Friday, May 28, 2010

UVa spits back

UPDATE: Tip o the ear to Rattus Norvegicus. Now stop nibbling.

Another exciting (if you are a lawyer) development in Cuccinelligata, UVa has filed in Civil Court to set aside the Civil Investigative Demands emanating from Richmond, and the Va Att. Gen. den. Some interesting reading

The Civil Investigative Demands ("CIDs") issued to the University by the office of the Attorney General of Virginia (the "Attorney General" threaten these bedrock principles. The CIDs are deficient under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (Va. Code 8.01-2161 et seq. ("FATA"), and their sweeping scope is certain to send a chill through the Commonwealth's colleges and universities. For these reasons, the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, pursuant to Va. Code 8.01-216.8, respectfulluy petition this Court for an order setting aside the CIDs.
Turns out that Cooch did not read the law before he shot into the air
Under FATA, the Attorney General may issue a CID only if (i) the CID states "the nature of the conduct constituting the alleged violation of a false claims law that is under investigation" and (ii) the Attorney General has "reason to believe" that the CID recipient has information about a violation of FATA. The CIDs meet neither requirement

The CIDs do not state the nature of the conduct that could constitute a potential FATA violation., And for good reason. None of the five identified grants appears to implicate FATA. Four of the five grants were awarded by the federal government, not the Commonwealth. FATA extends only to allegations of false claims submitted for Commonwealth funds. The fifth grant was an internal University grant initially awarded in 2001. FATA did not become effective until 2003 and does not apply retroactively. Given these circumstances, there is no objective "reason to believe" that the University has information about a FATA violation.
And yes, UVa thinks the Va AG is playing blogger.
The AG has authority under FATA to issue CIDs in order to investigate potential violations of that statue - to root out fraud on the taxpayers of the Commonwealth. FATA does not authorize the AG to engage in scientific debate or advance the Commonwealth's positions in unrelated litigation about federal environmental policy and regulation.
Giggles

58 comments:

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Good digging, but don't I get a tip 'o the ear?

CapitalClimate said...

For more on the Cooch's legal "standards", see Virginia AG Cuccinelli's Questionable Campaign Contributions and note in particular the horror story in Terry Wolfe's comment.

Anonymous said...

Inconvenient truths, again.

Anonymous said...

Snow Bunny says:

This makes sense. I couldn't see that Cooch presented any evidence of a reason to investigate. His CID didn't go through a court.

If Cooch could do this, any of us could be investigated on a AG's whim. Not what the Constitution intended.

Anonymous said...

Snow Bunny with a couple of other comments:

I note that the Maine GOP platform (which was overrun by TeaPartyers) contained a plank for witchhunts, er, investigations of illegal collusions between government and industry regarding the global warming myth. No coincidence that Cooch did this.

If Cooch got hold of years of emails between 40 scientists, would they have been leaked like the East Anglia emails?

Thanks Eli for this interesting post.

John Mashey said...

1) Rattus: the ear of the Rabett are large, and may hear things faster than you think.

2) All: please recall that Cuccinelli got funding from coal folks (Massey and others), utilities (like Dominion) ... and Koch Industries.

3) And a lot of the tea party stuff was initiated by FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity ... both funded by the Kochs.

Basically, a raft of folks are (mostly unknowingly) fighting hard to move 2 of the top 10 richest Americans up a notch or so...

MORAL: one is tempted to laugh at such antics ... but ALWAYS, ALWAYS follow the money (and the social networks) to get beyond the surface manifestations.

Does *anyone* think that Cuccinelli (and his sidekick Wesley Russell) came up with this on their own? (If you do, I have a selection of bridges available at low prices.)

frank -- Decoding SwiftHack said...

Snow Bunny scribit,

"If Cooch got hold of years of emails between 40 scientists, would they have been leaked like the East Anglia emails?"

Actually I have another question. If Cooch can't legally get hold of the years of e-mails between 40 scientists, will someone try to liberate^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcrack them like the East Anglia e-mails?

-- frank

guthrie said...

John Mashey, what you posted sounds like it fulfils 2 out of the three necessities for fascism that Guerin came up with back in the 30's. All they need now is a demagogic leader who can rouse them into a peak of feeling and publicity, and then things might get even more interesting.
Not that I'm saying everyone involved is a fascist, but the parallels in terms of disgruntled people and funding by big business are very clear.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Guthrie,
Labels like Fascist and Communist are rarely descriptive anymore. What both regimes have in common is that they are kleptocracies, with elaborate mythologies--and persecuted minorities--constructed to hide the thievery.
This was true of all authoritarian regimes from the Nazis to the Rwandan thugs. John is right--keep your eye on the shell with the money under it.

Ken the Cooch is merely a willing stooge. I guarantee that the kleptocrats will provide the demagogic leader even if they have to inject Sarah Palin with steroids to do it. Then we'll all know that it's time for anyone with an IQ above room temperature to leave. America's loss will be Europes gain.

guthrie said...

