2010-08-14 17:36:26Getting to know Skeptical Science authors
John Cook


As we're all working together, it wouldn't hurt if we all knew a little bit more about each other. So I'm starting a thread where we can each post a little information about each other. A bit of context never hurts and I'm keen to know a little more about you all. Let me kick things off.

My name's John and I'm a climateaholic ("hi John" says the room). I live in Brisbane, Australia. I did a physics degree at the Uni of Queensland back in the early 1980s. Since graduating, I've done graphic design, cartooning and web programming. So basically, I'm coming at this science blogging caper from a layman's perspective but with enough science background to read & understand peer-reviewed literature. My motivations to cut copiously into my sleep-time is two-fold - I care about the world my daughter grows up in and as a Christian, I feel strongly about the impacts of climate on the poor and vulnerable. I'm also an utter science geek, of course, that goes without saying.

2010-08-14 18:50:42I
Graham Wayne

Hi All - I'm Graham Wayne, I live in the UK and I'm a journalist/blogger. I've written two unpublished novels (hard work getting published these days) and I also play, produce and compose music - I wrote the theme music Dan Moutal uses in his Irregular Climate podcasts, a few of which I co-presented.

My background is very irregular too, jumping about all over the place between arts, science and tech, commerce and computing. After working in the entertainments industry for 15 years out of school, I fell for computers in a big way (early 80s) and changed direction - programming, software publishing - but the real focus of my work was in digital pre-press. As I started to work regularly as a journalist, I also founded a digital design company specialising in 3-D, ray-traced pack/product shots. Other companies - print and repro mostly - wanted to know what I knew, so I started doing consultancy and for the next 10 years I gave advice and developed broader business analysis based on the management work I did at BT earlier. I became Department of Trade and Industry accredited, and finally accepted an offer to join a group of companies as CIO, the last full-time job I held.

These days I write as much as I can, and make ends meet by running a little computer repair business serving my local community in rural Devon. I still play - practice bass every day - and I will post a few more tracks on my blog when I get a chance. 

Why am I here? Because reactionary forces always burn the books, ban the truth, distort and dismiss everything that is noble and ethical and humanist. These people are the enemies of progress, and bar the way to a world free of egregious inequality, ignorance and fear. Every time they gain the ascendancy, bad things happen. I'm here to contribute in some modest way to the fight to prevent them from doing more damage.

2010-08-14 20:23:57About my involvement


Hi Folks,

my name is Baerbel (Bärbel, actually) Winkler and I live in Fellbach which is close to Stuttgart in southern Germany. I've always been interested in nature, conservation and similar topics, so had been aware of climate change for quite a while even before watching "AIT". This film and the accompanying book got me started to learn more about climate change and I read several books (Tim Flannery's "The Weathermakers", Joe Romm's "Hell and High Water", Elizabeth Kolbert's "Fieldnotes from a catastrophe" to name just a few). In addition to books, I started to look for online-information and was happy enough to quickly find the "goodies" like ClimateProgress, RealClimate, Skeptical Science and many more. I also found Greg Craven's YouTube-videos which I all watched and then joined the Manpollo-Forums which had been set up to discuss them. Over time I became a moderator and later admin at the forums and was involved with Greg's effort to get his book written and published (now, that was quite an experience about what all is possible with online-collaboration!). Unfortunately, since the book's publication, the forums have become eerily quiet with not even a handful of folks still posting there...

Several months ago, I became aware of the first efforts to get the SkepticalScience arguments translated into other languages so I signed up to help with the German translations. I'm now organising this effort via a small Wiki and with the help of a virtual "translator-team" where the individuals are currently living in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and New Zealand.

I may translate the odd blog-post (like I did for the two recent "10 indicator" posts) but - as I don't have a scientific background - the ones I pick won't have much technical lingo in them! As far as my involvement with the author-forum goes, I'll most likely stick to suggestions/questions involving the general setup and functionality of this new addition to SkepticalScience. 

In my "other" life, I'm an IT-systems analyst with a focus on SAP-development. I won't go into details here, but if you are interested you can check out my profile on LinkedIn. Unfortunately, I have a change coming up in this part of my life as my position is being eliminated on August 31 and I'll be on (paid) leave from September 1. The good thing about this is that I'll have more time to concentrate on the really important topics like climate change (of course, while also looking for another job)!

Other activities I do in my "spare" time is being a voluntary docent at our zoo, the Wilhelma, in Stuttgart and being on the "board" of our local conservation group "NABU Fellbach" where I also maintain the homepage.

Okay, I guess that this is more than you ever wanted to know about me, so I'll stop now!



2010-08-15 07:32:12About Me
Robert Way


Hello All,

My name is Robert Way. I am a Masters student at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Eastern Canada. I am originally from Labrador which is located in Northern Canada. As I grew up in a subarctic climate I have been lucky enough to be exposed to a lot of things that we hear spoken of so abstractly in the science literature.  I am actually also inuit (technically).

I did my undergrad at the University of Ottawa in Geography with a minor in Geomatics and Spatial Analysis. During that time I was lucky enough to take some summer courses from Athabasca University’s stats department and the University of New Brunswick’s forestry department so that I could graduate a year early. I traveled to Norway to study for a semester there at the University of Oslo. That was a great experience as I was able to study under some great glaciologists. As part of some of the glaciology courses I took at Ottawa U and U of Oslo I was able to travel to the Antarctic Peninsula, Patagonia, Iceland and Svalbard (High Arctic).

Right now I am working on some climate research for my home area in Labrador and I’m doing my masters on remote sensing of glacier changes in Northern Labrador (we have 57 small cirque glaciers there).

My primary interests lie in paleoclimatology, remote sensing of techniques for glaciers and ice sheets, and ocean-atmospheric dynamics.
It’s hard really to say why I have such an interest in this stuff but I feel as though I want to make a difference in one way or another and we all have our calling so why not just dive in?


Robert Way

2010-08-16 01:49:53Introducing Jim Meador
Jim Meador


Howdy all,

I'm Jim Meador, formerly known on SkS as "KeepinItReal". I grew up in Oklahoma, and now live in Berkeley, California. I generally work in consumer electronics as a technical marketing guy, although I am currently working part-time as a consultant and looking for a new full-time job. I am very interested in the field of renewable energy, and hoping my next job can be related to that field.

I received my B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Caltech quite a few years ago. Not long after I found myself working at the Exploratorium, a hands-on science museum in San Francisco, and my planned two year stint there turned into 15 delightful years. As the father of two teen-agers and someone who loves the natural world, I am very concerned about the kind of world my children and possible future grandchildren will inherit from me. I got very interested in climate skepticism after I encountered some people who were very against the idea of global warming. Their arguments were obviously based on cherry picking, but looking into it on the web revealed the extent of the skeptic network. My own brother sent me links to WUWT, which took me by surprise. Somehow I made my way to Skeptical Science, and I am a big fan. As someone with a scientific background, but no experience in climate science, I find the material presented here to be well-organized, accessible, and supported by hard evidence.

I am delighted to be able to help out in this effort. While working at the Exploratorium I learned a lot about how to convey the "insider" knowledge of science to everyday folks. Scientifically-trained people have a lot of shared intellectual context, and they tend to rely on this context to communicate. People who lack the context can find this kind of "insider" communication quite baffling. I really enjoy looking for "everyday" knowledge that can be leveraged to present science to lay people in an accessible way, without having to "dumb down" the material.

2010-08-16 04:29:03
Anne-Marie Blackburn
Anne-Marie Blackburn

Hello all,

My name's Anne-Marie Blackburn. I was born and grew up in Switzerland though my parents are British. I did most of my studying in Switzerland, studying modern languages and history in college before reading Psychology at university for three years (I would've needed five years to complete my degree). I moved to London about 12 years ago, where I graduated in Environmental Biology (University of Surrey Roehampton) after getting a Diploma in Environmental Policy from the Open University. 

I was unfortunately diagnosed with cancer a few weeks after graduating and I'm still undergoing treatment, though I've been in remission for over three years now. I've had to put my plans on hold as I'm not well enough to hold a job or do a Masters. However I did manage to make my way to Cornwall, in the south-west of England, where I had wanted to live for some time - and I love it here. I keep myself busy by teaching myself programming (Ruby and Java) though I can't say that it comes naturally. I've also taught myself web design (HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL and Javascript) as I thought it could come in handy. I've also discovered the joys of knitting and sewing, and I paint occasionally (oil painting). And I spend a lot of time debating climate change, mainly on the Guardian website (as Bioluminescence for those who also take part). Finally, in the near future, I'm hoping to become a VisitWoods Woodland WebGuide.

I've been interested in environmental issues for as long as I can remember. I'm too young to remember the attacks, or rather the extent of the attacks, on science and scientists with regards to issues such as the link between smoking and cancer, acid rain, and the hole in the ozone layer. Over the years I have become aware of the attacks on evolution and of course climate change, and the similarities between all these attacks. This has made me very determined to fight all the misinformation and smearing that goes on. I sometimes feel like a broken record on the Guardian website, repeating the same points time and again. I'm very happy that I can now contribute on Skeptical Science, which has always been a great source of information. There is a gap that needs to be filled, where people who have very little knowledge can come and get some good-quality information.

I look forward to interacting with you all over the coming months.

2010-08-16 15:39:17Sea level rise


I'm an American writer (a generalist) living in France and am working on an introductory survey on sea level rise. Since I knew virtually nothing at all about this subject a few months ago, I've had to learn as I go along. Because my book is aimed at the educated general reader, not at the scientist, I'm getting a lot of practice trying to explain semi-complicated scientific ideas in KISS (keep it simple, stupid) form.

If I can edit, or contribute anything on sea level rise, I'd be happy to try.


Hunt Janin 

2010-08-16 16:25:03


Hi all,

My background includes website and graphic design which, until actual enrolment in my early 20's, had been my goal to study at uni. For reasons best unknown I decided on the 11th hour to study ecology. I would say that until my career actually made a move, my passion was conservation and invasive species ecology.

Here, I jumped back into graphic work, oddly coupled with GIS training and worked in photogrammetry and ground-truth/GPS. Then I moved on, into the SA EPA: Air Quality monitoring. I enjoyed the technical side of that job and when that contract ended, I moved into another technical position with the Uni of Adelaide, building and maintaining a eddy flux tower to study CO2, water vapour and radiation transfer between Mallee woodland and the atmosphere.

It's all, so far, been quite sideline to ecology and apart for minor work, it's mainly a desk job.

Long term, I hope to establish a career in education, especially something that is active and outdoors. I'm a passionate type and unfortunately my fiancee and blog get the majority of this cooped-up energy.

I think it's been the people I've met and the networks I've made that I've found to be the most rewarding part of my recent blogging experience. It's allowed me to meet a bunch of clever people who share my fascination and concern regarding the environment, sustainability and innovation.

I hope I have something to offer in my writing that you find enjoyable and informative.


Tim Lubcke

2010-08-17 03:16:26I am John Russell
John Russell


I'm a writer/director of film/video with 40 years experience; www.johnrussell.tv .

I co-own a TV facilities company; www.finishing-post.co.uk .

I co-own a television studio; www.giltbrookstudios.co.uk

I co-own a sound studio; www.soundingpost.co.uk

My pet subject is 'sustainable agriculture', which over the years, filming farming practices, has taken me from Australia to California and from Borneo to Brazil.  I've now given up travel for good; on principle, no more flying. 

I live on a farm in Devon, in the SW of England, where -- after cashing in my pension funds in 2000 -- I invested the whole lot into growing 120 acres of indigenious UK woodland. I'm converting old farm buildings into low-carbon holiday lets using the latest insulation technology, solar panels, heat-recovery ventilation, a heat pump and wood-burning stoves. Together with my wife I'm passionate about self-sufficiency, wildlife and environmental matters.


2010-08-17 11:03:13


Hi all,

I'm Steve O'Connor. After much deliberation, I recently dropped my Ph.D on brain modelling to focus more on climate activism and learning to grow veggies. At uni I was lucky enough to do a course on science communication, the most important lesson being:

 "That which is written without pain is read without pleasure"

This may sound really bizarre, but when I read a well-written editorial in, say, New Scientist, or even - dare I say it - The Economist I sometimes get shivers. I believe in some strange subconscious way it builds trust with the author.

After writing lots of letters into Crikey I decided I wanted to write an article for them. I'd heard some encouraging statements in the press from Penny Sackett (our chief Scientist) so I asked her office for an interview. What really struck me was how serious she believed the situation was and how she dealt with that in her professional and public role with a Government that was suffering from complete and utter paralysis.

So, in whatever small way I can, I'd like to help.  

2010-08-17 20:05:47Michael Searcy
Michael Searcy



Thanks to John for enabling the means to put together this motley crew of climate enthusiasts (His tolerance for pain is truly admirable).  Reading the posts to date, it's amazing and great to see the diversity of those involved, spanning the globe and a variety of backgrounds, all with a common desire to continually learn more about this subject and to share that knowledge with others.

My name is Michael Searcy, and I live in central Florida where I was born and raised.

I received my undergraduate degree in electrical engineering back in the early nineties.  Since then I have worked in various roles in the IT industry with the same company.  At present, I work on improving the operational efficiency of data centers, one of the more blatant power hogs on the planet.

I've always been, at least to some degree, an environmentalist (As a kid, I pestered my father about things like recycling his used motor oil) and a science nerd, so, considering its diversity and potential impact, the subject of climate change was hard to resist.

I'm also a huge movie fan.  As a result, my wife is subjected to frequent, inane, and obscure movie references, which also explains the title of my own site that I started on climate change a few years back, "Fresh Air.  The Scent of Pine." +10 rep points for the first to identify the film reference (no Googling).

When I read of this effort to create "plain English" responses to the common skeptical arguments, I immediately wanted to pitch in in any way possible.

Nice to "meet" all of you!

2010-08-17 22:06:41Brendon Pywell - Hello!


Hi. My name is Brendon Pywell and have been a computer programmer for more than 20 years. I live in Sydney and usually work in the finance industry but more recently developed my own computer modelling software; no, not climate modelling but something totally unrelated http://www.bobstrackbuilder.net/ .

I have always had a keen interest in science and found myself drawn into the climate science debate ever since “climategate”. My gut feeling was that the science was sound despite the misgivings some people have and the lop-sided media attention.

What gets me motivated is seeing people like Ian Plimer, Monckton and Bob Carter sound off their arrogant but flawed arguments time after time and yet they seem to be quite convincing to many people. Since late last year I have been hitting the forums and, with the help of great sites like this, been pointing out the flaws in their arguments. I also feel compelled to do as much as possible for my boys that will have to deal with the decisions our politicians are making.

I guess I could be classified as a climateaholic too since not a day passes without me checking the climate science websites and playing “whack-a-mole” on a few “denialist” arguments in the forums.

Hope I can help by helping with some of the rebuttal work.

2010-08-18 04:14:25Andy Skuce
Andy S


Hello everyone! 

