Friday, May 03, 2013

Will you help John Cook "quantify the consensus"?

An Australian man concerned with climate change, John Cook, has sent me, because of this "one of the more highly trafficked climate blogs on the web" you are just reading, the following link:
Survey of Peer-Reviewed Scientific Research (University of Queensland)
I suppose that the gibberish characters at the end of the URL will be used to identify the TRF readers.

If you have fifteen minutes or so, you may try to be asked about 10 randomly chosen (unverified) abstracts of 1991-2011 papers from "Web of Science" and whether or not (at the scale 1-7) they confirm the "consensus" on the hysterical man-made global warming.

John Cook boasts to be the leader of this "research" and to have passed some ethical guidelines at the aforementioned university (which are likely to be either ignored in spirit or unethical by themselves).

I suppose this is an important part of his campaign meant to distinguish himself from a similar "researcher" Stephan Lewandowsky who had to flee Australia after his fraudulent papers attempting to identify climate skeptics with conspiracy theorists and kooks.

You may also leave your e-mail at the bottom of the survey if you want to be sent results and you may send a message to the survey's overlords.

I have rated my abstracts. The grades were 3,3,4,3,4,5,3,6,3,5: the average is exactly 4 which means neutral. As far as my ensemble goes, even the highly biased and sometimes low-quality literature – with lots of social sciences and other pseudosciences just blindly looking for a problem, taking the natural scientific claims about AGW for granted – is undecided when it comes to the question whether CO2 is dominant.

Some papers in my list discussed a variety of external forcings. The last paper showed a significant contribution of cosmic rays on the climate. At any rate, the idea of a pro-AGW consensus in the literature seems preposterous to me.

By the way, two weeks ago, NASA showed that CO2 and NO are cooling the thermosphere (upper atmosphere), at least during solar storms, by reflecting some of the solar radiation back to space. I think that Sullivan et al. misinterpret the findings, however. It's about the thermosphere – 85 km above the surface – so it has no direct implications for the temperature near the surface (it has more impact on visual fireworks we can see). In fact, it's rather typical that even the stratosphere (more than 10+ km above the surface) has the opposite temperature trends than the troposphere (where the weather takes place).

A bonus off-topic picture, via Wolfram Blog. The four images show the imaginary part, real part, argument, and absolute value of the Roger-Ramanujan function (given by an infinite continued fraction expression) in the unit disk where it's naturally analytic. Mathematica may be used to explicitly calculate some values of this elegant function – both numerically (e.g. by testing 10,000 digits of the numerically calculated result with a conjectured compact form) as well as symbolically prove that it's the right result, thus going beyond what Ramanujan (and Hardy etc.) could accomplish.


  1. 3 4 4 2 4 5 3 3 6 4

    What struck me is how often the words "climate change" are pasted onto the abstracts in a non-organic fashion. Sort of like the obligatory references to class struggle and historic materialism in days past...

  2. What struck me is that I had trouble finding an abstract that wasn't a 4. I'd say I looked at 10 different pages of abstracts (100 total) and found a few 3s and a few 5s and that's it.

    As well, I'd like to know what kind of study would rate a 1? I guess some kind of super robust climate sensitivity study on the high end. Although recent data would call that into question.

    In the end, I'll bet that their goal is to paint a picture that 97% of climate scientists and papers and their survey support 1. being the consensus.

  3. Anthony has made you the man on an island.
    That means an oversampling of TRF readers at the very least.

    I love it when my vote counts for ten or more people.

  4. LM, just a little OT Friday night crack-pot question?

    Would it be possible to 3D print a fusion reactor?

    A few weeks ago I saw a presentation from Lockheed-Martin about a high-beta fusion reactor. Their hope was to have a prototype 100MW reactor in 4 years and a commercial version available in 10 years. In the talk, there was mention of the "adjacent possible".

