Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lying figures

Eli recently wondered over to Jen's place where she was celebrating New Year's 2272 in Tuvalu with a close friend. Don't ask and Eli won't tell. Tuvalu, of course, is a bunch of reefs and small islands with a maximum height above sea level of about 5 m today. It is a small place and getting smaller as seal levels rise. Tuvalu is really up against it, being in an area of the South Pacific that is experiencing rapid sea level rise as shown in the map to the right from the University of Colorado Sea Level Change site. The data is from the Topex/Poseidon satellite. The green circle is ~Tuvalu

This is an important issue in Australia and New Zealand as the islanders are looking to get off to somewhere else in the neighborhood, and there are lots of the usual suspects furiously blaming the Tuvaluans for Tuvalu's problems. Well suffice it to say that there are barrels of red herrings in the sea, and strawmen on land, but one in particular attracted Eli's attention the claim originating with the dynamic duo of Baliunas and Soon in Pacific Magazine (2002) and trotted out by Janama.

Check the Science
Well, rather than rely on Brown's "sense" of sea level rise, let's check the instruments. As it turns out, estimates of globally averaged sea level rise in the 20th century are irrelevant since Tuvalu's local sea level change is very different from the globally averaged change. There are three estimates of sea level changes for Tuvalu. The first is a satellite record showing that the sea level has actually fallen four inches around Tuvalu since 1993 when the hundred-million dollar international TOPEX/POSEIDON satellite project record began. Second comes from the modern instruments recording tide gauge data since 1978. There the record for Tuvalu shows ups and downs of many inches over periods of years. For example, the strong El Nino of 1997-98 caused the sea level surrounding Tuvalu to drop just over one foot.
Now that looks fairly strong oh bunnies, but, as Eli tells you RTFR and look at the continuation where this riddle will be answered by the Interactive Sea Level Wizard.

The data for Tuvalu, 179 Longitude 8S Latitude, shows that
the 1998 El Nino caused the sea height to fall by lots of centimeters. Eli thought it would be fun to calculate linear fits for different periods starting in 1993. Take a look to the right. The rise is a fall from 1999 to 2002, but after that rapidly settles in at a constant +0.75 cm/yr. Writing in 2002, with a short 8 year record with a huge drop in 1998/99 one could say that the satellite record showed a net drop in sea level. Many have done the same thing with global temperature, starting fits in the extremely warm year of 1998. As tamino says, garbage is forever and Sally delivers nice steaming packages.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Church of Global Cooling

Eli early recognized the inverse correlation between global warming and the number of pirates. Lovely new idea has arisen, that global cooling always occurs where Al Gore speaks, since Al usually speaks all over this planet and not too often from L3, this at least the abscissa seems reasonable. Numerous apostates have been busily testing this new theory and a companion yet expressing some dissatisfaction: Joe Romm (worse than amateur) and Dave Roberts (jaw-droppingly moronic) and Tim Lambert and Wonkroom (toxic stupidy) being the few reactions Eli would expose the bunnies to.
Clearly this was a gift of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to mankind. Recently a

UPDATE: Politico publishes a letter from Russ Walker and David Roberts and explains themselves

Giving voice to the losing side of a national debate is often fraught with peril. It requires navigating a terrain littered with grudges, slights, insults and hard feelings.

To do that without becoming ensnared requires extraordinary care. In Politico’s case, we slipped.

The article in question was never intended to offer a sweeping examination of the scientific support for or against climate change.

It set out only to provide an update on the last hold-outs against global warming given the dramatic shifts — both electorally and in public opinion — against their position.

Politico found them still feisty and readying for a fight despite their diminishing odds.

That’s the part we got right.

