Twittering Heights and Knife Fights

James Hrynyshyn

One of the bloggers over at ScienceBlogs, this happy looking guy at left, seems to have a real problem with people (me) interpreting Twitter feeds in ways that perhaps the originators didn’t intend (or like).

I don’t follow Twitter feeds, though my blog does provide a feed to notice new posts. That’s all I use it for.

I find it hilarious that James Hrynyshyn can get upset about this, citing my “lack of research into a Twitter quote”, which I found on the Bishop Hill Blog in this post  http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/1/16/mooney-on-climategate.html

(note the h/t to Bish and quote in my original article)

But truth is often stranger than fiction.

Had Bishop Hill not noticed and blogged on it, this lone tweet would never have been known by me, because as I said I don’t follow Twitter feeds. Bishop Hill’s blog is where it started, but it seems you missed that story and the 109 comments with it.

And while we are in the vein of Hrynyshyn’s “no serious journalist uses Twitter” discussion, I’ll point out that NYT’s Andy Revkin seems to put quite a bit of substance into Twitter.

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/19/vanishing-planet-in-140-amusing-characters/

Mr. Hrynyshyn laments the 140 character limit as not being worthy of a serious journalist.

“The point is, why would anyone ever assume that a tweet was accurate, representative or useful for anything more than a starting point for further research. I mean, there’s only 140 characters to go on…”

Well, newsflash buddy, radio/TV sound bytes and quotes in newspaper articles aren’t much different in size. Take this quote in yesterday’s Guardian from NASA GISS Scientist Dr. Gavin Schmidt, International Man of Mystery, who sounded the alarm on the impossible claims of a climate paper:

In an email, Gavin Schmidt, a Nasa climatologist wrote: “2.4C by 2020 (which is 1.4C in the next 10 years – something like six to seven times the projected rate of warming) has no basis in fact.”

Let’s see…using this free online tool, it counts 137 characters for Gavin, including punctuation. That’s comfortably a tweet sized quote in a major globally read newspaper.

But, being the big evil tweet mangling guy that I am who doesn’t apparently understand the role of full context journalism, I offered my forum to Dr. Petersen in good faith to allow his side of his story (with fuller context) to be told, even though I’m not in agreement with him on many issues.

Unfortunately Mr. Hrynyshyn while at the same time bashing me for “incomplete Twitter research” (my take on his post) and supposedly holding a grudge, doesn’t do any research of his own at all and  misses the facts as to why Dr. Peterson and I are at odds over surface data.

Dr. Peterson ghost wrote a critique of the surfacestations project via NCDC:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/24/ncdc-writes-ghost-talking-points-rebuttal-to-surfacestations-project/

Science done anonymously from a government agency to harangue a nationwide citizen effort (650 volunteers) where we found only 1 in 10 climate stations in compliance with NOAA’s most basic 100 foot rule? It seems rather revealing that Dr. Petersen would not put his name to that. Unfortunately for him he did, but just didn’t know it at the time and he got exposed for it.

And then later, his NCDC companions “borrowed” (against my protests) my preliminary non quality controlled data (published on the website for the volunteers to check progress and compare notes) to beat me to publishing a paper before we had the surfacestations project even finished:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/27/rumours-of-my-death-have-been-greatly-exaggerated/

That’s “quality science” according to Hrynyshyn? Heh. It’s more like a dark political game if you ask me. On the plus side, being first does not always mean being best.

Dr. Peterson and the 2011 Sci bloggers conference have probably learned a valuable lesson. If you don’t want people to write about something without full context, don’t provide a live Twitter feed left hanging in the Ether afterwards without also providing a recording of the live video/audio feed afterwards.

