Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Advocating for Science

Another thing that Tamsin Edwards is not interested in.

As the bunnies know, scientists take vows of policy silence in Tamsin/Judy land, so that their betters, the Tols and Pielkes and Kahan's of the world may instruct the powers that are.  A recent set of comments at Tamsin Edward's blog captures the path we are instructed to trod..

It starts with a comment from Alan Emery to the well known Myrrh

Myrrh: I forgot to mention that if you seriously believe you have found a fundamental flaw in theoretical physics, it is worthwhile submitting a paper to a refereed journal that deals with theoretical physics. You do not have to be associated with an institution, nor do you have to be a scientist to do so. You do have to prepare the paper according to the instructions on the website for whatever journal you choose. In preparing your arguments, be sure to read and understand the literature that you will be refuting. Your paper will be sent to several external readers who in most cases will make helpful comments and suggestions if your case is good. Be prepared to revise your paper according to suggestions by referees if you get past the first threshold. The reviewers do not have to agree with you, but you must be logical and accurate, or you will get a rejection slip.

If you are correct, we will all applaud your determination and insight. If you are wrong, welcome to the crowd of scientists who didn’t get their pet theory right the first time.
only to be met by the usual Myrrh wind and sleet storm
Alan Emery says:
August 11, 2013 at 4:32 pm
Myrrh: I forgot to mention that if you seriously believe you have found a fundamental flaw in theoretical physics, it is worthwhile submitting a paper to a refereed journal that deals with theoretical physics. etc.
You have missed the import of what I am saying. I am arguing from well known, well empirically tested, used in countless industries and applications world wide, basic real physics. It is no longer taught in general education because the Greenhouse Effect fake fisics has replaced it..
For example, the GHE “shortwave in” which claims visible light from the Sun heats the surface land and water.
Visible light works on the electronic transition level, this is on the level of electrons, not on the level of the whole molecule which has to moved to vibration to heat it up, which is why it is called the molecular vibrational level. Vibration, is heat, aka internal kinetic energy. All this is extremely well known in industries, Thermodynamics has been with us a long time.., if you want to find out about visible light go to Optics, or, Biology.
If you re-read the NASA page I gave, you will see that there is a difference in size between shortwave infrared (which is classed in with Light not Heat, with Reflective not Thermal) and the longer wavelengths which are thermal, which are heat, which we feel as heat. Visible light is even smaller than near infrared.. That is all highly energetic means, because all the wavelengths travel at the same speed the greater the frequency in wave the smaller it gets – there is a rather large difference between gamma rays and radio waves, radio waves can be as big as a house and several football pitches long.. Visible light is much, much smaller than longwave thermal infrared, so it works on the smaller electron level, not on the larger whole molecule level. If infrared was not invisible we still would not be able to see shortwave infrared, it is microscopic, we would be able to see the bigger longwave infrared heat waves.
Now, the atmosphere is not transparent to visible light as claimed by GHE, it is opaque – that is why you do not see the stars during the day. What you are seeing is visible light being bounced around by the electrons of nitrogen and oxygen, blue visible being more energetic, think more nervy pin ball, gets bounced around more hence our blue sky.
When electrons of the molecules of nitrogen and oxygen absorb visible light from the Sun they get briefly energised, and electrons always wanting to return to their ground state do so, in doing so they emit the same energy they absorbed, blue light in blue light out. This is called reflection/scattering.
Visible light from the Sun does not knock the electron out of its orbit, it is non-ionising, because it is too weak, but, for example, some uv does this, this is called ionising uv. This affects the skin on the DNA level, will damage the skin, so our bodies produce melanin to absorb it preventing damage. That is how we get our tans. We get burned when our melanin production cannot keep pace with our stupidity, when we expose ourselves to more Sun than we are used to.. Acclimatise slowly. UV is not a thermal energy, it is not hot, it does not heat our skin, it scrambles our DNA.
So, visible light from the Sun is not capable of heating matter, the claimed heating surface land of GHE, because it is not big enough, does not pack enough punch to move whole molecules into vibration, but also, visible light is claimed to heat the water in ocean in the GHE, but it cannot do this because water really is a transparent medium for visible light, it does not absorb visible light but gets transmitted through unchanged. You can see this in clear water, you can see through water to the visible light bouncing back from the bottom of a stream for example.
Still on the electronic transition level, which is the smaller level visible light operates on, the molecules of a transparent medium do not absorb visible light at all, they do not get in to play with the electrons as they do in the real gas medium of air molecules. They try, and this delays them a little, but they are passed along and so transmitted through the transparent medium unchanged.
If visible light from the Sun heated the water in the ocean then we would have no life as we know it, we are carbon life forms from the photosynthesis which began in the oceans. Visible light is used by plants to convert to chemical energy, not heat energy, in the production of sugars from carbon dioxide and water.
This is basic physics from real world traditional physics, still taught to some and particularly in relevant applied science fields. We really do know a great deal about the properties and processes of matter and energy – that is why the electromagnetic spectrum has been divided up and given different names, and put into different categories. We have come a long way from Herschel’s first brilliant discovery that the great heat we feel from the Sun is invisible infrared. His measurements were crude then, he moved his solid glass prism by hand at the edge of the table.. We now know that there is a great difference in size, relating to frequency, so the visible light he was measuring was getting overlap from the bigger longwave thermal infrared heat waves/photons which are packets of particles.
As I have already explained, the AGW Greenhouse Effect has taken out the direct longwave infrared heat we get direct from the Sun in order to claim that real world measurements of this are from “backradiation by greenhouse gases from the atmosphere under TOA”.
This is simple science fraud by sleight of hand. The KT97 and ilk GHE energy budget is science fraud, Trenberth needs to go back to traditional physics to find his missing heat..
Eli had been getting a word or two in downthread, pointing out that the Myrrh was a naked bush, but this made him weak with the giggles, incapable of holding still to reply and frankly feeling a bit peeved that the oh so responsible blog owner operator was not being very responsible, letting the others do the work.
Well, Tamsin, you asked for it. Care to help out or are you going to continue to rely on the good will of others to deal with the confused?
 Now some, not Eli to be sure, might have hoped that the bright light of science would be seen upon the land, and some sense would appear.  Not Eli, to be sure, the Bunny has been at this game too long.
Tamsin Edwards says:
 I normally monitor comments to prevent them going off topic like this. It’s boring for people to hear the same arguments they could elsewhere. Please stick to the topic of the post or else I’ll have to revoke (all) your auto-accept moderation statuses or end commenting. I don’t have time to read all your comments at the moment, beyond a very quick skim, so I rely on trust for people to stay on topic. Thank you.
and Eli, well Eli had a big sad.  It is really sad being right at times.
Eli Rabett says:
Sorry, that will not do. You open the door to misleading nonsense, you have the personal responsibility of closing it, a point that you missed in the original post/guardian column and continue to ignore.

