Wednesday, December 21, 2011

McIntyre and Mosher at the door, hand over the rent.

The Idiot Tracker pointed out that Steve McIntyre is a rent seeker, using Freedom of Information to force others to hand over their hard work
He uses the coercive power of the state to force other people to give him, gratis, the fruits of their labor. He does not produce himself -- he uses the data of others, repackaged and sensationalized, to fuel the hit count of his blog.
and in the comments at RR, Steve Mosher self identified.

So Eli has a suggestion, why don't they bug John Christy and Roy Spencer to release their software? Everyone knows that it is buggy, and could certainly be improved by crowd sourcing. There are some amazing people out there with microwave and programing experience. Eric Swanson, for one, comes to mind. As for Mosher (and McIntyre), in their own words
One can ask all sorts of questions that interest me. And the beautiful thing is that you are using a method that is "accepted" There is no need to re invent the wheel.
perhaps Moshpit will be able to say "For me the approaches of UAH and RSS made sense", after looking at the software. To mix direct quote and paraphrase, he only is
basically interested in creating tools, creating them quickly, getting them into many peoples hands and being able to say with confidence that the code is the same as that used by experts. This is vastly different than independent replication, and I've never pretended that it was replication.
"and requesting the UAH software would be for one purpose and one purpose only. To ascertain whether there was any "value added" by UAH as they had repeatedly claimed. The purpose was not to create an "independent" assessment, although many of us have done that. In short we are likely to find what we expect to find: nothing, no substantive value added by their processing.

Of course some idiots expect that UAH had somehow cooked the data. This was never McIntyre's supposition. This was never my supposition. Quite the opposite. We expected that UAH was overselling the "value" that they added to the data, featherbedding if you like."

As Ben Santer puts it in a recent Science article on climate data
"Reducing this uncertainty will require better understanding of the underlying causes of differences between the UAH and RSS TLT retrievals. To achieve this, full public release of the codes used for generating troporspheric temperature retrievals would be highly desirable"
In Congressional testimony, Dr. Christy claimed that the codes UAH scientists have used in generating MSU-based tropospheric temperature retrievals (TLT) were publicly available. This claim was incorrect. The code for producing the TLT record is not publicly available.

Eli hears that RSS will make a public release of their code. RSS is a private company and not subject to FOIA rent seeking, but Christy and Spencer do/did their work at NASA and the University of Alabama Huntsville. In the words of Mosher and McIntyre, that software belongs to us, we paid for it. The Steves need to force Roy and John to hand it over.

Now Eli, Eli is a reasonable Rabett, he only wants all versions of the software, suitable commented so that anybunny can use it straight out of the box, and, oh yes, a well run ftp site for downloading. Perhaps such a thing exists. Pointers please?


Anonymous said...

I remember seeking that code once, not that I'd have understood something about it, but to confirm it exists.
sub-arctic bunny

Anonymous said...

what sub-arctic bunny supects it's pretty hard to substract the effect of decreasing water vapor over height (moist vs. dry adiabat) without using groundbased measurements as a supplement for calculations. this is what one could possibly might been able to check.
the same.

Anonymous said...

As soon as harassing Christy and Spencer becomes a useful tactic to delay meaningful action on climate change, I'm sure the Steves will spring into action.

Anonymous said...

Mosher, oh Mosher were are you? :)

"Dr. Christy claimed that the codes UAH scientists have used in generating MSU-based tropospheric temperature retrievals (TLT) were publicly available."

So Christy lied to Congress? Tut tut.

Great post Eli!

David B. Benson said...

Eli could try an FOIA.

Little bunny Foofoo would approve.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anything that Eli has said here hasn't been said before (here and there). But it deserves the prominence that this gives it.

Very good post.

J Bowers said...

But would a campaign on UAH keep the tips coming in, or the opposite?

TheTracker said...

Great post, as per your usual.

Have fun with this. In my experience nothing enrages deniers like the suggestion that the be held to the same standards as the scientists they despise. Disclosure, meeting a burden of proof, transparency, conflict of interest -- pick any banner under which the "skeptic" crusade is fought, and gently suggest to them that, as they know themselves to be important contributors to science, "the extended peer community" in Dr Curry's phrase, those same requirements should apply to them and their heroes.

If this is too time consuming and you are not overfond of animals, you could set off a string of firecrackers in a room full of feral cats and get the same reaction.

Anonymous said...

I want their emails too.

Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq., (with lashings of whipped cream)

Anonymous said...

McIntyre and similars will not do that, but the idea is great. My suggestion would be that some American people require that, legally, to see what happens.


