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Climategate and the Need For Greater Scientific Openness

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the protecting-the-wrong-data dept.

Earth 701

The Guardian follows up on the recent news that CRU climate scientists were cleared of scientific misconduct with an article that focuses on how the controversy could have been avoided, and public trust retained, had the scientists made more of an effort to be open about their research. You may recall our discussion of a report from Pennsylvania State University; that was followed by another review with similar conclusions. Quoting: "The review, led by Sir Muir Russell, does not mention the media. Instead, it examines the reaction of the scientists at the UEA's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) to the pressure exerted by bloggers: 'An important feature of the blogosphere is the extent to which it demands openness and access to data. A failure to recognize this and to act appropriately can lead to immense reputational damage by feeding allegations of cover-up.' The review adds: 'We found a lack of recognition of the extent to which earlier action to release information might have minimized the problems.' Pressure on the scientists, whose once esoteric work creating records of past temperatures had gained global significance, was intense. In 2005, CRU head Phil Jones replied to a request: 'We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?' But, the review implies, the more they blocked, the more the Freedom of Information requests flooded in."

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701 comments

Impressive (5, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 years ago | (#32867562)

Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?

I think this demonstrates that the idealized version of the scientific method isn't always followed.

Re:Impressive (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 4 years ago | (#32867596)

I think this demonstrates that the idealized version of the scientific method isn't always followed.

Nothing that's been idealized has been proven to be of practical value in the real world. Human beings need areas of grey to function -- we aren't computers or robots with discrete logic processors. We are, in the end, quite a bit more fuzzy, which makes attaining an "idealized" anything impossible. That isn't to say our attempts to do so aren't laudable, but demanding it instead of seeking it are two very different propositions.

Re:Impressive (-1, Offtopic)

Koby77 (992785) | about 4 years ago | (#32867680)

I think the Linux and Open Source concepts are very idealized, and are also have a lot of practical value. In the computing world many organizations (M$) that have hid their source information have often used it as a weapon against the general population to further their self interests. I'll continue to demand openness, thank you.

Re:Impressive (-1, Offtopic)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 4 years ago | (#32867798)

I think the Linux and Open Source concepts are very idealized,

Heh. Try submitting your own patch to some of those "ideal" open source projects. Just because they abide by free principles doesn't mean they are saints.

CLIMATEGATE!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867958)

Let's have a cutsie-wootsie name for EVERYTHING. First, twitter and now CLIMATEGATE!!! Mod me up.

Re:Impressive (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32868012)

I call bullshit that boyindrag has EVER supplied a working patch.

Re:Impressive (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867850)

Oh please just stop you daft attention whore, just read some Feynman and stop making excuses for bad actors like Phil Jones.

Re:Impressive (5, Insightful)

SQL Error (16383) | about 4 years ago | (#32867600)

We know that. Scientists are people.

Of course, Jones neatly answers his own question there - that's the very best reason to make your data available. Is he so incurious that he doesn't even want to know if he's made a mistake?

Re:Impressive (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867686)

No, he just doesn't want a bunch of people funded by exxon-mobil selectively quoting tiny portions of his data to support bullshit positions,

Re:Impressive (1, Insightful)

bersl2 (689221) | about 4 years ago | (#32867738)

OK, so they'll make shit up to support bullshit positions. Who needs to bother with factual data, especially when they aren't made publicly available?

Re:Impressive (4, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 4 years ago | (#32867884)

Or even worse, amateurs who do not know how to read the data using it to 'prove' nonsense.

I can recall years ago working on a physics project. When the raw data was released, one of the pieces was a graph showing the distribution of particle speeds. The distribution was not due to different speeds, but due to measurement limitations (i.e. errors) that people who were working with the data knew how to understand. Some amateurs got ahold of it and held it up as 'proof' that tachyons existed and that the physicists were trying to cover it up.

That is the frustrations with releasing raw data... even if you are open, that openness will be used against you by people who really want to not only find a particular answer, but smear anyone who actually can read the data and informs them they are wrong.

Re:Impressive (5, Interesting)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about 4 years ago | (#32868002)

None of the people who asked for the data were amateurs. But more importantly, the data that Jones was trying to hide had already been lost - by Jones.

More importantly for the Guardian readers and everyone else trying to put a line under the ClimateGate affair, the Russell inquiry failed to ever ask whether the emails requested under FOIA had in fact been deleted as Jones had demanded.

Still there are a lot of people desperately trying to sweep inconvenient truths under the rug - but its only going to get worse, not better.

Re:Impressive (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about 4 years ago | (#32868022)

So what? Sometimes, flaws with the data are found; sometimes, the researchers overlook things.

Nobody who takes someone else's messy data and assumes it's perfect and from that extrapolates more crap will be taken seriously by many people; if enough people ARE making noise about something like that, it's trivial for someone (who doesnt even have to anyone involved with producing the original data) to point out in what ways those extrapolations-on-assumptions are flawed and why it just doesn't work.

You're basically arguing that we should burn all copies of Catcher in the Rye because it can and has been a popular book for crazy people who kill people. Or, more exactly, because it can be used by someone like John Hinckley and misinterpreted to justify the assassination of the president

Re:Impressive (3, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about 4 years ago | (#32868024)

I'm just amazed you can't see how your response looks. It reeks of arrogance. I agree that most people wouldn't be able to properly analyze the data. But there are some, maybe many, who can. When you spit on the "unwashed masses" don't be surprised when they spit back.

Re:Impressive (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about 4 years ago | (#32867988)

Funnily enough, none of the people who asked for the data were funded by Exxon-Mobil. Its boring how facts get submerged by a straightforward lie.

Re:Impressive (0)

Moryath (553296) | about 4 years ago | (#32867812)

No, he already knows so much is wrong with it, and what is wrong with his hooey.

But he knows if he suddenly announces he's been wrong, his funding from the groups that pay him to reach preordained, nonscientific "conclusions" dries up.

Re:Impressive (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 4 years ago | (#32867670)

Sounds like the Catholic church a few hundred years ago. "You can't read the bible, we must tell you what's in it."

Re:Impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867722)

Not really. I've had similar issues with someone in my local council, it boils down to people being arseholes. Either the data being requested supports a position or it doesn't. Refusing to supply data when there's no good reason to withold it implies dishonesty.

Re:Impressive (4, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | about 4 years ago | (#32867936)

There is a vast difference between academic peer review, conducted by those qualified to conduct it, and the sensationalist bleating by those with an agenda that is impeded by the research under question. When the team of "experts" assembled by Fox News demands access to the data, "fuck off" should be a perfectly reasonable response unless that team can present credentials that indicate that they are worthy of even the minimal inconvenience providing that access would entail. If those experts are qualified, then their appraisal of the research should be welcomed.

Re:Impressive (3, Insightful)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about 4 years ago | (#32868008)

Any evidence that the experts had been assembled by Fox News? No.

But when you're trying to hide a lie, the best tactic is to create an even bigger one to distract.

Re:Impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867942)

In the idealized version of the scientific method it wouldn't take any time or effort to arrange for release of the data to any and all requesters, it could be done in real time as it is collected with no implications for the research you have planned over the next year (i.e. no one would scoop you), and it wouldn't take time and effort away from other tasks that scientists need to do.