Well its not so wonderful over here - the thing is in the USA and the EU the kleptocrats have sufficient control that they don't actually need a fascist revolution. Which is kind of handy in that it prevents large scale death and destruction, but also means that, well, we're screwed.

John Mashey said...

Sigh. Nobody wants to buy bridges...

Let's assume the judge rules sensibly on this, i.e., that there was simply no basis for FATA.

Would there be a legal comeback under VA law (abuse of power? Misuse of state funds?) for UVA to file an action demanding Cuccinelli&Russell emails, correspondence? Did someone else hand them the contract#s and list of scientists, did his staff spend time digging them out?

Inquiring bunnies want to know...

Anonymous said...

If the new cap is not successful, the company has said it will look into attaching another blowout preventer to the one that already exists at the wellhead and has not functioned.

Somebody with "Senior Fellow" in his title, name of "Chris", working for a thinktank dedicated to defending the blind idiot hand of the market?

Anonymous said...

To be clear, I have no support for what Cuccinelli is doing. None. It smacks of a good 'ol fashioned witch hunt. While fun, a little dated. Taxpayer dollars at waste on something not remotely approaching fraud.

With that said, Mr. Mashey, why is the mantra "follow the money" only appropriate when discussing big coal and big oil, but fails to be valid when discussing big science i.e. grant money? Or "green" money. If we need to ALWAYS, ALWAYS follow the money, where does it lead us with regards to the study of AGW?

Or is that different because it's in the name of science and scientists are the "good guys" with no personal dog in the hunt?

Interesting double standard if that's the case. Plenty--and by plenty I mean vast sums--of money at stake, and to be followed, on both sides of the fence.

Bill

Marco said...

Bill,

Grant money is not dependent on the outcome of the science. Whether it'll be cooling or warming, investigating climate is of importance. Whether animals are dying out because of too much hunting, pollution, or climate change, it is of importance to investigate.

You can look up grant applications many places, and perhaps you should read some of those. You will find a lot of (granted) applications in climate science that are completely value-free in terms of 'blame'.

Those that claim so much grant money is aimed at AGW are willfully dishonest. The vast majority of money goes to monitoring studies that are of relevance regardless of the presence of climate change or not, and whatever the cause.

And as a scientist myself I can tell you that grant money does not give me any personal money. It allows me to hire people to get more publications (which is nice), but it does not do a damn thing with my personal paycheck.

guthrie said...

Also, outside science, everyone knows that environmentalist groups are about the environment. I've not read about any of them secretly funding things, they'd rather shout loudly about what they've found out or want to tell us about. Whereas there seems to be a lot of money changing hands between people who want to belittle the environmental concerns that people have, yet they don't want you to know that they are being paid to do so, and that it seems in turn to benefit someone.

John Mashey said...

Well, Bill, I actually *have* followed the money in other areas, given that I've sometimes reviewed scientific grant proposals, and spent a *lot* of time over the years with scientists from numerous different disciplines, and this topic arises. If someone's main goal is to get rich, doing a science PhD is about the dumbest thing they can do. About the only rich scientists in the world are those who converted their results to engineering .. or quite science and moved to Wall Street, like many of my old Bell Labs colleagues did.

The problem is that one side, one finds open processes for funding research, and "green" organizations whose names actually reflect what they do, and funded by broad bases.

On the other side, one finds a lot of organizations with a lot of money-laundered funding (from folks like the Kochs and Scaife, ExxonMobil, the tobacco companies), whose names bear no resemblance to what they actually do.

A large fraction of climate anti-science thinktanks have also helped tobacco companies for years, who only stay in business by addicting 12-18-year-olds ... but they at least put American flags or eagles on their websites, which I guess makes it OK. So, if that's the side you want to be with ... go for it, but you really ought to stop being anonymous if you expect anyone to care.

David B. Benson said...

Random comment.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Isn't it interesting that when folks like Bill tell us to follow the money wrt research, they make it so obvious that they haven't bothered to do so.

If they had, they would realize not only that climate scientists ain't getting rich, but also that the vast majority of scientists outside of climate science also accept the consensus, despite the fact that it runs counter to their interest.

Anonymous said...

A stich in time, saves nine...

http://www.futerra.co.uk/about_us/directors

http://www.tomorrowscompany.com/events.aspx

Spend some time in these hemp patches, look around the above sites and see what some people, think about people...(some are Uber's:)-:(some; useful egg-heads.)
This is just a hint, of what has been going on for the last thirt-six years. People with plans, making things happen...

Remember, even the driver is charged; along with the shooter, not that this means anything?...

PS/ It seems like things have slowed down for these folks, since last November. Not as much 'happnin',I wonder why?

Now, I gotta fly---

EliRabett said...

Almost all of the money in climate research goes to satellite observations. Of what remains a bit goes to ship operations. There is not so much in grants.

Anonymous said...

