What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Station Break for WTF

Here's a link to a Newsweek article on how many of those Climate-gate stories are being retracted for lack of actual, you know, facts. You're liberal media at work. Fire first, then go out and actually get the real story. And yes, in case you can't tell, I'm being sarcastic about the "liberal media." Unless you want to talk about the well known liberal bias of reality.

Because it's easier to shout "j'accuse!" than it is to do actual reporting (which takes time, even more so now that people have a hard time thinking beyond "1 fish, 2 fish, red fish, blue fish"). Yeah, for those of us who said, "tempest in a teapot and a bunch of misunderstandings of how science is done," who were shouted down about how "No! This proves it's all a scam," we're ready to accept the apologies. Anyone. Bueller. Bueller. (Grokked from Jay Lake)


vince said...

Yeah, for those of us who said, "tempest in a teapot and a bunch of misunderstandings of how science is done," who were shouted down about how "No! This proves it's all a scam," we're ready to accept the apologies.

Would be nice, wouldn't it? But the biggest shouters are the ones who don't understand what the word "apologize" means. Or that they could possibly be wrong.

Steve Buchheit said...

Vince, yeah, I'm not holding my breath either.

Anonymous said...

I ran across this NYT article today which reminded me of this post. I'd forgotten that I wanted to ask: did the scientists who were accused of destroying records (tree rings, temperature records?) actually destroy their data? Nothing I've seen talked about the accusations that came out of the email leaks.

Anonymous Cassie, way behind

Steve Buchheit said...

Cassie, yes they did get rid of the data, however it wasn't developed by those scientists and exists elsewhere (so if they would have kept it, it would have just been one copy among dozens).

And the accusations were mostly fluff. What has happened since then is that investigations to determine if there was wrong doing, or anything "out of norms" going on. What was found is that while some of them we "indiscreet" in their comments (making personal attacks), nothing they did went outside accepted standards of practice and that there was no data "manipulation" (beyond "standardizing" - so you can compare apples to apples), and that the data, research, and conclusions still stand.

So, again, full of sound and furry, signifying nothing.

Considering the current climate (ha!) against tenured faculty and the itchiness surrounding this issue, believe me (knowing inside baseball of university politics), if there had been the slightest cause to believe a scientist had "fudged" data or conclusions, they would have been out on their ear. To do otherwise would jeopardize grant funding and alumni/donor funds. No matter how "beloved" a prof may be (and many of these people aren't in that category, mostly being researchers not actual instructors) they would have been sent pounding the pavement (falsification of research is justification for breaking tenure - ie. immediate dismissal).

Anonymous said...

Somebody better get to work then.


Steve Buchheit said...

Well, Cassie, as the article states, he lost his tenure position and is now working adjunct at another college. And going from Tenure Track to Adjunct, well, it's like going from being the matre de to cleaning out the grease pits. Adjunct is a semester only position (the author of this article doesn't understand that or they'd know that's why he's not listed among the faculty), by contract, and is considered very low status (I'm serious about this, any PhD candidate you know advise them away from Adjunct work unless they want to be stuck there for life - we didn't know at the time and though that Adjunct was a stepping stone to full-time positions). My guess is Prof. Bellesiles won't be resigned up for classes (unless they can't find anybody else).

Again, Adjunct is temporary work. My guess is he went from $60,000+ to maybe, maybe, making $12,000 (if he taught a "full load" and worked at more than one college).

And that media doesn't fact check anymore, well, your article writer might want to get with the late 90s when those departments were all cut (budgetary issues). Considering they weren't able to fact check about what "adjunct" means, the MSM aren't the only ones who don't do it anymore.

However, this shows what happens when you fake data. You get canned. None of the people involved in "climategate" (as far as I know) have been canned.

Anonymous said...

I'm baffled how he got another job. This kind of misrepresentation should have stopped the current college from hiring him in the first place.

Thanks for the "adjunct" definition. I've been out of college so long that if I'd heard it then, I don't remember it now.


Steve Buchheit said...

And again, we're drifting off topic. The article shows those who fake evidence are dropped, quickly. This hasn't happened to any of the climategate researchers (in fact, that's what the retractions cite, the investigations to see what, if any, wrong doings they've done). They investigated full, if there was something, they'd toss those professors out (rather than risk future grants or alumni/donation money).

Sometimes "Adjunct" is akin to "hot body in chair" (as in, somebody, anybody). Right now, the current class I'm taking is taught by somebody with just a BS (although 20+ years of experience). My estimation of their skills aren't all that high (the coursework flow is very disjointed and the presentation hurts the ability to concentrate and form connections). However, some adjunct are fabulous.

And not everybody does full background checks for employment. And who knows, maybe they did. And maybe the hiring as "adjunct" was in a "second chance" kind of manner ("Did you learn your lesson?" "Well, yes I did."). My guess is that they knew, which was why he was brought in as adjunct.

Rereading the article the authors makes a supposition that isn't supported. They believe that Javier and Ernesto are Connecticut residents (4% of students are "out of state" - latest figures I could find). Not a big chance, but still possible. They don't consider the possibility. Nor that the article may have waited longer than a year (not unheard of in publishing). So, also somewhat shoddy research on their part (since they're holding someone else to a higher standard, I feel it's fair to look at their research methods as well).

That doesn't mean this guy turned a new leaf (in fact, most who go down the path of faking evidence, mostly continue to do so, in my experience).