Here’s where we slipped: The headline overstated what was in the story. That’s a chronic problem in the industry that might have been mitigated if the article had plainly stated its narrow intent, which it didn’t. It also should have included the challenges to the cited scientific data.
However, on behalf of his good buddy, the Flying Spaghetti Monster who originally discovered the relationship (and has a much nicer graphic), Rabbi Rabett would like to point out that the recent upsurge in piracy (~80 events involving several pirates each) off Somalia reaffirms the original hypothesis as can be seen in the graphic below. This disproves Ken's lemma that
Some denialists dispute the reduction in number of pirates theory of global warming, claiming that pirate numbers have increased, not realising that criminals in speedboats using automatic weapons are not pirates. Pirates are characterised by sailing ships and carrying cutlasses. Hooks instead of hands and parrots are optional.
James had it right
Suggesting that Global Warming is caused by anything other than the decline in Pirates is HERESY against the FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER and you will be BURNED. Only FSM-ism can explain the recent decline in global warming - it's due to the escalation of PIRACY in SOMALIA. You can't ARGUE with the FACTS.

UPDATE: The IPCC (International Pirate Climate Council) points out that there may be many more pirates than Eli thought, a couple of thousand or so, although various Bayesean's suggest that the ignorant prior should be that everyone is a pirate, at least those on Wall Street and we have our doubts about Detroit. Thus, Rabett Labs has ammended our graph above, however this means that the global warming sensitivity to climate is now in doubt.

Also the Bunnysoft Program team comments (see Eli told you to read the comments):
It's all related to an increase in "R".

As pirates increase, so does "R" (also sometimes spelled "Arrr") and as "R" increases, so does the correlation between pirates and global warming (and pirates and everything else, for that matter)

Everyone who visits Anthony watts' site understands this.
Genuflect and pass the grated romano.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hair on fire

The International Energy Agency has issued its World Energy Outlook 2008. WEO 2008 stresses the necessity of controlling CO2 emissions. The number one conclusion of the report is that

Current energy trends are patently unsustainable - socially, environmentally and economically

The IEA has been introducing the report around the world. There is video of some of these (US, Sweden, Norway ) The bottom line is

Current energy trends are patently unsustainable —socially,
environmentally, economically

Rising global consumption of fossil fuels is still set to drive up greenhouse-gas emissions and global temperatures, resulting in potentially catastrophic and irreversible climate change. The projected rise in emissions in the Reference Scenario, in which no change in government policies is assumed, puts us on a course of doubling the concentration of those gases in the atmosphere to around 1000 parts per million of CO2-equivalent by the end of this century. This would lead to an eventual global temperature increase of up to 6°C.

Without a change in policy, the world is on a path for a rise in global temperature of up to 6°C. WEO-2008 assesses the implications for the energy sector of efforts to put the world onto a different trajectory, by means of a 550 Policy Scenario, in which greenhouse gas concentration is stabilised at 550 ppm CO2-equivalent and temperature rises by about 3°C, and of a 450 Policy Scenario which results in a 2°C increase.

To avoid "abrupt and irreversible" climate change we need a major decarbonisation of the world’s energy system

Mitigating climate change will substantially improve energy security

The present economic worries do not excuse back-tracking or delays in taking action to address energy challenge

And oh yes, adaptation, new technology and mitigation are all needed right now. FWIW to meet the goal of 550 ppm requires an additional investment of $4.1 trillion over the no policy change scenario , but yields $7 trillion in reduced costs from increased efficiency. 450 ppm requires an additional investment $9.3 trillion in investment and claws back only $5.8 trillion in efficiency increases.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

So that's where the junk mail came from

Rabett readers are without doubt familiar with the Oregon Petition Project. As a matter of fact, Eli himself has been rumored to have written some about it. Greenfyre points to an article from eSkeptic by Gary J. Whittenberger which is worth reading for itself, but answers an interesting question about Arthur Robinson's provocation

....we must first examine how the petition itself was distributed and how signatures were collected. To a sample of persons on the mailing list of American Men and Women of Science,3 Robinson sent a petition packet consisting of a petition card, a return envelope, a cover letter from Seitz, and a 12-page review of the literature on the human-caused global warming hypothesis authored by the two Robinsons and Willie Soon.4
Arthur Robinson not only requested that recipients return the signed petition card, if they agreed with its assertions, but also arranged for the recipients to distribute petition packets to their colleagues. He also enabled other persons to obtain petition packets by simply requesting them through his website, and this procedure ultimately produced five percent of the returned petition cards. Thus, signed petitions were solicited in three different ways.
Robinson claims that
Signed petition cards were accepted only if they came from persons who had “obtained formal educational degrees at the level of Bachelor of Science or higher in appropriate scientific fields”.5
although there is clear reason to doubt that