Hello Eli,
They seem to enjoy nice dinners.)

2.4 Annual lecture and subsequent publication on climate change
Key Partner: BP and Generation Investment Management
This year’s Annual Lecture was delivered by Vice President Al Gore on climate change. The event was
attended by 300 people with backgrounds ranging from business and government to the media and
NGOs, and a number of those who attended have already described changes in policy and behaviour
stimulated by the lecture.
Below are two quotes taken from feedback we received following the event:
“Congratulations on your exceptionally successful Tomorrow’s Company annual lecture. Al Gore made a
truly compelling presentation and offered a strong challenge to his listeners.
Thank you for the invitation to this event. It was a unique opportunity to engage with one of the most
pressing problems of the age, and to hear one of the most eloquent advocates of environmental action.
Well done!”
“I wanted to write and thank you for hosting myself and my colleagues. Al Gore was an inspiration and,
as we continue to work on our commitment to becoming Carbon Neutral this year, this has given us all
significant food for thought.”
We took the opportunity to discuss the issues raised by Al Gore with the early members of the
Tomorrow’s Global Company inquiry at a dinner immediately following the lecture.
The second inquiry publication - on ‘Climate change – the role of global companies’ - was published in
May 2006.

It was the: BP as a "Key Partner", that gave me a smile. I have been reading up on my homework and it just blows my mind. Talk about mumbo-jumbo, wow! All these people talk about is 'agenda'. Who are these people?... Like Sig said, on Deadliest Catch, " What I want; are robots..." Read their annual reports, they just go on & on... They are being funded---for a purpose. If you cannot see this Eli, what is the point of the hole, CO2 exercise? How would you discribe these people, their actions and words. Their hoped for outcomes, 'sustainability' for the 'unwashed'? THEY, being the Uber's? Of course. These are the folks that were going into carbon trading. I just bumped into these through the FOIA files, you know there has to be much more going on with hardly a paper trail at all. What's next; you tell me. It is not '67', anymore, that is for sure.

Anonymous said...

I saw and heard, one of the drillers say,"we had rubber seal mixed with the mud and I told the boss but he said keep on drilling. I went man, that is part of the BOP, it's part of the seals, thats not good..." Green BP, right on!

http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/homepage/STAGING/local_assets/bp_homepage/html/rov_stream.html

What a mess we've gotten our selves into now, Ole`...

J Bowers said...

The juicy insider stuff starts around 1:52 in the embedded video.

BP Fails Booming School 101
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/05/bp-fails-booming-school.php

Anonymous said...

0915H PST, they are cutting the pipe on live BP feed...

TimChase said...

In his responsed to Bill, John Mashey wrote, "On the other side, one finds a lot of organizations with a lot of money-laundered funding (from folks like the Kochs and Scaife, ExxonMobil, the tobacco companies), whose names bear no resemblance to what they actually do... A large fraction of climate anti-science thinktanks have also helped tobacco companies for years, who only stay in business by addicting 12-18-year-olds ..."

Bill, here is a list that with just a little bit of searching I was able to put together of 32 organizations involved in both the tobacco and AGW disinformation campaigns -- with links to the supporting material.

Comment 855, Unforced Variations
http://www.realclimate.org/...

Many of the front organizations that are being used in the AGW disinformation campaign were also used in campaigns where science had uncovered certain facts that industry found inconvenient, e.g., regarding asbestos, dioxin, acid rain and CFCS.

Anonymous said...

OK then. Double standard it is.

To be clear, I never stated there aren't bad people at work to discredit AGW, or anything else for that matter. There are plenty of interest groups and their dollars to go around across all topics of value--be it monetary or political. My argument is that there are numerous careers which rely on funding, and enormous sums of money in the world of carbon trading. It is foolish and naive to state there is not a monetary component to the study of AGW. It's not pushed by the "evil" companies--oil, tobacco, coal etc.--but the dollars are significant nonetheless. Or you really think the science is just too pure which is also silly given how many AGW proponents tell me how cutthroat and competitive science tends to be? That those here seem to think it cuts only one way is telling.

And Mr. Mashey, before you question someone for being anonymous, and that fact altering your ability to care, please do remember you are posting on a site run by someone who posts anonymously. Whatever does that say about what "Eli" and his musings? Presumably you know who he is, but not everyone does. By your logic, those people should not care about or value his opinion.

Bill

Brian said...

John Mashey - re blowback on Cuccinelli, I've blogged that he could be vulnerable to an ethics complaint to the VA Bar Association, with the theoretical power to disbar him.

I hadn't mentioned this other possibility, embarrassing to the AG and somewhat easier to get but less important - UVa could ask the presiding judge to sanction the AG's office, including repaying UVa its attorney fees.

dhogaza said...

"My argument is that there are numerous careers which rely on funding, and enormous sums of money in the world of carbon trading. It is foolish and naive to state there is not a monetary component to the study of AGW. "

Yeah, just a soon as carbon trading becomes an established fact, climate scientists are going to get rich by becoming carbon day traders.

