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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Under The "LIfe Sucks, So Suck It Up And Deal With It" Category

The Chief is concerned, so he flew up here this morning and has an appointment with SuperDoc tomorrow. I spent a miserable few hours retrieving him from the airport this morning. This was not my idea.

Anyway, the fever is running high, the sweat is running down, and I feel like bleeeep. So I republish the Institute of Physics Memorandum submitted to the British Parliament regarding their investigation of the East Anglia emails and data. I have a hunch this could vanish into the memory hole, because a desperate effort is afoot to force recantation.

Word has it that certain scientific authorities have applied to the Vatican for the loan of a few good Dominicans as a method of ensuring that the population's ignorant minds are not corrupted by exposure to raw temperature and proxy data not properly interpreted by orthodox authorities. Word has it that various scientific genii of the AGW persuasion have been spotted cribbing from both Bernard Gui's Manual for Inquisitors and annals of the church functionaries who composed the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. The NY Times editors have offered to share their well-thumbed copies for the public good, so any moment now we can look forward to the Index Datum Prohibitorum. I believe they will find much of use in the Medieval Sourcebook; James Hansen is already on record advocated a scorched-earth policy.
Memorandum submitted by the Institute of Physics (CRU 39)

The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia

The Institute of Physics is a scientific charity devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics. It has a worldwide membership of over 36,000 and is a leading communicator of physics-related science to all audiences, from specialists through to government and the general public. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in scientific publishing and the electronic dissemination of physics.

The Institute is pleased to submit its views to inform the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's inquiry, 'The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia'.

The submission details our response to the questions listed in the call for evidence, which was prepared with input from the Institute's Science Board, and its Energy Sub-group.

What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?

1. The Institute is concerned that, unless the disclosed e-mails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practised in this context.

2. The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital. The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner. This extends well beyond the CRU itself - most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other international institutions who are also involved in the formulation of the IPCC's conclusions on climate change.

3. It is important to recognise that there are two completely different categories of data set that are involved in the CRU e-mail exchanges:

· those compiled from direct instrumental measurements of land and ocean surface temperatures such as the CRU, GISS and NOAA data sets; and

· historic temperature reconstructions from measurements of 'proxies', for example, tree-rings.

4. The second category relating to proxy reconstructions are the basis for the conclusion that 20th century warming is unprecedented. Published reconstructions may represent only a part of the raw data available and may be sensitive to the choices made and the statistical techniques used. Different choices, omissions or statistical processes may lead to different conclusions. This possibility was evidently the reason behind some of the (rejected) requests for further information.

5. The e-mails reveal doubts as to the reliability of some of the reconstructions and raise questions as to the way in which they have been represented; for example, the apparent suppression, in graphics widely used by the IPCC, of proxy results for recent decades that do not agree with contemporary instrumental temperature measurements.

6. There is also reason for concern at the intolerance to challenge displayed in the e-mails. This impedes the process of scientific 'self correction', which is vital to the integrity of the scientific process as a whole, and not just to the research itself. In that context, those CRU e-mails relating to the peer-review process suggest a need for a review of its adequacy and objectivity as practised in this field and its potential vulnerability to bias or manipulation.

7. Fundamentally, we consider it should be inappropriate for the verification of the integrity of the scientific process to depend on appeals to Freedom of Information legislation. Nevertheless, the right to such appeals has been shown to be necessary. The e-mails illustrate the possibility of networks of like-minded researchers effectively excluding newcomers. Requiring data to be electronically accessible to all, at the time of publication, would remove this possibility.

8. As a step towards restoring confidence in the scientific process and to provide greater transparency in future, the editorial boards of scientific journals should work towards setting down requirements for open electronic data archiving by authors, to coincide with publication. Expert input (from journal boards) would be needed to determine the category of data that would be archived. Much 'raw' data requires calibration and processing through interpretive codes at various levels.

9. Where the nature of the study precludes direct replication by experiment, as in the case of time-dependent field measurements, it is important that the requirements include access to all the original raw data and its provenance, together with the criteria used for, and effects of, any subsequent selections, omissions or adjustments. The details of any statistical procedures, necessary for the independent testing and replication, should also be included. In parallel, consideration should be given to the requirements for minimum disclosure in relation to computer modelling.

Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate?

10. The scope of the UEA review is, not inappropriately, restricted to the allegations of scientific malpractice and evasion of the Freedom of Information Act at the CRU. However, most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other leading institutions involved in the formulation of the IPCC's conclusions on climate change. In so far as those scientists were complicit in the alleged scientific malpractices, there is need for a wider inquiry into the integrity of the scientific process in this field.

11. The first of the review's terms of reference is limited to: "...manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice..." The term 'acceptable' is not defined and might better be replaced with 'objective'.

