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  • The Stoat Also Rises

    Posted on October 17th, 2010 Jo 5 comments

    Image Credit : William Connolley

    Some people have all the energy.

    William Connolley’s struggle to keep Wikipedia clean on Climate Change has tired me out – and I only dip into the ongoing saga from time to time :-

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/10/the_wikipedia_disaster_area.php

    He must eat oats to have that kind of perpetual momentum :-

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/william-m-connolley/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Connolley

    The spat at Wikipedia over editing of Climate Change-related material has subsided into a kind of uneasy truce.

    Seems like the Climate Change sceptic-deniers just won’t let it lie – they’re recycling their accusations of Connolley all over again. WARNING : What follows may contain gross inaccuracies :-

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100059077/professor-hal-lewis-is-not-an-irrelevant-senile-old-fool/
    http://www.thegwpf.org/best-of-blogs/1705-lawrence-solomon-global-warming-propagandist-slapped-down.html
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/14/willia-connolley-now-climate-topic-banned-at-wikipedia/
    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=6469&linkbox=true&position=1

    Show your support for El Stoat, by commenting here :-

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/10/the_wikipedia_disaster_area.php

     

    5 responses to “The Stoat Also Rises”

    1. Hi Jo, so “William Connolley’s struggle to keep Wikipedia clean on Climate Change has tired me out”. His stuggle to maintain the myth about our continuing (and increasing) use of fossil fuels causing catastrophic global climate change has made a lot of sceptics sick and tired. There’s an enormous difference between a clean up and a whitewash. The whitewash simply hides what you don’t want to see. A good clean removes all of the dirt.

      It is good news to read on Wikipedia that “William M. Connolley is topic-banned from Climate change ..” (Note 1). Section 8 of that page provides a good list of all of William’s questionable activities, including QUOTE:
      William M. Connolley previously sanctioned and desysopped
      William M. Connolley has been uncivil and antagonistic
      William M. Connolley has shown Ownership
      William M. Connolley BLP violations
      William M. Connolley’s edits to biographies of living persons
      UNQUOTE:

      I love the comments on the “Going” thread (Note 2) of the Bishop Hill blog of Andrew Montford (author of the brilliant book “The Hockey Stick Illusion – Climategate and the Corruption of Science”), especially this one “
      RIP. Wikipedia has FINALLY seen the light on this character, who once claimed that a particular individual (with no relationship to the subject) could be “a reliable source” for an encyclopedic entry in the biography of a living person. eGads! A monster – encylopedically speaking. Good riddance. Now for his cohort: Kim P.
      Oct 15, 2010 at 2:30 AM – Kip Hansen”
      .
      NOTES:
      NB: http://www. removed from ?? and http:// from 1), 2)

      1) see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Climate_change/Proposed_decision#William_M._Connolley_topic-banned_.28R3.29
      2) see bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/10/14/going.html

      Best regards, Pete Ridley

    2. An uneasy truce, eh?
      I am not sure by what convoluted logic his banning for at least six month constitutes an uneasy truce.
      Still, if you say so….

    3. Hi Jo, I think that Wikipedia can only improve now that William has had his Climate Change editing privileges curtailed. I had read a fair bit on sceptical blogs about his tendency to “adjust” contributions. I his December 2009 Telegraph article “Climategate: the corruption of Wikipedia” (Note 1) James Delingpole said “Unfortunately, this naked bias and corruption has infected the supposedly neutral Wikipedia’s entire coverage of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory. And much of this, as Lawrence Solomon reports in the National Post, is the work of one man, a Cambridge-based scientist and Green Party activist named William Connolley”.

      He went on to say “Connolley took control of all things climate in the most used information source the world has ever known – Wikipedia. Starting in February 2003, just when opposition to the claims of the band members were beginning to gel, Connolley set to work on the Wikipedia site. He rewrote Wikipedia’s articles on global warming, on the greenhouse effect, on the instrumental temperature record, on the urban heat island, on climate models, on global cooling. On Feb. 14, he began to erase the Little Ice Age; on Aug.11, the Medieval Warm Period. In October, he turned his attention to the hockey stick graph. He rewrote articles on the politics of global warming and on the scientists who were skeptical of the band. Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer, two of the world’s most distinguished climate scientists, were among his early targets, followed by others that the band especially hated, such as Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, authorities on the Medieval Warm Period”.

      Have a read of the entire article. It’s enlightening (and contributed to the desired result).

      As I said on your “The Messiah” thread, William simply refused to post two of my comments on his “Engineering the Software for Understanding Climate Change” thread (Note 2) questioning the validity of those “crystal ball” computer models because they have never been subjected to independent professional VV&T procedures. This is what what I submitted on 16th July which William refused to post but I can’t see what he objected to other than my criticism of the field in which he practices.

      *****

      Gator, I get the impression some of you guys see little further than your software engineering, not the full picture from end user requirements definition through to final system integration and operation. That’s how VV&T was applied when I was involved in it. (Contrary to what is claimed in “Engineering the Software for Understanding Climate Change” in the case of climate modelling systems, the end user is not only the scientists who develop these systems.)

      Who is “Claiming that VV+T alone will produce quality SW”? I have no recollection of anyone ever suggesting that to me, whereas I recall plenty of instances when professionally applied and independent VV&T procedures identified defects in system performance due to deficient software engineering. Consequently deficiencies were rectified much earlier (and much cheaper) than would have occurred if left to the software engineers and defects only identified during operation. It is possible but highly unlikely that VV&T caused the SW to be “double the cost”. It would certainly have cost many times more if those defects had remained undetected until during operational use. I don’t expect to be the only person who has had such experiences.

      I would be surprised if rectification of these deficiencies led to “quality” software but they did lead to software and operational systems that more closely satisfied the end users’ requirements, used throughout the system development program as the prime objective.