I'm a geologist based in British Columbia, Canada. A few years ago I was something of a lukewarmer but, spurred by online discussions with skeptics, I gradually learned more about the science and have become increasingly convinced that we should indeed be alarmed by human-induced climate change. One of my sources of information was this site and I am very pleased to have the opportunity to make a contribution. In my opinion, this site is second to none in providing clear summaries of the science in a snark-free environment. Still, there is a lot to do!

 I'll be commenting on some of the drafts of the basic English rebuttals and adding one or two of my own. 


2010-08-18 05:50:20Rob Honeycutt
Rob Honeycutt



Hi I'm Rob Honeycutt.  I am, as best I can tell, a serial entrepreneur (yes, I speak of it almost as a malady).  When I was younger I attended art school in Tennessee but eventually ended up in San Francisco working as a bike messenger.  That lead to starting a business making bike messenger bags.  I founded a company called Timbuk2 in 1989.  I sold Timbuk2 in 2005 to an investor group and now am working on a series of patents.

I currently live in Berkeley CA with my wife Youyue (whom I met in China) and our two small children, Sonny and Halei (7 and 5 1/2). My interest in climate change comes from my concern for the world we're creating for my kids.

Not having a science background makes the issue challenging for me, but in general I'm a quick study. I'm eager to help out with the Skeptical Science website here because I think this site can really make a difference in changing the minds of other people like me.

2010-08-18 12:52:55


Hey, it's wonderful to read all these introductions.  John has really done a remarkable job, getting so many people of different backgrounds, ages, and nationalities involved in this project.  I am proud and a bit awed to be part of this effort.

Let's see, an introduction ... I am a scientist working on applications of earth observation satellite imagery.  Most of my work is only indirectly related to climate change, but I have quite a few colleagues and former students working on climate issues.  When I was a doctoral student I took several courses on climate modeling and other climate-change topics, so I have a bit of experience there as well.  The contrast between what I read on sites like WUWT and what I see in my interactions with my colleagues who are actually working on climate science is a bit infuriating.

Although I had been aware of the basics of global warming since 1980 or so, I was really spurred to taken an interest in this after reading Bill McKibben's book The End of Nature some time around 1989-1990.  Earlier this year I heard McKibben speak and it was very re-motivating -- he is an amazing speaker; please do jump at the chance if he is ever giving a talk in your area.

Like John, I have a young daughter and that fact adds a bit to my concern about the future of our climate.

2010-08-18 16:00:27Michael Hubble-Marriott

Hi all,
My name is Michael Hubble-Marriott, I'm 40 years old, live in Melbourne Australia.

ike many here I have an eclectic background. I completed a BA at Monash University (history major) followed by a Grad.Dip in Librarianship and Information Technology. I started my professional career in libraries and then moved into IT and knowledge management (don't ask what that is). I've also worked as a industry analyst at a big four bank but quickly realised that a) I hated it and b) realised I'd have to go back and study economics to be any good, a thought that filled me with dread.

I've had a great deal of experience in project management, deploying websites, intranets and document management systems. At present I work at a large Australian law firm managing their library and records departments as well as working with IT on intranet/document stuff.

Oh, and I'm a nerd.

I love science. As a child I watched Carl Sagan's Cosmos which filled me with a sense of wonder for the natural universe that has never left. My bedside table is overflowing with books on biology, climate and history that I never seem to have enough time to read. My dirty secret is that I play online games to relax. Also I'm a Sci-Fi fan (OMG how I love BSG). Is that mandatory to be an author here?

Six months ago I jumped into the climate debate by starting my own blog (Watching the Deniers).

Little did I know what I was getting myself in for, and just how many "sacrifices" I would have to make.

Before that I thought climate change was an issue. Like most members of the educated middle class I thought I had an understanding of a broad range of issues. Ah, sweet ignorance how I miss thee sometimes...

My fist inkling at how serious it could took place early last year after reading Climate Wars by Gwynne Dyer (a truly "alarming" read). I was terrified. So I put the book away at the back of the cupboard so I would forget about it. One of the stages of denial. [/wink]

But the implications of climate change haunted me for months. Then in November of 2009 Climategate blew up. When I first heard the word Climategate I thought "Can it be true? Did they fake the science?" So I researched Climategate and the players. Monckton? WUWT? Jo Nova? Never heard of them before late last year...

Then I read "Climate Cover Up" and gained an understanding of the denial movement. To be frank, it angered me.
However it was the failure of COP15 that truly alarmed me.

It was here that we saw the convergence of denial, the failure of political will and the failure to address the threat of climate change. "Damn it..." I thought "....our entire civilisation is at risk! What are you people doing!"

But what could I do?

I started blogging and telling people about climate change. I became aware of the motley, ragtag bunch of bloggers tyring to fight against the denial machine [/waves at Tim at Mothincarnate]. I devoured book after book on the issue. I'm still a novice, but perhaps I'm a little better informed than I was a year ago.

Like John Cook I do this for my child. She is two. By the time she is my age the world have changed, and not in the best way.
I look forward to working with you guys and getting to know the community.

e're here to fight the good fight.
2010-08-18 17:50:31Ari Jokimäki
Ari Jokimäki


I'm Ari Jokimäki, born in 1967 in Finland where I still live in a city called Espoo with my common-law wife. I have a bachelor's degree in computer engineering and I currently work as a software designer in a big multinational corporation. My other hobbies besides science are bass playing in a band (just for our own pleasure), nature (some photography for example), and some occasional sports to keep me fit.

My strong interest in science started about 15 years ago. First it started as a strong interest in astronomy. I started to discuss it in online forums and eventually I ended up being a first author of a peer-reviewed paper (there's hopefully more of them coming up).

Few years ago I got interested in climate science but I don't remember why. So I dug to the scientific literature on the subject (I prefer that over popular literature - I still haven't read more than a couple of books on the subject), participated to online dicussions. I noted that my habbit of linking to many scientific papers on the discussed subject was quite succesful in fighting against deniers. That then lead me to start my blog AGW Observer. I'm also part of a group of Finnish people running a climate science blog in our own language.

Here in Skeptical Science, I have made translations to Finnish language and added some argument links to the link database. Translations started because we wanted to have articles on denier claims on our own language so we thought that best way to get them is to translate John's articles.

And now this Author business. Currently I'm not aiming to write lot of articles but I'm here to give peer-reviews to your articles. I might write something in the future, though. :)

2010-08-19 05:06:27G. Thomas Farmer


Hi All,

I'm rockytom and a geologist with a Ph.D. and am learning as much as I can about climate science.  I hope I've learned enough to be able to provide some assistance here.  I live in the US in New Mexico, 25 miles from old Mexico.  I'm a liberal and express my views on politics and climate science in the local newspaper from time to time.

I was a University professor for 13+ years, an environmental consultant, and a staff member at a national laboratory.  I published a college textbook which went through 3 editions and is not out of print, Earth Materials and Earth Processes, An Introduction.

I am a native Virginian, a graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Cincinnati.  I hope to be able to contribute something here.  If anyone has questions about environmental geology, you can contact me at rockytom@comcast.net.

2010-08-19 08:40:51Doug Bostrom, pathologically not succinct.


I see that I cannot avoid making my confessions here. Hello, my name is Doug and I am a climate blog addict...

I grew up in and happily have returned to the Seattle area after a long loop of years through Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.

I majored in geology* because of family history and as well as because it's a subject a mile wide and only a little more than an inch deep for undergrads, also offering the excuse for outdoors time. I moved fairly close to a degree but found university to be a smorgasbord of distracting electives making the whole process a bit elliptical. Eventually having depleted my savings I took a side-job as a broadcast radio engineer, was seduced and so swerved into radio broadcasting for many years, moving from engineering at a nitty-gritty level through station management and eventually burning out my enthusiasm in D.C., where I worked with a national public broadcasting organization attempting to balance various competing interests.

My interests lie strongly in technology to the point where I cleaned literally hundreds of toilets as a janitor during my teen years so I could purchase an early (expensive) computer. After exhausting my patience with herding radio cats I came back to my roots and began programming again, which eventually led me to take on a project to retrofit automotive pollution stations with anti-fraud imaging systems. This led to another project designing and implementing a retrofit imaging system to capture analog instrumentation readings, feed them to a narrowband wireless wide area network for collection and delivery to a datacenter, then use image analysis techniques to produce numerical data logs. That project led to designing a system during post 9/11 hysteria here in the United States consisting of high-endurance covert cameras embedded in artificial rocks geologically matched for deployment contexts, to be dropped in various locations and used for surveillance as well as hosting "GSE" or Government Supplied Equipment. Sadly "GSE" turned out to be explosive in nature and that's not my bag so I dumped my involvement in the project, leading to an unfortunately drastic shift in my personal network of business colleagues.

A dot-com sidetrack involved heading an R&D department for a network security firm, again in D.C. Happily that company was not a fatal casualty of irrational exuberance and was acquired by Verizon.

Most recently I've been involved in the creation (an integration matter, really) of a wireless high speed Internet access system for mostly off-grid consumers living in low-density development on the island of Hawaii. The project has (a familiar story) been a technical success but is having  difficulties with scaling as our market is not attractive to investment capital. The network is now approximately 900 square miles in size but further growth is becoming a problem. Meanwhile we've cracked all the interesting technical puzzles so my interest is waning at this point.

For my next obsession I am currently working on a proposal/business plan/engineering base to help incrementally move domestic solar hotwater systems out of the boutique market here in the U.S., particularly in areas such as Seattle where conventional wisdom wrongly assumes cost-effective solar DHW for people with ordinary incomes is not feasible. My interest and skills in solar energy have been helped by my earlier integration of PV panels to power a telemetry network's cell concentrators and more recently w/the Hawaii project where the vast majority of our relay/access points are PV powered. PV is wonderful but for bulk domestic applications the low hanging fruit should be pulled down first and that's quite obviously solar DHW.

In the nature of more confession, I earlier remarked that I have a family connection w/geology. That's because my family on the U.S. side is pretty much oil-soaked. My grandfather was an independent oilman, somewhat of a wildcatter though he kept up with emerging seismic techniques and structural interpretation improvements and using these tools made many good wells in his time. He was in fact a walking, talking library of petroleum-related stratigraphy. My Dad was a geophysicist who worked for some years with Standard Oil of California before finding a more permanent place in academia happily delving into energy dissipation in the mantle and the like. I myself spent some time in the "oilpatch" working with a downhole logging firm and earning money for university. My Dad continued to frequently collaborate w/my grandfather to do exploration work. Many of these wells are still producing royalty checks today, not a dynastic flow of wealth but enough to be noticeable in the family budget. As w/many "oilmen" my grandfather was very proud of his work and climate change was not really on the map for him, probably as much as anything because only 12 years elapsed between the time Dr. Hansen began sounding the alarm and my grandfather's death. Today we know it's quite clearly stupid folly to burn petroleum and natural gas past the absolute minimum requirement to end our addiction. This is mostly due to the harm C02 is causing but less remarked is the fact that torching such a precious mineral resource useful for other purposes is absolutely idiotic if we can avoid so doing. We'll have to -make- all those hydrocarbons down the road if we burn them today, if we like polymers of the kind we're used to.

The oil thing is a bit of a conundrum in my life. I've pondered dumping the whole mess but that's not going to shut in production from these wells. So to the extent I can I'll use the little bit of extra freedom I have from royalty checks to do something about the problem.

Finally getting around to the "why SkS" thing, I was aware of climate change being a problem some years ago but was not following developments very closely. That changed in 2007 when I ran across some of Steven Goddard's puerile rubbish on the IT website "The Register." Not only were his facts all askew, out of order and wrong, but he was also flinging a lot of invective and accusations of fraud against scientists. My wife is a scientist, my dad was a scientist, most of our friends are scientists and guess what? I'd trust every single one of 'em with anything I most value. They're if anything -annoyingly- honest to a fault (wife helpfully pointing out wrong address on cheques to clerks, etc.). Goddard enraged me so I began blasting him on RealClimate, the only climate blog I was aware of at the time. Eventually I ran across SkS where John Cook gently steered me to stop venting so much and start doing something more useful. My anger at folks like Goddard is slowly turning into bemused curiosity though it's still best if I avoid comment threads prior to coffee or after beer.

I have to confess that I'm not sanguine about the outcome of our C02 mess. Those of us who have a somewhat more intimate view of the petroleum business can speak to the strange combination of native craftiness, self-righteousness and avarice concentrated in the industry. The coal industry appears to have some similar traits. These people are seriously bad opposition, highly motivated and well versed in the art of getting people to trip over their own feet, a knife-edged, tight constituency poised against a fragile souffle of public interest. Meanwhile, our international relationships and ability to coerce agreement are not evolved in synchrony with our capacity to make messes. That being said, we can but try. Meanwhile, making John's acquaintance has been a treat, a bit of a silver lining to this whole unfolding climate disaster.


* Geomorphology and glaciology an undergrad research methods paper were captained by noted climate skeptic Professor (emeritus, natch) Easterbrook. How's that for irony?  (Edit: oops, I lie. Glaciology was another prof but more irony. My brother implemented an FFT on one of our wretched little (1982) microcomputers, which allowed me to do a power spectrum on oxygen isotope ratios in search of Milankovic cycles for a another term research paper, blissfully imagining I was doing something new. The thing worked, as I sadly learned by verifying my results against a paper I belatedly discovered, already covering that treatment. Still, ironic in light of where I'm writing this!)

2010-08-19 20:46:37
John Russell

Are you waht they call a 'geek', Doug?
2010-08-20 05:32:01

When I was doing the analog>digital image conversion thing some wag put a sign on my desk reading "Alpha Geek."  I was -so- touched and proud. :-)
2010-08-20 07:56:41Matthew Glover

Hi All

I'm Matthew Glover, aged 38, and live in Yorkshire, UK, married with twin boys who will be 10 next week.

Where do I start?

Well, I feel slightly embarrassed that I do not have the education or scientific background of many of the Skeptical Science enthusiasts, and hence do not currently comment on any of the posts.

I own and run a uPVC window, door and conservatory manufacturing business supplying UK installation companies.  I started the business when I was 21 and hoped to be a millionaire by the time I was 30.  When I turned 30, I put the deadline back to 40.  Now I'm closing on 40 the millionaire thing seems less important, and I have been looking for something more meaningful for my life for the last 5-6 years really.

My outlook changed in December 2004 when I watched the shocking events of the tsunami in Asia and decided to do some fundraising for the victims.  My research lead me to contact a UK registered charity helping orphaned and destitute children in India called Heal where I eventually became a trustee (and still am) with a focus on fundraising.  I visit the projects regularly and have found I get more satisfaction out of voluntary work than I do out of running a business.

In January this year I wrote a post on my blog asking 'Is climate change happening and are humans causing it?' and a follow up post 'Humans are responsible for global warming' which got me really interested in the topic. The comments by John O'Sullivan (a skeptic) and Canbanjo (a regular contributor on this website) fed me with website links showing both arguments and helping me come to my decision that the consensus of climate scienists should be believed and action is desperately needed.