    That set my overly imaginative mind thinking about what's new to allow such an invention. 3D printing came to mind. Here are my crack-pot thoughts:

    The speaker alludes to a cylindrical shape, so I imagine a torus in the shape of a stubby propane tank. I imagine there would have to be at least three different layers of materials involved.

    The plasma facing walls would have to withstand heavy neutrino bombardment and allow a large heat flux to the boiler layer. I have no idea what this layer could be composed of.

    The second layer would be the boiler layer.

    The third layer would be liquid nitrogen cooled super conducting ceramic coils to generate the necessary magnetic field.

    Perhaps there would need to be a fourth layer for structural support.

    Please tell me I need to go on medication :) The thermal expansion problem alone seems insurmountable to me.


  5. The social sciences are largely hokum.
    Sheldon Cooper, PhD

  6. One link was bodged and had no abstract in my test.

    Can I take it again? hmm

  7. I see two blanks. Do you think you've been hacked ?

  8. It's not about hacking. There is the correct code everywhere. But the website could have been placed on some list of sites not eligible for ads, either by a technical error or by someone's maliciously trying to do something. Or because I violated something but I don't know what it could be.

    On the main page of the Jerusalem Post, I also noticed a blank spot

    One could speculate what that website and mine have in common... Does anyone know what to do?

  9. It is the same whether I use Safari or Internet Explorer browsers. I guess you've already tried entering your pin to allow the payments...

  10. What a pain! Sorry to hear it. I've trawled IT security websites to see if there is any buzz about a DDoS on ad servers going on but could not find anything recent. I did find a few webmaster forums where people complained that Google cut them off from advertising due to some infringement. Let me know if I can help by doing a focused search.

  11. Dear Eugene, I am sort of devastated. A Google account replied that I had to be sent a mail about the violation of some kind but I just don't see it anywhere - my mailbox, the AdSense message page...

  12. Here is one page with a surprisingly lengthy list of ways to run afoul of Google Advertising rules, even if only inadvertently.

    Here is a Google Group where account suspensions are discussed.

    A GHacks article on the topic, another article.

    Unfortunately I have to leave the house and won't be back until evening. Will check back in when I return. Good luck in the meantime!

  13. Dear Eugene, I won't be able to identify the actual cause. Wouldn't it be sane to be told what's actually wrong?

  14. Very briefly, my best guess on how to proceed would be to join that Google Group and let the volunteers there guide you with troubleshooting!

  15. I have already done it but it seems hopeless. Someone writes, for example, that he found a blog entry with a chat box which may be un-kosher. But is this really the reason? Those pages haven't been viewed for months to say the least.

  16. Unfortunately I have to leave the house and won't be back until
    evening. Will check back in when I return. Good luck in the meantime!

    Protein diät dukan

  17. do you know of other 'denier' blogs on google? might be specialized hacking

  18. Dear Anna, I was already replied that the blog is supposed to have violated a rule of AdSense and I should have gotten a notification about that - except that I haven't received anything...

  19. Don't stop blogging! Could you use Amazon payment system? I hate PayPal. They want direct access to my bank account.

  20. that is why i am wondering how the other skeptical google blogs are doing.

    . are there no competing ads services?

  21. It seems that it's just me at this moment (ignoring the hole at the main page of

    No alternatives generate a comparable revenue, I guess.

  22. Dear Lubos, back sooner than I thought. Whether you quit blogging is up to you (I selfishly want you to continue but would perfectly understand if you hire on as a "quant" with a hedge fund for a big salary or as a resident scholar with a classical-liberalism think tank or...), but short term, we need to preserve your ad revenue. Have you opened a thread in that Google Group yet? It will give us a URL that we can point to.

    I intend to write to Messrs. Page and Brin. Although they may never personally see my mail, it should still be forwarded to the appropriate people. And I hope that others will join the letter-writing campaign.

  23. Dear Lumo,

    In particular when opening TRF articles in the iphone view, there have been some (sometimes quite annoying) large adds but now they seem to be missing...

    But WTF, this is probably some kind of a technical glitch which can easily be fixed...?!