Anonymous said...

dhogaza:

Not heard of the CCX?

http://www.chicagoclimatex.com/

Seems like an established fact to me albeit a losing proposition at this time. Perhaps you meant "profitable" carbon trading?

Regardless, more power to them if they do. There would nothing illegal or untoward about it. Which has nothing to do with the fact that there is a lot of money at play on both sides. Trillions upon trillions which is kinda the reason why some feel like things like Cap and Trade--foisted upon the people as part of the AGW scare--might not be the latest, greatest thing.

No, like it or not, there is a very big financial component to what has become one of the largest points of political contention of the last 20 years. Scientists would prefer to distance themselves from that aspect. I understand. But as long as the science you work on has such huge potential ramifications--both natural and political--there will always be those who try to manipulate the message for gain.

I understand some here have real passion for this issue and the environment in general. I share some of those sentiments myself. Just don't tell me to ALWAYS, ALWAYS follow the money, and at the same time that there is no financial motivation to AGW, only purity and good will. It really isn't that simple. If it were, this blog, and others like it on both sides, would likely not exist.

Bill

Anonymous said...

Bill,

Eli is not truly anonymous. He was one of the authors of Halpern et al. (2010) and has made no secret about it. Google is your friend, you figure it out. And Tamino is not truly anon either.

What is it with the WUWT crowd? Do they believe everything that Anthony tells them? It would seem so.

"and at the same time that there is no financial motivation to AGW, only purity and good will. It really isn't that simple. If it were, this blog, and others like it on both sides, would likely not exist.

What are your implying? I'm pretty sure that Eli gets no money in return for doing running this blog, certainly not financial benefits. Nor does John Cook of SS, although he recently was forced to accept donations because running SS is cutting into his work time-- sounds very honorable. We do not know for sure what McI, for example, gets in terms of payment for running CA. He has a tip jar, and gets paid to speak at HeartLand, and is affiliated with think tanks....oops, I am following the money and look where it is going ;) Can we audit his tip jar?

I do concur that some people are getting involved in carbon trading or carbon offsets for the money alone. To think otherwise would be naive. But those who suggest that scientists are researching AGW and involved in climate science and related disciplines to make heaps of money is ludicrous. Here in Canada, unless you are a special research chair, research grants are not used for professors' salaries, rather their salaries are paid by the uni. The students do get paid some funds, and educating and training the next generation of scientists (and academics) is IMHO a very good use of those funds.

MapleLeaf


PS: After the latest disgraceful shenanigans by denialists Peter Riley and "Poptech" over at Greenfyre the other day, it is no bloody wonder that people, me included, choose to use monikers.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Bill,
Your tale of riches to be made off of global warming is a red herring. It is not the scientists--you know, the ones actually doing the peer-reviewed research--that stand to make money. So I will amend John Mashey's admonition:

Follow the peer reviewed research AND follow the money. Since the two are disjoint, that should give you a pretty good idea what is going on.

Ian Forrester said...

I am the person MapleLeaf is referring to in his comment about use of monikers. I have always used my real name while making comments on blogs. However, I have recently been subjected to stalking and harassment by Peter Ridley and Poptech on Greenfyre and elsewhere.

They have trawled the internet for information about me and finally Poptech made a post which included some of my professional and business activities, my hobbies, my phone numbers (both home and business), my address and a Google map and photo of my house.

Unfortunately that blog seems to be un-moderated and rudderless at this time and the information is still up even though I e-mailed Greenfyre and asked it to be removed.

Thus it is not surprising that people will not reveal their real identities when the AGW deniers are showing themselves to be such nasty and moral-less creatures.

Anonymous said...

Maple,

I know who he is. That isn't the point. The point is, don't call me out for being anonymous when my name is Bill and his isn't Eli. If everyone knows, why bother?

And no, I am not implying that Eli makes a profit from this site or at least not one that isn't caused by people coming to it. To be honest, I have no idea if he makes a thin dime. Nor do I fault him for it, or care, if he does.

In addition, I am not even remotely saying that climate scientists are getting rich. But they have jobs that could easily not exist were there not so much political interest in this issue. Let me ask this. If climate science were to receive zero funding starting tomorrow, how many people would be out of a job? In my experience, people like to have jobs and will to just about anything to keep them. It's become an industry of its own, more so than, say, cancer research which doesn't have the political clout. It's the politics, and the way the science is used to motivate ideologies that I have issue with.

All I am saying is there is a great deal of money to be had either way, so that cannot be ignored on one side and named the heart of the issue on the other.

Finally, I am not a part of the "WUWT crowd." Though I have read the site, I can find plenty of clowns there--and certainly far more idiots than here--who don't know their head from their proverbial. Which is to say I am not, by a long shot, in agreement with what all that is posted there. Some perhaps. But I can say that about this site as well. Believe it or not, there actually are some reasonable people out there who don't pick sides. It's not a black and white world.

