Climate Scientists Exonerated, Deniers Looking Like Fools

The University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit scientists at the heart of the cleverly named “Climategate” scandal have been exonerated once again. Yesterday, a report from the Independent Climate Change Email Review found the CRU scientists acted honestly and their research is reliable.

In other words, it turns out that despite all the crackpot accusations from the denier crowd, the CRU emails do not undermine the foundations of climate science.

This is the fourth investigation into the email scandal that has concluded that the CRU researchers are innocent of scientific wrongdoing. Taken all together, this is a pretty thorough vindication. And yet, if you were to read only the mainstream news coverage, you might come away thinking a cloud still hangs over the field of climate science.

Take for instance yesterday’s Globe and Mail which ran the headline, “‘Climategate’ inquiry mostly vindicates scientists”.

“Mostly”??? Hang on, this report concludes the CRU researchers’ “rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt,” and goes on to say that their review “did not find any evidence of behaviour that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments.”

How’s that “mostly” vindicated?

Well, the Globe makes much of the fact that the report chides the scientists for not being completely willing to share their data with climate-science critics. Admittedly, the optics of such ungenerous behaviour are not good and the CRU scientists could have saved themselves a lot of hassle if they’d just handed over their data when first asked (forget that the data in question was freely available from other sources so it looks like the climate critics may have only been requesting the information because they’re annoying assholes).

But then again, maybe the CRU’s reputation would be better off if they’d just obediently handed over their work no matter how devious the intentions of the asker, but would climate science?

Continue reading “Climate Scientists Exonerated, Deniers Looking Like Fools”

It’s A Plot To Stop Me From Getting Work Done, I Says

Ugh, so first Carle and prairie dog get a letter from a loopy anti-choice activist, then Greg gets a phone call from an irate lady furious at the language in our anonymous, reader-submitted Queen City Confidential, which this issue has the word “fucking” in it. He handled it perfectly: brief, concise, polite, thanked her for the call, extricated himself, etc.

So naturally she calls me. And naturally, I, foolishly, answer.

She’s a ball of rage! She’s offended!  Our vulgar, disgusting paper shouldn’t be distributed in public! It shouldn’t be available in restaurants! It shouldn’t be freely available in a city with innocent children, at all! (Where should we distribute? Casinos and Liquor Board outlets? Sorry, after the Sask. Party got in we got kicked out of both adult-only venues. A coincidence I’m sure.)

It’s “pornography” she says! What about the children? she wails. Think of the children!

And she’s phoning mayor Pat Fiacco to tell on us! (Seriously, she said that.)

And what would the mayor of Calgary think??

(I  don’t know, I told her. But Calgary has its own alt paper, FFWD, and the current issue has one article with the phrase “shit-show” in a subheadline. So we’re pretty normal for this potty-mouthed business. And anyway I imagine Calgary’s mayor is used to bad language. Fuck, he’s an Alberta politician–how the fuck could he fucking not be?)

So yeah we talked, she didn’t agree with my reasonable points about freedom of speech, the language adults use to converse, that not everyone shares her prudish tastes in reading, that many readers like the occasional naughty word and they certainly know how to use them in conversation, and that our paper is intended for adults, that it’s up to parents to protect their kids from the scary‘dog, blah blah blah.

She was insulting, hostile and abusive, and just a belligerent jerk (and I’d know). So finally I told her to write a letter, gave her our e-mail, asked her to keep it to 300 words, and I hung up on her.

I did not, however, tell her to fuck off.

Probably should’ve though. She’s telling the mayor on us.

(Sheesh. Sorry, sir. It’s my fault the crazy lady is phoning your office.)

All You Need To Know About What Passes For Thought In America’s Conservative Movement …

A Missouri farmer who has accepted more than $1 million in farm subsidies from the United States government since 1995 is organizing a campaign against government spending on what he calls ‘handouts.’ (The Independent).

The Publisher Just Loves My Mad Deadline Skillz

Thursday’s prairie dog is out the door. (The virtual Internet door, that is.) Here’s the view from our office at the moment it went. You will note that it’s very late. It is much later than it should be. Everything is all my fault. I am a bad dog.

