Monday, June 18, 2007

Climate naysayers in The Age

Naysayer numero uno.
William Kinimonth is now a consulting climatologist. He previously worked at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for 38 years, the last 12 as head of the National Climate Centre, and was Australian delegate to the World Meteorological Organisation's Commission for Climatology for 18 years. He is the author of a book, Climate Change: A Natural Hazard (2004)
hhmmm, sounds like someone who knows what he's talking about. How does one figure out if i should regard his opinion as worthwhile?
  1. Google Scholar. Surely 38 years has generated something (anything) that his peers regard as novel and worthy of publication. It would seem not. Nada. Not a single hit.
  2. RealClimate? nope, nothing there either. He's obviously in stealth mode.
how can you trust someone that doesn't seem to have anything to contribute? Granted, i'll put Mr Monbiot in the same bucket. Why trust him either?
My $0.02? make your decision based on what scientists actually say. Don't have an informed opinion on a complex scientific topic?
  1. Demand your political representatives do
  2. never trust anyone that says its solved one way or the other
  3. ponder deeply the ratio of fully trained scientists that are convinced something is going on to those that don't (100's/1000's to 1) and how you would interpret that ratio on something like, oh i don't know... say a surgeon's opinion on your better half after a car crash or your oncologist's advice on chemo drugs etc

What real scientists worry about

Experiment design.
A nice article from Peter Norvig on common problems with expt design. Even trained scientists make most of these mistakes most of the time. Yep, re-read that sentence - most of them, most of the time.
Science is hard. Good science is really hard.
Never trust anyone that says they're positive that they know the one true solution...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Rod Oram on NZ's CEO's

dysfunction, unambitious, illogical, ill-informed and inconsistent.

I guess we can safely say that RO isn't getting a great mood from the boardroom.