    Why the hell is Google threatening you pleading some kind of violation of rules etc ...?! You have certainly done nothing wrong.

    Or is this some kind of a general attack of some zealots who want to destroy the free spreading of information in the internet now seriously declaring war on certain parts of the internet :-/?

    I hope this stupid issue can be resolve soon, maybe with the help of some technically versatile members of the TRF family. I want TRF to live forever !!!

    I generaly dont like the Paypal procedure (I still should confirm my account or something), but I'll try if I can start a transaction anyway ;-)

  24. Lubos -

    My son, who is at university, had this same problem. They suspected some shenanigans because too many people were clicking through from the same address. This was because they were using free wifi from the same dorm. He received a notification and was allowed one appeal which was denied even though he explained the situation. The process was apparently automated and he could never contact an actual person.

    He looked at two alternatives - 1) , and 2) ,and decided on the first.

    Please don't let your disappointment with Google influence any decision about blogging. Your readers will always find you.

  25. dis you look at the junk/spam folders of your mailing addresses? sometimes useful stuff ends up as spam.

  26. Yes, I did search for ads, adsense etc. both in my inbox and the spam box. Nothing there.

  27. how about moving to wordpress? will the loss in revenue be great?

  28. Dear Anna, I think that no one outside Google may really help here.

    The loss of revenue would be at least 1/2 for the losst traffic and at least another 1/2 for the lost efficiency of the system, so the revenue would be de facto zero.

  29. The missing ads are often very tailored to my tastes outside this blog. I thought you to be the sticky content that the site owners and the advertisers want ... This makes no sense. Surely, also some human at google must want to and be able to fix things.

  30. I hope you are right...

    Maybe Google is just too large a company earning enough money anyway and it has lost all its humanness long time ago :-/.

    I mean, if their strange rules are (imperfectly!) implemented to work automatic and punishing costumers is automatized too, there is just no real person there who could care to reasonably clear up stupid misunderstandings and set things straight again for good :-/. I doubt that Google gives a damn about the issue. Just automatically banning an account is so much simpler and more painless for them than really looking in what went wrong and why and finding a reasonable solution to correct it ... :-/.

    This might well be the explanation why the possibility to appeal in case of troubles is just a fake, and nobody has succeeded so far...

    I exactly know and despise this negative attitude of internet companies towards the needs of their users or costumers who actually do the work to keep the business running from somewhere else in the internet ...

    Maybe we regulars should develop some Plan B how to support Lumo such that he can keep TRF in some form running anyway, even though it could well be that he needs to adjust the frequency of new posts?

    To me, learning from Lumo about different things here, having fun, and enjoying his and the TRF community's company is so important and very valuable, that I would happily invest something into it :-)

  31. Dear Dilaton, some people have appealed successfully against suspension from Adsense, for an example see the GHacks article that I linked in an earlier comment on this page :)

  32. Maybe google finally figured out that we aren't going to buy their solar panels?

    But you know sometimes I see ads for stuff I like. Like guitar gear, and retro rudy signs.

  33. I found a paper on Greenland Ice melt analysis using only sat data and it started with Co2 this, models that, etc.. after 3 lines it finally said, we have evaluated the empirical sat data and they are not INLINE with the models! What a hoot. Required statements of AGW belief then they couldn't say the models were wrong BUT that reality didn't fit the models.

  34. I noticed a rather risqué ad on your site on Friday, I think it was, which seemed sex related -- could that be the problem?

  35. No. Bloggers have absolutely no control over ads that appear, especially new ads. It's the point. So they can't be held responsible for that, of course. On the contrary, they have a way to filter some ads but it's an unthinkable amount of work because bad ads that could appear somewhere are usually invisible to me and their diversity goes to thousands.

  36. this is interesting. Lucia was talking about different versions of the survey being assigned to a specific link. Lubos mentions a string of characters in his link with purposes unknown. If that link were being inundated with proxies, maybe that created a situation for Lubos similar to your boy's?