Having a live feed of an event is great, but not everyone can catch it; as Bish lamented: “I discovered the talk too late to pick up the live stream…“. A video/audio recording is what’s really needed. I looked for one, and found none that day I wrote about Peterson’s “knife fight” comment. It’s dead now:


I would venture that if you don’t want people to draw conclusions you don’t like from Twitter, don’t use it to post a stream of snippeted consciousness. But they seemed pretty big on the idea of Tweets, as it got top billing on the website header:


In fact, they seem pretty darned proud of all the @scio11 tweets, as the top entry in the Scio2011 conference blog displays:

Gosh, almost 10,000 tweets from 1200 contributors and 3000 tweets the day that Dr. Petersen spoke. It seems like a veritable Tweet Orgy. But Mr. Hrynyshyn seems to think that I should not have paid any attention at all to this mass of well advertised (and apparently proud of) tweeting. He writes:

Clearly, the major offender here was not Chris Rowan, but Anthony Watts

For those who don’t know, Chris Rowan of Highly Allochtonous is the guy who made the tweet about Dr. Peterson. He made no follow ups to explain the context, as his next few tweets on his feed show (timeline runs bottom to top):

It seems nobody else was much concerned about the “knife fight” context then either. Ditto for the main Scio2011 Twitter feed at the same time:

Had Scio2011 provided a web accessible recording of their live video/audio feed, anybody could check the context in which Dr. Peterson delivered the “knife fight” remark. As it stands now, many (involved or not) seem to be speculating about the context that Petersen delivered that remark.

So if there’s any recording from the conference, let’s settle that issue once and for all by putting up a video/audio recording of the 2011 Sci Bloggers conference during the session Dr. Peterson spoke in, so we can all see exactly what that context was.

So far, the video recordings they’ve produced out of Scio2011 amount to a whole lotta nothing. Hopefully that’s just a temporary oversight while everyone is letting their thumbs recover.

UPDATE: Bishop Hill writes in comments:

I actually emailed the organisers about when the archive of the “knife fight” session would be available. No reply.

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75 thoughts on “Twittering Heights and Knife Fights

  1. Who is Mr. Hrynyshyn, and why should I care about him?

    As for tweeting, well maybe they should make the next Science Online conference tweet free………………………..you know, I just realized how stupid that sounds – “tweeting”, “tweet free”? [sigh]

  2. As Osric said: A hit. A very palpable hit.

    An incisive, decisive and much deserved retort. Thanks Anthony.

    Mr Hrynyshynshyhnhynshsny should hang his head. In shame, that is. Not off a bridge, or anything.

  3. If I wanted a name with no vowels that would be the one. How is it pronounced? Is He Hungarian? Finish? From Where is that name?
    I was so intrigued by that name I did not read all of the blog!

  4. Just a Twitterized youngster. Those too silly and most recent computerized inventions are not for us oldies. :-)
    Really, if we start twitting and blogging and emailing, etc.etc., when are we going to LIVE?

  5. Antony, any chance you could put a second donation button so we can donate money so you and your fanily can go and enjoy some AGW on a nice beach somewhere, becuase in my mind you bloody we’ll deserve a holiday.

  6. The references to violence, like knife fights, and nukes, is a privilege of the left, because only the “right” is mean and nasty enough to act on it………. Don’tchya know.

  7. This seems to be one of those “Somebody is wrong on the Internet” posts that keep all the participants up all night googling each other, but which most of us don’t care about.

  8. James Hrynyshyn manages to tangle up a very good point about the foolishness of Twitter and tweeting with his evident dislike of you personally and AGW skeptics generally. It was still a good point though, and we should all resolve to ignore Twitter.

  9. There are many stages to recognizing you’ve let yourself be deceived.

    Confused unfocused anger is one of them.

  10. Nice spankage! Very good Anthony!

    So, let me get this straight. They tweet and then don’t like it when someone reads it and interprets the tweet with the information available? K, quit tweeting.

  11. Also, Why would anyone use a picture of themselves in that kind of facial expression as a headshot? That picture makes him look like he’s either scolding a child or he’s looking in the mirror trying to mimic Captain Spock’s one-eyebrow raise.

  12. Some things are so meta they make one wish for an asteroid strike or the sun to go supernova and wipe the filthy organic incrustation from the earth in the space of a tweet. Long live death.