In other words, we live in the real world where there is only so much time to do things, and I can see why making arrangements for release of data to a bunch of people dedicated to finding something wrong (including bogus reasons) wouldn't be my priority either. Release to people with an open mind who want to critique it? Fine. That *is* worth the time. But I'd see no reason to hand people the pitch forks and torches to be used for my own witch hunt. Come back and ask again when you aren't an angry mob.

Re:Impressive (2, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | about 4 years ago | (#32868010)

It sounds like some of those scientists are placing more value on being right, or perhaps moreso in others believing they are right, than actually being right. They want people to believe them, and yet they hide their work out of fear of being suspected of perhaps even proven wrong. How screwed up is THAT?

As a true scientists, your quest is not for fame or notoriety or people believing you are right, but of finding the Truth. To those, public scrutiny is welcome. If nothing else, they DO prove you wrong, or at least find a flaw in your theory, and that is part of the process of greater understanding, refining your theories, and ultimately finding the perfect Truth. I have zero respect for scientists that place the public's view of them or their security in being right above finding the Truth.

Besides, even if you hide your work, if you turn out to be wrong, eventually it's going to be found out anyway. If you truly wanted to get to the bottom of something, quickly flushing out the flaws in your theories should be a top priority, and not showing your work is working against that. Nothing debugs your theories faster and more thoroughly than public scrutiny. That's the whole point of publishing papers.

That's how science works... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867564)

"Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?"

Because that is how science works. Any decent scientist would rather say "here is my data, please help me find something wrong with it."

Re:That's how science works... (5, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 4 years ago | (#32867818)

"Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?"

Because that is how science works. Any decent scientist would rather say "here is my data, please help me find something wrong with it."

Well, except that it isn't how science actually works; it's an idealized view of how science "ought" to work, by non-scientists. Right from the very beginning, Galileo first published many of his results in the form of cryptograms, claiming the priority of the discovery, but holding back on the details until he could analyze and confirm his results. As a general thing, no, scientists don't make the details of their data available until they're done analyzing it and have published.

You apparently have a view of scientists that does not accept the fact that they are actually human beings. Let me suggest that if somebody who has already convincingly demonstrated to you (from blog postings) that they do not have a very good understanding of work that you have devoted twenty-five years of your life to comes to you and says "You're wrong, give me your data so I can prove it," your first instinct probably would not be to say "sure, here's all my unpublished work, go wild."

In general, scientists are happy to share their data (after they've finished analyzing it and have published) with other scientists who they believe might have some competence in understanding it.

Re:That's how science works... (4, Informative)

abigsmurf (919188) | about 4 years ago | (#32867986)

The information they were blocking WAS published and was being refered to in reports.

This wasn't a case of "you will give us your readings as you measure them". This was a case of "you published these figures in this study, can we now see how you arrived at these figures?".

Re:That's how science works... (3, Interesting)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about 4 years ago | (#32868054)

In general, scientists are happy to share their data (after they've finished analyzing it and have published) with other scientists who they believe might have some competence in understanding it.

That isn't the case where the data supports a controversial proposal, then you'll find that even fellow scientists have difficulty getting the original data. Keeping hold of data and claiming it as your personal property is rife in the sciences.

For example, I've tried to get hold of several pieces of data which support a supposedly scientifically significant result, and each time the data have remained hidden by the scientists. Next will come the FOIA.

Re:That's how science works... (2, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about 4 years ago | (#32867860)

Because that is how science works. Any decent scientist would rather say "here is my data, please help me find something wrong with it."

That only works when the person asking for the data is honest. When that person's only goal is to discredit you by any means possible, it is human nature not to want to cooperate with them.

Re:That's how science works... (2, Insightful)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about 4 years ago | (#32868020)

Its also human nature when you're caught in a lie, to try to defame your opponent. That's exactly what Jones and Mann did.

Re:That's how science works... (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about 4 years ago | (#32867916)

Yep the sci.fags sure had lots to hide and too much to excuse. Both ways deficient ... otherwise they wouldn't have tried. Then the review boyz -- same as the ol' boyz -- kiss their PC *zzwholes. Now who woulda' thunk-it! Assuming the worst of human intension ... which is always safe ... you know that Climate-Gate data was rotten to the core.

Re:That's how science works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867940)

When someone openly calls for me to be hanged, I'm not going to lend them some rope when they claim to want to anchor a tree or for any other legitimately sounding excuse. They can publicly whine about how I am selfish and anti-social all they want; I'm not going to cooperate.

Because (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867570)

"We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?"

Because that's how science works, but you wouldn't know anything about that now would you?

Response (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 4 years ago | (#32867580)

Hey, I've got a response for you: Fuck the blogosphere.

There is sufficient transparency in the scientific community, but you know what? People have opinions in the community as well. They don't claim its science, they argue, they piss each other off behind closed doors, and they deserve to have their personal e-mails kept private. They aren't politicians -- they aren't accountable to the public, though they often do perform public services. But then they set it all aside, they publish their work to peer reviewed journals, and move towards some kind of consensus using common criterion. Demanding greater transparency (ie reduced privacy) because a small number of people from a much, much larger community made a poor judgement call (at best) is uncalled for.

And the blogosphere is not exactly what I would call a bastion of unbiased requests! For shame...

Re:Response (0, Troll)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 4 years ago | (#32867604)

They aren't politicians -- they aren't accountable to the public, though they often do perform public services.

If they are using MY tax dollars then they damn well ARE accountable to the public.

Re:Response (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867640)

which is why everything the police do is completely transparent and open to the public.

Re:Response (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 4 years ago | (#32867786)

It should be. In certain situation with a time delay but eventually it should be.

Re:Response (2, Informative)

abigsmurf (919188) | about 4 years ago | (#32867964)

Except when they don't fufil their obligations under the freedom of information act. As they weren't. They're now facing (civil) charges over their treatment of FOIA requests.

Re:Response (0)

GNT (319794) | about 4 years ago | (#32867648)

Not only that, these "found no malfeasance" results are absurd on their face. They DID hide, throw away and improperly manipulate the data. At best they were wrong and at worst it was a deliberate push for AGW (which isn't happening).

If the data had been public, as it should have been, both on the tax and scientific method grounds, these asshats would not have had a chance to bamboozle the public and eat high on the hog trough of public funded science.

Re:Response (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867664)

The data is all available to the public from NASA and the NOAA. Go run your computations and get back to us on your results, professor.

Re:Response (-1, Redundant)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#32867858)

Done.

I've determined that warming-and-cooling are natural events. Just like the previous global warming periods of 10,000 BC (when the glaciers melted) and 3000-2000 BC (Egyptian golden age) and 300-1300 AD (Roman era and Feudal era). It was so warm they were growing wine in Scotland and Greenland was actually green.

Unless you think those events were caused by Caesar and his buds running-round in their SUVs, releasing lots of CO2, and warming everything up?

Re:Response (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 4 years ago | (#32867910)

I can't tell from this post if you're ironic or not, but I'm pretty sure from your history that you're not. It's the perfect example of how ill-equipped the blogosphere, and the public at large, is to analyze the data collected by NASA, NOAA and co.

Releasing the data and making science more transparent is going to do very little to convince naysayers, because they're completely blind to confirmation bias. The reason you want to make science transparent is so that if one scientist makes a mistake, another scientist can catch it and correct it.

