Links for October 24th

  • Big Think: What’s the Plural of Texas?
    When Texas joined the union, it was with the condition that they have the ability to form four additional states from their land, allowing a total of five Texases. That's a right that they've never given up, which has resulted in occasional movements in support of Texas divisionism.
  • Kevin Drum: Climate Skeptics Take Another Hit
    Physicist, climate change doubter, and climate skeptic poster child Richard Muller thinks Al Gore's exaggerating and doubts the accuracy the hockey stick graph. Funded by the Koch Foundation, Muller started the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project to do his own climate research. BEST published its first paper this week and concluded that Earth is warming very rapidly, that historic temperature data reconstructions are accurate, that global temperature stations are highly reliable, and that the urban heat island effect is irrelevant. Said Muller: "Our biggest surprise was that the new results agreed so closely with the warming values published previously by other teams in the US and the UK." Well, that's awkward. This is how science works.
  • Reuters: More Americans believe world is warming
    A poll conducted by Reuters has found that 83% of Americans believe in global climate change, compared to 75% last year. That includes 72% of Republicans and 92% of Democrats. It's the #1 concern of 15% of people. 27% believe that humans have nothing to do with it, while 71% figure it's caused at least in part by us. That dwindling percentage of people who don't believe in climate change is more hardened in their position than ever, with 53% of them being certain that there's no such thing as climate change. Let's see how that works out for them.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

17 replies on “Links for October 24th”

  1. While I would disagree that Muller is a “climate skeptic poster child“, this should move the ball further down the field for some people. Then again, even some of the most outspoken critics of the global warming media/industry agree that climate change is real ( among others).

    Now if we could get our presidential candidates on board in acknowledging the issue, we might be able to put this issue behind us.

  2. While I would disagree that Muller is a “climate skeptic poster child“, this should move the ball further down the field for some people.

    I think it’s a fair description, Michael. His 2004 Technology Review article, “Global Warming Bombshell,” made him a hero to climate deniers. That article is dedicated to claiming that Michael Mann and the famous “hockey stick graph” is wrong. Of course, it’s not wrong, and that’s precisely what Muller discovered with his new research. Muller has made a small career for himself out of playing both sides, so that each side can say “see, even this guy agrees with us!” What’s changed here is that he’s actually conducted a study—committed science, you could say—instead of just talking a lot, and the numbers he came up with are the very numbers that he previously claimed were wrong.

  3. I just meant that he’s not the “poster child” for skeptics. That label would be better fitted for someone who had never accepted climate change at all.

    Or maybe I am thinking more of “denial”, rather than “skepticism”.

  4. Question: If Texas were to spin off four new states, how many of them would we be allowed to give back to Mexico?

  5. While it’s mostly funny, Texas splitting up would change the Senate dynamics to such an extent it would tilt the Congress toward the south. The house would be mostly unchanged

  6. Who doubts that the climate is changing? The debate is about the cause, specifically the degree of human impact.

    Knocking down straw men doesn’t help save Algore from further embarrassment.

  7. I. Publius


    What is this crap, anyway? Is it some kind of dig I’m not getting?

  8. Sam: If Texas were to spin off four states, at least one would be indistinguishable from Mexico. One would likely be the Peoples’ Republic of Austin. One would be East Texas, dominated by Houston. Only Dallas-Fort Worth and West Texas would be a total loss.

  9. I don’t know how to make it any clearer: The Daily Mail is worthless. There are very few other media outlets that I’d say that about. The Telegraph I know very little about, so given British tabloids, I tend to avoid their publications that I don’t know about. In the Google News search results I saw Reason, and figured that’d be a publication we could agree on. Here’s what Ron Bailey (disclosure: I have lunch with Ron occasionally) has to say about it:

    Muller’s assertion about recent temperature trends incited skeptics and a member of Muller’s BEST team, Georgia Tech climatologist Judith Curry. An article with the provocative headline, “Scientist who said climate change sceptics had been proved wrong accused of hiding truth by colleague,” in the Sunday Daily Mail (U.K.) reported that Curry was accusing Muller of “trying to mislead the public by hiding the fact that BEST’s research shows global warming has stopped.” The article quotes Curry as asserting, “There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped. To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.”


    However, it seems that Curry has learned a rueful lesson about answering leading questions from reporters. On her Climate Etc. blog she clearly states, “This is NOT a new scandal….There is NO comparison of this situation to Climategate.” In fact, Curry and Muller talked together for 90 minutes earlier this week at the Third Santa Fe Conference on Global and Regional Climate Change. “I have to say that there isn’t much that we disagree on,” reports Curry. “So all in all, I am ok with what is going on in the BEST project.” End of scandal.

    Contacted via email, Curry tells me that she “does not regard their initial findings and analyses as the last word on any of this” but adds, “Their interpretation is not unreasonable.”

    Like I said—The Daily Mail is a worthless rag.

  10. Publius: It is not impossible for the Daily Mail to say something true or agree with a reputable news source — after all, they apparently plagiarize from time to time — but it is very much worth bringing up their worthlessness when someone links to them as a source. It would be irresponsible not to.

  11. Rather the dissing the source and ignoring the article, there does seem to be some controversy concerning the data analysis for the BEST project.

    Remember how it was the National Enquirer that broke the story about John Edward’s affair, the one that all the “respectable” sources ignored?

  12. Rather the dissing the source and ignoring the article, there does seem to be some controversy concerning the data analysis for the BEST project.

    You seem to have missed the two comments prior to your own, David.

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