Author Archives: Brandon Shollenberger

No, Really?

I've lost a lot of motivation for writing posts on this site as the climate blogosphere is basically a dead end of echo chambers and inactivity (and I've been spending much more time on game development projects), but today I heard Michael Mann released e-mails people have spent years trying to obtain via legal means. You can see his statement here as well as find instructions on how to access those e-mails. I wish they were bundled in a zip file so they could be easily downloaded and examined via a more normal method, but it's still good to have access to the information. Especially since it shows Michael Mann and the people he talked to were fully aware of many of the issues his critics would eventually raise.

For instance, a key issue raised by his critics is Mann's results were entirely dependent upon a small amount of tree ring data from one part of North America. Here is an e-mail from Mann in 2000 showing he knew that to be true for his results prior to 1400 AD:

A great deal of time was spent discussing this heavy dependence upon tree ring data from one region. Imagine how things would have played out if Mann had just been up front about this point, which he clearly knew to be true?

For the record, the same thing is also true for his results up to 1450 AD, save that Mann arbitrarily duplicated a series to use a second time and let himself claim he had two proxies that supported his results back to 1450 AD. And even then, he had to secretly extrapolate values for the duplicate series to do so.

It's Easier to See When it's Faster?

In response to accusations the White House was promoting an altered video created as propaganda, a White House spokesperson said, "That’s not altered. That’s sped up. They do it all the time in sports to see if there’s actually a first down or a touchdown."

Man, I couldn't tell if the ball crossed the line or not. You know what'd help? If we sped up the footage!

"Big Victory"

Whatever your views on politics may be, I think we should all be able to get a good chuckle out of this. Now that we know Democrats have won the House, Donald Trump is going around boasting about the "Big Victory" Republicans just had.

What a world we have where it's a "Big Victory" when you lose because you didn't lose by as much as you could have.

Yes, Words Can Have Multiple Meanings

I've been sick for a little while, and while it's not too bad, it has sapped me of almost all my energy. As a result, I was hoping to lie in bed resting and casually browsing the internet without any stress or need for coherent thought. That didn't work out. Instead, I wound up involved in an incredibly dumb argument.

It all started because of an unremarkable news article which discussed plans to install more battery storage capacity in the United Kingdoms electrical grid. Battery storage is primarily used for load balancing, where batteries are charged during periods of low demand so they can provide additional energy during periods of high demand. The use of stored energy for load balancing in electrical grids is commonplace and entirely unremarkable. When the article said:

Planning applications in the UK to install just 2MW of battery storage capacity in 2012 have soared since then to a cumulative total of 6,874MW in 2018. (92% of applications for storage projects are approved first time).

It should have been viewed as an innocuous statement the same as one might see in any of a hundred news articles. Instead, a number of "Skeptics" decided it was wrong. In fact, one decided it was not just wrong, but nefarious:

Why? Because they felt they get to dictate how the word "capacity" can be used. Continue reading

Not Enough Items for the Express Lane?

I needed something lighter to talk about, and today, I chanced upon a perfect case. I was at a grocery story with three items for snacking on tonight, and I saw the sign above one lane which said, "EXPRESS LANE, About 15 items." I wish I had a picture.

That sign confuses me. I only had three items. The sign said the express lane is for about 15 items. Three is nowhere near fifteen. It clearly isn't "About 15 items." Does that mean I couldn't use the express lane? If so, how many more items would I need to buy before I was allowed to use it?

Sadly, I couldn't get an answer to this mystery as the express lane was closed but I did mention it to the cashier who rang up my items. He thought it was funny.

I Am Actually Afraid

I know some people will say this issue is just "more of the same," but I posted this on Facebook a few days ago:

Greg Gianforte assaulted a reporter out of annoyance, had his staff lie about it, got reelected mere days later then pled guilty to the crime after the election. Rather than be condemned and driven out of the party, the Republican party has backed him to the point the president of the United States lavishes praise on him on national television.

Say what you want about political issues and how the "other side" does blah, blah, blah. Just understand this. If you support Trump and are physically capable of body slamming me, I'm going to be a little afraid whenever I'm near you.

And I mean it. I know some people made jokes when people talked about things like "Trump induced anxiety" or "Trump Stress Disorder," and I do understand why. The idea Donald Trump getting elected should be enough to cause a an actual disorder seems outlandish. But is it?

The President of the United States goes on the national stage to celebrate criminally assaulting people his group doesn't like. Not in theory. Not with rhetoric of, "We should go after them!" Those would be bad enough. But no, Trump takes an actual case where an elected official assaulted a man and praises it as a good thing. And Republicans are content with this.

This frightens me. It doesn't frighten me for some hypothetical, moral reason. This is plenty disturbing in matters of principle. I'd understand being worried because of that alone. But I live in an area that overwhelmingly voted for Trump. Many didn't just vote for him, but are proud supporters of him. They are proud of Trump, Trump says assaulting people who are the enemy is good, and I am an outspoken critic of Trump. Is it really unreasonable to think this might lead to me getting hurt?

