One of the most odious individuals to exist on the Internet is Anthony Watts, climate science denier and all round ass.
But you knew that.
What you may not have been thinking when you woke up this morning, and you are forgiven since there are some other important things going on in this world, is that this is the approximate tenth anniversary of the end of Watt’s credibility, which also coincides with the end of Roger Pielke Sr’s credibility, and a few other related casualties of ill intentioned fake science.
Anthony Watts, the famous climate science denier, is all a titter that he is presenting at the upcoming American Geophysical Union meetings.
First, I want to say, good for you, Anthony. Nothing wrong with a science denier going to a major international meeting that includes a lot of climate science and giving a poster. That is how these things work, this is a place to challenge the science. The establishment will not attempt to keep you away because they want you to be there, to make a contribution. I hope you get a lot of great feedback, and enjoy your trip to San Francisco.
“A slow-moving emergency” is how state assemblyman Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park) describes the threat of rising seas in the Bay Area. According to Inside Bay Area, Gordon authored California’s first report on climate-related flooding, and his findings reveal a region woefully unprepared to manage water damage.
Per Inside Bay Area, San Francisco Bay rose 8 inches over the past century and could rise another 16 to 55 inches by 2100. Torrential storms and “king tides” could overwhelm infrastructure that’s not designed to withstand major flooding. Making matters worse is California’s own gradually eroding coastline. Coastal communities such as Pacifica have become media flashpoints thanks to images of houses literally slipping off of cliffs.
Anthony notes that he is a “member in good standing” of the AGU. That is nice. I am unaware of a “member not in good standing” category for the AGU, but maybe there is one.
Anthony is asking for donations to help him go to the AGU meetings. Previous years, he attended the AGU’s as a member of the “press” so he did not have to register. But this year, as a presenter, he has to pay the registration fee. He notes:
The cost of registration is $455, and the deadline is November 12th at 1159PM EDT to get that rate.
Add a hotel for 5-6 days at the typical $150-250 per night rate in SFO, plus incidentals, parking, etc. and the cost to attend easily tops $3000.
So, here’s the math:
I’m only kidding, of course, about the hookers. The chocolate makes sense, tho. Plus attending a couple of San Francisco’s great venues, taking a cab around the hilly city, maybe a trip up to Marin county for the redwoods. One could easily spend a thousand or two beyond food and shelter, and the registration costs. Certainly, if you support the idea of Anthony Watts attending AGU as a presenter and having his say, go and donate! And don’t begrudge him the extra cash to make the best of the trip.
Anthony makes some hay of the fact that his poster was accepted, indicating that this gives his poster some sort of credibility. However, posters are not especially vetted, and are certainly not peer reviewed. The AGU is huge, there are thousands of posters presented (this year, more than 23,000 oral and poster presentations, probably more than half are posters), and there is virtually no selection process. This is how it generally works with posters at huge meetings, and that is appropriate. It does not serve science in general to be too picky about these things … let the ideas abound! But also, let’s not assume any sort of stamp of approval, because there isn’t one. Indeed, sometimes a proposed talk is not accepted and instead you get to give a poster as a consolation prize.
Anthony also says he was “invited” to the conference. I’ve not done AGU, but I’ve heard that if a poster is accepted (and generally it will be), you get an “invitation,” probably by email, to the conference. The reason for the invitation is to bring a document to your academic department or employer to justify your time and possibly expenses, so your trip to the conference is not counted against your vacation time, or so you can dip into this or that pool of travel money to help cover your costs.
There are actual “invited” speakers. This is limited to a small number and are generally high level people talking about current important research. They usually get more minutes for their talk. Although I think posters could be “invited” in this sense, I understand that to be very rare. Anthony is not giving an “invited” poster, even if he happens to have a gracious email or letter of some kind.
Also, Anthony claims to be the only denier at the conference. That just isn’t true. Of the thousands of people attending the conference, there will be three or four deniers.
I’m being bit cynical here, for good reason. I do support Anthony’s attendance and I’m sure he’ll have a good time. But a lot of people who read Anthony’s blog have little actual conference experience and may not know how utterly routine giving a poster at the AGU is, and about the invitation bit. And about the chocolate.
