Here’s a spot the hard-working climate mafia missed

spanda cover

Split the whole into two to engender polarities, spanda endures its course to fulfil its vocation, its call to manifest and to be manifested. Along the same thread, born on a different plane, emerging from the primordial androgynous chasm, each engendered side keeps its heavenly or earthly signature, paralleled – in the twin-fissured dimension – as a pro-tension, a gender advocacy to further differentiate. Having been the first signature gender-wise, the pivotal function of sex is ensuing. The vocatio attracting force generates and emanates form the fulfilled wor[l]d of consciousness, while a counterforce repels it. I am not me, I am you.

“u’r beautiful, show ur light: nûr upon nûr … do u like to play the game of life? ;-)” “beauty is the light that shines forth from within – i like playing my game with life because we are players.” “LOL, Gr8! ttyl.” “ok, i’m offline, bye bye.”

Thus begins the editorial of an academic journal. If you feel queasy about the phone text mysticism, these should be quelled by a professor of psychiatry from the Johns Hopkins University in the next article, expounding on psychedelic experiments with the coming Apocalypse and Mayan astrology:

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Getting something for nothing

From the prologue of NN Taleb’s Antifragile:

Which brings us to the largest fragilizer of society, and greatest generator of crises, absense of “skin in the game.” Some become antifragile at the expense of others by getting the upside (or gains) from volatility, variations, and disorder and exposing others to the downside risks of losses or harm

[...]

While in the past people of rank or status were those and only those who took risks, who had the downside for their actions, and heroes were those who did so for the sake of others, today the exact reverse is taking place. We are witnessing a new class of inverse heroes, that is, bureaucrats, banks, Davos-attending members of the IAND (International Association of Name Droppers), and academics with too much power and no real downside and/or accountability. They game the system while citizens pay the price.

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Akademik Shokalskiy: the fateful moment

“The smallest mistakes can cascade into a disaster” 
Chris Turney

Akademik Shokalskiy and its passengers

It has been more than a week since the Akademik Shokalskiy got stuck in Antarctic sea ice. Its passengers have now been removed. Events are embedded safely enough in the past. Fortunately, beyond the monopoly of the flowery-but-unilluminating Alok Jha and the disinformation-obsessed BBC and the forced gaiety of the eco-tourists, independent voices are available. One of them is Janet Rice, an Australian Green party Senate candidate.

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The Narrative

Booker is in form, as usual, as he talks about Nelson Mandela: media narratives are “fraudulent concoctions of artifice”, and a prime function of journalism, to see through them. The writer Nicholas Taleb has long sections attacking the narrative problem—our ‘crippling dislike for the abstract’ becomes the excuse for journalists to weave narratives and ‘convey the impression of causality’.The story of global warming is inextricably linked to the narrative.

In academic circles, it is openly conceded that global warming is imperceptible and ‘unobtrusive’ at human timescales. It is not ‘visible to the public except through the media’ (e.g., see page 28 here). While with all issues, newspapers educate their audience to some extent, nowhere as in global warming have newsmen so completely embraced the teacher’s role. And yet, as journalist, he or she is supposed to cross-question the same source, check its claims and report on it.

The compromising of the journalist’s position creates a two-fold problem. Firstly, control over ‘the narrative’, a misleading fiction to begin with, is wrested away from the journalist. Preferred, official explanations constantly emerge as sanctioned supporting pillars of the climate meta-narrative. The expectation is that journalists participate in propping them up as stenographers.  The Climategate emails provides numerous examples where activist scientists desired control over every point in the narrative. The IPCC and its modus operandi in the release of reports are a prime example.

Second is the constant assault on global warming journalists’ position by a pernicious ideology masquerading as principle namely, ‘false balance‘. Again, the theory is that false balance journalists fail to educate their audience, a job that is not theirs in the first place. Whatever its rationale for self-justification the solution, false balance avoidance, amounts to scientists telling journalists that only they be allowed as the source and everyone else be excluded.