Long and short, you can say it's all about the science and all for the betterment of humanity, but it, unfortunately, isn't anymore. The debate has been hijacked and you cannot simply turn a blind eye. There are huge stakes on both sides, not just for the profiteering bad guys. If there weren't, we probably wouldn't be having this discussion.

Bill

Anonymous said...

a_ray,

See my reply to Maple. I am not trying to make this into "the scientists want to get rich so they honk AGW to do it." I understand, quite well actually, how the process works. And I understand that the vast majority of scientists are in it for the right reasons, and because they are passionate. I am only saying there is much more to it than you all seem to want to acknowledge. You want tit to be purely about the science. But that ship sailed about 10 years ago.

Anyway, I am not your enemy, nor a denialist, nor someone with an axe to grind. Just a curious bystander. Skeptical of the hyperbole, not of the fact that humans can and do damage the planet. Only of the degree.

Mr. Forrester,

I find it unfortunate that you would be subjected to such tactics. But I suspect you must be someone, unlike myself, who is noteworthy in this discussion? I honestly don't know. But I understand why you would be leery of using you name. That said, the other option would be to not post at all.

Bill

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Bill asks, "If climate science were to receive zero funding starting tomorrow, how many people would be out of a job?"

Ah, yet more red herring? Bill, this may surprise you, but if the crisis were cancelled tomorrow, most climate scientists would still have jobs! There are plenty of reasons for wanting to understand climate quite independent of anthropogenic causation of the current warming epoch. In fact, most climate scientists are not devoted to studying CO2 precisely because its contribution is already quite well known.

What is more, there are thousands of scientists like me--physicists, chemists, geologists, geophysicists...--who actually stand to be hurt by the reality of climate change. And yet, not one single scientific professional or honorific organization has taken a position against the consensus.

Frankly, I would love to see the issue vanish. The evidence suggests it won't.

dhogaza said...

"They have trawled the internet for information about me and finally Poptech made a post which included some of my professional and business activities, my hobbies, my phone numbers (both home and business), my address and a Google map and photo of my house."

Ouch, sorry to hear that Ian.

Over on dotearth a few months ago, someone "outed" me complete with names of a few former clients who used to work for a large NGO I've done some contract work for.

Andy cleaned it up when I brought it to his intention.

Nasty shit.

Not that my former clients (who happen to be good friends, as well) or I particularly care, it's just the thought that goes behind that kind of action that's creepy as hell.

andrew adams said...

Bill,

The problem with dubious and misleading research funded by oil companies and right wing think tanks is not, per se, that it is funded by oil companies and right wing think tanks but that it is dubious and misleading. That is what prompts people to start following the money.
If Exxon Mobil were to fund a study which genuinely cast doubt on AGW and stood up to proper scientific scrutiny then no one could credibly argue against it on the grounds that it was funded by Exxon Mobil. But when people wilfully spread disinformation it is not surprising if others will want to investgate whether there are interested parties in the background.
But the research produced by all of this grant money we keep hearing about does on the whole stand up to proper scientific scrutiny, so there is no prima facie case to question the motives of those either producing or funding it, even if in the latter's case we could identify a plausible motive for wanting to fund tainted research, which for the life of me I am unable to do.

Anonymous said...

ray,

Not a red herring. Scientists would have to find other avenues for funding. Not that they couldn't, but there would be FAR less dollars to share among the group were the issue to disappear. Just like it would be tough for cancer research to continue without funding from NIH, HHMI et al.

Some might be hurt, but that too cuts both ways. And I never said it changed the consensus opinion.

I am not saying that $$ is the reason for the research, only that there is much at stake and to state otherwise is silly. There are entire nations whose future may depend on the decisions made based on the science. Not just companies, countries.

We have strayed from the topic. All I am saying is don't tell me to follow the money when it pertains to big oil, but not when it pertains to the Gores and Strongs of the world who are the face of this issue--like it or not--and also stand to profit greatly. I know you would prefer Al was far from this. You must. But that can't be changed either, at least in the court of public opinion. Most scientists I talk to would prefer he never stuck his mug into this whole matter given his hypocrisy, but what is done is done.

I live a very low-impact lifestyle, so changes won't affect me much. Don't drive much. 2 tanks of gas a month, tops. Work at home. So I have no axe to grind. But I do represent the non-scientific (to an extent as my business is consulting with emphasis on scientific instrumentation) community who still sees mostly the political side of the debate rather than the straight scientific side.

I really don't know how you get back out in front of this and make it an issue people think is untainted. Baby steps instead of giant leaps? Perhaps the oil disaster will open some eyes. Probably not though.

It's an uphill battle and the current methods aren't working which means other way need to be found. See posts 51, 52 and 55 here at Deltoid...