12. The second of the review's terms of reference should extend beyond reviewing the CRU's policies and practices to whether these have been breached by individuals, particularly in respect of other kinds of departure from objective scientific practice, for example, manipulation of the publication and peer review system or allowing pre-formed conclusions to override scientific objectivity.

How independent are the other two international data sets?

13. Published data sets are compiled from a range of sources and are subject to processing and adjustments of various kinds. Differences in judgements and methodologies used in such processing may result in different final data sets even if they are based on the same raw data. Apart from any communality of sources, account must be taken of differences in processing between the published data sets and any data sets on which they draw.

The Institute of Physics

February 2010
Several quotes from Bernard Gui's Manual for Inquisitors:
There are some malicious and crafty people among the beguins who, in order to veil the truth, shield their accomplices and prevent their error and falsity from being discovered, respond so ambiguously, obscurely, generally and confusingly to questions that the clear truth cannot be gathered from their replies. Thus, asked what they believe about some statement or statements proposed to them, they reply, "I believe about this what the holy church of God believes," and they do not wish to speak more explicitly or respond in any other way. In this case, to exclude the ruse they use (or rather abuse) in referring in this way to the church of God, they should diligently, subtly and perspicaciously be asked what they mean by "the church of God," whether they mean the church of God as they understand it; for, as is clear from the errors presented above, they use the phrase "church of God" misleadingly. For they say they themselves and their accomplices are the church of God or are of the church of God. But those who believe differently than they and persecute them they do not consider to be the church of God or part of it.
.For those of the public who still think there is nothing wrong with all this, may I recommend the transcript of Joan of Arc's trial? I quote from the introduction:
That she was tried by an extraordinary confrèrie of experts Pierre Champion's magnificent biographical researches, translated here in Dramatis Personae prove. Most of her judges were graduates and members of the faculty of the University of Paris which at that time served the church through a kind of dictatorship of the General Council. Many of them had served the King of England or his regent the Duke of Bedford, as ambassadors or councillors. Nearly all of them were at one time or another on the English payroll, directly, or indirectly through ecclesiastical appointments that were in the hands of the English King.

We see Jeanne pitted against sixty skilled politicians, lawyers, ambassadors, trained in all the complexities of legal questioning, all of them versed in academic casuistry. Most of them were avowedly her enemies. Her victories for Charles VII had driven many of them, including Bishop Cauchon, out of their dioceses, away from their seats of authority and revenue.
PS: Related, to my feverish mind, is this brief Medscape article about the attempt to formulate rules for CT imaging in injured children. Excerpted:
In clinical application the rule was found to have a negative predictive value greater than 99.95%, and correctly identified clinically important injuries in 86 of 88 children (97.7%). The rule assigned low-risk status, and would have omitted imaging, for about 21% of the children who underwent imaging on the basis of clinical judgment.[4] On the other hand, the overall performance of the rule is inferior to clinical judgment; its strict application would have increased overall imaging rates from 35% to about 42%, without increasing sensitivity.[3,4]
...
While it may be convenient to have decision tools that dictate imaging requirements for all children, it is unlikely that such tools are feasible. Many children present with findings that exclude them from low-risk classification, but do not exhibit high-risk findings. Imaging decisions in these children should be based on clinical impressions, and it is likely that clinical judgment will continue to play an important role in the foreseeable future in the treatment of many children who have sustained blunt head injury.
It is striking how human beings do the same thing over and over again in different contexts, and do not learn from their mistakes. Almost always these errors arise from disrespect for the individual and preference for authority as an escape from individual uneasiness or insecurity. As the Shrink notes, we desperately need humility, and the elimination of G_d seems to involve a substitution of human authority. More disturbingly, the human authority is preferred over evidence. Or, as Charles Kiting commented here:
That's why the most important one of all is the one about false gods. Global Warming is a false god, government is a false god, "the economy" is a false god, religion is a false god, etc. Not that any of these things is necessarily wrong or bad, it's the worshipping of them that makes them wrong and bad.
All evidence tells us that man is rule-making animal, and history tells us that man's rules, if excluded by any means from a correction by evidence, wind up ignoring reality. Nonetheless, even science is based on axioms about belief in reality - which should, properly understood, teach us a few lessons about humility.

A successful rule-making system (one which gives good results over long periods of time for human societies) always appears to be based on few axioms and much evidence; the human tendency is to create a whole lot of axioms and ignore evidence; sooner or later, if followed to its logical conclusion, Jonestown results from such rule systems.

Comments:
MOM,

"Anyway, the fever is running high, the sweat is running down, and I feel like bleeeep."

It's the economy I think. It's taking us all down. Get well!!