In global warming, activist scientists seek control of the story, the actors and the narrative. They’ve gotten used to it over the years. This is reflected in Booker’s experience: the ‘ruthless discrediting of critics’, the pushing of a one-sided “narrative”, and the abhorrence of honest dialogue.

Good journalism, like good science, is the antithesis of narrative. Good journalism destroys narratives.

Passive smoking: Letting the guard down

old-fashioned-ad3

From a cigarette advert: Tipalet

What does exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke do? Cause lung cancer. Do you know of any other correct answer? I certainly don’t.

Tipped off by Christopher Snowdon, I read this JCNI news item on an as-yet unpublished study of lung cancer and second-hand smoke exposure. Inside are shocking statements by physicians I never expected to see in a medical journal:

On the certainty of linking second-hand smoke to lung cancer:

“The findings support continued need for investment in smoking prevention and cessation, research on passive smoking, and understanding of lung cancer risk factors other than smoking.” (emphasis mine)

and

“Passive smoking has many downstream health effects … but only borderline increased risk of lung cancer,”

The real reason to avoid passive smoking:

“The strongest reason to avoid passive cigarette smoke is to change societal behavior: to not live in a society where smoking is a norm.

On the amount of risk of lung cancer from second-hand smoke:

“But you can say, with regard to passive smoke, it’s only the heaviest exposure that produces the risk. We kind of knew that before, but it’s a little stronger here.”

and

“We’ve gotten smoking out of bars and restaurants on the basis of the fact that you and I and other nonsmokers don’t want to die,” said [Gerard] Silvestri. “The reality is, we probably won’t.”

We probably won’t die from cancer due to exposure to second-hand smoke? The medical community and the general public already knew this?

There is a continued need to do research on passive smoking? Really? I thought the question of passive smoking and lung cancer was completely ‘settled’. Why waste time and money studying established facts?

We knew the risk of lung cancer and/or death from second hand smoke was low but we still got rid of it from bars and restaurants?

The startling admission in the midst of these questions is this: the reason to avoid second-hand cigarette smoke is not to protect oneself from the smoke, but to make it socially difficult for the smoker to smoke?

I had no idea.

It is illuminating to see how scientists casually and inadvertently admit to weakness in the secondhand tobacco smoke-lung cancer argument, once behind the comfortable safety of accomplished social objectives surrounding tobacco.

Tom Curtis: An open letter

Hello Tom Curtis
You are a Skepticalscience regular. In your post dated September 28, 2013 you laid out independent lines of evidence showing how John Cook, the proprietor of Skepticalscience, did not post a survey from Australian psychology researcher Stephen Lewandowsky on his website.

But the notorious paper Lewandowsky wrote makes this claim. In fact, the paper’s results are critically dependent on the survey being posted there. It says a broad audience saw the survey because it was posted on Skepticalscience.  It analyzes comments from the website to support this.

You know both the above to be false. You have every reason to believe this. You recently re-iterated your belief.

As a climate blogger and commenter, I and others have asked Cook and Lewandowsky on several occasions how their results can be supported if their data was faulty. You rationalized the results referring to survey responses from Junkscience.com. But the paper des not include data from this website (see table below).

log-survey

From LOG12, Supplementary information. The authors claim the survey was posted at Skepticalscience. Junkscience.com is not listed as a source.

Lewandowsky can put the issue to rest by releasing the raw survey data, but has simply refused. Instead, he and Cook wrote a second psychology paper using those who asked for data as study subjects.

Matters have stalled. But, Lewandowsky and Cook have your confidence. You have supported them through the years. They may pass over their critics and study subjects in silence but they owe you an answer. You and others have sunk significant effort into running Cook’s website over the years. How does the same silence appease you? Releasing the data would answer questions you raise more than anyone else’s.

Could you use your influence to assist getting the raw survey data released?

-With thanks
S