The argument that a person from the street has a higher likelihood to be unbiased and rational than a scientist in the field is completely humbug. It's quite possible that some can be, but the odds are completely against it.

Re:Response (2, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 4 years ago | (#32867718)

You're confusing incompetence with malice. Climate models are one of the most complex things mathematically and otherwise, and is also a relatively new field with many players. Science changes quickly in new fields because people don't really have a grasp of what's behind it all. That doesn't mean what they did was wrong -- it just means their pride got in the way of them doing the best job possible, because they didn't want to publish results that said "climate change is a joke" when a large body of evidence suggests it is not.

Re:Response (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#32867874)

>>>it just means their pride got in the way of them doing the best job possible

Pride and an agenda.
.

>>>they didn't want to publish results that said "climate change is a joke"

Then they should quit their jobs, because they are no longer scientists. They are ignoring the data. Might as well go write fiction instead - like maybe some submissions to Asimov's Science Fiction magazine.

Re:Response (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 4 years ago | (#32867902)

Then they should quit their jobs, because they are no longer scientists. They are ignoring the data. Might as well go write fiction instead - like maybe some submissions to Asimov's Science Fiction magazine.

Failure teaches us more than success, often. Asking someone to quit because they made a mistake denies the reality of the work: Sooner or later, you're gonna fuck it up. And in my opinion, the person who's experienced failure is more valuable than the one who hasn't.

Re:Response (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 years ago | (#32867932)

I don't know how that couldn't be seen as malice then. I mean if a large body of evidence suggests something like the earth is flat or big things sink and little things float, then the minority of evidence suggesting otherwise or a possibility of another explanation being hidden to retain those beliefs simple isn't scientific at all. And this is especially true when the topic of discussion is "one of the most complex things mathematically and otherwise" and "changes quickly" because "because people don't really have a grasp of what's behind it all".

Incompetence would be noting that we don't understand why this or that doesn't line up and then not following up on this or that to see why not. Malice would be hiding this or that in order to preserve the belief you wanted to keep true and is no different then the conflicts of the heliocentric universe or the flat earth. Unfortunately, it appears that they went the non-scientifically- prevailing path in global warming which resembled the failed path in history.

Re:Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867844)

one persons properly manipulating the data is another person's improperly maintaining the data.

The issue with the 'trick' is that one part of the records has a very different 'error' condition than the other part (older data based on tree rings are by their very nature only estimates). If you take that information literally, then guess what, we will all just go on blissfully ignorant. The context however is that there is other evidence to support what they are saying, but hey lets not let some facts get in the way of the truth. That would just be unamerican.

Re:Response (4, Informative)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 4 years ago | (#32867920)

Not only that, these "found no malfeasance" results are absurd on their face. They DID hide, throw away and improperly manipulate the data.

No, actually, they didn't.

That's the point of the review-- it turns out they didn't hide, throw away, or manipulate the data.

They did publish one figure (out of a total of many hundred figures in a large number of articles) that was misleading-- but (here's the interesting thing) they explained exactly what they did and why in the figure. If you read the figure, but not the text explaining it, it might have been misleading-- or might not; there is some real controversy about tree ring data, and it's pretty clear that they thought that they were presenting the data in the clearest form. In any case, if you read the text, you would have known exactly what the figure was graphing.

In fact, Nature (the journal in which the arguably-misleading figure was published) had their own review, which concluded that there was no need for a correction, because the article did explain exactly what the figure showed, and why it showed that particular data; it did not need a correction because it was not incorrect.

Re:Response (5, Insightful)

Compholio (770966) | about 4 years ago | (#32867656)

They aren't politicians -- they aren't accountable to the public, though they often do perform public services.

If they are using MY tax dollars then they damn well ARE accountable to the public.

So all of their private conversations are suddenly public record because they get paid with tax dollars? I'm sorry, but you have no right to take away our privacy just because you are the source of our paychecks.

Re:Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867766)

They aren't politicians -- they aren't accountable to the public, though they often do perform public services.

If they are using MY tax dollars then they damn well ARE accountable to the public.

So all of their private conversations are suddenly public record because they get paid with tax dollars? I'm sorry, but you have no right to take away our privacy just because you are the source of our paychecks.

I'm sorry, but you have no right to threaten to steal my house or throw me in prison if I choose not to fund your pay check. Work related conversations should be public record. Don't like it? Don't steal from me.

Re:Response (2, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | about 4 years ago | (#32867834)

So all of their private conversations are suddenly public record because they get paid with tax dollars?

No they are subject to public scrutiny if their private conversations become a basis for public legislation. I have a right to take away your professional (as opposed to personal) privacy if I am to be subject to any law based on your work.

Re:Response (-1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#32867908)

>>>So all of their private conversations are suddenly public record because they get paid with tax dollars?

No.

Because they have the ear of the US and EU leaders who are enforcing CO2 caps, and if these scientists' advice is to be followed rather than ignored, then they damn well better PROVE their case. "I say so and my data backs me up," is not sufficient. Show the data to other climatologists and let them confirm or refute the conclusion.

Re:Response (5, Insightful)

dfetter (2035) | about 4 years ago | (#32867690)

You will, of course, be demanding accountability in military spending that's equal to what scientist using public funds have now, right? How about starting with the total decommissioning of our nuclear weapons? We spend about 8 billion dollars on each nuclear submarine. Has anyone been asked to present a post-Cold War case for ever having one of those?

Re:Response (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 4 years ago | (#32867852)

Has anyone been asked to present a post-Cold War case for ever having one of those?

The post-Cold War case remains the same as the pre-Cold War case. The purpose is to retain enough nuclear strike capability to be able to take out Russia or some other nation-level foe, if the US gets wiped in a nuclear (or other technology) attack. There's no reason for the case to change until there is no longer a potential enemy with the ability to do this. Whether the justification warrants the bill mentioned above is another story.

Re:Response (1)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | about 4 years ago | (#32867996)

The post-Cold War case remains the same as the pre-Cold War case. The purpose is to retain enough nuclear strike capability to be able to take out Russia or some other nation-level foe, if the US gets wiped in a nuclear (or other technology) attack.

Ie, the pre-Cold War case was just as bullshit as the current post-Cold War case.

There's no reason for the case to change until there is no longer a potential enemy with the ability to do this.

No. One great reason for the case to change if people started acting rationally. If Russia or some other national-level foe wipes out the US, there's really little reason to counterattack. Revenge, btw, isn't a good reason.

Whether the justification warrants the bill mentioned above is another story.

Personally, I'm less bothered in throwing away the $8 Billion as much as the mindset that tries to justify it. If, on the other hand, the US would admit "we have these nuclear submarines so the US can be the first to strike, if we desire", at least it'd remove the hypocrisy of trying to look like a purely reactionary, defensive move because of others instead of the [evil] warhawkish behavior that would lead to the death of billions (because there are those in Russia and other nations who are just as warhawkish and willing to strike even after one's own side lost; and that justifies nothing just like terrorists blowing up civilians doesn't justify us doing it).

Re:Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867870)

Tremendous oversimplification.

Nobody is going to die if the scientists are more open.

You realize the scientists are just protecting their territory, right?

Those nuclear submarines (which don't cost 8 billion each) are a stabilizing influence in the world... and when Russia and China dismantle their weapons we can talk about getting rid of ours.