    OTOH we are dealing with Cook. Can't rule out malice.

  37. These two companies look good. They give you their phone number too!

  38. If you are 100% sure that no email has been sent then it is likely your adsense account has been hacked. I would raise this possibility with google asap.

  39. Good point, does AdSense have something like gmail recent access history?

  40. For about two days before this, I noticed that the twitter count next to comments had gone nuts - reporting something like 10^9 twitters having been sent beside the comment count. Perhaps those familiar with the nuts and bolts can confirm whether this implicates some malicious virus having triggered this.

  41. Apologies, I am more or less certain that no one else has logged into my gmail account. My settings are to notify me about unusual activities and I sort of often look at the recent history of logins manually, too.

  42. Dear Robert, I noticed that as well. If it's a virus and not just a bug in programming, it's a virus in DISQUS server and I can't imagine how it could affect my gmail e-mails or AdSense or anything of the sort.

    One may invent hundreds of similar vague possible relationships and perhaps hundreds of more likely reasons why I was banned but none of them has a good reason to be the right explanation and even if one of them were right, one can't do anything about it.

  43. Lubos,

    If you don't have an email from google informing you of the ban then something is wrong. You are a pretty "well-known" blogger and you should be able to get google AdSense support to give you proper (not machine generated) feedback.

    People do get banned from AdSense for all kinds of obscure reasons, usually due to suspicious changes in clicking stats - which could be caused by a deliberate attack or something innocent, like an accidental edit to the web page. But they really should be able to tell you if it was for this reason or whether it was related to content on the site (which is unlikely)

    You can find hundreds of stories about issues relating to adsense bans eg

    If you act in good faith, I really hope google will get back to you with a proper message explaining why your site has been banned.

  44. Well, right, you don't have to convince me that something is puzzling. I am puzzled all the time.

    On Saturday noon our time, I filled a troubleshooting survey of a sort and got some speedy reply claiming that a description of the violation had been sent to me in 2 ways – I am pretty sure that I could have missed none of them but two?

    In the e-mail, they said that if I have further questions or the steps above don't work (appeal doesn't work because I need the notification ID and I just don't have any message like that), I may reply to the e-mail again which I did, asking for the reason, but I got no answer for 30+ hours that followed, at least so far.

    It's all so bizarre. If there existed such a mail, why wouldn't they just resend it again?

  45. Luboš,

    that NASA study was not 2 weeks ago, as Mr. never-understands-the-physics Kravčík would like us to believe, rather than 1 year and two weeks ago, check the datum in your link. Mister Sullivan thought its good time to come up with that now, when the IPCC is coming out :-)

    And I filled 20 abstracts with average rating 3,1 for John Cook - wondering, why we need such meta-review studies, when Arctic floating summer ice is practically gone in few years, with significant impacts on extreme weather, as recent research shows us.

    Also I don't why you don't like social studies, when economics is one of them, using bullshit models to rationalize punishment of millions of people...


  46. "" when Arctic floating summer ice is practically gone in few years""

    Are you a psychic? Guess what? They probably have a social studies program to cure that.
    You don't get to count maybe in a few years as a significant impact or an extreem weather.

  47. What a lot of people do not understand about our skeptical position is that no scientist denies there has been warming and that we are on a heat plateau not seen sinsce the medieval warming period.. It is worth contemplating the holocene average data e:Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png .notice the sinusoidal like wiggles? Any scientist can see from these fluctuatios that changes are slow and the temperatures can sit for decades at a maximum before natural cycles start the downfall.

    Not separating in the survey the AGW presumption but using the vague "climate change" term or just "warming" brings us skeptics too in a warming consensus.

    Of course there is warming. The disagreement is on the amount of AGW, not on whether it exists. For me AGW is a hysterical chicken little collective phenomenon. since the data disagree very clearly on the apocalyptic catastrophe part.

    Thus this poll too is biased and useless. Biased because it will include my vote in the consensus AGW part whereas I voted that the data show warming, which they do, and some abstracts assumed it or not. No way to separate the A part.