Eli can now rest easy and let the bunnies discuss this further

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shoals of red herrings, or Eli goes on a snark hunt

Seeking inspiration and giggles, eli oft goes on a snark hunt looking for stuff to blog on. Mostly he has to swim through a sea of red herrings, painful mis-thinking, politics masquerading as science and your general collection of bad attitudes, not to mention classic paranoia. What the bunny has learned by reading Deltoid is that you have to stand on your head and live in Australia to get the quality stuff so he took the express INTERTUBE down there and discovered Australian Climate Madness where Simon from Sidney demonstrates that he was out of the room when they were talking about multiplication and division

The latest advert for the Toyota Prius claims that by driving one for 10 years or 100,000km, you can save 7.5 tonnes of CO2 as compared to a regular petrol-engined car.

Let's put that into perspective. If you drove a Prius for, say, 70,000 years, you would save the same amount of CO2 that a large coal-fired power station generates in a day.

Moral of the story: don't fool yourself into thinking that driving a butt-ugly hybrid car is anything but a feel-good gesture.
Having made an excellent point about closing that large coal-fired power station Simon, somehow neglected to mention that if the entire sea of gas guzzlers in Australia was replaced by hybrids (like multiply 7.5 tonnes by a few million) that would make a considerable difference.

Another way to get at that is to look at the emissions per person and Stoat's Friendly Wikipedia has the answer we need. Turns out that per capita, Australians belch ~18 tonnes CO2. Figuring that there is one car per 2 Aussies as an OOM guess, that means that replacing the family ark with a hybrid makes a ~25% difference.

Write more comments

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Pielke fan club

Some new bunnies were wondering why Ethon and Eli are foundling members of the Pielke fan club. Dining at Prometheus we came upon this gem served up by the big liver hisself. Roger points to an interview in Der Spiegel (it's in English, and Eli rather suspects that the actual interview was also in English) of Shyam Saran, India’s climate treaty negotiator. RP not only quotes a small part of the interview but somehow, the honest broker forgets that your starting position is not the one you end up with. For Roger and friends the money quote is

the Prime Minister of India made a commitment that India’s per capita emissions will at no time exceed the average of the per capita emissions of developed, industrialized countries. We have thus accepted a limit on our emissions and at the same time provided an incentive to our partners in developed countries to be more ambitious. The more significant their reductions of emissions, the lower the limit we would need to accept for our own.
which is labelled as a hard line. Now you could take this as a hard line either way, e.g. we are not going to do anything, or a hard line the other way: you have to do some hard work too and we do also, but Roger is all about rushing the rubes. Readers of the interview and India's global climate change policy would recognize this. The whole interview should be read RTFR!! including
We have been able to deliver 8 to 9 percent economic growth with only a 3.7 percent increase in our energy consumption. It is our national goal to reduce, as quickly as possible, the use of fossil fuels per dollar of GDP by 25 percent.
There are still 400 to 500 million Indians who currently do not have access to commercial energy services. If their requirements could be met by solar power instead of carbon-based fuels, think of the contribution this would make in dealing with climate change.
concluding with
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Chancellor Merkel took Prime Minister Singh's suggestion and developed it further, suggesting that by 2050 every person on Earth should be allotted 2 tons of CO2 emissions. Is that realistic?

Saran: The science of climate change is still somewhat imprecise, and we need to conduct further studies to determine what a safe level of CO2 emissions we should be aiming at by 2050. But as a benchmark, Chancellor Merkel's proposition is certainly worth examining. To achieve this, very drastic emission reductions may be required among industrialized countries. For developing countries, their ability to undertake significant mitigation efforts would also require large financial and technological resource transfers. This is a tall order and is already under a cloud as a consequence of the global economic and financial crisis.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fafnir Giblets and the Medium Lobster are back

With their global warming update

"Maybe global warming won't be so bad after all," says me. "Like maybe Bangladesh'll like bein underwater. If you think about it havin your country flooded is kinda like spendin every day at the beach!