By the way, his poster abstract can be seen on his blog post (linked to above). It is about heat island effects.
Dr. Roy Spencer once said to me that trying to organize climate skeptics would be like “trying to herd cats”. While this Society is not trying to “herd” anyone, nor is it specifically focused on climate skepticism, it will serve to represent a group of people and ideas that up until now has been essentially ostracized because the ideas and viewpoints are counter to “consensus”.
Secret Society, Just Like The Illuminati?
Membership in the society will be secret. The eventual plan is to be a non-profit. There will not be a board of directors initially but eventualy one will be formed of five members plus Anthony (ex-officio) and representation from among non-full members. The process of electing board members has not yet been determined.
Associate membership will be $45, with additional membership categories designed on one hand to allow student members and on the other hand to raise more funds (lifetime membership, etc.).
A Scientific Society Designed To Oppose Science?
This organization, explicitly designed as a group opposing scientific consensus, will operate a peer reviewed scientific journal, the editor of which will be initially appointed by the board apparently from a short list provided by Executive Director Anthony Watts. From the Charter:
Article IX: Scientific Journal
Section 1. The OAS shall have an official publication, to be known as The Journal of the Open Atmospheric Society. (JOAS). An ISSN number will be applied for and assigned to the publication.
Section 1.1 Members of the OAS as well as others of expertise outside of the OAS may serve as peer review referees for potential publications for inclusion in JOAS.
Section 1.2 A collaborative and open peer-review process will be conducted using an Internet publishing platform. Reviewer comments will be published along with the publication itself so that the process is transparent.
Section 1.3 Digital Object Identifiers (DOI’s) will be assigned by the JOAS Editor to each approved publication.
Section 2. An editor to JOAS shall be appointed. During the first six months of operations, the Executive Director will solicit candidates to present to the board of directors. The Board of Directors shall conduct online video interviews and appoint a qualified editor for JOAS by a majority vote from the candidate pool. The editor may be a compensated position, with any compensation schedule to be determined by the Board of Directors
Section 3. Initially, JOAS will be a quarterly publication. As membership and interest grows, the Board of Directors may opt to make it a bi-monthly or monthly publication.
Section 4. The goal of JOAS is to promote and publish reproducible Atmospheric and Earth science papers. To that end, all technical submissions to JOAS must be accompanied by all manner and means of materials to enable such reproduction during peer review. This includes all data, equations, software code, examples and supplementary materials. Rebuttals to technical submissions must also meet the same requirements. Editorial submissions such as opinion or commentary that don’t have such technical elements may be excepted from reproducibility requirements, but the JOAS has the option of asking for any additional materials that may be required.
Right now, membership is the most important goal. I encourage everyone who reads WUWT to become a member, or an associate member. Like any organization, it starts out small with an idea, and grows as momentum builds. As the momentum builds, so will the organization. My role is to put all the pieces in place, and help it grow.
At this moment, there is a guest post over at WUWT blog downplaying the size, strength, wind speeds, overall effects, and even the death toll of Super Typhoon Haiyan. Even as the monster storm steams across the sea to it’s next landfall (probably as a huge wet tropical storm, in northern Vietnam and southern China), Anthony Watts and his crew are trying to pretend this monster storm didn’t happen, and instead, that it was a run of the mill typhoon.
At the moment, nobody is really saying that Haiyan’s strength, size, power, or even existence is specifically the direct result of global warming, although it is of course impossible to remove the effects of global warming from ANY weather event because global warming is part of climate change and guess what … weather arises from the climate. The climate has changed, so ALL of our weather is affected by climate change.
This offensive post is preemptive denial, but it is denial that throws the lives and suffering of millions of people … of which thousands have lost relatives … under the bus. So that Anthony Watts and his guest poster Paul Homewood can … can do what? Feel smart? Take a shot at the reality of climate change? Pretend severe weather does not matter? What? Maybe they don’t like people who live in the Philippines.