My blog was then bombarded by skeptics when I wrote a post 'Climate skeptics and why they're wrong'.  I realise that my posts may seem a bit lightweight compared to the discussions here, but I am still learning :-)

I became a 'cyber friend' with Canbanjo and between us we created an infographic which was featured on this website after having sought advice of John Cook while creating it.  Despite receiving constructive criticism we feel that infographics may be an invaluable tool for helping educate the general public to the issue of global warming.  Both Potholer54 and Greenman3610 on Youtube have both encouraged me to develop more, so it seems like there is an important niche which needs filling.

So we are now building a website dedicated to producing infographics on a regular basis which can be shared and discussed on blogs, websites etc.  We're particularly keen to change perceptions and rubbish skeptic arguments.

Because I accept my own limitations (particularly my poor scientific understanding) I am keen to include volunteers to help in this cause.  When I suggested to John Cook I was hoping to encourage some type of 'peer review' system for ensuring the infographics are as accurate and effective as possible, he suggested I should sign up here.  Which is why I'm here now!  John has suggested that I may be able to post infographics within the Authors section to let you guys provide constructive criticism which would be great if everyone is happy for us to do so.

I'm also keen to hear suggestions and hear from anyone who can work with us in providing intelligent research and advice to help us get across the message to those people who don't read Skeptical Science, WUWT, Real Climate. Climate Depot etc.

Please get in touch if you'd like to help or offer advice.

Many thanks

2010-08-20 09:08:49Infographics
John Cook

Matthew, re posting infographics, actually, what I was thinking was if it really took off, I'd be happy to even set up a separate topic "Infographics" which would focus exclusively on developing and collaborating on infographics. So whether you want to start with your own forum or begin in the Authors forum to see how it goes, completely up to you. Perhaps a worthy start would be to start a new thread on the topic, see what kind of interest and response you get from other Authors.
2010-08-20 11:09:43Matthew infographics redux


Matthew, I found your graphic to be very striking indeed, accurately conveying at a glance what would require many words to communicate. Further to JC's thoughts, presentations with a graphic as opposed to verbal emphasis are an opportunity to reach another kind of audience. Everybody's got some buttons to be pushed, some people have different or even in some cases fewer buttons available than others. We ignore that to our detriment. I'm delighted to hear that John is ready to exploit your work.

As to "slightly embarrassed," don't be silly. I'm part of the "motley" in this crew, no doubt about it and more I've been reaching for and periodically seizing the brass ring for some time. Making a business run for more than 5 years let alone 20 is nothing to be sniffed at, you're in a small minority and to be congratulated.  

On a technical level I'm intrigued by the onslaught of skeptics you attracted w/your blog's first mention of climate change. Can you say a little more about how heavily trafficked your site was prior to your first post on climate change?

2010-08-20 18:10:20Matthew Glover


John - Yes, I'll start a new thread as you suggest.  I'm really pleased that you are being so helpful.

Doug - my blog gets around 15,000 visitors per month, mostly with people interested in the niche I mostly write about - the double glazing industry in the UK.  I use AWeber to manage the 400+ subscribers who receive an email every time I write a post.  I haven't really noticed a difference in traffic to my site, just different people to usual.  I do, however, feel the website I'm planning has the potential to generate lots of traffic if the graphics are right, and websites link to it.

The onslaught of skeptics for my third post came about as Climate Depot featured one of my posts when I gave my honest assessment of who I thought skeptics are.  They also published my email address so I received a number of anonymous insults.  The whole saga made me feel more inclined to fight back.

2010-08-22 20:38:55Neal J. King


My background is in physics, and I have been active on a few blogs on the anthropogenic global warming topic for a few years:

- IMDb's comment board for Gore's An Inconvenient Truth; after a few years, I'm not currently active on this.

- A discussion analyzing Miskolczi's paper attempting to explain why CO2 cannot effect GW; this has died out. However, I did manage to engage Miskolczi with my analysis, although this discussion never came to a definitive conclusion.

- ClimateAudit: I conducted a collection of input concerning Parker's refutation of the Urban Heat Island argument at ClimateAudit, and conveyed that to Parker, as well as his response back to them. However, I generally don't care for the atmosphere there, and don't read them.

- RealClimate: I comment very occasionally, but not conscientiously.

So right now, my involvement in AGW blogs is occasional, when I come across something. I often refer people to the Skeptical Science site for succinct and fair-minded refutations of the typical denialist arguments: It's a valuable resource that saves endless re-invention of the wheel, and I'm very encouraged by the interest other people share in trying to keep awareness of the actual science in the air.

What I hope I can contribute:

- Good writing and presentation skills.

- Ability to drill into the science, when necessary: I'm not a climate expert, but I can deal with the mathematical analysis required to understand technical arguments. 

2010-08-22 22:02:36Ian Rickard


Hi there

I’m a researcher at the University of Sheffield in the UK, from where I got my PhD last year. I study the long-term consequences of environmental conditions experienced in development (mostly in humans). http://www.huli.group.shef.ac.uk/rickard-ian-personal.html. I’m not a climate scientist, although I collaborate with paleoclimatologists.

I have come across skepticalscience at a time when it has become acutely obvious to me how important it is that reasonable people do whatever they can to address the problem of the mismatch between the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming and the views of the general public.

The public distrust of mainstream science in this instance can only be a bad thing for humanity, not only because of the potentially disastrous consequences of failing to act on climate change, but also because it fosters anti-scientific sentiment. We must defend science against the ideologues for whom reality is an inconvenience, who do their upmost to discredit expertise and sow the seeds of doubt so as to support their worldview. We must promote science to those who are dumbfounded by misinformation or who do not know how science works.

I think it’s a heady task, but a challenge that it is vital to face. I hope I can do something to help. For my part, I like to think I can write fairly well both technically and for a mainstream audience. I've taught and been involved in outreach programs throughout my scientific career. As you can see from above, I'm passionate about the evidence-based approach to life, and I despair that critical thinking skills are so rare, and so poorly valued. I'm what you might call a skeptic in the general sense in that I follow the activity of groups such as the James Randi Educational Foundation, and avidly listen to podcasts such as 'The Skeptics' Guide To The Universe'. I've been wanting to get involved in blogging for a good cause for a long time, but for some reason or other I haven’t taken the plunge yet.

I think John has done an absolutely superb job with this website. It’s the best resource on the subject, most particularly from the perspective of user-friendliness, and I look forward to seeing it grow, and hopefully being a part of it.


2010-08-23 02:43:55Question for Ian Rickard


I see you've followed the James Randi foundation.

 Over the years, I wrote Randi twice to encourage him to weigh in on the "skepticism" of AGW, but he begged off both times, citing lack of expertise.

 Then, last year he did weigh in - on the side of the deniers!

 Do you know the back story on this? I was really disappointed.





2010-08-23 06:14:50


'evening all I'm Tony Wildish, I live in France, near the Swiss border. It's a very pretty area, at the base of the Jura mountains. I have a PhD in particle physics, and currently work at CERN. My work is purely software these days, for one of the LHC experiments. It's a lot of fun.

I've been interested in science and nature since I was a kid, and still am. I have my own blog, Song for Jasmine, where I write about environmental issues, nature, gardening, and occasionally climate change. I've become more interested in the issue of communicating the science surrounding climate change, since it seems that the communication is more important than the facts themselves when it comes to convincing others. That's why I think Skeptical Science is such an important undertaking (kudos to you, John) and why I want to help.

My own communication skills aren't perfect by any means, but I've been studying the matter lately. If you haven't read Don't be such a scientist by Randy Olsen, I can thoroughly recommend it. It has a great deal to say about effective communication, and has opened my eyes to things I had never thought about. I'm hoping to put what I've learned to good use with SkS.

I can also write passable french (understandable, if not fluid), so can help out with the translation efforts if that's useful.

Looking forward to sharpening swords together with you all!

2010-08-23 18:31:56Reply to nealjking - JREF et al.


Hi Neal

I don’t know the back story. I would love to hear it, or are you asking me about it? Anyway, here are my thoughts on the subject, although perhaps you know more than me….

I think it’s fair to say that those in the scientific skepticism movement have been slow to recognise the scientific consensus on climate change. I am surprised and somewhat alarmed to hear that James Randi himself takes this line, but at the same time, I’m optimistic, because I think this means that there is a valuable pool of activism that has yet to be tapped into.

Everyone has their biases, even those who espouse the virtues of critical thinking. Perhaps this anomaly has its origins in the tendency of skeptical activists to come from a libertarian standpoint, or perhaps it’s a mistrust of a (perceived) alarmism in the mainstream media (when its not engaging in denialism itself). I think valuable lessons could be learnt from figuring out exactly what the thought process is that leads people like Randi to identify with the denialists.

If the community of skeptical activists as a whole can be convinced that there is a scientific consensus on AGW, then they will realise that the issue is arguably the best recipient of activist energy available, and they will become our allies. I urge people not to dismiss this movement because of this issue. Aside from the occasional conflation by some of skepticism with atheism (unfortunately still an ongoing debate), these people are collectively a force for good, and passionate with it. It is worth remembering that Michael Shermer came round to AGW several years ago, and the crew of the foremost podcast to the movement, the Skeptics’ Guide To The Universe (which is affiliated with the JREF), refer to the concept of climate change denialism in the same context is we do here. They’re on our side, and I’ve emailed them to suggest John as a guest interviewee for the show, both to talk about climate change denialism as a whole, and to showcase this website and its affiliated products as a model for skeptical activism (any other listeners here, please do the same if you agree with me that it would be great publicity, and go some way to winning some valuable hearts and minds).

I had a cursory look around, and I could not find much regarding the opinions on AGW of the previous and current JREF presidents (Phil Plait and DJ Grothe respectively), but it would be worth sounding them out, in addition to working on Randi further (perhaps more so).

Sorry for the rant here. I’m not used to online fora etiquette, and I’m aware this is off-topic. Lets start a new thread if you want to continue this discussion on how to bring the skeptical activists more on board.

2010-08-24 04:49:52Skeptics, Scientists and the Media
John Russell


I find the discussion about climate scientists and their attitude to the whole sceptic debate fascinating.

I can completely understand why someone working in climate science wants to remain 'pure' and above all the internet squabbling. On the other hand climate change is potentially really serious for humankind. So you'd think that those at the sharp end of climate science would want to come down off their pedestals and get involved in the fight for the minds of the public (and on that score, well done, Ian). 

As I argue with other people, it's all very well scientists knowing the key politicians and the movers and shakers of society buy into the seriousness of AGW but, in democracies, politicians have their hands tied behind their backs unless the public gives them the mandate to act.   

Best wishes,


2010-08-24 17:39:25JR


Hi John,

Thanks, but I should point out that I am not a climate scientist, and therefore not at the ‘sharp end’, nor indeed, anywhere near it. There are, however, many climate scientists who engage with the public in response to their critics. The realclimate blog is probably the best example of climate scientists doing this.

I do lean towards thinking that scientists of all shades should engage more in activism/advocacy, even if that involves the application of their relatively general skills outside of their immediate field of expertise. Unfortunately, it seems that evidence does not necessarily ‘speak for itself’, as it might have been assumed to in the past.



2010-08-26 12:19:55


I'm Niamhaill (pronounced Knee-vil), from the base of the Dublin mountains in Ireland. I'm a bit of a layman in terms of science but I've recently developed a keen interest. I am a radio presenter with a small local station, mostly on talk/music shows, some of which are science themed. I feel strongly that the failure by the media to distinguish between uninformed opinion and credible science leaves the public without the necessary tools to find the truth and make informed decisions, ones which may affect the very survival of our species.  No doubt the planet will have a long and varied existence with or without us, but I'd prefer it if the human race found a way to survive too. 

I've done some writing in the past, but never science/climatology so this is a new departure.  I'm looking forward to getting involved in this estimable project.  I hope I can make some worthwhile contributions. 

2010-08-27 16:21:29Climate Change Science has been Real for years!


Howdy All ... Im the newest member of this fantastic group! My Name is Rami Mandow, and i own my own social media company. In a Previous life, i worked in the finance sector for over 12 years, before starting my company. 

 Im based in Sydney, Australia.

 Like a few of you, i dont have any science background in education. But what i lack for in that area, i excel in my passions, my drive, my motivation.

Ive been a space geek ever since Challenger exploded when i was 5 years old. Since then, ive been mulling through volumes upon volumes of books, textbooks, articles, stories, seminars, short courses etc about my passions in Science, which are:

Astronomy, Physics, Atmospheric Physics, Cosmology, Astrophysics, Quantum Physics, Nuclear Physics, Geology and of course Space Exploration.

What Greenpeace is to the Environment, I am to Climate change. I've been fighting with skeptics (Friends, family, formal debate teams) on these topics publicly, and privately. Half my friends have blocked my facebook wall posts, because they are all about Climate Change LOL Im here to learn, to help, to contribute and to keep fighting for the climate change cause, and will never give up, until a solution has been found.

Im also a regular blogger, so all the good arguments, will be posted in my blog (with permission of course) to get a more broader exposure.

 Looking forward to writing with you all!


2010-08-27 19:51:43To Rami
Graham Wayne

Hi Rami,

"...all the good arguments, will be posted in my blog (with permission of course)..."

I was just going to give you blanket permission to repost anything I wrote, when it occurred to me that there is a copyright issue here that should be resolved, because I'm not sure John C has dealt with it (couldn't find anything on the site about this).

I have assumed from the start that anything I contribute would be published under a creative commons license of some sort. I do not assert copyright over anything I contribute, either articles or rebuttals. But I wonder - John? - is it clear what the site policy is, and does everyone feel, as I do, that to assert copyright would be counter-productive? 

2010-08-28 10:52:25Copyright issues
John Cook

Good question, Graham, have been meaning to address this. My intention was always to have a creative commons license - probably the type where people can reproduce my work for non-profit purposes. I'll start a new thread on this so as to keep this thread on introductions.
2010-08-30 14:30:29Chris McGrath
Chris McGrath


My name is Chris and, like John but not as bad, I'm a climateaholic ("hi Chris" says the room).

I am an environmental lawyer in Brisbane, Australia. I teach environnmental law and policy at The University of Queensland. My PhD considered laws protecting the Great Barrier Reef and focused on climate change. I blog a little on Climate Shifts.

Chris McGrath

2010-08-30 18:03:33John Brookes
John Brookes

Hi Guys.  I'm John Brookes and live in Perth, Western Australia.  I've been following global warming for a few years, and was especially interested in emissions trading schemes for a while.  I have a physics degree, but am no expert in climate science.  I secretly enjoy trying to make "skeptics" disagree with each other...
2010-08-31 06:48:21Nick Berini
Nicholas Berini


My Name is Nick and I have been a climateholic for 1 year.  I recently graduated from Vanderbilt University with a B.S. in Engineering Science and minors in Energy and Environmental Systems and Engineering Management of Technology.  I am now a 'sustainable building analyst' in New York City.