  13. Crikey! I’ve met people who look like this on dark nights in the past…a nife might not be enough!

  14. Just checked ABC and CBS news online and lo and behold both have a Twitter available. ABC has it as a selection in the upper right hand corner along with IPAD app, Facebook etc. CBS has Twitter along the right edge as actual feeds from reporters. The twitter about the new Playboy app was cute. Natali Morris said they weren’t real.

    So I guess journalist like those at CBS and ABC are wrong to use Twitter (whatever it is).

  15. “Jeremy says:
    January 20, 2011 at 7:14 am”

    Spock did his thing in style. This guy is just plain, errrm, looks like is in need of a check-up from the neck-up IMO.

  16. I do actually agree with the basic premise that tweeting is unlikely to truly convey seriously detailed facts and opinions. But like most of the social networking ‘sites’ I think it’s rather an unlikely source of proper information. I am sure some folk tweet genuine useful info (I don’t tweet myself) and thoughI have never looked, from what I understand, reading through many tweets to find a couple of proper sentences would be rather tedious! I would suspect that Tweeting is for things like sporting events for Joe public to comment on rather than any serious discussion – but I could be wrong, and I accept it is unfair to truly comment without direct experience. Each to their own I guess…

  17. What if there are other intelligent life forms in the universe . . . but they haven’t been receiving our radio or TV transmissions, they have been receiving our tweets. Do you suppose they are content knowing that theirs is the only intelligent life form?

  18. It makes me wonder what the Climate Change debate would be like if a mound of ants had the internet technology at their disposal . . . assuming of course . . . .

  19. Sorry Anthony,
    I have just had a very successful dinner party with Professor Tony Kelly, one of the gang of four who got the Royal Society to tone down their alarmist position on climate.

    I can barely type. It started with Veuve, and then a number of very good McLarne Vale shiraz, or whateve the plural of shiraz is.

    All I want to say is, woudn’t it be better if Twitter was in haiku?

    REPLY: Be sure to take a cab back to the hotel. Heh, yes. I’m sure Lucia can come up with a Twitter haiku, as well as our many readers. – Anthony

  20. Promoted to “pseudoskeptic” eh?

    So, a “communications consultant” organises a conference session and the “communications” go wrong… Pseudo what now?

  21. I just don’t understand the whole concept of Twitbook & Facetwat….why are people so obsessed with there own self that they need to megaphone the world thier opinions.

    Said me, blogging on a forum to a bunch of people I don’t know….
    Er……

  22. The polite response (in English) to ” Hrynyshyn”, is “Bless you”, and in German “Gesundheit”.

  23. So now Hrynyshyn is a literary critic as well? He apparently is not into Reader-response criticism. He doesn’t believe his tweets take on a life of their own.

    Apparently he’s into authorial intent. So the burden of proof is on everyone to check his intention every time they want to dialogue with him or about his content. Seems very inefficient and immature.

  24. “The point is, why would anyone ever assume that a tweet was accurate, representative or useful for anything more than a starting point for further research.”

    Because some people know how to be terse and accurate.

  25. Hoser says:
    January 20, 2011 at 7:38 am

    [snip funny but unfair to Mr Hrynyshyn]

    I take it there will be no guessing where that webcam was or what Mr Hrynyshyn was doing when that photo was taken then?

  26. If I wanted a name with no vowels that would be the one. How is it pronounced? Is He Hungarian? Finish? From Where is that name?
    I was so intrigued by that name I did not read all of the blog!

    Ukrainian (to my knowledge, mostly Western Ukraine – Lviv and so). That region supplied the most Ukrainian immigrants to the New World, and today there are hundreds of Hrynyshyns in Canada, most of them with English first names.

    The original Ukrainian spelling is Гринишин, however.

  27. “mikef2 says:
    January 20, 2011 at 8:18 am”

    Twitter, I just don’t get. Who cares if I have just had a dump, or opened a book? Facebook OTOH, is where almost everone I know, knows I am there, and, largely, they are there too. I recently found a school mate from the 1970’s! So its, “sort of”, community IMO.