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/05/monckton_is_wrong.php#comments

These comments--and perhaps others, I haven't read them all--reflect what I am trying to say pretty well. And funny enough, one would seem to be MapleLeaf from above. The caveat is I don't agree that Gore was as good a spokesman as Jakerman seems to think. As I said, too much hypocrisy and the impression that he had much to gain financially from his efforts doesn't make for a trustworthy spokesman.

I am all for changing the way we live, but the concept of changing the world in a month, or a year, or even a decade is simply too daunting for most people to grasp.

Bill

John Mashey said...

For example, "Eli Rabett", tamino, ThingsBreak are clear, identifiable pseudonyms, mechanisms that actually did exist before the Internet.
Pseudonymity and anonymity are not identical, although they can overlap.

I know 2 of the 3 real identities, hardly well-hidden secrets, although G&T seemed to think it a great coup to discover that of the Rabett.

Virtual identities build up histories over time, especially when (as these do) they all run blogs as well as posting elsewhere. It is sometimes helpful to know real identities, but virtual ones build their own reputation.

THIS IS HARDLY NEW.

Those familiar with American history might recognize the famous "Publius" of the Federalist Papers. A bit earlier, Samuel Adams is reputed to have had 25 different pseudonyms. (Well, he was a bit over-the-top, maybe he was a pioneer sock-puppeteer. I once saw a Samuel Adams beer poster in a "British" pub, and I asked the manager if he knew who Sam Adams really was, but he just thought he made beer... I explained that Adams was probably the fiercest anti-British guy in the Revolutionary War, such that Franklin and co sometimes had to calm him down...))

But online, "bill" or "bob" or "Sue"...are totally-useless handles, whose opinions have (at-best) zero credibility. I.e., if people got a wrong-number phone-call from "bob" offering his opinions about anything, who would ever listen?

Of course, some real names are recognizable or even actually unique (mine is, or very close), but others are just as anonymous as an unadorned "bill" or "bob".
"Bob Smith" may be someone's real name, but without some disembiguation, it is useless as a differentiable identity.

SO:
Eli rabett & tamino are pseudonyms, but not really anonymous.
ThingsBreak is a pseudonym, and (as far as I know) anonymous.
Bob Smith is not a pseudonym, but by itself, might as well be anonymous.
"bill" or "bob" are anonymous, and about as useful as posting as "Anonymous" here, a practice of which I complain now and then.

If somebody actually thinks anyone should ever pay even an iota of attention to their opinions, they can develop and use a pseudonym like many others do, hopefully picking a unique one. That psudonym can build a virtual reputation, over time, just as people do in the real world.
(I ignore all the usual authentication issues, and fact that some people may well pull a Sam Adams...)

As I've often said:
IUOUI:
Ignore Unsupported Opinions of Unidentifiable Individuals.

Such opinions are at best worthless. Why would anyone ever care about the *opinions* of someone who will not even bother to establish an identifiable, hopefully Googleable long-term pseudonym to which credibility (or lack thereof) can be attached?

guthrie said...

I'm reading "The americans - the national experience" by Daniel J Boorstin just now. Old, but good, as far as I can tell.
It seems that doing what Al Gore has been doing is one of the things which built the west, i.e. boosterism, talking up something out of which you will make money, but also plenty of other people will make money, and jobs and entire new cities will result which was a good thing.
But it seems such behaviour is not allowed these days in America, according to Bill.

And you know, I kind of sympathise with not allowing it, because I had an old fashioned (for the 80's) Scottish upbringing where such talk would have been frowned upon, and a century ago such talk would have had you ostracised form many walks of society.

Maybe someone should tell the USA that its time it stopped talking pretty and actually did something? Yet I get the impression that is what Gore was doing, so what exactly is so wrong with seing that something needs to be done and positioning yourself to make money from it? I thought that was the american way? Work out what is going to happen and make sure you are there first?

Anonymous said...

Guthrie,

Apples and oranges. There is a difference in finding a problem, and profiting off the solution, and creating fear based on a perceived problem which may or may not manifest itself sometime in the future, and profiting from it (and yes I know you all disagree with the "perceived" part of that statement, but to many regular folk, that's just what it is). There is a difference when the person who stands to profit is directly involved in creating political policy from which he will make money. That is more akin to lobbying. If it were purely business, some might call it a conflict of interest. When the person making the most noise also happens to be the person who will make the most money, that raises a red flag. The faces of this issue should be as untainted by private motivation as humanly possible. That goes for both sides.

Mr. Mashey,

Wow. So many rules. Thought at least posting using my real name would allow for consistency if nothing else and perhaps the impression I am attempting to be forthright and not a troll. Please let me know how to make my name blue and fancy so I can have my opinion treated as being worthwhile.

Opinions of anonymous are/have "at best" worthless/zero credibility? Why bother with the qualifications, if you can call them that? How about "if I don't know who you are, and I disagree, your opinion is worthless to me?" Funny that you only put stock into those you know on, of all places, a website. But I digress. I don't know you Mr. Mashey, but I respect your opinion. Even if it's wrong. Which is not to say it is. But alas, nobody is right all the time.