Re:Response (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 4 years ago | (#32867928)

There is ample case for retaining nuclear weapons.

They are the ultimate weapon, and let's remember atmospheric testing demonstrated that (modest) nuclear conflicts are a practical proposition. (Not a "nice" proposition, that's different.)

It makes no military sense to get rid of them and instantly cede nation-state wars to countries with much larger populations who can take vast conventional casualties. The AssUmption that the Cold War is over forever and there will be nothing like it is silly, while there are plenty of examples of disarmament weakening nations which had to rearm at the last minute.

Just because we are currently hamstrung by law and custom doesn't mean we will never again need to destroy another country. It just raises the bar to action, which is fine. Germany and Japan proved that one has to burn some folks world down around their ears before they get the hint to play nice.

Nukes are the only remaining viable response to (outlawed) biological and chemical warfare. No nukes? Enjoy the mass casualties from WEARING chem suits (ever worn one on a hot day for twelve hours? Real world wouldn't have work-rest cycles!) and even more massive casualties from the chems.
The North Koreans could, for example, have smegged Seoul with nerve agent with impunity if we hadn't kept them in their box with tactical nukes. They almost pushed the UN forces into the Yellow Sea without chems. Their threat is no joke.

Moral examples are nothing to people smart enough to ignore them when expedient. Some people wont be deterred by any threat, so one must be able to kill all or most of them if necessary. When they stop breathing they can't fight. History teaches that peace is temporary, that being prepared is better than losing, and that Auschwitz and the Soviet Gulag were full of idealists who couldn't fight back.

Re:Response (0, Offtopic)

Group XVII (1714286) | about 4 years ago | (#32867714)

GP ("Fuck the blogosphere") is modded "insightful," P ("they damn well ARE accountable") is modded "flamebait." Fascinating.

Re:Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867980)

Fascinating.

Not really. This has been apparent for a while now and is exemplified by the emails. Picking who and what can be heard by burying the comments you dislike is still very important to pushing global warming as it was when the emails were created. It's just that now, you have a more religious sect that attempt to quiet more then scientific opinions. Welcome to the age of the Church of Global Warming.

Re:Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867846)

How is that "Flamebait"? More like "-1, Disagree".

Re:Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867654)

A man comes to your house knocks on your door and tells you your house is gonna be 20ft underwater in 20 years time. Do you believe him or do you ask for proof?

Re:Response (1)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about 4 years ago | (#32867658)

Of course there's the problem of those private emails revealing naked attempts to massage what qualifies for peer review and who qualifies as a peer to do the reviewing. Sorry. The indignation is not justified.

News Flash-- Peer review was not redefined (4, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 4 years ago | (#32868058)

Of course there's the problem of those private emails revealing naked attempts to massage what qualifies for peer review and who qualifies as a peer to do the reviewing.

You're aware that the papers that Jones was referring to when he said he would "keep them out somehow" from the IPCC report were, in fact, not kept out, and did [nature.com] appear in the report?

This was, basically, a frustrated scientist blowing off steam in a private conversation. Out of a thousand stolen e-mail messages, one of them was frustrated and hot-tempered. Turns out, scientists actually are human.

Re:Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867728)

So "Fuck the blogosphere" gets a 5 insightful (or should that be "inciteful") ... while a, comment that research data paid by taxpayers should be made public is given a 1 flamebait.

Well, I can see a bias in the modding .... similar to the bias in the climategate scandal.

Re:Response (2, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 years ago | (#32867796)

Hey, I've got a response for you: Fuck the blogosphere.

Translation, Yea, we aren't even confident enough in our claims to survive the scrutiny of the people we are pushing political views on.

Seriously, this wouldn't have been an issue at all in the blogosphere or anywhere if it wasn't picked up by politicians after being pushed by political activist scientists to demand changes that have effects reaching everyone in the world. But hey, I guess "Fuck you" is the appropriate response when someone tells someone else they have to do something or change something that is likely to costs them money and they reply with "Really? Let me see". I mean if it's a Do as I say and not as I do world and all.....that's how it works in politics and everyone trusts politicians right?

There is sufficient transparency in the scientific community, but you know what? People have opinions in the community as well. They don't claim its science, they argue, they piss each other off behind closed doors, and they deserve to have their personal e-mails kept private.

You are missing two entirely distinct points here. First, this isn't the scientific community nor was it conversations kept in the scientific community. Global warming currently is a political movement and was cooped or commandeered by politics when it was in an infancy. Being political, it's claims had far more reaching effects then someone's scientific hypothesis, it had to do with a transfer of wealth and hardship placed on the citizens of the world. Second, the emails didn't start the fire, they were just fuel added to the fire. When someone on a blog somewhere said Hey, this effects me, I want to verify it myself and the answer is Fuck you, the fire is already lit well before any emails became public. All the emails did was strengthen the doubt of people who were told to fuck off when they asked for data.

They aren't politicians -- they aren't accountable to the public, though they often do perform public services.

You are right and wrong. They aren't politicians, some of them pretend to be, and some of them had a strong political goal in mind. The entire IPCC ordeal was, is, and still is, a political movement as well as most all of the reported fixes or cures to global warming to date. When someone wants to enter the realm of politics, then the onus is on them to prove or convince others outside of their click that their claims are correct and their claimed course of action is supported. Telling blogger to fuck off does not do that in any way.

But then they set it all aside, they publish their work to peer reviewed journals, and move towards some kind of consensus using common criterion. Demanding greater transparency (ie reduced privacy) because a small number of people from a much, much larger community made a poor judgement call (at best) is uncalled for.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. When you are making any claims that forces me into compliance by political measures, then transparency is a must. In fact, it is a must much more so then politics in general. Or are you somehow forgetting the corporate or other special interests that buy off politicians to subjugate the populous to some law that favors them extremely? And with the political hijacking of global warming reaching as far back as the early to mid 1990's- just a few years after the doom and gloom warnings started telling of a pending disaster, we see no difference between it and 3m attempting to make it legal to dump toxins in your drinking water supply because it's cheaper then the safe disposal of it.

You are right that a poor judgment call was made. It was telling people who simply wanted to review the data to fuck off because they had too much time invested just to have someone validate it. And yes, that's the layman's translation of "'We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?"

Re:Response (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#32867808)

>>>Demanding greater transparency because a small number of people... made a poor judgment call is uncalled for.

You need to read Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" in which he makes the case that Non-transparency (i.e. hiding data) is what enables the old guard to protect their favorite theories. It happened to Kepler when he was afraid to publish his math proving the sun was the center of the solar system (he waited until he was on his deathbed). It happened to Galileo who was imprisoned by the Catholic Church. It happened to Planck for suggesting that lightwaves could travel through a vacuum instead of a medium like water. The journals refused to publish his work, because it challenged the prevailing theory and was considered "nuts".

It is censorship through suppression of minority views, and the only way to fight it is through openness (share the data).

Re:Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867894)

Oh please. They needed to make their *data* public. Not their fucking emails. The whole issue is that no one outside their inner circle can tell whether their methodologies are accurate or flawed unless they release their data. Their data has *zero* privacy implications.