"Maybe it's a glass-half-full kinda thing," says Giblets. "Like scientists are always going on about how lots of people are gonna die from famine and disease. But you know what you never hear them talk about? How most of those people are complete strangers who probably suck."Go read.
You want more, go to Fafblog and leave your snark in one place.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rhymes with Orange

There is nothing else available

How to mitigate adaptation

Ethon, has not been dining well owing to his usual hunting ground being abandoned by all except the very usual suspects whom everyone else has dispaired of dealing with. It is sad to see that a long thread now has 2, 3 maybe 6 posts. Having invented climate blogging, RPJr decided to ban anyone from the church who didn't hold with him. RP Sr went one better and banned everyone. When you tell folk that it is your way or the highway, well, Eli always did like Rte. 66. Ethon OTOH enjoys the tasty bile.

It's too bad, because especially Dave Bruggeman is writing interesting things and Roger knows what is going on. Eli disagrees with much of it, but still, civilized bunnies could take part in even intempered but amusing exchanges. Roger still is feeding his multiple jones, the IPCC, air capture, and adaptation ueber alles. It is to the last that we point as a springboard to the UNEP survey mentioned immediately below. About a week ago (yes Ethon instant messages Eli often about what is happening on the Front Range) RPJr put up a post entitled Adaptation is now cool says ipcc authors which crows about how Michael D. Mastrandrea and Stephen H. Schneider wrote in the Boston Review that

Mitigation, however, will not suffice. Even with aggressive global efforts to reduce emissions, the Earth’s climate will continue to change significantly for many decades because of the magnitude of past emissions and the inertia of social and physical systems. Of course, many uncertainties remain about how best to reduce emissions and how the climate system will respond. But we can now say with confidence that rapid climate change and its impacts are at hand. As a result, we face immediate choices about how to temper its worst consequences for vulnerable populations and regions.

Alongside mitigation, then, we also need policies focused on adaptation, on making sensible adjustments in the face of unavoidable changes.

Roger brags on trumpeting adaptation from the year dot without the self-awareness that his trumpeting contributed substantially to the urgent need for adaptation that Mastrandrea and Schneider now find. RPJr is the patricide who pleads for mercy as an orphan.

One of the most interesting questions in the UNEP survey (ah, the Rabett follows wondering paths, but he does get there sometimes) was what percentage of resources should be put into mitigation or adaptation

____% Mitigation
____% Adaptation

Eli's answer is below, what is yours?

60% Mitigation
40% Adaptation

Ten years ago, Eli's answer was

120 % mitigation and
-20% adaptation,

because there was so much low hanging fruit around in increasing efficiency, helping China, India and the rest of the under-developed world industiralize that we could have gotten a net benefit from the process.

The world has simply spent 30 years doing nothing or worse than nothing and damage from climate change which is inevitable now, but not then requires adaptation.

Freeping** the survey

Well my fellow lagomorpi, the climate freepers are at it again. The United Nations Environmental Program has thrown a survey on what to do about climate change out there

Few dispute that climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the planet.
unfortunately the few have computers, net access and public affairs offices.
Decisions made over the next few years will shape the world's response to climate change through mitigation measures, adaptive preparations, etc. You are among the many professionals that will determine what that response will be. Your views on which approaches to climate change will succeed and what key barriers are most slowing progress are important and must be widely heard.
with the silly expectation that it will not be hijacked, and indeed, the climate freepers are at it again. However, as experience has shown, once this sort of thing is broadcast out of the ghetto of denial, the results disappoint the unenvironmental.
We would encourage you to take 20 minutes of your valuable time to participate in this survey by following the link. The results will influence decision making at all levels, not least of all at the Poznan Conference of the Parties in December where the results will be presented to the global community. GlobeScan will also send you your own report of survey results in appreciation for your contribution.
The survey is pretty good, concentrating on what should be done to deal with the problem of climate change caused by humans. More on that soon. They try and separate the pikas from the hares by asking about qualifications at the end. Eli would put out good carrots to see how the Monckton answers those questions (no check box for found my Nobel Prize in a box of Wheaties) or those other noted IPCC expert reviewers Vincent Grey and Richard Courtney