Bill Walsh
US American
Map Owner

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Bill,
I can only assume from your comments that you are not in a technical--or at least scientific field. If you were, you would knot that smart folks who know how to use numbers are in demand--always.

Do you really think climate research funding would dry up if we didn't have this crisis? There would still be ENSO and other quasi-periodic variations, the effects of volcanoes, the effects of aerosols, trends in monsoons and drought and on and on. Contrary to what you seem to believe, climate science funding has hardly sky-rocketed. The past 8 years only saw two new climate science satellites funded--and only one dealt directly with climate change. CRU is run on a shoestring with a staff of only 13!

Look at what has happened when other science projects were cancelled. The SSC? Well that one scored a direct hit on me. Now I'm doing research at NASA--and making about twice what I would have as a particle physicist. And most of my colleagues just went to Fermilab or to Europe and are working on the LHC.

Believe me, Bill. Nobody's job is on the line that wouldn't be on the line anyway.

Look at the numbers:

http://newsinitiative.org/story/2008/12/13/tracking_climate_science_funding_in

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Bill, you know the way to gain credibility in this arena: learn the science. That is, after all, what it is about.

Have you ever gone to a conference like AGU where climate is part of the fare? Do you realize how little of the discussion of climate at scientific conferences centers on anthropogenic climate change?

Just for fun, go to a nearby University library and look at some of the journals on climatology. I bet you will find fewer than 50% of the papers deal directly with anthropogenic issues.

Learn how science is done and why it works. Learn the subject matter. It is not beyond your ability, and there are many who would help you do so--myself included.

Deech56 said...

Ian F. Mike K is on Facebook and has a wall post at least as recent as this past Monday. I sent him a message and hopefully he will see it.

guthrie said...

Bill, it sounds like we are not a million miles apart politically, but differ on the realities and dangers of climate change.
Furthermore, your characterisation of apples and oranges is not accurate, insofar as lobbying, speechifying, creating fear and hope, are exactly the behaviours I am talking about. But since you believe its all rubbish you think its about creating fear, whereas I think its about right and therefore it is about warning people of what is likely to happen if things continue this way.

amoeba said...

Ian, dhogaza,
Surely this amounts to cyberstalking. It sounds like it should be reported to the authorities. It also sounds uncannily like what I believe Watts practices.

Very nasty. Perhaps it's the broadening of the intimidate high-profile scientists campaign, to include high-profile posters who post particularly perspicacious remarks. I guess your messages are hitting home. You should keep up the good work, but certainly keep a record of any unusual activity with screen-shots.

I'm sure it's teaching you to suck eggs, but surely it would be worth setting up searches that would automatically notify you, should your personal details be posted on the web.

Anonymous said...

Guthrie,
Guthrie.

You are correct, we are likely not far apart politically. And yes, we obviously disagree on the level of alarm necessary. I am not a big believer in fear as a motivator, and that seems to be the method the AGW theorists prefer. I understand why to an extent, but there comes a point where it becomes too much. People get a level of "alarmism burn out" because the repercussions are too far out to be tangible. People then feel like they have been duped whether that is the case or not, and the result is that you create even more indifference.

As to the apples and the oranges, the difference between lobbying and boosterism is the position of the person doing the cheer leading. Though Wikipedia is not the greatest, in this case I think it does well...

Boosterism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boosterism

Lobbying: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobbying

BTW, I don't think it's ALL rubbish by a long shot but it does seem to be a lot about creating fear. And again, I understand that some feel that is the only way to get the message across. I just think that method has the potential to do more harm to the overall cause than good in the long run.

Lastly, to amoeba's point, speaking with an attorney friend last night, the topic of releasing people's info onto the web without their consent came up. Obviously there are issues due to the borderless internet, but there is a case to be made in the States if one could compile proof. Given the topic, one could make the argument they feel endangered and fear for family etc.

Bottom line, it's a slippery slope because there are no specific laws in play. If the guy posting the info is in Greece, and you are in Oklahoma, who has jurisdiction, and how do you enforce any law?

Perhaps Gore should have put some better rules in place when he invented this thing. (sarcasm folks)

Bill Walsh

Anonymous said...

Life can get ugly; grap the Pepto & take a seat. Got your Barff-bag ready, here we go...

http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/incident_response/STAGING/local_assets/html/Skandi_ROV2.html

Feeling a little grreeen myself.(

Anonymous said...

Eli,

This clearly shows position of the Universtity regarding this CID. Well stated. I have questions about CIDs in general.

First: The newspapers keep calling the CID a "Civil" Investigative Demand. I followed the link you gave on the Daily Progress blog. I thought I read its' title to be "Criminal" Investigative Demand. Did I read this right?

