Postcards from La La Land #132: time warps and twaddle

Foot/mouth interface issues at NZ climate crank central

I don’t wander over to the dark side1 very often – NZ’s climate cranks are an unedifying bunch at the best of times – but I was somewhat surprised to find myself featuring in their current top story — National Geographic ignores the need for evidence. Not that they know it’s me – the level of scholarship on display is even worse than that in their sole contribution to the scientific literature.

The author, blog owner Richard Treadgold, allows himself a little rant about a paragraph he says comes from a recent National Geographic newsletter, illustrated with a picture he claims comes from NIWA. The words he rails against seemed strangely familiar to me, and also rather dated. Then the penny dropped: it was a paragraph I had written a decade ago, in a feature for the New Zealand Geographic magazine. You can read the whole thing here, and you’ll note that the header photograph is the one Treadgold claims comes from the National Institute for Weather & Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

Let me sum this up. Treadgold’s little homily on the need for evidence is not just complete twaddle, it’s shoddy scholarship at its worst: citing the wrong magazine, an article from the wrong decade, and blaming NIWA for something they didn’t do. Sadly, it’s par for the course.

I shall leave the last word to one of the little band of scientifically literate commenters who bravely point out the errors inherent in almost everything Treadgold publishes. Underneath a press release from the climate cranks, complaining that the Royal Society of NZ had failed to provide evidence of the reality of climate change2, Simon wrote:

Your complaint appears to be that the Royal Society provided you with lots of information which you couldn’t understand. That is not the fault of the Royal Society.

Twas ever thus, Simon.

  1. Richard Treadgold’s inaptly titled Climate Conversation blog. []
  2. What was that about bees and bonnets? []

Anthropogenic climate change is real: pithy post-punk anthem for the Trump generation

A catchy little number, but certainly NSFW when played loud or if singing along in public…

In which a “protest post-punk band” from Oakland, California (since punk happened in the late 70s, a pedant would point out that everything since has been post-punk) called You Can’t Make This Shit Up Amerika expresses a certain pithy frustration with the views of their President. I’d have to say it’s hard to disagree. It would be only fitting if this became the Christmas number one…

At last it can be revealed: climate change researcher describes challenge of pulling off worldwide global warming conspiracy

Courtesy of those fine satirists at The Onion, a climate researcher explains the reality of the global climate conspiracy. Meanwhile, in denialdom, Irma threatens worldviews, The Onion reports:

Taking all necessary measures to reinforce his cherished beliefs ahead of the impending storm, local climate change denier Michael Dunn reportedly spent Friday battening down his worldview to help weather Hurricane Irma. “This could be the big one that completely destroys my position that climate change is a government conspiracy.”

If you want to follow events in Florida and the Caribbean, I strongly recommend the Weather Underground’s Jeff Masters and Bob Henson’s coverage at Category 6. At this stage we can only hope that the destruction and loss of life will be minimal. Kia kaha, Florida…

A (relatively) new Lowe for Christmas

As Nick explains in the intro, this is one, if not the best of Christmas songs. Please enjoy it with my compliments while sipping white wine in the sun, sweltering in the USA, or storm-tossed in the North Atlantic. For your reading pleasure, why not spend some time in the company of Skeptical Science’s retelling of the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol — or even revisit my own little attempt at Dickensian levity from a few years back.

The compliments of whatever season you celebrate from all at Hot Topic.

How Climate Change Deniers Sound to Normal People


Something for the weekend: US comedy team Girl Pants Productions with a commentary on denier arguments. John Cook will be particularly pleased with the condom consensus argument…

And a date for the diary of Wellingtonians: next Tuesday Steve Rintoul from CSIRO’s Oceans & Atmosphere Flagship and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre in Hobart will be giving this year’s ST Lee Lecture on The Fate of the Antarctic Ice Sheet: Lessons from the Geological Past and How they are Informing Future Predictions at VUW. From the Royal Society alert:

This lecture will review recent progress in understanding the role of the Southern Ocean in the earth’s climate system, how the Southern Ocean is changing, and the consequences of those changes for climate, sea level and the future of the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Sounds fascinating. For more info, visit the lecture web page and get in touch today if you’d like to go along.