Archive for October 23rd, 2009


Skydiving for the Earthbound

October 23, 2009

This fun article over at the Atlantic offers some nice tales about amateur mushroom hunting, a quasi-dangerous past-time that I used to engage in often, but that parenthood has kept me from pursuing more ambitiously. I’m told that the season this year was terrible, but next year, let’s hope for better. Local Coloradoans might consider joining the Colorado Mycological Society. I’ve been on one foray with them, and they have some pretty well informed members.


Mr. Fix It

October 23, 2009

Keith Kloor kindly baits me with this thoughtful post.  How can I resist a reply?

The first step in understanding my position may come through somewhat more formal channels.  I recently published an essay at Science Progress.  That essay is primarily on ocean fertilization, though some of the arguments can be parlayed to geoengineering more generally.

But that’s not all…

Read the rest of this entry ?


Misreading the Point

October 23, 2009

Not sure where Steve McIntyre gets this from:

Yamal Already a “Standard”?
Another possible argument was raised by Ben Hale, supposedly drawing on realclimate: that Yamal was already “standard” prior to Briffa. This is totally untrue – Polar Urals was the type site for this region prior to Briffa 2000.

I didn’t suggest anything of the sort. I said that the burden of proof is on McIntyre. I remain agnostic on the history. I remain agnostic on the science. Truth be told, I’m not even sure I understand what he means when he says that I said “Yamal was already ‘standard’ prior to Briffa,” so I find it difficult to understand how this could be my position.

Maybe someone can explain to me what McIntyre is after, but from my vantage, it looks a lot like he misses the point. The point should be a simple one: if he wants to demonstrate a failure in the science, he has to do so through the formal, albeit flawed, channels. Very few readers of his blog are qualified to judge whether what he’s saying makes sense; and it is definitely true (a) that there are some qualified people who object to his methods, and (b) that there are some people in the world who are meticulous enough to back up crazy ideas with lots and lots of numbers. Both of these facts cast suspicion on what he, or anybody else for that matter, writes. Thus, we have formalized systems of peer comment and review.  You can read all about it at the three, relatively hot, hockey stick threads here, here, and here.