If they won't release their data, they aren't doing science. The problem is that everyone has been pointing to their results and saying *see scientists said it! It must be true!* Well, scientists fuck up sometimes too. They aren't gods. And they should release their data if they want to be taken seriously. And if they don't release their data, they should be treated like the clowns they are. Doing science means that you open yourself up to criticism based on your work. These so-called scientists aren't doing that. Instead, they are saying "we have secret data that you can't see, but here's our results! You should believe our results because we're scientists!" They are not scientists until they release their data. Until then, they are high priests of the religion of climate change, and we shouldn't pay any more attention to their results than if they were crank religious nut cases. And that's a much more accurate description of them than scientists.

Re:Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867922)

Since they sent secret emails around about destroying data and corrupting the peer review process, since most of the investigations stated how they violated FOI laws, I'm just not sure I can believe you when you assure me there is sufficient transparency or rationalize how scientists being paid for by the taxpayer should somehow not be accountable to the public.

But thanks anyway.

Re:Response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867970)

It's that time of the month for you, eh?! Nerd rage amplified by period can be something to behold. ;-)

Two shamelessly plagarized comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867620)

So the group that is at the center of the scandal performed an "independent" review of itself, and said we're all good here? Then they hype the press release letting everyone know they can be trusted again.

"Move along people, nothing to see here." Officer Barbrady

"These aren't the droids you're looking for". Obi Wan.

!Science (4, Insightful)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | about 4 years ago | (#32867646)

Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?

Um, that is precisely why. Do you even know how to spell the word "science", Phil?

Re:!Science (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867820)

If you think climate has not already changed, go outside and take a good look.

If you think it's not man-made, read up on chemistry about how for example CO2 behaves in the atmosphere.

Essentially what has happened since the industrial revolution is something like a continuous ever-increasing volcanic eruption spewing long-stored gasses into the atmosphere (*). This upsets the equilibrium which has developed over time. Therefore the climate changes, as it seeks a new equilibrium. And yes, the climate change is caused by humans.

People don't want to hear this as they ride their lazy asses on their cars 500 m to the nearest megamarket. Why not take the bicycle instead? It's not an option - people don't want to hear this. As they slowly kill their lives away commuting for hours at a time, stuck in traffic jams caused by a culture of over-driven consumption, they never stop to wonder "is this the right thing to do".

And the worst is that this consumption-culture is fuelled by debt! So you destroy both your nest AND your economical livelihood for generations to come.

And yet some still see fit to defend the people who benefit from this mess. Applause. The people you defend are well within their means to fly their private jets to other places, when push comes to shove. Can you do the same? Or will you be knee-deep in shit, trying to manage?

And then these beneficiaries come up with "solutions" to fight this problem in their terms, so that nothing really needs to change and they can keep on benefitting. Their idea is to say hydrogen is the future, so that you still have "gas stations" and the infrastructure and reliance on the provider of hydrogen; their idea is to store the CO2 underground, so that instead of fixing the problem at its source (=reduce CO2 emissions with cleaner, less consuming technology and non-fossil energy sources), let's just pretend the problem doesn't exist. Newsflash: pumping CO2 somewhere does not get rid of it, it only slows down the atmospheric absorption. There is no container big enough that does not leak.

And you, the one driving the SUV, buying plastic junk and consuming goods farmed half a world away, are part of the problem.

The problem is real and will not go away by voting Republican, Democrat, Liberal, whatever. No-one else will save you. YOU must change your actions. It's not leftist-greenist-ecofascist propaganda, it's common sense. /End rant

(*) Plus other garbage, causing other effects like acid rain and poisoning of the food chain.

Re:!Science (4, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 4 years ago | (#32867854)

You misunderstand his comment. His point isn't that we have interested skeptics who just want to assist in the advancement of science. No, what we have are partisan hacks interested in spinning the ambiguous statements, innocent comments in code, climatology jargon (eg, "trick"), so that they can be used as political weapons in an ideological battle against the science and scientists of climatology.

In the face, of that, I'd tell those assholes to fuck off, too. They have no interest in advancing the public discourse, and are only interested in advancing their own agenda in the most dishonest, disrespectful way possible, by attacking the researchers and their research with lies and slander.

In short, to all you faux skeptics who would have us believe you're just heroes fighting the good fight against those evil scientists who want to curb our freedom, I say: fuck off you lying sacks of shit.

Re:!Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32868062)

Ah yes, a defender of the new religion of climate change! Only true believers can get excess to the blessed data! Skeptics are to be shunned and ridiculed. Believe in the one true data and you shall be saved!

Fucking religious idiots. Stop trying to push your beliefs onto society. Go back to the dark ages where you belong.

not cleared (3, Interesting)

Peter La Casse (3992) | about 4 years ago | (#32867652)

From the Independent Climate Change E-mails Review Final Report pdf [cce-review.org] :

On the allegation that the references in a specific e-mail to a "trick" and to "hide the decline" in respect of a 1999 WMO report figure show evidence of intent to paint a misleading picture, we find that, given its subsequent iconic significance (not least the use of a similar figure in the IPCC Third Assessment Report), the figure supplied for the WMO Report was Misleading.

Intentionally supplying misleading figures is scientific misconduct. It may be commonplace, but that's no excuse.

Personally, that doesn't bother me much; science has always been politicized between factions who behave unethically in order to further their own theories. What does bother me is the attempt to pass off the results of incompetent software engineering as valid science.

Karl Poppler on line two (2, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about 4 years ago | (#32867668)

Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?

...and he wants to have a word with you about the scientific method [wikipedia.org] .

This is a canard (5, Informative)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 4 years ago | (#32867992)

(And it's Popper, by the way. Have you actually read his books? Obviously not.)

Popper's notion of science is, frankly, obsolete. It was already obsolete when I was reading Philosophy of Science in the 1970s. He envisages a world in which falsifying an hypothesis invalidates a theory. But modern science - and this includes quantum mechanics as well as climatology - depends on statistical analysis and probability theory. You could almost say that when Schroedinger and Heisenberg defined the Uncertainty Principle and the probabilitistic Wave Equation, physics changed in a way that obsoleted Popper and the whole Victorian idea of science.

Jones is replying to people who don't want to take large amounts of data and mine them, but to find single errors and then claim that this invalidates the lot. He was actually right to tell them to get stuffed - but, because we live in a world dominated by PR and spin, this was misused against him. You are demonstrating the effect of this - you clearly have never read Popper, but you're trying to use a sound-bite as an argument.

Re:Karl Poppler on line two (3, Insightful)

Grygus (1143095) | about 4 years ago | (#32868036)

I don't see where your link says anything about giving highly technical raw data to bloggers who know nothing and couldn't care less whether what they say is actually true.

There seem to be many assumptions here that bloggers are equivalent to the scientific community. I believe these assumptions are ill-considered.

The investigation was a farce (1, Insightful)

bkeahl (1688280) | about 4 years ago | (#32867672)

The leaked communication, the content, and the attempts to delete them before they were found all indicate there was an attempt to cover up problems with the data. The problem now is that so many in the scientific community are vested in this process as a result of the funding competition, there's little room to trust at this point.

The ONLY way to have credibility is to make all the data available. However, now that we know they'll play games with the data I fear now that all we'll see is people more careful about laundering their data before releasing it.

To apply it to everyday life, how can the spouse of someone who has betrayed them ever really trust them again? These guys didn't even kiss us first, and they're free to continue doing what they've been doing again!