Second: Given the conditions you describe about valid CIDs, are there further restrictions on CIDs? For instance, if the Attorney General woke tomorrow morning with a thought I might J walk sometime that day, could he write one up and investigate me?

22901

Anonymous said...

To the comments from Bill about stalking.

The stalking and abuse you experienced is the other side of what the Attorney General is doing. It stems from an attitude that the rule of law and the norms of civil human interaction don't apply when making ones opinion prevail. Talk radio says shout down anyone who disagrees with you. The Attorney General says investigate people regardless of information a crime has been committed.

I agree the terms facism and communism have little meaning these days. The notion Might Makes Right is just a dangerous as it always has been. There remain individuals in our society and in our seats of government who don't seem to see the danger.

22901

EliRabett said...

It's a Civil Investigative Demand (see the link to the response). Briefly put it is Cuccinelli's position that he can make any demand he wants of any ham sandwich, the UVa's that he cannot. This, as they say, is popcorn time.

BTW, to add some spice, evidently Greenpeace has filed an FOI request for Pat Michael's email when he was at UVa (probably also for the George Mason stuff). UVa has evidently said that it will give up what it has under the FOI law which is a different law than what Cuccinelli filed under.

Eli's reading is that FOI says UVa must comply, but who knows what has been retained.

dhogaza said...

Nice. Greenpeace International certainly has the resources to turn the FOI tables on these clowns, after all they own and operate their own small navy. Greenpeace USA isn't as large but sizable enough.

dhogaza said...

Amoeba ...

"I'm sure it's teaching you to suck eggs, but surely it would be worth setting up searches that would automatically notify you, should your personal details be posted on the web."

Well, in practice I don't really care, as I've used my handle since the mid-nineties. I use my handle because I like it (it's a kind of trap used to catch raptors - I've trapped hawks for banding and in some cases satellite telemetry since 1989).

My personal info's available on my photo website, which is not hard at all to find.

So the creepy part is that someone has this mindset of intimidating people in this way, that their lack of ethics and morals leads to this behavior. Not that I care if my data's out there.

You are right when you say that Watts does exactly this. He's more subtle about it, in my case calling me "bird man" and describing me as a photographer so that I'd known he'd found me (google dhogaza yourself to see how hard that is to do!). Veiled threats to expose my true identity, in other words.

He never did, he banned me instead ...

Mal Adapted said...

[Dilbert [Ray] Space]:

Thanks for the link to climate science funding. I've been looking for that kind of quantitative accounting, specifically as a counter to the tu-quoque calumnies of "skeptics" like Bill.

"If we need to ALWAYS, ALWAYS follow the money, where does it lead us with regards to the study of AGW? "

Bill, do you really think the money available for climate research is fairly matched against the profits of fossil-fuel producers? In 2008, the high point for climate research funding, federal agencies granted a total of $1.94G for climate research. ExxonMobil, OTOH, made $22.6G in profits, in just the first half of 2008. They've given $100M's annually to oppose any action on AGW, including $10M's in grants to a few "skeptical" scientists. Don't take my word for it, you can look these numbers up for yourself, using sources you can easily locate.

Bill, if you were a climate scientist looking out for the main chance, who would you work for?

J Bowers said...

Mal Adapted said: "Thanks for the link to climate science funding. I've been looking for that kind of quantitative accounting, specifically as a counter to the tu-quoque calumnies of "skeptics" like Bill. "

I believe it's important to know what the money is actually spent on. I have read that a good proportion is actually spent on things like Argo bouys, and not on salaries or what would be normally termed "research funding". Correct me, someone, if I'm mistaken.

Mal Adapted said...

J Bowers: "I believe it's important to know what the money is actually spent on. "

To be sure. I'd really like to see a detailed, apples-to-apples accounting of who gets how much for climate research, to make clear how much the financial incentives favor denial. I can't say I'm up to the task, however 8^(.

Anonymous said...

Now we have them.

BARACK PETROLEUM
Tue Jun 15 2010 19:09:43 ET

BP America President and Chairman Lamar McKay: “BP supports an economy-wide price for carbon based on fair and equitable application across all sectors and believes that market based solutions, like a cap and trade or linked-fee, are the best solutions to manage GHG emissions.” (Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 6/15/10)

Shell President Marvin E. Odum: “That is why Shell supports legislating a solution to energy and climate issues as a means to create a secure U.S. energy future, reduce dependence on foreign oil and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. This requires setting a price for carbon, and we recommend cap and trade.” (Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 6/15/10)

ConocoPhillips CEO James J. Mulva: “Another key element of a comprehensive energy policy should be federal action to address global climate change. As you are aware, ConocoPhillips supports passage of a comprehensive federal law establishing a clear and transparent price for carbon.” (Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 6/15/10)

Anonymous said...

“What happened to all the stakeholders — Congress, environmental groups, industry, the government — all stakeholders involved were lulled into a sense of what has turned out to be false security,” David J. Hayes, the deputy interior secretary, said in an interview.