“Going off topic” is the usual false balance, and FWIW, this comment is on topic, the first responsibility of scientists who speak/write in public is to clearly define scientific reality.
In TamsinWorld, scientists are not to speak about policy, but they are also not to correct science fiction because that is not democratic (channeling Tol).


Lotharsson said...

That is some rolled gold pseudo-science though.

"...the atmosphere is not transparent to visible light... that is why you do not see the stars during the day."

(So, it is apparently transparent to star light which is why you can see the stars at night! And no-one shall mention the fact that our sun is a star. No-one!)

And (ahem) clearly, something else entirely is happening with those cameras taking photos of the Earth's surface from space...it's not at all analogous to "...water really is a transparent medium for visible light ... you can see through water to the visible light bouncing back from the bottom of a stream for example." Not at all...

tonylearns said...

This has been one of my main arguments agaisnt Judith since I first started reading her. She allows all sorts of garbage without correcting it. I am amazed that the Manuel guy is alkost always first off the blocks and has long screeds about how he knows the trtuh about everything and all science has been part of s scam since WW2, and he is by far not the worst. I agree if Tsmin is going to opne up her blog, I feel she has a responsibility to correct things that she bleieves to be flat out wrong and explain why, or at least support those that DO correct false assertions.
I must say. I have always liked her blog, and cannot imagine her becoming the kind of opportunist the Curry has become, but I disagree strongly with her misunderstanding of the role of scientists and policy. She is correct that scientists need to be as objective as possible, but to say that they should NOT ever discuss the potential practical consequences of their work is just ceding the floor to deniers in my view

Susan Anderson said...

sunglint ... bwahahahahahaha ... sunglint.

