Sunday, November 22, 2009

Geek News: On Hacked Emails and Potential Scientific Fraud on Global Warming

Liar, liar, pants globe on fire?

This is a nicely reasonable observation on the potentially enormous scientific scandal regarding the hacked email accounts of global warming enthusiasts. Do read. It's also got links to the news story as it's being covered by everyone from NPR to the BBC. Inevitably, someone's already called it "Climategate" and "Global WarmingGate."

The tone of the emails is very indicative, because people in emails tend to speak their minds and not sugar-coat or whitewash or wrap everything in careful diplo-speak. (So out of all this is a life lesson and a piece of advice, dear reader: in email or in any form of written communication done in a work/study/research environment, don't write anything you don't want to be publicly read. There. That's your Public Service Announcement for the day.)

Anyhoo, this whole situation reminds me of one name I've heard given to enviro-fanatics. The word is "watermelon" -- green on the outside, but red on the inside. As in Commie, Commie agitprop, propaganda, crush-the-dissent shade of RED.

Also for the record: the sciences are NOT immune from scandal and skulduggery, as any nerd can tell you. Heck, academia and research are shot through with that sort of thing.

UPDATE 1: More here.

UPDATE 2: Three scandals altogether?
  • First, a real attempt by a small group of scientists to subvert the peer-review process and suppress dissenting voices. This is at best massively unethical.
  • Second, a willingness to manipulate the data to make a political case. This is certainly misconduct and possibly scientific fraud. This, if it proves true, should make these scientists subject to strong disciplinary action, even termination of their tenured positions.
  • Third, what gives every appearance of an actual conspiracy to prevent data from being released as required by the Freedom of Information Acts in the US and UK. If this is proven true, that is a federal crime.

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