Re:The investigation was a farce (3, Informative)

Zironic (1112127) | about 4 years ago | (#32867754)

But the data IS available and it WAS available, they didn't even fudge the data. The only accusation made against them was that they started getting obstinate and refusing to give the data to climate doubters and the chart they had in the WMO report was misleading if you didn't read the report carefully.

Re:The investigation was a farce (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | about 4 years ago | (#32867938)

The data has to be ALWAYS available to everyone. That's the whole point behind Freedom of Information requests. Only releasing data to people you like and you feel share your views is not freely releasing data.

If you feel you are being hassled by nuisence requests, you hire someone to deal with them and pay their wages by charging the people requesting the information (as you are perfectly entitled to do).

If the conclusion is made public... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867684)

the research must be public as well. Anyone can claim anything, but without the proof to back up that claim it cannot be taken seriously.

In the case of climate research the data and finding are being used to form worldwide governmental policy, and as such it has an effect on every single person in the world. Therefore every person in the world has a right to view the data. It is critical that transparency throughout is maintained so that credibility does not suffer. Once credibility has been damaged, the research is no longer valid regardless of the factual content, as was the case of the boy who cried wolf.

The Guardian hosts a debate on Climategate (3, Informative)

Sara Chan (138144) | about 4 years ago | (#32867692)

The Guardian is having a debate on Climategate this Wednesday. Leading protagonists from the two sides of the debate are on the panel. Details are at http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/30/guardian-debate-climate-science-emails [guardian.co.uk]

false (5, Insightful)

Jeek Elemental (976426) | about 4 years ago | (#32867696)

It was only a big deal to the paid US shills, there was no "loss of public trust".
Reasonable people listen to scientific consensus.

Re:false (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867748)

Yea, the consensus they were forced lockstep into or be blackballed from established peer reviewed journals right?

Re:false (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867822)

Reasonable people listen to scientific consensus.

And in the early 1900s, "progressives" used scientific consensus to push eugenics-based population policies that would save western civilization from the sub-human black, brown and yellow races and other mental defectives.

How did that work out?

Re:false (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 4 years ago | (#32867924)

A) Wrong. Feel free to provide some sources to support your claim.
B) Even assuming you're right: Right around that time, scientific consensus laid the foundation for the atomic bomb. What's your point again?

Re:false (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867890)

It was only a big deal to the paid Vatican shills, there was no "loss of public trust". Reasonable people listen to their priests.

Fixed it for you. I really hope you were being sarcastic.

Re:false (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32868018)

So tell me, is eating eggs once a week currently recommended or not? Is the level of arsenic permitted in my water by EPA regulations safe for human consumption? (Loaded question, I haven't defined safe, but I guarantee you the average person does not agree with most definitions proposed). What about the level of jet fuel in my water (Yes, there is in fact...jet fuel in my water source, probably more than yours)? How about fluoride? There were lots of studies that proved that was safe--done by the military and a bunch of incredibly unethical scientists primarily in my hometown. I'd claim that that particular bit of research should be treated vaguely like Nazi Science (not to self-godwin) and banned from use forever for the ways in which it was conducted. Not as bad as vivisecting people on a table by any means--but a copious quantity of nonconsenting, uninformed individuals were forcibly subjected to exposure.

Reasonable people doubt scientific consensus when it appears to change frequently over the course of their lifetime. Reasonable people doubt scientific consensus when scientists claim "the research is reproducible"--but no ethical researcher would *EVER* reproduce the original study (Stanford prison: good science--not reproducible). Reasonable people doubt scientific consensus when "scientists" make an argument by appeal to authority--such as yourself. And I guarantee you, reasonable people doubt *ANY* sort of science when people say "I will not provide you with all of the data I have gathered." I've been through the journal process--and the claim that I can trust even hard sciences is a load of bullshit--even ignoring the political malfeasance--there's usually a lack of quality documentation of the setup, measuring technique, measuring devices, calibration and other things that are taken for granted--and speaking as a programmer--tests too frequently say things like "See paper X" --chains of backreferences for setup--with instructions followed by a human that I'm supposed to assume were done perfectly. Bullshit.

Even the raw data isn't around after a few years most of the time. So much for reproducibility when all I've got after a decade is a tiny little chart and some claims people filtered out statistical outliers. It appears many biology projects are rectifying this of late. Finally.

No, the Global Warming issue has eroded public trust. And the more reasonable people read, the more specious the claims appear. I am NOT claiming "Global Warming does not exist". But there's more than enough room to doubt much of the data, and thus the conclusions. But please, don't let logic interfere with your elitism. I'm sure *your* conclusions are valid. Until proven otherwise.

Dumb Niggers and Gloating Sheeneys (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867724)

Sometimes People Say More Than They Mean To

As Dr Johnson almost said, a black intellectual is like a dog walking on its hind legs: it’s not done well, but you’re surprised to find it done at all. One of Britain’s most prominent black intellectuals is Trevor Phillips, the Chair of the Commission for Triangular Squares and Flying Pigs – better known as the Commission for Racial Equality. If Phillips’ intelligence matched his self-regard and self-righteousness, he’d be pushing back the frontiers of physics or computer science somewhere. But he’s black and it doesn’t, which means that he sometimes says more than he means to.

He recently wrote an article for The Independent, one of Britain’s two big liberal newspapers, arguing for the economic benefits of mass immigration and describing a recent trip he had made to the United States and Canada. One city he visited was failing, another was flourishing, and he explained the difference using immigration. The failing city hadn’t been blessed by it, the flourishing city had. This is how he put it – see if you can spot the blatantly racist conclusion he drew without realizing it:

Immigration in North America is really about economics. I spent much of last week there, starting on the banks of the Mississippi. In the small, African-American district of East St Louis, the only businesses that thrive are fast-food outlets and beauty parlours; the tax base is so low that 80 per cent of the city’s education spending comes from federal handouts. By contrast the city in which I ended my trip, Vancouver, lies at the heart of a dazzling growth surge in western Canada. One thing above all accounts for the transformation of this Pacific coast backwater into an economic success story: immigration. Nearly half of those who live in the city centre are immigrants, among them over 300,000 Chinese and 200,000 Indians.

Did you spot it? That’s right: Trevor Phillips, black head of the British Commission for Racial Equality, was complaining in one of Britain’s big liberal newspapers about lazy, dumb, good-fer-nothing niggers. A city with lots of blacks fails, because blacks are lazy and stupid and just want to fill their guts fast and look good so they can get sex. But a city with lots of Chinese and Indians flourishes, according to Phillips, because they’re clever and materialistic and work hard for themselves and for their children. And what would happen if East St Louis got lots of Chinese and Indian immigrants? The blacks would still be lazy and stupid, but now they’d have two new groups to feel envy and resentment towards, and two new groups would learn to hate and despise blacks. Something similar will already be happening in Canada: Vancouver’s surface glitter will hide a lot of racial tension, and when that glitter fades, as it inevitably will, the racial tension is going to turn nasty.

That’s a part of why White nations don’t need Chinese and Indian immigrants. Even if they “help the economy” in the short term, it’s better to be poor and racially healthy than rich and racially diseased. We can survive on our own; we cannot survive in company with other races. What Phillips and other blacks are asking us to do is build our own funeral pyre, soak it in kerosene, and then hand them the matches. Phillips & Co are on the funeral pyre too and they’re going to go up with us when they strike the match, but they’re dumb niggers and don’t quite get that part.