Brian Schmidt said...

If the software's owned by UAH and not the individual scientists, then Alabama's public records law might require release. As with a lot of other legal issues, it often comes down to state law, each with their own tweaks.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd

ho ho ho, those who were given the keys to the castle and the big fat chest of gold have nobody to blame but themselves.

I hope the republicans jam that big fat oil pipeline right down your throats. In fact you should all pay more for home heating and gasoline...but Elis' motto has always been "do as I say, not as I do."

Anonymous said...

Jay has clearly lost it. I wonder if he is looking forward to his visit from the DOJ? ;)

Jeffrey Davis said...

Isn't "rent-seeking" limited to someone who owns a property or a monopoly of some kind? "Mooching" seems to be the verb here.

dhogaza said...

"Jay has clearly lost it. "

It's hard to get your meds prescription renewed 'round this time of year ...

iwould said...

Say why don't one of you USA boys or girls actually put in an FOIA request for the UAH record source code and force the issue to the fore?

Don't worry that you might be refused. In fact extra points if you are refused because that would require some splaining from the Wattbots who typically assume all government funded data should be public and any refusal is a sign of conspiracy.

Then it's time to send in FOIA requests for emails sent between Spencer and Watts and Spencer and McIntyre since 2005. Again refusal would raise awkward questions.

If you don't do this then the skeptics will just carry on with their purer-than-thou act.

Maybe prior to doing this send a blunt email to Spencer demanding the source code in no uncertain terms. According to Wattbot rules he's a public slave and must fulfill any demand for data or source code you make however rudely you do it and however unlikely you are to want to do anything useful with it.

Anonymous said...

"Go Down Mosher"
-- by Horatio Algeranon (with some help from Anonymous)

When Mosher was in Denier's land,
Let My emails go!
FOI'd so hard they could not stand,
Let My scientists go!

Go down, Mosher,
Way down in Denier's land;
Tell old McIntyre
To let My people go!

No more shall they in BS toil,
Let My people go!
Let them vanquish Exxon's oil,
Let My people go!

Let us all from Monckton flee,
Let My people go!
Let us all from Chris be free,
Let My people go!

It takes no courage to lie and boast,
Let My people go!
And cater to your CA host,
Let My people go!

Might try asking before you demand
Let My people go!
And you'll begin to understand,
Let My people go!

Picture here

dhogaza said...

"Say why don't one of you USA boys or girls actually put in an FOIA request for the UAH record source code and force the issue to the fore?"

Maybe because we're not assholes, and we're satisfied with the response of the scientific community to their (rare) published papers, and have some (misguided?) belief that in the end the system will work.

UAH has had their feet held to the fire and have been forced to issue corrections through the normal scientific process, without resort to coercive FOI requests, etc.

Compare that with McI and Moshmisfit ... all the FOI stuff in the world hasn't led to any correction of the CRU science (even though they low-ball warming, well, M&M wouldn't want to correct *that*, would they!?!). They score points - in their own mind - based on rejection of the multiple investigations of wrongdoing on the part of CRU (it's all a conspiracy against truth, I tell ya! those investigations are done by black-helicopter one-world government commie hippy pinko freaks!)

Perhaps the bottom line is ... when science is actually bad, you don't need to stoop to the kind of harassment Moshpit and McI are so proud of (as ineffective as it was, note that it's only the felonious theft of e-mails that makes their efforts relevant, which of course is why they insist it was an honorable whistleblower, not thief, who stole them and put M&M&M back on the map).

iwould said...

"Maybe because we're not assholes"

How is it assholish? If anything it's the exact opposite of assholish.

It's holding deniers up to the fire, not Spencer. UAH can deny the FOIA request for all I care. What that would do though would challenge deniers to explain how it's OK, to justify it.

Either they act outraged that UAH is hiding the source code, therefore forcing Spencer - one of their own - to finally explain how science works to them, or they don't act outraged and publicly expose their hypocrisy.

Either way it becomes very awkward for deniers after that to smear other scientists for the same thing. So if anything this is the opposite of assholish. This is defending science from unfair attacks.

I actually have nothing against Roy Spencer but he has got close enough to the deniers without managing to correct them on this matter that I don't consider such a move nasty towards Spencer. It's more a "what did you expect?" situation. When you comfy up with people who FOIA and smear other scientists for not living up to fantasy rules the deniers themselves don't have to abide by then what do you expect?

willard said...

"In every endeavor of science, making your work replicable by others is a basic tenet of proof,” Anthony Watts, a meteorologist and climate change blogger, told “If other scientists cannot replicate your work, it brings your work into question.”

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