This is serious stuff, Eli would not encourage anyone to cheat as the late Dad Rabett, put it, by voting early, voting often but the Bunny would strongly suggest voting, especially for those who have a clue.
Freeping: **"Attention all believers in the sanctity of baby peas. There is a poll on a Go there and vote that every baby pea is sacred and should be saved, even those that are frozen and will never be planted in the ground"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Calling Jim Hansen

Sometimes half a loaf is all you get. The EPA Appeals Board has just issued a ruling on the application of the Deseret Power Electric Cooperative to construct a coal powered plant. A permit issued by the U.S. EPA Region 8 had been challenged by the Sierra Club on the grounds, well on a lot of grounds, but principally in Massachusetts vs EPA the Supreme Court had agreed that CO2 was an air pollutant and that therefore the EPA had to set limits on its emissions under the Clean Air Act.

See if you can spot the thorn in the Appeals Board Ruling:

Although the Supreme Court determined that greenhouse gases, such as CO2 , are “air pollutants” under the CAA, the Massachusetts decision did not address whether CO2 is a pollutant “subject to regulation” under the Clean Air Act. Massachusetts v. EPA. The Region maintains that it does not now have the authority to impose a CO2 BACT limit because “EPA has historically interpreted the term ‘subject to regulation under the Act’ to describe pollutants that are presently subject to a statutory or regulatory provision that requires actual control of emissions of that pollutant.” We hold that this conclusion is clearly erroneous because the Region’s permitting authority is not constrained in this manner by an authoritative historical Agency interpretation.

By our holding today, we do not conclude that the CAA (or an historical Agency interpretation) requires the Region to impose a CO2 BACT limit. Instead, we conclude that the record does not support the Region’s proffered reason for not imposing a CO2 BACT limit – that although EPA initially could have interpreted the CAA to require a CO2 BACT limit, the Region no longer can do so because of an historical Agency interpretation. Accordingly, we remand the Permit to the Region for it to reconsider whether or not to impose a CO2 BACT limit and to
develop an adequate record for its decision.
Given that EPA will be under new management a lot before this record is developed and that a record must developed to support any ruling, look forward to a fun fest. BTW this is happening in Bonanza, Utah.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nil nisi

Speak no ill of the dead is wise advice, so Eli is removing the newly dead Michael Crichton from the Wall of Shame. Crichton himself was not very considerate of others, esp. those who disagreed with him.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The old man and the warming ocean

One of the bunnies in the comments, pointed Eli to a posting by Josh Willis of JPL (and the ARGO floats) which provides as good an explanation of variability as the Rabett has seen. Go read it:

My wife likes to gamble. She’s no high roller or anything, but give her a hundred dollars, a spare weekend and a room full of slot machines and she’s happy.
Not me, though. Somewhere along the way, I guess I took one too many math classes and betting against the house just isn’t much fun anymore.
But I understand why she likes it. It’s the ups and downs of gambling that are fun. You lose, lose, lose and then every once in a while you win a great big jackpot. Maybe you even win enough to make up for the last 30 or 40 bets you lost. But like any game in the casino, the odds are stacked against you. If you play long enough, you will eventually lose.
Global warming and climate change work in much the same way. Wait long enough and odds are, the Earth will be warmer. But will tomorrow be warmer than today? Who knows! There are plenty of things about the atmosphere and ocean that can’t be predicted. Over a period of days or weeks, we call these unpredictable changes “the weather.”
but the real fun is in the comments, where RPSr drops by to beat his drum
I am puzzled by your weblog, and have weblogged on it. You are ignoring the value of heat in Joules (not surface temperature) as the primary global warming metric, despite your pioneering research using heat content change in Joules in the upper ocean to diagnose the radiative imbalance of the climate system..
Willis' answer is classic
True, ocean heat content is the better metric for global warming, and the past few years of no warming are interesting. But tacked on to the 50-year-record of ocean warming before that, the last four years pretty much ARE just a wiggle. And yes, the estimates of global surface temperature do have errors and uncertainties. But the record of sea surface temperature also shows about 1 degree C of warming over the last 100 years. Remember, the oceans are 2/3 of the Earth’s surface and that record has fewer problems than the temperature data over land. Between the long-term records of ocean heat content, land and ocean surface warming, global sea level rise (about 20 cm over the last 100 years) and the increase in atmospheric CO2, you get a pretty simple, consistent picture of man-made warming. No models required.
Of course, the data are not perfect. Our understanding and our climate models are missing important pieces of the puzzle. But let’s not miss the forest for the trees. You don’t have to count every tree around before you realize you’re in the woods, just like a casino doesn’t have to win every bet to turn a profit.
Despite all the uncertainties, I think it is pretty clear that humans have already warmed the planet. And if we continue to add more CO2 to the atmosphere, we will warm it even further.
Very much in the tradition of if we had such measurements we would use them, but we don't so why are you asking for them.

