2010-08-26 17:24:45Getting to know Skeptical Science translators


Hi Folks,

as I already wrote an introduction for the authors forum, I can simply - and quickly! - use that, so I'm going to start this thread.

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. My main focus will now be to get the basic-level rebuttals translated into German and to come up with ideas and suggestions of how the translations can be organised (from both perspectives of actually doing them and how they then get displayed).

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!


2010-08-26 18:46:19
Ari Jokimäki


My introduction is also from authors forum, with minor changes:

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, added some argument links to the link database, and done some peer-review for SkS authors on the basic versions of argument rebuttals. 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.

2010-08-26 22:28:57...and then there's moo, erm, me! :D


- First name: Jeroen. (Just one, yes. No rich elderly relatives to name me after.)

- Last name: withheld on Teh Interwebs, because more than a few far-right activists don't like me very much (euphemism for threats, stalking and even getting beaten up once) - not because I'm far-left (I'm a "moderate leftie"), but because I really really really dislike people using Internet for spreading nonsense and have corrected them far too many times.

- Burfday: july 5, born in Amsterdam (1955), son of a former actress / children's radio show host and a professional musician / piano teacher / photographer. (No, I don't have 5 parents, they just did a lot of stuff.)

- Marital/partnerial status: none, last relationship was with a woman from the Chicago area, which lasted 2½ years, despite all the traveling I had to do. Not looking for anything new right now, want some medical problems to subside first. I *do* have a cat, who's a great listener.

- Current location: the city of Alkmaar, which is 30 miles north of Amsterdam, 7 miles from the North Sea coast and has the world's largest cheese market.

- Internet nick: usually DarkSkywise, which is a combination of two nicks I used on Teletext chat before I got internet: Skywise (from the Elfquest comic) and Darque (an X-men foe). When I finally joined the World Wide Web in February 2001 and wanted to create an MSN profile, both were already taken, so I joined the two. Never expected that nearly 8 years later during Marvel Comics' Dark Reign storyline, we'd get swamped with Dark-This and Dark-That. :P

- Creator of: the StickHorsie that says Moo (aka "Our thin blue friend with the winning smile"), which made "Moo!" a household word within the MSN Groups domain, and sometimes even without. There are some negotiations about children's books and a cartoon going on, so it's not impossible you'll hear/see more about Horsie later this decade!

- Occupation: former owner of a small professional recording studio for 22 years (technically, I still own it, but I'm not a professional anymore), did lots of odd jobs for major record companies ("maybe Jeroen can salvage something from this?"), and remastering old recordings (early 40s to earley 60s) for re-release on CD. People from New Zealand might want to check out the "Early Rock&Roll from New Zealand" series (volume 1 to 12) released by Collector Records, which earned me lots of praise from the NZ EMI director. (No, I'm not making extra money if you buy them, but if you're curious I can send you some mp3s.) :D Had to stop working in December 2006 for medical reasons, current occupation is, erm, medical guinea pig (as in "Yes, I know it exists, I've just never had a patient who actually had it before"), feeling lousy most of the day, but not giving up hope. :)

- Internet occupations: at the moment translating stuff for SkS (duh :P), former (main) moderator / (assistant) manager / admin of several medium-to-very-large sites / forums, including the now-defunct US MSN Groups Help Group "Community Feedback" and the Partyflock forum when it still was fun and had an average of 35,000 daily posts (now 4,500).

- Scientific education: BSc Biochemistry, University of Amsterdam (1974-1980), did some environmental research there, drove the upper staff nuts several times for being a bit of an efficiency nut, discovered two new xanthophylls (not a very big deal, cuz there are lots) which got claimed by the institute (students are not supposed to discover anything) and once managed to get a lab closed down for an entire week when I found out that the light measuring equipment (we were working with Oscillatoria there, a blue-green algae species) was temperature sensitive, which everybody up to then assumed was not. Had to stop halfway my Master's Degree for financial reasons.

- Likes: SF/fantasy books, Eureka, super hero comics (yes, at my age), techno music (ditto), Italian food. Abhors: people spreading disinformation, which led me to finding SkS, helping me kick asses more betterer.

- Pics of me (if you're really really curious) can be found in my Facebook album. The eternal sunglasses are not because I'm a vampire, but is a kind of "let's see if I can manage to have sunglasses on every time somebody takes a picture" thing, which has been rather successful, since people at techno parties often only recognize me when I put them on :D (the sunglasses, not the people). If necessary, I can be reached at dark_skywise@hotmail.com (how surprising).

