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Posted by Phil Plait

Ah, sometimes there is justice in the world. A little, at least.

The UK tabloid Daily Mail has been forced to acknowledge a ruling that an article they published that was chock full o’ misleading climate science denial was, in fact, chock full of misleading climate science denial.

The article was published on February 5, 2017, and was written by David Rose, whose apparent difficulty being accurate when writing about climate change has a long history. He’s written so many error-laden articles that listing them all would be counterproductive; instead, you can search my blog to read just the ones I’ve written about.

One of Rose’s favorite topics is the so-called global warming “hiatus” or “pause” deniers like to claim started in the late 1990s. I actually call this a “faux pause” because it never happened. The warming never stopped. Despite this, in an effort to sow doubt on the science, many deniers bring this idea up at every opportunity.

To bolster the “hiatus” claim, Rose wrote the February Daily Mail article about new measurements of global sea surface temperatures, saying the data had been manipulated by scientists.

I won’t go into details here; I debunked Rose’s claims in detail right after his article came out. So did a lot of other people, including many climate scientists. His article was riddled with errors, including a graph that was incredibly misleading about the global temperature trend. The graph made it look like data from the Nation Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was flawed (Rose’s word) and that updated UK Met Office Hadley Centre data showed lower temperatures. However, the two graphs use different baselines; that is, they use different ways of recording temperature deviations. When they’re scaled the same way the two graphs overlay very well, showing they agree that temperatures are indeed getting warmer.

temperature overlays

The NOAA (blue) and Met Office Hadley Centre (black) temperatures look different (top) because they are scalled differently (they use different time ranges to get an average zero point). But when scaled to the same time range (bottom) they overlay nearly perfectly. Credit: NOAA / Met Center Hadley Centre c/o Carbon Brief

 

After the article was published, Bob Ward — the policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science — filed a complaint with the Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO), a group in the UK news media that monitors and regulates the news industry there.

After some deliberation, IPSO found that Rose’s article violated Clause 1(i) of the Editor’s Code of Practice, which states, “The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.” The graph clearly violates this, and in my opinion much of the text Rose wrote does as well.

And because of that, the Daily Mail had to acknowledge the ruling (both in a separate announcement as well as in the original article). Interestingly, but not surprisingly, though, they state the facts of the ruling without ever actively admitting wrongdoing. Look for the words retract, error, apologize, or correction in that article. You won’t find them.

Ward himself has written an article about this, including outlining his complaints in quite some detail. It’s astonishingly thorough, and quite damning.

I’ll remind you that Rose’s article accuses scientists of manipulating data, but it was the article itself that was found to have “significantly misleading statements.” Irony can be pretty ironic, sometimes.

While I’m glad this complaint was upheld and the Daily Mail was forced to announce the decision, the entire situation is still aggravating. This sort of science denial is pernicious, because even if a retraction is timely — and heaven knows this one was not, despite the hammering the article got by scientists within a day or so of its being published — it does cumulative damage. It gets passed around in denier circles and in the media, and adds incrementally to the distrust of science and scientists. That lingers long after the details of the article are lost to memory (or corrected).

In fact, U.S. Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas), a particularly egregious climate science denier, and who also happens to be the chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, tweeted this fertilizer after Rose’s article initially came out:

social-media

 

You read that right; Smith accuses others of having a politically predetermined conclusion on climate change. At least he's read his Orwell.

The article also led to a lot of sound and fury from the Committee, which used this already-debunked nonsense to attack the science of the Environmental Protection Agency. I’m not surprised; Smith loves him some global warming, so much so that he lets it alter his sense of reality (where he’s joined by others in the Trump administration). Worse, the Committee itself holds one sham hearing after another to downplay the effects of warming and promote the use of fossil fuel. It’s a national, a global, embarrassment.

This is why I continue to write about this issue. Climate change, fueled by global warming, is a huge threat, and one we need to be talking about. Now. It should be the number one topic on news shows and in the political arena; instead we get denial by politicians and essentially no (or no good) coverage by media.

There is no wrong time to talk about climate change, and no wrong place. Now is exactly the time we should be talking about it … and making sure that when others talk about it, what they say is accurate.

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Bright Spiral Galaxy M81

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:25 am
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One of the brightest galaxies in planet Earth's sky is similar in size One of the brightest galaxies in planet Earth's sky is similar in size


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Sunday Secrets

Sep. 16th, 2017 11:19 pm
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Posted by Frank


On 9/11/17, 3:59 AM, “Frank Warren” <frank@postsecret.com>
Dear Frank,
Yesterday I went to Barnes and Noble to get a book on infertility (my husband and I have been trying to conceive for almost a year and have reached the point of needing medical appointments). I picked up a PostSecret book while there and clinging to that book is the only thing that kept me from crying while I had to look through the pregnancy and baby type books to find a book to help my hurting heart. I didn’t find what I was looking for but I bought the postsecret book and wanted you to know that it brought me comfort.