As a 17 year old I succumbed to the talking points and 'manbearpig' slurs of Al Gore, Climate Scientists, and Climate Science. Thankfully, a great science, math, and engineering program at Vanderbilt, an intro to climate science class, and general maturity have had a profound effect on my outlook.  My interest in climate science (and this wonderful website) now comes from genuine patriotism, respect for humanity, and a hope that in 10 years I can have enough faith in this world to bear children. 

My goal is to make climate change a much more important issue to my generation and to separate science and politics. I like to say, "why is it that 97% of climate scientists say one thing but 50% of America's Political parties say another?" 

2010-08-31 08:54:53Dana Nuccitelli
Dana Nuccitelli

Hi Everyone.  I'm Dana, another climateaholic for about 4 years now.  I graduated from UC Berkeley in '03 with a bachelor's in astrophysics, and from UC Davis in '05 with a master's in physics.  For the past 4 years I've been an Environmental Scientist at a private environmental consulting firm in California.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that 'An Inconvenient Truth' piqued my interest in the subject, and since I watched the film I've all the climate science books, articles, and studies I could get my hands on.  I spend a lot of time (probably way too much) in the Global Warming section of Yahoo Answers.  I've also written several global warming wiki articles on a site called Green Options (formerly EcoHuddle, formerly Huddler).

I think Skeptical Science is a terrific site, and great resource for debunking common climate science myths.  I'm looking forward to contributing to the efforts here.  Everyone has done a great job so far.

Whoops, sorry about the thumb, I should have figured out what it was for before clicking it!

2010-09-04 15:10:04comment
Robert Way

There's nothing wrong with an inconvenient truth piquing your interest! Great post on empirical evidence by the way!
2010-09-04 19:00:35Dan Satterfield

Hi All,

I'm Dan Satterfield. I'm from Oklahoma orginally and have lived in Huntsville, Alabama for the past 16 years. (John Christy and I even eat at the same Mexican place!)

Educational background: B.S. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma ( I was a storm chaser when storm chasing wasn't cool!). I went back to school a few years ago and did an MS in Earth Science.

Most of my career I have worked as an on air Meteorologist and have been the Chief Metr. for the CBS affiliate here for 16 years. I run a weather page for kids called Dan's Wild Wild Weather Page.

Thank to the NSF, I visited Antarctica and the South Pole in January and was also lucky enough to spend 9 days at the ice core drill site (NEEM) in North Greenland in July. They brought up the oldest ice ever recovered from Greenland while I was there!

Getting young people excited by science is important to me, and I serve on the board of our local science museum. Am also a member of the AMS Committee for Station Science.  

2010-09-04 21:42:36hello
Otto Lehikoinen

My name is Otto. I'm not a practising scientist, haven't had the energy for that. Qualifications: M.Sc. on biochemistry, did poorly in physical chemistry, I know some definitions on that but am often surprised where they come up, I don't do the maths on that. Liked spectroscopy and took an extra course on that, took only the first year of studies of climate change courses. Observed lepidoptera and the progression of springs for ~20 years (I do not have the records written down). Haven't done multivariate analysis though can ask a relative how it is done, vaguely competent in simple regressions, poor at maths (compared to practising scientists and engineers), as a weatherman in the compulsory army of Finland.

Most of my scientific reading on the issue of global warming has happened about 12 years ago, so my actual knowledge is dated. I knew some people back then who planned to do a simple climate model. I believe it was planned to be a model containing calculations on 6 heights of Earth (seasonal and sun's variations of course included) with a very coarse grid... Currently I'm a regular visitor on various blogs on climate (specially like Tenney Naumer's collection of references) and a non-expert commenter. If I tried to pose as an expert on biochemistry I'd be caught in about 10 minutes. Nevertheless John has allowed me to this forum, but I'm not entirely sure how involved I'm going to be here. Thank you for letting me see here.

Otto (jyyh) L.

Late PS. my blog may be found at http://erimaassa.blogspot.com

PS. Currently my comments are from another laptop, since the previous one got a fatal error.


2010-09-12 00:22:32Introducing Riccardo, i.e. myself :)


Hi all,

I apologize for being so late in introducing me. I'm italian where I graduated in physics and got the PhD. After one year as post-doc at Harvard I came back to Italy where I'm now assistant professor. As a scientists i always worked in the field of matreial science, so climate is a side interest.

I live nearby the sea and started my sailing experience when i was 4. I still spend as much time as i can sailing but unfortunately never managed to put science and sailing together.  You can easily guess that my dream is sailing to Antartica or wherever in a scientific mission!

I'm not (and never been) a green but my love for the seas and the winds and the pain I feel seeing our martyrized mediterranean sea made me worry for the human impact on nature. Next step was climate to which I add (for self-defense?) the attack to scientists and science.

Now I'm here. Why? Because while as a scientist i can manage to communicate with other scientists, I feel unconfortable when there's the need to use a more accessible languagge and reasoning. I think that John is the best over the internet in popularizing the matter while maintaining high scientific rigour. I contributed just two posts, sooner or later some other will show up, but definitely i won't be so prolific :)

2010-09-15 07:38:34Hello everyone!

Hi, my name is Kate and I have just joined Skeptical Science.

I am 18 years old and have just begun my B.Sc. in Canada. I am interested in physical climatology, the WG1-type research, so I am planning to do an undergraduate degree in math, with lots of physics, comp sci, and some geo, so I can start to apply this basic science knowledge to climate models in future degrees.

I became interested in climate science when I was about 15, at a local youth climate change conference. A climatology prof from the university spoke about how 16-O and 18-O can be extracted from ice cores and used as proxies for temperature. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

I began to read more and more about climate science, and, inevitably, I witnessed the high level of confusion surrounding this topic in the media and on the internet, and the incredible disconnect between scientific knowledge and public knowledge. This frustrated me to no end, and I needed some kind of outlet for my thoughts. I probably would have started a school environment newsletter or something, but then my computer-savvy friend said, "Kate, you should start blogging."

So, for about a year and a half now, I have been writing and managing the blog ClimateSight, which has taken off beyond anything I would have imagined. It has allowed me to meet a lot of great people, correspond with a lot of researchers, and be presented with fantastic opportunities for further learning - the most recent of which is Skeptical Science! I have admired this site from afar for many months now, and it is great to become a part of it. 

2010-09-17 09:45:51Captain Pithart
Captain Pithart
Peter Hartmann

I'm Peter Hartmann, aka Captain Pithart.

Some people here already know me, i've been working on the Planet Climate project for the past 10 months. I'm a biologist by training, and prior to last August i had no special interest in climate science. the idea was to get an overview over the different positions, and who states them. i had worked on wikipedia for some years (mostly spiders), so the wiki format was the way to go. i first got most exxon&co people, then people that signed contrarian petitions, then some libertarians. then i started mapping non-contrarian people, but that did not get very far. i linked arguments of contrarians to pages collecting rebuttals, and SkepticalScience was one of the main resources for these. PC caches most external links (using webcitation.org), so people will likely be able to retrieve them even ten years from now, making it an interesting resource for historical research later on.

for those that don't know it yet, feel free to check it out:


it's not officially public yet; i want to have at least some basic auditing for it before unleashing the contrarian hordes on it, and nobody took up the effort so far. it's already kind of a vast resource, use it at will, but don't link to it in public yet. as it's a wiki, anybody here who wants an account is invited to sign up. the idea is once a handful of people get into the habit of adding whatever they encounter, it will become a useful central repository for climate links: blog posts, papers, everything climate. everything about one topic collected on one page, so it's easier to get an overview.

i'm listening to various contrarian lists, and tried to talk with some, but that got pretty repetitive, so now i'm mostly using these lists to feed the wiki.

i'll probably mostly idle here in the foreseeable future, with PC taking up the better part of my time.

it's good to be here.

FYI,  PH is not my real name; i don't want my real life associated with PC and get confused when i mix identities.


2010-09-22 03:43:47Introducing Lee
Lee Tryhorn

Hi everybody,

Wow, what an eclectic, international crowd! I have just joined Skeptical Science and am very excited to be part of such a great website! 

I am originally from Australia. I have a B.S/B.A (Hons) and PhD (in atmospheric sciences) from Monash University in Melbourne. I also spent some time studying at the University of Tokyo (my B.A. major was Japanese) and the University of Oklahoma (I wanted to see some tornadoes).

I am currently working as a research scientist at Cornell University in New York State. My research focus is on climate impacts and adaptations (especially in relation to extreme events).  I am really interested in connecting climate science to social science and policy outcomes, so I am also part of the Society of Policy Sciences and a Board Member of the American Meteorological Society Board on Societal Impacts.

I have become interested in the work that Skeptical Science is doing because I am interested in finding ways that community leaders can work towards climate action even when large segments of their community may not believe in climate change.

-Lee Tryhorn


2010-09-22 17:39:43Introducing Alan Marshall


Greetings colleagues. My name is Alan Marshall, and like John, I am an Australian. However I live 2000 kilometres further south, so I have a buffer against rising temperatures. I am not a climatologist, but have studied physics and mathematics at university, and consider myself to be literate in climate change science.

As a software developer with a keen interest in the future of humanity, I have created the web site www.climatechangeanswers.org as a service to the community, to promote greater understanding and cooperation in responding to the unprecedented challenge of anthropogenic climate change.

I have been writing on climate change since 1997. The reason I care is that the future of billions of people really is at stake. A rise in temperatures by 4 degrees C by the end of the century must be avoided. Otherwise, the tropics will become too hot for habitation, sea levels will rise, and famine and war will follow. We are complacent about the 0.8 degrees C rise already experienced, not realising that the science predicts a delay between cause and effect. By the time governments find the will to act in the interest of the planet rather than their own little kingdoms, it may well be too late.

It is frustrating to see politicians in Australia uttering the same old skeptics’ arguments that are so comprehensively rebutted on www.skepticalscience.com. This has compelled me to run a campaign over the past 9 months in which I have sent a series of carefully referenced and illustrated letters to 40 MPs and senators. I am not a member of any political party and I comment on the policies of Australia's political parties on their merits. To date, the feedback has been positive and crosses party lines.

As a christian, I am also concerned that climate skepticism seems to be strong in the churches, so I write to that constituency also, explaining the urgent need for action on climate change using both the science and biblical principles. Of course, the motivation to act transcends religious, political and ideological differences. As Al Gore puts it in the introduction to An Inconvenient Truth:

“The climate crisis also offers us the chance to experience what very few generations in history have had the privilege of knowing: a generational mission; the exhilaration of a compelling moral purpose; a shared and unifying cause; the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict that so often stifle the restless human need for transcendence; the opportunity to rise.”

2010-09-23 01:42:12
Paul D


Hi I'm not sure I'm going to be writing anything, but will be probably critique based on my wide ranging experience and knowledge.

I have a BSc degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, which is ancient history really considering how long ago I completed it.
I spent a large chunk of my initial career as a realtime software engineer. For those that don't know what that is, it means someone that designs, programs, tests and integrates processor level software that controls electromechanical and electronic systems (washing machines, printers, cash point machines, fighter aircraft, space shuttles etc). IMO probably the most challenging type of software systems you can work on, because if you get timings wrong or sometimes just one byte of data out of place, you can burn out motors or even injure/kill people!
Luckily for me, I didn't work on gas guzzling projects like jumbo jets or Porsches.

After that I went back to college and did a Master of arts degree (yes I went to art college, having been an engineer) in Electronic Media design. Later I became a part-time teacher/lecturer. What's next? I haven't a clue!

I am pretty nifty with graphics, animation etc.
Using photoshop, fireworks, flash etc. (that masters degree wasn't a complete waste of time!)

I do have a blog (it isn't a good example of my graphical work):
It's a mixture of local news, climate science, environmental issues etc.
The logic behind it is that if I can get the locals to read about the local roads, shops, politics etc, they might also learn a bit about the environment and science.

2010-09-24 02:30:34
Mark Richardson

Hey guys! Lee Tryhorn: I've just returned from Ithaca and if I'd read this thread a day or two earlier I would have tried to come say hi! Or I would have carried on sleeping off my hangover, I dunno...



My name's Mark and I got interested in climate science when I was about 16, so I went & did a Master of Physics at Durham in England. Now I'm starting a PhD in the National Centre for Earth Observation at Reading.


I like climate science because I like science and hate politics, it's a 'new' field with mysteries that actually affect how people live (does anyone care about M-theory? Except for Tony :p ) and the deniers were originally an interesting challenge (they're pretty much always wrong, it's fun finding out exactly where), although their constant lies and misdirections are getting annoying since there are human lives at stake.

2010-09-27 08:02:30Daniel Bailey (aka, "The Yooper")
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

Hopefully the html tags work here like they do in the comments (just wishing for a preview function, I guess).  Here goes.

I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for your efforts and contributions that make Skeptical Science the valuable learning experience and tool that it is.  Since I've been coming here, I've gotten some interesting perspectives on things and developed some new insights.  and I've learned a lot.  So, thanks for that.

Most have seen, and probably some been annoyed, at least a few of my comments on the various posts here.  I apologize for those times I've crossed the line and some unfortunate moderator has had to provide some "correction".  Tom Dayton in particular, no doubt, I must apologize to (sorry to provide extra work, Tom).

On to the next thing that probably most want to know:  "The Yooper".  Why, oh why?  I decided a long time ago that if I were to ever comment regularly online I'd need a cool avatar name (like "Albatross" or "a_ray_in_dilbert_space")...but I couldn't think of one.  So, when I did comment, I used my real name (Daniel Bailey).  As it turns out, there already was a commenter on some of the science sites using that name.  So I inserted "The Yooper" into my user name at first, then eventually moved it into a signature tag position.  (Dude, you're stalling, out with it).

I live in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (the U.P.), in a city called Marquette.  People who live in the UP are referred to as "Yoopers" (as an aside, the two peninsulas of Michigan, Upper and Lower, are connected by a 5-mile long suspension bridge, called the Mackinac Bridge.  Thus, Yoopers refer to those living in the Lower Peninsula as "Trolls", because the live "below da bridge").  People here also speak differently than those from below da bridge, due to the high concentration of Finnish and Scandinavian descent people here and the proximity to Canada.

As a boy growing up here, summers were cool (highs in the 70's and 80's F; ave temps in the 60's) and the winters cold (daytime highs 10 to 20 F; lows down to -33 F; snowfall averaged about 160 inches per year).  I had some great science teachers growing up who instilled a love of learning science in me.  The natural beauty of the environment I live in sparked the rest.  In college (Central Michigan University), I majored in Earth Science, Cartography and Remote Sensing, graduating in 1984 (that makes me 48 years old these days).  I wanted to major in Climatology, but my advisor talked me out of it, saying that there was "no money in it" (heh).  CMU had 2 claims to fame: a good physical sciences program (number 6 in the nation at the time, I believe) and a big party school (also ranked #6 in the nation by Playboy magazine...probably no coincidence).

