Monday, October 11, 2010

The Chicken or the Wegman Report

Thinking about the last few posts has brought a very interesting thought to the surface. When Edward Wegman assured Donald Rapp that

By the way, this is what Wegman had to say in a recent email: “It is my opinion that Dr. Rapp has not plagiarized anything and I hold him harmless” and claims that these are “wild conclusions that have nothing to do with reality”.
he may have provided a key answer to the sources of the Wegman report. Remember, in the previous post we discussed how Dr. Rapp himself, relied on a paper draft which took ten years to be published. For the sake of argument dear Bunnie, how can we reconcile Dr. Wegman's statement with the fact that huge sections of of Wegman report are to be found almost word for word in Dr. Rapp's book

Flip the page for Eli's anwer to this puzzler

Some, certainly not Eli, might say that perhaps, only perhaps, Dr. Rapp had provided Prof. Wegman with an early draft of his book, or draft of a part of his book, and Wegman simply copied portions into the Wegman Report. If Eli was Donald Rapp he would be annoyed at the Wegman folk, because, well you see the problems this is stirring. It also shifts the focus to Dr. Rapp, because now, rather than the tertiary copying of the Wegman Report which arguably had plagiarized Prof. Bradley's book, it would have been Dr. Rapp who extracted the material from Bradley's book and Wegman & Co who copied the materials from Rapp's draft.

You can follow all of this by comparing files that Deep Climate has left about the similarity between the Wegman Report and Prof. Bradley's book and about the similarity between the Wegman Report and Dr. Rapp's book

Eli closes with Deep Climate's plaint: Is your head spinning now?

What if a draft of Dr. Rapp's manuscript was provided to Prof. Wegman by a third party? and remember other material in the Wegman Report was copied and pasted, specifically the social network analysis, so this does not let the Wegman Report off the hook.


CapitalClimate said...

It was Professor Mustard
In the library
With scissors and paste

Jacob Mack said...

Eli, how do I contact you? I wish to send you a private email or discuss some concerns outside of the blog world. Thank you for your time.

Steve Bloom said...

Or perhaps Said did the deed. Are there any convenient buses around the GMU campus?

Also, I've been thinking about that weird LaRouchite paper in the bibliography. Sabotage by one of the grad students, possibly? Do we know who they were?

Anonymous said...

It makes me wonder if Wegman actually did anything at all in the Report? Was it ghost written by students and he just put his name to it? It's so bizarre that he would allow such huge amounts of plagiarised material. Surely he'd understand the consequences in Academic circles.

Same Ordinary Fool said...

Since Rapp is close to Wegman, the obvious method is to go down the Wegman text that is marked up with Rapp's differences, and compare them to the Bradley original.

"The term 'coral' is generally applied to members of the order Scleratina," is in Bradley 6.8, and has a paraphrase in Wegman. But it is not in Rapp.

Will need more examples to be sure. But this suggests that Wegman came first.

Anonymous said...

Actually, that was my original theory. But within 36 hours I realized I'd made a big mistake.

At that point I remembered that Keith Briffa had Bradley's chapter on tree-ring paleoclimatology online, and I had a hunch that this was the missing antecedent to both Wegman and Rapp. But because the CRU website was offline at the time (in the wake of the stolen emails), I had to do some serious Google cache sleuthing to get ahold of it.

By the way you should use these updated comparisons:

The best summary of all the potential plagiarism I found in the background sections can be found in my last post on the subject. The table near the end of that post lists all the discussions and side-by-side comparisons for the three background sections in the Wegman report.

Anonymous said...

Oops - my last link was wrong. Let's try that again:

The best summary of all the potential plagiarism I found in the background sections can be found in my last post on the subject. The table near the end of that post lists all the discussions and side-by-side comparisons for the three background sections in the Wegman report.

BTW, Guillaume Tell has it right, methinks.

John Mashey said...

Likewise, I think the hare has it backwards, must have been something in the last batch of carrots.

If Wegman&Co needed help, there was plenty of willing help right around Washington, Dc, and given the crew that showed up for the Nov 14 meeting (see Activity 15 on p.31 and p.29), there were plenty of people already in this turf.

Rapp published a book on travel to Mars, Nov 2007, a topic on which he actually had expertise. It seems unlikely that he had been working on a climate book in early 2006, and that Wegman & he would hook up for ghostwriting. Far more likely is that the WR helped stir him to write whenever he was finished with that Mars book.