Haiyan will be measured and remeasured over coming days, but it really is looking like it will be one for the record books. But Watts and Homewood don’t care about a big storm this year, or the fact that there have been several big storms in the Pacific, because there were a lot of Pacific typhoons in 1964, before fossil fuels were discovered by humans and thus unlinked to climate change. … ;( … Haiyan will be measured in terms of the death toll and destruction to property and forests, and it will be one of the worst typhoons ever, probably. But Watts and Homewood don’t want storms to be important for the simple reason that the best models strongly suggest that there will be more storms … especially in the Pacific, where Haiyan struck, over coming decades because of the changes to climate that humans are carrying out and that Anthony Watts and Paul Homewood deny to be real.
Update on Haiyan/Yolanda Death Toll
The final figures are not likely in but the numbers have stabilized and we can now probably put a number to the human toll of this storm that will not change dramatically in the future, at least in terms of orders of magnitude. The current “official” death toll in the Philippines from Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan is 6,009 with 1,779 missing and 27,022 injured, with the largest concentration of casualties in Eastern Visayas. This comes from a December 13th report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, which you can (probably) download here. If you do download it expect to see slightly different numbers as the report seems to be updated dynamically. Wikipedia, which references the same report, gives slightly different numbers (higher for dead and injured, same for missing). Regardless of these smaller changes, we can say that the total casualty number for this typhoon is well over 30,000 with over 6,000 dead. With so many people missing we may guess that the number dead is somewhat over 7,000.
Watts needs to take this offensive and absurd post off of his site. Homewood needs to apologize, and to do so sincerely. But before they do that, go have a look. It will probably make you throw up a little in your mouth.
There is one funny thing. Homewood takes the Daily Mail to task for getting numbers wrong and exaggerating the severity of the storm. I don’t know if the Daily Mail got it right or wrong because I don’t read the drivel they publish in that rag, and I don’t normally read the drek Watts publishes on his horrid site, and the two together is just too much, so I skipped that part. But the Daily Mail is one of those rags that often publishes climate science denialism and the nefarious and mean spirited denialists like Anthony Watts often use such sources to make their point. But here apparently the sensationalism of the Daily Mail contradicts the made up crap Watts puts on his blog. Somehow the expression “You gotta dance with the one that brung ya” comes to mind.
Anthony Watts, of the science-denialist Whats Up with That blog, has got his shorts in a knot because of a post I wrote indicating that he is a boob. He is upset because in a screen shot of him talking about a totally absurd pseudo-scientific claim that should have been rejected out of hand, I failed to include enough of the post to show that he was skeptical about the claim.
Let me be very very clear: This is not a claim to be skeptical about. This is a Teapot orbiting the Sun between Earth and Mars claim. A person who has reported debunked claims about alien life again and again, reporting in a fake scientific journal, has made an absurd claim. To understand the level of absurdity check out PZ Myers post, written after mine, which goes into more detail about the “journal.”
I did not need to show that Anthony Watts was skeptical because that wasn’t the point. The point was that it was funny that he was looking at this claim at all. But, fine, if he really needs me to include the snippet where he expresses his laughable skepticism, I can do that. Here, Watts says.
This looks to be a huge story, the first evidence of extraterrestrial life, if it holds up.
… thus indicating skepticism. I’m sorry I did not include that sentence in the … wait, wait, hold on a sec. Hey, I DID include that phase about “if it holds up” in the original post? But Watts is saying that I did not include any of his skeptical language. Who is this Anthony Watts guy, some kind of liar? Huh.
Maybe he means this bit, the bit after the phrase “Look at what the electron microscope shows of a sample purported to be from the meteorite:” … that’s where he says I cut off the post, let’s see what he says there. Of the claim of Alien Life stuck to a meteorite, Anthony Watts says
It looks convincing, and the paper says: “Contamination is excluded by the circumstance that the elemental abundances within the structures match closely with those of the surrounding matrix.“, but I remain skeptical of the claim.
I’m sure most of my regular readers will see why this is really funny. I didn’t really cherry pick Watts. I showed how he posted on this claim of alien life stuck to a meteorite, and I did not claim that he had been taken in and I said nothing about his skepticism one way or another. But, Watts is a minor leader in the Science-Denialist movement focusing on climate change, and you all know that those folks life to cherry pick.
Does cherry picking really bother Anthony Watts this much, and his readers, who have commented heavily on my post? If so, then they should stop doing it themselves!