I've been coughing up green for months. I was first given a 5 day treatment of Z-Pak. That almost seemed to work. Several weeks ago I was given a 10 day pack of the strong stuff. I coughed up green every day when I was on it too and still am.

The doctor wanted to give me chest x-rays last time but when I told him I didn't have insurance he said we could put that off a month. I was grateful. I thought his plan was a good one. He really didn't think there was anything to see. He couldn't hear anything abnormal. I actually felt fairly normal.

That said, looks like I'll be getting chest x-rays.

Maybe my health insurance company was right to deny me. That said, I'm still well ahead of the game. I've been uninsured for almost a year now. The doctor only charges me $100 to see him (big discount for paying in full while I am there). The 10 day treatment of antibiotics set me back $180 though (the other antibiotics were cheap). I'm out about $400 so far. Health insurance would have cost me $2,750.

I cringe at the costs coming next though. I cringe even more about just how persistent what I've got is though.

I'm thinking of changing my name to Typhoid Mark, lol. Fortunately, I've never had a fever during this though.
 
Mark - when you start getting truly better, you will probably run one!

You probably don't feel much like eating but you should - make sure you get enough protein.

I am sorry; get well soon. Take the chest X-ray. Call around and find a cash clinic - the X-ray and the reading will be quite cheap there. Tom had to take both antibiotics and steroids to reduce the swelling enough so that the antibiotics could clear all the infection.

I am afraid that the latest crop of virus is the last whack of this H1N1, which probably spread through the population enough to make it mutate under selection pressure. I know I got this at the doctor's office from exposure to a patient who was on her second round of Zithromax (with added steroids). Her complaint sounded very similar to yours. She could not believe she was so ill.

Unfortunately, those who are very physically active seem to drive this infection deeper into their lungs and get sicker. The only real cure is rest until you think you can't rest any more. And then rest some more. It is not amusing because you begin to develop dark suspicions that you will be sick the rest of your life. You won't.
 
M_O_M sez: It is striking how human beings do the same thing over and over again in different contexts, and do not learn from their mistakes.

Edmund Burke sez: "Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other."

The best we can hope for is that perhaps with more direct control over our information sources, we'll learn from example a little faster.

Ah, I'm just getting over this latest round of cough, too. Steroids plus antibiotics seems to have done the trick. It's true that it seems as though you'll never get better, until one day you're not quite so tired. Have patience and sleep if you're tired, Mark.
 
MOM,

"Unfortunately, those who are very physically active seem to drive this infection deeper into their lungs and get sicker."

That just figures. At my worst I tried the stair stepper and just couldn't find the energy.

As I was getting better my girlfriend felt that maybe I just thought I was getting better. As a test, I climbed 100 flights of stairs for 30 minutes. Since I felt okay, I kept doing it every day for about 10 days. I would keep doing it if I thought it would help. Clearly it didn't. This was done before the heavy antibiotics.

I then tried lazy, which I am inclined to do anyway. That didn't work any better.

"It is not amusing because you begin to develop dark suspicions that you will be sick the rest of your life. You won't."

That's exactly where I am in the cycle. I've never had anything like it in the past and it is definitely not amusing.

I wish I could give you similar hope.
 
"Anyway, the fever is running high, the sweat is running down, and I feel like bleeeep."

So, what do you do? Write a brilliant post that advances our knowledge of the state of the inquiry at EAU, teaches a bit of history, and some philospophy as well. Wish I could write like that when I'm well rested and healthy.

I'm glad viruses don't travel through computers. My wife and I have been free of the crud this winter. Some say we probably had a version of the H1N1 when we were younger. I know I had a really awful flu back in 1968. 30 days to recover and symptoms much like you all describe. May you all get well soon.
 
Climate change,yes,AGW? As far as H1N1 we have a lot of people showing up in the emergency room with pneumonia right now but it is not news.Two of my acquaintances are down with it.
 
Tom, same where I am. I'm fighting off the crud after taking care of a friend who had it go to pneumonia.
 
Word has it that certain scientific authorities have applied to the Vatican for the loan of a few good Dominicans as a method of ensuring that the population's ignorant minds are not corrupted by exposure to raw temperature and proxy data not properly interpreted by orthodox authorities.

They should be sure to ask for Tomas de Torquemada by name. He has a lot of experience in starting up new inquisitions. They should make sure to let him know he'll have to keep his anti-Islamism under wraps, though he can probably get away with openly expressing his anti-Semitism.
 
WH - as long as he couches it in the form of anti-Zionism, he'll be golden!
 
Mark - I laughed. This did not work for me back in the fall and I don't think it will work for you. It also did not work for the Chief.

Let us listen to Jimmy's words of wisdom - chicken soup and REST.
 
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