  48. Papertiger, I am not "psychic", although science would manifest as "magic" for ancient tribes... I am just fact based. Dont attact me for the results of science. I am not quilty for that. Arctic is gone in few years, that is a fact, no matter what:

    consequences are uppon us, nevermind you (and others) are ignorant about that...


  49. Off all sciences, I dislike and disrespect economics the most. Maybe not all of economics, but certainly these "free market solves all the problems" theories. It is such a bullshit. Real data and empirical science shows that free markets without regulations are inherently unstable and tend to create monopolies.

    I am sure it would be possible to prove this rigorously within game theory, but most econimists are just plain lazy or too dumb to do the mathematics and the models so they repeat some verbal mantras and dogmas ad nauseam. The great problem is that these economists consider themselves to be the experts on all of social problems and they create dumb think tanks and influence politics etc.

  50. Interesting, I was just reading an article about iron ladies' saying that there's no alternative to free markets and string theory

    Needless to say, it's right.

    Your "inevitable monopolies" etc. are right from the textbooks of Marxism. And the conspiracy theory in the URL you mentioned is a laughable example of the reason why the journal is called Nude Socialist.

    The claim about "instability leading to monopolies" is actually a description of a tautology, a natural and inevitable evolution of any system that tries to work well, or it is inconsistent if interpreted literally. Why?

    Because if there is a "stable setup", of course that the stable setup is reached from an unstable one by falling into some "instabilities" first. In any composite process like that, there are fast stages in which things are changing fast that are eventually replaced by slower phases near an equilibrium where things are not changing rapidly. Is that really shocking? Does this obvious thing contain some argument against free markets? What you write makes absolutely no sense.

    When it comes to the "ideal" number of competitors that work in an industry, well, the number depends on the precise field and question. For some of them, it's higher, for others, it's lower. A single one may be the optimal result in many cases - that's why people standardize things, for example. The unity removes the problem with the incompatibility of things etc. Still, to reach the unity, there is some competition struggle and the best contestant has the highest chances to become the winner.

    In most other contexts, the optimum number is of course much higher than one and diverse competition remains. That's what we see almost everywhere in the real economy. If you don't see it, it's probably you are confined in the middle of a room surrounded by stinky books by Marx and Lenin instead of being in the dynamic, fresh air of the nearly ideal free-market economy.

  51. Dear Lubos, you have made many good points already, you would make a good scholar-in-residence at a liberal think tank. I just want to add one thing.

    "free markets without regulations are inherently unstable" insinuates that free-market liberals advocate a system with no regulations on economic actors. Perhaps there is a crazy libertarian anarchist somewhere who does advocate that, but classical liberals have always recognized the importance of a regulatory framework within which actors can be free to thrive.

    There must be constitutional guarantees and a system of laws. Property must be safeguarded as a sacred right, citizens need to have orderly avenues for solving disputes amongst one another and for defending against encroachment by a too-powerful state. Building codes, medical standards, food and health inspections, police and fire departments, and a national defense are all necessary instruments to ensure that people can go about their business without having to worry constantly about being killed or incapacitated.

    Sure there are many useless economists,. just as in every profession, but I don't see why Mephisto thinks he can sneer at them from a position of superiority.

  52. Ha ha ha, I immediately had to check if the article about the "no alternatives argument" really mentions string theory too ..., and it does indeed :-).
    I quite liked this article and Hartmann's proof that the "no alternatives arguments" works slightly improved my opinion about philosophers :-D

    Your comment is very enjoyable to read, in particular the four seasons as enemies made me LOL and I like the anology between economics and nonequilibrium statistics :-)

  53. Anna,

    "hysterical chicken little collective phenomenon" - oh really? I dont see people driving in a car every day to work alone terribly scare by climate change. In fact, carbon concentrations are rising faster than ever. Everybody is scared indeed! Or not :-/


  54. There is "no alternative" to exctract all the possible resources as fast as possible,(a.k.a. nonregulated free market) while ignoring all the negative impacts as much as possible. That is indeed true. Unless you care a tiny little bit about the tomorrow...


