Saturday, July 24, 2010

John Baez became a full-time savior of the Earth

John Baez, a cousin of the musician and peace activist Joan Baez, has been known for his entertaining
This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics,
one of the Internet's first personal, regularly updated sources dedicated to exact sciences that provided the readers with a specific mixture of insightful and playful perspectives on recreational - and sometimes even serious - mathematics on one side and crackpot speculations about the physics beyond the Standard Model (and sometimes even similar quality "insights" about the physics of the Standard Model) on the other side.

However, he decided to transform himself into a climate scientist overnight. As his diary reveals, his university will be paying him two years of life in Singapore where he will be doing something that he has clearly no clue about.

An example how the university system works - or, more precisely, doesn't work. It's about thousands of freeloaders paid to pretend to be experts on something that they have no clue about but something that leads to politically convenient conclusions.

John Baez established a new blog dedicated to his new passion, the climate apocalypse. It's called Azimuth. His conversion is described as follows:
I’ve been working on n-categories and fundamental physics, but now I want to work on more practical things, too.

Why? I keep realizing more and more that the Earth is in serious trouble! The deep secrets of math and physics are endlessly engrossing — but they can wait, and other things can’t.

I hope we talk about many things here: from math to physics to earth science, biology, computer science, economics, and the technologies of today and tomorrow – but in general, centered around the theme of what scientists can do to help save the planet.

That sounds pretty ambitious, verging on pompous.
It's actually very natural to switch from n-categories to an apocalyptic conspiracy theory.

Well, by having said that the Earth is in trouble, he instantly became a top expert! Unfortunately for him, he forgot to delete his crackpot index so you can see that the Baez crackpot index of the new John Baez is between 580 and 740.

Three days ago, Rolling Stone wrote an article about the death of the cap-and-trade bill in the U.S. John Baez wrote the following comment:
This June was the hottest June worldwide in the last 131 years - the period that records have been kept. This May was the hottest May worldwide in the last 131 years. This April was the hottest April worldwide in the last 131 years. This March was the hottest March worldwide in the last 131 years. You can read about it here, for June: and here, for May: and here, for April: and here, for March: When will politicians wake up? Probably when we citizens wake them up.
Well, this May was 0.08 °C cooler than May 1998 and every other month of 2010 so far has been cooler than the same month of 1998. But even if this were not the case, how would the observation imply that the "politicians sleep" and "they citizens have to wake them up"? Quite on the contrary, most politicians have jumped on an irrational bandwagon and it is up to the citizens to tear them down from the bandwagon.

You really are a loon, John.

Thanks to Daniel R. for the information ;-)


  1. Following a link in the quick comments, leading to El Naschie Watch, I found where John Baez's material about El Naschie was pasted into there, in the post "That Hard-to-Find Baez Material," Tuesday, February 10, 2009. And there the following comment by Baez appears, QUOTE:

    Re: The Kind of Email I Don’t Need
    I’ve been offered several thousand dollars to write a report on Randall Mill’s hydrino theory and its commercial applications.

    The problem is, academics value the respect of their peers more than medium-sized amounts of money. If someone offered me a million dollars to endorse a nutty theory, I probably would. As long as I could tell people how much money I made, they’d understand and we could all laugh about it.

    But ten thousand dollars? No way!

    Posted by: John Baez on November 8, 2008 6:04 PM


    If Baez probably would endorse a nutty theory for a million dollars, then would he endorse a theory which he regarded as nutty or, say, questionable, endorse it just because he believed it to be in a good political cause (curb industry, unleash the UN, etc., the usual sort of thing)?

    Note: Because of the way in which the comment thread from Baez's site is pasted (for preservation) into El Naschie Watch, it's a little unclear at first whether a given comment is from the commenter named above the comment or the commenter named below it. But it's from the commenter named below the comment, even though the comment looks grouped with the name above the comment. Even the paster (Jason) got a bit confused when adding green color to some of the text.

  2. Thank you for the clarification, ForNow. As you say, it is confusing which comments are attributable to which commenters. Sometimes I go back into the some of the El Naschie Watch archives to clean up such issues, but it's tedious, and usually I prefer to use my time to wite new blog posts instead.

  3. Jason, you're welcome! Nice site, too, lots of interesting stuff and fighting the good fight.

    If I were you I'd add into the "That Hard-to-Find Baez Material" post a clarification like the one that I made here, to help people avoid mis-attributing comments, since at first glance almost any given pasted comment there really does seem to be connected to the name above, rather than (as it really is) to the name below.

    In the case of Baez's million-dollar-bribe comment, at first I thought that it was made by the person named above the comment. (I figured out the truth pretty quickly because I've dealt with that issue in the past.)

  4. So Baez is more of a slut than prostitute.
    That fits in well with his move to post-normal science from physics.
    The angst and self-inflicted mis-directed guilt that drips from his essays about the move to climate blogging is so stereotypical of academics. Post normal is attractive to scientists in no small part due to the redemption it offers to their self-induced guilt.

  5. John Baez was quoting the NOAA report!

    Motl's note that May 2010 was 0.08C cooler than May 1998 is based only on UAH MSU TLT data.

    The NOAA report uses a compilation of datasets (see here). The UAH MSU TLT anomalies tend to be lower because they are relative only to the more recent 1979-2009 period (see here).

  6. John Baez was quoting the NOAA report!

    Motl's note that May 2010 was 0.08C cooler than May 1998 is based only on UAH MSU TLT data.

    The NOAA report uses a compilation of datasets (see here). The UAH MSU TLT anomalies tend to be lower because they are relative only to the more recent 1979-2009 period (see here).

  7. Dear cd,

    your and Mr Baez's statements are lies pretty much whatever datasets you use.

    Note that you haven't linked to the actual data: you have only linked to a page without data, assuming that the reader won't find the data and will believe you that the page supports your proposition.

    But it doesn't. Not only UAH and RSS show H1 of 1998 as warmer than H1 of 2010. Take HadCRUT3, a product of East Anglia:


    The temperature anomalies in millekelvin of H1 of 1998 were 492,756,548,647,596,606 - the average is 607.5.

    The temperature anomalies in millikelvin in H1 of 2010 were 502,493,586,571,511,534 - the average is 532.8.

    The difference is 0.075 °C - the year 2010 was cooler by pretty much the same amount as according to the satellites. And HadCRUT3 is not a satellite record.

    It's also remarkable that you don't understand what what period of years is chosen as the "level zero" for the computation of temperature anomalies has absolutely no impact on the comparison of two years.

    Again, also RSS implies that H1 of 2010 was 0.07 deg C cooler than H1 of 1998. The data are (550 + 736 + 586 + 858 + 668 + 568)/6.=661. for 1998 and (640 + 588 + 652 + 546 + 588 + 535)/6. = 591.5 for 2010.

    Only GISS is the outlier that shows the opposite ordering, also by 0.08 deg C. It's just a lie to suggest that "the compilation" shows that 2010 as warmer than 1998. The right evaluation of the existing datasets surely implies that 2010 was almost certainly cooler than 1998.

    Even if it were not, why would one have to be shocked? One of the years has to be warmer than the other, and the other is cooler than the first. And what?