After college, I took employment with the Defense Mapping Agency (now known as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in Washington, DC.  My area of responsibility was making various classified and unclassified mapping products for the US Navy and the US Merchant Marine.  I also worked on the crisis support team there as well (weeks prior to every US military conflict/action, we were working around-the-clock updating all of our mapping products with the latest intel for the boys in uniform to use).  I remember seeing some interviews with James Hanson & footage of him testifying before Congress.  After 13 years of enduring the miserable summer weather there (I'm told that employees stationed at the British Consulate there get the same inclement weather pay adjustments as do those stationed in Africa), I'd had enough of the heat.  

Went home to the UP, got a job in construction, then in construction sales, then in television advertising sales, then one in pharmaceutical sales (a misnomer; more of an educational position).  Had various diabetes, asthsma, thyroid, blood pressure and cholesterol products to promote over the years.  Rehabbing from a back injury in 2007, I renewed my interest in Climate Science and dug into a crash learning of all I had missed since college (and there was A LOT).  I distinctly remember first getting a grasp on the severity of what we face while I was reading a RealClimate post on the Greenland Ice Sheet.  One of the commenters had gotten a RC moderator to give an off-the-record opinion on whether we had initiated a methane hydrate release in the Arctic and what the chances were of it, if so.  The response: "80%".  This was 2008.

The world has much changed since I was a boy, oh-so-many years ago now.  I can personally attest, here on a micro-level, our local climate has changed significantly since I was a boy to what we have today.

In mid-April, summer conditions set in. 70-80 degrees daily highs. May was hotter, with 80-90 degree highs; extreme drought prevailed from mid April to the first week of June. Normal precipitation & temps have resumed since (highs 65-78 daily), but the heat that came early & stayed has done a number on the local water temps.

Take it with a grain of salt. Sample size of 1 year. But our long-term trend has been eye-opening.  Even the old codgers who tell stories about how it used to be colder in the winters & hotter in the summers & that they “walked uphill to & from school each way” are noticing how things have been different.

I made the mistake of suggesting a post to John Cook after the Judith Curry train wrecks on RC and on Climate Progress.  Mistake, because he asked me to write it up into a guest post, which I then naively did.  

If anyone needs a hand reviewing a piece before posting I'd be glad to help.  The day job takes up 65-70 hours a week, so between family and the need for sleep (I get about 6 hours a night, on a good night) it doesn't leave big chunks of time, normally.  But I should be able to help out some.

The Yooper


2010-09-28 02:59:45

Thanks for the intro, Daniel!  When I was in grad school I spent a fair amount of time in the U.P., and have very fond memories -- canoeing at Sylvania, skiing in the Porcupine Mtns, and watching an immense full moon set into Lake Superior from Twelvemile Beach.  It's a beautiful place.
2010-10-06 23:56:44Introducing Pete Murphy
Pete Murphy

Hello ('again' if this is a duplicate),

My name is Pete Murphy and I've just been invited to join Skeptical Science following a few appends I added .

I'm 47 , live in Portsmouth UK , graduated with a BSc Physics from University College London in 1985 and then spent the past 25 years working for IBM in a role they call IT Specialist.

I originally found this website a while ago through a Canadian work colleague. He emails a large 'sustainability' distribution list about new developments and he mentioned this site.

I enjoy visiting science museums/sites and attending renewable energy meetings and , err .. well.. I also like replays of The Muppets.

I've always been interested in science and as more information became available during the 90's it became clear to me that humans need to rapidly readjust their approach . I'm involved in a local group that supports green activities and I'm investigating the Transition Towns network. I'm not into politics or campaigning but I have a vested interest in avoiding man made global warming since Portsmouth is pretty close to sea level. Also , it would be nice if my children could go to a school reunion without having to wear scuba diving equipment.

I'm experimenting with ideas about how to decarbonise my own life style but , having limited financial means, I still find myself caught by dependance on fossil fuel electricity in my house and fossil fuels for transport. I'm thinking if I can solve it for myself within my constraints then I suspect this should apply to most of us . It would be really great if I could have some micro turbine device ( perhaps driven by the rain through my gutters , of some hand sized wind turbine or small solar panel) that could generate enough average power to run an applicance like a fridge or freezer....

In the meantime , since I'm not making huge progress in running a fossilfuelfree-lifestyle I'm happy to contribute to those who are helping point us in the right direction.

Hopefully , my spelling mistakes and typing errors won't upset you too much , and I haven't ruined my street cred  by mentioning the Muppets.

2010-10-16 13:36:28
Bruce Worden

Hi, folks! Call me Bruce. I appreciate the opportunity John extended me -- a relative newcomer to SkS -- to contribute here. While I have limited time, I do want to help improve the communication of science to the public. We live in a crazy, mixed-up world, where some elements are trying to kill the messenger (who is only trying to provide them with the information they need to make rational decisions). I'm an optimist in that I think people have an incredible ability to solve problems, but I'm a pessimist in that I think global warming, and the attendant climate change, are going to get much, much worse before we, as a society, get serious about doing something.

My background is in earth science: I have a Ph.D. in geophysics from Caltech. I work mostly in the earthquake hazards field, but I've also worked in (gasp!) oil exploration. I never liked the oil industry, and wouldn't work there again even if it wasn't destroying the world. I live in southern California, USA, and want to apologize to everyone in the world for the lunacy that passes for politics in this country.

2010-10-19 11:41:20
Alex C


Hi everyone!

Where to begin... from what I can tell from everyone who has introduced themselves so far, I'm the youngest here, and I'd like to personally thank John Cook for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the fantastic discussion that goes on within this site.  As of now I have yet to complete a rebuttal, but I'm working on one and hope that I'm able to get some feedback and suggestions from the more seasoned authors here.

Not to dance around the point of my post though - I am currently a senior in high school in Sterling Heights, Michigan.  I attend a satellite magnet program that specializes in teaching mathematics and science classes, and I'm currently ranked second in a class size of over six hundred students.  I'm at most just a month or two away from earning the rank of Eagle Scout in the BSA, and I'm trying to juggle several extracurriculars this year, ranging from robotics to chess.  I plan on attending the University of Michigan to study in some field of engineering for my undergraduate (thinking of aerospace, or materials science - I'm pretty undecided), since I recently received a rather large scholarship to attend the College of Engineering there.

Because, you know, I can't brag about actually having a degree yet.

My interest in climate science started back this past June where I wandered into the Global Warming section of Yahoo! Answers.  I have since then become a regular there, and my knowledge of the subject has grown exponentially (though surely not fully by any regards).  This site has been a great resource for me when I was learning about a topic that was new to me, and I'd like to again say that I'm thankful for being able to contribute.  I'd also like to thank Dana1981 for referring me to John; I remember that, after giving suggestions as to how Dana could improve an Advanced rebuttal in Y!A, Dana had mentioned to me that I might become an author here - well, whadyaknow?

Hope to be able to help if I can, and also hope that others are just as willing to help me!  I know that I shouldn't expect any less from you guys though: I couldn't be more satisfied with the atmosphere you've all set up.

Vague pun intended.


Alex Coulter 

2010-10-20 03:47:55Comment
Robert Way

Isn't Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences part of the engineering program there?
If you're planning on staying interested in climatology I would suggest taking a lot of statistics and physics...
2010-10-20 07:06:06RE: Comment
Alex C


Yes, they do have an AOSS program there.  I was and still am considering majoring in AOSS, or perhaps double majoring.  Climatology is actually a fairly new interest of mine, and for several years I've been interested in nano structures and related subjects, so that is why I'm strongly considering materials science.  Aerospace engineering is on my list simply because I'm also interested in being able to find some way to fit into the space program, especially if a manned Mars mission is something NASA is seriously planning.  Of course, a materials science degree would also be useful in that case.

I don't know though.  I've been involved more with climatology than many of my previous hobbies, and I very well may major in AOSS when I begin college next year.  I'm going to have to do some more thinking on what I want to do. 

2010-10-20 08:17:03

Aeronautical engineering, materials science and climatology are all very different fields. Whatever it is that you do, you'll want to enjoy it. So make some time to try out some hands-on activity in whatever you take an interest in: Join a research project (sometimes they'll take you on as a lab assistant for credit), get your hands dirty.
2010-10-26 20:33:40
Rob Painting

Seeing as I've been loitering around this forum for a while now, under the username Dappledwater, it's long overdue that I introduced myself.

I'm Rob (yup another one!) from New Zealand & the Dappledwater moniker comes from a real estate blurb for the property my wife and I bought about 12 years ago. It describes a spring fed stream that winds through our place. 

I don't have any scientific background, apart from passing math, chemistry & biology University Entrance exams back in the day. Spent 17 years in the Police and the last decade self employed, working in construction. A different work history eh?.

Anyway, glad to be assisting great initiatives like this. 






2010-10-29 12:52:23
Bruce Worden

Hey, Alex,

Just another bit of advice from the old guys: You're at a really exciting time of your life -- make sure to explore your options and find the thing you love. Don't worry about what it is, you'll find a way to make a living. And as long as you stick to your math and physics, you can open most of the doors in science and engineering (but don't neglect the chemistry and biology, it's good to be well-rounded). Explore, and as Neal suggests, get involved in some research projects. It's a great way to experience different kinds of work, and it looks great on grad school applications.

2010-11-04 10:37:28
Glenn Tamblyn


Hi All

John has just invited me into the forum so I might as well introduce myself. I am 53, married and live in a country town outside Melbourne Australia My educational background is in Mechanical Engineering with some early post grad work in Solar Energy many many years ago. But since then most of my working life has been in Engineering related IT. First monitoring and testing of a range of systems, then later moving into testing and programming systems for use in Car Asembly Plants. I have been a director of a small engineering company for several years and our work took me to China for several years in the early 2000's - a truely fascinating but challenging country.

Then 4 years ago my wife and I decided to make a life change. We had lived in our town for many years but while working from home some of the time the rest of my work meant long commutes to Melbourne and further field. So we decided to complete our 'TreeChange', a term Australian readers will understand - moving to the country to get away from the Big Smoke. We bought a cafe here in town and I got out of the technical life. Then some nice people on Wall St decided what the world really needed was a nice big recession. So our supposedly 'idyllic' country life became a bit a grinding nightmare. But things ar picking up, light at the end of the tunnel.

I have had a life-long passion for science in many forms, the more esoteric the better sometimes; just when will we find the Higgs Boson? I have also had a life long interest in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Ancient History, Mythology etc. In a sense, the further removed from the here and now a subject is, the more interesting I find it.

One realisation I came to from all of this is that a life immersed in people who are writing about alternative ways of thinking about the question 'how can life be lived?' makes it much simpler to be at ease with very different alternative ways of running a planet; Capitalism has reached its Use By Date, need a replacement - Not a problem, already seen that; We need alternative energy systems, check; This religion doesn't help us, get a new one; seen that too;

And with this is the realisation that for the majority of people, their imagination lives are much more focused on the here and now and don't have a technical background - not just the technical knowledge but the training in how to think about. Even something as simple as when told that food X increases you risk of cancer by Y%, the first question you need to ask is '% of what?'. This was put very succinctly in an interview in New Scientist with a Professor of Psychology (whose name I can't recall). She identified a characteristic in most people she called 'insensitivity to magnitude'. We all learn arithmatic at school but most people don't routinely apply quantitative judgement when looking at the world around them; they look at the world in terms of the character of it much more than the magnitude. So for most people confronting the big issues like AGW and what to do about it requires that they move into deeply unfamiliar and disturbing mental and emotional territory. And for the scientists and many who are pushing for action on the problems, because of their greater comfort with looking at the world in this way, they can easily not grasp the mental and emotional gulf most people need to cross to REALLY grasp the seriousness of this.

The whole area of climate change and environmental degradation/population levels etc has interested me for many years but it was probably about 3 years ago that the realisation started to hit hard at a visceral level. Humanity is actually in deep shit. Not because the problems can't be solved. But because they aren't being. For the reasons I mention above. I must admit my view into the future looks quite bleak. Thast why we do this. To try and prevent that future.

So I have been doing what I can with limited time on line on blogs to try and knock down the worst sceptic arguments, using my engineering background to try and punch holes in the logic and highlight the misrepresentations. If you can make the opposite view look not just wrong but deliberately misleading then that really weakens the other persons credibility. This can seem like a fruitless task, but one experience I had highlighted that we can achieve more than we think.

I spent quite a lot of time at the Australian ABC's website, Unleashed, on AGW subjects and got into a long exchange over many posts with someone calling himself Graeme Bird - a real rightwng wingnut with some outlandish ides about climate, physics and the scientific establishment. I felt I made the case well but I was never going to turn this guy. Weeks late he made a post and I couldn't help taking a dig at him about our previous 'discussions'. He fired back how he had 'won' the debate. Then someone whose name I had never seen posting before or since chimed in saying that she had followed our discussion and thought that i had won hands down. Obviously I fely chuffed. But the more important point is don't forget the Lurkers are out there. You aren't just arguing with the usual suspects. You are doing it in front of an audience and it is THEM you are trying to influence.

I hope we can all keep doing some good here. Power to the People.

2010-11-04 18:43:40


Glenn Tamblyn,

Yes, I've had one or two experiences such as that as well. So I fully agree: the target audience is really not the arguer.

And I think I've seen some postings by Graeme Bird on a few sites (the first name is unusual).

2010-11-27 07:45:16Bob Guercio
Bob Guercio
Robert Guercio

Hi Guys,

It's a pleasure to join this community and I do feel that we are united against a common enemy; pseudoscience and politicians.  I say this because this subject is not being debated by the scientists but by the politicians and right wing conservatives.  It should be neither a political nor conservative/liberal issue but in this "Alice in Wonderland World" it is!

I am a 65 year old retired engineer with a Master's degree in Physics.  Although I have never been a professional scientist, I have kept my mind sharp by periodically hitting the schoolbooks so I feel that as an amateur I could help the cause.

I am married and have a married 34 year old daughter and I live in the United States.

I intend to post all my writings to the author forum for you guys to critically comment on before I post.  I do this not out of modesty but out of good common sense.

We are all on the same team so please feel free to contact me at robertguercio@optonline.net  



2011-01-07 18:58:02


Hi all,

I'm Keith Pickering from Watertown, Minnesota. I've been an amateur astronomer for as long as I can remember, and have always had a keen interest in math and science. My interest in astronomy led me to navigation, which led me to exploration, which led me to history, specifically the history of exploration and discovery. I'm now one of the best-known experts on the navigation and voyages of Columbus, and was extensively interviewed by the History Channel for their program Columbus: the Lost Voyage

I'm also a past editor of DIO, the International Journal of Scientific History, and have published in the area of ancient Greek astronomy and the ancient star catalog. I've also had a letter published in Nature (on the orientation of the Pyramids). I write a very occasional blog called The Numerate Historian 

For money, I'm an application programmer, in various languages and primary on Unix servers.  