The people pulling their strings aren’t dumb though. White nations never voted for mass immigration and with the exception of greedy, selfish businessmen, never wanted it. Only the small Jewish minority wanted it, but Jews aren’t stupid and they got what they wanted.

You can see them regularly gloating over their success in The Independent and The Guardian, the other big liberal paper in Britain. In the latter, one David Aaronovitch wrote of “the Joys of Diversity” and how he prefers the “quiet, paper-reading ethnicities” of his train-journey to work to the “exotic, incomprehensible” White racists of northern England, where the chickens of Muslim immigration are now coming home to roost. Another Jewish columnist on The Guardian, Jonathan Freedland, recently spent a month in South Africa. He’d campaigned hard during the 1980s to overthrow apartheid, and was naturally eager to see the fruits of his labors.

Alas, he didn’t find things in South Africa quite as rosy as he’d hoped and on his return to Britain he wrote a column saying so. But Freedland wasn’t worried about South Africa’s horrendous crime rate: the thousands of rapes and murders committed every year by lawless blacks against Whites and against each other. He wasn’t worried about the AIDS epidemic there, caused by black promiscuity and black stupidity. He wasn’t worried about corrupt black politicians cheating their own people and blaming all their problems on the legacy of apartheid. No, Freedland wasn’t worried about any of that. The burning question that occupied him during his stay in South Africa was this:

Would I see, at any point in nearly four weeks in the country, a white person serving a black person? I looked hard – at restaurants, at petrol stations, in bars, in shops, in banks. I never saw it. Not once. I looked at magazine covers and window-displays in clothing stores. White, white, white. Occasionally, there would be a token black face, usually very light-skinned.

“White, white, white,” wails Jew Freedland. Bad, bad, bad. But thanks to him and his fellow Jews, things are looking better and better in the formerly White nations of the world every day. Better for Jews, that is. For Whites, things are looking worse and worse, and they’re not going to look better again until We Get Rid of the Yid.

Blogging vs. Journalism (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867744)

One of the problems that I see with the blogsphere is that it is a never ending trap. How much time will people who work on controversial topics now have to spend working on dealing with unending requests for data, of which very few people will understand either the facts or sometimes more importantly the context of the conclusions reached.

If I was one of the scientists putting my life and soul into researching something this important; and yes, the conclusions can go either way, but the research IS important; the last thing I would do is spend more than half my time to respond to useless requests by bloggers pretending to be journalists. Bloggers are opinion, not news. They need to be treated as such.

Re:Blogging vs. Journalism (2, Interesting)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 4 years ago | (#32867862)

easy.
After you've published a paper.
Take all your data.
Take all your research notes.
Take all other relevant information and put it all up in a torrent.

Set an auto-reply for any emails that look like people asking for data directing them to grab the torrent.

Bloggers in my experience are a hell of a lot better than "journalists" who, most of the time, know nothing about the field they're writing about and mindlessly parrot press releases or utterly fail to grasp the material.
Bloggers at least tend to be amateurs (in the sense that they study the subject they talk about for the love of it, rather than professionally).

Re:Blogging vs. Journalism (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 4 years ago | (#32868030)

I can boil more then half your time down to just a few days throughout your career. You see, you simply put up an FTP server and document in your work which data you used, how you manipulated it and why, then reference the files sitting on the FTP server as you do your work.

Now all they have to do is peer review your work, download the data to check it on their own, and if they find an error, well, the scientific process worked either way right?

It's not like you are hand copying data for each request and personally delivering them. It's not like you don't have access to internet servers through your department or something connected to your department if you are really doing scientific research to be released to the public that will influence public policy. Hell, some undergrad could simply follow you and place the files onto the server for you when you use different numbers. This entire "it takes too much time" excuse sounds facetious at best.

Loser academics. (0, Flamebait)

johnthorensen (539527) | about 4 years ago | (#32867780)

Bottom line - the reviewer ignores a very important point. If you're sitting on a scandal, the last thing you want to do is release all the gory details. You may catch flak for not being 'open', but that's better than being open AND giving your critics the ammunition they need to sink you. The current state of academic research has drifted farther and farther from what we call the 'scientific method'. Peer review is often a joke, and politics has way too much to do with things. We have people in academia producing research that is beyond bogus, but so long as they can find a few other bogus researchers to pat them on the back for it, the charade continues. It gets even worse when the people doling out the money have fiercely political agendas and encourage the bullshit with a paycheck. Newton, Hooke, et al are rolling over in their graves...

where's the budget for responding to the requests? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32867802)

The scientists are going "why should I be releasing all this data which I spent 25 years on"... it's partly because of a "pride of ownership" and a desire to be first publisher (= status in the "community").. but there's several financial reasons why, too. These folks don't get huge budgets to do their work, and responding to those FOIA and similar requests takes some non-zero amount of time and effort, for which someone has to be paid. It's particularly grating to have to respond when some number of the recipients are not going to understand and either ask MORE questions (which need time and money to answer) or worse, to use the data incorrectly to try and get your already limited funding cut.

No wonder they go "bleh.. just ignore it and hope it goes away.. it's lose/lose"

This is particularly the case with older research. Today, many grants have a "must release raw data within (some small number of months)" and explicitly ask for your budget to do so as part of the application. But you still have the "do I spend my time doing research or doing explanations for the general public" resource allocation problem. There's also the cultural problem (as shown in the recent AAAS report) that many scientists consider "explaining" to be beneath them. Look at the scorn heaped upon "science popularizers". It used to be that there were dedicated science journalists with good writing skills and science knowledge who filled the gap between esoteric journal pubs and general public, but the budget for them has gone by the wayside. Science rarely fits in the "if it bleeds it leads" category, nor does it fit in the "watching the train wreck" voyeurism of the antics of Paris, Britney, and LiLo.

Re:where's the budget for responding to the reques (1)

johnthorensen (539527) | about 4 years ago | (#32867912)

It's easy to respond to such requests - just publish your raw data in the same place you publish your conclusions. This is *not* a budget thing.

Re:where's the budget for responding to the reques (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | about 4 years ago | (#32868016)

You can charge cost for responding to requests. Both for the man power and any physical costs. It's for cases like this where there's a risk of them being harrassed through FOIA requests this clause was put it.

Rather than exercise their legal right, they thought they could just pick and choose who they could give information to.

Can you spell W H I T E W A S H ? (-1, Troll)

itsybitsy (149808) | about 4 years ago | (#32867878)

The three inquiries into the fraudulent science by Phil Jones, Michael Mann and others have all been political whitewashes. The alleged climate scientists involved in Climategate need to spend some quality time behind bars for they have perpetrated a number of obvious frauds and continue to do so, they used political methods to silence other scientists who had different results, they pass off poor statistical correlations as settled science (no such thing) when the Natural Null Hypothesis has better statistical correlation, even worse they have unnecessarily scared the global population with their doomsday soothsaying all driven by their own political agenda to secure additional funding (which they succeed at quite well for fear works to extract money from politicians who don't think critically especially those who live life basking in the internal brain drugged up endarkened ignorance of faith based beliefs).