Sorry the humor is catching, but was looking at this earlier:

A search over there for sunglint produces more gorgeous images, like this one of Italy:

US northeast:

Enough distraction. Wanted to thank you for some real laughter. You have such a sensible way about you.

Anonymous said...


Myrrh is always worth a laugh, as long as you have enough aspirin for the head-vice issue.

Sadly, however, he has become even -less- coherent over time, leaving me with (personal opinion here) a bit concerned over his health.

Martin Vermeer said...

"...the atmosphere is not transparent to visible light... that is why you do not see the stars during the day."

Eh no, empirically the stars don't exist in daytime.

/me runs

Gaz said...

FWIW, my view on scientists and policy.

Say whatever you like, as loudly as you like.

You have a moral obligation to alert the world to the risks it faces and the need to act.

But if you do, beware of the Dunning-Kruger monster.

You know heaps about science, but when it comes to policy (eg Hansen and his support for a particular model of "fee and dividend") you are just another well-meaning amateur.

The most obvious answer, or the first one you thought of, or the one that makes you feel best deep down inside, is not necessarily the right one.

You may not have thought through all the implications of what you might recommend.

Approach such subjects with passion, but also with humility, please.

This sounds silly, right: I'm an economist, I think I know a bit about models, so I can talk with authority about climate science!

But so does this: "I'm a climate scientist, I think I know a bit about models, so I can talk with authority about economic policy!"


Myrrh seems to fit the evolutionalry niche between Voldemort without the mort and Myrhvold without the vole.

Please send him back where he belongs before he attacts an asteroid strike.

Anonymous said...

I had copied

"Now, the atmosphere is not transparent to visible light as claimed by GHE, it is opaque – that is why you do not see the stars during the day."

with a view to commenting on the extraordinary spatio-temporal iris effect newly discovered, only to find that Lotharsson and Martin Vermeer had beaten me to the punch.

There was a lot of other gobbledegook in the excerpted quote, but that was a corker - after all, who knew? OK, the genius Myrrh, who I seem to remember dropped a few clangers either here or at Deltoid, but nevertheless his brilliance should be acknowledged for what it is...

Bernard J.

Anonymous said...

Some would say, including cynicus, that you have a good point there dear Rabett.


Sou said...

Bitten by the Curry bug. Adulation is more important than science.

Pontificating on areas beyond one's expertise is apparently a good way of getting attention, especially if the pontificator can trash scientists at the same time.

Ironic that the argument in this case is to *not* speak publicly on matters that go beyond one's specialist expertise. Some people are very lacking in self awareness and irony.

BTW I don't agree with that argument anyway. Nor do I comply with it, as some of you will know already :D

Anonymous said...

Sweet Jesus.

From Myrrh on that thread:

"Temperature of the Earth with real gas atmosphere of mainly condensable nitrogen and oxygen, but, without water, think deserts: 67°C

Which is the real “thermal blanket” around the Earth?

Where is the physical process of the Greenhouse Effect claim that “greenhouse gases warm the Earth 33°C from the -18°C it would be without them”?

Our real thermal blanket of the heavy real gases nitrogen and oxygen have a two fold role in Earth’s real greenhouse, real greenhouses both warm and cool unlike AGW’s GHE which only warms..

These act as an insulating blanket preventing our Earth from going to the extremes of cold which happens on the Moon without an atmosphere, and also, because they are condensable gases, the GHE says they are not, these also expand when heated and transfer heat away from the suface and then condensing cold air sinks to the surface.

The Water Cycle of course, water with its very high heat capacity, is the prime cooling mechanism, bringing the temps down to 15°C as it takes heat away from the surface in evaporation and condensing in the cold heights to liquid water or ice precipitates out to return to the surface. Bringing any carbon dioxide around with it..

Gack... head... vice...

Bernard J.

andrew adams said...

This sounds silly, right: I'm an economist, I think I know a bit about models, so I can talk with authority about climate science!

You are Richard Tol AICMFP!

On a more serious note, there is a difference between claiming to talk with authority on a subject and claiming that one's particular expertise might be relevant to the subject in question. Or indeed just discussing a subject because one has an interest in it.