      Steve Easterbrook and Timothy Johns said .. “V&V practices rely on the fact that the developers are also the primary users”. It could be argued that the prime users are the policymakers who are guided by the IPCC’s SPMs which depend upon the projections of those climate models. Steve and Timothy “hypothesized that .. the developers will gradually evolve a set of processes that are highly customized to their context, irrespective of the advice of the software engineering literature .. ”.

      I prefer the hypothesis of Post & Votta who say in their excellent 2005 paper “Computational Science Demands a New Paradigm” that “ .. computational science needs a new paradigm to address the prediction challenge .. They point out that most fields of computational science lack a mature, systematic software validation process that would give confidence in predictions made from computational models”. What they say about VV&T aligns with my own experience, including “ .. Verification, validation, and quality management, we found, are all crucial to the success of a large-scale code-writing project. Although some computational science projects—those illustrated by figures 1–4, for example—stress all three requirements, many other current and planned projects give them insufficient attention. In the absence of any one of those requirements, one doesn’t have the assurance of independent assessment, confirmation, and repeatability of results. Because it’s impossible to judge the validity of such results, they often have little credibility and no impact ..”.

      Relevant to climate models they say “A computational simulation is only a model of physical reality. Such models may not accurately reflect the phenomena of interest. By verification we mean the determination that the code solves the chosen model correctly. Validation, on the other hand, is the determination that the model itself captures the essential physical phenomena with adequate fidelity. Without adequate verification and validation, computational results are not credible .. ”.

      I agree with Steve that “further research into such comparisons is needed to investigate these observations” and suggest that in the meantime the VV&T procedures should be applied as understood by Post and Votta and currently practised successfully outside of the climate modelling community.

      **************

      I’ll submit the second one shortly. It included a relevant response from respected sceptic Dr. Vincent Gray to a comment by Professor Steve Easterbrook, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto (Note 3).

      NOTES:
      NB: I have removed http:// from 1) & 2) and http://www.from 3).

      1) see blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100020515/climategate-the-corruption-of-wikipedia/
      2) see scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/06/engineering_the_software_for_u.php
      3) see cs.toronto.edu/~sme/

      Best regards, Pete Ridley

    4. PART 1

      Hi Jo, I was checking up on whether or not William Connolley and his computer modelling associates could reasonably call themselves “scientists” in relation to global climate processes and drivers so I Go-ogled with – “scientist” “William Connolley”. Guess what, 9 out of the 10 on the first page were about his climate change editing activities on Wikipedia. I only looked at one of them, an excellent article “History of climate gets ‘erased’ online: More than 5,000 entries tailored to hype global-warming agenda” (Note 1). It’s well worth spending some time on.

      I changed my search to from “scientist” to “science” and the first link was to his 2004 Realclimate article “William M. Connolley” (Note 2). Have you seen it? It says “When I joined RC, I was a climate modeller with the British Antarctic Survey. Now I’m a software engineer for CSR. I’m still interested in communicating the science of climate change, but can no longer do so at a professional level.
      I’m also elsewhere: the wikipedia project is developing into a useful resource, and my profile is User:William_M._Connolley. My personal vanity site is at http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk.
      One of the people in the picture is me. Guess which.”

      I clicked the link and the page said “This site is obsolete. A new site is under developement at http://cotonvillage.co.uk/” so I clicked again. This provided “The Coton News” page, a photo of William’s local, the Plough, but only one photo that could possibly relate to William, a set of cricket stumps with the bails flying. “Howzat” “He’s out”, it appears not only declared out from his previous position of power at Wikip[edia but also out of favour with his home village.

      The Realclimate page also provides a link to his climate change propaganda articles there. He obviously had a very high opinion of himself then, with those links to his “vanity” sites but I suspect that his vanity has been well and truly pricked.

      One thing that the Go-ogle search did show is that to regard William as a scientist is stretching the imagination too far. As it says at a Wikipedia “William Connolley” thread (Note 2) “William Michael Connolley (born 12 April 1964) is a British software engineer, writer, and blogger on climate science. Until December 2007 he was Senior Scientific Officer in the Physical Sciences Division in the Antarctic Climate and the Earth System project at the British Antarctic Survey, where he worked as a climate modeller”.

      William may have had the title “Senior Scientific Officer” but he appears to be no more a scientist than I was in the 1970’s. I worked at the Bell-Northern Research Laboratories with the title of “Member of Scientific Staff” but that didn’t make me a scientist. I was a Chartered Engineer and am now a “blogger on climate science”. William “Connolley holds an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a DPhil from St Edmund Hall at the University of Oxford for his work on numerical analysis”.

    5. PART 2

      William Connolley is a Software Engineer and a “blogger on climate science”, not a scientist, however, I do love the graph that he provides on his Wikipedia “User:William M. Connolley/My Images/Science” thread (Note 3).

      The graph (Note 4) “Figure A.6 from the 1975 NAS report “understanding climatic change”: A program for action. Northern hemisphere surface temperature from 1880 to 1968 ..” shows a fall in temperature of 0.7C in only 30 years from 1940 to 1970. No wonder scientists then were worried about the globe heading towards another catastrophic ice age. It looks as though we are now, 40 years later, heading towards another one. That’s natural climate change for you – presently unpredictable. Maybe one day we’ll be able to properly model and predict future climates but, as leading Fleet Street journalist, Hannan Swaffer (The People newspaper?) told my dad in the 1940’s “The time is not yet”.

      NOTES:
      NB: I have removed http://www.from 1) and http:// from 2), 3) & 4).

      1) see http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=119745
      2) see wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Connolley
      3) see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:William_M._Connolley/My_Images/Science
      4) see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Global_cooling.jpg

      Best regards, Pete Ridley

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