The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Posts Tagged ‘trick’

International Panel & Royal Society Find No Fraud in “Climategate”

Posted by mattusmaximus on April 16, 2010

I blogged recently about the conclusion of one of three independent investigations into the so-called Climategate concerning claims of fraud and cover-up of climate science data.  As I mentioned in that first entry (titled “Climategate Ends With a Fizzle”), that investigation found absolutely no evidence of fraud. Now the second investigation, conducted by an international panel of experts in conjunction with the Royal Society, has come to similar conclusions.

Here is the entire report from the Royal Society.

And here are a few key findings…

The Panel was set up by the University in consultation with the Royal Society to assess the integrity of the research published by the Climatic Research Unit in the light of various external assertions. …

We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal. …

We cannot help remarking that it is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians. Indeed there would be mutual benefit if there were closer collaboration and interaction between CRU and a much wider scientific group outside the relatively small international circle of temperature specialists. …

It was not the immediate concern of the Panel, but we observed that there were important and unresolved questions that related to the availability of environmental data sets. It was pointed out that since UK government adopted a policy that resulted in charging for access to data sets collected by government agencies, other countries have followed suit impeding the flow of processed and raw data to and between researchers. This is unfortunate and seems inconsistent with policies of open access to data promoted elsewhere in government. …

A host of important unresolved questions also arises from the application of Freedom of Information legislation in an academic context. We agree with the CRU view that the authority for releasing unpublished raw data to third parties should stay with those who collected it. …

Now that’s two separate, independent investigations which have cleared the CRU and Dr. Jones of the outlandish claims of various global warming deniers. To date, the response I’ve seen from the deniers tends to be along the lines of…

Posted in conspiracy theories, global warming denial | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Climategate Ends With a Fizzle

Posted by mattusmaximus on April 7, 2010

If you’ve paid any attention to the issue of climate change in the past few months, you’ve no doubt heard about the so-called “Climategate”. Without getting into the history of the “gate” too much (if you’re really hardcore, read about the entire sordid tale here), the allegation on the part of global-warming deniers goes something like this:

Hackers have broken into the database of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit – and put the files they stole on the Internet. The 1079 emails and 72 documents seem indeed evidence of a scandal involving scientists pushing the man-made warming theory, suggesting conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more.

In other words, the deniers were claiming that there was a vast conspiracy on the part of the climate science community to conceal that global-warming was a hoax.  There’s a quick, one-word answer to that charge:  FAIL

And how do I know this?  Very simple, really… a thorough public investigation has been conducted in the United Kingdom about the actions of Dr. Phil Jones and the Climate Research Unit (CRU). And it is worth noting that genuine skeptics, like me, were actually calling for just such an investigation back when the hacked emails were originally leaked – hell, if there was some kind of cover-up, I sure wanted to know about it.  And if there was nothing to the allegations, I firmly believed that the science would only be strengthened by an investigation.

But that isn’t what the global-warming deniers seemed to want.  All they ever seemed interested in was simply ranting & screaming about The Conspiracy – it was almost as if they were afraid that an investigation would discover that their ranting claims were, pardon the pun, so much hot air.  And you know what?  That’s exactly what happened.

Read on to see the conclusions of the investigation… (and, btw, you can get the full House of Commons report here)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in conspiracy theories, global warming denial | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Telepathy Tricks for Your I-Phone/Touch

Posted by mattusmaximus on February 1, 2010

I recently got an I-Touch, and I’m discovering a whole bunch of neat little apps for it.  Among one of the most interesting I’ve downloaded recently is an app called “Telepath” made by skeptic Dr. Richard Wiseman, which allows you to give the illusion that the I-Touch/Phone itself (or the operator) is telepathic! Dr. Wiseman knows quite a lot about psychology and how easy it is to fool people – or in this case how easy it is for people to fool themselves.  So he put together this little app in order to teach people a little lesson in critical thinking…

Of course, there’s no actual telepathy to it, but it is a really neat trick (it fooled me the first time I saw it).  To learn more about it, check out this Youtube video that Dr. Wiseman put together…

In order to learn the secret behind the trick, you’ll have to purchase the app from the I-Tunes store – considering what it does, it’s a real deal for only 99 cents!  So if you have an I-Phone/Touch, I suggest that you go pick up “Telepath” and start having some skeptical fun with it 🙂

Posted in ghosts & paranormal, humor | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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