  55. Dear AA, in my country some people/websites organise meeting points to transport people to go to work etc. "Car sharing" it is called, French départements even build these special car parkings with a nationally recognised sign post... People say they're doing it for the planet or some collectivist ideology. It's funny to hear stories how people sometimes wish they hadn't done it: getting conversations they wish they never had in the car during a too long trip etc... :-)

  56. Yeah, I can barely function without consulting my lucky astrology mood watch. And that's on a good day!

    To compose a response for prickly question I sacrifice a chicken and examine it's entrails.

    Oh! Oh! Something's coming to me all of a sudden.

    I have a vision of a study that shows secret gardens of floating plankton and phytoplankton, adhering to and living in a pea soup fog in the light diffused from thinning Arctic ice.
    But how could this be when we are told over and over again that climate change is racing ahead of any possible pace of evolution?

    Could it be that thin Arctic ice is a normal situation that has existed continually for millions of years that has allowed this plethora of tiny sea creatures to adapt to your frightening consequences?

    My chicken guts say yes.

    Don't trouble yourself Alex.
    I take full responsability for the chicken.

  57. You like playing with rodents, don't you?

  58. Dear Anna.

    Yes, what you write "scares" me. I am scared people try to conserve energy consumption, I am scared people want cleaner air (and actually try t do something about it), I am scared of responsible people.

    But I am not. Why are you?

  59. "My" frightening consequences? Are you kidding, right? I am not even allowed to report on the results of other people?


  60. That was Shannon replying , we do have tha ANN in common.

    I do not panic with a tiny CO2 conentration of 400ppm, because I have seen fig1

    in the link and 1) there is no catastrophic correlation over millions of years, and 2) lots of CO2 is good for the flora and therefore the fauna. Of corse if it reached 2000 ppm as in the paleozoic I might start fearing the return of the dinosaurs.

  61. Lol ! I've never managed to read a chicken myself...

  62. Alex is more of a porcupine.

    But you know Alex has debated global warming with our host in an open forum before a live audience.

    That makes him head and shoulders ahead of most of the other warmists.

    He actually shows up for his beliefs.

  63. It's kind of like pumpkin carving - another one of my skills that I hardly ever get to use. :)

  64. Anna,

    funny that "tiny" CO2 is "good" for plants, while the same "tiny" CO2 is inconsequential for climate.

    And you certainly know that last time CO2 was this high was in Pleistocene (3-5 mil. years ago), and then around 15-20 millions years ago... and that was different planet.

    And I am sure you do not care about the effects of dissapearing arctic ice on weather and agriculture in general, why would you? You have seen ONE graph, thats enough!


  65. Just saw this nice plot. If there has been no manipulation of data it may be true , but what does it have to do with "the price of tea in China"? i.e. anthropogenic CO2? The arctic has been free of ice in other times over the millions of years that life has flourished on earth.

    It is magical thinking to believe that if humanity stops breathing/existing the temperatures will be affected to the degree of changing the natural cycles, There is no such a strong feedback effect proven scientifically. Measurements show that the feedback sensitivity assumed in the computer models is greatly exaggerated. All the catastrophic prophecies are from video games/computer-models.

  66. What's so funny about the fact that a compound that is good for plants is inconsequential for the climate?

    Chlorophyll and ATP are also good for plants but inconsequential for the climate.

    Climatically, at least when it comes to the impact on the species of organism, the planet 3-5 and even 15-20 million years ago was the same planet as today. That's also why there's been no substantial evolution of major groups of species since that time.

    The humans (Homo habilis) appeared about 2.3 million years ago and primates split from other mammals already 85 million years ago. No substantial change in the basic biology since that time; the progress was the subtler progress like capitalism and technology which is very recent. These are the changes that matter and are fast to be significant. The climate change is surely not.