Another round of (yawn) stolen emails

If this is the best they’ve got, it’s kind of sad, really.

Looks like the link to the zip file of what was left over from the 2009 release has been removed, just a few hours after the world became aware that the FOIA gang is at it again. But most of what found its way onto the web so far, tiny snippets without even a clue as to the subject matter that prompted the excerpts, doesn’t ever rise to the level of lame.

Of course, that won’t stop the denial punks from engaging in a display of juvenile histrionics. But still, after the embarrassment of the BEST study conclusions, it is beginning to look like the pseudoskeptics are beginning to get desperate.

I’m with Mike Mann:

who is quoted in the batch of released emails described the release as “truly pathetic”.

When asked if they were genuine, he said: “Well, they look like mine but I hardly see anything that appears damning at all, despite them having been taken out of context. I guess they had very little left to work with, having culled in the first round the emails that could most easily be taken out of context to try to make me look bad.”
The Guardian

Shawn Otto’s take is good, too.

FTL neutrinos and climate change deniers (or why I call the latter PSEUDOskeptics)

Among the very best of the science-oriented blogs I try to read regularly is Tom Levenson’s Inverse Square Blog. Tom, who teaches science journalism at MIT, isn’t a climatologist, but whenever he writes about climate science or politics, it’s usually worth a look.

Apparently, the folks at Scientific American agree, and they recently invited Tom to contribute a guest post to the magazine’s blog site. It’s primarily about the recent kerfuffle over the possibility that neutrinos might be able to travel faster than light, and a bit on the lengthy side, but he does manage to work climate in there, so let’s skip to that bit and run with his central theme, which is:

understanding what we do know, and then engaging the challenge of a new result in that context.

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The nuclear misdirection

We can’t seem to stop thinking about nuclear power. Given what’s at stake — the biosphere, the economy, our genetic integrity — this is understandable. But I think too many are getting distracted from the fundamental problem with splitting atoms and arguing scientific questions we are unlikely to resolve anytime soon.

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The fate of the Amazon is in doubt

Last year much was made by climate-change deniers of a poorly referenced section of one of the IPCC reports of 2007 that said “up to 40% of the Amazon rainforest could be sensitive to future changes in rainfall.” It turned out that the claim was based on solid science, despite the best efforts of those who just can’t bring themselves to trust professional climatologists. You can read the whole sordid tale here. I revisit the issue because of a new paper about to be published by the American Geophysical Union that bears on this question.

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No good deed goes unpunished in the Twitterverse

I’ve long been ambivalent about the merits of Twitter. Some may recall my “Why Twitter is Evil” post of a while back. That was written with one cheek mostly occupied by my tongue. It now seems clear that, whatever the original designs, the 140-character telegraph has become an invaluable network-building and maintenance tool, particularly for authors, activists trying to organize constituencies. This is all well and good. But the medium’s dark side recently became all too clear following this past weekend’s wonderful Science Online 2011 conference.
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Time to regroup

In case anyone was wondering, blogging will be light for the rest of the summer, as I try to step back and once again consider just what my role, and that of this blog, will be in the dialog over what to do about our changing climate.

The news that the U.S. Senate will not pass any kind of legislation dealing with reducing fossil-fuel emissions this year should give us all pause. The recent near-collapse of Scienceblogs a few weeks ago introduced a complicating factor with which I still haven’t completed come to grips. Plus there’s logistical issues: I’m busy doing things that actually pay the bills, and our annual family vacation is looming in Augus. So unless something really big pops up, the posts for the next few weeks will be few and brief.

Obsessing over ice cover

ResearchBlogging.orgThere’s more than a few climate bloggers who have a dirty little secret. We like to excoriate those who can’t tell the difference between weather and climate, or herald every momentary drop in temperature as evidence that global warming has ended, or revel in each new report that suggests not every single square millimeter of the planet’s surface is experiencing dramatic climate shifts. As we should. But many of us take a peek, every morning, at the daily version of a graph from the National Snow and Ice Data Center depicting current sea-ice extent in the Arctic.

We know that what happens from day to day tells us nothing useful about global climate change. We know that the only things that supply meaningful information are measured on the scale of decades and even centuries, not days, weeks or months. And yet we still obsess on that damn graph. Why?
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Failing the Pepsi Challenge

It took a couple of days, but the overlords at SEED Media Group have aborted the Food Frontiers blog. If anyone is still wondering why so many members of the Scienceblogs community abandoned ship after we learned that Pepsi had bought itself blogging space at SB, as good an explanation as any can be found in an email I received Thursday from a friend of the family. She had copied me on a letter she had written to SB CEO Adam Bly:

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