As always, I apologize to my co-workers, our poor designer Paul, Doug at the print plant and the entire Hullabaloo Publishing board of directors, who would ritually murder me in a thrice-stabbed heartbeat if I wasn’t one of them (and if they didn’t need me–they’re screwed that way).

The new prairie dog hits streets Thursday afternoon. I’ll be curious to see if the editorial I just wrote makes any sense. The issue’s really, really strong though. I promise. Editorials aside.

Thursday Night Loaded: On Drinking Alone

Drinking alone, especially out in public at a bar, is one of those endeavours that nowadays carries with it an air of pure menace. It’s seen as an activity engaged in only by those on the downward slope towards alcoholism.

And yet, I recall a friend in grad school who drank alone quite often. He would take a book out with him, sit at a bar and work his way through some slab of Marxist critical theory while drinking whisky. You needed to be half cut to understand the stuff, he argued.

Today, he’s a well-regarded academic at one of our nation’s finest universities.

See. Drinking, even in seclusion, does not inevitably lead to ruin.

Personally, I’ve always been fascinated by the notion of saddling up to a bar, drinking on one’s own — just you, a cocktail and a barkeep — but I’ve never really done it myself. So, I got this idea in my head that for Thursday Night Loaded number four, I’d give it a go.

Turns out, in this case, it was a very bad idea.

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Lord of Climate Denial’s Epic Fail

It’s been a bad few months for Lord Christopher Monckton, the British viscount who’s become a darling of the Tea Party movement thanks to his denunciations of climate science.

We’ve been following his rise through the ranks of climate denialdom ever since his visit to Regina last year that was sponsored by right-wing think-tank, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. (Read some of our Monckton-related coverage here, here, here, here and here; and Carle wrote a piece about his visit in a late October issue of the paper that isn’t archived on-line yet.)

Among the most-recent challenges to Monckton’s rather fanciful (read: false) take on climate science, there are the “Debunking Lord Monckton” episodes from Climate Denial Crock of the Week (here’s part 1 and part 2) and then there was his debate in Australia with Deltoid blogger, Tim Lambert, whose opening comments included a serious challenge to the integrity of Monckton’s research skills (the fun bits are near the end of this and at the beginning of this).

The latest blow to Monckton’s credibility (which, if we lived in a rational world, would be the decisive one) comes via an 83-minute slide-show presentation made by mechanical engineering professor, John Abraham. In painstaking detail, Abraham takes apart a speech made by Monckton at Bethel University on October 14, 2009, and thoroughly eviscerates all of the viscount’s scientific claims.

A bit of trivia: This Bethel University presentation came just one week after he spoke here. So those of you who attended Monckton’s talk and debate and found him a compelling character should find Abraham’s presentation especially revealing.

Continue reading “Lord of Climate Denial’s Epic Fail”

Arizona Is Completely Mental (Caution: This Post Contains Very Naughty Language)

Rabid sun-baked fuckwit psychos from the U.S. state that recently criminalized brown skin (CBC) are now going after murals on schools that have offended the sensibilities of decent folk by… including depictions of children of colour (Prescott Daily Courier).

From the Atlantic:

A mural painted on the side of Miller Valley Elementary School in Prescott, Arizona depicts a group of children of different races. This spring, as the mural was being painted, it attracted the ire of a certain percentage of locals, including city councilman Steve Blair, who wondered on his radio show why the mural featured children of color so prominently. Things seemed about to come to a head when the principal of Miller Valley Elementary asked the mural artists to lighten the faces of the minority children–but last week, the school backed off, saying that the mural would remain as it is. Observers have followed the story with mounting wonder.

Fucking douchecocks!

Continue reading “Arizona Is Completely Mental (Caution: This Post Contains Very Naughty Language)”

On The Uses Of Family In The Pimping Of Private Healthcare

Am I wrong to find this Leader Post story kind of… how should I put it?… shameless?

Here it is in short: John Hopkins, CEO of the Regina Chamber of Commerce, is happy about private radiology clinics because the Radiology Associates of Regina detected a serious birth defect in his daughter and she was able to get a life-saving surgery. Here we are three years later and she’s fine.

