by Judith Curry
A few things that caught my attention this past week.
From masterresource: Presidential debate climate change cheat sheet. Some excerpts:
Climate During the Obama Administration
• Over the course of the Obama presidency the rate of global warming has declined.
• Over the course of the Obama presidency the rise of the global sea level has slowed.
• Over the course of the Obama presidency the emissions of greenhouse gases from the U.S. have declined.
None of the above are a result of Obama Administration policies.
• Instead, the vagaries of natural climate variability have led to a (temporary) slowdown of the rise in both global average temperature and global average sea level.
• The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S is largely a result of a poor economy, a rise in the use (and affordable availability) of natural gas, and on-going improvements of the U.S. energy efficiency that were begun long before the Obama Administration.
Well, all this seems to be moot in context of the presidential election: climate change seems to be off the political radar.
In our state of political gridlock, the scientific community fears the impact of the looming federal budget cuts known as “sequestration.” But there is something else they should be fearful of: the redefining of science itself.
Indeed, there appears to be an increasing trend to change the definition of what is widely considered to be science. Why?
Two reasons: Money and politics.
First, the money. Relatively speaking, science departments are lavishly funded compared with the humanities. If a field becomes widely perceived as being scientific, it is likely to get more money from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other government sources of funding.
Second, the politics. It’s not a secret that academia, particularly the humanities, skews heavily left.
Die Klimazwiebel has an interesting post about UK public on climate change. Excerpts:
The study shows that while a substantial majority of the UK public believe the world’s climate is changing, many feel relatively uninformed about, or uninterested in, the ﬁndings of climate science, and a sizable [sic] minority do not trust climate scientists to tell the truth about climate change.
NYTimes has an article entitled Study finds fraud is widespread in retracted scientific papers. Excerpt:
In the new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, two scientists and a medical communications consultant analyzed 2,047 retracted papers in the biomedical and life sciences. They found that misconduct was the reason for three-quarters of the retractions for which they could determine the cause.
“We found that the problem was a lot worse than we thought,” said an author of the study, Dr. Arturo Casadevall of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx.
Dr. Casadevall and another author, Dr. Ferric C. Fang of the University of Washington, have been outspoken critics of the current culture of science. To them, the rising rate of retractions reflects perverse incentives that drive scientists to make sloppy mistakes or even knowingly publish false data.
While the fraudulent papers may be relatively few, he went on, their rapid increase is a sign of a winner-take-all culture in which getting a paper published in a major journal can be the difference between heading a lab and facing unemployment. “Some fraction of people are starting to cheat,” he said.
“I don’t think this problem is going to go away as long as you have this disproportionate system of rewards,” he said.
JC note: I am still at the UK, the RS uncertainty workshop is over. Terrific workshop, I will have several posts in the coming days. In the meantime, check out Josh’s Workshop cartoons. (link fixed)