Classic Secrets

Sep. 16th, 2017 10:56 pm
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Posted by Frank



Information on Upcoming PostSecret Exhibition at the Museum of Man
(Volunteer or Leave Your Email for Updates)

 


RSVP and Details for PostSecret Live! in Oslo at Urban Peace Week
(Free and Open to All, September 21st)

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - AI

Sep. 16th, 2017 11:00 am
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100 Steps Forward

Sep. 16th, 2017 07:13 am
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Wedding anniversary

Sep. 15th, 2017 07:13 pm
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Today was out wedding anniversary.

I made Mike a card:


(I've only had the book on paper quilting for a year, after all!) Worth clicking to embiggen, ifIdosaysomyself.

Mike very kindly did all the mucking out.

(While he did so, I took Jo to the vet. Over the last week or so, she's been occasionally yelping or whining, but it's got more frequent and last night she had a particularly bad spell that involved her making a noise for a minute or so. The vet couldn't find anything particularly, but did think she was maybe not *quite* so keen to take her weight on one of her front legs. It may also be a neck thing, although she did have a good feel around there. Short walks and more painkiller than usual for a week, and we'll see how she goes on.)

We had a quiet lunch at home.

(During which I took some ibuprofen for a headache and Mike had a migraine pill)

After lunch, and Jo's walk, we headed off to darkest Sussex to look at a horse.

He's called Thunder Joe, a name which is definitely going to be unused in full.

We liked him enough to ride, and it seemed to go quite well.

Even if it did hail while I was on him, and we were in a field with overly-long grass, which is one of my least favourite places to ride.

We'll go back and see him again next week, with riding instructor, using a school that they can borrow just down the road.

If riding instructor answers her text messages....

Afterwards, we headed home again.

I'm not sure how the day has been utterly exhausting, but we're both worn out now!

We had a lovely special anniversary dinner...

(Party-left-over soup from the freezer, and the other half of the loaf of bread that neither of us ate much of for lunch

...and now we're on the sofa with a bottle of wine.

Thankfully, Mike did a run to France yesterday!

marbled banana bread

Sep. 15th, 2017 03:32 pm
[syndicated profile] smittenkitchen_feed

Posted by deb

Less than a week after I delivered the ostensibly completed manuscript for that my second cookbook (just 40 days now!), I received an email from someone was looking for a recipe for a chocolate-vanilla marble cake like the one her grandmother had made, one that had great texture and wasn’t too sweet. She said that no recipe she’d tried had achieved this, and could I help?

what you'll need
the batter begins in one bowl

I became obsessed; I loved the idea and I fiddled until I came up with a marble cake I loved, moist, deeply chocolaty in the dark swirls, but no throwaway blandness in the light ones… and then I added it to the book. Editors love this, by the way, almost as much as mine loved the ten recipes I swapped in in December and the three in January, and the introduction that I didn’t write until February. Seriously, just let me know if you ever want me to write that How Not To Write A Book Book.

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Good night, Saturn

Sep. 14th, 2017 05:32 pm
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Posted by Phil Plait

Not long ago —  a few nights after the solar eclipse, in fact — I was looking at Saturn.

I was in rural Wyoming, and the sky was a bit hazy, but it was the brightest object in that part of the sky. It looked a bit funny hanging there, the stars in Scorpius appearing to curve around it as if nestling the planet. But those stars were hundreds of thousands of times farther away from me, toward the bustling center of our galaxy, and have no claims nor cares about objects in our provincial solar system.

We do. But of course, we live here. We’re biased. Still, Saturn is an object of rare beauty, and as I looked at it that night I wondered if alien stars had their own version of our solar system’s crown jewel: Exoplanets with trillions of tiny icy particles forming annuli sprawling across their sky, a fleet of weird and wondrous moons circling near those rings, each carving gravitational calligraphy in their wake.

Maybe. Maybe even probably. But Saturn is our own and, that night, it was my job to show it to other people.

I had my telescope set up in a field, and a couple of dozen people standing in the increasingly chilly mountain air waiting to see the planet. Spirits were still high from the amazing astronomical event we had, as a group, witnessed earlier that week, and most had already had a go. But a handful of folks still hadn’t seen, and, in a couple of cases, this would be their first time even gazing upon Saturn through a telescope.