And Tamsin doesn't just argue against climate scientists trying to argue for particular policies from a position of authority, she says they shouldn't discuss the issue at all.

andrew adams said...

I certainly wouldn't compare Tamsin with Judith Curry, I think her intentions are much more noble, albeit misguided. And she's over influenced by the flattery heaped on her by the "skeptics".

But one of the things she has said following her article is that although scientists shouldn't speak out on policy they should speak out very loudly about the science. And surely that must include challenging nonsense arguments which are made at her own blog. And indeed in other forums where she chooses to participate.

What's more, that might be more difficult to do if she is measuring her "success" by continuing to hold the good opinion of the people whose overall position on the scientific questions around AGW can only be supported by such nonsense arguments.

Tamsin Edwards said...

Let me tell you what happened here, why I haven't replied or moderated comments.

1. I don't have a job for too much longer, so I need to focus on revising and submitting papers. I also have commitments to PLOS.

2. Alice Bell asked me to write a blog post. I was about to say no due to (1), but because PLOS also asked me to write some posts for their fortnight on climate science (during my holiday, incidentally), I thought I could kill two birds with one stone.

3. There followed approximately 2000 tweets to me, approximately 20 response blog posts, hundreds of blog comments, and many emails. I didn't predict this, and cannot hope to answer them all. I am under several multiply-extended deadlines at the moment in my job, and have many commitments outside work so can't do much in my free time.

4. My usual moderation approach is to check new posters for rudeness or off-topicness, but then once they've been allowed their later comments automatically go through. I used to be pro-active about checking these, but am not managing to keep on top of this these days so I'm not really reading the comments past an ultra-quick skim of some or all of them.

5. This is why I have allowed stuff through that I wouldn't normally, and why I haven't replied to things.

6. Sorry about that.

Anonymous said...

Apologies in advance for advocating a policy.

In blog, disable comments, say it is temporary because of high load and busy jobn stuff.

When time re-allows, re-enable. If time does not re-allow, close blog until such time as it does.


Tamsin Edwards said...

I've closed comments on the post, thanks. I try hard to let as much through as I can, to avoid accusations of censorship, but that requires intervention and gentle chiding to work. Failed this time.

andrew adams said...

Tamsin has objected on Twitter to my comment that "she's over influenced by the flattery heaped on her by the skeptics".

To be fair, I should point out that she has previously been good enough to respond to some of the criticisms I have made on Twitter and we have had some perfectly amicable discussions and I don't doubt the sincerity of her chosen approach, even if I disagree with it.

She also made a more substantive defence of her position on Twitter which I will try to address, but it will take a bit more time.

Anonymous said...

Eli, is this your "standard" now to cut and paste large swaths of what is on other blogs?

Rabett Run is starting to look like Willard's place.

Anonymous said...

Blimey, think that's the first time anyone's done what I've suggested. :) Ta.

Re censorship, when I moderated a forum if I edited anything and got accused of that, I told them to get a blog. ;)


Anonymous said...

Myrrh has posted this nonsense on many denier blogs and some commenters even tried to dispute the silly claims.


Susan Anderson said...

Hats off to Tamsin Edwards for taking time to respond here. Good luck with all the work and job situation.

Hank Roberts said...


Anonymous said...

Eh. I disagree with Tamsin regarding scientists and policy advocacy, and I also do think that among the reasons that Curry and Watts are as valueless as they are is because of the dreck in their comments system which the moderators never address... having said that, I think that different blogs can run by different rules, and it is not a sin to not moderate sufficiently to address dreck. It decreases the value of the comments section of one's blog, but that's it.

The first responsibility of the blog owner is to the top-level posts. In Tamsin's case, I have never seen bad science in those posts (like I said, I disagree with her theory on advocacy, but I think that's in a completely different class from, say, Curry's "wow" on Salby's "science". It is okay to disagree on things that don't have defined answers)


Sou said...

Yes, it was probably unfair to compare Tamsin to Judith Curry and it was good of her to explain.

I will be interested to see if she expands upon or changes her position in the light of responses from people with some qualifications / experience in science-related policy - like moi :)

When she gets time, of course.

John Mashey said...

One more time:
blogging software needs a 1-click option for moderators to either move a comment to a "shadow thread" or a equivalent, or (maybe better):

a) Leave the commenter and date, with optional tag from a small menu (like off-topic, ad hominem, endless caption, etc.

b) Do not display the comment body itself unless a reader clicks on it.

