ClimateGate continues unabated, and since science dubiously falls under the purview of dorkdom, here’s some color commentary specially packaged by Laser Orgy. I should warn you that the extent of my scientific know-how comes from reading the backround materials in Resident Evil 5 about Las Plagas … which is to say, I’m more of a science fiction type of gal, and I'm anything but an expert on the real deal.
Luckily for me, it turns out that science fiction know-how is just the skillset I need, since climate scientists have been taking some artistic liberties lately. A 1337 hax0r extraordinaire uncovered several e-mails from scientists researching global warming. Said e-mails include a fair amount of embarrassing tidbits (such as ridiculing people who demanded to see their data, even when it was legally required that they provide it, and cheering the deaths of their critics). But here’s the interesting part: the e-mails also tell us that global warming is not happening as inconveniently or as truthfully as we all thought. The scientists manipulated their graphs -- as in, changing the dates and scales around, not changing the data per se -- to make it look like the warming hasn’t slowed down … but it has. It's slowing down! Break out the champagne!
Actually, don't get too excited: their databases are a mess of bugs and errors, so it’s hard to even gauge whether the data they have is accurate. They’re scientists, not programmers! But, seriously though, maybe they should hire some new programmers.
Plenty of companies have manipulated graphs and played with statistics to make data “look” better. Advertisers mess with our heads all the time -- and from them, we expect it. We've trained ourselves to be cautious commercial-watchers. Here’s the thing, though: scientists aren’t supposed to be selling us anything, so when we read about scientific findings, we don't look for the loophole. We expect reliably presented data, not graphs made up with the intent to mess with us. If we wanted tricky talk, we’d spend our free time watching commercials. And C-Span.
So ... is global warming still happening? Do humans have anything to do with it? If it is happening, is there anything we can do to stop it? And most importantly: if global warming isn’t happening, are we allowed to celebrate yet? I know I’m supposed to be angry about being duped (and I am angry, I promise!), but I can't help but point out that not having to worry about mass flooding would be ... pleasant. To say the least.
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