It is a sad era for science. Richard Feynman would be rocking in his grave if he knew about this (and if dead people could rock in their graves but unfortunately biology tells us that dead parrots stay dead, oh wait that was monty python that tells us that, anyway I digress so back to the colorful expression of dead scientists rocking in their graves at a political white wash).

Richard Feynman had this to say on the topic of integrity of scientists:

"But this long history of learning how not to fool ourselves-of having utter scientific integrity-is, I'm sorry to say, something that we haven't specifically included in any particular course that I know of. We just hope you've caught on by osmosis.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself-and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you've not fooled yourself, it's easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.

I would like to add something that's not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you're talking as a scientist. I am not trying to tell you what to do about cheating on your wife, or fooling your girlfriend, or something like that, when you're not trying to be a scientist, but just trying to be an ordinary human being. We'll leave those problems up to you and your rabbi. I'm talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you are maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.

For example, I was a little surprised when I was talking to a friend who was going to go on the radio. He does work on cosmology and astronomy, and he wondered how he would explain what the applications of this work were. "Well," I said, "there aren't any." He said, "Yes, but then we won't get support for more research of this kind." I think that's kind of dishonest. If you're representing yourself as a scientist, then you should explain to the layman what you're doing-and if they don't want to support you under those circumstances, then that's their decision.

One example of the principle is this: If you've made up your mind to test a theory, or you want to explain some idea, you should always decide to publish it whichever way it comes out. If we only publish results of a certain kind, we can make the argument look good. We must publish both kinds of results.

I say that's also important in giving certain types of government advice. Supposing a senator asked you for advice about whether drilling a hole should be done in his state; and you decide it would be better in some other state. If you don't publish such a result, it seems to me you're not giving scientific advice. You're being used. If your answer happens to come out in the direction the government or the politicians like, they can use it as an argument in their favor; if it comes out the other way, they don't publish it at all. That's not giving scientific advice.

Other kinds of errors are more characteristic of poor science."

The full article by Richard Feynman:
http://pathstoknowledge.net/2010/02/19/cargo-cult-science-a-lesson-from-richard-feynman-for-scientists-of-today-to-learn [pathstoknowledge.net]

The Media is Not Science (3, Insightful)

dwguenther (1100987) | about 4 years ago | (#32867904)

Although this article esquire.com - marc morano [esquire.com] is admittedly pop-media, it demonstrates that most of the fault here lies with reporting, not the science or even the scientists. The researchers at UEA have been doing the best job of measuring and analyzing that anyone can, yet when they are harassed by payed pundits and gadflys the objectivity of the media is completely lost. Even now that the researchers have been cleared of any professional wrongdoing, they are still being criticized (or apologized for) because they expressed frustration that their work was being misrepresented. If we should take away any message from this incident, it should be concern about how easily information can be corrupted in the public mind, even at times when clear public debate is critically important. Case in point: The Guardian is not the most balanced news outlet, and often has a sensationalist agenda of it's own.

I will say it again (1)

fermion (181285) | about 4 years ago | (#32867914)

The discussion is not about science, or openness of data. Science is open. Access to data is expensive but not prohibitive. For a few thousand dollars a year, or a trip to your local university library, anyone can access any peer reviewed science they want. The issue is who gets to say what reality is, and who gets to implement policy based on the definition of reality

Up until the time of Galileo in Europe, the Pope pretty much got to say what was and was not true. If the Pope said that moon was made of shit, that was the truth. Galileo , and the scientist that followed, OTOH, pretty much said that Goad made the world, and an average person could know the world and the nature of god by careful observation, and even formulate that nature through mathematics. Since the creator and creation were the same, any discrepancy between previous writing ad observations had to be in the interpretation of the writing, since god and the creation were the same, and words were subject to error. Note that this was the same thing that was being said by the emerging protestant. That the pope was not infallible.

The problem was that the Pope and the Church were political institutions, so were not interested in reality, only power, so they could not let the scientists take the power. This is pretty much is happening today with various religious institutions. There is too much money to be made in telling people what to believe. This is why they catholic church lies about condoms. This is why many protestant churches lie about the nature of evolution of people. God and the Creation are one. God is not going to lie to us, only men born of original sin are going to do that. No matter how holy a man thinks he is, there is still original sin that prevents him from being as honest as the observable fact and repeatable experiment. When I tell a child that he acceleration is proportional to force applied, that is knowledge given to us directly from the creation. When the church says the earth is only a few thousand years old, that is lie given directly from corrupt men who would rather have a ignorant laborer that will tithe to the church and let the priest hire gigolos than a productive creative person who can make all our lives better.

This is no says anything about the various religions as an institution, merely the corrupt men who cannot see the sin within themselves.

Then there is the secular side of greed and corruption. The people who put money and wordily goods in front of everything else, including annoying facts based in reality. These are the people who say smoking causes no significant damage. Or oil is not fossil-fuel and therefore there will be an endless supply. Or that McDonalds is food. Of that the Germans in WWII did not kill nearly as many people as some say. These lies are often wrapped in religion, because a lie wrapped in a perceived truth is easier to swallow, and because the church is always willing to form alliances that will increase it's power, but this has nothing to do with religion. This has to do with people who want money at any cost. If we are affecting climate, then we should do something about, which could put the powerful out of business. Other people will become wealthy, but the current aristocracy will but put in jeopardy. If is just like when people no longer believed that King was chosen by god. We all benefited, but the King suffered. This is the nature of the world. The few in power will lie and cheat and steal and watch the peasant suffer, all the while claiming devine intervention.

Which is not to say that human has any significant influence over climate change, only more research will show the validity of that. No, this is just to say that the church and the cooperate aristocracy have a lot to lose anything there is shift in social norms, and therefore they will go to any means to stop it, and they have many more resources, in form of brainwashed people and money, than the few that are simply trying to study and understand the creation.

Reports were questionable at best (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | about 4 years ago | (#32867994)

The inquests were largely carried out by the university. They focused on studies that were specifically chosen to be investigated by the university.

What's more the entire scope of the article was changed (at the request of the university again) from studying the science behind the reports (and if the scientific process was subverted) to looking simply looking at the conduct of the people writing the report.

#3 (2, Insightful)

hackus (159037) | about 4 years ago | (#32868026)

This is like what, the third time they have had to come out and tell us that the Phil Jones and crew are cleared of all wrong doing?

Why aren't they back at their posts then?

I predicted they would do, none other than 3 very public "Nothing to see here...move along" sort of PR stunts like this back in October when I posted my response on slashdot when this whole scam was blow by an insider who followed the money trail.

Rubbish all of it.

If anyone is really interested, take a look at the work most of the scientists that were Black Balled in the Emails that were leaked (Jones lists them) (which you can get anywhere on the internet) and look at the research they are doing.

I think you will find some problems with the idea of man made warming, although they do find a slight warming trend that is consistent with Historical Solar flux. (11 Year Sun Spot Cycles) and the gradual changes in the earths orbital and processional characteristics.

It is a MONEY SCAM. Al Gore is a partner in one of the firms that setup the entire idea of a Global Tax on carbon.

The best way to start cleaning up this planet, is to start giving the damn Nobel Prize to people who actually contribute something to the science to protect this planet.

Not some idiot like Al Gore.

-Hack

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