Now, I may have written the odd thing here and there that has been critical of CEO Hopkins. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m really happy for him, his daughter and the rest of their family. I don’t even want to imagine how horrible this ordeal was for them and I’m glad the ending was happy.

But [deeeeeep breath] here are some of my problems with this article….

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Does Rush Limbaugh’s Fourth Wife Oppose Gay Marriage Too?

So Rush Limbaugh, the loudmouth 63-year-old star of a syndicated American talk-radio show, just got married for the fourth time to, in cartoonishly cliched fashion, a 33-year-old blond with a great rack (People). The reason this is news? Limbaugh is a big foe of non-traditional marriage — in other words, gay marriage. Which is ILLEGAL in most parts of the so-called free country to our south.

Here’s Rush defending California voters in 2008 after they passed Prop 8, a bigoted ballot initiative that banned gay marriage. (He also whines about alleged anti-conservative media bias, which is a popular conservative theme. Because obviously he and his conservative kin are ever-so persecuted.)

Since when have fourth marriages been “traditional”? “You see how that works?” One rule for conservatives, another for the groups they direct mob-mentality fear and hatred at. That’s how it works.

Weirdly, Elton John played piano at the wedding. And Karl Rove was a guest, as was a former adviser of Bill Clinton.

One rule for the rich and powerful, another for ordinary people. That’s how it really works.

I seriously doubt Limbaugh’s animus for gay marriage is honestly held anyway. He’s just fiddlin’ for the mob.

Warning: This Picture is Going to Bitch Slap Your Psyche

As a little girl, I had two guinea pigs, Yum Yum and Muy Muy. My cat Max used to spend his days in the cage with them in the summer when it was outside. It was one of those big, round cornerd, half-clear plastic things with a hole in the top. Max, a very large though seemingly boneless tabby cat, would plaster himself along one side and watch the pigs as they ate and bumped into each other and purred and did their thing. Every once and a while, they would drift over to his side of the cage and bump into him. At this point he couldn’t resist and he would grab one, roll on his back and kind of pretend-gum her to death, then let her go, then everyone would go back to their corner. The guinea pigs were sweet and trusting and had a very short attention span, sort of like goldfish are supposed to have: “Hey, look at the castle!” “Hey, look at the castle!” For them, it must have been “Hey, there’s Max!” “Hey, there’s Max!” Max knew he wasn’t allowed to eat them, so this scenario would repeat itself over and over again all summer long.

So when I saw this picture I just about booked a ticket to Edmonton on the spot. A whole herd of guinea pigs! As Steve would say, Squee!

Except for they’re dead. (CBC)

Another reason to hate the Phoenix Coyotes

The guy the National Hockey League wants to sell the ex-Winnipeg Jets to is helping to financially underwrite a political party whose anti-immigrant legislation is taking racial profiling to a new level. (Crooks and Liars)

Wonder how this guy would feel if he played for the Yotes instead of Montreal … (Toronto Star)

No Jail Time For Sci-Fi Author

Boing Boing is reporting that Peter Watts, the Canadian sci-fi author who was convicted of feloniously getting the shit beaten out of himself by over-eager U.S. border guards, will not go to jail. (For background, go here and here.)

Good. That he will have a criminal record and have to pay a fine is an injustice but the alternative was much worse.

Keep an eye on Watts’ blog as he’s promised some comment on his sentence later today.

Personally, while some could argue that — if you ignore nasty details like the pepper spraying, the beatings and the lying border officials — this is an example of the American legal system slowly working to a fair conclusion, I’m still planning to avoid the United States like it’s a rabid dog for the foreseeable future.

The newest nominees for this year’s Darwin Awards …

is the British Columbia Snowmobile Federation.Shorter version: thanks for risking your lives because we went out in the middle of avalanche season, but pay attention to warnings? Screw you! (Victoria Times Colonist)

So bloody ungrateful … I bet they voted for a government who cut the avalanche monitoring program … (Global TV BC)

Thanks to the Galloping Beaver