2011-01-13 21:33:34DIO

As I read your second paragraph, I was initially quite interested to hear which publication about Dio was so long-lived that it required an editor. Did you get that a lot? :-)
2011-01-23 22:20:24
Paul D

Glenn, you make a very good point about lurkers. In fact that is the main reason for doing a lot of this arguing and discussing.
2011-01-29 21:26:29malamuddy


Real name Neil Harris.  Retired science teacher but degrees in education and Philosophy as well.  I came across this site a few months ago and have been impressed with it ever since,  I have great admiration for the intelligence, patience and rationality of the contributors.  I come from Wagga Wagga in NSW, a big town where we are pretty conservative, religious and denialist.  We prayed for the drought to end and it ended, and we prayed to be saved from the floods and did pretty well out of that (sorry about Queensland).  This morning the local paper ran its first ever article accepting cllimate change.  Choked on my coffee.  I am more used to the letters blaming climate catastrophe on our sinful electing of an atheist prime minister.

 So the site is good for me.  I can now keep up my end at the pub/hairdresser/ bowling club when I am told that it is all the fault of the greenie socialist teachers in public schools who have been secretly indoctrinating our kids ever since the fall of the Berlin wall.  Not that they are likely to change the way they vote until the Murrumbidgee River actually dries right up.

2011-03-10 21:41:53Patrick Lockerby


Hello, everyone.  My name is Patrick Lockerby and I was an infoholic long before I became a climaholic.


I am in my mid 60s.  I am blessed with a fairly good memory which helps me remember where to find data.  I never saw the point at school in memorizing lots of facts.  My father taught me a number of things, amongst which was library research.  Why remember a list of facts when you need only remember which book you found those facts in?


My father was a smallholder.  He bred rabbits and chickens and grew vegetables for the table.  He was fascinated by science, especially botany and biology.  I guess I got an overdose of whatever genes govern curiosity.  I can remember the names of three of my primary school teachers - I would have been 4 or 5 years old - but I can't remember learning to read.  I was reading newspapers as a child and I have vivid memories of news pictures of the ship Flying Enterprise going down in the English Channel due to storm damage - that was December 1951.


Apart from an interest in weather due to my father being an outdoors type, events such as the Flying Enterprise and the water outside my house on February 1st 1953 from the North Sea flood made me interested in climate.  The Commonwealth Antarctic expedition of 1955 - 1958 was widely reported in the newspapers, which promoted my already existing interest in polar regions.


I am an engineer.  I have no formal scientific qualifications.  However, in my school years I learned logic and the scientific method.  The science skills I gained at school - together with my library research skills - have served me well over the years.  During my working years colleagues would come to me for information about where and how to find the information they needed.


Over and above everything else stands my love of language - another gift from my father who was a creative writer and poet.  He used to write snippets for a now defunct London evening paper - the equivalent I suppose of twitter.  For most of my life I have written poetry for the joy of it and technical documents for the bread on my table.  There is a film 'Shooting Stars' in which the character played by William Shatner complains that nobody ever read his literary output: video machine user instruction manuals.  I sympathize. :)


With the rise of the internet I started writing comments in forums and blogs.  By the way - I was studying how computers work back in my teens - I already confessed to being an infoholic but now I confess to being a geek / nerd / whatever.  After contributing to computer forums I moved on to the anti-malware/ anti-scam community.  It is very satisfying to see web sites taken down by the authorities as a result of communal efforts.


Now, if you haven't died from boredom yet, here comes the climate science bit.  As I said, I have no formal qualifications but I have worked as a 'scientist de facto'.  That is to say, I have been employed for my skills, not my c.v.  I became a writer on science20.com fairly recently after having written a few comments which got me invited to write.  I have built up a reputation now of someone who will vigorously defend the scientific method.


My biggest 'claim to fame' is that I was the first person on the web to report the massive 2010 calving of the Petermann Glacier, having predicted it earlier.  (Some time later, WUWT, which had published the news a day later, along with the world's media, claimed to have been the first to publish.  Why am I not surprised?)


I will continue to write articles on real climate and real science for as long as I can and will make every effort to have the likes of Monckton and the WUWT writers laughed out of town.


I can't understand the sheer depth of self-interest which allows some people to obstruct the growth of human knowledge.  How can anyone put the value of their fossil fuels portfolio above the value of leaving a better life to future generations?  Answers on a $100 bill ... :)


Now that I've got that off my chest, I'll end by saying that I hope to be able to contribute something here in return for all the information I have gleaned here in the past while merely lurking.

2011-03-18 12:02:26


Hi everyone.  My name is Mike and live in northeastern US.  I'm 35 and I've been interested in climatology since my teacher showed our class James Hansen's testimony in Congress.  I've read lots of science papers and followed the policy drama, especially over the last ten years since material has become so accessible.  So I have pretty good handle on the science even though I don't do any work in any scientific field (I am a computer tech and administrator).  I'm also very interested in reading and writing science fiction/fantasy, playing guitar, and spending time with family.  I'm also a politics buff.  I love to learn about all different types of ideologies and trace their history back through time - even the ones everyone hates.  I hope to help John and everyone else in this outreach, with which I think, is the most important issue going to the future.

2011-03-22 05:40:11Anna Haynes here, from the hinterlands of California


Hi y'all - I'm Anna Haynes, and I have a PhD in Science from a well known university :-) .

I run a science-aligned climate blog aggregator at Warming101.com with a handy (though not 100% complete) custom search at bit.ly/w101search (as a workaround for Google's having been rendered useless by denialists gaming it).

But my #1 love/compulsion/window into my own utter denseness/wellspring of frustration&angst  is investigative journalism, finding out who's pushing gw denialism and how the network is organized and what motivates those pumping it out, and why they act so shifty.  (What I've noticed: many seem to have ties to aircraft, small airports, and/or warehouses, and they show extreme reluctance to meet & talk in person; most are outright hostile.)

I'm a SourceWatch contributor and keep two main (occasional) blogs: one for local readership, one for climate readership.

I'd known about climate change for ages but got awakened by An Inconvenient Truth, and (baffled+outraged)/2 (i.e., midway between, but the right word isn't coming to me) by the deliberate antiscience blindness of the footdraggers.  I would give my eyeteeth - or more - to be able to look under the sheets & see how they're organized.

I live in a small and microcosmic town where the organized climate education messages are largely "tend your own garden" and "uncertainties, uncertainties, uncertainties" misdirections from those who should know better, and its-a-hoaxism from the retired-engineer contingent.

So I thank heavens for the wider climate-blogger community, and for John Cook and y'all at SkepticalScience.

But too much hanging out with the choir is self-indulgent, so my next step is to get involved with the local radio station.

2011-03-22 06:12:14Welcome
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

Welcome to SkS!

2 possible choices for you:  Flummoxed and/or flabbergasted.


2011-03-22 07:19:21Which one...


> Flummoxed and/or flabbergasted.

Which one tends to yield an involuntarily raised (volume+tone of) voice? (at least until you've come to expect it...)

See: bit.ly/theduck  aka   drboli.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/the-duck/

(And apologies for the O/T post; please nobody follow our example.)

2011-03-22 07:27:26
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

The dr boli duck post has long been a fav...

OT?  This is author-to-author interaction; how is that not the definition of Getting To Know The Author?  :)

2011-03-25 20:13:32Preben Borch, from Norway


Hi Everyone!

My name is Preben Borch, I'm 44 years old, and live in Oslo, Norway.

I'm a software developer, working on web applications, publishing software specifically. Been interested in climate science for a couple of years and starting to get a grip on all the major talking points hopefully :-)

My native language is Norwegian, so if my writing is poor bear with me - I read very well though! Read everything I can get hold on from internet of scientific papers - everything regarding Arctic and Antarctica, sea level rise etc. Follows all the major blogs on a daily basis.

I have participated in various discussion boards in Norway to try and bring in some science into the discussions, and happy to say that the situation in Norway is quite well in my opinion - deniers and sceptics are allways met with oposing arguments, I guess about 3000+ comments for the last year +, so I have met a few issues :-)

I have skills in everything regarding linux, web services, databases, programming in various programming languages (C / PHP / javascript, xslt). So, any technical issues regarding this, I'll be happy to answer - will try to bring in ideas on how to improve web services and communication issues (technical).

2011-03-25 23:08:18Welcome!
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

Good to have you on board!

With your programming skills, perhaps you could help John implement Instant Messaging into Skeptical Science:


2011-03-26 00:14:45Instant messaging


I'll look into it - I belive there are quite a few options for this in PHP - I'll give a follow up in the thread.

2011-04-04 23:57:25Julien from... Europe?


Hi all,

First I would like to thank John for granting me access to these forums. I am French, currently living in Trondheim, Norway and doing my PhD in Materials Science/Solid Mechanics there. My background is as follows: Ingénieur Polytechnicien (MSc) from Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, France with majors in Mechanics and Geophysics; Civilingenjör (MSc) from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden with major in Applied Physics. Got both degrees in 2007 and moved to Trondheim then to work on silicon for solar cells. I am speaking Swedish and Norwegian in addition to my mother tongue and English, and am in-between these cultures as I have been living with my Swedish girlfriend for quite some years now.

My interest for climate science was ignited in summer 2006 as the news started to be filled with reports from the IPCC/scientific community and such things. I guess Al Gore came with his movie at the same time roughly, and I guess it has influenced my interest as well. But that's the combination of several factors that really sparked my curiosity. Plus that I like science in itself, of course.

All these years I have really wanted to dive deeper into climate science, but haven't really had so much time for that. Doing a PhD is not that easy as I thought :) However I'm learning quite fast, and my general physics background helps a lot.

Now that my PhD is almost done, I am looking for a job that would consist in learning climate science, keeping me updated with the latest research, and communicating it to the public and decision makers. Basically, get paid to learn climate science and transferring this knowledge. No need to say, no more solid mechanics for me :) Saw some adequate positions in Norway and hope that I can get the job - that would really the dream job wouldn't it? :)

So I hope I can soon contribute to SkS with field experience of teaching and communicating climate science. SkS is of great help to learn how to articulate complicated science into easy-to-grasp messages.

Otherwise, I've been reading several books and thought that a "book review" section could be nice?

2011-04-23 00:02:53Don Blume: A Brief History


Guten Tag,

Hello, I'm Don Blume, from West Hartford, Connecticut, the birthplace of Edward Norton Lorenz, of Chaos Theory fame. I'll be 47 in May.

I have four university degrees, none of them, alas in anything remotely connected to Climate Science: BA, MA, and PhD in English/Literature, and an MS in Art Education. I did study engineering for 2.5 years before shifting my sights (my intended major was metallurgy and materials science), and I've long been interested in natural history. When I was three years old, I found a whelk egg case on the beach, and, when none of the adults could tell me what it was, I spent a long time (for a three year old) trying to tear open one of the sections. When I finally succeeded, I made my first scientific discovery: several tiny whelk shells spilled into my hand.

When I was 12, my mom arranged for a private tour of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and unfortunately I took it. The tour guide was the Institutute's assistant director, and she proceeded to spend a good portion of the tour telling me horror stories about the miserable a life I would lead if I were to pursue a degree in marine biology or oceanography: many years of expensive university education, months spent in Arctic ocean research, and little pay. It was very crushing information to download on an enthusiastic 12 year old.

My dissertation was on the nineteen stories collected in the U.S. writer, journalist, and Civil War veteran Ambrose Bierce's Tales of Soldiers and Civilians (1892). A version of the study was published in 2004, together with a new edition of the stories, by Kent State UP. Since receiving my doctorate in 2000, I have for the most part enjoyed the kind of fruits enjoyed by many holders of PhDs in liberal arts fields: very disappointing ones! I've taught part-time at a local university and at the high school level for several years. I'm currently gainfully unemployed and very slowly writing a new book which, alas (not really), involves annual trips to England to visit archives ranging from King's Colleg at Cambridge, to the Alpine Club's library in London.

My interest in global warming dates back to the mid-1990s when the Kyoto treaty negotiations began to make news. Back then, I actually thought that by now we would have made real progress. Ignorance was bliss. While I am not technically up to speed with the science, my dissertation work in a roundabout way has helped me develop a fairly well-grounded understanding of why AGW remains, for the most part, a non-story in the mainstream American media world.

2011-05-04 06:49:32Hoskibui


Hi all, have not been able to read everything on this thread or other threads  - plenty to read :)


My name is Höskuldur Búi Jónsson - but on the internet I call myself Hoskibui. I am (calculates for a few seconds) 37 years old and I have a BSc in Geology from university of Iceland and did my thesis about rock avalanche in Iceland.I also Did 1 year master course in England from Keele University - Computing in Earth Science - I kind of spent more time at the pub, so I won't be able to tell you much about that ;o)

Now I work for the Icelandic Roads Administration, finding gravel and rocks to build roads - but my hobby is the science of climate and I am one of the editors of loftslag.is wich is a climate news site, with debunking and more (feel free to google translate it to see if there is any material you like :)

In the near future (after couple of years) my wife wants to go to USA to study in California - I might actually end up with doing the same and study something climate related in Californa - any idea? :)

2011-05-04 06:57:36
Dana Nuccitelli

The big California climate issue is how global warming will effect the Sierra Nevadas snowpack, which provides natural water storage for most of the state.  We have the most agriculture in the USA and it relies heavily on that snowmelt.  Also a lot of southern CA should practically be a desert if they weren't stealing all our water from northern CA coming from the snowpack!

2011-05-04 08:47:12


Cheers dana1981 for the info, still lot of time to think but I was still just thinking about the area of field - climate science communication, climate and landslides, climate and public transportation etc. I prefer something which ends with a job in Iceland ;)

2011-05-17 05:53:06comment
Robert Way


I actually went to a conference once in south eastern Iceland on glaciology. Iceland is such a beautiful country.

2011-05-18 19:46:42Greetings from Wales!
John Mason


Hi folks,

I'm John Mason from Machynlleth in Mid-Wales. I've been a reader and occasional commentator on the blog for some time.

I'm a geologist by training and trade and although I started out in the minerals industry, I've over the years developed a great interest in scientific interpretation. My involvement with climate-related matters gradually arose from a long-term interest in severe weather photography and the need to understand how the atmosphere works in order to forecast storms. Once I started looking around online I became horrified to see the level of downright misinformation out there, so I started fighting back, on my own website and on hallowed battlegrounds like the CIF pages of the Guardian, where I know some of the other Skeptical Science regulars also get involved (hi Graham!).

Hoping to be able to bring the occasional contribution to this excellent website. I have one idea I wish to air which I'll post in the relevant thread, and thanks to John Cook for pointing me at this forum.

Cheers - John

2011-05-30 03:28:34Greetings from Columbia, South Carolina, USA
John Hartz
John Hartz

Kudos to John Cook for creating SkS and for inspiring all of you to volunteer your time and energy. Thank you John for asking me to be part of this elite team. 

As evidenced from my numerous posts on the General Chat thread, I'm still searching to find my 'niche" so to speak. As you may be aware, I am a firm believer that synergies can be achieved through forming partnerships with other organizations that have missions comparable to that of SkS. I believe I can make a valuable contribution to such an outreach effort.