UPDATE: The readers remind Eli to point them to the earth observatory article explaining how the interplay of measurement and models strengthen each other and allow a better understanding of oceanic warming and sea level rise.

Fill the comments young hares.

Bill Proxmire Special

It turns out that if you want to capture a denialist's heart give them a warm cup o tea. We know this because Williams and Bargh have published "Experiencing physical warmth promotes interpersonal warmth" in Science.

We hypothesized that experiences of physical warmth (or coldness) would increase feelings of interpersonal warmth (or coldness), without the person's awareness of this influence. In study 1, participants who briefly held a cup of hot (versus iced) coffee judged a target person as having a "warmer" personality (generous, caring); in study 2, participants holding a hot (versus cold) therapeutic pad were more likely to choose a gift for a friend instead of for themselves.
Eli suggests some 15 year old Ledaig (guess who the denialist is) to confuse em. Beinn A' Cheo is much too good to waste.

Word from the Middle Kingdom

Wen Jiaboa is the Premier of China, and a geologist. Unlike the geologists of our acquaintance, Jiaboa knows which end is up. Down deNile the wingnuts are always asking for China to go first. Science recently published an interview with Wen which has a great deal of interesting information about how China responded to the Sichuan earthquake, the tainted milk scandal and more. Of interest to readers of this blog is his (and thus China's) position on global climate change and energy

China is a main energy consumer and, therefore, is also a big greenhouse gas emitter. We must use energy resources rationally and must conserve. This needs us to adjust our economic structure, transform the mode of development, to make economic development more dependent on progress of science and technology and the quality of the work force.

We need to take strong measures, including economic, legal, and administrative measures when necessary, to restrict high energy consuming and heavily polluting enterprises and encourage the development of energy conserving and environmentally friendly enterprises.

Now every year, China produces about 180 million tons of crude oil and imports about 170 million tons. China's coal production exceeds 2.5 billion tons a year. This kind of huge consumption of energy, especially nonrenewable fossil fuel, will not be sustainable.

We have established a goal that our GDP [gross domestic product] growth every year must be accompanied by a 4% decrease in energy consumption and a 2% reduction in COD [chemical oxygen demand] and sulfur dioxide emissions every year. We will also adopt various measures to reduce the use of oil and coal in order to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, including energy-conserving technologies and carbon-capture technologies.

We have only been industrializing for several decades, while developed countries have been on this road for over 200 years. But we will now begin to shoulder our due responsibilities, namely, the common but differentiated responsibilities set forth in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.

There was a confirming editorial statement in the next issue
I firmly believe that science is the ultimate revolution. At a time when the current global financial turmoil is dealing a heavy blow to the world economy, it has become all the more important to rely on scientific and technological progress to promote growth in the real economy. Economic and social development must rely on science and technology, and science and technology must serve economic and social development. We will rely on science and technology to promote economic restructuring, transform development patterns, safeguard food and energy security, and address global climate change. We are confident that China will reap a rich harvest in science and technology and that this will have positive and far-reaching effects on human civilization and the well-being of humankind.