Watts complains that I don’t provide a link to the original story. It is against my blog policy to provide links to science denialist sites. It would be unethical for me to do that on a regular basis because it would enhance the google juice of pseudoscience. I’ve got children. I want them to grow up in a better world, not the world that Anthony Watts wants them to grow up in. So, no. Now and then, if necessary, I’ll link, but normally not.
Then he goes on and on with a really boring post, but there are two comments in that post I’ll address briefly.
First, he complains about spelling. I know, I suk as speling. But it isn’t just that. I have a disorder that causes this. I am disabled. When Anthony Watts make fun of my spelling he is being an “Abelist” (or is it Ableist? Whatever). Nice guy. But that’s OK, many people are unaware that such a condition exists. I’ve gotten used to the thoughtless comments about that, even from friends, and I do appreciate having the spelling errors pointed out.
Second, Anthony Watts says, “The difference between myself and Mr. Laden is that WUWT isn’t afraid to have topics for discussion that might be proven wrong.” That’s not true. At the moment, I’m getting ready for publication on this blog a post about the highly controversial yet very interesting Ozone Theory of tree death and, believe it or not, a post about Aquatic Ape Theory from one of the main proponents of that theory. Recently, I was ruthlessly attacked for my position on the Flores (Hobbit) hominids, and I’ve invited the author of that attack to give me a guest post. He’s not gotten back to me on that, but a third colleague who has an opinion that might be very different the one I expressed has agreed to do so. These should all be interesting posts! And, these are all examples of me engendering discussion of topics where my previously stated position may be proven wrong. This is science we’re doing here. Being proved wrong is one of our main objectives.
(The Ozone and Aquatic Ape posts are delayed by sickness in my family, which has taken a few days out of my schedule and caused me to spel even werse!)
One last item, about meteorites with life on them. There is actually no reason to believe that a meteor or two having fossil or isotopic evidence that conforms to would call life could land on us from Mars. There are all sorts of problems with such data, and it is good that we have Robots on Mars checking things out there more directly. But the sample in question may not even be a meteorite, and yes, anyone in the climate sciences who has the remotest clue about anything should recognize what a FW diatom looks like, not necessarily to identify it to genus or species, but sufficiently to be suspicious. This meteorite, the one Anthony Watts laughingly accepts as something to be “skeptical” about, is not the same thing at all. Not even close. In fact, it might not even be a meteorite, according to Phil.
You may know the blog What’s Up With That. It is Anthony Watt’s anti-science blog, dedicated to climate change denialism.
A current post reports the finding of life forms from another planet, in a meteorite.
This looks to be a huge story, the first evidence of extraterrestrial life, if it holds up….
This is from a recent meteorite find in December 2012. A large fire ball was seen by a large number of people in Sri Lanka on December 29th 2012, during that episode a large meteorite disintegrated and fell to Earth in the village of Araganwila which is few miles away from the city of Polonnaruwa.
Look at what the electron microscope shows of a sample purported to be from the meteorite:
Then he shows a picture of a rock with a bunch of contemporary Earth Based diatoms stuck to it.
It is very fun to read the comments. I provided a comment that will not be printed because Watts never prints my comments, but I’ve screen captured it for you (it is below).
Phil Plait has reviewed the Alien Life in the Meteor story here, and as I said, it is not alien life come to earth in a meteor. It is (I guess) a fragment of a meteorite with fresh water diatoms stuck to it. There are fresh water diatoms stuck to your shoe, your car tires, your dog, everywhere. The silica bodies of these tiny algae are part of the dust, not as numerous perhaps as skin cells or, certain times of the year, pollen, or the loess blowing off the melting glaciers and such, but common. This is why real scientists grind down the meteorite, cross sectioning it, before looking at the sample.
As Phil points out, this report is by a “scientist” who has made many outrageous and incorrect claims about aliens, reported in a journal that is famous for printing bogus and incorrect science, the methods are obviously bogus and anyone who knew anything about, say, climate studies (where fresh water diatoms are used all the time as proxyindicators) would at least be suspicious, and would know how to check for veracity of the claim.
Anthony Watts, the anti-science global warming denailist, was not equipped to recognize this bogus science as bogus. We are not surprised.