Of course, his website makes clear that he is an expert. Note especially climate:
"I have 50 years of post-doctoral experience. I am a true generalist. I am 50% scientist and 50% engineer. I have worked on an extremely wide variety of technical problems over the years and I have broad knowledge of things technical. I have a solid grounding in chemistry and physics and did fundamental work in these sciences for many years. In the second half of my career I worked on more applied problems, particularly in space technology and space mission design. I am an expert in requirements, architectures and transportation systems for space missions, with particular emphasis on impact of in situ resource utilization, and water resources. I have surveyed the wide field of global climate change energy and I am familiar with the entire literature of climatology. I am known far and wide in the NASA community as for my abilities to plan, organize and lead studies of broad technical systems. My services have been often sought in writing and reviewing major proposals for space ventures."

He has the spaceclimate website, which starts with "The Asinine Blog" a slightly odd topic.

He had an interesting comment for DC, but that was the edited version. The complete original is far more fun, starting:

"The Internet provides a platform for all manner of donkeys to bray at will, hiding behind the cloak of anonymity provided by their use of pseudonyms. One particular egregious example is, a weblog that specializes in moronic commentaries about climate change. The names and backgrounds of the followers and participants in are unknown, and it seems likely that they may be mainly janitors, trash collectors and hash slingers, based on the idiotic comments that they send in."
It does arrive at:
"But the donkeys on are the Taliban of climate change – and just as dangerous."

He is on staff of University of Southern California
, along with Joseph Kunc and Mike Gruntman, all 3 signers of Petition to the APS. Kunc was the thesis advisor for someone familiar to many here, Willie Soon.

Anonymous said...

Well, well, well... it turns out that "Smokey" Joe Barton (is he the clown who commissioned the Wegman report?) has responded to Michael Mann over at the WP. Link here:

-- caerbannog the anonybunny

joe said...

I think Rapp's just cheesed off because he plagiarized a badly plagiarized piece of work, and the cheese-dog is starting to hit the fan. Not knowing any of the mechanics or social network theory that might link places like Texan universities with certain Congresspeople, I'd be reluctant to say Rapp fed Wegman/Said his unpublished chapters. Implausible or improbable, I can never remember which is which...

I would note in passing that Rapp is a "self-plagiarizer", at least on the information autobahn: See his two identical comments at Bishop Hill (here) and Deep Climate (here) on December 19 2009.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Wegman,

Oh what a tangled web you weave when you try and deceive.


Horatio Algeranon said...

Definition of "tangled weg":

Confused (and confusing) mess of plagiarized, infringed and/or otherwise improperly cited material that shifts focus from the central issue onto subsidiary issues. (See "weg the dog")

Usage: "Oh, what a tangled weg we weave..."

Etymology: Wegman Report (see John Mashey on Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report) The report (rather conveniently) focused on issues of statistical analysis ("centering" of data) and social networking (who Michael Mann's "friends" are) rather than on the reality of the hockey stick shape of the temperature reconstruction.

CapitalClimate said...

Rep. Joe (R-BP) Barton has a letter to the editor in today's WaPo rehashing the Wegman Report (although somehow he's conveniently forgotten its name). Some bunnies might want to hop over there and give their respects with some droppings in the Comments.

David B. Benson said...

I'm sure more rabett pellets will help.

Boris said...

OT, did anybody know that Art Robinson of the Oregon Institute for Science and Medicine was running for congress? Man, I mniss all the good stuff.

freetoken said...

@Boris - um, yes, quite a few of us have been picking apart Robinson and his campaign:

John Mashey has good write-ups about him, and Maddow just did an interview with Robinson last week which is hilarious.

As far as AGW politics is concerned, though, Robinson isn't really much of a player. The kingpins are Inhofe and Barton (as seen by the link above and this whole Wegman affair.)

CapitalClimate said...

Link to Maddow interview of Robinson:
'I'm not a politician_ I'm a scientist'

He won't say who's paying for $150K of ads.

Anonymous said...

Re Dr. Robinson's Maddow interview:
He won't say who's paying for $150K of ads.

That should be taken as as meaning that Tea-Part candidate Dr. Robinson fails to deny that Koch is paying for his $150K of ads.

The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party

"David Koch told New York magazine earlier this year, “I’ve never been to a tea-party event. No one representing the tea party has ever even approached me.” 
But the Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg reports today that footage has emerged showing David Koch at the podium during an Americans For Prosperity gala receiving direct and detailed reports from his astroturf AFP army on their efforts to organize tea parties around the nation."