Merry Christmas!

Hello everybody. As you probably know, I am highly critical of Michael Mann, a climate scientist largely responsible for the infamous "hockey stick" graph which was a central image in the global warming debate.

About two years ago, he published a book titled, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches From the Front Line. I promptly bought and read it, posting thoughts as I went. Those thoughts were highly negative. I thought, and still think, Mann's book is a piece of utter dreck.

I've long thought someone should respond to it. I've also thought someone should lay the hockey stick debate out in a clear and accessible manner. There is a great deal of material available on the internet. There are even some good books, such as The Hockey Stick Illusion. The problem is none of these are easily accessible to the average person.

People don't want to have to read a 400 page book to understand what is being talked about. People don't want to have to spend hours and hours looking through old blog posts with no roadmap. People want a simple resource which lets them quickly catch up on the overall concepts so they can tell if they want to learn more.

At least, that's what I believe. I also believe waiting for "someone" to do something is a good way for nothing to get done. As such, I've decided to try producing a counter-narrative to Michael Mann's book. You can find the first part of it here:

http://www.amazon.com/Hockey-Stick-Climate-Wars-Introduction-ebook/dp/B00RE7K3W2/

It's a bit over 10,000 words, and I expect to produce a second part of about the same length. My hope is people who read them will be able to fully understand the hockey stick debate without needing to know all the history, details and nuances which come with it.

This eBook does come with a small price tag ($0.99). I wasn't sure if I should offer it for free or put a price on it until I uploaded it to Amazon. After I uploaded it, I found out Amazon wouldn't let me offer it for free anyway. If you don't agree with the price, you're welcome to take whatever action you want to correct it.

Just don't mug me. Or if you do, at least remember I only get a portion of the price in royalties. Take it easy on me.


Christmas, 8:38 AM Edit: Problems with the Table of Contents should be fixed now!

9 comments

  1. Brandon:

    A worthwhile read. Typo or two ("hit it" instead of "hid it" - not sure, with Kindle, what page number that would be, but easy to find; I saw one floating "bracket" - ( - , which wasn't needed).

    I look forward to the second installment (well worth the $1.15 Cdn. it cost).

    Cheers & Merry Christmas.

  2. Ian, thanks for the feedback! As you can probably guess, your comment landed in moderation because you're a first time commenter. I don't like having that rule enabled, but it makes spam much easier to deal with.

    There were a couple formatting issues pointed out to me earlier, but I think those are the first genuine typos anyone has found. I'll definitely get them fixed. I don't even know how the bracket you mention slipped in. No earlier draft had anything in parentheses there. In fact, I don't think the pre-formatting process draft had a parenthesis there at all. I guess I might have bumped a key at some point when preparing things. It's definitely more difficult to proofread your own work than someone else's (and as I'm sure you can guess, I don't have an editor).

    Anyway, I've fixed those mistakes, and the corrections will go live sometime this evening. I'm glad you liked it! I hope to have the next part up sometime next month.

    Happy Holidays!

  3. I read the book. I think this part from the "dueling reports" section should be regular text instead of quoted:

    North agrees here with the Wegman Report's criticism of MBH's PCA methodology, which Mann says
    comes straight from Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick. Later, when asked again, North says:

    I recall seeing a couple of repeated words, but I don't remember where they were.

    There are a few things I probably would have added. The graph of the Gaspe series from your video showing the tiny horizontal extension at the beginning left a pretty strong impression. McIntyre's pointing out that Ammann's 1700-1729 R squared verification score had to be extended by couple of decimal places to keep it from being zero, left a memorable impression.

    I also think the PCA short centering could have been elaborated on. In the "Hockey Stick Illusion", Montford has some crude diagrams that look like they were drawn by hand. the impression I came away with, was that Mann's short centering pushed the long straight handle of a hockey stick shaped series downward giving it more emphasis. I think a before and after graph where the top is filled in with one color and the bottom another color would be a good way to illustrate the effect. It might make a nice animated GIF.

  4. Canman, thanks for the feedback. You're right about the formatting issue, but I can't fix that at the moment. Somehow the Table of Contents in my local copy got completely rewritten. I'm not sure how it happened, I don't want to upload a new version until I get it fixed. It'd be bad to fix one formatting error but break every internal link in the Table of Contents. Actually, I'm not even sure if the Table of Contents is working in the live version. Since I don't know how this happened, I don't know how long the problem has existed. Could you by chance tell me if the Table of Contents links to things properly in your version (and has 11 entries)?

    I recall seeing a couple of repeated words, but I don’t remember where they were.

    I didn't spot any when I quickly looked through it, but it's always difficult to spot minor errors in our own writing. I'll happily fix any people can point out to me.

    There are a few things I probably would have added. The graph of the Gaspe series from your video showing the tiny horizontal extension at the beginning left a pretty strong impression.

    I was torn on the Gaspe graphic. I wanted to include it, but I really didn't like how it plain it looks. It seemed like such a small visual detail to give an entire figure to. I'm still not sure if I was right to not include it.

    McIntyre’s pointing out that Ammann’s 1700-1729 R squared verification score had to be extended by couple of decimal places to keep it from being zero, left a memorable impression.

    It does, but I didn't want to discuss W&A in any detail in this eBook. Since I wasn't going to discuss the paper, I figured letting people just see how bad the r2 scores in that one table are would be enough. The problem I have in issues like this is there are many "technical" issues worth covering, but you don't want to get bogged down in details. The question I kept asking was, "If a person doesn't know about that point, how does it affect their understanding of the overall debate?" My goal was to exclude anything where the answer was, "It doesn't."

    I also think the PCA short centering could have been elaborated on. In the “Hockey Stick Illusion”, Montford has some crude diagrams that look like they were drawn by hand. the impression I came away with, was that Mann’s short centering pushed the long straight handle of a hockey stick shaped series downward giving it more emphasis. I think a before and after graph where the top is filled in with one color and the bottom another color would be a good way to illustrate the effect. It might make a nice animated GIF.

    I don't think you can include gifs in eBooks, but I haven't checked. The PCA issue is definitely one I'd like to have spent some time on. I just couldn't think of a way to explain it without it taking up way too much space. That meant I had to exclude it since, as I point out in the eBook, how PCA works doesn't really matter for understanding where the results come from.

    Part of me feels like there should be an entire piece written just about the data used in reconstructions. It would go through all the important proxy series which get reused in reconstruction after reconstruction and explain what concerns people may have about them (including how they're created, in cases like MBH's PCA). I don't see any other way to give the issues justice without diverting too much attention to them.

    Now off to see if I can figure out what's going on with my Table of Contents.

  5. Alright, I'm annoyed. I sort of figured out what the problem with the Table of Contents was. Somehow my word processor stopped viewing Heading 1 as a heading, choosing to instead begin with Heading 2. That meant seven of the eleven entries vanished.

    I couldn't fix that behavior either. I had to create a custom outline layout for the processor to use to understand that Heading 1 should be used before Heading 2. I also had to reinsert all the internal links.

    All in all, it was quite annoying. I think everything should be fine in the version I just uploaded, but it'll take a little while for it to go live.

    (I find the many small and silly quirks which go into this process mind-boggling.)

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