But enough about me... heeeeeeeere comes....*drum roll*... yes, you've been expecting him / her / it... THE NEXT TRANSLATOR!!! *cheers* *applause* *looking wildly about* :D

2010-08-27 00:55:18Mooh.


My name is Jelle Kastelein. My usual alias is werecow or, when that's not available, werecow2003. I'm a Dutch Artificial Intelligence student at the University of Amsterdam where I'm currently trying to finish my MSc thesis. My specialization focuses on machine learning and natural language processing.The topic of my current work is a simulated pair of agents involved in a language game, where one agent has to teach the other the meaning of simple phrases (i.e. grounding a phrase like "the red cube next to the green cube" in visual perception).

I'm 28 years old (rapidly approaching 29), I work in Utrecht for a small company as a data- and textmining programmer, and I live in Leiden. My hobbies are biking through the polder at night, watching movies, and science, science, science.

I've loved all kinds of science for as long as I can remember. I'm not sure why I chose AI, but I think I would've felt equally at home doing evolutionary biology, astronomy, geology, or, indeed, climate science (or any of a host of other subjects) - though I hadn't paid a lot of attention to this particular subject until only a few years ago. One of my goals in life is to get a basic understanding of as many fields of science as I can. I don't have very many ambitions besides that one, but I think it'll keep me busy for some time to come. }|:op

My first real interest in climate science came from reading a book on paleoclimatology by a Dutch climate skeptic named Salomon Kroonenberg. I got his book for my birthday about four years back, and read it with great interest. He basically takes the "insignifcant in geologic time" approach, and argued that, since another ice age is coming in only a few millennia, we might as well enjoy a little bit of extra warmth while we can. At the time it struck me as a slightly odd argument, but I didn't really think much of it until more recently I started reading up on some of the projections, and noticed the vast difference between how Kroonenberg represents the risk and how it's portrayed elsewhere.

I've been involved in the skeptics movement -note: skeptics, not climate skeptics- for a while now (I recently joined Stichting Skepsis, a Dutch skeptics group - they don't pay a lot of attention to the climate debate, and I'm thinking about trying to change that). I'm one of those people who can't stand pseudoscientific nonsense and when someone posts BS on a forum I'm on, I just can't-not-answer it. I should probably work on that a little and spend my time doing more productive things - though it can sometimes help me in ordering my own thoughts on a subject to do so.

 I had been focusing my attention mainly on creationism / intelligent design, when somehow the discussion briefly turned to global warming, and one of my debating partners pointed me at the Oregon Petition. Being familiar with the various petitions that the ID-crowd has circulated, I googled a few names -and noticed that I came up with zero climate scientists and only a few active PhDs- and read up on the history of that petition, and I noticed a lot of the tell-tale signs of an anti-science movement were present there.

So I decided to start educating myself on the topic, bought a couple of textbooks, read some of the reports from various institutes and some peer reviewed papers, emailed some researchers, and started watching every university youtube lecture I could find on the subject. I read some of the popular science stuff before I go to sleep (right now I'm reading Edwards - A Vast Machine on the history of climate and weather modeling and data gathering, and Wally Broecker's The Great Ocean Conveyor, on his hypothesis about the cause of D-O events), but I tried to stay away from blogs while I was doing my preliminary reading. That's about 1.5 to 2 years ago now, and although I have a LOT to learn, I think I have enough of a handle on the basics to be able to tell who I can trust on this issue, so I started reading skepticalscience and realclimate only a few months back.

When I saw John asking for translators, I figured I should give it a shot. Between work, my thesis (which has suffered some delays as I got into climate science), and some other issues I haven't contributed all that much yet, but I hope to be more useful in the future.

Oh, and during nights, I roam the rooftops of Leiden and devour front lawns, and the occasional infant. I'm also very fluffy. Mooh.


EDIT: I also tend to edit my posts obsessively, rephrasing things to make them more clear, adding caveats where appropriate, correcting spelling and grammar, and adding things I forgot to mention. It's a really annoying habit of mine that some people have misinterpreted as a sign of dishonesty (because I was editing while they were posting a response), though of course that's never my intention.

2010-08-27 01:04:11moo moo moo moo moo!


"I'm one of those people who can't stand pseudoscientific nonsense and when someone posts BS on a forum I'm on, I just can't-not-answer it."

You too, huh? :D

(TWO mooing translators? What will they think of next?)

2010-08-31 04:01:02Mooh, (the h is silent).


Yup. I'm that guy from the "someone's wrong on the internet" cartoon. I can't help it.


My mooh has an 'h' at the end, though. That's what makes it classy. Yours is just slang. }|;o)

But I guess I can't blame you, as it's not your mother tongue.