Comments below

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

First use of the f__ word on Rabett Run

From Newsweek

The debates unnerved both candidates. When he was preparing for them during the Democratic primaries, Obama was recorded saying, "I don't consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, 'You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.' So when Brian Williams is asking me about what's a personal thing that you've done [that's green], and I say, you know, 'Well, I planted a bunch of trees.' And he says, 'I'm talking about personal.' What I'm thinking in my head is, 'Well, the truth is, Brian, we can't solve global warming because I f---ing changed light bulbs in my house. It's because of something collective'."
As Atrios said, you gotta kinda like the guy

Have at it in the comments

What works

“With reactionaries, never argue on content or with logic. The only thing that works is to make them feel really, really bad and really, really stupid.”
On first read, the perceptive John Fleck stuck Rabett Run into his meta science category which gets too close for comfort. After playing in the USENET sandbox for a number of years, Eli realized that the denialists were very heavy into nasty and straight ahead, determined to throw so much filth that everyone went away to avoid having to shower constantly. Of course this continued in the blog world, just read the comments at Jen's place.

However, the increased reach of blogs and the ability for the bloggers to control content and monitor comments produced another style. The Bunny saw folk manipulating the system to their own personal glory and influence in ways that could only lead to distructive policies. Besides concern trolling, a number of long established strategies from the policy and scientific communities were being deployed. Blogwhoring is not so far from self-citation. To figure out what was happening you had to have some familiarity with both sides and many readers were not quite aware of what was going on but Eli is an old bunny, a veteran of many faculty meetings and conferences and an observer and listener by nature if you can get a word in edgewise.

Rabett Run was started to meet this challenge and the first thing was to find a tone that met that challenge. Michael Berube talks about this in a posting today on Barack Obama's response to attacks:
The curious thing is that Obama has been firing back, pretty consistently, without cursing like a blogger—and without quite “coming out swinging,” either. He’s introduced an entirely new discursive mode to the world of Democratic presidential politics, and I should have recognized it much earlier, because it’s the mode this humble blog has adopted in all its exchanges with David Horowitz: the mode of derisive mockery. (This has, indeed, given some of my colleagues the vapors—such as the guy who told me he doesn’t think mockery is ever appropriate in public discourse. He doesn’t teach at Penn State, though. He teaches at the Institute for Earnest Leftism.)

This is a standard that Eli tries to reach, and sometimes gets close to (IEHO) but often fails. As Berube recognizes,

But unlike my responses to Horowitz, Obama’s mockery hasn’t been over the top; it’s been dismissive but calm, cool, collected, as when Obama replied to McCain’s charge that he is a radical socialist by surmising that McCain’s next move would be to attack him for being a “secret communist” on the grounds that he shared his toys in kindergarten.
further (after a drive by on Darth Cheney)

So no, Obama doesn’t curse like a blogger. But he has brought some serious snark to the campaign trail, for maybe the first time ever in the history of everything ever........ Obama’s fighting back, all right, but in ways no Democratic candidate has even attempted before. He’s not post-partisan, and he’s not Olbermanian either. He merely treats McCain’s attacks with the contempt they deserve, but lightly; and while he performs stability, he also manages to perform seriousness and snarkiness all at once. It’s not easy. But he’s really, really good at it.

ethereal lightness in this business is everything. Sometimes Rabett Run achieves it, it is our goal, but meat axes are sometimes the only tool available. Besides which the Rabett Rest Farm does not have $700,000,000 to support our editing staff, which is your fault for not donating.

There is nothing more to say, let loose in the comments

Sunday, November 02, 2008

We are honored

Cohenite has published his list of the ten worst blog posts of all times. It was a tough competition folks and Hanson's Bulldog, aka Tamino won first place for calling out Joe D'Aleo's graphology. However, your humble hare followed closely in second and took a fourth for his work (OK T took third also but that was really for a post by McIntyre) Tim Lambert was reduced to a pitiful sixth and eighth. It's a tough business climate blogging and Real Climate didn't even make the top ten

On behalf of the Rabett Run team, Eli is honored to accept this second place award which shall be proudly displayed.

More praise in the comments.