Of course, it would be nice if one could set this to happen for specified user names, starting with anonymous.

AS it stands, ACCEPT or DELETE is just too binary a decision for some people.

Sigh. Some of us fondly remember USENET KILLFILES.

Anonymous said...

This is some petty bullshit from Eli.

The comments here at RR haven't been swept clear of cranks either.

Eli doesn't agree with some things Edwards said about advocacy -that's fine- but is just looking for reasons to lay on the hate. Grow up.


Unknown said...

I had dipped in Dr Tamsin Edwards' blog from time to time, and always thought it worthwhile.

I was taken aback by her foray into non-advocacy, like Myles Allen's venture into carbon sequestration. But science is a "broad chur..", no can't say that, religious overtones, but it has room for different opinions. :)

Like others, I took it upon myself to be irritated for her sake when deniers hailed her as the latest Messiah, much like James Annan and Ed Hawkins had been in the past for various reasons.

One even got hold of one of her co-authored papers on Greenland ice melt, claiming it showed the ice cap was not melting from the bottom, and had rendered all others papers obsolete.

Now that I understand her situation better, I wish her all the best. Perhaps she might re-visit the advocacy topic again, bearing in mind all that has gone before.


Jeffrey Davis said...

I'm imagining a scientist in a burning theater. "No, I can't advocate policy. I'm a scientist."

The idea that there is a class who are forgiven the burdens of being human is a pernicious one.

Hank Roberts said...


Alas. They demanded - and taught - self control: you'd choose what not to see. Red herring subjects and crossposts could be killfiled along with those doing the trolling and those exercising high dudgeon aka concern trolling.

I suspect the ad industry would somehow make them impossible to implement nowadays. I saw a suggestion about trying a "restraint of trade" action against making tools to block ads, at an advertiser blog recently.

They think they own us.

willard said...

> Rabett Run is starting to look like Willard's place.

That would be Judy's.

I usually cut large swaths of my own comments, Anonymous, which always was the first point behind NA.

Most of the others' comments have been approved by their respective authors. All fall under fair use. Even this one:


You have no case, dear Anonymous.

If you wish me to take something down, be my guest. Make a list and I'll see what I can do. You can find my email.

Anonymous said...

Poor Willard,

Very defensive about his cut and paste blog.

willard said...

A tumblog, Anonymous, or if you prefer a microblog:

> Microblogging is a broadcast medium in the form of blogging. A microblog differs from a traditional blog in that its content is typically smaller in both actual and aggregate file size. Microblogs "allow users to exchange small elements of content such as short sentences, individual images, or video links".


Welcome to your century.


Instead of conflating self-affirmation and defensiveness [1], please tell us how you appreciate Judy's practice to cut large swaths of op-eds, Anonymous.

[1] http://psp.sagepub.com/content/36/7/947.abstract

Anonymous said...

So a "microblog" is "shortcut and paste"?

willard said...

> "shortcut and paste"?

All you need is a bookmarklet, Anonymous.

Select, click. Edit a bit.

Try it, it's fun.


Here's what looks copy-pasting a swathe of text:


Compare the size of what's quoted and what's op-ed.

Anonymous said...

"On December 17, 1997, inspired by Dave Winer's Scripting News and running on Winer's Frontier publishing software,[17] Barger began posting daily entries to his Robot Wisdom Weblog[18][19] in the hope of finding "an audience who might see the connections between [his] many interests."[20] These postings featured "a list of links each day shaped by his own interests in the arts and technology,"[21] thus offering a "day-to-day log of his reading and intellectual pursuits"[22] and coining the term "weblog" as as a novel form of web publishing.[23][24][25] The term was shortened to "blog" by Peter Merholz in 1999.[22]

Barger has also described his intentions in terms of exploration and discovery: to elucidate "what treasures were there"[26] and to "make the web as a whole more transparent,"[27] a weblog needed to provide a constantly updated and well-described stream of the "best web links."[28] Robot Wisdom's Net.literate portal, which started in July 1998, was a human-edited web directory that served as a complement to Barger's weblog and aimed to provide the best links on a wide range of topics arranged in ten categories.[29]"


Lots more at the page.