Side note, a bunch of people who support Trump honestly believe the dozen or so devices sent to people on the Democratic side were a false flag operation. They were certain of that before any information or evidence was available. It was nothing more than them forcing things to fit their incredibly biased worldview.

I won't say I'm suffering depression from all this, but it is hard for me to want to interact with people. I've tried to write several blog posts in the last week but couldn't finish any of them because of this. What's the point? Sure there are tons of people who don't support Trump, but is that because they are of good character or because Trump's platform just doesn't line up with their personal desires?

But... He Didn't Say That!

I have a number of hobbies I don't typically talk about here as that's not the purpose of this site, but today I want to share something that came up due to my involvement in a gaming ocmmunity. Given the title of my last post, it seems fitting.

For a bit of context, a person made a video talking to people about a type of strategy they can use in timed matches for a card game. A different person made a response condemning the first video for openly promoting "slow play," a method of play that is against the game's rules. Here's a ~30 second video showing why I feel this is relevant.

I can't think of the last time I've seen such a blatant misrepresentation of what a person said..

But... It Doesn't Say That!

I had a post planned for today, one which is half written, but I'm going to have to call an audible. I came across something that's too weird not to discuss. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report makes this claim in its Summary for Policymakers (SPM):

Coral reefs, for example, are projected to decline by a further 70–90% at 1.5°C (high confidence) with larger losses (>99%) at 2ºC (very high confidence). The risk of irreversible loss of many marine and coastal ecosystems increases with global warming, especially at 2°C or more (high confidence). {3.4.4, Box 3.4}

This is a dramatic claim which holds (virtually) all coral reefs in the world will die. Given such a serious claim, I'd expect there to be lot of good research supporting it. Instead, it turned out not even cited portions of the IPCC report make the same claim.
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Skeptics Will Believe Anything (Part 1?)

I was wanting to discuss a couple substantive issues with the latest IPCC report and how the review process either failed, or actually introduced new problems, but unfortunately the IPCC has not published the draft versions and reviewer comments they said they'd publish. They explain this:

Which is rather strange given the IPCC has launched a PR campaign in which it talks about how the latest report has now been published. The contradiction here doesn't seem to bother the IPCC. I've talked about it before, and I've actually contacted the IPCC directly about this issue in the past. Their response has always been to shrug it off, because apparently it is okay for the IPCC to blatantly contradict itself. Because... consensus?

I don't know what to make of the IPCC simultaenously saying this report is both published and not published. I don't know what to make of the IPCC saying draft versions can't be quoted, cited or distributed while running a PR campaign in order to get as many people to read a draft report as they can. It's weird. And perhaps more importantly, it interferes with anyone's ability to fairly judge the reports the IPCC makes. I don't know how the IPCC can "publish" its report then say it won't release its drafts and reviewer comments for months because the report isn't published. What I do know is there's a lot of material we can't effectively discuss because of it.

That all said, Skeptics don't care about this. You won't see them complaining about this. They won't complain because they don't care. Skeptics are lazy and don't actually want to examine things. They just want easy talking points they can throw around. This report is providing some perfect examples. Today, I'd like to highlight one from the big name Ross McKitrick:

This is idiotic. The highlgihted passage by the IPCC cites two trends, one from recent times and one from times long ago. As references, it cites two sources, one a temperature record of modern times and the other a temperature reconstruction of olden times. McKitrick says this is wrong because the second source, the one reconstructing temperatures thousands of years back in time, can't be used to show modern temperatures. In doing so, he simply ignores one source is a reconstruction of modern temperatures.

There are many problems with the new IPCC report, and oen could even argue this particular passage is wrong. But as long as Skeptics keep making and embracing these sort of lazy, idiotic talking points, why should anyone listen? Why should anyone care? They shouldn't. They won't.

Still, tomorrow I'll talk about a troubling issue in this IPCC report. I can't give as much context as I'd like since the IPCC knowingly makes false claims to the public, but I'll do what I can.

Totally Unbiased

Sometimes people make it too easy. I saw this tweet yesterday:

So I commented on how people who write that sort of headline are a key reason meaningful action won't be taken to combat global warming. That sort of headline inspires distrust as it makes it appear the source is extremely biased. I won't dwell on that since it's boring to drone on ad nauseam about how people are so partisan truth accuracy seem to have little value anymore. Suffice to say, the headline is terrible. The fact it went to print speaks volumes about the BBC.

Which is why the BBC secretly changed the headline. You can see the original article here. You can see the current one here. The headline has been changed to read:

Final call to save the world from 'climate catastrophe'

If terribly biased (and incidentally, inaccurate) headlines aren't enough to show you're untrustworthy, secretly changing your publications to try to hide your idiotic mistakes arising from your bias ought to be.
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