  28. “…had his reputation impugned by those who have no respect for the facts…”

    Who is he talking about? Surely not Anthony or Bishop Hill or CA. I’ve learned more about the facts from these three sources than from anywhere else.

  29. Twittering Heights and Knife Fights, bloggers issuing 140 character comments; snapshots of consciousness w/o context …

    Noise; turn up the squelch control or enable CTCSS or DPL …

    .

  30. Now “MapleLeaf” wants Watts and McIntyre in front of the courts… (see comment section in Dave Clarke’s latest post at DC).
    Pfff this guy is still working on his PhD and has too much time on his hands…

    REPLY: Can’t find it, looks like Deep Climate must have removed it. – Anthony

  31. I kinda thought my post would be snipped. I decided to try it as a test of your standards. Now I know. But he is a little creepy.

  32. Patrick Davis says:
    January 20, 2011 at 7:59 am
    “Jeremy says:
    January 20, 2011 at 7:14 am”

    Anthony has provided a link ( see the second line in the post). Go there. Then note you are on a blog called “Class: M” that derives from a Star Trek reference (link there) as explained by Mr. Hrynyshyn. Mr. H seems to have started out with an interest in a variety of subjects but latched on to climate change as the big issue. One would have to read some of his postings to know why. Perhaps he can point to the one or two postings that expound on his conversion to AGW.

    (or Anthony could invite him to summarize his ideas and post here at WUWT)
    ———————————

    On a side note: Predicador responded to John Marshall about Mr. H’s last name – in reference to vowels. Vowels are sounds as well as symbols. Y and W were tacked on at the end of the list in my grade school classes. An explanation is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vowel#Written_vowels

  33. I wonder if they will ever realize that skeptics are not armed with knives or nukes
    … merely questions.

  34. naughty, naughty Hoser says: [snip funny but unfair to Mr Hrynyshyn]

    3×2 says: “I take it there will be no guessing where that webcam was or what Mr Hrynyshyn was doing when that photo was taken then?”

    Absolutely not. We’ll just have to use our imaginations. (I did, and I agree, it would have been very, very unfair not to snip that.) But maybe Mr. H could amplify on the limits of tweeting, itself; as SSam says: “Consider me a Luddite if you wish, but I believe tweets are for twits.”

  35. From Wikipedia (even though not always the most reliable source):

    Communication is a process whereby meaning is defined and shared between living organisms. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender’s intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast distances in time and space. Communication requires that the communicating parties share an area of communicative commonality. The communication process is complete once the receiver has understood the sender.

    As James Hrynyshyn is a communications consultant and freelance science journalist based in Western North Carolina.” , he should realise that Twitter is an extremely poor communication device, SO DON’T USE IT.

    One would disappear up one’s fundamental orifice if you use Twitter to ask for the context of a Tweet as you then need to ask for the context of the request for context, then the context of the context of the (……..ad infinitum).

    In Australia, even our politicians are using Twitter to make major policy announcements, then wondering why they are so misunderstood. The only benefit is that we only have to put up with 140 character at a time from a politician, so it’s not all bad.

  36. @CodeTech says:
    January 20, 2011 at 9:47 am
    “It would have been entertaining to see a character count in every comment in this thread… :)”

    Yes, entertaining. I was born to tweet, however I’ve never and won’t because I type twice as fast when I use two fingers instead of one ;o)

  37. > I find it hilarious that James Hrynyshyn can get upset about this, citing my “lack of research into a Twitter quote”,

    I have no idea how one is supposed to research a Twitter quote (or entire tweet, for that matter).

    Perhaps you can offer posting space to Mr. Hrynyshyn to teach us all how to do that, or at least offer some good URLs on the subject.