I have been reluctant to volunteer to author SkS articles because my understanding of climate science is fairly basic -- especially in comparison to many of you. I finally bit the bullet yesterday and agreed to author a first-cut draft of article about what the world was like the last time the CO2 concentration was 1000 ppm.

I use the name "Badgersouth" because I am a proud native of Wisconsin who now resides in the heart of Dixie. I was born in 1943 in Madison, Wisconsin, grew up there, and spent most of my adult life there.  In 2002, my wife and I moved to Columbia when I retired from the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation and took a job with a transportation consulting firm in Columbia. I subsequently retired from that job and we have remained in Columbia -- my wife has a low tolerance for cold.

Although I did well in physics and chemistry while earning my Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from the Catholic University of America in 1966, that was nearly 50 years ago and the memory banks are foggy. After obtaining my BS, I pursued a Masters Degree in Urban & Regional Planning at the U of Wisconsin -Madison.

In 1970, I joined the WisDOT as the first person hired to work full-time on mass transit matters. My 32-year career at WisDOT primarily involved transportation planning and program administration. From time-to-time, I would assist with the production of environmental assessments and impact statements. Ground-level ozone was, however, the primary air quality issue in Wisconsin in those days. Very little, if any, attention was paid to CO2 emissions back then.

My interest in global warming/climate change began in earnest a few years ago (prior to the release of an Inconvenient Truth) when I began to research the issue in earnest on the internet. I also became actively involved in the Sierra Club's "Cool Cities" campaign.

All in all, I bring a variety of skills to the SKS table and, with your able assistance, will make a positive contribution to this ongoing labor of love. I have three daughters, a step-son, a step-daughter and became a grandfather for the first time in November of last year. My work on climate change is part of my legacy to them.

My environmental philosphy is articulated in the following ancient Native American proverb:

 "Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Thank you for all that you do.

John Hartz



2011-06-05 00:40:01Steve Brown - An Introduction
Steve Brown


Hello All,

I'm a long time fan of SkS and a new arrival to the authors forum.  By day I'm a middle-aged IT infrastructure manager living in London, and a part-time Earth Sciences student by night.  I graduated with a BSc(Hons) in Geosciences from the Open University last year and I'm embarking on an MSc in Earth Science in October, also with the OU.  I've always been a science nut and keen amateur astronomer, however the 80's home microcomputer boom and ill-disciplined schooldays caused me to sidetrack science for an IT career; though I'm now working towards rectifying that situation! 

My interest in Earth Sciences really developed from my interest in astronomy and planetary science.  The multi-disciplinary nature of the subject really appeals to me and I've grown a fascination with how the characteristics of prehistoric environments can be pieced together from threads of geological and fossil evidence.

I've followed the online climate "debate" for a few years and regularly follow SkS, Real Climate and Tamino, though I try and avoid getting sucked into blog-debates, however I pop up occasionally in The Guardian climate threads with the odd rebuttal under a nom-de-guerre.  I believe that SkS is doing an incredibly important job and I hope that I can make a constructive contribution towards communicating the science and keeping the pseudoskeptics on the back foot.

Cheers, Steve

2011-06-29 10:37:53
Doug Mackie
Doug Mackie

Doug Mackie. Born, raised, and live in New Zealand.

I did a PhD in chemical oceanography in the mid 90's and have been postdocing on and off since then. My recent research has been about the impact of iron in windblown dust on primary production in remote iron-limited ocean waters.

In the 70's I had a dinosaur book that included a Keeling curve as part of the inevitable 'what happened discussion'. (This was before Alvarez). Even before I could spell exponential I still wondered what the Keeling curve would mean for me when I grew up. When I began my PhD I found out.

2011-07-02 11:01:17Meet John Garrett
John Garrett

Hi SKS Team,

I'm John Garrett from Southern California. Six months ago John Cook invited me to do a guest post and it was the high point of my amateur science career. At the time I thought I had one post in me. Recently, with Steve Brown's invitation to provide some illustrations, I'm thinking I might have two, or more.

10 years ago I took a career change and became an illustrator. If I could change again, I'd choose climatology. That won't likely happen, because I'd need to be paid during the transition -- see, I don't believe in that lucrative grant money myth. So instead, I hope to use illustration where I can to help with the public awareness.

I study climate science, and feel I have a grasp of the big picture, but there is so much theory, math and physics that I doubt I'll catch up to on my own. I hope to learn while offering my help with illustrations.


2011-07-02 11:21:37Power of illustration
John Cook


John, your ability to create illustrations means you can have a significant and lasting impact in climate communication. Think Robert Rohde who created Global Warming Art (he's now working on Richard Muller's BEST project). The SkS Climate Graphics appear all over the place - I've seen them in US Navy presentations & papers, in the NOAA State of the Climate Report, in Solar Physics and a number of climate communicator's powerpoint talks. So not only do you directly communicate messages to the public with illustrations, you also provide resources for other communicators to use.

After I did my physics degree, I went into graphic design and did a bit of cartooning as well, but now find myself drawn back to science. But the skills and experience I got from those years in the wilderness serve me well now. Don't feel you need to know everything either - there is a great deal of support here on the SkS forum - for increasing your understanding, coming up with ideas for graphics (no shortage of great ideas) and getting feedback on your graphics.

2011-08-08 22:25:45Introduction
John Murphy



I recently agreed to write something about the St. Roch and the Northwest Passage but have only now found the time to actually start doing something about it, as well as introduce myself.


I gave up a Geology degree (following Geography and Maths A-Levels) back in the early 80s after discovering the real benefits of student life and an easier degree - Joint Philosophy and Classic Civilization ! Not the most useful of degrees (or, even, as easy as I expected) but it did give me the usual skills gained from studying at degree level, and has allowed me to take life (too) easy since then, especially having 'worked' for the Royal Mail (in a boring admin basis mostly, these days involving computer database creation and maintenance) for the last 24 years.

I have returned to the Sciences every now and again, though, and have passed various Physics and Computer modules via the Open University, intending to gain some sort of science degree - although it's difficult to do that when I don't get around to actually doing enough modules within a certain time-period !

Basically, I am an amateur as far as Climatology is concerned, but have learnt a lot from sites like Skeptical Science. I am also naturally a sceptic (especially with regard to anything coming from government, authority, big business, etc.) but have recognised in Global Warming where the scientific facts lie and where so-called skepticism comes from - as I have, also, with regards to 9/11, Creationism, etc.


For the future, I am looking into leaving my job and the UK : moving somewhere more southerly and warm ! If possible, it will also involve complete sustainability with regards to food, water and energy. Only time (and the constant battle against laziness) will tell...



2011-08-10 09:22:43


I'm Phil Scadden, a geoscientist with GNS Science Ltd in Dunedin,New Zealand. I work for the petroleum geoscience department, so oil, gas and coal are my main stock in trade (began in coal in 1980). I can certainly claim that I get no funding for climate science and that since I mostly do commercial consulting to petroleum industry, fossil fuel restrictions would hurt my funding streams. However, I work whereever programming, maths, physics and (usually) geology meet. I look after the BASSIM multi-1D basin modelling code and I am also project leader for Power Station Optimization just to give an idea of diversity.

I have a range of other science interests including paleoclimate (I studied under Bob Carter in the 1970s!) and this led my into an interest in climate science. I am motivated by a concern for the future of our children and work to promote renewable energy options. I was intrigued by David MacKay's "Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air" (energy being a familar field) and wrote a New Zealand version .

As a keen tramper (back packer to non-antipodeans), I have had a long involvement in conservation and restoration projects including the Maugatautiri, Karori (and Orakanui Sactuaries (founding member of all) and I am working to get an A Rocha project started in Dunedin as well.

2011-08-11 04:06:52



Does Bob Carter actually know anything about palaeoclimate issues?

2011-09-03 03:18:58
MA Rodger


Hi folks. Introduction time.

Usually I am Al Rodger from Poole, Dorset in UK but (I know what you're expecting “..but come night-time I put on a little black dress & high heels and become Mandy...” No. No! No!! Not that!!!) ...but I often stay up in Sutherland, Scotland where I become Alistair. (And consistency with names is something I'm rubbish at, being sometimes also MA Rodger or Martin Rodger.)


Career-wise, I started off as a Mechanical Engineer but when the industry I worked in departed the country I went back to University to make myself even more unemployable with a second degree (Operational Research) & then a third degree (Operations Management). Now I'm become that sort of doctor they can't strike off for malpractice.


Global warming-wise, I started doing stuff to spread the word on climate matters back in 1996 – local campaigns to get folk using water butts, compost heaps & efficient car use etc. – all very humdrum but that central message that mankind has a climate problem was noticeably very hard to get across.

It was in 2004 that I (& others) decided that (i) Climate change was getting scary (ii) Trotting out other people's messages about it wasn't working. So we got down to reading up on climate science, carbon footprints etc & I can now effortlessly blast away at any sceptic I come across, especially in my local paper(s). Being long involved in local politics, I also trumpet the deep green cause within the party ranks.

My project for this year is prompted by my belief that the climate change message is missing a trick or two in the area of graphical representations. The project is to create a set of graphs which I plan to keep up-to-date & which will show the progress of climate change across a wide spectrum - and for completeness where applicable show multiple data sets. The project is quite well advanced – most of the graphs are uploaded, a handful still need a bit of spit & polish and I have a few more not yet ready to upload. The site is here - https://sites.google.com/site/marclimategraphs/ - so far not greatly frequented. Maybe that will be next year's project.


I'm most flattered to find myself invited into this place. I hope I will fit in & be able to contribute in some way.

2011-09-27 12:36:54Oi - who da heck is this...


Hello, folks! John asked me if I wanted an upgrade to Author status to contribute. Rrrrr... guess I will.'Tho just about policies and presentations, for the moment.

My name's, well, I'm going to stick with KR for now. I'm an engineer involved in fluorescence microscopy (hence some background with transistion states and radative physics). I prefer to be known as the anonymous KR on the blogs, as I would like my posts to be judged strictly on content, not personality.

No posts at present, and I'm a bit reluctant to contribute one - I really don't want to do a bad job. While I sincerely wish climate change was not the case, I simply cannot stand idiots who object from ideological reasons rather than facts. It's even worse when the arguments are loaded with logical fallacies (insert grinding teeth).

My background (according to my papers :) ) is in electrical engineering, philosophy, and computer science (MS). I live just outside of Washington DC - in a state (Maryland) considered a wetland over every square mile.

2011-09-27 21:31:04
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

Welcome, KR!

From my bio at the top you can see that I once upon a time worked in Washington DC as well.  Spent the first 10 years in the Gaithersburg/Germantown, Maryland area with the final 3 years in Centreville, Virginia.

I don't miss the traffic and high cost of living, but I do miss the restaurants.

2011-09-29 03:50:28


Daniel Bailey - Glad to be here.

Yes, DC s still a swamp, it's expensive, and my commute is 40 minutes either way for less than 8 miles. But the restaurants are good, theaters even better. And given my experience in a rather tiny field, the work is worth having.

2011-10-08 00:55:12
Kevin C


I'm Kevin Cowtan, from York, UK. I've got a PhD in computational physics, and am a long standing post-doc with fellowship-in-the-pipeline working on computational methods development in X-ray crystallography.

I'm pretty good on anything involving FFTs or convolutions, and some areas of numerical analysis, some areas of statistics. I work mostly in C++ but I can hack stuff up in python pretty quickly too, and also create web applications given a Linux server to put them on. I've done the odd Java applet, but my Java and ECMAscript are both rusty. I'll be teaching R in a year or two, so I plan to get up to speed on that too.

I like solving problems and understanding things from first priciples. So when I first started dealing with biological data, I went off and downloaded some protein sequences and derived some evolutionary trees. Climate science is fun because there are also lots of interesting things you can do for yourself. I've reproduced the instrumental temperature record using only 60 lines of code, and I'm playing with an energy balance model with an empirical response function. I hope to have a student do some work on this later in the year, as there are a couple of novel questions we may be able to address with it.

I dabble a bit in philosophy of science, sociology, theology and science communication.

2011-10-12 01:31:24


Aloha! My name's James Goldie, though online and in the course of my present work I usually go by Rensa. I'm in Melbourne and finished up last year at Monash Uni: a BSc in Atmospheric Science (mostly met, with a wicked four-month stint at UOklahoma chasing storms, but there was a bit of climate thrown in too) and a Master of Business in Science & Technology, learning how to commercialise scientific research.

I did the Masters intending to find a way in business to make an impact on the climate issue; I love science and hope to go back into research one day in the future, but I feel that the public debate and engineering challenge is more pressing presently.

I'm still working out exactly how to make that impact, but in the mean time, I've started a freelance motion graphics business at rensa.co (I'm pretty much completely new to it, but I seem to be picking it up pretty quickly) and volunteer on and off with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (whom you should definitely all support ;).

The motion graphics is a fun way for me to support myself, but I'm just old enough to be sick of splitting my time between income and Making a Difference. So when I was brainstorming ideas for demo work, I realised SkS's material might bewell suited to video. A few emails to John later, he invited me to have a play around with the material on the site and see what I could come up with! Expect to see me pestering you all for opinions on framing messages, as I hope these videos can do a lot of good :)

2011-10-15 14:02:02


Rather curious, but since John Cook upgraded my login - I find I'm posting a bit less.

Rather, I've posted to the forums a few times, added my input to some of the collaborative threads from the forum (Pielke, in particular), but not as much in terms of public threads/public postings. There is/was a great drive for unified posts, rather than hounding Pielke and chasing him off, but...

I'm going to have to think about that a bit. My contributions to the group postings have (I hope! I wish?) added a mite to the content, but I don't know if that's entirely the best use of energies, given that the aim of this blog is to the 'great unwashed'. Who do I wish to talk to?

I'm going to have to think about this a bit.

2011-10-15 14:29:56
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

Find your own way, KR.  This has to work best for you, too.

2011-10-15 18:50:07
Glenn Tamblyn



That was my experience too. After spending lots of time arguing on places like ABC (Oz) Unleashed and (sort of) knowing what I was talking about, the SkS forum is sort of empowering and also discommbubulating. You want to reach out to a much wider audience (Hell, Dammit, I want to grab the whole world by the scruff of the neck and scream - WAKE UP!) But at the same time it adds more power to your arm but not always as much as you might hope. So the challenge for each of us is to treat this place as a resource/soundingboard/bitch pit.

Find your way to do what you can. People like Dana are doing this amazing thing of being word factories. He isn't called the Borg for nothing. Sometimes you can contribute by advocating internally or getting involved deeply in a philosophical debate about methods and tactics.

Not only do we all want to do what we best and most effectually can contribute. We also need to emotionally support each other. Sometimes when I look to the likely future for our grandchildren and our civilisation it sucks the marrow out of my bones. And there is only so much support a bottle of good Single Malt can offer. But taking the best resources you can and finding your way to use them helps you.

Sometimes the dscussions here in the forum can be 'terse'. But they are never acrimonious or hostile. Given the stakes in this, the Forum is a damn civilised thing.

