The (not-so) Great Beeville Science Fair Hoax

There’s a small community of bloggers and activists who spent the weekend scratching their collective heads in hopes of figuring out what was behind a story that came out of a little place called Beeville, Texas. Last week word came from a local paper than a fourth-grader had won a “National Science Fair” prize by “Disproving Global Warming.”

The story immediately drew skeptical analysis, as there hasn’t been a “National Science Fair” for some time. More curious was the notion that a fourth-grader could manage to do what thousands of climatologists who make their living trying to find holes in each other’s research couldn’t.

Well, thanks to the diligence of “In it for the Gold’ blogger Michael Tobis, we are starting to get an idea what happened. As suspected the notion that Earth is not warming did not beat out “50,000 other projects submitted by students from all over the U.S.”

Believe it or not, it looks like someone faked a National Science Foundation letter, plaque, medal and trophy and sent them to the young student’s family, who then alerted the principal at their daughter’s school. The principal called the Beeville Bee-Picayune (yes, that’s the paper’s name), which assigned a rookie reporter to cover the news.

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Getting in on the ground floor of the U.S. Climate Service

Hard as it is for someone who isn’t familiar with intricacies of U.S. government-run climate science to believe, there is no climatology analog of the the immigration or revenue services, something responsible for overseeing the big picture. Sure, there’s NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, but that does a lot of things other than measure and model the climate. There’s NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, but it’s mostly a number-crunching lab, and not really set up to engage the public. That’s about to change, and the folks tasked with overseeing the creation of the new Climate Service are looking for advice.

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