  38. It is curious this talk of a knife fight and nukes. I thought only [snip] the right used such insensitive violent terms. NOT that Obama is not short on violent metaphores.
    His own condescending remarks and violent metaphors against the right are well known. Obama predicted “hand-to-hand combat” with his political opponents and has made such remarks as “if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun” — making Obama the first American president to advocate gun fights since Andrew Jackson. His speaking of certain Americans as “clinging to their guns and religion”, his telling a group of hispanics “We’re going to punish our enemies and we’re going to reward our friends who stand with us” Obama’s, some Israelis are “suspicious of me because my middle name is Hussein …… “Jews see Hussein and they think Muslim, and that’s why they don’t like me”- So politically Obama is denying any credible intellectual reason for an Israel’s suspicion of him and calling them prejudiced. I can give many more examples but will attempt some brevity.

    It is our president’s association with those that wish to go well past metaphores that is disturbing. His church gave the life time achievment award to the man who said this; “”The white man is our mortal enemy, and we cannot accept him. I will fight to see that vicious beast go down into the lake of fire prepared for him from the beginning, that he never rise again to give any innocent black man, woman or child the hell that he has delighted in pouring on us for 400 years.”
    Louis Farrakhan
    Nation of Islam

  39. David says:
    January 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Obama predicted “hand-to-hand combat” with his political opponents and has made such remarks as “if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun” —

    Let’s these kinds of perspectives in order . . . today’s DOJ release

    Provident Capital Indemnity, Its President and Auditor Charged in $670 Million Fraud Scheme
    Wed, 19 Jan 2011 17:07:34 -0600

    The president and the auditor of a Costa Rican company selling reinsurance bonds to life settlement companies were arrested and charged, along with the company itself, in a seven-count indictment unsealed today for their alleged role in a $670 million fraud scheme involving victims throughout the United States and abroad.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Belarusian National Pleads Guilty to International Online Scheme to Steal U.S. Tax Refunds
    Wed, 19 Jan 2011 17:03:48 -0600

    A Belarusian national and resident of Nantucket, Mass., pleaded guilty today to charges stemming from his participation in an international online scheme to steal income tax refunds from U.S. taxpayers around the country.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Alleged Terrorist Charged with Conspiracy to Kill Americans in Iraq
    Wed, 19 Jan 2011 16:15:26 -0600

    Faruq Khalil Muhammad ‘Isa, 38, was arrested in Canada today pursuant to a U.S. provisional arrest warrant, based on a complaint in the United States charging him with conspiring to kill Americans abroad and with providing material support to that terrorist conspiracy to kill Americans abroad.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Lufkin, Texas, Man Pleads Guilty to Involvement in Murders
    Wed, 19 Jan 2011 16:18:38 -0600

    A Lufkin, Texas, man pleaded guilty today to charges related to a double homicide that took place in Nacogdoches, Texas, in August 2007.

  40. Clearly, only peer reviewed tweets should be accepted as legitimate scientific evidence, and the approved texts need to be published in the Journal of Convenient Climate Tweets to make them available to all serious investigative journalists.

  41. David says:
    January 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Obama predicted “hand-to-hand combat” with his political opponents and has made such remarks as “if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun” —

    I say . . . . Let’s get this conversational perspective in order . . . some of today’s DOJ release.

    Provident Capital Indemnity, Its President and Auditor Charged in $670 Million Fraud Scheme
    Wed, 19 Jan 2011 17:07:34 -0600

    The president and the auditor of a Costa Rican company selling reinsurance bonds to life settlement companies were arrested and charged, along with the company itself, in a seven-count indictment unsealed today for their alleged role in a $670 million fraud scheme involving victims throughout the United States and abroad.

    Belarusian National Pleads Guilty to International Online Scheme to Steal U.S. Tax Refunds
    Wed, 19 Jan 2011 17:03:48 -0600

    A Belarusian national and resident of Nantucket, Mass., pleaded guilty today to charges stemming from his participation in an international online scheme to steal income tax refunds from U.S. taxpayers around the country.

    Where, I come from this is call the ‘LONG ARMS” of the law.

