’s not satire.)

  128. Well we know the answer to that even without looking at the text or making a comparison at all: The forger was trying to imitate Bast, and not Gleick! The forger would have done a very poor job if he imitiated Gleick.

    So, to answer the question “is it a forgery” we ask the question “given that it is a forgery, isn’t it a forgery”?

    Are you on drugs?

  129. Greg, you’re missing the point, possibly deliberately. Copner’s point was if you don’t have enough samples to do a proper comparison. You have only have samples of Gleick writing in his own natural style, you have no samples of Gleick writing in a deliberately imitative style (what is known as acting as an “adversial” author).

    I gave you a link to a peer-review science article. JGAAP and other stylistic analysis software are unable to achieve better than chance at guessing the author of article, if the author is being deliberately trying to write in the style of somebody else.

    Of course, I’m sure you’ll free to ignore the peer reviewed science, in this case, if it suits your political preconceptions.

  130. Byronic, I’ve not actually commented on the idea that we are testing how well someone imitates someone. I think that is an interesting point, and it might or might not be relevant; The point of some of these methods of analysis is to make the comparisons in ways that get around that. Other methods will not.

    Regarding the interesting notion that a statistical method only gives information about the chance of something being true or false, similar or different, etc., I regard that as an amazing revelation that if only we had known for the last two hundred years of probability and statistics research we would have … hey, wait a minute.

    Regarding the overall issue of limitations of the methods, sample size, etc., please do read both the post here, Shawn’s post, and my earlier post on the topic. I’ve never made the claim that this method works very well, and neither has Shawn. One of those Zany climate science denialists made the claim that there was an obvious pattern, and that a mere test using the method used here and by Shawn would demonstrate that. Shawn, then I, followed that suggestion and demonstrated that said climate change denialist had it wrong.

    How many times, I wonder, does this have to be said before it sinks in?

  131. The point was, which you continue to ignore: Is that all current software gives no better than chance on identifying a deliberately deceptive author.

    So you are (and so by implication, is anybody else who tries to use software to identify the author, including Anthony Watts) are wasting their and everybody else’s time, and making fools of themselves, by articles that purport to identify the author using software. Because if the author was being deceptive (which is the central allegation in this case), the software immediately becomes useless.

    A second point, which I have not said up to now, but which is also true, is that humans do sometimes do better than chance (and software) at identifying a deceptive author. It’s in the literature too, if you bother to look. And it’s commonsense too – because humans have access to a lot more information and life experience than the plain literal text from a couple of short samples. That of course does not mean that any particular human’s (including Stephen Mosher’s) supposition is necessarily correct – but neither does it mean that it’s impossible for them to make a correct supposition.

    In summary, you would expect software to be useless for this task, but humans may or may not be useless.

  132. Seriously, Byronic, if you would bother to read the relevant blog posts you would not be saying these things. And, now, you have reduced your argument to a combination of insults and this absurd notion that independent verifiable measurement and science is less useful than biased observation. Hahahaha.

  133. You seem to be under the misapprehension that computers are better at all tasks than humans. That simply isn’t the case.

    It took years of research and many millions of dollars before a computer beat a human grandmaster at chess, and chess is a relatively easy problem compared to natural language processing tasks.

    I’ve given given you a link to an article that summarizes peer-reviewed science in this exact area, but you choose to ignore it. Here are 2 relevant parts regarding computerized analysis of this exact problem – note the last sentence I quote – if the memo is a fake, computerized stylometric analysis would expect the result you got, i.e. match the person who is being imitated, rather than the person who did the fake:

    “Brennan and Greenstadt applied three fairly standard stylometric methods to determine authorship of obfuscated or imitative essays. Their results for obsfuscated essays were essentially at chance, suggesting that attempts to disguise or imitate style are likely to be successful against stylometric methods.”

    “Brennan and Greenstadt also stated that “[t]he imitation attacks were widely successful in having their authorship attributed to the intended victim of the attack.”

  134. No,you are doing something we don’t allow in science. A proposal was made and tested. You did not like the results so you are now, post hoc, comparing the methods in a way that is favorable to the conclusion you had drawn from the beginning with no evidence, and your conclusion is entirely self serving.

    You have also indicated an utter unwillingness to see Shawn’s posts and my posts for what they are. You’ve still shown no evidence that you’ve read them because you are making comments that you could not make with any degree of honest had you read them. But yes, thank you for the reference to the 1998 publication. I’ll be sure to refer to it next time I want to get a historical background on how this method works.

  135. It appears to include
    (1) uses any personal identifying information

    OK, in statute law jurisdictions they can make any definitions they like. They can, and do, define pi to equal 3. But it’s a bizarre concept that you can be in possession of something (a person’s identity in the form of his name) and not have stolen it until you use it to steal something else. Just plain old fraud should be enough in those circumstances.

  136. It appears to include (1) uses any personal identifying information

    “It” meaning identity theft.

  137. What is the name to which you refer?

    I don’t know exactly but whatever name it was that Gleick was using in the emails he sent to Heartland.

  138. Let me be blindingly clear: I don’t know what name he used, and neither do you. Therefore, neither one of us (and that would include you) can not make the claim that he stole someone’s identity. Therefore, no one (and that includes you) can make the claim that he committed the crime of identity theft. Doing so (when you do it, that is) at this point is what one might call libel.

    You are making a leap that may be correct, but at this point it is unknown and therefore, stated in the terms you’ve used, misinformation. Lies, even. So cut that out, please.

  139. no one (and that includes you) can make the claim that he committed the crime of identity theft.

    I’m not trying to make the claim that he committed the crime of identity theft. I pointed out that the above definition of identity theft is bizarre. According to that definition, IF Gleik used someone else’s name in the blacked-out space then it is identity theft according to that bizarre definition.

  140. Getting away from computers, and on to know-nothing hacks, it now becomes clear why Megan mcArdle was so rubbish about Heartland (she would have put the memo in the bin, evidently in much the same spirit as Woodward & Bernstein ).

    It turns out the when it comes to AGW, she basically farms out her opinion on the science to someone from the Cato Institute, from what I see on Climate Progress. It takes real courage to be a mouthpiece for a right wing freemarket think tank (in the process of being taken over by the Kochs), rather than do some research of your own.

    McArdle was at least honest enough to admit she now has zero credibility, but not honest enough to admit to herself that she’s a really rubbish ‘journalist’.

  141. MikeB: you forgot to mention that the Cato people she takes her cue from believe AGW is real. McArdle’s point is that if people of that ideological bent believe in it, it’s stronger evidence than if someone on the lefty green side believes in it, since they’re doing so despite having an incentive not to.

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