I live for these moments. I adjust the eyepiece, making sure the planet is centered and focused. Then, I back away from the telescope and tell the first person in line to take a look. She crouches down a bit to look into the eyepiece, and I do what I always do: I watch her face. Because what happens next is magic.

The simultaneous gasp, smile, laugh of delight, eyes widening in disbelief. “Ohmygod,” they all say. They always say. She says. “Is that real? That’s Saturn?

I smile back, sharing her enjoyment. “It is. And see that star to the left of it? That’s Titan, its biggest moon. It’s bigger than the planet Mercury! And you can see the gap between the planet and the rings, too.”

The amazement visibly radiates from her. Then I point out where Saturn is in the sky so she can see it for herself, and tell her that the light she sees now left Saturn over an hour ago, when we were finishing up dinner. This elicits another little gasp from her, her brain taking all this in.

Watching this is like drinking joy. Being a part of it is a gift.

And knowing all this, knowing Saturn is real, it’s out there, an entire world that was up until extremely recently just a point of light in the sky, so very distant and yet so very reachable — that is truly an astonishing capability.

We humans have only understood this for a very short time. And for a shorter time yet, we’ve been there. To Saturn. At Saturn.

We’ve seen Saturn up close, and with very different eyes. Yes, a camera designed to more or less reproduce what our eyes see, but also equipped to scrutinize light from the planet in a hundred different ways. And also to chew on the dust around it, sniff the gas in its environment, sense the beating heart of the planet’s powerful magnetic field.

No human has been to Saturn, but our robotic proxies have been, and in this latest case, its senses are so much more exquisite than ours. We have not just seen Saturn, but through this distant explorer, we’ve felt it, experienced it, found ourselves baffled by it and still understanding it better than any humans in history. In the past 13 years we’ve learned as much about this ringed world than in all the years before. Perhaps more.

We’ve been awed by the photos and animations showing moons in motion, rings sweeping around, atmospheric storms erupting, exhibitions both sublime and gaudy. Geysers of water, dunes of hydrocarbons, wide girdles of snow, moons polluting one another, weather patterns changing with seasons, huge wakes of material bobbing up and down as well as in and out as tiny worldlets pass by.

Wonders to satiate any brain, no matter how inured by the mundanities of everyday reality. Yet these wonders do happen every day, on and above this extraordinary planet.

They will be studied with bliss and exhilaration and relentless determination by scientists across our own planet for decades to come. More insight will be teased from these observations, some ever more subtle and incremental, some creating a gestalt as multiple phenomena are assembled into bigger conclusions via a framework of science.

And our understanding will grow. This is the gift of our Saturnian traveler. To increase our knowledge and broaden our grasp while giving us ever more reason to delight in the overwhelming beauty of a world hundreds of times more voluminous than our own.

From now on, when I stand in my yard, or in some other state, or anywhere on this blue-green world, and my own gaze falls upon that yellow unblinking light in the sky, I know a smile will slip onto my lips. Because I know Saturn better now than I ever have, and that the same is true for so many others like me, like you, like everyone who chooses to wonder, everywhere on Earth.

And for that, for that, I thank you. Farewell, Cassini. You’ve made two worlds better places to be.

 


The image shown above is a mosaic composed of some of the very last images Cassini ever took of Saturn, on September 13, 2017. They were processed and assembled by graphic designer Jason Major (with credit to NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute).

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Sep. 15th, 2017 06:07 am
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Dear body,

This waking up at 5 am thing?


Not a fan.


--me.
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NGC 6334: The Cats Paw Nebula

Sep. 14th, 2017 04:19 am
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Nebulas are perhaps as famous for being identified with familiar shapes as perhaps Nebulas are perhaps as famous for being identified with familiar shapes as perhaps


tomato bread + a bit about spain

Sep. 13th, 2017 03:58 pm
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Posted by deb

Before we had kids — you know, when we got to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, or so it seems in glowy hindsight — we went on vacation whenever we found an intersection of cheap airfare and unused vacation time. Then (and I bet this isn’t an unfamiliar story) we had a kid and travel abruptly stopped. What with all of the upbeat stories of angelic children on airplanes, enthusiastically staying seated for 8+ hours and effortlessly adapting to new time zones and cuisines, I can’t imagine how, can you? Plus, between naptimes and nappies and strollers and sippies and snack cups, wouldn’t we just be spending a considerable amount of money just to find a new group of strangers to apologize for our kids-being-kids to?

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