  42. David says:
    January 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Obama predicted “hand-to-hand combat” with his political opponents and has made such remarks as “if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun” —

    I say . . . . Let’s get this “conversational” perspective in order . . . just some of today’s DOJ release

    Belarusian National Pleads Guilty to International Online Scheme to Steal U.S. Tax Refunds

    http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/January/11-crm-074.html

    Provident Capital Indemnity, Its President and Auditor Charged in $670 Million Fraud Scheme

    http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/January/11-crm-075.html

    Where, I come from this is called the long ‘arms’ of the law.

  43. Concerning knife fights it seems to me that it is predominantly communists, or any kind of radical socialist, that bring weapons to any rally and the reason seem to be the same one, every time, they believe that their opponents are equally armed to the teeth (which of course they usually are not, disregarding, however, when their opponents are other radical socialists.)

    So essentially it kind of proves they’re crazed, because after a thousand and one rally of they being the only ones to bring knives, they still, unequivocally, will spit on the statistics and still bring knives to the next rally because that might be the rally when the rational opponents bring their knives.

    See, to them hippies, every decade might be the last.

  44. Peter O’Brien says:

    “I read James Hrhynyshin’s article. What the hell’s a ‘pseudoskeptic’?”

    It’s an alarmist. They’re masters at the art of psychological projection.

  45. Ignore James baby we did when he worked for our local paper spouting such wisdom ,as banning power boats from the local waterways and save the planet you diesel burning rednecks, soon he went away to save you poor ignorant Americans from yourselves. I guess the education he got was confirmation bais cause this guy is a classic dogooder just as long as he’s spending your money.I think he is hoping publicity from your blog will salve his empty little life.When he rushed out to defend the CRU emails a comment was posted on his blog,”Credibility is like virginity, you only lose it once.”.Having read his drivel for some months in our only newspaper I do not believe James H has any credibility to lose. Of course it could be another one by the same name but the eyes have it.

  46. I’m far from being a luddite (I run several web sites, do CG graphics rendering, even have a crackberry) but I refuse to use Twitter, and find Facebook extremely annoying, filled with useless crap.

  47. Jeremy said

    “That picture makes him look like he’s either scolding a child or he’s looking in the mirror trying to mimic Captain Spock’s one-eyebrow raise.”

    I was thinking the same thing. Too bad he doesnt seem to be interested in ” all things accurate or logical.” ;)

  48. @Jeremy

    Jeremy says:
    January 20, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Also, Why would anyone use a picture of themselves in that kind of facial expression as a headshot?

    Everybody now, “Psychokiller, qu’est-ce que c’est? fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa better
    Run run run run run run run away…”

  49. From mikef2 on January 20, 2011 at 8:18 am:

    I just don’t understand the whole concept of Twitbook & Facetwat….why are people so obsessed with there own self that they need to megaphone the world thier opinions.

    Thanks. Now I can envision a site called TwitTwat, where primary users will post their profiles, then proceed to post whatever they can that’s their most outrageous/humorous/irritating/offensive/truly-idiotic thing they can think of. Then there will be automatic unmoderated posting of all the tweets received, with flagging and counting of the tweets saying just how STUPID those users are.

    And that will be the sole reason for the site, and all that it does, period.

    There will be prizes.

    Thanks a lot. ☺

  50. Laurie;
    The idea of edits and alternate versions is that you post ONE, not all of them.

    David;
    Make up your mind about how to spell “metaphor(e)”. Hint: it does not resemble “semaphore”.

    Tweets: I don’t use them; it’s a rapidfire conversation that you must stay on top of to get the gist and the meat, but is a lot like tracking 5 conversations at once at a party. Way too much work for the payoff, for me. Lots of people enjoy that kind of thing, tho’.

  51. Brian H says:
    January 22, 2011 at 3:33 am
    Laurie;
    The idea of edits and alternate versions is that you post ONE, not all of them.

    Sorry about that . . . . I was having difficulties . . . I simply assumed I was doing something wrong as nothing posted at all . . . as you should well tell I am a new user . . . “I know not what I do” sometimes.

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