2011-10-19 13:00:06


I'm Stephen Luntz, a popular science writer specialising in Australian and New Zealand science. I'm here because I had one (hopefully) good idea for pointing out how badly the denier's theories fail to accord with observations. It's still pretty rough but a draft has been posted as a potential piece for people to look over. Unfortunately I now can't seem to find the post I created, but I'm hoping others can and can offer feedback.

2011-10-19 13:52:43
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

Hi, Stephen.  My name is Daniel Bailey and I am one of the super admin's here.  Welcome to Skeptical Science!

Your blog post is here:



The author admin page is here:



If you select the "Blogs" option there, it will lead you to a listing of all your blogs:

Blog Post Date Published
Fingerprint Comparison 19 October 2011 Preview


Should you find you're stuck & need help I can be reached here:




When you create a blog post, go to the Blog Post section of the Forum and create a discussion thread for the post.  As an example, I've created one for you for your blog post here:



I know this all sounds confusing as hell, but a year and-a-half ago I was where you are now.  ;)

2011-10-26 08:45:35



my name is Toralf, I'm a freelance journalist, living in Berlin, writing (among other subjects) about climate change and the transformation of the energy system. Since leaving high school I received no science education at all - so when writing my pieces, I'm trying to pose as proxy for the general audience and translate science and politics into their language.

In 2007 I've done a book (together with a fellow journalist) about how a low-carbon Germany could look like, later I was co-founder of the online magazine klimaretter.info (means climatesaviour.info), I run the anti-greenwash blog klima-luegendetektor.de and - end of self adulation - am now part of the team who is dedicated to set up the website klimafakten.de. Sponsored by the European Climate Foundation it will contain a certain number of SkS's rebuttals translated into German and some additional ressources. And, well, is about to get launched already in mid-November.

So, please don't be surprised if I continue posting questions in the forum regarding errors (or things I suspect to be) in SkS rebuttals I've just translated and/or edited.


P.S.: You guys know what a terrific website you have created with SkS, right?!

2011-10-29 09:04:41
Tom Smerling


Just noticed that I never posted here.   Better late than never, so here goes:

I'm Tom Smerling, a "displaced Minnesotan" who moved to Washington DC in 1985.   I spent almost 20 years working on U.S. foreign policy, mostly concerning U.S. Middle East peace diplomacy, founding and directing an NGO.   After the M.E. peace process imploded in 2000, I decided to turn my attention closer to home, returning to academia in Conservation Biology & Sustainable Development at UMD, and from there to the Special Projects Office in NOAA's National Ocean Service.  

I had imagined a pleasant, outdoor second career protecting wildlife.   Instead, I ran smack into the climate  trainwreck and simply could not turn away.   What was the point of fighting to protect endangered species, when so many will soon be swept away?

At NOAA I witnessed first hand the difficulty of communicating climate science effectively to the public, and watched with horror as the misinformers gained ground.   When I began speaking to community groups, I looked for materials appropriate for general audiences.   It wasn't easy.   Of the many thousands of scientific slides I found, >99% were gobbledegook to non-specialists.    Similarly, I searched for narratives and catchy language to keep my audiences awake.    The Heath Brothers' Made to Stick became my bible.  

Much like SkS's origins, I started collecting "sticky" climate messages -- metaphors, quotes, soundbites, humor, and stories -- simply for personal use.   Later, a colleague, Don McCubbin, and I decided to share this collection online, launching ClimateBites in June 2011.

The SkS community is a wonderful bridge between climate scientists and climate communicators.    I appreciate the high standards, congenial tone, and balance between mutual support and constructive criticism.   It's really been a model for us in building ClimateBites.    I look forward to meeting some of you at AGU or elsewhere, and would enjoy crossing paths with SkSers who pass through Washington D.C.

2011-12-11 16:00:18
Tom Dayton


I've been moderating for I'm unsure how long, but I think maybe two years? Long enough to have berated Daniel Bailey for his overly enthusiastic comments for a while before he became a moderator ;)  For the past year I've been much less active due to work and life getting in the way. This past Wednesday at the AGU conference, John offered to upgrade my account so I can participate in the forums. I won't be participating much for at least another six months, though.

I grew up mostly in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Vero Beach, Florida, USA. I got my Bachelor's degree in experimental psychology from New College in Sarasota, Florida. Then my PhD in experimental psychology from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma, where I briefly crossed paths with Steve Lewandowsky--John Cook's current academic advisor and coauthor--while he was a visiting professor. U. of Oklahoma also is where SkS moderator Dan Satterfield got his bachelor's degree two years before I arrived there. My graduate work was an interdisciplinary mix of scientific research methodology, especially statistics, especially exploratory data analysis; decision theory; cognitive psychology; and human-computer interaction.

I did a post-doc at IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center in New York. Then shortly after joining Bellcore in New Jersey, I realized that designing is where the action is, so I transformed into a human-computer user experience generalist, but focused largely on participatory designing with a method called "The Bridge" that I co-invented.  I left Bellcore for Sun Microsystems in Silicon Valley, California.

Then seven years ago I joined NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, to start afresh on a project I've been doggedly pursuing in other forms for 20 years at all my previous companies: object-oriented style graphical user interfaces designed with participatory design methods and implemented with Agile but tightly controlled project methods. The NASA version of that project is called "MCT" for Mission Control Technologies, and we are developing it to be the next version of the ground-based mission control software for NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston; and we hope also for JPL, other NASA centers, universities, and private space companies. Our software now is in Mission Operations at JSC, where flight controllers are testing it. They are picky, so they will take their time deciding if they want to adopt it for real. Of course, we could get cancelled at any time for any reason good or bad, and I'd be out of a job. That's the source of some of the aforementioned work stress. A short written description of my MCT project is on the NASA Ames web site. A few short videos are on the web.

I'm easy to spot around town, because if I'm not wearing one of my three Utilikilts, I'm wearing cowboy boots. And always a cowboy hat, regardless of kilt or boots. (But never cowboy boots with kilt, because that just would not be right.)

My interest in climate change is from concern for life on Earth, and being really pissed off at deliberate distortion of science. The only expertise I bring to bear is general scientific research methodology, decision theory, and statistics. Everything else I've been learning slowly from all of you! Thanks!

2012-01-03 12:32:17Michael Sweet
michael sweet


Hi all, I am Mike Sweet.  I have a MS in organic chemistry.  I worked for 15 years in medical diagnostics and have taught High School chemistry for the past 8 years.  It is very difficult to discuss climate change in school here in Florida.  I have been reading a lot about climate for about 6 years. 

I currently live in Tampa, Florida.  My house is about 70 feet above sea level so I don't worry too much about that right now.  I lived on a sail boat in the South Pacific for 7 years (we visited New Zealand and lived in Brisbane for 3 years.  We were on the pilings next the University of Queensland for four months).  I visited Tuvalu and several other countries that are in danger of going under. 

I have a strong interest in sea ice.  I read all of James Hansens articles.  I hope to summarize some articles so non-scientists can read them.

I do not post very often on Skeptical Science threads because I think Tom Curtis and Albatross do a better job than I do, but I read a lot of what is posted.

2012-01-03 16:36:32
Rob Painting

Welcome aboard!

"My house is about 70 feet above sea level"

Yeah, but it's kind of freaky to consider that the sea will be lapping at your doorstep a millenia from now.

2012-01-04 01:20:24
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

Another welcome from da Yooper!

"but it's kind of freaky to consider that the sea will be lapping at your doorstep a millenia from now."

My house is about 60 feet or so above Lake Superior.  In a millennia it'll be closer to 200 feet above the to-be lake level...just as it was during the HCO when the local natives hunted caribou back then on those now-inundated surfaces.

2012-01-11 17:18:35To Mike Sweet
Pete Dunkelberg


Hi All, I'm now the newest member and just about to introduce myself after reading through all the other introductions. But first


Mike Sweet of Tampa please join Florida Citizens for Science right now!



Citizens for science groups exist in many US states and are oriented toward combating creationism, especially in public schools. Some in these groups have a hard time refocusing on a physics based science conflict but others need only a bit of encouragement. If you join now and get on the flscience mailing list and then ask what the group is doing in regard to the very important climate problem this will help me and FCS.


Pete Dunkelberg, Orlando

2012-01-11 17:21:35
Pete Dunkelberg



Hi, I'm a new member as of last night. I'm Pete Dunkelberg aka Dunk. I live in Orlando in the Florida peninsula, USA.


Making maps with this link: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelE/transient/Rc_ij.4.03.html

climate change appears minimal here. On an annual basis I'm in a light yellow area, but perhaps just barely in it since the map for summer is also yellow here but for winter I am blue. I have updated the old “Think globally, act locally” to “Think globally and locally and seasonally and also futuristically if you hope to grasp the coming trouble, and act ... up?” Some have drawn that conclusion (Tarsands action, Occupy Wall Street).


Some years ago when I was unexpectedly invited to join the Talk Design group I wondered what I could do among all those better qualified people, and I wonder the same again. But I found that I was able to contribute then and I hope I will again. For the moment I'll just start with my “stump speech”.


Start communicating by not using the words “adaptation” and “mitigation”. These words don't mean anything specific. Depending on how cocky or easy going one is, the response is “Hey, I'm adaptable. What's the problem?” or “If climate change gets to be a problem, we'll just mitigate it.”


Use specific words: “Stop burning carbon. Leave it in the ground.”


Wake people up with the shocking notion of actually not consuming something. Then explain that the climate damage is proportional to total emissions. No amount of solar cells will help by themselves. Only what we have the maturity to leave unconsumed will help.


This leads right into

A. What to do instead – alternative energy and

B. Why there is such resistance – fossil fuel profits are defended with a fierce disinformation campaign.


And B leads right to why government is not functioning for the people, and won't without a much stronger popular push.


How can we motivate enough people? We must create activists who among other actions create more activists who in turn create more ...


How can we each do that? Obviously John Cook has found a way but we can't all do that same thing. But before I moved, changed my email address and so forth I had an email asking me to host a neighborhood climate evening or something like that. I'll find it and copy it to this group unless it is already well known here. If I can do that and put across the idea that participants should do the same that may get something going.


More: in the USA the long election process has begun. There will be candidates for many offices from city councils and school boards up to president. All candidates can be publicly pressed to be climate realists. Yes all of them, whether or not there is any hope of success with a particular candidate. This is all public education. To what end, if the candidate will not be moved? This end: the greater the public awareness, the lesser the climate shock required to finally spur society to action. Let's take advantage of the political process.








2012-02-09 00:36:59


Hi all,

It was an honour to be asked to occasionally write for SkS. I will try and do my part by writing about my 'specialty', Arctic sea ice, with the tidbits of info I glean mostly through writing for the Arctic Sea Ice blog.

My name's Neven Curlin and I'm a 37-year old male currently living in Austria, but of Dutch and Croatian descent. In real life I'm a free-lance translator, mostly doing subtitling work for Dutch and French TV. I started the Arctic Sea Ice blog at the start of the 2010 melting season, and my life has never been the same after that. ;-)

It's a fascinating subject, and IMO the frontline of AGW, both on the level of consequences and the level of public perception. As scary I sometimes find it, I hope that the Arctic will be the Pearl Harbour that is needed to start mankind saving what can be saved.

How the saving needs to be done is beyond me (this is my only prescription: replace the current economic paradigm of infinite growth with something more rational and sane), but I'd like to see the debate move on from 'is it happening' to 'what are we going to do'.

As for myself: it's my dream to build a passive house with natural materials only that needs under 4 kWh per year for all energy needs except transportation, and start doing some serious gardening. But I still haven't found the right spot to do it.

Again, I hope to contribute in a positive way to SkS during this year's melting season.



2012-02-24 01:12:15
Doc Snow
Kevin McKinney

Hi, everyone!  My name is Kevin McKinney.  I'm a Canadian living in Georgia (USA), which gives a certain perspective on climate right there.  My academic background is in music (earned doctorate in composition), and I'm a composer, conductor and multi-instrumentalist.  Yes, it's fair to say that my climate science-related background is rather thin on the ground (or in the air, for that matter)--most limiting is the lack of a proper mathematical education.  However, I've grown up and lived around scientists quite a lot, which at least lets one absorb the mindset and ethos, and have always read voraciously on all things scientific.

I came to the climate question mostly via denialists--I heard strange claims being made--things implying that whole scientific fields were completely wrong and/or involved in massive collusion--and would ask "Can this possibly be true?"  Sometimes I knew enough to be able to refute such claims; at other times, I would have to resort to the work of those more knowledgeable than myself to learn why those claims were not justified.  Rarely, if ever, would they turn out to be correct (or fair.)  Often, they would contain or imply serious incoherencies.

Then it was a gradual slide--first, debating denialists on a local chat group, then a national newssite, then writing articles on a self-publishing site.  (The latter now encompasses--if I counted correctly just now--18 articles and book reviews, which have generated over 12,000 page views.  Not huge, but every bit helps.  You can access all that stuff, as well as my other articles, here:  http://doc-snow.hubpages.com/.)

Given the comparative abundance of folks better-qualified than I am to comment on the cutting-edge science, I've chosen to focus on the early history of the science, with considerable emphasis on the lives and times of prominent researchers--folks such as Fourier, Pouillet (who made a good first estimate of insolation), Tyndall, Arrhenius, Ekholm (a friend and colleague of Arrhenius who wrote a comprehensive review of CO2-mediated climate change) and Callendar.  Daniel Bailey invited me to bring this approach to SkS, which I'm quite excited about!  I hope my first blog post--a piece about what I consider to be the first observational study of atmospheric radiational exchange, the 1814 Rumford medal-winning paper, On Dew, by William Charles Wells--will appear on SkS relatively soon.

2012-02-24 01:24:33
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

Posts on all those illustrious names you mentioned would be welcome.

And welcome to SkS!

2012-03-05 21:17:54


Hi, I've been haunting these boards as Perseus for a few years now, so sorry I didn't introduce myself.  My name is Stephen Latham. I was trained as an Engineer in the Motor Industry and took a Masters of Science degree in Energy Conservation & the Environment at Cranfield Institute of Technology in the 1980s.

I recall that even as far back as that, global warming was taught as factual and was considered uncontroversial! The main debate was how to solve this problem along with replacing depleting resources with cleaner forms of energy. This should have been the focus ever since, and why the continuing 'debate' and the subsequent politicisation of climate change has horrified me.

I have since worked for 10 years as an Environmental Transport Researcher for the public sector and 13 years as a consultant for the private sector. This included developing novel instrumentation and techniques for emission measurement, the design and development of vehicle emission prediction models, developing methods of improving fuel consumption in vehicles, and advising government on national energy policies and developments in sustainable transport technologies.

My interest is in the field of transport and energy innovation, and how we can use largely existing or soon to be developed technologies to redesign our transport and energy network to serve our future needs. Some of these are discussed here on my web page.

However, I also like to examine the bigger picture, and how our economic system needs to change so any methods we adopt aren't swamped through increased consumption and an expanding global population.

Contact me on owlsmoor@googlemail.com